Silk Scarves – Part 2

I have been hand dyeing and painting silk scarves for several years now. The exact techniques that I use are hard to describe and will vary depending on how I want to “play with color” on that particular day :). The results range from pastel to very bright, from structured to random.

Then comes the challenge of taking pictures that accurately represent the colors that we see in real life.Dealing with silk, changes in the light will reflect differently, not to mention the differences in peoples monitors. Of the following pictures scarf #17    is a good example, the purple on the bottom part is actually much deeper/brighter and gradually lightens in shade towards the middle  (the name sign is white in all of these pictures.) But even the color of the table is different than the realistic color in the other pictures. Think I need a light box?

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57″ x 10″ priced at $20

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57″ x 10″ priced at $20

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57″ x 10″ priced at $20

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72″ x 9″ priced at $25

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78″ x 9.5″ priced at $25

Now to try to move the picture below into this space…I need a refresher course on picture sizing and placement!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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76″ x 9.5″ priced at $25

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68″ x 14″ priced at $25

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71″ x 14.5″ priced at $25

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68″ x 14″ priced at $25

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58″ x 10.5″ priced at $30

These (and more) will be going to the craft shows with us in the Spring unless they find homes before then. (You can contact me to check on availability)

I’ve ordered more scarves to dye so I’d appreciate your comments, to learn which styles and colors you might prefer to see.

Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

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Snow Dyed Silk Scarves

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snow dyeing

Snow dyeing is the process of placing dyes on top of snow with the article to be dyed encased in two layers of snow. As the snow melts the dyes are carried onto the fabric, making beautiful and unique patterns. In the following  I used silk scarves and acid dyes, which I then heat set to ensure color fastness. Care instructions; Hand wash in mild soap and cool water. Iron while still damp using lowest temperature iron setting. Wear and enjoy!

After teaching a workshop in silk painting at a November Fiber Show I had to keep inspiration going, so the snow came just in time to use this different technique when I returned home.

Each of these are different styles of 100% silk, ranging in weight from 8mm (flat crepe and chiffon) to 12mm (crepe de chine  and silk satin) , to the heaviest at 19.5mm ( silk charmeuse.)

 

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58″ x 10.5″ priced at $25

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58″ x 10.5″  priced at $25

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58′ x 9.5′  priced at $25

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58″ x 11″ priced at $30                       

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56″ x 11″ priced at $30 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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64″ x  12.5″ priced at $30                   

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58″ x 11″ priced at $25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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58″ x 11″ priced at $25                    

The preceding is to answer questions that friends of my daughter had, after seeing her early Christmas present of a flat crepe scarf. If anyone else is interested feel free to contact me. My next planned post will feature my hand dyed/painted inventory of scarves (more pictures to take 🙂 .

 

 

January’s Fiber

Normally people might read ” January’s fiber” and think I had made drastic changes in my diet! But no! I’m referring to the wool that I’ve been getting ready for this summer’s craft shows.

The biggest part of my time was spent spinning some more super wash yarn. After a sale on HandmadeArtists I realized how low my inventory of super wash was so decided to get busy. I managed to finish spinning five pounds of the merino super wash top from my stash, and dug out another 5 pounds to see if I can do the same amount for February. One pound of larch green was plied with one pound of dark olive for a total of about 1200yds. The red pound is called lipstick (about 550yds). Then a pound of light blue (about 600yds). And pictured the first skein of the pound-a bulkier art yarn of maybe 250yds. The rest of it is finished but drying to set the twist. I still need to label the individual skeins before I will have an accurate yardage count.

hand spun yarn

superwash merino hand spun

Then I took a day off to play with colors. Five batches/ four colorways gave me a start on adding to my top inventory. I will have the fun of spinning some of the top that matches the yarn to knit into a hat. The rest will find homes with other spinners or felters.

hand dyed

dyed merino top and alpaca blend yarn

Then my supervisor (Sheldon the cat) was inspecting the progress of some dryer balls! I think he likes being in charge of quality control!

Dryer balls

Sheldon inspecting!

And I’ve a head start on February’s to do list, just finished the first pound of singles and ready to start plying.

Happy February all.

Snowy Days

Snowy days and days and days, with a little freezing rain thrown in to the south of us!

snowy view

But with the snow comes lots of time to stay inside and craft so I’ve been very busy this past week.

rainbow dyed

merino top and alpaca blend yarn, hand dyed

Last Friday I dyed some wool and top and yarn. While it was drying I finished spinning some green yarn, plied it and set the twist.

dyed in the wool.

warm and cool primary colors, plus pink+blue=purple

When it was dry I spread it on the table for pictures, but first I had to play peek-a-boo with Sheldon! After the game was done he still was tempted to take a closer look at the wool, but behaved and just looked 🙂

cat peek-a-boo

my eyes are closed…you can’t see me

cat peek-a-boo

can I fit?

Sheldon the cat

hi!

