And it’s done!

Thanks to all of you who purchased during the blow-out sale.

My next effort will be Fiber Market Day put on by the High Desert Wool Growers,  March 29, 2014, at the Crook County Fairgrounds in Prineville. This is a wonderful event, with two buildings of fibery goodness. Hope to see you there!

Sale ends in 2 days!

Don’t get left out! 25% off everything, and no shipping charges within the US!

Blow out sale is ending in 6 days!!

Sale prices will be good through 2/28/14, 10:00pm pst. To order, comment, email me at fibervoodoo at gmail dot com, or PM me on Facebook. As always, no shipping charges within the US.

Thanks to all who have purchased previously – here’s your chance to get the one you just weren’t sure about…

All prices will revert on March 1, so get them while they’re hot (and cheap)!!

 

End of Year, New Year’s Blowout Sale!!

Check out the Fabulous Fiber and Yarn to Dye for pages – All fiber and yarn are 25% off, and pay no shipping fees within the US. Prices reflect the 25% reduction.

Please click on photos to view details such as colorway, name of fiber, etc.

I hope you love these as much as I do!

For best service, please message me (Fiber Voodoo) on Facebook to place your order. I’m still working on the storefront interface for the website!

Looking back – looking forward!

After an administrative hiatus, I’m back in the blogosphere.

I’ve had some great experiences at shows over the last few months, including Big Sky Fiber Arts Festival in Hamilton, MT, Shaniko Wool Gathering in Shaniko, OR, Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, OR and the Portland Handweavers’ Fall Sale in Portland, OR. All of these included meeting new people, connecting with friends and acquaintances, and getting my work connected with new people as well!

Much dyeing has taken place in advance of each of these events, and my current inventory is robust. I’ll be adding items to the appropriate pages over the next day or two.

I’m also stash busting some fleeces that I’ve collected over the last few months – one can only do so much… I’m hoping that some lucky people will be able to give them new homes.

In the next few months, I’m planning to explore more natural dyeing techniques, and refine the “un-natural” dyeing that I currently do. I’m interested in reducing the amount of water that I use (I live in a desert, after all), and also reducing the unspent dye that rinses out. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Also on the list is to resume weaving. After a workshop a year ago (how can it have been that long?) on Color and Weave techniques, I’ve been itching to get back to it. I have some designs percolating and I’m eager to get warps wound and dyed so I can see if they actually work the way I visualize them. Color and Weave is a two-shuttle, plain-weave structure – the order of light and dark warps opposing light and dark wefts create a pattern. Houndstooth check is a well known color and weave pattern, as is Log Cabin.

Stay tuned – I’ll be posting pictures of the luscious fiber and yarn that I currently have in stock – it’s hard for me not to think of something to use them for!!

Fiber Voodoo has a new home!

After a lot of soul searching, I finally bit the bullet and got my domain and am starting a website. My blog has been migrated here from Blogger. I’m hoping to schedule a weekly blog post (probably Sunday evenings).

As you can see, there are two additional pages – these will contain pictures, descriptions and ordering info for yarn and fiber.

One of my biggest issues with my etsy store was the rigidity of shipping. I couldn’t tell people how to figure shipping to Canada, for instance, and if someone wanted to buy 3 braids, there was no way to combine shipping amounts to make it economical. I’m hoping to fix that here.

I will also be adding a list of classes that I teach, with their requirements, minimum students, etc.

Of course, true to form, I’ve started this when I have another show to dye lots of fiber/yarn for… I’m not sure if I’ll get much content up other than the blog in the next couple of weeks, but I’m going to try!!

I’ve been Dyeing (dying?)

It’s been awhile – lots has happened in the last few weeks. I got inundated with traffic work, while having to do production dye runs for 3 shows in 30 days. Goodness!

