This evening, on a lark and with a need, I went ahead and switched to a heavier fabric and lighter needle to test out the recommendations of the Onions, and set about amount a tabletop slipcover for the treadle. The White has an nearly pristine cabinet and machine, which is incredible given that it is 97 years old. But I have four small children, including one who spends the school hours playing with things like his planes - he sees all flat surfaces as roadway and fair game, and his plane wheels were causing small scratches to the veneer of the table.
Thus, I measured the rough dimensions of the cabinet and whipped up a cover our of corduroy that was supposed to be a skirt but never was, and that I've scrapped pieces from several times over the last half decade. With a sharp, thin needle and heavier fabric the stitches were picture perfect. No skipped stitches or skew except what I've discovered is just characteristic of rotary machines and the way they lockstitch. The Sew Classic blog has an excellent entry on this topic and it fits my White to a tee. It stitches perfectly and evenly, it just looks a bit different than my newer oscillating hook machines.
In the album link in the previous blog entry I have documented the project, including yours truly sewing on the machine. Let's just say it looks better than I do, but I've had one of those days that you have to laugh at because it is so atrocious.
So long story short, the confirmation from a dozen or so Onions is that my machine stitches very well, and only simple adjustments in needle size and fabric type will alter the stitch formation to make it more or less straight, rather than something mechanical as I'd feared. And now the most vulnerable part of my machine is protected, too. Not a bad end to a fairly awful day.
taryl | General | 25 April, 6:41am
It's long and difficult to explain, but the bloggy silence around these parts hasn't been for lack of subject matter - rather there are back end things involving our web servers and the FreeBSD they runs them that means all my blogs are quite crippled to work with, and editing anything large scale is quite difficult. Not impossible, but enough of a hassle to change that I haven't been posting.
Never fear, though, because that Honey-Do project is floating to the top of the heap and has to be dealt with sooner than later. And in the meantime I've been taking lots and lot of pictures, just waiting to put together blogs to accompany them.
And this brings me to the subject of this post - one of the (many) machines I have the pleasure of calling my own is a beautiful White Family Rotary treadle sewing machine, in a quarter sawn oak parlor cabinet (circa 1917, with thanks to Katie Farmer for helping me nail that down). I got her off of Craigslist for a song, after stalking the listings for months looking for a treadle machine or hand crank that wasn't ridiculously overpriced and in horrible condition. On that note, I actually just missed a handcrank machine today that sold moments before I was able to email the seller. It was the first I'd seen in six months of stalking listings and priced right, in excellent condition. I didn't weep.... I just really wanted to.
The White - I have become acquainted with an amazing group of online people-powered sewing machine hobbyists in a group called TreadleOn. They're helping me to overcome my big fear of quilting by suckering me into to particating in a block exchange, with the blocks being made on our fully functional antique wonders. Now, I'm intrepid about my quilting skills at the best of times, but one persistent issue I've had with my White Family Rotary is that my stitches seem to all have a slight skew to them, which I didn't think was typical for a straight-stitch machine. But my standard of comparison are mechanical marvels like my 158.1601 Kenmore, Necchi Supernova BU, Pfaff 360, and other incredible zigzaggers. A rotary lockstitcher may well produce a straight stitch of a slightly different character than these newer machines (all are from 1950-1970).
So I consulted the wise Onions, as they call themselves, to point me in the direction of what 'proper' stitching from these treadles looks like. That way I know if mine is doing just fine, or I'm missing some adjustment or gremlin in the works that needs fixing. In the last year I've gotten very adept at tinkering with vintage machines and do believe I got my lovely White degummed, lubricated, threaded, and adjusted for the correct tension. But every machine I have is wildly different in terms of specific threading paths and characteristics. Yes, they all operate on the same basic principle and go about making a stitch in roughly the same fashion (with some variation) but I could very well be missing something obvious and thus need some help from other eyes more experienced with treadles, to let me know if I'm on the right path.
So before I make a dozen blocks and ship them out to unsuspecting individuals whose final product is depending on MY precision and skill *gulp*, I went ahead and made a few sample stitches with two different threads, at the behest of Beth, the wonderful and helpful host of this exchange.
