Friday, May 30, 2008

Carder... again!

We spent a lot of time today on the road searching for this thing to use with DH's router to create/cut circles that also designates center. Honesdale, PA - nothing! We got back home, unloaded MIL's stuff, went home and put refrigerated stuff away and hit the road again for Matamoras' Home Depot. No thing there either, but there was a spiral saw that had a separate attachment to cut circles. He didn't want to buy yet another saw, so off to Lowes we went. While there I found the thing that he needed to do the cutting... we didn't buy the basic one, we bought the deluxe kit. It said on the box that circles could be cut UP TO 51". Cool! So, we got it, picked up some wood, headed home.

We got home and he got out some old wood to test on... turns out the thing will cut as stated, but it never said how small of a circle we could get. Turns out it is a 10 inch diameter... we needed 7 - 7 1/2 inches. SHIT! After taking it all in we decided to proceed with the 10 inch pieces and on Monday I'll call Howard Brush and order another foot of 90tpi carding cloth. Gonna be a big assed drum!!! Of course the bad side is that it'll be another week before I have the carder to use. Disappointment, yep - but I'd rather wait and have it done up right than to mess around and chance it would work horribly or not at all.

All that typed - I finished spinning up a turquoise braid and will probably start plying it shortly. I'm thinking of Navajo plying. So, off to look at vids on YouTube to see what I can learn. ;)

Carder issues

We sent the barrel of the carder out to have a guy get it centered for us. $25 later, still not centered. Hubby worked on it all yesterday afternoon with no luck. I suggested it might just be that the PVC is warped. We figure that's exactly what it is. So today we're headed out to get a circle edge jig for the router and some more wood. He's then going to cut individual circles out, each 7" in diameter and he'll know where absolute center is as he cuts them. He'll then glue them together, let them set some, and we'll get the carding cloth on and HOPEFULLY it'll be ready for use tomorrow!

I have all of these fleeces just waiting ... and I'm getting a bit impatient to use it as well. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I *dislike* shipping stuff...

... seriously! I HATE getting stuff prepared for shipping. Dammit, what a pain in the ass.

There has got to be a better way! I'll figure something out, I suppose.

Old acrylic stuff is ready to go to Hawaii. Whole bunch of stuff heading out to Pam in California to be listed in her online shop. All the prep will be worth it if the yarn sells.

Now I'm going to spin. Got an entire bobbin of alpaca spun up, now I'm going to spin some wool to blend with it and make gloves for Helene and Mark. I also plan to spin some plain white roving up to make a skull scarf for Kaylen... maybe make one for Kevin, too.

Bad storms headed this way. Hopefully they'll hold out until I get these two packages to the PO.

Three BOXES full!

The missing package from Vickie's Raspberry Hollow appeared at our post office this morning. The box was in perfect shape and no one could explain where the missing parcel had been hiding. All in all, I'm just very happy that it got here! Also arriving: a perfectly washed fleece from "All Strings Considered". This stuff is so amazingly white and soft -- ready for the carder! Perfection in fleece for anyone not wanting to go through the hassles of washing and picking. And finally - a half pound of dark, dark brown w/lighter tips of suri alpaca. I see a tiny bit of vegetable matter, but this stuff is also beautiful and soooo soooo soft! And the stuff in the missing parcel - Walter & Pearl! Finely skirted, unwashed - the staple length of Walter's fleece is amazing. I'll be washing this with care to preserve the locks for dyeing and blending. Pearl's fleece is a bit shorter, but also very, very nice. Lots of VM in her fleece, but that's easily taken care of. I'll take it out on the back porch to shake it out some prior to washing. Hubby & I both dipped our hands into Walter's fleece and we could both feel the wonderful lanolin. I was going to have him put it out in the shed for fear of smelling up the house, but he says its not an offensive smell, so keep it inside. OK by me! :) Photos later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Toys for boys

Took dear hubby out the other day and bought him a new drill press and a router w/table. He's just like a little kid with new toys to play with and has been going non-stop with stuff. Now he's out of wood! LOL I'm going to get him a lathe (inexpensive table top) for Father's Day... he'll be floored. He's so into woodworking - it's just amazing. I had remarked that whorls for the wheel were like $22 each. Once he gets the lathe I'll have every size whorl imaginable for the wheel and the carder!

