Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Random Entry about My Dogs' Names

This is the silliest thing to complain about, considering they're both happy, healthy and wonderful pups. But I really dislike Odin and Loki's names. They don't suit them one bit, and lately it seems every second dog I see online has the name Loki or Odin. My ex named them, I had no input to be honest. Odin was either going to be Haggis or Odin, and Loki I just agreed to because I didn't want to fight and we were in the bad end bit of the relationship. Plus both were *his* dogs so I didn't really have much of a right, I guess. (Although he didn't even consider keeping either once we broke up, but that worked out good for me in the end. No way was I leaving them.) They feel pretentious, and sometimes I feel a bit silly when someone asks their name and I say "Um.. Loki and Odin." Then they say "Aren't those God names?" and I sheepishly say "Yeah. Norse Gods."  And then I feel dumb and pretentious while Odin licks his balls and Loki fancy prances. The opposite of Gods. They're more like:
-Angus (aka Odin. He'd fancy a pint down at the pub after a long day of working on the farm. He's a good looking stud who works hard and likes to relax at the end of the day)

-..and Horatio (aka Loki. He's my fancy lad. He'd wear a lapel corsage to a fancy dress party and take Salsa dancing lessons.)

Anyways. Just saying. I dislike their names. One day I really want to be able to pick out a pet and name it. I've always been given/rescued my animals, but it would be nice one day to have my English Bulldog. I'll probably be 60, but it will happen!

Oh wait. I have named animals mind you! I named my kitty Frida in Vancouver (who was a random gift from a friend after my bird died and I was depressed. He thought a cat would help close the wound.) I named Carrot and Cabbage, my two wild kitties as well.
Maybe it's not about choosing the animal, but rather having the animal choose you? One day an english bulldog will choose me though, right?

Now I'm going to love on my pups because I feel bad for saying I hate their names. :(

For the record? June's name suits her perfectly!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2011: The Year of the Non Boring Prattle?

I was on the phone with my Mum yesterday and she said "I thought your blog was going to be more stories and stuff, not you just trying to sell things." It annoys me to no end when all someone does on twitter etc. is post etsy updates and such and it appalls me that I've been so busy lately that is basically what my blog has become. I blame the holidays.... but really I need to blame myself. I'm boring now! Where is the super dramatic reinterpretation of real world events that most people wouldn't even think to tell their partner if it happened to them?
(Random tangent: I chat all day at my @gnomenapper twitter, but I know that bothers some so I leave @dyeingforewe mainly shop things. Feel free to come chat with me!)

Gosh I can turn even the most boring event (say... walking the dog) into a multi arc blog post (haunted house!). 
I have lost my way.
Thankfully Boxing Day is almost over, and with it my last sale and obligation to myself to make my first holiday season on etsy a good one.... and time to get back to the idle prattle I am known for. Just to make sure it's not an incredibly boring prattle, I've taken up a new hobby! (Wait for it...)
I am the first to admit that despite having a Mum who creates museum pieces with her looms, I know absolutely NOTHING about weaving. I've been tootling around the internet reading up (after I bought the loom of course, because that makes the most sense) and keep having "aha!" moments when someone refers to something that I didn't even consider would be part of the process. I thought I'd just magically have it all together and get to do the fun part with the beater (yup, beater. Love it!) and the end process. There is a lot more to it then that. So pretty much prepare yourself for my defeats and minor victories as I learn the ins and out of my new 15" Schacht Flip loom.  
Will this interfere with my dyeing and spinning?
Possibly. But it's the slow season coming up right? Plus I have 3 bins of yarn. BIG BINS. So I figure this will help me with my stash. I have vast hopes of weaving handspun items full of rustic charm. That is the plan at least.

Oh right, and we got snow but I rode my scooter anyways. Take that Mother Nature! The power of the salt trucks and snow plows left me with nice clean roads for a bit today and I took advantage of it. (When Irma would start, it wasn't looking good for a bit.)

