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.