The first show was Fiber Market Day, put on by the High Desert Wool Growers here in Prineville. It’s always the last Saturday in March, and the weather can be quite variable. We’ve had blizzards and rain, and this year we had sun! I had purchased half of a friend’s booth (she was remodeling her house, and didn’t have the energy to do a booth too), so I had a 10 x 15 space. It was pretty cool! I had extra chairs, and people came to sit and hang out – it was very welcoming! This was a very good show!

More of the booth at FMD…

The second show was at the Small Farmer’s Journal Draft Horse and Equipment Auction in Madras. It’s fun to see the horses and the carts/carriages/wagons and all the other associated stuff. People still use horses to work there farms – there’s one in this area with a team of Belgians (like Tang) – they’re just awesome. I shared a booth with Sue, and it was located in the barn (i.e., Wind Tunnel).

We did demos of fiber prep, dyeing, spinning, and on Sunday, I warped the Dorset loom with yarn that we’d dyed in the indigo pot I had, and started a scarf. I’m embarrassed to say that it’s currently buried, so I can’t take a picture, but I tied the skeins in an overhand knot and dyed them. There’s some really cool resist areas. I’m using the same yarn (undyed) and slightly smaller grist as the weft, because it’s very stretchy. I can’t get my usual rhythm because I have to “place” the weft, not whack it. This was a so-so show, but fun.

The last show I went to was the Gathering of the Guilds in Portland. I’m a member of the Portland Handweavers’ Guild (remember the pole?), and had a 10 x 10 booth there. It was an interesting show. They have a centralized check-out, so it’s hard to keep track of what you sell, especially if you have bulk stuff, like I did. I had silk noil, silk cocoons, mohair, silk hankies and silk top, all of which had to be weighed. This made for long days, as I didn’t have a boothmate to cover the weighing job.

I got there Wednesday to help move the Guild equipment in, and set up the bones of my booth then. Thursday, I finished tagging things. Friday, I was there from 8:30 am to 9:15 pm. Saturday, from 9 am to 7:30, and Sunday from 9 am to about 7:30, because I had to load up my stuff, the guild stuff, and then deposit the guild stuff at their storage area. I was whupped. Sorry about photo quality – the big camera’s battery was dead, and I had to use my phone. (The fabric on the table is handwoven – mixed cellulose warp, raw silk weft – I can’t bring myself to cut it).

As I said, it was hard to keep track of what was selling, though I went through silk cocoons like nobody’s business. Who knew?

Yesterday I got my check from PHG. I was astounded. I thought perhaps that I’d sold $4-500 worth of stuff. Nope – it was twice that. Amazing. I don’t think people were used to seeing spinning fiber there, and I sold more of that than yarn.

I’ve also changed out the wheels in my stable. I’ve lusted after Canadian Production Wheels since the 1994 article in SpinOff by Bill Ralph. In one of those serendipitous moments, I happened to be looking on Ravelry, and there it was… I was toast.  I was able to sell the Country Craftsman (which I still love) to a very good home in Alaska (she loves it, too!), and brought this beauty home:

It’s a late 1800′s, most likely Vezina CPW. It traveled here from Taos. We’re getting used to each other, and working out our differences of opinion (!), but this wheel is fast, fast, fast… I think I’ve met my match! I’ll be cleaning it up and working on some minor issues, but I do like it very much.

My next show is in Hamilton, Montana, the Big Sky Fiber Arts Festival, June 14-16. I’ve never been to Montana, and this is in the area of the Bitteroot range, and very pretty. It’s also in conjunction with their Mule Days, which will be a hoot. If I ever decide to breed Tang (not likely), it will be to a mammoth jack for a large mule foal.

I’m off to make another fiber order so I can go crazy dyeing again… Need to replenish my stock! Here’s what’s left:

What’s goin’ on!

I always liked that song… Sorry if it becomes an ear worm!

This last 6 weeks has been, well, interesting. Especially in the venue of building the Fiber Voodoo business.

