The good news is that I finally obtained a full time role! I start my new position in a week and am looking forward to getting back into the workforce. On the fiber end this will be good for me so that I stop creating Works In Progress (WIP). My time off has seen me cast on several shawls – two of which are gossamer web based. The Sunflower shawl is nearly done as I just have a 1/4 left of the edging to complete. It still looks so much smaller than the photo but my hopes are that it grows with blocking.
I have begun and ripped out and restarted my gossamer triangular shawl and seem to be progressing much better now that I am past the first 4 rows of the border. I still think there is an error in the pattern as I had to reduce some stitches to make things balanced but there is nothing online about this issue so perhaps it is just me.
Bobbin lace is still awesome and I am working on my first true lace edging which will be attached to a handkerchief when it is done. There is a great deal of pleasure of moving the bobbins around and pining threads to create intricate lace work. I have had thoughts about learning needle lace but for now I am concentrating on learning Torchon lace work. After all there are several styles of bobbin lace still yet to learn and master. My homemade pillow is by far my favorite lace pillow but we shall see how things change when the sectional pillow arrives. I actually made this piece with silk yarn I purchased during the YarnFest in Loveland, CO in April. I am amazed that the silk fibers stayed in place when the pins were removed.
On the festival front it looks like I will only be participating in the Golden Farmer’s Market in July and August. My heart is not into going to Salida this year so I decided to skip the festival and hopefully join it next year. The only other market I am looking into is the Denver Public Library’s Paris Holiday Market in November. Of course I will also have the Rocky Mountain Weaver’s Guild Sale in November to hopefully move my hand spun yarns into new homes.
I realized that I have not done much yarn spinning as my stash is so large. I am finding it difficult to procure a local venue to sell the hand spun so I have begun listing the yarns on the Etsy site. Once several of the 50+ skeins of yarn are sold I am sure the urge to boost my supply will occur. For now I have some merino/tencel fiber being spun on my Russian spindle to be used in making a gossamer web shawl – 8 ounces of fiber should be enough to make this work. Of course I also have flax fibers to play with and ply with different fibers (silk and cotton). Having a huge stash of hand spun has allowed me to focus on knitting items and of course create lace with bobbins.
I just have this nagging feeling that I am going to forget what my WIPs are at some point as in general I never had more than 3 at a time. I don’t even want to contemplate how many actual WIPs there are but I breath a bit easier knowing that a few are almost complete. As I get bored easily edgings are generally my downfall as they are so repetitive but the Sunflower shawl edge got a lot focus while at the hair salon and under the dryer this weekend. My cotton spinning class was cancelled as we didn’t have enough people sign up for it but hopefully the silk and drop spindle courses will happen this summer/fall.
Well I am going to get back to knitting the gossamer web shawl for a bit and until next time – keep your needles sharp and yarn in abundance!
So far I have 3 different lace shawls on needles while being almost done with one of them. I’m very pleased to have finished knitting and blocking 2 lace shawls in 2014 for the fiber festival season. My new blocking boards are wonderful. One of the lace shawls is a “Shetland Lace Shawl” made with Habu yarn and is my long term (1+ year project). The other 2 are from the great book “New Vintage Lace” although I strongly recommend researching the erratas before beginning a project.
Since I have 2 finished shawls I am happily pursuing the art of Bobbin Lace making. My first local guild meeting was very inspiring and encouraging. I foresee making trims for pillows and long term project of a table runner. Maltese Lace is my goal as it is elegant and intricate. For the moment of course I’m just learning the techniques while making bookmarks – we all need to start at the beginning and with small projects. Enjoy the photos of my journey – till next time!
I’m almost finished with the beaded lace shawl. The last of the 4 panels is being knit and I’m back to using a single skein of yarn. My best tool for applying the beads has been the ortho dental floss versus the Fleegle tool. I seem to shred my yarn or break the beads when using the Fleegle so it’s back to the floss for me.
My exciting news is that I have begun to knit a Gossamer lace shawl for the first time. At my last guild meeting one of our members brought in several handknit Gossamer and wedding ring shawls. I was so in awe of their beauty and intricate designs. We spoke at the meeting of our mutual love of fine lace knitting done for our own enjoyment. I left the meeting inspired to begin my first delicate shawl. The next day I worked at the yarn shop where I found the perfect yarn for my shawl. I’m using Habu wool crepe yarn in a soft peach for this project.
