so many updates!

You may or may not have noticed something new here at gwenerin.com. I hired someone to help me bring some much needed changes to the blog and expand it beyond to celebrate the expansion of the business.  I discovered that things had changed a great deal since I started my blog in 2007 – THAT’S 10 YEARS. Everything is so complicated now! The update was long process as I tended to forget about my assignments for months at a time, neglecting to send the necessary information to my very patient designer. But here we are. I’ve continued to dabble and tweak, but I think I’m getting used to the new system. It’s similar but just different enough to throw me off now and then.

The biggest difference is the addition of an integrated online shop. Right now I just have the classes available for purchase, but eventually I plan to add other things as well. Please check out the EVENTS tab to find out what I’m hosting at the studio and what shows I’ll be attending. Feel free to send me an email if you have any problems maneuvering.

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?

here we go again

Not posting so regularly these past few months. It isn’t because I don’t have things on my mind, it’s more that I feel like it doesn’t matter. This blog was very important to me when I started it, but anymore it seems like I just say the same thing over and over:

Look at this yarn.
I’m still knitting.
Went to a show.
Dyeing again.

And there’s that the entire year! So why do I need to keep reiterating it? How can I make this blog something relevant again? Maybe I should stop thinking about the ripples (or lack there of) and just post whatever I want… maybe I don’t want to post. It is rather time consuming. I don’t even know how to write anymore. Good grief.

Anyway…

I see a lot of people using words as inspiration for their year rather than setting rigid “resolutions”. I suppose it gives them more flexibility and it’s a way to make multiple changes in many areas. I’ve never really done anything inspired by the new year other than getting a new date book. However, after meeting with my accountant yesterday, I had a few thoughts.

1) I need to stop spending money on unnecessary things. She suggested I work on a budget, which would be a good idea not only for my business, but my home expenses. Rich always says that you should enjoy life, otherwise what’s the point (i.e. spend!). But that doesn’t mean I can’t cut out a few things — like those fun trips to Pat Catans every month or so.

2) If this is truly full-time, I need to be making more money. In order to sell more, I need to make more. Also, I need to stop spending so much time on stupid things like Facebook, labeling, data entry, and other boring behind the scenes things. Yet again, I can also integrate this into my daily life. I want to do more sewing and more baking and more weaving and cultivate my own damn hobby again.

3) I have literally NO FOLLOW-THROUGH. This is something I realized at the end of the year and it may be the reason I have accomplished so little in my life. I feel like I am just skimming across the top and never really getting in there. I have all these ideas and plans in my head, I’ll even SAY I’m going to do something, and then I never do it. Do you know how many blog posts I plan to write, but don’t? Projects I want to do? Things I want to make? Places I want to go? It’s really quite pitiful.

4) I need to be more proactive. I allow myself to get complacent and hope that people will come to me. Guess what? They don’t! If you don’t ask about something, you will never know. I am the worst at networking. It probably goes along with that lazy thing in #3. Also, I hate feeling like I am pushing myself on people. I just figure if they want to do something with me, they will ask. I guess I have to figure out how to get more from people without being obnoxious. Ugh.

To sum it up, here are my inspirational phrases/goals for 2015:

Reduce expenses
Increase productivity
Be more engaging

Sure, it’s not artsy or soulful, but most things I do are rather practical and square, so too bad.
Look! I put in on a picture. Now it’s legitimate!

2015words

5 Long Years

Hard to believe, but five years ago today I started this blog.

On one hand it seems like I’ve been working and slaving over this foolish thing for so long, that it should be more than just five meager years.

On the other hand I can’t believe it was five years ago. I also can’t believe all the things that have happened in those five years.  I was about 2 1/2 years into my fiber adventure, and I had just embarked on my final two semesters of college. The following spring I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and then I had a couple of meaningless jobs, got engaged a year later, married in the fall of 2009, bought a house the next summer, got another rubbishy job, quit that in February of this year and now we’re here. Oh, but there was so much in between!

So, on this day, my 5-Year Blogiversary, take a look at some old posts. Check out the archives. Try randomly selecting a month and see what I was up to. Find anything interesting?

friday’s question

I used to think I liked change. When I was a kid, it meant getting my furniture rearranged and sure, that was fun. Now, as an adult, it means something more. It means packing and unpacking all your belongings or updating every document containing your name or learning a new building and new people at a new job. This week I didn’t have to deal with things on that scale, but making the adjustments for my new website has been stressful. Jeremy did a great job making it look pretty and he’s been so helpful with all my frantic questions. However, I’m still rattled. My old blog had been essentially the same since I started it in 2007, so yes, it was due for an update. But now I have all these customizable options that I didn’t have to deal with before. I can change this? Yes! But where? And that too? Maybe. But how? What does this do? What does that mean? The spacing is weird here. Well, you can’t do anything about that.

I’m trying to decide what should be abandoned with the old site and what should remain. What are the most important elements? Suddenly I have no idea what’s going on. And I’m afraid I’ll lose my readers in the transition.

