Sunday, December 5, 2010
As I read the threads about it on Ravelry, I realized that I had some yarn I'd dyed over the summer that I'd called Tequila Sunrise. While some days I feel like I could strangle the DJs for playing the Eagles yet again, the yarn would work.
I'll be listing this soon on both etsy and artfire.
I've had some really great ideas for January and February. I'll start working on those in this next week to get them ready in time.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I've been working with two other bases that say they have the same fibers as Chris sock - 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon. All I can say is "huh?"
The way they take the same colors in the same concentrations is beyond strange. I'm sure other, more experienced dyers have gone through much of this and found what concentrations work for what wool, but for the novice dyer like myself, it's an exploration that some days confounds and frustrates us.
That's not to say I'm not getting some wonderful and beautiful results. Sometimes I do. Other times I think thank goodness I can overdye this crap!
Anyway, I've been actually working with dyes and not spending as much time here on the computer. That's why you've not seen much here lately.
I do owe you some pictures, and I'll get around to it. I've got some other, more pressing stuff going on today, such as visiting a friend with cancer and a cat at the vet for several days, so it will take me a few more days to post some pictures. Bear with me!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I will mention that I'm now one of the moderators and bloggers for the Etsy Knitters Street Team. It seemed I had just signed up for the team when a message came out that the current moderators were planning to shut down the team unless some new folks volunteered to help. I thought about it and wondered if I should volunteer? Here I am, starting a new business, what could I do? I have much to learn myself. I realized that the current moderators all felt like that at one time, and hopefully I wouldn't be the only one to volunteer. There is a new team, although I think we've all been a little reluctant to step up. It feels a bit presumptious to just leap in, but I started leaping today. I've updated the blog for the Etsy Knitters this morning, and I'll spend some time this week making sure I'm well immersed in all that's going on. (Yes, it does sound like more admin time. I'm working on my calendar in just a little while and getting everything into its time slot. I must start treating my life truly as that of a small business owner and not a crafty lady who lunches.)
I will mention too that Sivia Harding will be at the Atlanta Knitting Guild this week as our Superstar. She's the main part of Thursday night's program, and she's teaching workshops all weekend long. You can get more information about all that here.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I've been very busy these past few weeks.
I did go out of town for a nearly a week with Gale to go to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. That was a lot of fun. I really like that show.
I've had some administrative tasks for Fiber Charmer, such as registering the name as a trade name and getting my business license.
I got sneak attacked on etsy the same night I got back into town from the show. I was so excited to pack up all those orders and get them mailed out. In fact, go check out Handmade Movement and join in a sneak attack or two. It is an amazing boost to the new artist or crafter to get those sales.
I dyed up enough yarn to send out 71 samples to the Phat Fiber Box for their October Steampunk themed box. 70 are mini skeins ranging in length from 15 to about 30 yards long. Most are 25 yards. I'd started with 15 as it was the minimum suggested, but they looked too skimpy, so I only did a few of them before boosting it to 25 yards. If I was near the end of the skein from which I was winding, I just kept going which is why there are a few that are larger. I had one short skein that was about 200 yards, so I just sent it in as is.
I just started getting back into gear and dyeing again a day or two ago. As you can see from the photos, I tried Steampunk on two other bases. I'm nearing the end of the Chris Sock yarn. On the left is a 100% merino, worsted weight yarn. I didn't really like it in the skein, but once it was dyed up and bloomed, my goodness! The one on the right is that seductive blend, MCN, which is superwash merino, cashmere and nylon. Let me say that yarn is a dye hog. It didn't look quite so splotchy when I was dyeing it, but I had run out of dyes, so I decided to just see what would happen. As you can clearly see, it needs a lot more dye. It's getting more, and luckily I have some time to decide on whether I'll overdye it by immersion or handpaint it some more.
I do have another skein of the MCN which I dyed with other colors, and while it's not so splotchy, it's not good either. The not so good experiences do tend to teach us more, don't they?
I'm really hoping to have my logo next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
I will be selling at the Atlanta Knitting Guild each month, starting in October. I'll have one of a kind yarns there from test dyeing, or yarns that I'm having a lot of difficulty getting the colors to photograph well.
I'll be working on getting my Artfire store up and running later this week too. I'll post the link when I've got it set up.
Have a great weekend, what's left of it.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
It was quite interesting when I showed her my yarns that I'd brought. She had really liked the pictures of Swampwater I'd posted in my Facebook group, but she said they looked very different from what she was expecting. The photos of yarn that I'd posted in etsy didn't surprise her the same way, and that got me to thinking.
