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.

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.

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.

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

 

product showcase!

One way I have grown my business through the years is by selling spinning and knitting accessories crafted by talented friends. I have put together a collection of handmade goodies that compliment my own fibers and yarn. It’s been a great way to¬†support other small businesses, supplement my inventory, and increase the general appeal of my business.

My inventory reflects a variety of handmade items, some of which I have created and some created by other artists and crafters. Over the next few weeks I will be showcasing the wonderful collection of handcrafted spinning and knitting accessories I have gathered together.

Stay tuned for more about these fine artists :

  • Nature’s Honey Craft Soaps
  • Beaded Stitch Markers by Jan
  • Valkyrie Supply
  • Michelle’s Assortment of Crafty Creations

crafters

event recap

This was year #5 for me at A Knitter’s Fantasy. While it isn’t the highest scoring event on the schedule, it is still special. This was my first step into the world of yarn shows (back in 2010). I appreciate its proximity to my house: about 7 1/2 miles. I enjoy setting up Friday night. I am glad the booth fee is reasonable. And of course, I always love seeing my fellow vendors and friends. Ana and I shared an 8×16 booth again. My half is pictured below.

AKF2014

This year I quietly debuted my newest dyed item: Companion Colors. I only had three pairs, so it was more of an experiment than a grand introduction. Mostly I think they were ignored, but I did sell one to someone who was very happy to take it home. I am looking forward to playing around with the process more during my next dye day. Perhaps by Great Lakes I’ll have a nice stock of them and do a bigger display (with signs).

Right before packing (and I mean RIGHT BEFORE) I was still labeling yarn and fiber. I’ve been fiddling a bit with my tags, so some items had a newly updated version. I’ve been trying to print horizontal labels, but it’s actually been somewhat difficult. I don’t use any fancy image software and whenever I print things, they always come out grainy or fuzzy. The best method yet has been to print a sticky label and attach it to the band. I used them for new Sheep Tones skeins and the Companion Colors. I do like the way they look, however, the edges of the label are coming up! Blarg.

EcoEnclose

So, generally I don’t get involved in things. I don’t stand on soap boxes or make speeches about things. And I don’t like to advertise for companies when I have to put out money for something. For instance, buying a shirt with a store’s logo on it — shouldn’t they be paying me to advertise for them?

Despite all this, I am pleased to be chatting up someone’s business: EcoEnclose, a company out of Colorado that manufactures eco-friendly shipping supplies. I first saw their link on another blog, clicked through, requested a sample, and nearly a year later when I needed envelopes, I ordered. With so many sizes to pick from, it was fun and easy to put together a little sampler pack. They have bubble mailers, cardboard mailers, boxes, and poly mailers. The best part is that they use recycled materials and many of the items are reusable. With more orders going out and shipping prices going up, I love how light the mailers are. But I really like that the products are made in the USA and they are very affordable. I would also like to mention that they have great customer service and a very positive vibe.

Since I am genuinely excited about this company, I haven’t had a problem telling friends about it. That is why I decided to go ahead and join the team by becoming an affiliate. Because if I’m going to continueadvertising for them, I might as well get something out of it, right?

 

— This post contains affiliate links —

new workspace

As I am composing this post, I keep thinking back to that episode of The Office when Dwight used the conference room as an office – I mean workspace! The signs Jim and Pam found crumpled up in Dwight’s garbage can were hilarious.

me at the desk

snapshots: desk

I do not have a sign outside my newly improved workspace designating it as such, but I am excited about it nonetheless. It has an en suite bathroom (water closet, literally); a place for the printer; desk space upon which I can weigh fiber and write labels; art on the walls; and an “official feeling”. I am no longer trapped in my living room chair with the day’s snacks and projects littered around me at arm’s length. If I need to, I can keep the cat out, although she now has a basket by the window if she chooses to visit. A place for everything and everything in its place.

snapshots: cork board

Gone are the days of sitting cross-legged and hunched over on the floor with braids of roving stacked around me!
Gone are the days of cramming/storing everything under my chair!
Gone are the days of having all of my equipment, projects, and fiber scattered around the house!
Gone are the days of barely not breaking my neck trying to get something from the back corner of the wool room!

If I seem excited about this it’s because I am. Did I mention the desk came from Ikea and I put it together myself?

snapshots: desk top

snapshots: shelves