Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mill ends roving for spinning

I am so excited I can't contain myself!! I've ordered some big one pound bags of roving from Brown Sheep . As soon as it arrives I'll add some photos of what I get. I ordered 3 bags of dyed, and one bag of undyed shades of brown which may or may not include some taupe and light colors that I might dye one day.

If you have not heard of this business, Carol Lee gets leftovers that yarn mills consider unusable both yarn and roving for hand spinners. So I feel good that I'm recycling something otherwise unusable. With the colored roving I can blend with other colors with my new handcarders to make new colors.

I am also a fanatic about frogging sweaters I buy from thrift shops. Frogging is deconstructing or pulling out the yarn in the sweater, hopefully with all the long yarn intact without cutting into any. You pull out the sewed seams and then pull out the knitted yarn. Somehow it is just really relaxing for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yarn spun from newspaper! Imagine! Maybe this is not such a new idea, but it's surely new to me. Greetje Van Tiem has come up with the idea of spinning newspaper into yarn that's best used for weaving into rugs and the like. I don't personally do any weaving, but maybe that will be my new passion someday.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I've been thinking about doing more focal beads, so I did this large one and with the leftover clay I made some coordinating beads. I strung them temporarily on craft wire with some commercial beads in between. I hope it gives someone browsing on Etsy an idea or 2 that they could make with the set. Because of the hole placement in the focal bead, it could be turned and used in a different setting as well.

The next 3 sets of beads that I'll be listing in the next 2 days are some that I am trying something new with. The polish that I have been using produces a nice sheen which is perfect for some projects. The 3 new sets have been polished with a diamond polish that creates a high shine end product. They are really pretty, in 3 totally different color palettes.

Working with polymer clay is really rewarding. Like working with paints as a kid, you can blend any colors you want to create a new color. stacking, slicing, and blending and forming create subtle changes in the colors, and the designs you can make with the colors within the shape are endless. Lots of artists like to make "canes" with intricate designs of flowers, etc. You can buy a pasta machine to do all of the blending for you, using charts and recipes for just the right amount to get the color desired. I prefer to handblend because, after all, it's about handcrafting, the pleasure one gets from working with one's hands, and enjoying the different colors that emerge during blending. Many times I am aiming for a certain color blend, but something else emerges partway through blending, and I like it so much I stop blending right there. I like the more organic designs that come from less elaborate stacking patterns. Sometimes a soft blending of 3 or 4 base colors leads to the most breathtaking finished beads.

Working with the clay is therapeutic too!

Monday, December 31, 2007


Here's some new yarn I spun recently on my drop spindle. This is one I truly love and don't want to part with. the pale green along with the purple, pink, and red just stir something in me.
OK, I finally got my first set of Handcarders! I had not bought any til now because I couldn't justify the cost. They sell for around 55-60.00. I know that doesn't sound like a lot compared to a drumcarder. So, since my husband didn't get me not one single thing for Christmas, I bought them for myself. I have ordered some fiber from etsyans and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. I figure since sales have improved for me that I can justify the cost! I have been trying my hand at carding with some dog slickers I bought a few months ago and used up all of the fiber I had gotten for it a while back. the dog slickers are like very small handcarders. they have very short, fine teeth and work okay with small amounts of fiber.
I already have some recycled sari silk and some denim mill ends (looks kind of like dryer lint, but is from making blue jeans) to mix in with the fiber.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Etsy sales

Finally having some success on Etsy! 4 polymer clay pendants plus a scarf I made with all handspun yarn sold to one buyer!! It's not hard to get a little down when you go for weeks without sales, but it has really picked up for me here recently. I really like making the beads and the yarn as well, but I had been wondering if I should stop making clay beads and pendants since they were not moving.
Maybe I'll start making some bracelets with my beads just for myself. (And a little free advertising as well :-). I get so busy with making things to sell I don't think about making any for myself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Scarf and stuff

I just relisted this scarf on my etsy shop today. (

It has some of my favorite yarns in it. I love how it turned out and the color combination is really pretty.

My 11 year old daughter gave out some of my Etsy business cards at school yesterday! She wore a nice soft green color cuff I'd made some months ago but never listed to sell. It's a button up cuff and the buttons were made out of polymer clay by me. She planned her outfit around it! Then she asked me to whip up a blue and brown one last night to wear today. She picked out some matching beads to go on it. How could I say no, she is volunteering for free advertising. I hope there are enough eclectic dressers there to appreciate something like it. Many of the kids are in name brand high dollar mass produced clothes from the mall.

I am so thankful my daughter is not into that sort of thing. I told her made in china is made in china regardless of whether it comes from that mall store or the mart of wall box store. We talked about sweat shops and stuff like that. God, if only I had been so knowledgable at her age. Way back in the 80's, I saved up to buy myself an Izod shirt. And for what? To be like people I did not even like. Kids now seem so much more mature in some ways.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


If you've never heard this group, you must check them out. To quote Satellite mag's review, "Rain Phoenix's sweetly organic and ethereal voice guides Gainesville's indigenous papercranes' album, Vidalia, over beautifully painted landscapes and out into the spaciest corners of the music's final frontier." "a modern sonic Monet".
I just love them.
I lived in Gainesville for a time when my ex was going to UF. It seemed an average college town surrounded by little redneck hamlets. I went to nursing school just south of there in Ocala. I totally loved living there and miss it a lot. People were a lot more laid back in FL than here in NC. and generally a lot more open minded. dont get me wrong, I'm appreciative to be able to provide a low crime area with good values for my kids to grow up in, but one of the 2 seem to be gravitating towards the right and buying into what he hears around him. I grew up under similar circumstances and know the perils of that. It took me nearly 40 years to get my head right from growing up in a part of the country overrun with judgemental evangelical fanatics. And here I am raising my kids close to home. Not a well thought out plan, eh?
Sometimes it's hard to know just how narrowminded people are til you spend a little time with them and they start to say things. Although some hide it down much deeper or they don't even realize that there is another way of thinking ....
Well, off that tangent now....I've returned to crocheting and am currently working on yet another scarf, with some yarn I bought just because I like it, with no real project in mind for it. It's a soft novelty yarn in green with little bits of other bright colors. I actually used it recently to ply some handspun yarn that I'll be listing on soon.
I thought it'd be great for some mittens and it was not til after starting that project that I discovered that in order to be able to see past the poofiness to see the stitches, it has to be too loose a stitch to work for mittens. I needed to crochet last night at my girl's practice, so I started a scarf. It would be really helpful if I would take note of the gauge and hook size on projects, but I don't. I am so instruction reading impaired that I just usually wing it anyhow. sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't.