(Okay. I know perfectly well that last bit was ultra random, but I was really impressed with myself for going out on the roads so I had to brag. )

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate) and great holidays (whatever you do celebrate) and will have an amazing 2011!!

Photos are from today and taken by my husband. 

First Christmas day snowfall in our area since 1959!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Last Batch of Updates Before the Boxing Day Sale! (December 26th)

Whew! I think I just about heard the buzzer ring as the sun went down and I was scrambling to get semi decent photos of the last few shop updates. Hope you guys like! First I'd like to give the details of the Boxing Day Sale!

-$7.99 corriedale braids
-$3.00 flat rate shipping within NA no matter how many items you buy
-30% off all handspun
-50% off clearance
-20% off all braids and batts (aside from corriedale)
-Still gladly winding center pull cakes for anyone that requests such at checkout

-8am to midnight
-Please no additional discounts (ie coupon codes)
-Prices will be as marked. Sometimes the etsy on sale app can take a minute or two to update, but I'll refund any sales (to their sale price) made before the prices are all changed
-No holds, please pay within 2 hours of purchase.

Okay now time to share the updates! I'm planning a special "Focus On" blog entry, but I apologise that it is late this week.

 First up I had to share my hands after dyeing the next two braids. Rainbow fingers! (I ran out of gloves.. eep!)

 Rainbow 1 on Falkland
 Rainbow 2 on Falkland
 Slither on Romney
 Wetlands 1 on Romney
 Wetlands 2 on Romney
 Wild Child 1 on Wensleydale
Wild Child 2 on Wensleydale

Candy Dish. 80 yards of an approximate DK weight thick and thin handspun art yarn from a batt drum carded by Pumpkinhaus!

Now to wrap the last of the gifts and relax before getting up early to drive to my MiL's house in Greensboro tomorrow morning. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Braids!

All are hand painted Corriedale. Also a blast from the past is giving me major photo problems. I re did Willy Wonka! 2 braids (8oz) of that are waiting on me to figure out how to get my little Fuji point and click to capture the super bright fuschia, purple, yellow and aqua.  It's not an exact replica because I changed up the purple and there is less colour mixing- but here is what the first version looked like all spun up as a 2 ply:

It's bright and will make for an ultra fun yarn. Fingers crossed that I get some good light tomorrow!

Now for the new braids I just listed:
 Cordial: Brown, pale purples, cream and maroon

 Garden Gnome 1- Red, navy, green and brown.

 Garden Gnome 2. I love these two. They're quite dark, but they have a cool vintaged edge that I really like.

 Vertigo: Butter yellow, black, orangey red and pink. This was a random colour whim that turned out quite neat (If I do say so myself.)

Wetlands: Sandy brown, navy blue, mossy green and hints of white.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boxing Day Sale! (My Canadian roots are showing)

My darling husband was a tad concerned over why I was excited about him leaving for the evening to play poker, until he saw me put a bunch of fiber on to soak. Corriedale in this instance.
Hmm... why would Gnomey be dyeing a bunch of Corriedale you ask? (Or didn't, but I'm going to pretend you did.)

In Canada we have an awesome shopping day on the 26th of December called Boxing Day. I have no clue how it started, but its always been the day Canadians go out en masse and spend all their Holiday money and gift cards. Malls are a disaster with line-ups galore as heavy coat wearing Canucks go and spend their gift cards and holiday cash on items they didn't receive on their holidays... and the retailers put on amazing sales and door crashers to entice.
I'm Canadian by birth, raised and lived in Vancouver for 25 years until I went a bit crazy and decided to move to Kingston Ontario to try out someplace new. (Cold, ugh, not my cup of tea. Although I did meet one of my best friends there, so it was worth the cold.) I loved Ottawa with a passion. Ice skating on the Rideau Canal while eating frozen maple syrup and beaver tails with my friend Sheila will forever go down in my top life memories.

Whoops, tangent. I'm going to have a Boxing Day sale! I can't do a Black Friday sale and not honour my roots without Boxing Day afterall.