As for the carder - we're waiting on D.J. (of D.J.'s Wood Products/Creations) in Yulan to get the large drum back to us. I'm hoping to hear from him tomorrow. The carding cloth came in and the small drum is ready to go with 72tpi cloth - the large will have 90tpi. Hubby stained the carder with a golden oak hue and it's simply gorgeous! Once I have that to play with he'll stain the wheel the same color... and the lazy Kate!

So almost all of the $ that I made from the website has gone for new tools, but those tools totally benefit me, too! Any leftover cash I'll use for supplies. I have several types of fleeces coming in - 2 different wools (which are currently lost with the USPS, but I do have faith that they'll be found) and three different alpacas. I have a sample package of 'sea cell' to try (made from sea weed). I want to order bamboo. I have fire-star that I dyed different colors - brilliant stuff! Silk laps that I also dyed - needs to be carded.

I spun up a bobbin full of Ashland Bay alpaca yesterday afternoon and will spin wool today to ply it with. Sis-in-law, Helene, loves alpaca so once I have it plied with the wool I'm going to knit gloves for her & BIL Mark.

Today I have to label and package up the stuff for Yarny Goodness and get it shipped tomorrow. I'm going to have to use Word to make up individual labels for each skein. I want to be sure that its all labeled properly - and I also need to properly gauge each yarn beforehand. FIRST - I have to take MIL shopping for a few items that she needs... I'll pick up a couple of things, too. We're going to the local grocery to save on gas.

That about does it for now ...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Color blind

I finally got to dyeing yesterday. Yarn, roving, ends, country silk, silk laps, nylon. Went from 10am and took a break at 6:15pm - everything finally out of the steamer by 9pm and I took the last of everything out of the washer around 11pm and hung it all up to dry. Raining outside most of yesterday with more rain predicted for days to come. Imagine how happy I am that right now that its sunny & breezy outside! I rushed everything out to the rear porch and have it hanging towards the driveway. It'll sure catch the attention of anyone driving up or down the mountain!

Talked w/Blace this morning and from now on I'm going to take 2 days per week to dye. One day for yarn only - and ONLY one selection of color-way on that day. Too many colors and things get out of hand. The other day will be for things for my own use for spinning/production - roving, glitz, etc...

I have to say that out of all that went into dyeing yesterday the country silk is the most beautiful stuff. It's been in the shed for several years and I had no idea what I was ever going to do with it. It's a natural tan color... well, it was. It took the dye like magic! It's spectacular! I used ocher, dark orange, teal, turquoise, salmon and brown... amazing color-ways. I feel that this silk will need to be blended to give it some support/memory so I'll probably use solid color wools to ply it.

All yarn sold on Ebay. Bye bye stashed acrylics! Used some of the proceeds to buy a pound of fawn alpaca and a sampling of sea-cell yarn to try spinning. Great deal on the alpaca - $24! Won't find that again too soon... and its from Ashland Bay, Co., so I know its good stuff.

Off to the post office - package in. I hope its the fleeces from Iowa. I've been waiting on those forever.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


So yesterday I mentioned that the Shed order arrived. When I first cut the tape on the box and lifted out the bags I was kind of disappointed because it just didn't seem like that much wool. Well, then I tore a small hole in the first bag and it started to suck air ... and the darn thing blew up BIG TIME! Each of three bags had been so well packed into that box - all of the air pressed out before they tied the bags up... I happily have piles of white stuff to play with today and it is most definitely a dyeing day!!

My dark red rhododendrons are just about to burst open and I'm going to experiment with some of those as soon as there are lots of blossoms for me to harvest. I bought a dye book recently (have to find it in my creative mess here) and it has lots of info on dyeing naturally. This is something I would prefer over chemical dyes. There's some great old wood along the edges of the woods just outside of the house... I bet if I simmered that up I'd get some great color. Hmmmm... I know that hollyhocks are great for dyeing, too - can't wait for those to bloom --- ohohoh! And the roses at the corner of the house! We're usually swamped with those all summer long. OK - enough before I lose my mind. hehehe

Time to go soak some wool and get dyes mixed up!

Monday, May 19, 2008

3 Bags Full!

The goodies arrived from the Sheep Shed Studio today! Three bags full.. yup! Four pounds of roving, 2 pounds of wool caps and 2 pounds of grab bag stuff. *All* white as I requested.

