Monday, March 25, 2013


Me and the babesters at our very first live show/sale!

Oh man, you guys!  Homespun was AWESOME!!!  It was all kinds of delicious madness, and we had an absolute blast!  I'm still trying to come down from the craze of it all, but here is a bit of a photo essay for those who couldn't make it.  

finding our space

the great room during setup

happy babester is happy

Once things were mostly in place, we had a quick pre-show lunch

Hooray for picnics!

filling and facing mostly complete (cooler bag was moved, obvi)

Mostly set up booth (the stuff in the windowsill was moved, obvi)

My little table.  Yes, I totally made a QR code for my email list signup sheet.  Because I am that nerd.

A closeup of my Easter Grass Yarn basket.  I spun that yarn a few years ago and had NO idea what it wanted to be until I found that little basket in the dollar bin.  A bit of weaving and ta da! A perfect home for some candy.

The show begins!  Blurry pic is blurry, but it matches my memories.  
Things got crazy intense for the 5 hours the show was on.

A very special visitor!  This is Connie, my former neighbor and the woman who taught me to spin (and whose Louet S10 I still have on indefinite loan - "thank you" doesn't even come close)  It was beyond awesome to be able to see her at my first show. 

Dramatic babester is dramatic!  She looks grumpy in this pic, but she was just posing.  She had some special new treats to keep her busy, and enjoyed her new princess notebook/pens/stickers.  She also had plenty of tech time (which is usually pretty limited in our house).

Bitty babester sacked out for a bit.  I'm lucky to have such easygoing kiddos!

Waking up happy!

Tech girl.  While she enjoyed talking to people and passing out candy, she had a good bit of fun in her tent.  All those camping trips have really paid off!
Also, while I would never have bought one of these, I'm kinda glad her grandma did.  That thing is sweet.

At the end of the show...  We brought enough to refill the display as things sold, but we sold about half of what we brought!  Things looked a bit sparse at the end, but that's a good thing, I think.  And, of course, all these lovelies are now headed to the Etsy shop!

Time to break it all down and head home.  It was a lovely, if somewhat hectic, show.  I couldn't have asked for a better first event!

I will write up a more reflective post in the next few days, but I hope this gives a decent idea of what things were like. I learned a LOT about what live sales take and what I've got and how those things fit together.  I am incredibly grateful to have had such a fun show to learn at.  The organizers and volunteers of Homespun Yarn Party are phenomenal people who put on a great event.  I can't say enough about how well we were treated and how smoothly things went.  That's no small feat, and definitely no accident!  There was a lot of work put into making the 2013 Party as great as it was, and I really appreciate it!

More to follow, just as soon as I get everything unpacked, sorted, listed in the shop and put back in its place!  And maybe I'll get pictures of said place, too...  Eventually.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

TIMT: Shop In A Box

That's about half full, but you get the idea.

Two more days 'til Homespun Yarn Party! TWO!!! I am both ridiculously excited and kinda freaking out.  Thankfully, I feel pretty well-prepared.  In as much as one can be prepared for a first, that is.  After carefully measuring my six by six foot space, I tried to come up with a way to fit the goods and the good folk of my fam into what space we're allowed.  Oh- and we have to fit all of it, plus all of us, in a Honda Fit.  And then I have to find a space to store it all in the teeny tiny workspace I still haven't written about yet.*

What I came up with was about $60 worth of stuff from IKEA, plus a few things from home.  It's little more than a rack with hanging organizers and some foldable cardboard & fabric boxes, but it's light, compact, inexpensive and it brings things up to eye-level.  I actually bought 2 of them, but there's not enough space for both with Bitty Babester needing seating, too.  Since this is my very first show, I'm not stressing about bringing 1000 things.  We're going to share the fluff, and we're going for the experience.  If we get there and get home, it will be a complete success.  :-)

Stuff, Smallsauce, Husby... Who's missing?


I was a bit worried about Babester, but she found her space right away.  Roll-up camping table + sheet from my lightbox = perfect preschooler tent!  Of course, we're not chained to our space.  And with two adults, there are enough hands to wrangle kiddos for bathroom trips, munchie runs and wiggle breaks.

Sadly, I'm afraid my lovely banner will have to wait for another show.  Unless I can convince them to hold it like this for five hours:

Probably not, but I had t-shirts made for all of us, and the new product labels are pretty great, so I think people will have an easy time knowing who we are.  I'll bring the sign just in case I can find some creative way to put it up.

Seeing the official Vendor Map made me crazy excited!  We'll be on the right side, space #19!!!  If you're localish, please stop by and say hello.  Savage Mill is beautiful, and there's an amazing amount of talent and fiber awesomeness to be found at this event!

I'll do my best to get great pics from the show.  Here we go!!! WHEE!!!!!!!!!!!

* - I'll get there.  I promise.  Just let me get everything tucked back into its place first.  ;-)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

TIMT: Umm... Stuff?

Umm, yeah.  I've made all sorts of stuff lately, but I don't have a neat, tidy story about any of it at the moment.  I have been in go mode getting ready for Homespun Yarn Party, and I feel like I'm all out of spoons at this point.  So here, have a tasty little brain treat! 

