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
New order of yellow dye came just in time for spring inspiration! Considering that my favorite colors are yellow, green, and orange, you might not be surprised that I go through yellow dye super fast. But what might surprise you is that I keep ordering the same amount of dye each time. So this past order I went ahead and got a larger quantity. Now I don’t have to be stingy with my yellows or greens, which is perfect because I’m seeing wonderful new leaves and sunshine out there!
Remember when I was complaining about Quickbooks a few weeks ago? Well, I finally just started putting in my data and thought I’d made some good progress. Got all my receipts in there along with all the credit card transactions and everything from my bank statement. It felt good, you know, like I’d really gotten something accomplished. Well, here is a piece of advice for you: Don’t get excited. Even when you think you’ve accomplished something, you haven’t. In fact, you probably did it wrong. We met with the accountant over the weekend and I realized I’d forgotten to put in all my mileage info, which apparently is the largest deduction. Everyone just sat there looking at me like I was an idiot. I also found out that I have been assigning things to the wrong accounts and basically all my numbers are off. AWESOME. But the best part is that I still don’t really know what I’m doing. So my job for today is to get at least my mileage stuff in and see how much of the rest I can fix.
And then this afternoon I need to finish up yesterday’s dyeing, which was incredibly uninspired. Some days I get so much done I can hardly believe it. Other days I stand there in the kitchen staring at my pots and dyes. It doesn’t help that I am almost out of everything (again). Next time I order the dye powder, I’m getting the larger jar of yellow. I never do as much with yellow and green as I’d like because I’m being stingy with the yellow. And that’s no way to dye! Also, I’m really annoyed with the Greener Shades. It’s probably something I’m doing wrong, but they just aren’t exhausting. It’s tiresome. Oh yeah, and I’m almost out of citric acid, so I used my vinegar stash, but now that’s gone too. Looks like I have to go head to the grocery store.
As you are aware, Saturday was the first of the month. And the first time I dyed since June (or perhaps May). When I tried Greener Shades initially, I bought the starter kit, which contained all of their colors. However, when I reordered, I decided not to order the green, purple, or black (since I still had some left). I spent the morning mixing up new stock solutions. It’s amazing to me how differently each color reacts during mixing. The yellow seemed to absorb the water and doesn’t necessarily dissolve well; I actually strained it with cheesecloth. The blue became oddly fluffy and the red turned into a glob like taffy. My suggestion is to keep hot water close at hand. They don’t like being mixed with cold water.
Eventually all the colors were prepared at a 2% stock solution if I correctly understood the included instructions. My fiber of choice for the day was the lovely silver grey Romney fleece I had purchased at Mustard Seed Farm this spring. I left it off with Ohio Valley Natural Fibers and it was returned to me while I was at Pennsic. I couldn’t be happier with the end product! And pulling them out of the dyepot was just too exciting. Most balls ended up in the red family, but the colors are so subtle and mellow. I will have to spin some myself, just to see…
I realize this year has not been so great as far as Etsy updates are concerned. I began focusing on live shows and wasn’t able to keep up with the online portion of the business. One only has so many hours with which to work and 10 of them each day are consumed by something I don’t want to be doing. I had planned on doing a massive update once the shows were over, but then it was summer and I am never very fiber-active in the summer.
Now it is September again, the weather is cooling down and I hope to restart the Etsy and get it moving before fiber fest season starts again. Part of the problem is just finding time to update the thing! Adding items to one’s Etsy shop is time-consuming and I am rarely home weeknights. And no one spends time surfing the web on weekends. So therein lies the problem. Do I update when I have time and hope you find it or do weird sporadic weekday updates and still just hope you find it?
Regardless, here are a few items you can expect to find in the Etsy shop this week. The current fibers are Corriedale, Romney, and Falkland. More to come!
Adding new goodies to the Etsy shop is a lengthy process! But I found a new spot on the south side of the house where the sun is now coming in. We put a large flat piece of furniture under the window and it is becoming very useful. At least until the sun changes its angle or we move the furniture again. Check out the freshly dyed Falkland top that has been added today. Below are three of the five – check out the rest at granolasuit.etsy.com!
It is possible that I have the most amazingly thoughtful and awesome husband EVER to exist! He takes me to wool shows! He suggests road trips to yarn stores! He buys me tools without needing a suggestion! He helps me with my business, encourages me to keep trying, and just plain loves me. Wow.
And he came through again for my birthday! He gave me my gift and card, saying I had to open the gift first, not the card. Once I removed the paper, I knew what it was. He said if I guessed, he’d take it back, so I kept my mouth shut. But I was right – it was the fast flyer for my Kromski Sonata! Squeeee!!! The package, however, said “Fast Flayer”. Keep those fingers outta there! And inside the card, he wrote, “Good for one overnight trip to The Woolery”. Waaah!! Of course we have to wait until the weather improves, but gee whiz, how cool is that? I’m going to save my money from the show this weekend and take it to the Woolery. Neverending thrills.
At this point I would say the Greener Shades and I will get along well. Somehow I suffered through the remaining alpaca yarn and they came out quite nice. I find it interesting when dyeing yarn, how much a difference reskeining makes. Right out of the pot, all the colors are bunched up and blotchy. But after you reskein the yarn, the colors are redistributed throughout and you get a better sense of the colors together. So much better!
These skeins are large – most are at least 8 ounces, some more. My favorite is the blue/green one in the photo below.
And because April specifically requested seeing these, here are the very first two skeins I dyed with the Greener Shades. I suppose they aren’t that bad looking, better than I had originally thought anyway. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them. Most likely incorporate them into a pair of mittens since neither one is very large.
In with the new – dyes that is. At the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival I purchased a Greener Shades dye starter kit. Having just finished up all the remaining Cushings dyes, I’ve been rather anxious to try the Greener Shades. I’ve had them mixed and ready since Sunday and finally was able to get to dyeing today. I started with three small skeins of undyed commercial wool yarn I had lying around. They ended up a little weird.
Next I got out some yarn I brought home from an alpaca farm in town. I’ll be doing a demo at the farm during the National Alpaca Farm Days. Due to her lack of time and my abundance of time, I volunteered to dye a few skeins of creamy white for her to sell the day of the open house. These are coming out better than the first skeins. Sadly it is making my kitchen smell like a salon. <shudder> Hot, wet alpaca fiber does not smell nice the way wool does.