Aaaaand so the explanation for this blog is simple, despite my longwindedness. With the back end of my blog messed up and barely working, I cannot edit my sidebars to display links, albums, etc. So until this is fixed, for my own records and the ease of anyone gracious enough to help me with my stitch issue (if there is one), I'm posting the link to the album that SHOULD be in my sidebar but isn't, so it can be found easily at a later date. Because I have LOTS of machines needing documenting and photo shoots, I'm potentially getting into selling some reproduction parts, and quite frankly the more information passed around about these machines the better.
taryl | General | 24 April, 7:29am
So many posts to catch up on in this area, but they'll have to wait for another day.
The subject today is the cleaning of one of the three vintage machines I currently own (and yes, this is a new development) - my grandma Oslin's old Kenmore 1601. This is an epic old ebay post that goes into detail about why I'm so glad to have inherited this machine, sentimental value aside: Old listing for 1601
My current projects for it include epic refinishing of the cabinet, acquiring all the accessories (it was missing all but a few feet and buttonholer), and getting it purring like a kitten and running like new. After this much money and emotional investment I fully intent to use her as my main machine, since the 1601 is vastly superior to my newer, plastic Singer. There are still small but crucial issues to iron out, unfortunately.
I was having issues with the machine not consistently zigzagging and did some cleaning and heat to help it along (it did), but then we realized the selector arm for the cam stack wasn't moving up and down as it should. All springs appear to be in place so now it gets taken apart for a thorough de-gunking - my husband surmises it is just too gummed up for the force of the springs to overcome, and very stiff to move with a finger to select other internal patterns. So now I get to experiment in the land of solvent soaks and massive disassemble/reassemble. The service manual is a help but many of diagrams are horrible photocopies. Grr!
Everything appears to be in working order when the arm is manually moved to another cam, it's just that mechanism sticking (and some reluctant feed dogs we already had to break free). So the plan is to extract the cam mechanism and surrounding parts for a soak in brake cleaner (solvent similar to gasoline). I'm considering doing the needle bar assembly as well, as it is well caked in lint and old varnished oil crud (that's a technical term :) ) and is a bit slow/reluctant to move back and forth when zigzagging. The gear actuates a noticeably moment before the needle bar creeps over to the left and back.
Any tips and tricks for keeping this disassemble from being a total headache? We were going to take the parts out, label them and their sequence for assembly on cardboard and take pictures before anything goes in the solvent bath. Am I missing anything?
I think I'll give my Necchi Silvia 586 a bath, too. She needs a camstack repaired and I haven't disassembled her yet to remove it, but since I'll already be halfway there to get that part out for cleaning and 3-d printing, I figure I should clean her up, too, once 1601 is bathed.
And those are my current adventures in sewing machine repair!
taryl | General | 16 September, 6:08pm
Quick link to Ravelry: http://ravel.me/aurorafiberarts/bxo8m
Been doing a lot of knitting, including this hat for a friend's baby. It turned out quite nicely, and used leftover baby hat yarns. I could probably make another four or five hats from all the leftover balls without issue.
Yes, I'm cruddy about updating this blog. Sorry! Main blog is still http://www.aurorafiberarts.com/weightloss
taryl | General | 30 June, 8:14am
I just finished the purtiest, easiest shawl ever:
Yeah. I feel awesome right now. It took me somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 hours, I wasn't watching too closely. Even in ridiculously fuzzy yarn that sticks to itself like Velcro, the shawl was quite simple to complete. I also learned a new technique to go with it - Norwegian purling - which is nice and speedy compared to the continental purling I normally do. Also, Russian bind off. Didn't know that one, either. And it is GREAT. Fast and stretchy, my favorite type.
Just prior to this I completed three scarves for some friends of mine who are moving away, using up some cat-barfy but beautiful eyelash yarn I've had in my stash for seven years. I couldn't pull them off, but they will love them. Browse my Ravelry projects and check them out.
