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2015 The Year of the Knitted Lace Shawl

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!

Blue Lace Shawl - Alpaca

Blue Lace Shawl – Alpaca

Shetland Lace Shawl

Shetland Lace Shawl

Bobbin Lace Bookmark

Bobbin Lace Bookmark

Newest lace shawl

Newest lace shawl

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Spinning Buffalo fiber into yarn

After taking the workshop on spinning Orenburg lace yarn this year at the Estes Park Wool Market, I was energized to spin lace weight yarns on my Russian.  One of my purchases at the wool market was an ounce of Buffalo/Bison fiber.  As this fiber is a bit more dense than cashmere I am estimating only .5 of an ounce will fit onto a spindle at a time.  It is taking quite some time spin up .5 ounces of Buffalo too.  I am so lucky to have fiber dyers and artists in my life as they have been very helpful in suggesting colors/fibers to use for several projects.  While at my LYS a fellow knitter told me that purple and brown make a nice color combination.  Although this didn’t sound like a nice combo I discovered that a dark purple Habu wool crepe yarn was the perfect compliment to my natural brown Buffalo fiber.  Once the ounce is spun I will move to ply these 2 yarns together to create a fingering weight yarn.

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Spinning Lace weight yarn

I am loving my little Ashford Traveler spinning wheel.  Still have a lot to learn about rations and such but it is allowing me to spin fine yarn rather easily.  I combed about 3oz of the Romney fleece with a dog comb and spun a fine single on the Ashford.  After chatting with a member of the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild I decided to try my hand at Navajo plying the single.  It turned out pretty well even if it is a bit over twisted but I managed to keep the yarn thin as a 3 ply.  Not sure if I will keep the yarn in its ivory color or have my friend dye it for me.  As I have about 5 lbs. of fiber left I’m fairly certain I can get enough yardage to make a shawl!  The Wensleydale was made into a 2 ply fingering weight yarn using my hand carders to open up the locks for spinning.  It is also an ivory color yarn but has more nepps than the Romney due to the sheep not being coated and using the hand carders for fiber prep.

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Wensleydale 2 ply yarn

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Romney 3 ply yarn

This month I also spun the dyed Leceister wool from the Louet pack and Navajo plied it to keep the color consistent.  I finished 2 hats (one for the Recycled Lamb shop and one for me).  I’m still working on my fingerless gloves and the table runner but as they are intricate lace projects progress is rather slow.  It has been a productive month thus far and I’m enjoying spinning from the fleece for my yarns.

Marketing Venues

So I was given a $100 credit to use Google Adwords earlier in the month.  I have taken them up on the offer and have spent $25 for several thousands of impressions with minimal clicks and no conversions to sales.  Still need to follow up on the free keywords advice but I am not sure how well there program works for craft/knitting businesses.  It is increasing my exposure but the bounce rate on my site has increased to 60%.

On the project end I am leaning towards one knitting project at a time.  The Estonian lace scarf has my full attention and I am very close to completing the body of the scarf.  The edge will be the true challenge.  My heart is just not into fingerless mittens and I know think that the CVM will make a wonderful hat versus mittens.  Haven’t been on my wheel or drop spindle in a while perhaps this weekend – I do miss the feel of cotton.  So looking forward to a 3 day weekend and doing either a movie marathon (Lord of the Rings) or TV show (Torchwood) and getting lots of fiber processed.

Although the Etsy store has 20+ items based on feedback that really isn’t enough visibility.  I am reading/following the book “How to Start a Home-Based Craft Business” to obtain some guidance on truly turning my hobby into a profession.  I haven’t been good with my life plan this week but hey I am blogging and knitting.  Didn’t make it to volunteering this week but will be there on the weekend (need to check library closures for the holiday).