Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some new handspun yarns this week

I've finished up the Christmas gifts here at Chez Feisty. How are your projects going? Think you'll be finished in time to wrap your handmade gifts and put them under the tree? And I have photos but can't show them just yet because the recipients read this blog on Facebook.

However, I also managed to get some yarn spun this week in between visits to the garage, the hair stylist, the guild gathering--I had something going every day last week so the weekend came as a welcome respite. Before I decided to close the Etsy shop, I was working on a line of Tiffany-inspired braids. As I designed each one, I made two for sale and one for me to spin. If the color combination was ugly, neither the braid nor the yarn was going in the shop. Iris made the cut. The braids are listed but the yarn hadn't been washed and labeled before the closing sale. Here it is, although I'm not sure yet what it will become (suggestions welcome!):

I had also been working on a series of gradient batts for the shop. One of my friends has a weak spot for anything purple, as do I myself, and I came up with a teal-blue-purple-berry transition and threw in a handful of white silk noils for interest. I spun up a fat singles for him as a gift, and just finished a fine singles for myself.

I got 392 yards out of 1.8 ounces of fiber and intend it for a Moebius with an undulating stitch pattern. I'm excited to see how it turns out, so am taking it along on my Christmas travels. Moebius knitting is so relaxing and mindless for travel.

And as if that wasn't enough to keep me busy, the weather here is warming up and the contractor called Tuesday night to say that he would be here bright and early this morning. This old house still needs some work to make it energy efficient, or as energy efficient as a 101-year old house can be, and so the basement windows are being replaced by double-pane windows. No glass block down there, I like to open the windows in the summer so the breezes can blow through and help cool it down in the evenings. The window cleaners also called last night to say they'd be stopping this afternoon, so I've already taken down the plastic pine boughs along the fence so they can access the windows. So today is my day to stick near home, wrap presents and bake Grandmas Cranberry Bread.

Stay warm, enjoy the holidays and I'll see you all in the New Year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I have free time! And I can make stuff for ME! Just because I can!

I've been playing all week, now that I'm closing the online shop and don't need to spend so much time on that. So, here's the checklist of stuff done and in the works:

Knitted the sleeves of my friend's Tomten jacket for her son. She's become allergic to this particular wool and can't work with it for long, so I've done the sleeves and she will finish the I-cord edging and weaving in ends. I hope he likes it!

Working on Christmas gifts. Can't say what they are or who they're for, but it's something I do every year. I usually work exclusively with my handspun but sometimes commercially spun yarn is called for. And that's all I'll say about it till after the gifting.

And, this fall I handpainted 2 pounds of mixed BFL roving. I've been picking away at spinning it up for a jacket for myself (I just love jackets for spring and fall wearing, so easy to toss on and head out the door). I'm over halfway finished and have just 4 more bobbins to spin up before I'm done. Because I have 8 oz. of Blue Moon Rockin' Whorl Club handpainted top that's calling me. Very strongly. And I refuse to start that till I finish the BFL.


Geez, this is so much fun. I can't wait for the New Year when I can start on all those fabulous ideas that have been swimming round in my head for months and years. I also got the chance to attend my guild's Teach and Learn meeting yesterday. It was great to have a day with fellow fiberholics, comparing projects and discussing techniques, talking about what's next on our needles/loom/wheel. I think I'm going to like this next phase of my fiber life.....

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and a lovely week to everyone else.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I think it's time for a drastic change....

“There's no need to quit until you stop enjoying yourself.”

Yep, that’s where I am right now. I’ve been waffling for a year now about closing my Etsy shop. I love making stuff, I love putting that stuff in others’ hands to spin or knit or wear. I make so much stuff that selling my overload seemed a good idea at the time (2004). But now? Sales are down for all of us retailers. And I’m spending the majority of my workday doing self-promotion or paperwork, leaving the studio work to perhaps one or two days a week. And I don’t like paperwork or office work—I did that for 40 years and happily left it behind me.

I have had one customer that was problematic, which is a really high ratio of wonderful! But there have been many more difficult interactions with other vendors or business folk.  Back when I had my weaving business or my brick-and-mortar shop in the 70s and 80s, you only had to worry about shoplifters and outsiders; the fiber folk were ALWAYS the ones you could count on to be fair and ethical. Unfortunately, that attitude doesn’t seem to have held true. If you add to the paperwork load the fact that as a business owner I must work with unpleasant people, it’s just not fun any more.

I made the decision earlier this week that I didn’t want to deal with the downside of owning a fiber business anymore. What I WANT to do is finish my Master Knitter certification, design garments that have been living in my head for years, spin flax, spin cotton, play with weaving with handspun again, play with spinning yarn just for me. And I can't do those things as long as my time is devoted to dealing with paperwork and difficult situations. As a result, I’ll be posting ads and publicizing the closing of my Etsy shop. There will be graduated discounts as December rolls on, but I haven’t decided yet the exact timing or the exact percentage of discounts. It WILL happen in the next day or so (hey, I’m no whiz at creating ad graphics y’know?).

I will continue to write articles, design for handspun yarn and possibly teach, but the handspun yarn and spinning fiber and handspun handknit garments will go. Garments that don’t sell in the closing sale will be donated to a local shelter; yarn will be used to make a few blankets for the house; fiber will be spun up by me (finally! I get to spin my own stuff!) or gifted to friends.

I want to thank my loyal customers, you’ve been the best folks around! And my friends and family—you were the wind in my sails these past 8 years, thanks for always being there with assistance and encouragement.

Watch this space for dates/discounts, etc.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another fun link, cat/human equivalent age

No posts over the Thanksgiving holiday as I had house guests, and just a short post today to tide us over until Thursday when I return from another trip. Husbeast and I were wondering just how old our cat would be if he were a human. He's pretty spry for being 16 years old with the beginnings of kidney disease, and we wondered if we'll be as spry when we're as old as him.

So I used this cat calculator. Oh my goodness, he's 81. I doubt I'll reach much more than that age, and this guy is still killing our throw rugs and chasing laser lights!

Hope your Thanksgiving (if you celebrate) was wonderful, have a lovely week and I'll catch up with you on Thursday.