Next to cast on - Pembroke, from the newest edition of Interweave Knits. It's going to be lovely, just wait and see :)
taryl | | 6 November, 5:58am
I had a label-less ball of yarn that was a bunch of different types tied together. I still don't know what brand it was, or even how much there was.
What I do know, however, is that it makes one stunning shawl.
Case in point: Linky!
taryl | General | 16 October, 3:13am
I'm on a roll, baby!
Yes, I'm still too lazy to insert my own pictures. It's a PITA on an iPad.
taryl | General | 13 October, 8:18am
So thanks to a crazy, somewhat last minute trip to Fairbanks, I had a ton of hat knitting to complete for me and the kids. Then I decided to finish off a tea cozy, knit up a coffee sleeve to go with it, and browsed around to stack up my future project queue a little more. My poor hands are taking some abuse among the knitting, piano, and a Wilton's cake decorating class, but it's so FUN!
And because I am the laziest blogger in the land and don't want to insert a ton of images, I'm just going to link dump from my Ravelry page, which is updated much more frequently and has details on all the projects, too.
I have been a productive little knitter, no? Just last night I over dyed some interesting *cough*ugly*cough* ultra bulky, slubby stuff that has been languishing in my stash for half a decade now. It's a beautiful violet-blue and I'm making it into mitten for myself tonight. I also have some Crystal Palace Merino Stripes from back in 2004/2005 that I'm turning into one, maybe two berets, and a simple shawl. It's pretty, but has a weird texture. Nice and warm, though, and suitable for these projects.
Once all this crazy stash busting is done, I will take it a step further and knit up Pembroke Shawl, from the current Interweave Knits edition, in the final leftovers of green from Callie's Alpaca Baby Blanket. It will be over dyed a gray of some sort, I'm excited :)
Be praying my hand doesn't fall off from abuse, it's worth it for the music, cake, and fluffies!
taryl | General | 12 October, 9:09pm
Hey out there! I'm still not dead, and even crafting occasionally. I have found it more convenient to chart my progress of Ravelry, so hop on over there to see my projects: Ravelry Awesomeness
I just knit up a washcloth using Misty's marvelous modifications to this easy little washcloth and it turned out very cute, If i do say so myself. I made it only 32 rows wide, as I prefer palm-sides dish cloths when trying to scrub things, but other than that I followed her lead. It took maybe an hour of knitting :)
Also, completed earlier this summer was a cute little crochet hook roll, which didn't fit easily into a project tab on Ravelry so it gets documented here. It was about the easiest thing to sew in the world, and much more personal than buying one. LOVE IT!
And as a small aside, aren't my babies cute? Yes, I'm biased.
That's all she wrote, folks!
taryl | General | 21 September, 7:47pm
Still knitting, still spinning, though not dyeing, thanks mostly to the impending birth of our SON! Yes indeed, I am 22 weeks and some days pregnant with baby #3, our first little boy, and it definitely puts a cramp in any dyeing activities, despite the pounds and pounds of undyed superwash and BFL I am sitting on :)
Weight was 210 prepregnancy, so about 50 pounds down, and I have only gained about 6 pounds since then, which is awesome! I am feeling great this time around and looking forward to the birth sometime at the end of September or beginning of October. That's about all the update I have for now, see ya!
taryl | General | 5 June, 7:56pm
Hello everyone, it's been quite awhile since I have posted here (as opposed to my weight loss blog, which is bumper as always). I have MISSED all things fibery, though my update for you is pitiful indeed.
I decided to relist the shop items I have yet to sell, just to see if there is any interest. I still think the colorways are beautiful and hope they will find a good home sometime soon.
I also have been contemplating and mulling over what I will do with my fiber business, and have come to some conclusions after half a year's break. First off, I still LOVE dyeing and spinning, and will continue to do it in limited fashion, if only for personal enjoyment. I am also absolutely planning on continuing this as a career down the road, if/when time and space allows. I have come to the conclusion that to do this with the gusto it deserves will require a good 6 hour block of time each day, as well as a shop separate from the main house. These are not things I am able to acquire right now, so a continued break makes sense.
