Monday, September 12, 2016

GAFF

I can't say enough good things about the folks at the GA Fiber Festival . I had such a good time this weekend- both as a vendor, and as a shopper. I got a chance to spin on my dream wheel the Kromski Polonaise. And I met the designer and mastermind behind the entire Kromski line, Daniel Kromski himself. I found some pretty things to spin on my own wheel, and sold fiber to some really great folks. The best part by far was meet the customers who came out to support the fiber arts. I demonstrated on my wheel all weekend, which is something I absolutely adore doing any chance I get. It draws people in giving me a chance to explain how the wheel works and to share my passion for spinning.

Here are some more photos from the booth:



All my handspun!


I had customers recognize me from Phat Fiber and Etsy, which was very cool! I completely sold out of my felted soaps which surprised me, they have never been a big seller online. The one thing I didn't sell was yarn, so I will have plenty to stock the Etsy shop when I bring it back from vacation mode. 

My mobility was limited, I used the wheelchair and my cane to limp around. My foot swelled pretty bad, but that was expected. Thursday I was the tiredest, I did the most walking that day. My boothmate did the packing up Saturday, which saved me a lot of steps and lifting. 

Overall it was a great experience and I hope I am able to go again next year either as a vendor or a patron. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Recovery and Beyond

I thought I would post a little bit about my recovery post surgery, since it's been just over a month since they put the operated on my foot. I seem to be healing well, and everything is lining up the way it should. I will have my stitches out on the 19th. I am using a rollator at home and a wheelchair everywhere else. I spend all day in bed, unless I am taking a shower or going to the restroom. Occasionally I might venture as far as the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. I spend a lot of time spinning and knitting and working on adult coloring books. I have gone through times when I had lots and lots of pain, and times when I had none at all. Right now I have occasional discomfort. If I am sitting up right too long, my foot starts to swell uncomfortably. Technically I am still supposed to be completely non-weight bearing right now, but I bend that rule every once in a while out of necessity or stubbornness. I am looking forward to having both feet back fully functional. I've been concerned that I won't be up and ready for my event in September, The GA Fiber Festival. I'll know more closer to time though. I just have to have patience and not try to rush things.

Today is the first day of school for R and B. We'll be doing Kindergarten and 3rd grade this year in our homeschool. I am pretty sure I am more excited than they are. They've had a relaxing month and half summer break and now it's time to get back into our old routine. Their co-op classes will be starting this week too, so it will all be very tidy. Maybe, lol! I am teaching an art history class for the co-op and I am really looking forward to it. I'll get out of the house once a week and see people and have some interaction.

Sunday we are planning to have R's birthday party. Hard to believe he's turning 8! He's such a big kid now. My little buddy is not so little any more.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Store Updates!

I am getting some new things up in the store today. I'm now carrying Merino and BFL top in 4oz sections, undyed. I'm also working on listing a bunch of new yarns, which is very exciting!






Friday, July 1, 2016

Surgery, And What Will Happen With My Shop

After many, many months (8 actually) it's been decided that the orthopedist will operate on my left foot. Thank my luck stars it's not my treadle foot! However, it will be a long recuperation process. I'll be non-weight bearing on that foot for a couple of months. So, I will be deactivating all dye to order items in my etsy shop on July 6th. Everything that is ready to ship will remain available. Hopefully by the end of August I will be able to be up and about enough to do some dying. And healed in time to go to my September show in Columbus. In the meantime I'll just keep spinning!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Redesigning My Business Cards

Having good branding is important. I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about the look of my old business cards, and how I wanted to update them. It was getting to be close to time to reorder, so I sat down with my photos and put something together:


All in all, I'm pretty pleased. They should come in the mail tomorrow from Vista Print. I also ordered some professional printed cuffs for my braids of roving and hanks of yarn! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Yarns Abound

I recently added several new handspun skeins to the shop, and I have quite a few more nearly finished. I tend to get 4 or 5 done over a week or two, then set them all at the same time. Here's just a few that I have completely done and ready to leave the nest:





I've been doing a little experimenting with plying techniques. I've finished 3 different singles by plying them with metallic thread, which gives a really pretty, shimmery finished yarn. Two of which, Goldberry, and Twilight Waters, are pictured above. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A New Look

I've been considering redesigning my drop spindles a bit. The last time I ordered my parts, I decided to bit the bullet and try something a little different.


I added a pretty little knob at the top of the spindle.  I've given them a test whirl, and they spin well. I'm making them in 2 sizes.  2 1/4in whorls and 3in whorls.

The fiber pictured is going in the June Phat Fiber box. It's a colorway called "Wishes or Weeds?" Dandelions were the inspiration. It's going to be available in the shop it a gradient braid:


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What Can Friends Do?