I'll give more info as I work like a busy bee this week to get items ready to stock in to the store but I hope some of you will take a look on the 26th to see what items you can treat yourself with. Any nationality is allowed of course! No heavy coat or hoard of fellow shoppers to fend through either

Thursday, December 16, 2010


On Thusday (today) December 16th and Friday December 17th all North American purchases will receive:

Items will be shipped no later than Saturday December 18th and mailed via USPS First class (up to 13oz) and Parcel post (above 13oz)
I wish I could promise arrival by Christmas for certain, but unfortunately I'm unable. Canadian shipments are taking a long time at present (and have been for a while actually). USPS has been really quick with shipments within the US so far though.
*fingers crossed*

Thanks everyone, and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I have a dream!

Fiber folks unite!
Now you're wondering what the heck I'm on about eh? Bear with my enthusiasm a second here and keep reading. This all stems from something I read online ( a while back, so I don't have a clue where unfortunately) about how one person raised the sheep, sold wool to another person who dyed the wool, who sold to another person to spun the yarn who then sold to someone who knit an item from the yarn and sold it. The idea of an interconnected series of artists/fiber lovers has always appealed to me ever since. It adds value to the items for me, not just because of the individual stages, but because I know that each person was fellow artisan approved.

Who knows good work more than fellow fiber artists/enthusiasts? We're all a big interconnected bunch when you think on it. I buy from fellow dyers/spinners/fiber producers as much as I'm able, and turn it into something I can then sell myself (giving credit when I can.) It's a hard economy out there, and building relationships is as important as finding good materials to work with. The idea of creating a network of people who support and publicize each other is a dream of mine.
How would this work and what are the benefits of being in each step?

Someone sells the initial fiber such as this wonderful BFL Humbug I purchased from International Fleeces. (or a local farm where you get the wool from raw.) She has wonderful fiber from all over the world, not to mention wheels and all sorts of wonderful items related to fiber prep spinning and weaving.

The next stage (if you desire. I may not dye this humbug) is the dyeing. Check out these braids I purchased from Urban Gypz (Top is Morrels on a superwash merino/seacell blend. Bottom is Little Giraffe on Superwash BFL). If these were batts the dyer would most likely be the fiber processor as well.
Yummy right? Her work is gorgeous. I describe it as an impressionist painting on fiber.

Up next is the spinning!
I spun this thick and thin yarn from a Falkland braid I purchased from Pumpkinhaus on etsy. Which would have started off as white top like this:
In selling the yarn I gladly give credit to the dyer, because it's her art I spun, and hopefully enhanced by putting my own unique spin on it. In addition to the actual spinning, I chose to make it a thick and thin. If this was spun as a 2 ply it would be much different and so on. This also gives me the chance to give a bit of a kudo to Pumpkinhaus, and the ability to direct traffic her way and support a fellow artisan.

Final stage is the knitting/crochet/weaving. I didn't knit this hat from handspun (it's charcoal grey Lamb's Pride) but it suits as a stand in. (The pattern is the Knotty But Nice Hat I would never sell this as it belongs to my husband now, and the pattern was not my own.)

I wish I had a handspun item to show, because they're incredibly lovely in their individuality and uniqueness. If/when I ever sell a handspun item, I will also gladly give credit to the spinner/dyer if they were not me. It's just good form and a wonderful way to support each other (in my opinion of course.) I wouldn't want to take credit for someone else's work either.

Don't you just love the stages, ins and outs and opportunities to get to know fellow fiber lovers work and support each other? As the work in the fiber increases, the value does as well. The initial producer typically earns the least, with the final product holding the most possible outcome (and probably the longest holding time.) But as the work increases this makes sense.
I'd love to be able to be a part of a interconnected process like the one I spoke about in the beginning of this post. Think about the opportunities for creativity, support and marketing (because really, at the end of the day we all need to make more money to be able to buy more fiber/yarn/hats/sheep etc.) Considering each stage has a blog/twitter/friends/family/regular customers that is more publicity for your role in the process and opportunities in the future.

One day! <3 I know so many fabulous dyers/knitter/spinners/shops online at present, it could just become a reality in time.