I had started an Etsy shop a few months ago, but didn’t have any real action. Until…

I started posting some of the fiber that had been dyed with the funky dyes, and I discounted them heavily. They flew off the shelf. I’d like to think that this lovely is some of the reason:

I was never really satisfied with the quality of the pictures that I could take with my Lumix. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great camera. But I come from the SLR world, and found this Canon EOS Rebel XT on Ebay, waiting until the last 2 seconds to bid, and I got it. I have a lot to learn but already, I’m seeing better color, and just better pictures.

To take photos of my product, I purchased some black polar fleece (no reflection), and using that, and my tripod (from my old SLR), and the manual settings I can get photos like this:

True color, crisp definition and it captures the subtle sheen of the bamboo and silk in this top (it’s sold…)

I also applied for and received a dealership for Ashland Bay “ecru” products. The top shown above is from them. A friend and I traveled over the mountains to do errands, including picking up my order, in addition to stopping at Columbia Wool Scouring, where I got additional fiber:

 

Click for big – from top left – Silk Hankies, Camel down*, Superwash BFL, Mohair*, Panda (superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon) Top, Gray BFL/Tussah Top. Coming soon are some Polwarth/Silk yarn, and a Superwash BFL Yarn. Not shown is the Panda yarn, which has been wound into 4 oz. skeins in preparation for dyeing. (*from Columbia; all others from Ashland Bay)

I also have this:

 Cultivated silk, which I get in top from Henry’s Attic. Try as I might, I can’t get the dye all the way into the center of this top (it’s too dense), so I got this:

 A box picker. I can create the fluffed silk shown above very quickly, which will allow the dye to penetrate.

While I am NOT a fan of Art Yarn, I realize there are people out there who are. I aim to provide them with some of the “arty” stuff to put into their bats: dyed silk, mohair and neps. I know, those are the things we pick out of our yarn, I’m getting some from Columbia Scouring – art yarn needs texture, yes?

For my own use, I also have acquired this:

A used Ashford Carder. It works well, and for some socks that I’m planning, it will finish the job of blending that the picker starts, giving me a combo of one of my last remaining sheep’s wool and carbonized bamboo. She’s gray, the bamboo is charcoal, and it should be wonderful.

I have sent in and paid for 4 festival booths this spring. The first one is March 30, Fiber Market Day. It’s low key, but great fun. We have 2 buildings at the fairgrounds, and lots of wonderful vendors. The second is at the Small Farmer’s Journal Auction in Madras (still relatively local). I’m subbing for a friend who will be out of the country that weekend. I don’t know how much I’ll sell, but I’ll have all my fiber equipment, including my little loom, as well as all the product, and may get some students out of the deal. The next weekend is the Gathering of the Guilds in Portland. As a member of the Portland Handweavers’ Guild, I can have a booth (remember the Pole Dancer?), and have offered to haul guild equipment in my truck to lower the commission that I have to pay. Finally, I had an opportunity to get to Montana the middle week of June for the Big Sky Fiber Arts Festival. I have never been to Montana, and this is in Hamilton, set in the Bitterroot Mountains. I’ve seen pictures, and they are breath-taking!

I have a couple of shows lined up for the fall, and a couple to look at for late fall/winter, but nothing is firm on those, yet.

It’s busy, chaotic, but very exciting!

The aftermath of the hat knitting frenzy

After I finished my sister’s hat, I immediately cast on for another, this time for my friend Linda. She had commented on Facebook that she wanted one, and I informed her that hers would be in blue…

Of course her patterns were different, in keeping with my knowledge of her, and when it was done (in record time), I took some more pictures of both and sent them off.

I decided to do some mindless knitting, which to me is knitting someone else’s pattern – my mind doesn’t have do do anything. I had purchased Romi Hill’s newest compilation, “Home is where the Heart is,” and with three shawls released, hadn’t knit any of them. I liked the idea of the one called Zephyr Cove, knowing where that actually is, so I started in.

