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?

Spinning a Sample of Golden Wool

A few posts back, a fiber day, I pictured my experiments of dyeing merino wool a golden shade. My last spinning project was to take 2 ounces of each of those shades to spin separately and then ply together. I ended with one 100yd skein that really shows the differences in shading and a second 60yd skein that combines the lighter parts of the darker top with the more yellowish gold.

Spinning gold on my louet wheel.

Merino top being spun with a slight over-twist to ply.

shades of gold on my wheel

Spinning the first top on my louet wheel

singles on the lazy kate

Two singles ready to ply

Plying yarn.

Turning singles into a two-ply

Two ply golden yarn

Plied yarn winding on spool

yarn measured into skeins

Yarn, 60yds on nitty-noddy and 100yds in skein.

 

 

And a different spinner might end with completely different results. That is part of the fun of spinning dyed roving or top.

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

 

 

(Hover mouse on pictures below to read captions)

 

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.