Saturday, May 30, 2009

Henry's Attic!

I can't even BEGIN to put all this stuff into a photo!

Henry's Attic is a major source of undyed fibers. Silks, wools, cottons, linens, mohair, rayons, alpacas, angora, blends... I got a big, giant box full of natural-colored fiber samples and I'm still agog over it all. It will be really difficult to narrow down the selection for my first order.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

More fun with Bamboo!

I figured that it would be good to spin up a hank of the bamboo and see what I got. This is the result. It's yummy.

The first time I tried bamboo, when I was just a beginning spinner, it was really frustrating. It seemed like it wouldn't draft at all, or else like the yarn fell apart before I could get it on the bobbin. With a little more experience, and drafting from the fold, it really went very well this time. Now I have to figure out how much I've got and decide on a project! I wonder how pure bamboo is for sox...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I wanted to see how the skein of thick'n'thin yarn from my previous post would work up, so I started a scarf on the diagonal--it's almost done. I like it! I think I'm going to dye some more of the same yarn in the amber and use it for fringes. Funky!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, dear...

It's been a long time since I reported in, and I really don't have that much to report.

I'm not going to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool; they don't have space.

I am probably going to Midwest Fiber and Folk, unless their plans fall through, but they can't make any promises yet.

I need to look around for a local fall festival.

I have much dye and fiber in transit to me.

I am working on one custom order and have another lined up.

I am knitting that wild colored yarn from last time into a scarf, and will post a photo of that.

I have spun a hank of my purple bamboo, and need to go to ravelry to find a pattern for it.

I have a garden sale on Saturday to prepare for; I need to be very busy potting things up.

I'm sorry I haven't been more faithful; please don't give up on me!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Something New!

OK, I'm back on the horse!

The friend who got me dyeing used either Cushings acid dyes, which come in little packets and need the addition of vinegar, or Gaywool dyes, which come in jars and have citric acid and so forth put right in. (So forth may mean salt as a leveling agent, or else not.) The Gaywool instructions say that "One capful" will dye 1/4 lb; "one capful" turns out to be 2.5 tsp.

Gaywool dyes are hard to get in usefully large quantities, besides, there's something very stupid about importing a jar full of mostly citric acid from Australia. Cushings dyes are lovely, but I don't want to mess with little paper packets.

Jaquard Acid Dyes are available in one-pound bottles of pure dye powder. One pound dyes a lot of wool (1/2 oz. dyes two pounds). But, something this concentrated is difficult to measure accurately. Some people pre-mix them with a set amount of water, but sometimes the mixtures act up when they stand, they gel or separate.

Ta-dah! I have come up with a new answer! Turn the Jaquard powder into Gaywool; mix it with an appropriate amount of powdered citric acid; 1/2 oz mixes with 2 tablespoons. I tried it. It works. I'm going to be doing it this way going forward.

Behold thickl'n'thin yarn New Direction, the first Jaquard experiment!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wrong again...

There is one more task before I get serious about dyeing again; my inventory has lagged shamefully and I have to bring it up to date.

Maybe I'll get #1 Son to give me a hand with that...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The dust has settled

It's been a good week for me. I only tackled two fiber tasks: I brought my books up to date, and I washed fleeces. Both went well.

I've recorded all sales and expenses to date and backed up my books. I also washed the gray Shetland (very soft and beautiful; I'm happy with it), the black and white Colonial (The dirtiest fleece I've ever handled, but came out quite nice), and half of the black CVM (coming out lovely!). I have yet to do the other half of the CVM (it was nine pounds so I'm doing it in quarters) and the first-year white alpaca, which I'm saving for last. I'm not at all sure whether the sparkling white cormo, which I got as a luxury for ME!

I still have a little BFL and a lot of yarn to dye, and on Monday I am going to order more bamboo, and Panda if they have any.

I'm also going to order more silk blends. The biggest surprise for me is that the very softly spun silk/merino, which was far and away the most luxurious thing I had, sold very well indeed! I guess craft supplies count as a small luxury compared to many other things.

If you have any suggestions for anything you'd like to see, please comment or drop me a note at mia underscore mcdavid at comcast dot net. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just a brief word...

I haven't updated lately; I've just been lying low and doing bookkeeping. I promised my garden that I would work in it this week. I don't know why all this is coming out in boldface; it's not supposed to. I may not be back for a couple of more days...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Home again...

All my questions from a couple of days ago have been answered. I had plenty of stuff, I made a lot of very gratifying sales, and everything really went as well as I could have possibly hoped!

I promised my garden I would devote a week to it; however, I will be checking in with my paperwork; my inventory was sadly out of date before the show; now is the best time to bring it up to date. I have to enter expenses and income, so I'll still be at the computer and thinking about fiber a lot.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this endeavor, particularly Glenn.