What do you think? Is this something that interests you? Would you like to buy an item from someone you know has the backing and support of other fibery folks? Does the idea of an item woven, or knit, with yarn that originated in an artist filled series of stages appeal more to you in the end?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To My Fellow Dog Lovers

This poem has been sitting on my computer for awhile, and I stumbled across it today and thought I'd share. Unfortunately I have no clue where I originally found it, but if you happen to know I'll gladly give attribution to the proper site/person.

My dogs live here, they're here to stay.
you don't like pets, be on your way.
they share my home, my food, my space
this is their home, this is their place.

You will find dog hair on the floor,
they will alert you're at the door.
they may request a little pat,
a simple "no" will settle that.

It gripes me when I hear you say
"just how is it you live this way?
they smell, they shed, they're in the way.."
WHO ASKED YOU? is all I can say..

They love me more than anyone,
my voice is like the rising sun,
they merely have to hear me say
"C'mon girls, time to go and play"

then tails wag and faces grin,
they bounce and hop and make a din.
They never say "no time for you",
they're always there, to GO and DO.

and if I'm sad? They're by my side
and if I'm mad? they circle wide
and if I laugh, they laugh with me
they understand, they always see.

so once again, I say to you
come visit me, but know this too..
My dogs live here, they're here to stay.
you don't like pets, be on your way.
they share my home, my food, my space
this is their home, this is their place..


Saturday, December 11, 2010

The House that is Not to Be, Ninja Discount and Knitting- Oh my!

 (Let the doggie cuteness lead you in!)

Today started out on a hopeful note. My husband and I weren't looking to move, and certainly not a last minute move, but when he saw a large house available in town we called to take a look just because. The price was right and the lady seemed super nice. I was excited at the thought of a larger house (our space here is feeling extremely limited.) and being in town near shops and people. Sidewalks to walk my dogs on? Heaven.

I'm guessing by now you figured out it's not going to work out. It's such a shame really, because the house is wonderful. Lots of charm, huge kitchen and the master bedroom is like two huge rooms put together. But? The previous inhabitants were cleaning challenged. When you walked in all you could smell was overwhelming cat pee (a smell that instantly makes me gag. I can't get over it, it's probably the grossest smell in the world to me.) and it was just disgustingly dirty. It had *perfect* studio space, office for G and a great sun room. But I can't get over the smell. Plus the idea of moving on such short notice during the Holidays doesn't seem like a bright idea for anything but the perfect house.
Ah well, this house is fine and hopefully the next time we move it's into our *own* place.

Thanks for bearing with me as I rambled about houses- and in order to keep something bright about today I'm going to do a random ninja discount! (I did say stay tuned to the blog for contests and such right?)
The next person to purchase something will get their entire order 35% off  
(I will refund by paypal. Does not include shipping, but keep in mind I always refund any excess over $1).
I'm currently sitting at 147 sales, so #148 (and however many items they purchase) will get a treat discount!

Now, what are you working on fiber wise? I'm still on my knitting kick and cast on for an Ingenue sweater in a dark brown Wool of the Andes called Bittersweet. I'm hoping for something warm and versatile and this sweater has been on my radar for a bit now.

I finished the hubby yearly scarf. thank goodness! I had 2 hanks of Berroco Ultra Alpaca and just kept knitting until they were done, but boy do those puppies have a bunch of yardage. The scarf is like 8ft long!

...and the Happy Gloves for Rainne recently as well.

I'm thinking tonight will be spinning up a fun batt I got from Pumpkinhaus or more sweater knitting. Decisions Decisions!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Ball Pit Full of Yarn and Fiber!

