upcoming classes

Are you a scarf knitter? Ready to move on? Shawls are a great way to move into more complex knitting. Designer Megi Burcl has designed two shawl patterns that use a combination of handspun and commercial yarns. You will receive a copy of each pattern at either class, so you can come to both or choose depending on your skill level.

Each class is $15 per person. You may bring your own supplies or purchase them at the shop at a 10% discount. You will need about 300 yards each for both shawls. Samples were knit using about 100 yd aran weight handspun and one skein of Brown Sheep Co. Lamb’s Pride (190 yd).

To reserve a spot, you can let me know via email (getwool@gwenerin.com). I also have events set up on Facebook – Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1: Phos
March 4 from 2-4 pm
Advanced Beginner

Skills: Knit & purl. Circular needle. Reading a pattern.
Yarn: Approx 300 yards total. 100 yd handspun, 200 yd commercial.
Needle: US 10.5-11, depending on gauge.

Part 2: Lux
March 18 from 2-4 pm
Intermediate
Skills: Knit & purl. Directional increases and using stitch markers. Circular needle. Reading a pattern.
Yarn: Approx 300 yards total. 100 yd handspun, 200 yd commercial.
Needle: US 10.5-11, depending on gauge.

 

 

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the new shop!

So many exciting things happening in the life of my business! The biggest new adventure is that I have moved my workspace out of the house and into a little shop in Hubbard on Main Street. I am calling it a “Fiber Arts Studio+Shop” because the back half is set up for dyeing and carding while the front section is set up for shopping. There is a sitting area for uninterested companions and anyone who wishes to sit and stitch a while. My hours are Wednesdays from 10 am to 7 pm, but you can call to schedule an appointment as well. And most days I’ll have the shop open when I’m in there working.

To celebrate this expansion I will also be getting a website makeover, but for now I’m posting here to share the news! My goal is to reawaken the online shop, but life needs to settle down a bit first.

Today is my first official day OPEN and I still have so much to do! The last shipment of new stock just arrived yesterday afternoon and I haven’t had a chance to put it all out yet. I just wanted to share here where I’ve been since it obviously has been here.

New year, new adventure, new opportunities! Hope to see you soon.

greener shades added!

One of my goals for this year is to refine my inventory. I want to focus on items that are directly related to creating unique projects with fiber. That includes the material itself in different forms (combed top, roving, batts, locks, yarn, etc.) and tools necessary to help the process along.

Eucalan, spindles, knitting notions, felting needles. These are all items that enhance the experience of working with natural fibers. This spring I am very excited to add a new product to the line up: Greener Shades Heavy Metal-Free Acid Dyes from Still River Mill. I have been using these dyes myself for about five years, and while I am not an expert, I am happy to share them with you now!

What will you find at my booth?
All nine colors, 1/2 ounce jar
Citric acid, 8 ounce bag
Color card with basic instructions
Printed or digital copy of World of Color, full instructions and color samples
Primaries starter kit, includes citric acid, color card, and six 1/2 oz jars
Available starting in April at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo

greener shades

when you expect something

Last year I could see that my event schedule would be changing quite dramatically.

A Knitter’s Fantasy, which was the very first fiber show I vended at (and attended), shut down after 20 years. It was sad for several reasons, not just that it left a hole in my yearly schedule. Another show I said goodbye to was the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival. It too had been an early vending experience, but the expense was too high to justify going. Perhaps after this spring without it, I will reconsider for 2017. Without those two events, March and April were left wide open. May was stable with the Great Lakes Fiber Show and June was still in question, although I know now that last year’s June event, the Mid Ohio Fiber Show, is scheduled for the same day as an SCA activity I have to attend, so no show for June. I expected to have a very empty spring season, but I didn’t realize this until it was too late to do anything about it.

Or so I thought.

April || Just a few weeks ago I was told about the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo, so I checked out the webpage and sent in my application. This is a totally new show for me and it’s in Michigan! I was surprised to discover it is only 3.5 hours away. It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve been to Michigan — this is significant because I was born in Petoskey, MI. So why not expand to a new state? Oh yes, the taxes. We’ll figure that out later.