If you're a fan of Fiber Charmer on Facebook, you get to see raw, unedited photos. I take the yarns outside and photograph them on a stone bench that I've got. The cats all love that bench, so usually there are cat pictures with the yarn pictures. Lily, Grey and Hopalong (the stray) all love to get up there and see what I'm doing. I call them my quality control inspectors. I also use one of our point and shoot cameras to take those pictures.
The pictures on etsy are taken inside the house in a makeshift studio on a card table with a borrowed camera. In fact, the tan background is a padded fleece blanket that worked better than the white flannel I'd purchased especially for background fabric.
We worked pretty hard on getting the etsy photos to look like the yarns, but even all that work can't take into account monitor differences. Think about what the yarn pictures go through. The camera translates them into a digital image, which may or may not look differently once I upload it into the computer. I then edit the photos, although I didn't adjust any colors with the batch that went onto etsy last weekend. I just cropped and scaled them. The digital images then travel across glass or metal wires, or perhaps they just bounce off a satelite to end up in front of you. Your computer monitor probably shows the colors a little differently from how mine does, and we won't talk about how the colors look on your smartphone.
I do my best to portray colors faithfully, and I'll admit to buying yarn off the internet only to be really surprised when I received it. It happens. What do I do when that happens? This is me, but I toss them into my stash. Eventually, if it doesn't grow on me, I'll turn around and resell it. I've destashed both on Ravelry and ebay, but I honestly think I've only decided to sell 2 or 3 yarns that way. Interestingly enough, they were commercial yarns, although Sheri at The Loopy Ewe loves blue, and I have considered selling a couple of yarns that came in kits, but then again, I've got a husband to knit for too.
I hope this helps you when you're looking at a yarn and wondering about why it looks so differently on etsy. You're always welcome to send me a convo on etsy. I do check the shop at least twice a day.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
They're nice, but I misread the yardage on one, and I'd like to find a worsted with more yardage.
I'm adding yarns to my etsy shop today. I borrowed a Canon Digital Rebel from a friend, and I'm much more pleased with the pictures. The colors look truer to life than any I've taken so far. Hubby took about 200 pictures for me yesterday that I have to look through. I've got to find the ones that look best and edit them before posting them to etsy. Honestly, that takes awhile. Longer than I thought. I imagine I'll be sitting here in front of the computer quite a bit today.
I also spent some quality time printing labels, then cutting them apart, and labelling yarn yesterday. I'm not finished with that! At least I can cut and label yarn with a movie going in the background, so it's not totally boring.
Look for more new yarns soon! I'm ordering some really scrumptious bases to try out. I can't believe just how soft some of them are.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Chris Sock yarn was a one time buy for me. I'm down from 4 bins to 1 bin of it, so I'll need to find some new bases. In the meantime, Webs is having their big summer sale, and I bought some worsted weight and bulky weight yarns from them. Their pricing was really great, and this way I can fill the gap, should there be one, between running out of Chris sock and placing an order for new yarn.
I'm also planning, time permitting, to start working on some more dye recipes today. However, I went to pick tomatoes from my garden this morning, and homemade tomato soup is very high on the agenda. I filled my large colander, and I still have more tomatoes to go pick. I already have some inside that need to be used ASAP also. I'm not sure I'll get around to canning. Canning takes longer than just whipping up some soup, then putting it in the freezer. We'll see how today goes.
I did add a few more yarns to etsy last week. I need to spend some quality time here with the computer and update the shop some more. I also need to catch up on labelling things. Before I know it, I'll be going with Gale to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, leaving hubby in charge of everything. I've got to make sure it will be easy for him to keep up with it.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I've been working on color combinations for intentionally pooling yarns, and it's been fun. I've got a colorway that I've had in mind for some time now, and I think I'll work on it today.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I had my birthday, a major excuse to goof off and go shopping with a friend. I did surprisingly little damage to my wallet at the mall, mostly because I was planning on purchasing a drum carder from a friend.
I did purchase said drum carder, and he delivered it with the "packing material", raw fleeces. Now I have creamy llama fleece, dark grey or brown llama fleece and some Corriedale to scour and run through my new-to-me drum carder.
I've been canning. Probably not as crazily as it seems, but I've got lots of relish canned up. I've delivered cucumbers to the Great Harvest Bakery, to my knit group, and to my family. I'm spreading it around so no one says, "Oh no! Not more cucumbers!"
I've made homemade dogfood for our poor, allergy ridden dog. She's loving it, and this recipe is pretty easy.
I've made non-toxic, homemade deodorant. So far, so good.
