Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lazy Day!

Today is rainy and chilly enough that all I want to do is hang out in my pajamas on the couch and knit knit knit. Loki (Husky Cross on the right) and June (Chocolate Lab on the left) had the same idea though. We tried really hard in the past to keep them off the furniture but they'd go into ninja mode and slink around waiting for their chance to jump up and hunker down. Now we keep an old blanket up there 24/7 so we can at least pretend they're not going to ruin the couch. I don't have pets, I have furry squatters. But they're great so they get to stay.

Unfortunately my husband's scarf got pushed aside to make some convertible gloves for a friend. He understands though, it's not exactly scarf weather here in the south yet.
The gloves I'm knitting are the Podster Glove by Glenna C. (That link goes to Ravelry, as a heads up just in case you don't have an account yet... and if you don't- why not?) and they've been nicknamed the "Happy Gloves" because the colour of the yarn is impossible to be grumpy around. It's hard to get a decent photo of the shade of greeny yellow, but trust me- it's happy. It's Knitpicks Stroll (back when it was still called Essentials) in Granny Smith:
 Wow. That is a horrible picture. If you want some better shots of the colour here is a link to the yarn search on rav. It's a gorgeous yellow green, but I'm photographically challenged today. The orange line is my stitch marker for the convertible top I'm just about to begin knitting. They're adorable gloves and a great pattern.

In shop related news people began receiving their packages yesterday and I'm so glad everyone is enjoying what they bought! I can't wait to see pictures of all the beautiful yarn and projects people are going to create. I'd love it if you didn't mind sharing! You can reach me here, at the facebook page, on Ravelry (I'm Gnomenapper there) at Etsy and at my e-mail dyeingforewe at gmail dot com. With your permission I'd love to make a post of user created yarn and items.

Happy Spinning/knitting everyone!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cyber Monday: Snap Sale!

Okay I'm giving the whole sale thing another go. Cyber Monday will be Black Friday part 2, minus all the ultra inexpensive priced Corriedale to bring people in the door and the planning and marketing in advance.

Same discounts:
20% off everything, except Clearance which is 50%, and free shipping on everything minus Clearance. 
Starts at 5am est and goes until midnight on the 30th.

I'll ship fast and stay available in case anyone has questions or concerns. Loyalty discount does not apply, and I won't be taking custom orders or holds.

Happy Holidays everyone! I'll be shopping in my PJ's as well!

What was your defining Moment?

When I first started learning how to knit I recall seeing links of yarn online and mind boggling at the prices. I couldn't get over why someone would want to pay $20 for a ball of yarn (and in some cases more!)

Does this sound familar? I bet you get asked all the time why you spend as much money as you do on the fiber you spin, or the yarn you buy. You may even remember the defining moment when you went from boggling at prices and changed into someone who *gets* the love and why we do what we do.

My defining moment was when my Mum (You may know her as Weeverwoman a wonderful fine weaver, and the past president of the Canadian Guild of Weavers for oh... a kabillion years?) realised how bored I was in North Carolina, far from my family and friends in Canada, and sent me a care package with: a spindle, a big bag of merino, border leicester and blue face leicester, a niddy noddy and half a dozen books on spinning. I had been teaching myself to knit (again) and I'm guessing she knew the fiber bug was laying dormant in my genes and just needed a gentle push to get started. When I was 16 she tried to teach me how to weave, and I'm ashamed to admit all I did was act like a petulent child and banged the shuttle around beating the poor fiber far too hard. Many years later she admitted to getting up in the middle of the night, taking apart my table runner and re weaving it for me. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

Back to my revelation. I put my hand into the big bag of Louet merino and it was like the heavens opened up and an angel chorus started to sing. I swear I swooned and possibly drooled a tiny bit, then promptly forced my husband to "Touch this!" That was pretty much it, I was hooked for life. All the past generations of fiber loving dna woke up and I've been obsessed ever since.
At the same time she sent me some of her own handspun:
Sort of like a "See, you can do this too!" inspiration. Boy did it inspire! I still have that skein actually, it's gorgeously soft, wonderfully hugable and far too precious for me to use on anything but the perfect project.

