Today, I am twenty-nine. It’s my new year, the day I start afresh.

Today, I woke up with a cold, so I haven’t been doing much in the way of celebrating, mostly sleeping and reading and sitting on the sofa drinking all the fluids. I am also not going to work tomorrow, which is pretty exciting.

Thinking outside the sickness, which will only be a memory in a few days, lets talk about goals.

2013 was one of those years that got away from me. I moved twice, I got married, and I worked really hard on a big project at the day job. All of this really overshadowed all of the Big Plans I talked about, but never named in a blog post, because all of those other things took up way more time and energy than I expected.

Now though, I am married, settled, and Big Work Project is launched, so I am more optimistic about what I can get done this year–I even have goals written down!

1. Have a happy and healthy baby.
I’m on the cusp of my third trimester, and am so excited for April. And it might sounds a little crazy, but I cannot wait until baby is ready to come, and it’s time to give birth. When the time comes, I am so ready to face that challenge. Plus, at the end, there’s a baby to love and take care of, and that’s so worth it. Since this comes first, it might have an effect on some of the ones listed below, but that’s just the way of things when there’s a new one around.

2. Blog more often.
During all those months in 2013 when I was not blogging, or not able to blog, I was preparing blog posts to you, dear reader, in my head nearly every day. It’s a habit I’ve formed mentally, even if it’s not one that’s been put into practice all that well. I’ve even written myself up a schedule and everything. I hope to make lot more active in 29th year.

3. Publish more patterns
I have a few patterns I released for free up on Ravelry. While they haven’t gone viral or anything, I have received nothing but compliments on them. I haven’t written a new pattern in almost ten months, but it’s something I really love doing.

4.Grow more of my own food (and preserve it).
Our second, and hopefully last move for a very long time, came with a yard. One of the first things we did when we moved in, leaving most of the boxes unpacked, was mulch five small garden beds for planting in the spring. We want to do the usual variety of summer vegetables we’ve done in the past,but I also really want try my hand at growing some blackberries, strawberries, and more leafy greens like kale and chard.

5.Rehab my etsy store.
I’m working on a new shop update as we speak, as it’s been too many months since I’ve done anything with my store. I’m not quite sure when it will be ready, but I’ll let you know when it is.

6.Use my sewing machine more.

I used to sew a lot. I know how to do it, and I know how use my machine–I just don’t. Included in this is learning more about fabric and learning how to print on it, dye it, and paint it.

Moving Sale And Other Business

If you follow me on facebook or twitter, you might have seen it a few days ago when I announced we were moving. I wish I could say that we had found a great little house where we could all have a bit more space and plant a garden in the ground. But we’re not their yet. With Brock still being unemployed (he’s waiting to hear back from one job and has an interview for something really great on Tuesday–mojo requested), and being in the middle of planning a wedding on top of everything else involved in a normal life, I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions at once. I am worn out by worrying about money–and stress settled on me in the form of a UTI that really took the wind out of my sails.

The good news is that Brock’s mom stepped in and has offered to let us stay with her until we are able to stabilize a little bit. It’s not that we can’t pay for what we have with just my job. It’s that it takes my entire paycheck to cover it. There is no room for emergencies–and when someone gets a UTI the week before they are supposed to get health insurance and then gets their debit card stolen and then the car battery dies–there just isn’t any effing wiggle room. It’s a recipe for a meltdown. She has been offering for months, and Friday, we took her up on it. She has three extra bedrooms upstairs that we are going to move into. There will be a bedroom for us, a bedroom for Athrun and a private living/studio space. Minerva will be absolutely spoiled by the cat flap and closed-off, cat-friendly backyard. We will be able to pull this wedding together and throw a little money at debt the next couple of months, and be out back on our own when Brock is stably employed.

What we won’t have is a lot of storage. We’re planning a big garage sale for the weekend we move in, and what doesn’t sell is being donated. More importantly for you though, I am not going to have room to store all of my yarn or to dye yarn while we are there. A little sad, yes, but a great opportunity for you!

Over the weekend, I marked down all of my yarn and fiber by at least 30% and it will remain that way until it’s gone, gone, gone. And my mission is to sell most of it by the time we move in three weeks. Now is the time to stock up on sock yarn!

(RAWR! sock yarn club will proceed as normal, sock clubbers)

In the meantime, I am sorting through my personal stash and slowly starting to pack up the apartment. I plan to keep blogging, and hope to devote some more time to other projects while I am not dyeing.