I've gotten the proof of my Fiber Charmer logo! I think it's really cute, but it's one of those things I need to let the back of my mind think about for a day or two.
There will be dyeing again this week. There will also be more canning as the tomatoes are starting to come in, but this week I'll be better about scheduling things. That's one thing about being unemployed for awhile. You get used to having so much time that it's hard to manage it when it starts filling up again.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My repaired camera came home on Monday! Today I'll reload the memory card and batteries, and I can take some better pictures. I'm quite happy about that.
Also, I've been waiting for that all important sales tax number from the state, and it was in yesterday's mail.
Today's agenda, between loads of laundry, includes taking and posting pictures, as well as getting some yarn listed on etsy! Woohoo!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I've got to be a better time manager and not let the 4 pints of blueberries that I bought on sale keep me from dyeing instead of making more jam. I'm not sure taking that canning class was such a good idea. In the past two weeks we've made 2 batches of jam and 1 batch of relish.
However, I came home from watching Dehli 6 with the Chicken Goddess on Friday and set to work mixing dyes. That takes time, and I needed to do it. I put some yarn I wanted to overdye in the pot and let it simmer away while I played with colors.
You see, the Chicken Goddess had given me a mission. Could I match a yarn that she liked that had long been discontinued? All she had was a picture on her computer that she printed out for me.
I spent some time on Ravelry looking for this color. It's long gone. I'll probably spend some more time searching for it because I'm insane and like a challenge.
The good thing is that it's forcing me to take very good notes about how I'm mixing colors. I find that I don't always want to take that step, then I get great colors and can't quite remember how I mixed them.
Anyway, I'll be back with photos a little later today.
Have a great Sunday!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I went over to Gale's (of Gale's Art) house yesterday and got to use her electric drumcarder to card up some of her leftover fibers into some absolutely beautiful batts. Wow! They are so much fun to make.
I always like visiting with Gale. She has done so much over the years with fiber related arts. She is an amazing art quilter. She has done silk painting and silk screening and dyeing her own fabrics for quilts. I still can't believe that we were in the same beginner's wheel spinning class. She took off and running with it, turning her new love into a wonderful, viable business.
The most wonderful thing about her is that she is generous with her knowledge and experiences. She is one of my fiber gurus.
Part of why I'm gushing about her is that I always come away from visiting with her with new bits of knowledge. This time, I came away with batts, handcarders and some Shetland fleece.
So let's all blame Gale for my current impulse to buy an electric drumcarder, make batts, and quit knitting to spin all the time. Luckily, looking at the prices for those drumcarders has helped to curb this impulse. I'm sure it will take some time to find a good used one, as she did.
I'd best get back to the title of this post. I've spent time this past week making batts, making and canning relish, and just spending time with hubs. I finally have 2 days that are open for dyeing after I clean some veggies for easier salad making. Look for more pictures soon! I do have to spend some time today mixing up dye powders, and I expect today to be a low output day. I do have a batch of blueberry jam to make either today or tomorrow, and I may see if I can squeeze it into this morning's schedule in order to have more time tomorrow.
Please go check out the links on Twitter to the Facebook page. I posted pictures of Swampwater over there!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Originally uploaded by Fiber Charmer
I recently learned about using color pooling to knit amazing laces, scarves and shawls. I decided to start working on some yarns that could be used this way.
I know, this one if very bright, but I like wild, bright yarns. I haven't always known what to do with them besides socks, but that has never stopped my from buying them. Now I can dye them too.
I've been wondering how to show you pictures since I've been motoring through my blogger alloted photo storage, so here's a link to my Flickr. There's not much there yet, but that will be changing as I upload new photos.
Yesterday I spent some time working on replicating a color I named Bronze Age. I think it's a great color, golden tonal brown with just a hint of green, but for the life of me I couldn't get it right. I did one batch that came out way too dark. I thought maybe I'd done something odd with the blue. I did another batch, and it's not right either. Don't get me wrong! I like the color I got. I've named it Swampwater, and once it's dried, I'll post pictures. However, darnit!, I had the right dyes for Bronze Age. Why wasn't it working?
I didn't think about it anymore last night, but when I woke this morning, the answer was there in my head, waiting for me. I had done my math wrong! As easy as that. I tell you, there's nothing like a good night's sleep.