Now my favorite part of any project is the fiber and yarn. I love touching wool, dyeing it and turning it into something unique, then spinning it up and watching how the colours add to the already inherent texture and beauty in the fiber. I think back on that $20 ball of wool and I can completely, and without hesitation, understand why anyone would spend that much money on a one of a kind work of fiber art that provides as much joy in your hands as it does in the final product. Handspun and hand painted yarn is a mystery when you knit, and watching how the texture and colour turns out in a final project is worth every penny, and more.

When someone asks me why I don't just buy my yarn at Wal-mart, or why do I spend weeks and weeks knitting a sweater when I could get it for half the price, I typically just smile and nod. How can you explain yarn as art to someone who probably won't be able to understand until they have their own moment of revelation? It may also explain why I'm so eager to help others learn how to knit, spin and dye. I was lucky someone took the time to help me find something that gives me such happiness and joy- and the idea of bringing that to someone else? Makes me giddy.

The love of yarn and fiber is different for everyone. This is just my story, and I would LOVE to hear yours!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Update: Black Friday Sale 2010

All packages are in the capable hands of the US Postal service (and some on to the slower hands of Canada post- eep) and will hopefully arrive in a timely manner. I ship though paypal which sends an e-mail with the tracking information (on domestic orders only, unfortunately International doesn't get insurance/delivery tracking options) so feel free to stalk your items! If you didn't get an e-mail let me know and I can send you your tracking information.

Thank-you again everyone, I can't wait to hear all the feedback once you receive your package.
I decided to keep the free shipping on every item (minus clearance) in the shop. Happy Holidays!

Now I have plans to do nothing but sit on my bum and knit on this scarf (with Berroco Ultra Alpaca) for my husband.  Isn't it funny that no matter how long you've been knitting you still end up knitting scarves?

Focus on a Fiber Artist: VTKnitboy (Chris French)

Remember when I mentioned one of my favorite things to do is oogle, work with and drool over the work of other fiber artists? That is going to turn in to a (hopefully) once a week blog post highlighting someone that I admire, respect and adore for their art and creativity. I'd love it if this helps bring some people to light that others may not have noticed!

VTKnitboy/ Chris French!

First up is VTKnitboy, (as many know him on Twitter ) also known as Chris French on Facebook (You can also find him by searching for Chrisinvermont) and VTKnitboy on etsy. Whew! Oh wait! He has a blog as well right here. You may notice his etsy shop is empty, but that is because he does the majority of his sales though facebook normally. Not to mention his yarns sell *fast*.

Chris is a gorgeous spinner and artist with an unique skill of being able to take any fiber and turn it in to a beautiful natural and earthy looking yarn. Chris could probably take a neon pink fiber and end up with something that has a wonderful natural charm that others may not have been able to see in the original product. His methods are his own, but they almost always seem to involve blending fibers to create a unique and interesting end product.
Let me show you some examples: (All Photos are credit: Chris French 2010 and used with permission.)

 Don't you just want to pet them all? I only pulled a small sampling of his November skeins but if you follow him on Twitter/Facebook you can see more of his yarns and knitting projects.

VTKnitboy/Chris has a style that I can see a picture of and instantly thing "Oh hey, that must be Chris!". It's one part earthy, one part fuzzy bunny goodness (Did I mention he also raises angora rabbits and uses their fiber in his yarns?), all added to a liberal dose of yummy handspun texture. The fiber world is a wonderful and eclectic place full of anything from crazy art yarns with amazing bright colours and instant visual appeal (and sometimes head scratching as to how you'd use it), to the natural and usable silent yarns that knit up into a gorgeous rustic end product that would be at home in any winter wardrobe staple. When it comes to the latter, Chris really excels. It would probably be impossible for his yarns to create anything that isn't comfortable, soft and rustic looking, and it's a thing of art!

I hope you enjoyed my first ever Focus on a Fiber Artist!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Sale Update: Thank-you!!


I'm finding myself lacking for words everyone. Although a word that keeps coming to mind over and over is: Thank-you!
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Truly. Here I was worrying my Black Friday sale would be like throwing a party and no would would come, but instead I found myself getting up at 730am and having one of the warmest (and busiest) days I've ever had. Now I don't mean warm as in a temperature, but warm as in 'I'm covered in happy fuzzy feelings of wonderment and joy' sort of thing.