I have also decided that I will probably sell my yarn mostly locally, as it is a better market with a bit less competition than online retail sales, which seems to require constant attentive undercutting to make the sale. I love my online customers and will probably list goods on Etsy, but I don't think I will make that the bulk of my operation. Custom orders are still welcome, but I do believe I will eventually shift my focus to physical storefronts instead of virtual, given that there is a very steady yarn market up here, with a great tourist boom each year.
Life is still going well for me and the family - the girls are getting SO big, with Callie almost three and counting, using her imagination, and drawing very well. Lilah is now walking, though her language skills are a bit inarticulate (she makes up for it with volume, though!). Peter, my husband, is even busier with personal projects and is now gone from home far longer than he was last year, this has contributed to my decision on continuing the status quo in terms of yarn production. We're all doing amazingly well, busy and happy with all the beautiful little things in life.
I have some personal fibery updates I will be posting soon, mostly little knitting projects and some great Christmas presents I received, and my goals for 2010 include working on my personal spinning and knitting a bit more, along with continuing to lose weight and now, happily, trying to conceive our next child.
I'm doing just great, and hope you are as well. Take care!
taryl | General | 29 December, 1:55am
It's been a beautiful, but HOT, summer thus far, and this has been one busy household.
Other than some spinning not much has happened on the fibery front for the reasons previously reported. I have a custom order for cotton dyeing I have been WOEFULLY slow on, mainly because, while I know how to dye cotton, I have never done my current method of controlled, reproducible dyeing with it, so I need a solid block of time with relatively few interruptions to work out the dye concentrations and formulas.
Sadly every Saturday I have had open, initially, has filled up with something or another that pushes time for dyeing out of the way. Hanging out with friends, house maintenance, church obligations... there has been NO time and it's been pathetic. I really do have to buckle down and do this, though, as the gal who wants this yarn has a deadline approaching for its' creation. Putting it off for one reason or another is no longer an option!
I have tons of knitting I need to do this upcoming fall as well, including a sweater for my mother-in-law that is her Christmas present. The tricky part is that she had yarn taken from another felted and slightly shrunk sweater that she'd like incorporated into this one, but it is sock/sport weight and finer than anything I'd use for the rest of the sweater, and I fear there is not enough to do the whole garment. The other problem is that it has many break and short lengths because I had to unravel a sweater to get it, and the sweater had some funky construction. What I believe I will do is work the body of the sweater in a natural colored light worsted merino I have, and then think up a colorwork pattern for the yolk and top of the sleeves to work in her yarn, and maybe around the cuffs as well. I think I am just going to work the sweater as a raglan with some ribbing down the sides of the body of the sweater, so it has a more tailored fit.
I think with the oatmeal reclaimed yarn doubled up the gauge difference will only be slight. The biggest issue is that I have to essentially draft a pattern from scratch to fit my needs with this project, and that is both time consuming and complicated. I can do it, granted, but it's a pain. Still, after this dyeing project is through I will be making a concerted effort to spend at least an hour an evening knitting this while I watch tv. It needs to be done, there's no way around it, now I just have to buckle down and DO it!
On the family front - we're boring, what can I say? Lilah had two teeth for the longest time but just jumped up to five with her two top teeth and one eye tooth coming in. She can cruise along furniture now and crawl with amazing speed, and is getting bigger every day. She's a real joy 99% of the time.
Callie is a typical rough-and-tumble toddler. She has a huge vocabulary and can now count to 20 pretty reliably and say most of her ABC's. She can identify almost all capital letters and the numbers 0-9, she just hasn't quite learned that those numbers can combine to BIGGER numbers and that the letters combine in sound to form words. But I'd say she's ahead of the curve for her age now, after spending her first two years of life languishing at her own pace :) Her favorite activities include digging in dirt, coloring, and getting horsey rides. Ah, to be a toddler!
Peter is ridiculously busy, as always, but doing very well. He won a spot to speak at an important bridge conference in Sacramento this September, and gets to talk about his design to engineers from across the country. I am VERY proud of him!
