Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fiber Voodoo has moved!

I've shifted this blog to WordPress, after purchasing my domain name and web hosting for Fiber Voodoo!

While it's currently under construction, there is a new blog post here, explaining what's coming.

I hope you'll follow Fiber Voodoo to its new home!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I've been Dyeing (dying?)

It's been awhile - lots has happened in the last few weeks. I got inundated with traffic work, while having to do production dye runs for 3 shows in 30 days. Goodness!

The first show was Fiber Market Day, put on by the High Desert Wool Growers here in Prineville. It's always the last Saturday in March, and the weather can be quite variable. We've had blizzards and rain, and this year we had sun! I had purchased half of a friend's booth (she was remodeling her house, and didn't have the energy to do a booth too), so I had a 10 x 15 space. It was pretty cool! I had extra chairs, and people came to sit and hang out - it was very welcoming! This was a very good show!

More of the booth at FMD...

The second show was at the Small Farmer's Journal Draft Horse and Equipment Auction in Madras. It's fun to see the horses and the carts/carriages/wagons and all the other associated stuff. People still use horses to work there farms - there's one in this area with a team of Belgians (like Tang) - they're just awesome. I shared a booth with Sue, and it was located in the barn (i.e., Wind Tunnel).

We did demos of fiber prep, dyeing, spinning, and on Sunday, I warped the Dorset loom with yarn that we'd dyed in the indigo pot I had, and started a scarf. I'm embarrassed to say that it's currently buried, so I can't take a picture, but I tied the skeins in an overhand knot and dyed them. There's some really cool resist areas. I'm using the same yarn (undyed) and slightly smaller grist as the weft, because it's very stretchy. I can't get my usual rhythm because I have to "place" the weft, not whack it. This was a so-so show, but fun.

The last show I went to was the Gathering of the Guilds in Portland. I'm a member of the Portland Handweavers' Guild (remember the pole?), and had a 10 x 10 booth there. It was an interesting show. They have a centralized check-out, so it's hard to keep track of what you sell, especially if you have bulk stuff, like I did. I had silk noil, silk cocoons, mohair, silk hankies and silk top, all of which had to be weighed. This made for long days, as I didn't have a boothmate to cover the weighing job.

I got there Wednesday to help move the Guild equipment in, and set up the bones of my booth then. Thursday, I finished tagging things. Friday, I was there from 8:30 am to 9:15 pm. Saturday, from 9 am to 7:30, and Sunday from 9 am to about 7:30, because I had to load up my stuff, the guild stuff, and then deposit the guild stuff at their storage area. I was whupped. Sorry about photo quality - the big camera's battery was dead, and I had to use my phone. (The fabric on the table is handwoven - mixed cellulose warp, raw silk weft - I can't bring myself to cut it).

As I said, it was hard to keep track of what was selling, though I went through silk cocoons like nobody's business. Who knew?

Yesterday I got my check from PHG. I was astounded. I thought perhaps that I'd sold $4-500 worth of stuff. Nope - it was twice that. Amazing. I don't think people were used to seeing spinning fiber there, and I sold more of that than yarn.

I've also changed out the wheels in my stable. I've lusted after Canadian Production Wheels since the 1994 article in SpinOff by Bill Ralph. In one of those serendipitous moments, I happened to be looking on Ravelry, and there it was... I was toast.  I was able to sell the Country Craftsman (which I still love) to a very good home in Alaska (she loves it, too!), and brought this beauty home:
It's a late 1800's, most likely Vezina CPW. It traveled here from Taos. We're getting used to each other, and working out our differences of opinion (!), but this wheel is fast, fast, fast... I think I've met my match! I'll be cleaning it up and working on some minor issues, but I do like it very much.

My next show is in Hamilton, Montana, the Big Sky Fiber Arts Festival, June 14-16. I've never been to Montana, and this is in the area of the Bitteroot range, and very pretty. It's also in conjunction with their Mule Days, which will be a hoot. If I ever decide to breed Tang (not likely), it will be to a mammoth jack for a large mule foal.

I'm off to make another fiber order so I can go crazy dyeing again... Need to replenish my stock! Here's what's left:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's goin' on!

I always liked that song... Sorry if it becomes an ear worm!

This last 6 weeks has been, well, interesting. Especially in the venue of building the Fiber Voodoo business.

I had started an Etsy shop a few months ago, but didn't have any real action. Until...

I started posting some of the fiber that had been dyed with the funky dyes, and I discounted them heavily. They flew off the shelf. I'd like to think that this lovely is some of the reason:

I was never really satisfied with the quality of the pictures that I could take with my Lumix. Don't get me wrong - it's a great camera. But I come from the SLR world, and found this Canon EOS Rebel XT on Ebay, waiting until the last 2 seconds to bid, and I got it. I have a lot to learn but already, I'm seeing better color, and just better pictures.

To take photos of my product, I purchased some black polar fleece (no reflection), and using that, and my tripod (from my old SLR), and the manual settings I can get photos like this:

True color, crisp definition and it captures the subtle sheen of the bamboo and silk in this top (it's sold...)

I also applied for and received a dealership for Ashland Bay "ecru" products. The top shown above is from them. A friend and I traveled over the mountains to do errands, including picking up my order, in addition to stopping at Columbia Wool Scouring, where I got additional fiber:

Click for big - from top left - Silk Hankies, Camel down*, Superwash BFL, Mohair*, Panda (superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon) Top, Gray BFL/Tussah Top. Coming soon are some Polwarth/Silk yarn, and a Superwash BFL Yarn. Not shown is the Panda yarn, which has been wound into 4 oz. skeins in preparation for dyeing. (*from Columbia; all others from Ashland Bay)

I also have this:

 Cultivated silk, which I get in top from Henry's Attic. Try as I might, I can't get the dye all the way into the center of this top (it's too dense), so I got this:

 A box picker. I can create the fluffed silk shown above very quickly, which will allow the dye to penetrate.

While I am NOT a fan of Art Yarn, I realize there are people out there who are. I aim to provide them with some of the "arty" stuff to put into their bats: dyed silk, mohair and neps. I know, those are the things we pick out of our yarn, I'm getting some from Columbia Scouring - art yarn needs texture, yes?

For my own use, I also have acquired this:

A used Ashford Carder. It works well, and for some socks that I'm planning, it will finish the job of blending that the picker starts, giving me a combo of one of my last remaining sheep's wool and carbonized bamboo. She's gray, the bamboo is charcoal, and it should be wonderful.

I have sent in and paid for 4 festival booths this spring. The first one is March 30, Fiber Market Day. It's low key, but great fun. We have 2 buildings at the fairgrounds, and lots of wonderful vendors. The second is at the Small Farmer's Journal Auction in Madras (still relatively local). I'm subbing for a friend who will be out of the country that weekend. I don't know how much I'll sell, but I'll have all my fiber equipment, including my little loom, as well as all the product, and may get some students out of the deal. The next weekend is the Gathering of the Guilds in Portland. As a member of the Portland Handweavers' Guild, I can have a booth (remember the Pole Dancer?), and have offered to haul guild equipment in my truck to lower the commission that I have to pay. Finally, I had an opportunity to get to Montana the middle week of June for the Big Sky Fiber Arts Festival. I have never been to Montana, and this is in Hamilton, set in the Bitterroot Mountains. I've seen pictures, and they are breath-taking!

I have a couple of shows lined up for the fall, and a couple to look at for late fall/winter, but nothing is firm on those, yet.

It's busy, chaotic, but very exciting!