The One About New Yarn

I have knit a little on my shawl but not enough to see a difference so I will talk about something else today. It involves yarn and a bit of history so if you are interested in either or both read on.

When we started Knitting Notions in 2005, we sold online only. We started with just Yarn Swifts and hand dyed yarn. We added Shawl Pins in 2006 and vended at our first fiber festival (SAFF) that fall. After that we decided that we wanted to expand and add lots of shows for 2007. We did about 10 or so that year and since 2008 we have regularly scheduled 16-20 festivals each year.

Jerry designed and built all our displays for that first full year (2007). This is the yarn displays he made. The size was pretty carefully determined based on average booth dimensions and to allow for room for shoppers while maximizing display space. The number of dowels for the yarn to hang on was based on even spacing along the bars. It happened to be a total of 26 so that has been my maximum color palette per yarn base for all these years.

This year, since I have been wanting to add some more colors and we had time to do it, we decided the time had come to increase the hanging space. We expanded the number of dowels from 26 to 32. All we needed to do was make eight new central bars where the dowels are attached with 16 holes on each rather than 13. I have those 6 new colors I formulated and dyed, and they are now listed on the website.

While I was getting this all loaded in the trailer this week, I decided to work out the placements on the new displays so I could box them appropriately for quick booth set up when we get to do that again. While I had all the yarn out anyway, I set up a yarn display rack on the patio near my trailer and the work shop.

Here’s the line up with the new colors worked in. I am pleased with it, but it took a bit of experimenting to get it where I liked it. It was good to do the head scratching when I wasn’t pressed for time during a real booth set up.

My trailer is pretty full now with the extra yarn. I am going to have to pack carefully to get the other new Bowls, Darning Eggs, and Nostepinnes in there. :-)

This Week’s Progress

I am finally nearing the finish line on my fingering weight re-knit and re-write of my Honeydew Lace Square pattern. It has been a long haul but it has been quicker than the first time when I was knitting the original in lace weight yarn. I have reached the third corner of the border which means I have knit 3/4 of the edging! I hope the yarn holds out and I don’t need to start a fifth skein when I am this close to the end.

I received and dyed a big order of alpaca from New Era Fiber last week. I needed to get my yarn labeled that I dyed last week (those six new colors I told you about; more on this next time) before I started work on the mill order. I got the fiber dyed the first half of this week. This was 45 lbs. of a huge lot. There will be eight colors in all and this was the first three.

So after that was out of the way I had a couple days free to get the Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs finished. This is not all of them. There are a lot more eggs that Jerry was still sanding while I did this. I do now have them all done.

I spent the afternoon with my photo equipment and new products so I can get all this stuff loaded on the website. I photographed all the new yarn plus the Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs. I have the yarn listed but the color pictures are not up yet. I need to do some editing. The tools will be listed as soon as I can.

It’s looking like my sub-contract work and our website sales may have to get us through this year so I am trying to make sure there is plenty on there. :-) I am sad so many festivals are still canceling. Sigh. I am trying to not let it discourage me too much. Things have to start improving at some point right? As my precious great grandmother Mamie was fond of saying “all things come to an end…both the good and the bad”. Well, it’s high time for the bad to move along, right? :-)

Wood Bowls Now Instock

Small sampling of the available wood bowls on the website

I spent a couple days last week getting the wood bowls added to the website. We have a lot of different sizes at the moment. They range from larger ones at the $55 price point which are big enough for holding a full ball of yarn down to some mini bowls ($20) which are perfect for holding small items like beads, stitch markers, coins, etc.

We will soon be bringing back some other wood tools we have not had in stock for quite a few years. Jerry had some big logs of walnut and cherry that he hadn’t had time to process. Well we have time now, so he started working on that this week after we returned from a little trip to the Smokies for Mother’s Day weekend. I’ll tell you more about that next post. :-)

After trimming up to turn-able size pieces

He is making some Nostepinnes at the moment and some of this will also be Darning Eggs.

So while this is keeping Jerry busy, I am planning some new yarn colors for 2020. I have decided to add six new colors to my palette. Here is a sneak preview.