More later...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Two photos

Two photos of my table to make up for none yesterday. Laramie; see how nice your graphic turned out?

I am exhausted but very pleased. Stuff sold well; I am very clear that I am doing the right things and need to keep going. It's a lovely place to be. Nothing more to say tonight; I'll check in tomorrow when it's all over. I have stories to tell but am just soooooo tired..

Friday, May 8, 2009

My table...

was supposed to have a photo in here but it wasn't quite done when I left the show. I need a couple of more things for my display to look like I want it; I have some ideas about how to squeeze more stuff in; the photo will have to wait for tomorrow.

I have loaded up the two racks that G kindly made for me, and piled stuff on the table and above it (some extra shelving), and I have some reserves tucked in bags under the table. Enough? I don't know.....

I'll take a photo when we open tomorrow. I'm in Barn A. Come and see us!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


OK, now I have time to be really nervous. Do I have enough stuff? Will anybody like it? I mean, it would be cool to sell out, but not cool to show a bare display to all the Sunday customers, and, what if nobody likes it at all? What if I get out there and my display looks awful? Eeeek!

In my list of Things Done, I have purchased a banner for the front of my table, and a signature stamp for any cheques that may come my way. The new business cards came today--hooray!!! I have a list that I add to of Things that I Must Bring.

The friend who was going to help me set up can't, so I'm on my own. :-( It's not that it will be that hard, but I would have loved the moral support.

I have a new favorite BFL colorway! My living history group went down to a friend's farm recently for a training event. He's a fun guy with a lot of cool things on his land. One thing that caught my attention was a bird house painted fuschia and chartreuse. So, here I give you BFL Jack's Birdhouse!

Wish me luck...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Coasting in

Well, yesterday I hit it so hard that I hurt all over again when I went to bed. I find this annoying; in my head I'm still 25 and can do anything. In my legs and back, not so much...

A friend came over yesterday and wound skeins for me; a different friend came over today and helped me with packaging and labeling. I so appreciate their help; I dyed all day yesterday because I didn't have to wind skeins, and having a friend to help with the labels made it go much more quickly and pleasantly.

So, today's photo shows my feet, lying at ease, in front of the Pile that is Going to Shepherd's Harvest.

I feel really proud of myself.

Last-minute errands tomorrow, set-up Friday. Come on out to the Washington County Fairgrounds if you get the chance this weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2009

It hurts...

Today I spent most of the time running full dyepots up the stairs, or back down the stairs, or running finished dyed goods up to dry outside. It was a *lot* of running, and I hurt.

I got a pound of BFL done today, and a pound of silk blend and two pounds of Panda. Not bad. Tomorrow a friend is coming over to help me wind skeins.

In other news, I find that many braids of BFL I have done lately have been less vivid than what I was achieving before. I think the issue may be that I have a second microwave, and it may not be as strong as the one upstairs. I'll have to try it tomorrow on a higher setting.

Today's photo is a mock display, because the fiber shows I have applied to have asked for a photograph of my table, and I haven't really had a table yet. We used part of this as a background for my new business cards.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Not quite done...

with either the day's work or the home stretch, but I think I'd better post before I keel over dead. I have taken up my courage in both hands and dyed all of the lace-weight alpaca (that might not all make it to market!) and half of the silk blend. Photos to follow very careful rinsing and drying.

I also found a cache of bamboo that didn't have labels yet, dyed the very last of my Panda top, and still have to do a pound of thick-n-thin. I've got some Panda yarn skeined off for tomorrow, and should probably do some more Falkland superwash.....

A while ago I dyed up a half pound of wool/mohair blend in shades of red. It came out uneven, and not in a good way, so the other day I ran it through a drum carder. I now have a yummy Watermelon Sorbet. Truly, there are no disasters, just creative opportunities...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Home Stretch

I did a fair amount today, but was exhausted after yesterday. I have started rinsing and drying the bamboo (always a major chore). I have several more pounds of the superwash Falkland to dye, as many pounds of Panda yarn as I can skein off in the next day or two, and a number of 1/2-lb skeins of Thick'n'Thin, which I am doing in colorways to match my BFL top.

Also, four 1/4-lb skeins of the most gorgeous lace-weight alpaca, and some skeins of merino/silk. I SO have to get these right....

Today, a photo of Shades of Blue superwash Falkland.

Bed now.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Stuff done...

Vat dyed two pounds of yarn, veil dyed two pounds, dyed 1.5 lb of bamboo (all I have left!) and ran two pounds through the drum carder.

Very productive. Totally exhausted. Photos soon, I promise...