Friday, July 31, 2009

On Spiders and Tourette's Ticks...

Yes, such is the scourge of living by the lake. Shoreline spiders are just part of life. I have decided, though, that I actually prefer the bigger spiders over the hundreds of teeny, tiny ones that I turn my head and see all the time. Drives me nuts. The bigger ones you SEE, they startle you, you reach for the swatter, and BAM, they are dead. The little ones you squint and see, much to your alarm, that there are webs all over the place where, twenty minutes ago, there were none. Little freakin' buggers. Not to mention the outside of my house, which looks like a blender full of spider-crud barfed everywhere.

On another note, I finally found a bag for this enormous new computer I have. I have not been able to find anything that would fit a 17" laptop PC. I wanted something cool. Something different. I ran across this company called Isis Dei. Now, not only was the name cool...named after my favorite Goddess...but their products are awesome. This is the one I got:
Doncha just love the Isis statues all over it??! And this was not expensive either...amazing! I really wanted to make one, out of some cool Amy Butler fabric or something like that, but I couldn't find the high-density foam that would provide the protection I wanted. So, I figured I would have to spend $60 to $80 for a nice bag. But...not so! this one was less than thirty bucks!

Conner's been tick, tick, ticking away lately, like a time bomb. I always worry when I see him go off on a flinching, wincing, jerking, outburst-ing spree. Makes me wonder if he is worried about something, thinking about something in particular that is making him stressed. I know that his hormones are RULING his body right now, and probably that has a lot to do with it. But I worry. Being autistic is hard enough...add to that a bunch of uncontrolled jerking and loud vocalizing, and you have a recipe for a kid who just doesn't fit in. It makes me sad, but it also makes him so special. I love him so darned much.
On another note...I am gearing up for the Michigan fiber Fest! I am SO excited! I've got my new bags ready for storing the fleeces I get, and I have two payments put down on my drum carder. Eight more to go! I don't think I will have a ton of money to spend there, but I don't usually. I have two more dyeing opportunities to raise money for my little trip to Allegan, MI. However, I am getting my new 33-qt canner today from UPS! This means I can steam 12 packets at a time, which means I can put more up in my shop when I update. Yay!

Well, I am off. I have to work today, blech. But staying up late is taking it's toll. I wanna go back to bed. Instead, I should get on the bike and spin for a while. Like that's gonna happen??!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gearing Up...

What have I been doing? Well, lots of work...and I am loving it! With the launching of my ArtFire shop, I've gotten some wonderful orders, and they've kept me really, really busy. I've been encouraging my ladies to look through my "sold items" on Etsy, too...just about anything there can be dyed again. Where would I be without my recipes, eh?!

Upon discovering a couple months ago, I am finally getting into it. For anyone who puts colors together, for any reason, this site is worth it's weight in gold! (If you are typing it in manually instead of following the link, please note the British spelling of the word "colour"). Dyeing up new colorways is always exciting for me. Will they come out like I saw them in my head? Will the colors all run together and make MUD?? Or something beautiful?? These are a bunch of new colorways, going to the Etsy shop tonight:

Sometime I HATE what the rovings look like when I take them out of the steaming pots. It puts me in a really foul mood. Just ask my daughter! But somehow, as they dry overnight, they take on a new life, and almost a new appearance to my eye.

One thing I know for sure...with all these orders, I desperately need another 33-qt canning pot with rack. I'm just gonna have to spring for one. I can't find one on freecycle or Craigslist. Seems like everyone is hanging onto their mom's big pot! I thought for sure I'd be able to find one, but maybe more and more people are discoving the appeal of canning and preserving. Not a bad thing in this day and age...

And now that I've finished spinning Jackie-the Alpacie, I've been throwing all sorts of wool onto the wheel! i just finished spinning up the first of three bundles of roving that I got from the Red Barn Farm from eBay. What LOVELY wool! And the price was amazing! It came out to be like $1.87 per ounce! Here's the original combed top, called "Emerald Purple":
And here is the spun yarn...380 yards from 4 oz. After soaking and finishing, it should come up to be a heavy fingering or DK weight:

And here's some other spinning, too. the beige one is a free fiber sample from Carol at Sheep Shed. The delicious green is from a pound of alpaca/wool roving that I got in Davisburg at the Alpaca Show in May, and the large skein is my very own colorway "Little Traverse Bay"...a gorgeous merino that spun up like a dreeeaam:

Little Traverse has some really interesting colors that seems to flow out of it as I spun...colors that I intend on dyeing up into beautiful colorway. Where the dark red and teal blended, a beautiful plum color came up, and mixed with the touches of toffee, it was just beautiful. I don't know if I can sell this one. Just don't know!

Coming in just a couple weeks is the Michigan Fiber Fest! This will be my first time going, and I can't wait to see so many of my Michigan buddies from Rav. Plus, this will be my first time buying fresh fleeces that I intend to take home and process completely myself. I bought two fleeces in Maine, but left them there with a processor, as I don't think that my fellow airplane passengers would have appreciated the smell of a sheep barnyard on the flight! The fleeces wouldn't have fit in the luggage compartment anyway...although I think I could have stuffed them up there. That's a sure-fire way to get a compartment all to yourself, huh??!! "Oh, sorry about yout suitcase, biggie, that's just a little bit of sheep poop. What's you're problem??"

And by September, I should have my drum carder!! I have put one in layway, and I'm so excited! I can't wait to be able to blend fibers and colors into beautiful, subtle creations. Here's the one I am getting:

It's not just about having another product to sell. It's about seeing how my colors mix and interact, and adjusting accordingly. It's about being one step closer to the process of spinning, and/or felting. Applying color to fiber is simple enough. But those colors blend visually as you spin, and unexpected things can happen. This drum carder is going to be SUCH an asset to me!

Okay, I'm off! The daughter wants to go to the state park (Sterling) for me to take nice photos of her for her MySpace. There might even be a nice pic or two of the both of us!