March || I decided to apply again for Homespun Yarn Party in Maryland. This will be my second time applying and most likely being declined. Because who doesn’t like hearing again that you are unwanted? I know they focus on locals and that’s nice, so I shouldn’t be too whiny about it. Vendor list will be distributed next week, so the wait will be over soon. I’m not entirely sure which way I want it to go.

April again || Just a few days ago I received a letter in the mail from a local yarn shop (local is a relative term) regarding a replacement for A Knitter’s Fantasy called A Knitter’s Delight. Since I had the weekend free, I figured I ought to do it. The booth costs $25 and it’s not that far away.

If I lost you somewhere in there, here’s the final score:

February = Indie Knit & Spin
March = Homespun Yarn Party (maybe)
April = Fiber Expo & A Knitter’s Delight
May = Great Lakes Fiber Show
June = vacant

There is still a possibility that March will be vacant, but I’ll have two the next month. And February is usually vacant, so March will be bolstered on either side. If you are the type of person who likes complete control over things, don’t get into this business. Things drift in and out of your life whether you like it or not. I know I should be doing wholesale orders and fiber clubs to fill the gaps, but I can barely keep a handle on what I have going on now.

By the way, I am aware that my calendar widget is not working. I have to find a new one.

switching it up

One of the best parts of spinning wool is getting to experiment with all the different breeds. There are so many! These days it’s easy to get your hands on a wide variety of breeds, plus there are many great resources of information about them. I thought this fall would be a great time to introduce some new breeds into my line of hand-dyed combed top.

If you’ve been to my booth in the last year, you have seen the basket of little wool balls next to the counter. These 1 ounce balls are great for all sorts of projects, beginner spinners, and felters alike. Initially this was a Corriedale-cross, but I didn’t have much information to give when customers asked about it. This led me to switching to Cheviot, a wool with similar texture and quality.

checkout

Another breed that has been replaced (at least for now) is the Falkland wool. While it is a very popular fiber for spinners, but I thought it was time to try something new. I had the opportunity to purchase a bump of organic Polwarth, a breed similar to Falkland and one of its contributing founders. It is incredibly soft — a characteristic that is high on the priority list for many of you. Also, I added Targhee, the first domestically grown combed top I have had the chance to purchase. I find this wool to be incredibly spongy, so it will have great elasticity and bounce. Both will be available in September at A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, OH.

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Interested in learning more about these new breeds? Read a bit about their history and distinguishing characteristics. The following  information has been taken from the supplier’s website.

Cheviot Wool top is a beautiful natural white color. The micron count is between 27-33 and average staple length is approximately 4 to 5 inches. The wool top is open without being slippery making it an excellent wool for beginner spinners. Cheviot is a main British wool breed. They originated in the Cheviot Hills on the border of England and Scotland. They were referred to as the Border Cheviot and are the foundation stock for the Brecknock and the North Country Cheviots. This hardy breed can withstand harsh environments and are known for being great mothers.

cheviot
Photo from North Country Cheviot Sheep Society

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Targhee is a domestically grown wool that is processed in the United States. The Targhee breed was developed at the Experimental Sheep Station in Dubois, Idaho in the mid 1900’s.  The foundation stock were ewes of Rambouillet, Corriedale, and Lincoln bloodlines bred back to Rambouillet rams.  Approximately 23/23.5 microns.

Targhees
Photo from Raisingsheep.net

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100% Certified Organic Polwarth Wool comes from the Falkland Islands. The wool was selected from two family farms on the islands and measures an incredible 22 microns. The fleeces were processed in the UK. Sheep that are raised organically are not subject to mulesing, and they are not dipped for pesticides. In addition, the number of sheep allowed to graze in any give pasture area is limited to the natural carrying capacity of the land. And as with most wool that comes from the Falklands, it is very white. Noted for its elasticity, durability it is still considered a delicate fiber with bounce and drape.