Then I teased some of the purplish wool to remove more of the VM (vegetable matter) that hadn’t come out in the washing.

cat

Can’t I help?

hand processing wool

teased wool and debris

After loading my hand cards with fiber, I found that Sheldon was still watching me!

hand wool processing

Dressing the cards

hand processing wool

carding wool with help

hand processing wool

carded wool

Here are some the rolags (rolls of carded wool) ready for spinning, but I have a lot more carding to do first.

hand processing wool

rolags ready to spin

As I mentioned before we have two black cats. The following pictures will show you how we tell them apart: Sheldon has the crooked ear from the injury he came to the shelter with. Stanley has half of a white whisker (the other half must of broken off during their wrestling matches).  While Stanley can usually be found be found on my husband’s lap and occasionally on mine, Sheldon has to see (closeup) whatever I am doing and shares his lap time with me and our son, while only occasionally my husband, maybe because that lap is already taken by his brother. Both take turns trying to help me spin or knit but are learning that yarn is NOT a chew toy.

cat

Sheldon

spinning yarn

Stanley helping me spin

The yarn that Stanley was helping me spin has now been plied and has formed skeins totaling over 500yds. Time to start spinning the next color/pound of superwash merino. Made more dryer balls today, so those are drying now. I’m thankful for the speed by which things dry during the winter months thanks to the even heat of our wood furnace. So winter does have its advantages!

spun yarn

singles of superwash merino

How do you enjoy winter days?  Anyone a fiberholic too?

Kitties and Crafts

Kitties and crafts are an interesting combination! Before adopting, one was on my lap while I was knitting on a hat! He jumped down through the loop of the circular needles, ignoring the yarn, so I mistakenly assumed that his twin brother would act the same 🙂

They did come home with us with slight colds (along with the medicine to treat their sneezes) Sheldon has recovered and Stanley’s sneezes are getting less frequent!  But that means their curiosity is increasing! Sheldon has to see whatever it is we are doing. With Christmas fast approaching I have been trying to get some knitting finished. Sheldon thinks moving yarn is to be bitten, then he jumps on my lap for a closer taste! Makes for slow knitting!

cat with knitting.

That innocent look of “who me?”

After nearly a week I decided I wanted to see their reaction to my spinning wheel. I started spinning some short lengths of my hand dyed merino top. Within a minute Sheldon had put his paw on the moving treadle but soon figured out that it would get hit by the wheel as the treadle raised. He moved to the side and with his paw on my toe  “helped” me treadle for a while. Then he jumped to my lap, smelled the wool , but was mesmerized watching the flyer spin as if trying to figure out how it was working. Then he bit at the yarn! After the second bite and second NO he decided to get down but continued to watch from a short distance. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this since my hands were full protecting my yarn!

merino

hand dyed top

I spun two bobbins with somewhat even color changes, hoping they would line up with each other when plied.

single hand spun yarn

spools of singles

The colors overlapped some but came close to what I’d planned. The most I could fit on my bobbin was 220yds (seen below on the niddy noddy) but with the two smaller skeins totals just over 300yds. (enough to knit another shawl!)

plied yarn

Plied yarn on niddy-noddy and in smaller skeins.

Works in Progress

Just a short note to show you my latest projects. The first a small skein that I spun last night, left-overs from an experiment in dyeing top for a long color change. Will get a picture of the large skein after it is dry from setting the twist.

handspun yarn

small skein that starts dark, blending to pale green and ending as yellow.

And this is my second start on a lace shawl that I am attempting. This time I have been placing life lines which is good since I need to rip the last 7 rows to find my mistake!

lace shawl start

start of wavedeck pi shawl

Craft Show Success

What makes a craft show a success? At yesterday’s show it took us the full three hours before the show to unload and set  up! Throughout the day we saw familiar faces as well as new ones, talked to many people who gladly accepted our show schedule for the year and made some sales.

Kalkaska Craft Show

ready to sketch

#2 Kalkaska Craft Show

some of Edwin’s art, including black light

#3 Kalkaska Craft Show

more of Edwin’s art

#4 Kalkaska Craft Show

the rest of Edwin’s booth

Trying a new set up with new additions to our display equipment took a little longer to set up, but we liked the results (and of course have plans to tweak it more for our outdoor shows that are coming up 🙂

#5 Kalkaska Craft Show

Bev’s Woodburning

#6 Kalkaska Craft Show

Some of Bev’s Hats and Yarn

#7 Kalkaska Craft Show

a closer view

#8 Kalkaska Craft Show

Bev’s Soy Candles

#9 Kalkaska Craft Show

Back side of Soy Candles and more wood burning as well as packing space and corner of spinning wheel.

#10 Kalkaska Craft Show

Cliff finishing his 5′ table

#11 Kalkaska Craft Show

Ready for viewing!

Customers were great and interest was shown in some potential custom orders.

At the end of the day we were tired but happy! Now we are rested and it’s time to make a few more things before our next shows. And we will have to readjust the trailer to hold the tents and weights that we will need for next time 🙂

FO’s and New Beginnings!