Also, we've solved the camera issue. Honestly, while I know I'll need that fancy, expensive camera, it's not in the budget right now. We have a Canon Powershot A95 that does take very good pictures. Within the past year it has started acting really crazy, turning everything purple and blurry. Sometimes we can get one or two good pictures before the wild purply, watery effects. I know someone else who has this camera, and she had something very similar happen to her. Hubs mentioned there were a lot of them on ebay for a whole lot less than what we'd paid for ours, and I decided to take a lot. Lo and behold! Several of the ones listed had the same purply problems. I thought perhaps I should do a search on it and discovered that it was a problem with a defective card inside the camera. We could contact Canon and have it repaired for free! That includes shipping! Now we're waiting on the shipping info, and it will be in the mail by Monday, if not today.
I'm so excited to get it repaired and not have to pony up for a new camera right now. Decent pictures are in my near future. Woohoo!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
As for the photography and etsy thing, I've got something else to try before I go buy a whole new camera. Honestly, I'd like to put off buying a fancy-schmancy new camera for a little while as we just had to repair the air conditioner a few weeks ago, and while it was cheaper than buying a whole new unit, it wasn't cheap. As the temperature here has reached 97F either yesterday or today, we need a working a/c.
I've got hubs on staycation this week, and I can assign picture taking to him. He's done photography professionally, although it was almost always weddings and dances, so working with yarn will be different for him.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
There's also a group on Ravelry now.
I'll keep you updated on where you can find pictures.
I'm hoping to get the bugs worked out of my picture taking in the next day or two. I've got yarns ready to go onto etsy, but right now I'm having trouble with the colors washing out. It's to do with my lighting, and I've got a cunning plan that I'll try tomorrow.
I did drop off some yarns at Needle Nook today. It's the Chris sock yarn, a blend of 75% wool and 25% nylon. I think it will probably be ready for sale by Monday, if not tomorrow.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Some have bits of turquoise or green or gray, but they look flat when photographed.
Some of the flatness is due to the photographer. I'm sure the more I do it, the better I will become.
Just like dyeing.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I can probably reverse engineer a few of them.
I like the oranges and warm colors, but I must remember that not everyone is a fan of them. I have to settle down and work on some blues.
It's interesting because I almost never wear blue, except for blue jeans, and I don't buy blue yarn for myself. I get bored working with blue dyes after a few minutes, yet I know that a whole lot of you are blue fans.
Bear with me, and I'll get some blues worked out.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
However, yesterday I was able to get some fiber into the pot and try something new (to me). I'll have to take pictures later today to show.
I've got one skein in the pot right now. Another experiment with colors. That may be all I get to do as I've got to buy a pet showerhead today, then give Monster a bath. She needs a lion cut too. I've never done that before either, but it's gotten so expensive to have the mobile groomer do it. I figured I could learn how to do it and save that money for other things (more yarn).
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
To be totally honest, since I'm waiting to get my sales and use tax number from the state, I've been hoarding the little bit of yarn that I have until I can order more. The opportunity to get some more was too good to pass up.
It turns out that the seller had 20 cones of sock yarn. Each cone is approximately 1 kilo. 20 kilos of sock yarn. Wow!
I did purchase it, leaving me with how to wind it all into dyeable skeins. I had to borrow Gale's skeinwinder, and yesterday afternoon I started winding.
By about 8 last night I had wound 4 cones. I'm about to get started winding again for today. I've got to return the skeinwinder tomorrow, so I have to wind as much as I possibly can before that.
Yes, you bet I've been looking at them online. Until then, you can find me babysitting this one, winding one skein at a time.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I woke this morning with one eye rather swollen, probably from all the pollen, and feeling pretty stuffed up also. I really thought I could get some dyeing and other things done today, but sometimes what starts off as a normal headache tries to morph into a migraine.
That happened today. I was feeling light and sound sensitive, so I retired to the darkened bedroom to go back to sleep for awhile. I'm lucky in that I know what sets off my migraines, and also since I recognize the signs that one is coming, I can ward off the full-blown ones.
So look here again, probably Thursday, for new pictures.
I'd been on the phone early in the morning with a knitting comrade. She has a very distinctive car that is a lime green with a cryptic bumpersticker on it, and there it was in the parking lot. It's easy enough to find knitting friends in Michael's - just go on back to the yarn department, which is right next to fabric paints and dyes. There she was, choosing some solid colored yarns to make amigurumi sushi. We visited for a minute, then off on my search for squeeze bottles.
In the dye department, there wasn't a squeeze bottle to be found. I'd decided my next stop would be a restaurant supply store when I remembered that Michael's has supplies for cake decorating and candy making. Hmm, perhaps they would be there?
Yay! They were. I cleaned them out of one size and bought a package of smaller ones also. Today I'm mixing up more dyes and trying them out to see what results. There is so much to learn! I find I'm very grateful for the nights I actually sleep and don't wake up at 3:00 a.m. with dye ideas or knitting patterns.