Life is just chugging along here, going pretty well. On the weightloss front I am down about 25 pounds from the end of winter and going strong. I'd say that is about 1/4 of the way to my goal, and I am chronicling the nitty gritty details, complete with fat pictures, stats, and all my struggles with habit change over at Weight Issues: Taryl's Weightloss Chronicles. It's definitely the good, bad, and ugly, but I am coming out of this victorious, pound by pound, and honestly it's taking up a lot of the time I'd spend dyeing or doing general fibery pursuits, which accounts for some of the blog silence. I'm still here, just occupied with other matters.
Unfortunately it has also come to pass that I believe shutting down my business, except for the occasional custom order, is the best thing for my family. I have been praying about this a lot and I just don't have time to be both a business owner and SAHM and homeschooling mom and wife and housekeeper and all the other various hats I am currently wearing all at once. Something has to give, and I truly feel I can't give my family and myself the attention deserved and still run a business during this season of my life. The economy has affected the luxury market, of which my business is a part of, and that makes volume and sales slow, but I'd have probably made this decision regardless.
I am not closing shop or quitting forever, not by a long shot. I will still ship current stock items and take custom orders, but I am lacking time to market and further my business beyond dabbling. Down the road, when I no longer have small children or homeschooling to mess with, I will pick this back up again and go at it hard. But in order to do what I want to do with it I would literally have to put my kids in daycare and work a normal 8 hour day from home, were I to do my business justice. It is not something easily dabbled in halfway, and so I am choosing to put 100% of myself toward my bigger duties and shelve my personal goals and dreams in the short term.
It was a painful decision, and I honestly feel like a bit of a failure, but I have to make the best decision for my family even though I LOVE what I do. I just don't have enough hours in the day to give this what it deserves, and thus I am prioritizing. Custom orders are still welcome and I'll sell and ship anything currently listed, and maybe add items from time to time, but no actively furthering the business for now.
Watch this space!
taryl | General | 10 July, 11:16pm
So sorry for my extended absense, I have put the bulk of my production on hold for the summer so I can focus more on spending time with my family, exercising and losing weight. I just needed more time for me, and with such beautiful weather outside it would be a total crime to not enjoy it fully. Thus, I've been walking 3-5 miles a day with Callie on my back and Lilah in the stroller to go to the park. It's been so refreshing and renewing to be outside extensively for the first time in... wait for it... six years. YEARS!
I needed this for me and my health, and fiber arts (and indoor sedentary behaviors in general) were in direct competition for my time.
I will continue to blog and take custom orders and sales, but I won't be doing too much in the way of stock creation or promo deals like phat fiber. Watch this space for linkage to my new, separate weight loss blog. I didn't want to brain drain and post progress pictures and weigh-ins on this space, so it gets its' own home if anyone is interested.
Thanks and sorry for the extended silence! It was unintentional but very necessary. I just haven't been around a computer much lately :)
On an "awe!!!" note, Callie told me she loved me for the first time tonight! I have been waiting over a year to hear it :)
taryl | General | 17 May, 6:20am
Here is what I am dashing to add to the shop over the next hour - We have two Aubergines on very different wools (Corriedale Cross and Superwash Merino, they take dye extremely different despite the original colors being from the same dyelot), Rhubarb Superwash Merino, Fall Glitz Corriedale Cross, and Bubblegum Corriedale Cross.
The two Kaleidoscope Rovings, Fall Glitz and Bubblegum, turned out amazingly lovely. Very complex and fun. This was also my first batch using Superwash, besides the Phat Fiber Samples for April, and I was quite surprised to find out that the treatment used for Superwash causes the yarn to take dye very differently when used on roving (the differences on yarn seem to be quite slight). The strike was extremely fast - the moment the dye hit the fiber - and resulted in sections of more intense color than the normal strike, along with a lot more blotchy white. Interestingly it should spin up to look about the same as any other fiber in that colorway, as the white will reblend with the darker patches and give a soft, heathery look, but it was quite an experiment and unexpected given that the dye used was the exact same, just on different treatments of wool.
The Rhubarb and Aubergine Superwash is the same as what went out in the Phat Fiber Sampler, so if you like these colorways be sure to snatch up full sizes. I will also be offering other Helena's Garden colorways in Superwash as well.