Be on the lookout for some destash deals over the next few days.

For now, it’s day 5 of Tour de Fleece, and I need to get spinning!

July projects
grey alpaca singles and my yarn for the pendulum KAL

Also, Brock hasn’t been idle in his unemployment. Aside from keeping up with the dishes, he’s been working on something fun: Dig, Robot, Dig!.

Drive By Update

1. I just did an impromptu giveaway on facebook. It was quick and fun, and I will definitely do it again. Winners will be announced tomorrow, and everyone that participated will get a 10% off coupon for the shop.

2. It has been a long and stressful few weeks as Brock tries to find a job. I am trying to hold it together, but just keep researching magic instead of working on Tiny Dino Studios, because one day I will actually write a young adult fantasy novel.

3. The first issue of ply magazine debuted and it is gorgeous. The first article on the first spinners made me want to go back to school and do the Textiles BFA at KU with a minor in History. Someday, I will do this.

4. Since Brock is unemployed, but brilliant, he is making a video game. I might be fantasizing about it having Minecraft-type success and becoming a full-time student/mom who couldn’t give a damn about money. In these fantasies, I am also, thinner, taller, blonde, and wearing a baby on my back as I work on the looms in the art building and walk around campus.

5. Despite the above despairing, I have been dyeing, and I have updated my shop accordingly.

6. I have also been spinning some really dreamy alpaca, pictured below. I don’t even hesitate to link you to Marcia’s shop because her stuff is so brilliant. (Most alpaca breeders go for density and then fineness. Marcia just breeds for fineness, and let me tell you what I am spinning is like buttah.)

Available for purchase here. Let Marcia know I sent you.

And here’s what just went up for sale in my shop, if you can pull yourself away from the Alpaca.

magic moss2

morning rainbow



sea glass tunis

I am Beat or Acknowledging How Much Time You Put in To Your Craft Business

I am swamped at my day job. I am the kind of busy where I am days behind on all of my projects, I accomplishing my daily tasks at an almost feverish pace, and my office is a mess because cleaning stuff up as I go takes too long. (I realize I will likely have to spend two hours cleaning it at the end of the month, but it will be two hours well-spent, let me tell you.) Then I grab the kiddo from school and try to give him my full attention til dinnertime, and then it’s back to work on Tiny Dino Studios.

While I am sure I have mentioned it before, I am trying to spend as much time on my yarn business as I do on my day job. It’s a lot easier to quantify the day job as 30 hours a week, because I am scheduled to be there. This yarn thing is another story. When a so-called hobby overlaps so closely with work, it can sometimes be difficult to draw the line between work and play. I think about it this way: if I am knitting a sock for myself out of yarn I dyed, that is not work. If I am photographing pictures of said sock and yarn for the blog, that is work. If I am designing a sock, any time I touch it anything to do with it, it’s work. I have never quite reached 30 hours a week yet, I am averaging closer to 20. Since I never seem to make it 30, I always feel like I am not doing enough. I could always be doing more, and I feel guilty for taking some time off.

This is stupid, and I am trying to stop.

I have a pretty full schedule most of the time. Yesterday, for instance was day job from 8-3, doing yarny work on my lunch break, picking Athrun up from school, Athrun time for two hours, Athrun off to his dad’s so I can go write at the coffee shop for an hour and a half and then I spent two hours teaching a knitting class. Then home for a glass of wine and bed.

It’s no wonder I’m tired today. In 13 hours, I had a two hour break with my kiddo–and while writing and knitting classes are all totally and completely fun for me to do, they are still work.

Today, I feel like sitting on the sofa and doing nothing–but I have put in 6 hours of day job and 3 1/2 hours of knitting job so far, and I feel like I should keep going. To admit that I just don’t have it in me is a battle I don’t usually win. Normally when I feel like this, I tell myself I am going to relax and do something not work related after dinner, I get through an hour before I start to feel lazy and pick up something work related to do.

The thing is, I have no reason to feel guilty or lazy.

So tonight, I am going to revel in my non-working, and congratulate myself on everything I have accomplished over the last couple of days. (And eat some damn ice cream.)

Yesterday I hinted at some changes I want to make in the near future in my business, but I did not elaborate. And I apologize, I hate it when people are vague and secretive on their blogs. Usually when someone is too vague and too secretive too often I stop reading it and just look at the pictures. If the pictures seem to indicate this person is continuing to pretend they live in the magazine portrayal of their life they display online, I unsubscribe. The blogs I continue to read? The ones where people struggle. Where the writer curses. Where the author admits that sometimes life is shitty. The blogs I keep reading are the ones that are still a story in progress–still have struggles–are less a brand and more an individual.

