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 🙂 .

 

 

Last Weekend’s Show

Last weekend’s show was a morel (mushroom) festival.We set up Fri morning for the three days. Friday it was somewhat cold, but it is May in Michigan, so we prepared with our winter coats. (Problem; my finger-less gloves kept getting caught in the wool I was demonstrating spinning with.) At almost closing time the brave souls who had ventured out had slowed to a frozen trickle, so I took my wheel back to the car and we prepared to close.

An outdoor event meant my husband’s paintings needed to be packed safely away for the night, maybe a plastic over my yarn, table skirts raised to keep them from wicking ground moisture up to the displays, and finally we finished by dropping and zipping down the sides.

It started a cold rain as we finished up, so son and I sat with the car heater running to warm up. Luckily I had spoken to one of the food vendors and he was staying open past closing time. We chose a delicious smoked turkey sandwich (hot) and retreated to our warm “dining car.” (Husband had left before the rain started for his part-time job, and then home !) Son and I were “camping” in the car (actually a suburban) and the utility trailer- (I have a mattress in it!) We were “parked in” for the duration, so driving to a local restaurant wasn’t possible and we didn’t want to get wetter walking! Especially when the weather is iffy I prefer being closer to our set-up for night-time security.

Saturday I put on flannel lined pants and as many jackets as I could, happy to have brought my felted hat! High temperatures were in the 30’s (F). Whitecaps were blowing in from as far out as we could see, and by closing time we had decided to break down and lose vending for Sunday! We weren’t the only ones, as many tents were close to blowing away. (In case of weather show organizers will normally agree with that decision 🙂

Sales seemed slow, but after adding things up, better than I’d thought! Sunday we awoke to SNOW!

snow in May

Those white specks are falling snow!

I did return to the town to discuss a custom order that had been initiated in a conversation on Sat. (glad she took my number to call) and I have started work on it.

3-ply linen

3-ply, two shades of blue+one white, linen.

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the show, but didn’t want to freeze my camera! It took a day for us to thaw out 🙂

Here are some of my FO’s (finished objects). I have also been making prints and more magnet prints of husband’s art for the up-coming shows.

 

skewed small shawl.

multi-color shawlette, plied with black. Shawl pin by Cliff.

third skewed shalette

almost finished, wild-berry with variegated burgundy edge

It’s a never-ending process when re-stocking inventory means making instead of ordering, but we wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

tree fungus

fungi from a friend, waiting to be wood-burned and varnished!

garden

and a garden that needs planting.

Are you making things? Buying more local? Buying more hand made things?

 

Reset

Today we started to do a reset on our trailer! We’ve only done one small show so far this year, so had just pulled out the necessary things that weren’t already in the house for the winter. That left the trailer disorganized and messy when I finally was able to move it to the driveway.

trailer view before reset

left in from last year

We were lucky enough to purchase some used grid-wall and additional shelving this Spring, so that had to come out of the garage. Of course we had to decide how many and what to take. Next Saturday is a one day show, with my husband having one booth to display his art (the reason we really needed the grid wall 🙂 He will be across the aisle from us to have electric to show his black-light paintings. And our son and I will share the second booth in our regular spot.

grid-wall

new grid and old candle shelves

Working out the things we need, we started loading. I’m excited to see how everything will look when it’s fully merchandised. Yes I am claiming some of the grid and the wooden shelves! The grid will be attached to the two heavy shelves and have about 4′ between! Did I mention we also bought some hat stands that clip to the grid 🙂 And the shelving should work well to display my yarn. Yes I will take pictures.

heavy shelf

one of two new shelves

We still have at least 4 or 5 more totes to finish re-packing and load, as well as the boxes of candles to be loaded last minute. Canvases and easels will go in the vehicle as well as my spinning wheel and an ice chest for snacks.

beginning to reload

trailer partially filled

I’ve more things that will need to fit for the next shows on our list since those will involve craft tents, sleeping bags etc. Will need to pack a lot tighter and more efficiently, or not carry such a large selection? I like having back-up even when I can’t display it all, especially for the multi-day shows.

 

Show Preparation

Yes, craft show season is approaching, even in the snowy Midwest! I wasn’t planning on doing our first show of the year until April, but received an email and signed up for a small local one that is completely new to me and now less than two weeks away! So I’ve been busy this week getting some things in order.

First was finishing new labels and boxes for my soy candles. I make over 100 different scents, and keeping them in order to display and restock at a show is a must. After finishing that I’ve been completing my spreadsheet for the year, a hand-written way to keep track of what I have, what I make, and of course, what I sell.

Soy candle storage

4 scents to a box=many boxes to haul.

boxes of single soy candles

12 scents to a box, makes for quicker set-up at a show.

We also pulled some of the tables and display racks from the trailer. Since it is still resting in a snow bank, it took a few trips and a sled! Also brought my tote of wood-burned plaques into the house, replaced worn tags, and repacked them ready to go.