Actual content to follow... eventually!

Monday, March 11, 2013

In The Grease

Lanolin.  Great for soft hands!

As has been the case with all of the forms of fiber arts I've tried so far, I am now totally hooked on prepping raw fleece.  I got started buying fleece by the pound earlier this year.  Now it's barely March and I've acquired not one, not two, but 3 full fleeces!  One is a lovely Huacaya alpaca and I'll post more about it separately (alpaca is a whole 'nother deal, I've learned).  The other two are Rambouillet crosses from Kami at Ranching Tradition.  They are amazing!  I've tried to put together a bit of a photo essay so you can enjoy them, too.

First, you take the bags out of the box.  And they poof up to twice their size.  Then you take the bags outside and dump the fleece onto the sheet, where it proceeds to floof up even more.  

"What on Earth have I gotten myself into this time?!"

Thankfully, it was a lovely spring-ish morning and my cheerleaders were standing by.

I tried to spread it out in sheep shape, but didn't have much success.  So I ended up just grabbing handfuls of similar sections of fleece and shaking the VM out as best I could before bagging them.  

 This one is from "Dottie", a Rambouillet/Targhee cross ewe.  Both of the fleeces I bought were graded.  Dottie's is 19.5 micron, 70s spin count, with an average staple length of 3.5 inches.  It weighed over 9 pounds!

I think the handfuls of fleece pre-shake look kinda like fuzzy jellyfish.  

All sorted(ish), second cuts and icky bits removed (not that there were many to remove at all).  I ended up with 15 overstuffed gallon-size bags.  

Babester found some 'paca bits from the skirting, sorting and shaking I'd done the day before.

She set the 'paca poofs in a seashell for her birds and their squirrel friends.

Round Two!  This one came from "Mrs. Potts", a Rambouillet/Targhee/Polypay cross ewe.  Her fleece was "only" about 6.5 pounds and was graded at 22.6 microns, 62s spin count, with an average staple length of 3.25 inches.  I found most of the fleece to be well above that, though.

Shake, shake, shake!

I love the crimp!  It's not even just crimp.  It's like little, adorable crimples!  Totally addictive! (click for bigger pics)

Lanolin, like dirt, is also good for children.

All bagged up!  There was a bit more loss with this one, mostly because I knew how much fleece I had already and I got a bit pickier.  Still, I ended up with 11 gallon-size bags! 

Huge thanks to my always-supportive family for cheering me on!  
I would be lost without these lovely humans.

I've got some of both fleeces drying right now and they're both cleaning up pure white and gorgeous.  They're next-to-skin soft, too!  I see a lot of smooshy batts and squooshy yarns heading to the shop soon...

That is, once I get all this fleece washed!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

TIMT: Lemonade

I have a sense of humor.  There have been times in my life when I have felt like it was the only thing I had.  I've learned that it is an excellent indicator of my mental health, and a surprisingly accurate way of determining the outcome of unpleasant events in my life.  If I can find a way to laugh about it, I'll be okay.  If I can find the humor in it, I'm doing alright.

So this happened.  And I've already blogged about how my sparkle got dulled and what I decided to do about that.  But there was still the pesky problem of the vendor misbehavior in my Ravelry group.  Being a moderator is NOT for the weak!  I am not at all the type to enjoy disciplining other adults.  I don't discipline my children all that much, either; I prefer to gently guide them and teach them to self-regulate as much as possible.  But in this recent Rav debacle, folks had already zoomed past self-regulation straight into nonsense.

Lemons.  Lemons all over my forum.

It was ridiculous, really.  So that's where I went with it.  I set out to address the ridiculousness with more ridiculousness in hopes that we could all see how ridiculous it was and, via laughter, reclaim the good and the fun and the joy.  Fiber should be fun, dammit!  So I briefly summed up what had happened and why and then set about trying to sweeten this sour situation with some silliness.  Since the matter at hand was variables in carding cloth, I decided to show just how not serious those variables are.  I set out to roll rolags off some really ridiculous "carding cloths".

 Dinner forks jammed through some cardboard, placed in a mixing bowl

 Add Cotswold sliver, find a "dowel"

and you get a rolag

 My brush, babester's brush, new toothbrush

 Add fiber, blend and roll...

and you get rolags

 An apple, plastic wrap, toothpicks and a honey stick

 (you see where this is going)


 (This one is my favorite.  80s FTW!!)

 A Lite-Brite, a My Little Pony comb and a not-Barbie "Belle"

(please caption this in the comments)

Behold!  A rolag!

Childish, just like the behavior in my forum, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, and with a purpose.  This is silly shit.  Creating drama over the exact angle of the tines on a piece of carding cloth is silly shit.  Arguing about the best blending board, a tool used to roll animal hair around a stick, is SILLY SHIT. So I did what I know how to do: I found humor in it.  I tried to share that humor with others.  It's some damn tasty lemonade, if I may say so myself.  

Now, if you'll please excuse my slightly early posting of this week's Thing I Made Thursday, I really do have work to do.  Homespun is just a couple short weeks away (!!!) and I have a business to run.  Not to mention actual children to parent.