Question: How do you deal with change? Would you rather keep things the same than learn something new? What do you think of the new site? What should stay and would should go?

 

handmade wool picker

A few weeks ago I received The Woolery’s newsletter and it told me I needed a wool picker. I agreed. Not because I had been wanting one for so long and now was my chance, but because The Woolery brought it to my attention that I did not have one. It’s one of those things where you may have been needing it all along and you didn’t even know it! Or I just like gadgets and it’s been a while since I got a new one.

Even though The Woolery brought this deficit to my attention, they did not get any money from me. Instead, I bought plans for a box picker from Minnetonka Works. It cost $5.95 and the materials ended up at $27.50, which is much less than buying one already made. And I have an awesomely handy husband, who is just sitting around waiting for me to give him things to do (not really).

poplar wool picker
Poplar wool picker

We got the whole thing done in two days. I won’t say it was easy and maybe not altogether fun, but it ended up beautiful! And I helped — drilled holes, sanded, hammered nails, applied linseed oil, measured pieces. As for the functionality of it, I think it works. Honestly, I am not terribly familiar with these things. When the paddle goes back and forth, the fiber gets pulled between the teeth and fluffs it up. So, I guess that’s a success. The plans were pretty easy to use, although the measurements for the sides didn’t fit within the actual piece of wood. And there aren’t really an instructions on how to use it.

wool picker

Did I mention Rich and I make a good team?

sunday confessions 06/03

So yeah, it has been about a month since I did one of these. May was busy — it has been ever since I was in high school. Don’t ask me to do anything in May! Frankly, don’t ask me to do anything during the summer. Or maybe ever. I am busy.


Sitting down to do these confessions is the most relaxing thing I’ve done today.
It’s been one of those weekends where you are constantly running around doing stuff. Yesterday Rich and I went shopping for a new printer and then bought supplies for a woodworking project. Then we went to my parents’ house to work on the project. And we continued it today. Plus everything else that happens.

I get annoyed when I feel like people aren’t paying attention to me — in person or online. If I am telling you a story, that means you should listen!

I threw away a fudge pop this week. It breaks my heart to say it! But it had been in the freezer a while. I even tried to eat it, despite the gooey/melted/gross outside (that I rinsed off first). It was so grainy, and being a person who has issues with food textures, I couldn’t make myself eat it.

I work better when I am in a time crunch. Knowing that I have all day to finish a project prevents me from finishing it. But if I have to be somewhere by 3 pm and I want to clean the bathroom, I am more motivated and I work faster to get it done. Perhaps I should just walk around with a giant timer around my neck.

Something will be changing here at the blog soon. You’ll just have to come back and see, won’t you?

home from wooster

Taking a break from the accounting side of the business today to share a couple photos from the Great Lakes Fiber Show this weekend. I didn’t get out too much to get a lot of fun pictures, so it’s just shots of my booth.

GLFS Booth

I had a really good time this year. Attendance and sales were up, so I can’t complain. Also, I met a lot of interesting people. Some were returning customers and others had seen my ads on Ravelry! While I was there I picked up two lovely Shetland fleeces from the same fellow I bought from last year. Sadly I have no pictures of them because I immediately dropped them off to get processed. And I got an alpaca fleece that belongs to an alpaca named Gwen. How could I resist?

I had fun! Hope you did too.

GLFS Booth

friday’s question

Still talking about buttons. Someone told me a while ago that only crazy people have button collections. And then I thought about two groups I am a part of: the Society for Creative Anachronism and fiber artists. Both have button collections. Both could be considered crazy. To be honest, I have a set on Flickr dedicated to buttons. It isn’t overflowing with photos, but still, it’s there.

buttons i've had
Some buttons I have had.

I don’t really know what is so appealing about buttons. I’m also aware that I have far more buttons than I could ever use in my life. But it’s nice to have a large selection from which to choose. Plus they are an interesting link to the past.

Question: How do you deal with buttons? Do you buy them for a specific project? Do you keep a collection around? Have you ever selected a project to showcase a button? How do you like to buy your buttons? A large random assortment or individually?

Great Lakes Fiber Show!

Yes, friends. It is that time again if you can believe it. We are on the brink of Memorial Day weekend and that means GLFS! Be sure to head over to their website and read up on their classes, competitions, and vendors for this year.

Wander the marketplace on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. It looks like it’s going to be a hot one, so be sure to bring something to drink and take your time! You will find me in the same spot as last year: building 39, space 22.

For the remainder of this week, I’ve got a few things to finish up.

  • Bagging buttons
  • Updating & printing pattern for Squares Sophisti-cuff
  • Labeling new Romney roving
  • Labeling new yarn
  • Making a few signs
  • Pricing stitch markers
  • Unloading the car (went camping last weekend)
  • Loading the car for the show
bagging buttons
Bagging buttons.
roving
Freshly dyed Romney roving waiting to be labeled.