I used some Merino/Silk that I had gotten from Knit Picks several years ago and dyed, and some yarn that I had spun shortly after I moved to Oregon from a Romeldale/CVM ram that I had, which was then dyed purple with logwood. Between the two, I knew I had enough yarn. The silk blend was a challenge, as I had salvaged it from a project that had been forgotten, and then something chewed on it (probably the dreaded M word). There were lots of splice points. But it was a beautiful yarn, and reminded me of how I used to paint dye on skeins as opposed to how I’ve been doing it lately. I’m going to revisit my former technique…

Here are a couple of pictures of the completed shawl, unblocked. I’ll be blocking it tomorrow, because it’s sheet laundry day, and I can use the bed (with all doors closed to the bedroom so that my “helpers” don’t, well, help…).

By the time I got to the end, it had changed it from mindless to mind-numbing… I don’t think I’ll be doing any more garter stitch anytime soon. The pattern is lovely, but there are some things about it that I didn’t like, mainly all of the K2tog through the back loop in the lace section. It interrupted my knitting flow… But that’s what you get when you knit someone else’s pattern – it probably makes perfect sense to them with their knitting style. Mine is different. So it’s not that the pattern is bad, or boring or hard to knit – it’s not. It’s just not my favorite style of knitting.

This is good to know.

I’m now working on the basic pattern for the Stovepipe hats. I may make a trip over to Michelle’s to get her assistance with photos of the tricky part – knitting the casing together – so that I can include that in the pattern. I can explain it, but a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes.

I’m also cogitating on the future of Fiber Voodoo as a business. As I told someone today, it’s time for me to s**t or get off the pot, and I need to find the toilet paper. There are lots of ideas floating around, and it’s too early to say any of them out loud in public, but there will be future updates pro or con. Among the stumbling blocks is the fact that if I want to expand it, I need to be gone from home more, which I’m not good at. I start to get twitchy after 3 days away from my nest!!

So, off to continue ruminating…

Mott Canyon Stovepipe, or a hat for Sister Mary

Years ago, I knit a hat for my brother-in-law on the knitting machine. It was kind of unique (I did not make up the pattern), having a top that could be opened or closed, depending on your winter activity level.

He and my sister, Mary, are ardent skiers, having season passes to the local resort. They like nothing better than to head up on a weekday morning after a good dumping, and to be the first ones down the chutes in Mott Canyon.

Mary had mentioned in passing that she would like a hat like her husband’s, if that was possible…

Of course it’s possible!!

The construction is basically a tube, with a casing at the top, through which an I-cord is passed, enabling the wearer to open/close the top of the hat at will. The construction challenge, however, was how to do the casing… On the knitting machine, it’s very easy. Hand-knit, from the bottom up, is a little different. I ended up knitting the casing and top border separately, and grafting 128 stitches to the hat… I’m now really good at Kitchner stitch!

As with my hat, I tried to find patterns that were meaningful and fit my image of my sis. In addition to her Celtic heritage, my sister is a consumate gardener – super green thumb!! She also preserves most of her garden’s produce…

It started with  a two-color cast-on, then the Celtic braid that was too tall for my hat, then flowers (or snowflakes, if you want), and ending with leaves. I used what I call “beaded rib” as the unifying element.

 Here is a detail of the casing and the i-cord with the tassel.

 And here’s a look at it closed up.

The next one (if there is one…) will start from the top down, which will make the casing WAY easier to execute!

The yarn is one that I designed and had custom spun; 47.2% gray wool (romeldale/montedale/rambouillet cross), 35.3% white alpaca, 10% iron gray kid mohair, and 7.5% white bombyx silk.

This is the first “real” project that I’ve done with this yarn (I have around 7 lbs. of it), and I really like the fabric. It was knit on size 3 needles, with a gauge of appx. 6.5 sts/inch.

This has the added perk of matching a vest that I knit for Mary out of hand-spun Icelandic, which is also gray and red!!

I still need to block it, but it will be on its way to her soon!