I would like to start dyeing today but I need to get some stuff out of the way first... like dinner! Going to make a small batch of meatballs and have spaghetti. Easy enough. Dishes are done. Have to feed the dogs. Should wind off the remainder of that fine white stuff into skeins so I can get that dyed. Label re-design is complete. New logo up on Etsy. Quite a bit of spinning done.

Read about a wheel up for sale in the Spinning group today. She was asking $200 or best offer. I got in touch, she sent pix, I told her I wanted it, all of a sudden she talked to a friend and wants $275. BullSH*T! I told her it was an older model and that I'd have to get updated bobbins for it at $28 each and offered her $240. No response as of yet. I just think it sucks to offer something to a large group like that and then pull a switch. If she accepts $240, I may go ahead and buy it from her; not quite sure yet. It's a Louet S10. I found an S17 on Ebay, brand new, free shipping for $315. Might just go that route instead.

OK - I'm going to get these dogs fed and then see how I feel about getting ready to dye stuff.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Baby Cakes!

babycakes 003

Just got my very first batch of 'half-baked baby cakes' in the mail from Loop! on Etsy. Very cool blends of stuff to play with. Plans have changed for the day and I'll be spinning instead.

I was expecting a large, actually 2 large orders of wool to arrive. Still no show. Some of that was going to be used in dyeing today, so it'll all be put off until that stuff gets here. I'm kind of happy tho, since I can now spin up these gorgeous little cakes with some of the stuff I have in the house to see what I can come up with.

Dye Test Day

Today I'm going to be testing a new method of dyeing yarn to create something that will self stripe. I don't want to go with the HUGE layout of yarn to do this - there's a tutorial on the web somewhere that outlines how to do it that way - I have another idea that I think will work just as well. Time will reveal all.

I have my Color Index out and will choose two different color-ways and get my dyes mixed up first. I think 3 - 4 colors per skein will be best and I want to be absolutely sure to write my dye formulas up so I can repeat them if they work out well. I have the yarn wound off into 'cakes' but will be skeining on a noddy to determine yardage first. This yarn will require a bit more effort in preparation. Hopefully the end result will justify the price that I'll need to charge for it. I have to run out and get paper masks since I'm using a totally different mordant than before... this stuff isn't food grade as the last was - it's chemical. Must lock up the dawgz, too!! Caesar is into everything. "Wacha doin' mama. Kin I hewp?" :)
That's our boy!

Finished the website last night... YAY! FINALLY! Now, get dressed, post office first to ship stuff, masks next, skein yarn, mix mordants, soak yarn, prepare for dyeing, get technicolor hands & clothing and have FUN!

Later y'all!

Friday, May 16, 2008


I have been so buried in stuff I've had to write a schedule out and try to stick to it. I've made commitments that have to be met and have been working very hard on getting those ready for fulfillment. I have the photographer's website near completion - expect to have it totally online by late this evening. At least then I can finally bill for it.

Have yarn wound off in 2oz cakes to skein and dye and I have a new idea for dyeing it to make it self striping. If this works I will have truly unique sock yarns that will carry our new fiber label (designed by me, too!) and will become another of our signature yarns. So far I have two sig yarns and I'm totally in love with both of them.

I still need to order the samples from H.A. and get some temporary stock (bare) yarns in from Knit Picks.

No time for knitting - the shawl has stalled and I feel badly about this because I still have knitters working it. The edge that I had decided on wasn't working out too well and I really can't give the one knitter that has made it that far much feedback since I'm so far behind. (Sorry, Wendy!) Going to be rainy and yucky here for days so maybe I'll be able to get to it. I wanted to knit yesterday but my left hand was quite swollen and fingers were numb. I sleep with my hands twisted up for some damn reason - I think I'll get something to wear on them at night so I don't do that any more.

OK - back at the photo site -


Sunday, May 4, 2008

It's after 1a.m.

Here I sit, waiting for yet another phone call from Andrea - these three kids are lost, well have been lost, in NYC- then in Long Island - now they're lost near the Bear Mountain Bridge. I heard the toll taker there giving them directions back towards Monroe/Central Valley and I told Andrea to call me again when they get to Monroe. I KNOW they'll be able to make it home from there as long as they stay off of the back roads. Geez... All this trying to get home from the Meadowlands in East Rutherford from that damn concert.