Okay I'm gushing I know. But seriously, everything started off with the adorable Jennypie waking up early just for lil ol'me and my fiber, and then it was just one friend and customer after another coming out to support my little shop. Heck even my parents called me from Canada to find out about items, and I was fielding messages from friends sending me good wishes and asking how my first annual Black Friday was going.

Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you!

Now on to today.
This was my wrapping and shipping station half way through the day (I'm a bit anal about being organised.)
 Everything I needed to wrap and ship. You can't see my laptop is to the right so I could keep checking and printing off invoices and shipping labels.
Funny thing? I still managed to lose a pen somewhere. Sooo.. if you find a pen in your package, um. Sorry?

This was packages prepared and ready by 230. When an order came in, it was packaged as soon as I could. (I am a package stalker afterall, so fast shipping is important to me.) I'm proud to say everything ordered by 330pm is already in the capable hands of the US Postal service. I wish I got a photo of my favorite Postal worker. Friday is always a busy day for packages, nevermind it being the start of holiday shipping- but the poor guy had *also* been up since midnight because his wife dragged him to the Wal-Mart Black Friday sale and they shopped until 6am! Apparently Wal-mart was giving out energy drinks. Crazy.

Whoops, tangent.

Just a gentle nudge- my Black Friday Sale is still on until Midnight. Free shipping and 20% off some great fibers. I always find it fascinating when my personal favorites stick around so long. For instance? Valentina was my favorite of the Corriedale braids, and it was the last one to go! Stormy , Lakehouse and Tidal are my favorite braids, and they're still in the shop. I have no clue why I seem to fall in love with the ones that don't sell for awhile, but it's a habit of mine. The gradient fingering weight yarns were some of my favorite things I've done, and yet they stuck around until I offered the 50% off clearance. Shine-on is still around.

Okay. Time to see if there are still any good deals left out there, I have a feeling I'll be waiting until Cyber Monday to find anything though. I'd love to buy fiber from some other dyers, but I haven't seen many good sales out there. Anyone have any they recommend?

Hmm. I guess I wasn't lacking in words after all.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have much to be thankful for in my life. My family, while small, is full of wonderful people. My Mum and Dad  are two of the most caring, loving, patient and encouraging people anyone could ever meet. I am thankful for my husband and our trio of 4 legged fuzzy bums who keep my world happy and fun. I am also thankful for all my friends, online and off. In a world full of sadness, heartbreak, desperation and lack of hope- I'm a truly lucky girl to know so many amazing, unique, fun and supportive people.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!
(June appears to be thankful for parents who let her sleep on the couch.)

Now what is that? You want to see my latest handspun yarn? Well shucks, who am I to deny such a request ;) 
 Here are my last 3 updates before the sale hits tomorrow morning! 

 Dusk: Falkland slubby thick and thin. Slightly fuzzy, but full of hugability. (Erm. You hug your yarns too right?)

Blood Orange is a heavy worsted single ply falkland yarn. I love the color intensity in this yarn, and am becoming addicted to single ply. I haven't used Malabrigo (I know I know! It's not sold at any of the yarn stores around me) or Manos del Uruguay, but I have used Berroco Jasper and loved every minute of it. I've almost always plyed my handspun, but I may be branching out a bit now! (Always a good thing right?)

Twisted is a Corriedale top that I hand painted (Some may remember "Little Boy Blue"?) and wrapped in thread. It created a really unique one of a kind art yarn that I was planning on using to make a hat or something, but never got around to it. My Black Friday Sale is a way for me to clear out some stock, so I gingerly added this prize to the bunch. I added it to clearance because I know it'll require an adventurous home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Falkland, Silk and Handspun- Oh my!