I have made some more progress on the Honeydew Lace Square in Superwash Sock Yarn.

I have added the 4th skein and hope it will be enough to finish. I am almost to the halfway point on the edging.

See the stitch markers in the top right corner? That is the half way point. When did I start this thing anyway? Oh, wow. Ravelry says Jan. 06, 2020. Sigh. Perseverance is a virtue right? :-)

Okay more on our mini vacation next time. :-)

Summer Dyeing

Since my last post I have been working through my summer to-do-list while I am home. I talked a bit about my dyeing goals and I am pleased to say it is all done. The new colors are all dyed, the others colors are all restocked, and it is all labeled and boxed in the trailer for the upcoming shows. Whew!

This is just a sampling of all that I got done. I didn’t get any pictures of the labeling and packing but I do have some finished prettier shots of the new colors.

The new colors are all available to order on the website in the yarns above and they will be making their debut at the Natural Fiber Extravaganza in a couple of weeks.

I am hoping to have my Firenze pullover finished in time for Stitches Midwest. I only have about an inch or maybe less to go on the body stockinette section and then the ribbing. After that it’s only the 3/4 length sleeves, and they won’t take too long, right?

Glad to be home

I am so glad to be home for a stretch after a super busy spring show season. I went to 9 shows in 15 weeks and the last 5 were consecutive weeks with only a day or two home between each. To make it more crazy I usually had some production work to do when I was home. I am still working on dyeing more yarn, including 5 new colors. I am fitting that in as I can between home/family stuff. Here’s a few pictures of what I have in the works in that respect.

Fern and Graphite drying on the lines
Emerald (Left) Graphite (Center) Fern (Right)
New color samples for 2019. The one on the left and right of Graphite are as yet unnamed and waiting to be dyed.

So, the dyes are in the process of being mixed when I have an hour or two here and there to spend in my studio. The yarn is finally all here and now I just need a few days of good weather and no other critical tasks that need my attention so that I can get it all done. I had to take one of the guinea pigs to the vet yesterday and I have to take my father to an eye procedure tomorrow. Hopefully that will be it for awhile.

So the other thing I was planning to share was my Firenze sweater progress. I am working on the plain body section now after finishing the cabled yoke and dividing the sleeves. Progress is much faster so I hope to have it done by the next show, but that is in mid July so I’m not sure if that is a realistic goal.

Color is closer to true in this one from last week.
Progress as of today.

I’ll close for now. I’m going to try and get the last bit of color mixing done this afternoon so I can possibly get the dyeing done over the weekend. Talk to you again soon!

I think I can…

I am about 10 days into my Holbrook Shawl and the progress is encouraging. I have only 3 repeats of the main stitch pattern, which means 18 more rows, if I want to end it there and move on to the border. I had entertained the idea of adding two more repeats to make it a bit larger, but I am probably just going to go with the size as written. I would like to have this one finished in time to have it in the booth at Pittsburgh and Raleigh next month.

Speaking of fiber festivals, I have been working through my other show prep lists when I am not knitting or taking care of the household and family tasks. It has been a challenge with all the rain this winter but I did manage to get some yarn dyeing done on Monday. This is about half of it which I put back out on the lines today during a short respite in the wet weather. My next opportunity to get it all dry will be Sunday and Monday.

There are things that can be done on rainy days too. I have some Yarn Boxes I need to wax, yarn labels that need printed, cut apart and color labeled, patterns to be printed, etc. Of course it’s that time of year that we all dread; tax time. I have done my Federal return, first quarter sales tax returns, and local business personal property return, so that’s at least out of the way. Whew! I also need to take my truck to get some scheduled maintenance done before I hit the road again.

Finally an update

I have finally got a bit of time when I am not at the end of a long day of work to catch up on my blog.

After returning from Greencastle, I had to get straight to work at my dyepots. As I may have mentioned earlier, I had quite a large amount of fiber to dye for the mill, about 130#, plus I ordered 450# of yarn to dye for my own inventory. That is pretty much all that has been happening here.