Anyway, that was the quirky dye experiment for the week :) If I am doing a custom colorway for Superwash Roving I will have to remember the strike differences and compensate the DOS accordingly, which is very good to know.
taryl | General | 22 April, 7:53pm
I'm totally thrilled and beyond flattered at the feedback about my humble little shop here, and I do hope the phatties take advantage of the special coupon offer I've extended through Phat Fiber, even if they do not get a box. I am also thrilled beyond belief to do any custom colorway and would love to take some of the sweet-as-pie commenters up on their desired colorways.
Either way, it was a great ego boost for the day and I am so happy getting feedback on what people like, so I know what to make more of. For all those visiting this site for the first time, WELCOME and please stay awhile ;)
In other news, this has been *quite* a busy week and thus my posting of new items has been put off longer than I'd like, but rest assured new roving will be posted within the next few hours. I also have some lovely pictures of a custom order I just finished, in Organic Australian Merino Yarn (aran weight) and it was STUNNING! I will be reproducing the colorway for the shop, I think, because it turned out so nicely. Let me know what you think, a skein will be completed for the general shop in the next few days.
Have a great day everyone, and keep an eye out for the new colorways!
taryl | General | 22 April, 6:25pm
Well I have the new rovings listed, but no rest for the weary as I need to dye many, many more. Please let me know which ones you all love, hate, etc etc.
I did finally get a few spare second to dive into my Phat Fiber sampler and got up the courage to begin spinning samples (I have this irrational fear of ruining them, and then remembered I am actually a very competent spinner :)
The hunter/gold sample is Shady Glade from Abstract Fiber and the pink/brown sample is leftover from one of my own sampler offerings in February, Raspberry Truffle. Shade Glade is sadly a bit overspun as a single (the plying is fine) and thus feels a bit more harsh than I'd like it to, but still very workable. It is fingering to sport weight. Raspberry Truffle is perfectly spun and plied for my tastes, and any extra twist relaxed and set upon finishing the yarn with some good old fashioned water and thwacking against a countertop. It falls into the sport weight and light worsted category.
I have several more beauties to go, and then I will be awaiting this month's samples (any day now!) and hope to eventually make a cohesive project or two out of them. I have enough yarn and roving from February that I could make stripy gauntlets, but some of those colors would fit better in the greenish shades of March's Celtic-themed box, so we'll see.
Some of the samples, like this amazing, buttery soft angora rabbit fur or beautiful alpaca roving, I can hardly bring myself to spin. It's just too soft and perfect and the quantity is so tiny, I know I'd never do it justice as I often take a yard or two to ease into a rhythm and feel with any given fiber. Still, I do plan on working up the cajones to spin those someday, I just need some bravery.
A good contrast to how far my spinning has progressed is a hank of bluish toned yarn I spun my mother back when I was in Juneau and spinning for Skeins. It's decent enough, but my drafting was thicker than I currently like and in the effort of creating a 'balanced' yarn that didn't back twist upon plying, I ended up underspinning both my singles and my plies even moreso. I spun fairly textbook, albeit with a slower technique than most production spinners, but I wasn't aware that a 'balanced' yarn is subjective and changes with application, and that having it be slightly overspun when freshly off the wheel makes it just perfect once it has been steamed and set.
Live and learn, right?
I'd have honestly never known that without the help of some online spinning gurus like Abby or other amazing members of the Yahoo Spinning group. Since I am self-taught out of a book for the most part (the spinning demos I saw were in the days before I had either wheel or spindle) I just had to synthesize knowledge and see 'what worked'. Unless I happened across a trick by accident I never learned it, and so having access to the knowledge, wisdom, and lovely yarn of other experienced spinners has helped fill in the holes in my previous working knowledge and vastly improve my product on the wheel.
Oh yeah, and having a nicer wheel helps, too!
Speaking of Suzie, I do love her dearly! My only qualm right now is not really her fault - I desperately need a lazy kate for plying yarn, as the pegs on Suzie are really only good for storing bobbins. I am having a much bigger problem with backwinding and out and out breakage with these pegs than I did with my Traveller, probably because I am spinning more finely and finer spinning snaps easier.