What is with the whole swimming in yarn and fiber thing? Let me try to explain...
I live in the country with a limited amount of yarn stores within a reasonable driving time. One of the first times I went to a full on proper yarn shop with recognisable brands like Berroco, Cascade, Debbie Bliss, Noro etc. put me in yarn bliss. I walked around touching everything that I'd only read about online for ages. My poor Mother in Law was incredibly patient with the yarn obsessed loony quietly walking around the store in awe.
Does this sound overly dramatic? Maybe a tad I suppose, but in my brain I was this overwhelmed. It was similar when I'd walk around the Royal Ontario Museum in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) all by my lonesome in awe of eveything I saw. Except this was better, I could *touch* everything!
Somehow that day turned into some weird obsession (which started as a joke fantasy) with being able to take all those balls of yarn and making a ball pit on the ground that I could swim and roll around in.

I'm only half joking about this too. One day wouldn't that be awesome?

I shall leave you with an adorable gnome photo that I stole from Weever's blog Thrums. It's her photo, but I'm sure she expected me to steal it, knowing my gnome relocating obsession. (Well, past obsession. I'm in gnome relocation rehab. This will be my first gnomenapping in 4 years.)

Photo belongs to Weeverwoman 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Geek Flag is Flying High: World of Warcraft Inspired Colourways

I may not have time to play World of Warcraft anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't have fond memories and excitement over a new expansion. The draw to play again has hit me *hard* but I'm really proud of myself for resisting. This is the *first* time since the game launch (I played from day 1, and even before. I had a little pink haired gnome mage in the beta.) that I haven't been up late installing and leveling like a mad woman.
Right. Resisting. I miss my Bloodstorm Elites guild friends (most are some of the best people you can meet in game! If you're looking to get into a Horde raiding guild on Dalaran, give them a boo), but I know that if I played again I wouldn't be able to focus on my love of fiber and dyeing. Something always has to give eh?
I may be resisting, but I still wanted to show a bit of love to World of Warcraft by making a line of WoW inspired kettle dyed fibers! You don't have to be a gamer to enjoy the colours, you can always rename them when you get them home if Ironforge or Durotar isn't your thing. ;)

This was one of my personal new favorites Ragnaros on Wensleydale. It reminds me of a flickering flame as it goes from goldy yellow to a burnt orange.  Imagine my surprise when I was contacted to recreate this colourway on Falkland! Yummy. It was a fun experiment and with the exact same dye mix to fiber proportion, but on a different fiber type. The different is subtle, but noticeable for sure.

Ragnaros on Falkland is more orange, less gold with the soft eco loveliness of Falkland. Top is spoken for, the bottom two are reseved.
My other favorite colourway was Ironforge. I'm a sucker for a good grey/silver.

Ironforge on Wensleydale I loved it so much I decided to do the Falkland experiment with this colourway as well.

 Ironforge on Falkland. Bit more subtle in the greys, but that could also be from the kettle dyeing.
Okay, less talking and more sharing eh? I'll just post pictures with links.

 Draenei on Corriedale. An electric blue with pink hints throughout. (There is 8oz of this.)

 Ashenvale on Falkland. Yummy mossy green tones.

 Durotar on Falkland Maybe I was reaching with this name, but as I played a Tauren Druid I needed a bit of horde representation and the colours made me think of the Troll starting zone.

 Netherweave Cloth on Corriedale (8oz of this available) Tulip pink to a deep amethyst pink.

 Voidwalker on Romney Dark navy to light navy blue.

Death Knight on Romney was going to go back into the dyepot. My first thought when it was dry was "Well, that's not what I expected." But my husband was instantly in love and said I should give it a chance. Maroon to pinkish red with bits of brown here and there. Death Knight is an acquired taste, just like the class itself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Focus on a Fiber Artist: Fateful Fiber!

Fateful Fiber is the new etsy shop on the block, and you may think that means it's a tad bit early to focus on right? Not at all! Why can I recommend this shop with absolutely no reservations? Because I've been lucky enough to be friends with the artist behind the shop for at least 2 years now, and she's a lovely soul with wonderful taste. Not just that, but she's a complete gem of a kind hearted person, and that is 100% the sort of shop I'd love to get behind.

Fateful Fiber is a brand new shop specializing in handspun yarns, fingerless gloves and "other amusements". I also know for a fact that she's busy trying to source fun geeky inspired "amusements" (I won't say what it is, since they're her idea and I don't think the idea is out in the masses yet) but they will be cute and unique.