In preparation for Friday I'm spinning up a storm (and loving it!)
What do I love as much as dyeing my own fiber? Spinning fiber I purchased from other dyers! I purchased a bunch of falkland braid from the talented Pumpkinhaus and got to spinning last night. To say I'm addicted is an understatement, although I have to admit that every time I try a new wool it usually becomes my favorite thing ever. Falkland is great though, it is soft (I'd wear it next to my skin for instance, but I'm not overly wool sensitive) and yet doesn't seem to sacrifice much in the way of durability for its softness. I did a bit of reading on Falkland and this stuck out at me:

"This magical spinning fiber is from the Falkland Islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The wool is extremely white will dye very well! The fiber strength is generally high yet the wool is soft to handle.  Falkland wool beautiful and is very white naturally.  There are no known sheep diseases on the islands that require dipping-so they are not dipped in any chemical bath. This wool is processed in Italy using snow melt from the Alps enhancing it's whiteness, we're not kidding!  Approx 5 inch staple, this wool will amaze you, don't be fooled by the low price! This top like all our other wools are ready to spin on a wheel or drop spindle."
I don't know where my exact Falkland was sourced/processed, but that is an interesting read. Green wool!

 This is Spicy- a super slubby thick and thin Falkland Handspun yarn.

Pistachio- another thick and thin slubby yarn, but with less drastic slubs than Spicy. The green tones range from a pale pistachio to a lovely sage.

Picking a favorite handspun is like picking a favorite child, but I'm majorly in love with this silvery grey Brushed Metal single worsted handspun. The extra twist will give it tons of life in any project. I'm known for pulling things from the shop when I get the urge to use them, and this may make it to the top of the pull list. But I've got about a kabillion projects on the go presently.

Have you ever spun a merino/tussah silk blend? It's like heaven on your hands. I find the top isn't indicative of the end yarn product. It can be a bit fuzzy and dull as a top, but once you start spinning it (without even a tad of pre-drafting) it's like butter slipping through your hands as it spins up into a gorgeous smooth, soft and shiny yarn. It's in my top 3 of things to spin for sure.

I didn't have much of Pride to spin (2oz) but what I had was wonderful! Pictures don't do all the colours justice, there is a ton of heathering and red, yellows etc. in this yarn. If you want to give merino/tussah silk a shot I know you can buy it from one of my favorite shops International Fleeces. The colourways she has are glorious. That website is a wealth of information and full of many yummy fiber types. I have spent many an hour pouring over all the different helpful links provided as well. The guru behind the shop is also an amazingly helpful and kind person who I can't say enough good things about.

Last but not least!
Bulky Orange Creamsicle is a "fine wool" blend that I found fun to spin. It's soft and durable seeming, quick to felt and quite springy and elastic. I have another Orange Creamsicle in the shop with a lot more orange than this yarn. Odd how that turns out eh? (Eh! My Canadian is showing.)

What are your favorite fibers to spin?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First Annual Black Friday Sale!!

Why am I posting the details early? Because I would LOVE it if you could share with others that may be interested. I guess I'm kind of worried it'll be like throwing a party and no one shows up. If it's a bust, I'll continue things on until the end of Monday (Cyber Monday).

Okay with no further ado here are the Black Friday Sale details!
Starting 8am est on November 26th and going until Midnight of the 27th est (as stock allows, and possibly longer.)
-Free USA and Canada shipping (on all but clearance items.) Inexpensive International shipping. 
-50% off all Clearance items! (See why I can't afford to give free shipping on these? ha.)
-Remember all those Corriedale braids I've been dyeing like a mad woman? $7.99. Yup. $7.99!
-20% off everything else! All prices will be as marked because of a mod I will be using. No need to wait for a paypal refund. (Yay!)

Now there are a few catches I should mention:
-Unfortunately these can not be combined with the 10% loyalty discount.
-No holds or reservations on items, I apologise for all the pst people that things start at 5am your time. But heck, if this thing is a bust it shouldn't be a big deal right?
-I would appreciate if you would pay in a timely manner. I will cancel sales that sit unpaid for more than 2 hours.
-No custom orders on the 26-30th. What there is is exactly what I have.
-I have zero clue how this is going to go, but normally I get shipping out in an timely manner. I'm going to try not to break that. I don't ship on weekends so that gives me until Monday to prep packages. I'll be working hard to keep shipping quick!
-I can't make any guarantees of when your items will arrive, especially to Canada and International. I have a package I've been waiting on from Canada that is in to it's third week and still no show. No clue what is up with Canada, but Australia shipping is even faster lately. Sorry about that, I have absolutely no pull with Canada post. (Or any post for that matter. Eep.)
-I'm going to be using the application "Etsy on Sale" and I know it can have a few bugs here and there. I'll be double checking to make sure all prices get changed to their sale price.