The Polwarth sheep was developed in Australia by breeding Merino rams to Lincoln/Merino ewes so the foundation stock is 75% Merino/25% Lincoln. The Polwarth sheep were developed to make a dual purpose sheep with a finer wool that would contribute a more significant portion of the ranchers income. They are a hearty breed of sheep that can be found in climates that are considered too wet or cold for Merino sheep. The Polwarth breed has both polled and horned sheep. The most common is the polled. They are a large sheep with a high yielding fleece (between 8 – 13 lb fleeces).

polwarth1
Photo from New Zealand Sheepbreeders’ Association

perpetual change

To say that businesses are always changing is obvious, and mine is no different. Since I started selling online in 2008, I have tried lots of different things, added new products, expanded, subtracted, failed, gained. All of it. Right now things are going well. I have a solid circuit of shows for the year, and I have my goods in several shops in the area. But the one place that has always fallen down is the online shop. I know there are so many people who have turned their online business into a hugely successful enterprise, but that isn’t and has never been me! Some time ago I switched from Etsy to Storenvy. Now I am eliminating the online portion all together. I feel that there are so many other popular dyers out there that it’s pointless for me to try to compete. People expect you to have an online store because it’s 2015 and who doesn’t sell online?! But when it comes down to it, they have no intention of buying anything from me. They just want to know that it’s there in case they want something sometime in the far distant future. I’m done playing around with it. I’m done feeling frustrated. I’m done putting in the work and getting nothing from it. I’m done giving people options just so they can ignore me. I have so many other things to do that this doesn’t even matter anymore.

If you want to buy my products, you can get them from the following places or find me at any of the 10-12 fiber, craft, and trunk shows I do each year.

Dryer Balls
Body Goodies
Liberty, OH

Hand-dyed combed top
The Artful Yarn
Chagrin Falls, OH

Hand-dyed silk scarves
Savvy Chic Boutique
Columbiana, OH

Hand-dyed fiber, yarn, & silks
The Shop on Liberty Street
Hubbard, OH

a new way to shop

At the Shop

I have found a new home! Today I went to The Shop on Liberty Street in Hubbard, Ohio and set up a display of my items. This means you can now purchase my fibers on your own time, as long as you don’t mind coming to Hubbard. So far I have silk scarves, spindles, Eucalan, combed top, batts, and felting packs. As the summer progresses I will continue to add items.

Not only do I have this retail display, but in the back I will have a workspace for dyeing and storage for my bulkier wool. I can’t wait to get this stuff out of my house! Especially since I just ordered three more bumps (bump = approx 22 lbs). Of course the hope is that having this space will increase productivity (wasn’t that my new year’s resolution in February?), but I’m sure it will take some time to adjust.

Having this great spot will open the door to many neat things such as classes and demos, pop-up shops, and consultations. My plan is to be in the shop at least one day a week either for dyeing or spinning. However, I live just down the street, so if you are coming and want to see something specific, call ahead! I will bring additional items for your perusal. If you are having problems with your spindle or wheel, let me know! And did I mention there is also a coffee counter at the back?

20 West Liberty Street
Hubbard, Ohio 44425

Hours:
Tue-Fri, 8 am to 5 pm
Sat, 10 am to 4 pm

 

a month in photos

Hard to believe, but this weekend is the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival! I had a lot of work to do to get ready for this show. My last yarn & fiber event was in November and there was a lot of restocking to be done. In addition to all of my regular items, I also added some new things. Felting needles! Dyed mohair top! Fabric covered buttons! From the outside, it may not seem like much, but let me assure you, there is a great deal of work that goes into this. And I do it all alone. I dyed each fiber, spun each yarn, braided, picked, labeled, packaged, folded, measured, and washed each item on my own. All of these photos were taken since February 27.

thismonth

 

PKC coupon

FBcoupon

Heading to the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival next month? Dates are March 27 through 29. Shop Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to claim your coupon on my Facebook page to receive 25% off your total purchase in my booth. This offer is valid for one time use at that event ONLY. Don’t forget to “like” my page to get updates and special offers like this for every event.