The wheel is supposed to have a standalone Kate and I cannot fudge by any longer with much satisfaction. Sometime in the near future, if I am to complete any of the commissioned spinning I have been approached with at all, I have to invest in a Woolee Winder or something of that nature. They're not too expensive, we're just on a tight budget and all the yarn and roving profit goes right back into acquiring more product, there's not really a decent enough cushion that I can skim off the top for a new piece of equipment just yet.
More spinning will commence upon receipt of a Lazy Kate, but until then the tales from the wheel will remain limited - due to little girls as much as a general lack of ANY free time! Still, as with knitting I had forgotten what sheer pleasure working with fiber really is. I miss spinning, and knitting, and wish I had more time for both.
Good night and God Bless.
taryl | | 19 March, 10:03am
Sadly, I am unable to partake in the celebrations, as I am about as boring and vanilla as they come. So drink a pint of green beer for me, my friends, and have a fabulous day!
taryl | General | 17 March, 4:51pm
The dyepot is currently steaming and I am embarking on another full week of home and business-related going-ons. I am still in full steam ahead mode to bulk up my shop contents and right now I am doing some duplicates of the current colorways on different fiber to use up extra dyestuffs. I believe the next colors in the series I will work on will be Blueberry, Cherry Belle Radish, and Potato Harvest (but don't quote me on that ;)
I'm also contemplating April's batch of Phat Fiber samples, on the eve of the March boxes going out. I believe I will do fiber this time, as I am focusing pretty heavily on roving right now, and probably use up a the huge swath of New Zealand wool I acquired a ways back. I wish they had specified a breed but it feels like your standard Romney/Corriedale cross or something of that nature. Reasonably soft, tighter crimp, good vanilla color. The format it is in, which is essentially a large batt or un-attentuated roving, is impossible for me to sell in the store despite the quality of the wool, but it is PERFECT to break up and sell as samples, which I will likely attach to 4x6 cards with the details of what my business offers on the front, product information, and perhaps a coupon code on the back. Still contemplating packaging for these samples, but I am leaning away from bagging the product at this moment just given the volume of the wool, we'll see.
I will likely be doing the Romaine Lettuce colorway as it is soft, springy, and "Green" to go woith the April theme. I'd love to use something truly green, as in eco-friendly, like hemp or bamboo yarn, but all my current dye formulas are acid dyes, which do not dye cellulose fiber very well. I just don't have the time right now to formulate the Procion colors to reasonably match my Jacquard colors. I'll have to have a good bit of time set aside to experiment with those, as it is both a different dye method and a different set of dyestock in terms of depth of shade. Oh well, acid dyes it is, then!
In other news, Lilah finally popped her first two teefers, at the same time and with minimal fuss, this past week! I can't believe she's growing so fast! Callie hasn't done much that is 'new' besides words, which she is acquiring at an ever increasing rate. Note to self - watch the language used around the kids! Fortunately DH and I have a pretty sanitized vocabulary any day of the week but I just want to be extra vigilant now that she's my own personal, wiggling parrot.
Winter is definitely dragging here, and I am eager for the thaw (and a working vehicle) so I can take the kids down to the park. We have a great one fairly close by but walking isn't an option without a double stroller to stick them both in. I am considering asking my mother-in-law if I can use her bike trailer, which pulls behind any bike and holds two kids, as our bike paths are quite wide and pedestrian friendly, but I am not sure yet. It would be good exercise at any rate, but I'd have to wait until it warmed up pretty significantly to use that, as opposed to just waiting until it's 40-ish and thawing.
I'd let Callie play in our yard but unfortunately it is both boring and needing some serious leveling, mowing, rocks hauled out, etc etc. Peter and I wanted to do that this summer but we aren't sure where the money will come from. Fixing the leaning fence posts is an absolute must, but the rest may just have to be lain fallow again. It's a shame, but we'd rather do it slowly than accrue any significant debt over it.