I'm still spinning (and have plans to card) so hopefully I'll be able to stock up some more items between now and the 26th. Please keep checking for new stock if you don't see anything you like! Oh and tell a friend? Pretty please?

Oh yeah, and hit me up with any other super sales. Heaven knows I'll be shopping too! *dances*

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Package Stalking

Days like today I feel a tad guilty that we have such wonderful weather, and others are already tired of the cold and snow.
(Apologies for the dark cellphone picture, my camera is currently in Georgia with the hubby, who I refer to as G most of the time.)

Kind of dark, but you get the picture. It's sunny, kind of leafy, yet you can get away with jeans and a t shirt. I've been riding my scooter in a down vest and fingerless mitts. I don't normally have to turn on my AC or heat in October, but no heat in November is starting to feel a bit weird. I'm a Vancouver girl (rain) who lived in Ontario (cold, snow snow snow) for 2 years so I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I do love me the south where right about now the worst thing I have to worry about is gusts of wind creating mini leaf tornadoes. Although, my neighborhood really needs an eager child who is willing to rake my leaves for a reasonable price. (I'm hoping if I put that out there, one will show up.)

Now for a horrible segway into what I really wanted to talk about: Package stalking. I'm a package stalker of the worst kind. I probably should join some sort of self help group for my insane need to hover over any tracking information I receive for something I've ordered online. (I do the majority of my shopping online because I live in the country.)
I thought perhaps I could share the warning signs of a package stalking issue (or non issue. I actually kind of like the thrill of the wait some times. It makes your package even more exciting when you get it right?)

You May Be a Package Stalker If:
-You check the status of your shipment multiple times a day. (Or hour)
-You have a chair within view of your mailbox so you can see when the post arrives.
-Approximate length of time to deliver to obscure parts of the country? You know them.
-You wake up hopeful that "today may be the day it arrives!"

Righto. Now I just feel lame, but you know you do it too! Admit it and you shall be free.... to stalk your packages. ;)

Feel free to add more warning signs of package stalking in the comments!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Once Upon a Time a Girl Dreamed of Swimming in Fiber....

(Did the fiber draw you in? Because if so, we're like souls.)

You've possibly come from my Etsy Shop: Dyeing For Ewe, stumbled across me through some sort of fibery site, found my twitter: Dyeingforewe, (and my personal twitter: Gnomenapper) or found me through my Facebook page: Dyeing For Ewe. You probably have some idea of who I am and what I do by now, but just in case: Hi! I'm Gnomey, sometimes known as Carrie, and can frequently be found dyeing fiber and spinning yarn. Pleased to meet you! I've had a blog on Livejournal for many years now, but thought I should join something a bit easier to personalize. Here I am.
I love what I do. If I'm not spinning fiber I'm obsessing over dyeing fiber or purchasing more fiber to dye/spin. One of my favorite things to do is to oogle the art of my fellow dyers and spinners, or shoot the breeze with fellow fibery folks. It's my art and passion and come by it honestly through my blood.

I also love scooters, and every Etsy purchase from my shop gets a free scooter ride on it's way to the Post Office. Think of it as your fiber/yarn getting to live on the wild side a bit before finding its way into your safe hands.

I'm currently keeping busy getting things ready for my first annual Black Friday sale on the 26th, and will update with teasers as I unveil them. Please consider buying handmade or hand making gifts for people on your holiday gift lists this year. It doesn't have to be from me (although I'd be honored if it was). Think about buying locally, or supporting small businesses as you contemplate what gifts you will be giving this season and what supplies you need to hand craft your item.

Now to get you drooling, here is some of what I've been working on recently, found in my shop of course.

My dream one day is to have a pile of yarn and fiber big enough to jump in and swim around a bit.