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.

one year in…

It’s been about a year since the Majacraft Aura entered my life. I picked up the box from the post office on a Thursday and rushed home to put it together. That weekend I was heading to Pittsburgh, so I didn’t have a chance to spend a lot of time with it. My first experiences weren’t great – I thought I’d put it together wrong. But, after a significant amount of panicking and reading posts on the Majacraft Ravelry forum, eventually things started to make sense. Since then I’ve focused primarily on two-ply, singles, and corespinning since that is my comfort zone. I feel like there are still so many more things to do with it, but I’m not sure how to get more information. However, it’s better knowing there is more to learn rather than feeling like I’ve already done everything there is to do.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to The Woolery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Even though I have been buying from them for years, I never stepped into their store. It was beautiful! Not as big as I would have thought, but the staff was very helpful and pulled out all sorts of things for me to see. I had wanted to get some gadgets for my Aura such as a smaller whorl or possibly the overdrive head. I ended up with the lace flyer kit, which contains the whorl, flyer, and two fat core bobbins. Also, I picked up some cotton and cashmere for blending, linen yarn, hemp fiber, a fox/wool bend, and a Nancy’s Knit Knacks Lazy Kate. Oh yes, and two yards of gorgeous wool fabric.



The night we got home, after unpacking, I tried out the new lace flyer. Taking off the standard whorl/flyer and switching to the lace whorl/flyer was very easy. Once everything was attached and adjusted, I spun a little bit of wool. And whoa! I couldn’t believe how fast it went! The yarn was the thinnest I’ve ever spun on a wheel. You really have to back off on the tension and the treadling isn’t quite as effortless as when you use the standard Aura flyer/whorl, but it was still pleasant and successful. After that initial test run I spun a few other experimental things before settling on some black alpaca. I put the drive band on the highest whorl and went from there. Of course it’s not perfect, but I still feel pretty happy with it. Right now I am waiting for an Akerworks Majacraft Baby Bobbin to arrive before plying these together. I discovered that plying onto my jumbo bobbins with the low whorl presents challenges, so I took the opportunity to finally get an Akerworks bobbin. More to come!

bobbins
Bobbins

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.

things i want to talk about

1.) My hair looked great when I got up this morning. Not different than usual, but it was looking good. I get my hair cut every four weeks. When you keep it short, you have to keep it short, so that means frequent visits to your hairdresser/stylist. It’s my one vanity thing. I don’t get manicures or massages or eyebrow waxes. The guy that cuts my hair doesn’t even wash it anymore. I just plunk down in the chair, he cleans it up, and off I go! About two haircuts ago, I decided I wanted to try something different. Let’s grown it out on the sides instead of cutting my ears out. We tried that for about two months, but it never really settled in. I called it the “Jim Trafficant” (if you don’t know who that is, go look him up). The hair on the sides when straight down, while the hair on top got tall and poofy. It did not work. When I got it cut in January, we went back to my old standby: shorty all around, long on top. It works, so I think we’ll just stick with that for now.

2.) This is the year I keep up with my bookkeeping. I probably say that EVERY YEAR, but this time I mean it. Even though the data entry isn’t that time consuming — especially after I figured out that doing a single receipt per day with the item totals rather than an individual receipt for each transaction — putting it off buries me with unnecessary stress. I can’t remember why I sold a thing in February 2015 when I’m inputting receipts in January 2016. If I keep up with it, things will be fresh in my mind and maybe everything will make more sense. Today is the day I start on my new journey. The first of the month will be DATA ENTRY DAY.

3.) Sewing things! Last year around this time I decided that I would claim sewing as my hobby. Spinning, dyeing, and knitting has gone the way of job, so I needed something that was just for me. I spent the year collecting patterns and modern fabrics, making something now a then, primarily dresses. Around Christmas I picked up a few new sewing pattern books by Japanese designers. I love how simple the clothes are – no zippers, no knits. Just straight forward linen with a button here and there. I’ve made a few dresses so far, mostly “shapeless bag dresses”, as I call them. On Friday I made my first piece that was NOT a shapeless bag dress. It was a boatneck top. The entire time I was working on it, I was convinced it would be too small. I had the pieces on the dressform and it just didn’t seem like it would work. But, as I tend to do with most things, I didn’t let that stop me. When it was all done I put it on. It went on! And it fit! Really well! A surprising success.