Four finished hats, the beginning of two new projects, plus the proof that I did manage a little picture editing on my  new tool toy. Thank you for all the encouraging comments on my last post. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this over-wired world 🙂

The first hat, finally felted, is the one shown unfelted in a post last month. As I was taking the picture, that old song with the lyrics “bend me, shape me” popped into my mind (and is still floating there 🙂 and these are only two of several shapings  I tried. Felted hats can be worn in many different ways.

felted bucket hat

green felted bucket hat

The other finally finished felted hat, is shown unfinished here.

bulky knit hat

hand spun ribbing and thick and thin crown.

The next two hats are from the spun and dyed yarns shown here. Both knit from the same basic Ravelry pattern,  but varying how/where each yarn was used and throwing in some random purl stitches. (Plus with editing I was able to white out half of the background 🙂

another bulky hat

hand spun ribbing with both yarns alternated in the crown.

The new beginnings include a cowl from hand dyed yarn, some more snow dyeing(yellow,orange,and blue), and lots of computer work!  The dyeing is now hanging to dry (a softly shaded pastel), the cowl is finished (I tend to knit a lot when frustrated!), another hat has been started, (no pictures yet) and learning the computer is going to be a long work in progress 🙂

snow dyeing

snow dyeing

cowl started

beginning of cowl

 

 

Have You Ever Made a Scrubby?

Have you ever made a scrubby? Or used a scrubby? Or are you wondering what I’m even talking about?

scrubbies ready to use

Some of the many colors of finished scrubbies

A Scrubby is one of those handy crocheted nylon net things that have a ton of uses. Yes the most well known is for washing dishes (without scratching) or scrubbing a sink or tub. But men (and ladies), did you know that they are also great for removing dried bugs from headlights or that a new dry one can remove dust from window screens? Dry, they are also handy for taking the silk off corn-on-the-cob, or wet for scrubbing other vegetables. They have many other uses, but you are beginning to see how useful they can be and why so many people make them.

I have also discovered that not everyone who crochets can make them (I tried to teach my daughter once)…either the net breaks (from too much tension) or it is too rough on the crocheter’s hands.  My mom made single-sided ones when I was growing up, and I occasionally made a few, then a craft show vendor friend explained to me how to make the two-sided ones and I was hooked(pun intended)!

folding nylon net for scrubbies

Several yards of nylon net

cutting strips for scrubbies

Measure and cut into strips

crocheting scrubby

Starting to crochet

Next time you are at a craft show, look at scrubbies, there are many different methods of making them, and everyone has their favorite style. I make three different kinds myself, the standard two-sided ones, some with cotton (think crocheted dish cloth) on one side and scrubby net on the other, and some cotton and nylon combined on a stick (great for reaching into a glass for that stuck-on dried milk 🙂 [I still remember the stitches I had the day a glass broke with my hand inside when using a dishcloth ].

And if you can’t find them, contact me, the regular ones are $2.00 each and not very heavy to ship. (The other styles are $3.00 each) Or contact me if you want help learning to make your own 🙂

Realism in Business

Snowy view

The realism of winter.

This view of our back yard isn’t the subject of this post, but it needed a picture 🙂 as I present some cold hard facts opinions of the realities of our business.

Disclaimer; I am not a business expert or even a former student of business courses. I have worked in both retail and service industries and observed many practices, some that are applicable to our style of business and others that are not.

In trying to analyze our business goals, I am trying to keep a realistic approach to what is possible.

We are in business to make some money, but also to provide customer satisfaction by providing quality handmade products. How much money and how many customers is dependent on many factors, primarily the amount we can produce and finding suitable markets.

Our business is completely handcrafted, limiting our expected growth by the amount of time we can spend creating. As we develop good markets, we need to be able to produce enough to supply them without running too low on merchandise. (With craft shows you’re unlikely to sell what you don’t have with you)(The things we have listed on line are also ready to ship, but custom orders can also be made to requests)

Hiring outside help, besides not being in our present budget, would defeat our premise of handmade by family. If we had to concentrate on quality control and supervision, it would take time away from our own creating. As it is, if a product we make doesn’t meet our self-imposed standards, we don’t sell it!

Having a variety of crafts. I’ve heard the opinion that a craft person should concentrate on only one medium, to become successful and create a professional,cohesive display. This is not our opinion! Throughout our lives, we have become acquainted with and proficient using a variety of supplies and tools. With three of us creating, that broadens our scope of expertise even more.

So when we display our work, at a craft show or on-line, our business will look more like a boutique or department store than a specialty shop. Our products are tied together with an array of colors and completely hand made by us. That way we don’t become bored and our customers mat be pleasantly surprised.

The above is far from a professional business plan, but is beginning to work for us. After years of gathering (investing in our business while we were still working for others) we are at the point of now pushing our business to its limits.

Do you have a small business? Or dream of having one? What are some realities that apply to yours? Would love to hear in a comment.