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!

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for building your business! I'm in the process of doing the same. I have an account with A.B. but it's the one that includes the dyed fibers - but thinking to change that to the Ecru acct only. Are you happy with everything you got from them?

    New equipment is SO expensive. Love the used camera and drum carder. Did you buy your picker new? If so, from where?

    Good luck with it all. I hope you are hugely successful. Love the black background - makes the colors pop!