Friends can can!  Honeysuckle rose jelly, to be exact.



My very dear friend came for a visit and we dug out my caner for the first time this year and got it going. We made a small batch of my special honeysuckle rose jelly. It's light and fragrant, the perfect compliment to sweet biscuits or short breads. I also like to use it in jam tarts. It's so wonderful to be in the kitchen with friends. It was really a treat for me. I love making jams and jellies, and it's not easy with a broken foot. But we got it done together with team work and lots of laughs. 

I don't measure things exactly, but this is my method for honeysuckle rose jelly:

I pick fresh flower petals from my yard, steep them in 4 cups of boiling water for about 8 hours. After straining them through a cheese cloth, I retain the liquid and toss the plant matter. I add about a quarter cup of apple juice, two tablespoons of lemon juice, a quarter cup of honey, and 3 cups of sugar. I mix two boxes of low sugar pectin with another half cup of sugar. When the liquid is boiling, I slowly whisk in the pectin sugar mixture. I let it boil for about 3 minutes then check the set of the jelly. I might add more pectin or sugar, or let it boil a bit longer until I get the set I am looking for. Then in the caner it goes!  


Monday, May 9, 2016

A Post for Mother's Day

I'm a day late, but who cares.

A Moment to Hold On To

"It's really early."
"The birds were chirping at me mama."
"They were chirping at me too sweetie."

We lay nose to nose in the gray, pre-dawn light, the covers drawn up to our chins, and whisper stories to each other. You tell me a story about a pharaoh with a pet clown fish. And his treasure hunter who brought back a beautiful rainbow stone for the pharaoh to give his Queen. But the pharaoh's trusted servant steals the stone because he is greedy. As you tell the story you pretend you are reading to me from a book. You turn each page and describe the pictures to me, and it fills my imagination with clear colorful images, and I wonder what you see.

I will cling to this memory like a life raft, and it will carry me through the storm of my mind. It will keep me anchored to love, and life, and reality when the undertow tries to claim me.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Additions and Broken Parts

I hadn't intended to go a whole month without blogging. But I've been busy! We have some special new additions to our family:



These cute little fluff balls are baby Black and Copper Maran chicks. They will grow up and lay a beautiful chocolate brown egg. I'd eventually like to have enough surplus eggs to start selling them again. I was able to sell eggs for several years until our flock aged out of laying, and we reduced our chicken population.

Also, my wonderful customers keep ordering! I've been making lots of spindles and putting together kits. One day this month I sat and made 25 drop spindles! I'm also dying fiber and spinning. I have several skeins of yarn ready to have the twist set, and some waiting to be plied. I'm gradually beginning to build inventory for the GA Fiber Festival.  

But, I've had a major set back. The foot that I broke in November is messed up again. I can't bear weight on it at all. I'm back on heavy duty pain meds that make me unable to drive, and I'm pretty much stuck in bed. I am resourceful, and have my wheel by my bed so that I can have my broken foot propped up, and my spinning foot on my treadle. I am currently waiting on my orthopedist to schedule an MRI, after which he/we will decide on what the course of treatment will be. Until then, I'll be doing a lot of resting. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Big Announcement!

I've gotten my official acceptance, so I can share my big news: The Hippie Homemaker is going to be a vendor at the Georgia Fiber Festival this September! Check out the vendor list, there I am! This is a big deal for me. I've never been to a fiber festival before, let alone as a vendor. I've got months to get ready for it, but I will need all that time to build inventory. Look for lots of fiber updates this summer! For now, here is some yarn porn to oogle: Coming soon to an etsy store near you!





Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Yarn! And Everything Else That's Been Going On.

Life has been chaotic and busy of late... really, when isn't it? But in between the busy I've finished up two new yarns! One of them is a soft, squishy merino wool, dyed by The Fiberess  in the colorway "Love Affair." It's 350 yards chain plied fingering weight, in a gradient that goes from pinks and reds to smokey grays.  





The second is a delightful hodgepodge of samples that have come in my Phat Fiber boxes the last couple of months. I really enjoy spinning up large bags of samples, the yarns are always really fun to knit with.  





I haven't done any dying in the last couple of weeks. We've got flu at our house, and I pulled a muscle in my back. I've been having to take it kinda slow. But I just got a HUGE new supply of fiber to dye. Merino, BFL, and Corriedale. 3 of my favorite fibers to spin and dye. I'm hoping to get back into my dye this coming weekend. It's spring here already and we've been trying to get our flower beds cleaned out, and plan out our garden. All that takes time. We've missed a lot of school days and school activities this semester too, because of illness mostly. We'll end up taking a much shorter summer break since we missed so many days between November and March.  