I got the fiber done first so I could get their stuff back to them asap. My yarn order arrived on the same day i finished to fiber so no rest for the weary, yet. This week I dyed the yarn and was so happy to put up my pots for awhile on Friday. I started labeling yesterday.

I have needless to say made zero progress on my knitting since I couldn’t even manage to get much reading done at the end of the day, much less do anything that required muscle movements. I do however have a couple pictures of where I was when I last touched them two weeks ago.

My Carolan above, and I am afraid I will have to do some investigating when I return to it since I have no clue where I left off in the chart.

The onesie is nearing completion with only the bottom shaping on one side and the sleeves to go.

I also took a few of my dyeing this week. I dyed almost 1500 skeins in 3 days, so this is only a small sampling. I don’t want to bore you. 😉

These are the reds I did on Friday and below is what I could get in the frame of the buckets of already dried yarn. There are many more that are not shown.

I will try to get back to posting more when this is all done and I start traveling again. My next event is Shepherd’s Harvest in Minnesota on Mother’s Day weekend.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that I am going to Chicago with Jerry this coming Tuesday for a mini vacation. We have only done this maybe three times in our 30 years of marriage and I am looking forward to it very much. We are going two nights to a concert and then to spend a night at my third daughter’s. Their new baby is due soon and it would be a nice bonus if baby was born by then.

I will try to get in at least one update while I am on my much needed break. Take care!

Busy as a One Armed Paper Hanger 

I am sure you are tired of hearing how busy I am. We all are, right? Nevertheless it is the truth and I certainly don’t have any knitting progress to show you so this is what I have to talk about or not post at all.  After returning from Yarn Con on April 3rd I have hardly had time to catch my breath. 

There were over a hundred Yarn Swifts awaiting me to apply finish on and put in bags. Then I had to catch up my records and do some quarterly sales taxes. Then after a bit of house cleaning there was dye to prepare for a huge order of yarn arriving soon. Well, arrive it did, and just as I had completed the dye prep. So that has been wearing me out this week. I am on the last day of that right now. The next couple of days will involve labeling all the yarn and loading it in the trailer. 

I will be off to Virginia and then Conneticut starting on Thursday the 20th. I will be returning to a spring show in Virginia that I did as my 3rd show ever in 2007. It is now called the Olde Liberty Fiber Faire. It appears they haven’t updated the vendor list for 2017 but I will be there. I am then going to Stitches United in Hartford, CT. This will be my first time to that area. Hope to see some familiar faces from Stitches East as well as lots of new ones. 

Since a blog post without pictures is boring, here is a few of what I dyed this morning. :-)

Dye day surprise 

I have a small window of time to write a quick update for you while I am waiting for my dyepots to cook some alpaca fiber today. It is an order for New Era Fiber. Here’s a fun detail about this order; see the blue pot there on your left? 

You will never guess who owns that fleece. Go on try. Ok do you give up? John Carter Cash. Yes, Johnny Cash’s son! How cool is it to live in Nashville?  ;-) 

Since I still have 20 more minutes before I have to get the stuff out of the pot I will share a knitting update too. Here’s a picture of the Fallston shawl progress. It will get more exciting when I start the border but I do love theses colors together. 

Okay I need to get back to work. See you soon. 

 

Back to lace knitting

I can’t remember if I showed you my finished gloves so here they are just in case.

20170215_083618

I did some dyeing this past week to do a little restocking of my inventory and while I was at it I dyed up a 30 skein lot of Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in a new color I call Robin Egg. I may be adding this color to all my bases later this year if it does well but for now I have it only in the Sock.

20170210_152406

20170210_152402

20170211_144328

I have also cast on for a new shawl design by the lovely Dee O’Keefe called Fallston. Dee designed this beauty in my Superwash Sock yarn (linked above) this past fall and I was trying to decide what colors I wanted to use for mine. When I dyed the Robin Egg I finally knew. This.

20170211_110212

This is my Garnet paired with the Robin Egg. I love it! So here is the start of the shawl which has grown some since I took this picture yesterday but it will do for now.

20170215_083703

More to come soon!