Thursday, February 26, 2009

Project Updates

Finally changed my camera batteries so I can show my finished(almost) projects. Remember the blue and natural color roving from a previous post? Here are the 5 skeins of yarn that I spun from that pound of roving. Sill have to wind the last one from the spool onto my niddy-noddy before I know the total yardage. I'm estimating close to 700 yards. Next I need to soak them in warm water and hang to dry to set the twist, then I can take more pictures and list one on my Etsy shop, labeling and packing the rest in my craft show totes.

This little pile of "stuff" is only a little of the vegetable matter that I pulled out as I spun. Not all roving is created equal in ease of spinning but the softness and color was worth the extra work.

These are a part of the shelving that I was shellacking. You can see in the picture above what a nice color change this finish gives to the wood. With a craft show in two weeks they aren't getting a second coat until later in the season, but I finished the six shelf unit and both two shelf units so I am happy with that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spin your scraps

Spin your scraps( is a contest starting as a group on Raverly. It sounds like a lot of fun. Now all I have to do is decide what bits to add to my saved fluff to create a one of a kind art yarn. Check it out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busy Season?

This time of year may not be considered a busy season by many, as on-line sales have seemed to have slowed, but to me it is a busy time of preparation for things to come.
Today I've been spinning on the roving pictured in the previous post and have almost completed the second spool, which means tomorrow I can ply it. I also took time to start varnishing some of my display shelves that I will be using at next month's craft shows.
Prepping displays, finishing more projects, adding some new ideas to my inventory, making sure everything is labeled and priced, printing new business cards (need to add this blog site to the old format), as well as researching and booking more shows for this summer and fall, and adding more items to my etsy store. First two shows are booked for March and by April I should be starting my garden too. I should also be taking more pictures for here, less reading for you and less writing for me.
Can we add an extra day to the week? Couldn't take any more hours in a day:)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spinning Guild

About a year or so ago I was introduced to a group of ladies, most of them spinners. It was an experience to see all the different kinds of wheels, all whirling softly, twisting a variety of fibers into beautiful unique yarns as everyone chatted.

Today was another of our monthly meetings, now held in a snowmobile club house, since the number of members continues to grow. We share the results of our projects, knitting, felting, weaving etc. It's inspiring to see what everyone is working on. For this years group project we traded one ounce bundles of roving to combine and spin,weave,knit,felt or whatever into maybe vests? I haven't started spinning my 16 ounces yet since I'm still playing with the color and texture combinations in my mind, and searching for just the right pattern to knit and may add more of my stash to it.

So today I started spinning on this pound of lovely softness that I purchased from one of many vendors at the last Northern Michigan Lamb&Wool Festival.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Multiple Projects, How Many Do You Have?

It seems that at any given time I always have many things planned, started, going good, or waiting (im)patiently to be finished. I'm beginning to think this is a common trait of crafters, do you agree?

So far on this project, I dyed some roving a dark emerald green with a few lighter spots, and a second batch a chartruese green. From that I spun one skein from the dark, two skeins with one ply dark and one light and then some all light. While this is drying to set the twist, I am spinning the rest of the roving that you see in the pictures, I plan to knit a couple of hats, in a huge pattern, and then full or shrink them down to wearable size. I also have an earflap hat almost knitted, a nuno felted scarf to add finishing touches to and a couple of felt purses that are awaiting handles and closures.
Tell me about your works in progress.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Customer Service - Communication is Key

In a Brick an mortar or craft show setting acknowledge that potential customer with a smile and hello. Offer assistance and choices but also breathing room for decisions to be made.
If you say you will call back, DO IT. or lose customers! Case in point:
A friend of mine is looking for a car. She drove over a hundred miles to an advertised dealership, was pre-approved for financing but didn't find exactly what she needs. She was told they would see what came in this week, check their other two lots and call her. No phone call. She checked on line, found one she was interested in, called them back, left a message, and still no phone call! Today (after a week of waiting) she found another dealership in the same town, was able to chat on-line with a rep and then call to continue with the same person. They are arranging credit and looking for her match of vehicle - have three in mind at the moment and knowing her past experience -will call back or she moves on!

Communication is also key with on-line enterprises. All questions should be answered in a timely manner, if immediate response is not feasible, then at least daily. Notice should be given if this is impossible (you're away from your computer for more than a day-craft show) . If a longer service interruption happens (your computer breaks or you are on vacation) be sure to post a notice from a public computer or have a trusted friend able to respond for you. Acknowledge the receipt of an order and communicate shipping date and estimated arrival time.
Great customer service can equal happy return customers. Only one of the steps in building a successful business.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Craft show displays

As I have hopes that spring is not too far away, and have started signing up for summer craft shows, it is the time of year to add to my display collection. I have most of it safely stored for the winter but made a find at a Good Will store today. It's original purpose was a wine rack but I can envision it perched on my table or even the top shelf of my lower shelves.
See what a little added color does
for it and it will hold a lot more. And
it folds small enough for transport in
my over-stuffed van.
(The yarns are some of the new
colors I have been dying and will
soon be listing on
Etsy-the rest packed for
the shows)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Full Moon

Looking out our back door just before full dark at a beautiful sky.

This is a second view using a close-up setting, still not as beautiful as real life. Everyone should take time to howl at the moon.
Yes I did finish my knitting, I'm waiting for the hat to dry from it's blocking bath and then a final picture.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

test knitting

In the Fiber Friday thread of the forums put out a request for testers of a new knitting pattern she has developed. I decided to volunteer and she e-mailed me her pattern. So far I like the straightforwardness of it and the gauge is working with my hand spun yarn. I will give her my report when I finish and send a picture, then I will post a picture here. Back to my new fun project.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Addicted Technically

When my computer was down for almost a week, I really realized how dependent I am to the technical addiction of being on line.
I can easily sit with my spinning wheel, in the woods ,in my craft tent for a weekend, camping out and enjoying food cooked over the camp fire. Why, then, did I find myself freaking out when my computer started making funny noises? I have an on-line shop! I have forums that I regularly post to or at least read! I get the occasional e-mail which I like to answer promptly! Yes all this was still happening but I was unable to access it!
My first call was to my daughter, who as my technical support person listened to the noises through the telephone, asked some questions and gave advice. She also agreed to monitor my shop for me, relaying any sale information and answering convos. Whew! one responsibility off my shoulders- not checking my shop was like not showing up for work without calling in!
Luckily her diagnosis was correct, and having the power supply box replaced was done locally.
Now I am happily back to my spinning wheel, having the ability again to check on the on-line world when the urge strikes! Tell me this is not an addiction??

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This is my first post in the world of blogging. Hopefully I will be able to keep it interesting enough for you to come back. I have participated in craft shows for more than 15 years but have only had an online shop for less than a year. (Craft show hints will be in a future post.)

This will also be a place to share pictures of things that have caught my eye. Below is one of the trees that donated some pine cones this fall. Those on the top remain for the wildlife for the winter.

The first picture is of a toadstool that I raked form under the tree. Does anyone happen to know it's name? I just called it pretty.