4.) Saturday I went shopping with my husband to look at food processors. When we got married six years ago, I got one then at the suggestion of my mother. It wasn’t anything too fancy since I had no idea that I even “needed” it. But now that I’ve been using it regularly, I could say more confidently what I did want. In preparation, I had watched some videos on YouTube and read reviews. In my mind I had settled on a Cuisinart, but when I saw it in person and struggled fruitlessly to remove the bowl from the base and the lid from the bowl, we both decided to consider another option.

cashew butterThat’s when we ran into the Breville Sous Chef. Sleek! Easy to use! A lot more money than the Cuisinart! But I could see this thing sitting on my kitchen counter getting used a lot. So we went over to Bed Bath & Beyond (20% off coupon) to see if they had it. Yes, but just one! “You better keep your hand on that,” husband says. I didn’t think there was going to be any kind of battle over it and they probably had another in the back, but I kept my hand on it just in case. We decided pretty quickly to get it. In addition to the coupon, I also had one of those Visa gift cards floating around in my purse from two Christmases ago, so we used that too. Gift card + coupon = paying half the sticker price. Weee!

Unfortunately I couldn’t use it right away when we got home. Dinner from the night before was still lingering in the kitchen, so after cleaning up, I tested out the new appliance with a batch of hummus. Whoa! It was nice. And all the things I didn’t like about my old processor had suddenly disappeared. Sigh of relief. I also made cashew butter and cracker dough and sliced cheese and sausage. It was very satisfying. The slicing blade has 24 different thickness options!!!! WHAT?! My old processor had ONE. I want to go use it right now.

avoidance

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do I always think I’ll remember which fleece is which?! And why don’t I label them better?!

It’s tax season again, or at least approaching tax season. And this is the time when I review my inventory and see what’s what and where and so on. I’m opening bags and boxes, wondering, what is this and where did it come from? I buy fleeces from the same places each year and my taste is fairly consistent, so just looking at a bag full of curly locks isn’t going to help me figure out which sheep donated it. At this moment I am avoiding my next task by writing this blog post. I need to lay everything out to determine the following:

who has been washed
who has been washed and dyed
who has been sold
who is still sitting in purgatory waiting for attention

I’m quite sure that everything in my life is related in some way to avoidance. I clean the stove top when I am avoiding something. I write a blog post when I am avoiding digging through fleeces. I check Facebook (for the 1000th time that day) when I am avoiding number things in Quickbooks. At least I got the dishes washed already! Because I was avoiding the fleeces. Maybe I’ll go clean out my car.

another fresh start

I love that every new year we can just pretend like last year wasn’t a thing.

“I’m going to make a change! I mean it this year.”
“Let’s just start fresh.”
“A new calendar!¬† New possibilities!”
“I didn’t follow my resolutions last year, but I will this time!”
“Here’s to new beginnings!”

And then by February it’s all forgotten again. So consider this my little song and dance to celebrate our agreed upon starting over point. I will pretend that I will start blogging regularly! I will state that this year will be different and I will do my data entry monthly (rather than yearly). I will chose a grand knitting project that will be just for me and then I’ll never get started on it.

This sounds like a lot of excuses. But really I just know myself well enough that I accept my failings as a human. I’m a big talker, but not much of a doer.

One thing I did do already this year was to reorganize my dresser. Apparently there is a book circulating that addresses clutter and how to get rid of it. I didn’t read or even pick up the book, but I saw a snippet about it on a news show. They mentioned something about folding your clothes so that you can see every article in the drawer. It sounded like an interesting concept, but I worried that my clothes wouldn’t fit in the drawer once I refolded them. So I began slowly with the pants drawer. Everything still fits! The next week I moved onto a shirt drawer. Still fits! And I could see everything at once! It was really quite exciting. I ended up doing all the drawers and was pleased to discover that everything went back into its drawer and the new folding technique utilized the space better. Since I got this dresser six years ago, I have never been able to arrange my clothes in a way that used all the space. It annoyed me. But now all the space has been filled and I can see each sad, dull garment I own all at once. My personal color scheme is quite dreary. The one thing that I found odd about this is that your clothes are now standing up and when you take an item out, or the drawer isn’t full, the garment on the end sags. I feel like I need book ends just to keep everything in its place. Ah well, still a successful endeavor!

dresser drawers

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot, feeling bad that I have neglected it, wondering why I continually avoid posting. Here is what I have determined.

1) Nobody blogs anymore. Nobody reads blogs anymore. If I am going to continue with this, I should do it because I want to document things, not because I am trying to entertain someone.

2) It’s so time consuming! You need a topic and photos and stuff and blah and I just don’t want to. But on the other hand, there are times when I really want to express myself in something longer than a Facebook post. I don’t know why I find it so much more of a burden to pop over to WordPress and type up a little post. I suppose I figure it out to be more polished and professional. Must it?

3) What do I have to say? That hasn’t already been said. I feel like my life is on repeat, so how do I present my activities in a new way? To me it’s the same thing again and again. Yep, I went to work. And again today. And again. And again. I don’t know how to make it fresh and relevant to the topic of “fiber”. I’m sewing modern clothes! I want to talk about that.

So, with that being said… what’s next?