Tonight I have to prep for the craft fair in Westminster – hope to have some pics to share soon.
This year I decided if I really wanted to grow my business locally I needed to participate in more markets and festivals. I now find myself with booked Saturdays from July thru most of September and a couple of dates in October – wow! My first 2 events have been at the Golden Farmer’s Market which have been a bit slow. I have had at least 1 sale each event and am grateful I don’t have a booth fee. The big market is this Saturday the 12th which is the HorseShoe Market. This event is more of a craft event with lots of vintage sellers and small business owners along with great food trucks. It was a big investment for me and I’m hopeful that I will not only make my booth fee back in sales but also a profit this year.
The great thing about the markets is setting up the booth and laying out my merchandise. My first market in Golden helped me realize how little knitted items I had and how few hand spun yarns were for sale. As I am going for more of a fiber supplier business model I knew that I had to create many more skeins of yarn if I want to make this a viable business model. Fleeces and rovings are in abundance in my inventory but most of these will truly sale at the Salida Fiber Festival versus the farmer’s markets. So with some clear goals and set time for production my yarn inventory is increasing. This year new display tools were purchased and I’m still working out the best way to use each to highlight my merchandise. My lace shawl gets so many compliments and draws in quite a few people – I know one of these days it will find its’ way into a good home.
One of the best features of the market is the networking opportunities that come while I’m spinning yarn. Thus far I have made contacts to obtain new fibers at minimal financial cost and an opportunity to teach seniors how to spin yarn. I always bring my wheel to the markets as it is a great conversation piece and allows me to get in some production time. Men and boys are always drawn to the mechanics of the wheel and ask lots of questions which over time I have developed answers for.
This past Saturday marked the first day in this year’s Tour de Fleece race on Ravelry. I was good this year and only joined 2 teams versus the 4 to 6 I have done in the past. I also decided to pace myself and just spin for a few hours everyday on one or more tools.
My primary fiber for the race is the Cambridge Fiber pack from Louet. This year I am spinning all of the fibers in their natural state and may have my friend dye a few of them but that isn’t a definite. For fun the new to me fibers which are in 8oz packages are being split into two 4oz sets. One set is being spun with a long draw method and one is being spin finer and semi-worsted. The difference in the two spinning methods is quite noticeable thus far. I have spun 8oz of Jacob Sliver and 8oz of Perendale sliver thus far. Shetland is on the horizon for later in the week. These are all being spun on my “workhorse” wheel the Louet S15. My Russian spindles are also getting into the race competition but of course this tool is for finer yarn. The project this week is cobweb lace weight paco-vicuna for a potential customer. For the race I started a new spindle of fiber that I can combine with the yarn I made last week. The 2 ply needs to be created prior to Sunday (washed and dried) to show to its potential owner. Hoping to accomplish this by Thursday as I have a big market coming up all day on Saturday so I’m anticipating being mentally and physically wiped out that evening.
This week I took the plunge and began to ply my spindle spun buffalo yarn. As you know I am plying the single of buffalo fiber with a commercial wool crepe yarn, these fibers have been combined onto a Russian plying spindle. Yes it did take me about 2 hours to combine the 2 yarns together but mostly because my plying spindle is so heavy I had to give my wrist a break from holding it. A lighter weight plying spindle has been ordered so I can move through this process quicker. Once I had the fibers combined the next step was to create the plying disc. I finally found some cardboard which suited my needs and made a somewhat round circle and began the process of plying the fibers.
My current spindle does work well as a supported spindle and is aiding in the plying process rather well. Somehow I seem to have more yak yarn than wool and keep getting gaps in the drafting area as the 2 yarns are not in sync. Since this is my first time with this process I’m trying not to be to critical and treating things as a learning experience. After all I have another 1/2 ounce of buffalo fiber plus cashmere, yak and paco-vicuna fibers to work with.
This weekend a met another lace knitter who happens to be a cashmere fanatic. She has asked that I attempt to make a 2 ply cobweb weight yarn from paco-vicuna for her use in her knitting business. My only hiccup at the moment is that I don’t know where I put my paco-vicuna fiber so that I can start on this process. The last time I spun PV fiber was a few years back and on my Louet wheel and it turned out a Sports weight single. Now that I can spin a fine yarn on the Russian spindles I am hoping to each cobweb status – time will tell.