Okay enough with the gushing, check out some of these yarns! (all photos used with permission and are copyright Fateful Fiber 2010)
 This is something she's called DFTBA which stands for "Dandelions Fly Through Blue Air" and also "Don't Forget to be Awesome", which probably has some geeky reference that I'm ashamed not to know. But isn't it gorgeous? *swoon*

This is Harry Dresden, from a series of books that I've been meaning to read *forever* but will probably enjoy reading far more when I'm fondling this yarn at the same time.
Um. Fondling sounds so... creepy guy next door. I mean petting, or hugging.
Give Fateful Fiber a lookeloo, or add it to your circle to keep up to date on her gorgeous creations. I know she'll be adding more in time since she's just gotten started. Welcome to Etsy Fateful Fiber! I can't wait to see what you add next.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Art of the Batt

What is this batt thing all about? It's just a poofy sheet of fiber! How do I spin it, WHY do I want to spin from it when top is so nicely layed out for me all ready?
But then again, those poofy layers are super pretty, and gosh all those wonderful fibers in one place?

Sound familar? Don't you worry, you're not alone. One of the questions I'm asked the most, easily, is about batts. I'm not an expert in this field, but I thought I'd help demystify the whole concept for you.

This is a batt that I *just* finished carding. It's about a kabillion different colours and fiber types. Corriedale, merino, BFL, mohair, romney, cormo, shetland, rambouillet...

 It's just a layer, pillow like, of fiber carded together on a drum carder. Mine is a fine carder because I tend to enjoy finer yarns. But you can get them with teeth meant to make chunkier lumps of fiber for funkier art yarns.

Now what to do with it? Well, you can tear lengthwise strips off of it and spin just like that! Most of the time when I'm spinning from a batt that is what I do. You can also tear it in a manner that makes one long strip of roving that you probably recognise. Here is a great video (that I did not make)

That's all there is to it! Spin away.

Now WHY do you want to spin from a batt? 
Many reasons. It's an amazing colour and fiber blending experience that you can't get from dyeing commercial top. Sure you can get top blends of fiber, then dye them- but you're restricted to that blend. With a drum carder you can put absolutely anything together! Go back to the batt above, it's truly one of a kind. I could never make that again. I could put all those fibers and colours together, but never with that exact outcome. That's the fun of a batt. You can also get batts that are more organised and less chaotic, and will create a really pretty heathered yarn that you couldn't get just spinning from dyed top.
drum carder,batts,wool,halloween,spinning,dyeing,etsy

This is The Walking Dead a more organised blend that will make a much smoother yarn. (Not to mention it's merino, shetland, faux cashmere and black alpaca deliciousness.)

Here is another example. Meet Cloud 9
 There is absolutely zero colour added to this batt, but it is the ULTIMATE in soft. Faux cashmere, kid merino, mohair, romney, sparkly firestar for depth and extra bling, and soft lovely BFL. This is softness that only a carder could create. Can't you just imagine this as a bridal shawl, or a super luxurious capelet over a pretty dress? Gosh even a hat and gloves to swoon over.

Another reason is a batt makes wonderful woolen (typically long draw) yarn. Commercial top (braids)  is prepared so that all of the fibers are parallel to each other which creates a great smooth worsted yarn. Drum carding (batts)/hand carding (which creates rolags) doesn't align the fibers all nice and pleasant. Instead you get more of an airy lofty yarn that is more fuzzy and textured than you do with a worsted.Both have their uses, both have their advantages and disadvantages. The nice thing about spinning is there are tons of ways to go about things, and as long as you're happy with the outcome, no wrong way. Spin a batt worsted and top woolen. Go for it! Explore and have fun.

So... there you go. Don't be intimidated by batts! Embrace the batt and further your spinning by experimenting with all the different and fun ways to prepare fiber. There are a lot of chunky art batt sellers out there right now (Jazzturtle is my personal favorite.) and spinning from those funky art batts is an experience in itself!