These kids all think that they know what's best - they just know it all. Meanwhile, Andrea calls me crying on the phone from 10th Ave. in Manhattan -- I told them to head back up, make sure the street numbers were going up (they were on 13th and 10th) and to start watching for signs for 95 to get on the lower level of the GWB. Instead, they figured they knew best and got on 295 and ended up crossing the Throgs Neck into Long Island. ARGH! I'm tired - I want to go to sleep, but now I have to wait for them to get home because they're all hungry and she wants pizza, so I'll be getting dough ready soon.

Having hot tea, hoping a bit of caffeine will help keep me going.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Slept in - nice, quiet day! Well, aside from the usual dog antics. They carry on like little kids; jumping on furniture, chasing each other, barking and screaming (yes, these dogs can do that) at each other. Jack is our #1 screamer. It can chill you to the bone - he almost yodels at times, especially if there are squirrels involved. If he were ever to get hold of one I pity that poor squirrel.

Husband working all day, Andrea at her first concert in East Rutherford, NJ - she won't be home until tomorrow. Phone has been quiet allll day long. NICE! ;)

Andrea and I played around with the hackle the other day using bright colors: pink, orange, yellow, lilac, and splashes of white. I finished spinning the mahogany roving last night so I grabbed that stuff, very small amount, and spun it up. I was amazed at how it came out so I've spent today making more and spinning the day away. I just did up two more batches, will get that done and then decide how I want to ply it. I think that a solid color will work best (what I have now is blended) and I have an idea that may result in our 'signature' yarn line. I'm a bit excited about this, too!

Mrs. G. (I think it was the Mrs.) from Henry's Attic called me yesterday and gave me lots of info about buying from them. I need to make a change to my business certificate at the government center this week and see if I can update my tax ID number with the new business name. If not, I'll just have to apply for another. I need to get $ to HA for their samples. I can hardly wait to get my hands on them... I saw on a website that sells their fiber that they also have roving, etc., and I'd love to get some and dye & spin in the fashion I mentioned above. I'm visualizing a fawn colored alpaca with a blue-hued bamboo running through it.

I told Pam from Yarny Goodness that I could have a minimum of 10 skeins to her by June 1st but I do hope to have much more than that to send her. Hubby would like to play with dyeing roving so I can put him to work doing that. He's off from work tomorrow, sooooo - he may find himself with tie-dye hands. I need more brights, some pastels, and lots and lots of earthy colors. Going to be cooler outside so that'll be good. It can get hot in here with the mordants and steamer going for hours on end.

Just put pizza dough into the bread machine. We'll have that for dinner tonight. Easy, no major production as far as cooking goes.

OK - back to the wheel!


Friday, May 2, 2008


I'm trying to get myself to a calm place at the moment. I feel so stressed and strung-out. I think that hot tea and maybe popping a benedryl are in order. Asked Mz. Thang to unload the DW yesterday afternoon, last night and this morning. Still not done. She used DH's neck massager and left it where destructive Jack could get at it - now I have to do a repair job on the damn thing. OK - this blog isn't for ranting, so that's IT!

I contacted someone about charting this shawl pattern and she wants a drawn diagram and charges $35 an hour to do it. I dunno... if I wait a few more days I'll probably be able to tackle the task myself. Just need to get myself in a better place.

Two sales on Etsy - BT cap pattern and a niddy noddy. So far, so good, I guess. I need to replace the twine that connects my footman to the treadle bar on the wheel. I think that I may just say to hell with everything else today, get that done, finish spinning the mahogany roving and then spin some bamboo ad chocolate roving together, see about Navajo plying it and then list it for sale. I know that selling my hand-spun stuff is going to be rough. Its kind of like letting something precious go!

I printed, signed, scanned and sent the consignment contract back to Yarny Goodness today. Ordered more dyes and mordants from Dharma Trading yesterday. Now I need to get yarns to work with. Henry's Attic isn't too far from here. I'll have to find out if retail hours are available and do some shopping, or just stay at home and order from Knit Picks. Too much to think about today! ARGH!

Time to heat water, have my tea and chill!!!