Anyway, life plugs along here as it always does, and right now my big focus is getting more stuff in my shop so business will pick up. It has been dreadfully slow and even the response from the Phat Fiber box has been less than I'd hoped for. I honestly think it's more the time of year and financial situation (people cutting back on luxuries) than a reflection on the quality of my stuff. I am just going to continue to do my best, make pretty colorways, and hope for the best.
taryl | General | 16 March, 7:33pm
A bunch of new rovings are up and my current addition will be some duplicates of the same colorways to use up leftover dye, before I can formulate any more additions. I will be adding a seperate gallery for Helena's Garden, I think, within the next few weeks, and they will eventually get their own order page.
Standouts (in my opinion, anyway) are Heritage Tomate and Aubergine, but they're all gorgeous. Harvest Squash is going to get a slight tweeking of color placement, namely the rust shade, so that it is not so dominant, and Rhubarb will be getting more green and less carnelian (the colors shifted and bled more than intended during dyeing, but overall I am very happy with them.
Collard Greens has been renamed Mustard Greens, as that is what the colorway looks a bit more like, and Chive Blossom will likely be dropped from the line, as I am afraid the shades are too redundant from other colorways like Aubergine or the berry tones. We'll see, I am still waffling.
Anyway, new pretties are up and waiting to be scooped, the March Phat boxes will be going out any day now, and the production rush is still on. Huzzah!
taryl | General | 15 March, 3:17am
For anyone interested there are only three days left in the Valentines Custom Colorway sale! Place an order anytime before Sunday and get 15% off your custom colorway(s).
In other fibery news, I am swapping out the Crisp Celery colorway in Helena's Garden for Bibb Lettuce, because it's just a prettier combination. Heritage Tomato and Aubergine will be debuting later today or early tomorrow, along with some new Kaleidoscope Series fiber as well.
I've been dyeing up a storm but formulating colorways takes time and a lot of trial and error. Progress is defintiely being made and there will be new pretties to ogle very soon, and just in time for the new Phat Fiber box for March.
The video of the new box contents has been posted and I URGE you all to check it out, it is FABULOUS. And on the upside, Marcus (the camera guy and Jessie's husband) liked my colorway submission for the month ;) Ah, sweet validation!
Here we have Aubergine still damp and drying. I LOVE the way this one turned out!
This is one of the Kaleidoscope rovings - lovely, super soft baby alpaca dyed in sunset tones (and still without a name). Notice the splotchy turquoise all over the place - this is what happens when your roving is not wrapped well enough. Dye seeps out when it begins steaming and gets trapped in the layers of plastic wrap, so when you open it up there is unreacted dye all over the place, fingers included, and if you're not SUPER careful it can stain already-dyed sections of roving.
This was originally supposed to be Crisp Celery, but the colors turned out more brilliant than I'd intended, and I decided it looked exactly like Bibb Lettuce, so the colorway has been renamed in appropriate Garden fashion ;) This is sopping wet in-between rinses right now, the end color will be a bit lighter as it dries, and less yellow (crappy bathroom lighting).
This is my favorite colorway of the run - Heritage Tomato - fresh out of the dyebath. It dried beautifully, though the green was less olive than I wanted, and more hunter. I may still change that, I haven't decided. The hunter green livens it up quite a bit whereas it might become too drab with a true olive, so I am up in the air on this one. Either way, a 4 oz. and 2 oz. portion of this colorway will be up in the shop shortly.
More colors coming as I make them, but it's a good five hours of solid work for each new colorway, and I have small kiddos who constantly need my hands available, so it's been an uphill battle to formulate these. But once the actual colors have been worked up, even making new dyestock is a fairly simple matter of following the recipe. I have PLENTY of all these shades left for more fiber in these colorways, but since I am a little short of undyed roving right now I decided to hold onto the dyestock and use the roving I have left to get as many colorways out there as possible, rather than multiple hanks of the same few colorways. But they are readily available (with the exception of the alpaca Kaleidoscope coloway, as it is one of a kind.)
Back to the saltmines for me!
taryl | General | 11 March, 8:36pm
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