In other news, I had a birthday last week and my crafty husband built me a really awesome Lazy Kate. 



The pictures don't really do it justice. I've plied from it twice and it does a great job. I like the versatility of the way it stands. And the drawer handles make it easy to take the bobbins off and on.   

Monday, February 29, 2016

Fresh Off The Wheel 2/29

Lately I've been playing with fiber from different animals, in various types of preparations. Some raw, some locks, some washed but uncarded. Over the weekend I spun some Mohair locks and plied it with a Blue Faced Leicester single. This was the result:


I'd been very intimidated by spinning locks, but this was fun, and I plan on doing more lock spinning soon. 

Normally I like my yarn to be very tidy. Very smooth and even. I had to walk on the wild side a bit with this one.  I'm calling it Frolic. It's listed on my Etsy page!  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Toy

When I bought my wheel, the person selling it includes a set of brand new full sized, curved hand carders. They've been difficult for me to get use to. I've got a bunch of sample sized amounts of lots of different breeds of fiber. All of it washed, but uncombed or carded. I feel like I just make an awful mess when every I try to use my carders. And I can't afford a set of combs. So I decided to look for something smaller. First I looked at Flickers. Then I looked at student sized hand carders, which are nice, but still a little pricey for my budget. Then, almost by accident, I found these on Etsy:

They were very inexpensive, and looked like what I wanted. So I ordered them a couple of days ago, and lo and behold, they were already in my mail box this morning! And I have to say, they really are adorable, and functional. This is some North Ronaldsay from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I've been happily carding it out into a wonderfully fluffy cloud that I can't wait to spin later on.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Stash Crawling

I periodically rummage through my fiber and yarn stash, and find things I have forgotten about. Today I found this hidden gem :


I spun this not long after I first got my wheel. It was also one of my first fiber dying experiments. I remember loving the colors at the time, and named the colorway "Meadow." It was only about 67 yards, and Aran weight. In my mind though, I dismissed it as unworthy because I tend not to knit with heavy weight yarns. But as I came across it today, tucked in the back of the shelf, I was pleasantly surprised. It is much nicer than I remembered.  A bit heavy, yes, but not over spun or plied.  And I still really love the colorway.  I'm planning to revisit it on a Merino or BFL fiber base. It would be a great addition to the shop for this spring.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Adventures

Many things have happened since 2014 when I last blogged.  I made a commitment to myself that year.  That I would focus on taking better care of myself.  Knit for myself more.  Try new things. Learn new techniques.  And I did.

I learned to knit beautiful lace:


I learned to use a drop spindle:



I began dying some of the yarn I spun on the drop spindle.  

I started with Kool-Aid: 



I got adventurous and began to dye the fiber before it was spun:



In September of 2015 I purchased a small, 2nd hand Kromski Prelude spinning wheel.  I drove all the way to Atlanta to pick it up.  My husband thought I was a little nuts:


It was love at first sight!  Since then we've been learning to work together to make beautiful yarn:





Spinning came intuitively to me.  It was like something I had been waiting my whole life to do.  A hidden talent.  But I had also discovered another love.  A deep, passionate love that touched the core of my artist's heart. One that would drive me to reinvent my business and breath new life into it. I discovered dying.  

I didn't last long fooling around with Kool-aid.  Or food coloring.  I quickly moved on to using fiber reactive dyes.  Inspired by nature, and the beauty of the world around me, I explored this new medium with great enthusiasm:
  




Meanwhile, friends and family began to notice my creative efforts.  They encouraged me.  Purchased from me.  Pushed me to begin listing on Etsy again.  And tentatively, I did. 

Then on November 2nd, something happened that radically changed our family's life.  My husband was seriously injured in a motorcycle wreck. While ultimately, he will heal and lead a normal life, things seemed very bleak.  Financially, the wreck was devastating.  Medical bills mounted.  I looked at all my fiber and thought, "I have to turn this into income.  I have to use my talent and my passion to help my family crawl out of this black hole."  

Slowly, but surely, that is what I am doing.  It's meant taking some risks. And I've been learning as I go.  Learning new dying techniques.  Spinning techniques.  Marketing.  Navigating social media to get my art out there to my target audience.  Which is why, once again, the Hippie Homemaker is back at her blog.  

What can you expect to see and read about here?  Fiber, for sure. Spinning.  Sneak peeks at new colorways, yarns in progress, hand knitted items.  Possibly coupon codes for loyal blog readers :) 

But you might also read funny homeschooling escapades, tales of escaping chickens, and possibly recipes for my glorious homemade jams and jellies. I am a woman of many parts, and I wear many hats.