This show only has about 20 vendors, so the organizer is limiting each craft to have only one vendor in a category. When I talked to her, she already had a hand spun wool and hat person, so my items are limited to wood burning and soy candles, along with my son’s needle felting. It should be interesting to see how this works, but I will miss having my wheel to demonstrate with.

A few batches of candles to make, more business cards to print, and I think we are ready! Now hoping that enough snow is gone by April to get the trailer out for the next show (that one we get to take our full variety to and that won’t fit in just our vehicle 🙂

This Week’s Spinning

This week on Monday at spinning guild I started working on 8oz of fiber that I had dyed last month. I spun more that night and Tuesday, by Wednesday I had two spools of 4oz each and plied them together. (Took me longer to get the pictures on my computer and edited 🙂

Woodland colors, hand dyed top

Dyed merino top

closer view of dyed wool top

dyed top, spread cross-wise and on bottom as dyed.

 

 

For the top I had chosen colors that reminded me of an early fall forest, the blue-green of spruce trees, a touch of orange for early turning leaves, and of course the brown of twigs and trunks.

top spinning into single yarn

see the color rearrange as spun

When I started spinning it, the wool transformed into more subtle, softer shades of these colors, transforming my mid-day forest into one viewed in early morning or late dusk.

single yarn and top

single on spool compared to un-spun top

 

At this point I could have chosen to ply it with a dark single to make the colors pop a little again, but the softness of the shading was asking to be kept together. I now have two skeins, one of 200yds and one of 84yds. Time to set the twist, label them and add them to my craft show inventory.

finished pliedwool yarn

finished skeins of yarn

And of course, I must decide what will be next on my wheel. Have a happy fiber-filled week.

And please leave a comment to let me know what your favorite colors of yarn are?

Organization of Inventory

One of my goals this year is to improve my organization of inventory.  As a business I need to have control of my inventory. Although most of what I make has a long shelf life, instead of making what I enjoy, and struggling to make more of other things before the next show, I’ve decided to better track the specifics of things I sell and develop an inventory par level, to relieve some of the stress between back-to-back shows. Of course I will still be developing new projects as well as tweaking older ones, since another part of business is constant change. With a better inventory system I should be better able to see where I’ve been as well as where I’m going.

Last year I made a spread sheet for candle inventory. Instead of just writing down the scents I sold at each show (as I had in years past) I began by listing all of my scents (over 100),  included my beginning inventory, my sales of each for each month, and the number of each made each month. Then I had a running inventory to tell which ones needed to be made next. (Yes, this could be done in excel, but was easier for me to track by paper & pencil/pen on a columnar pad.) This year I have plans for slight changes which should make inventory keeping easier yet.

Soy candles at a craft show

Free smells of Soy Candles

Now at the end of the year, I have a complete picture, not only of my best sellers (which tend to vary from year to year) but  also of the monthly and seasonal variations which will allow me to better tailor my production for this year.

With candles somewhat under control, I decided that yarn needs to be my next challenge…..I spin a lot more than I realized, both at craft shows and at home.

I have more than five 18gal totes of yarn that I have spun over the last several years. (Plus a smaller amount that I have listed here and here. Starting  with the five craft show totes, I emptied them on the table, one at a time, sorting them by color.

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Then I started taking each color and dividing the skeins into families by color (dye lot) and fiber type, assigning a “parent” number and sub-numbers, and recording the pertinent information on a spread sheet. This way with a quick look at the parent number, I can tell a customer how many skeins of a particular yarn is available, whether it is in my back stock or listed on line.

two different colors ready to re-label

sorted into reds and greens

 

 The greens and the reds are completed (unless I find more in hiding). I am pulling some skeins to use in knitting hats and cowls. It’s a good way to display how well the yarn works, and gives me a better idea of the yardage needed for a project (although this will vary with pattern and individual gauges.) But best of all, I have the enjoyment of working knitting with my own yarn; A skein with no knots, easy to wind into a ball without tangles because of the way I wind my skeins from my spools. And I see how the shades of color work together to enhance the pattern, forming an unique project.

Yarn for future knitting

Some of my added stash

 

 

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Organization is a lot of work, especially when I get distracted with knitting 🙂  Two totes turned into two and a half, plus a bag of stash for me. I have only three totes plus a small box left to do. It is progressing quicker than when I was handwriting everything on my old labels.

retagging yarn

new yellow tags ready to replace the old handwritten ones.

 

spreadsheet taking form

yarn and my inventory tools

Once finished I will know which colors I need to dye more of to spin. This leads to the roving totes that will next need to be “organized”! Then there’s hats etc that need their own spreadsheet!

As I create, I’ve also created “the never-ending organizing-inventory monster”! (I do like red though 🙂 All a part of growing a business I guess!

What inventory and organizing secrets have you discovered? Please share in a comment.