That being said, there is something definitely to be said for professionalism and branding. One of the changes I am looking at is making my blog design, etsy shop, packaging and promotional materials all more consistent in design and tone. I’ve experimented with different yarn labels, cards, and banners over the last couple of years. I am not completely happy with them any of them and it’s time to take greater creative responsibility of that aspect of my business. In my mind, this will make my products and yarn lines more professional, more marketable, and more desirable to the consumer, thus increasing sales. I also want to prepare to wholesale some of my yarn–not that I have anywhere to wholesale it at the moment, but I want to be able to do so when I find the right place. While I plan to give the old dot com a makeover in the next year, I really don’t want to become one of those antiseptic blogs that adheres so much to a brand nothing important ever gets said. If anything, I am endeavoring to make my blog more candid, more intimate than I have in the past–and it’s not because I think it will get me more sales.

As well as being a marketing tool, my blog is another creative outlet (not one that I necessarily utilize as well as I can, but I think of it as such nonetheless. I always intended this blog to chronicle how I go about making Tiny Dino Studios a business–and how difficult and wonderful it can be. I feel like somewhere along the way I got too tired to ever really see that through. Getting back to that place and not cutting out the stuff that makes the process sticky and frustrating is important to me. I am not cheery and happy all the time. I am often grumpy and tired. Starting a creative business and building a creative business is hard, and I want to document both the hard and successful–not just the pretty.

Etherial Progress and Navel Gazing

Today I was so pressed for time, I took blog photos at my desk. And not fun webcam photos either. Honest to goodness blog photos.

And this is the only one I edited even a little bit

Hello desk calendar back drop.


At least I am making progress. And I am pleased with my dye job.

I have been doing a lot of business navel-gazing lately. I am ready to make some changes in what I do, the building business kind of changes, and yet I am currently faced with the dilemma of finding time to take photos that aren’t badly lit and backed by desk calendar that’s still on the wrong month.

Mulling over big things in my spare time is not serving me as well as I would like, mostly because I feel as though I am on the verge of something with no time to act on it.

Perhaps I will know what it is when I finish this sweater.

Undyed Stuff

My work tends to get the most attention when it’s bright and loud and saturated with color. I know in most cases, that’s what the Tiny Dino Studios brand is known for. I also happen to really love working with natural fibers and fibers from different breeds. Knowing there different fleece characteristics across different breeds and then actually exploring some of those differences for myself are two very different things.

I have my comfort zone wools for spinning, Falkland in any form, and Merino I like, but as long as it’s not top (because I am picky.) Alpaca is fun and different. And just generic American Wool is fun and durable and soft. This is what I spin most often because it’s what the people around me produce or sell, so it’s easy to come by. But I have been trying to branch out a bit.

I’ve been working through some Cormo, which is lovely to spin. It’s soft, but not so soft it doesn’t have any durability. It’s my favorite parts of Corriedale with the best parts of Merino thrown in. Then, I received my Tunis roving back from the mill. Tunis is a little coarser, and you can feel the difference between a mediumwool sheep and a finewool sheep when you hold a skein of Cormo in one hand and a skein of Tunis in the other. And yet, they are both soft. Perhaps it’s just the way I spun it (worsted, chain-plied, heavy fingering weight) but I can hold it up to my neck and it doesn’t prickle. And though it has less crimp than the Cormo, the Tunis feels distinctly springy–like it’s got the energy to paint the town red while the Cormo wants to eat bon-bons while reclining on a silk settee.

The color is vastly different as well. Tunis is known as a red sheep, and while the wool is not actually red, it has a peachy, kind of antiqued white color to it.

It’s hard to see on it’s own. In this photo (which is too bright, I will give you) the skein just kind of looks to me like a skein of springy undyed wool.

But when you sit it next to the Cormo, you can really see the difference.
The Tunis is on the left. The Cormo is on the right. Please study carefully, there will be an exam.

Then, I received this in the mail yesterday:

That is a lock of Rambouillet. I purchased a 10 oz bag on Etsy last week and it is gorgeous. As you can tell from the veg matter in the photo, this lock is unwashed–unwashed! Look how gorgeously white and crimpy that is! I am very excited. This is possibly the softest lock I have held in my hand ever. And the locks were so beautiful, I couldn’t quite bring myself to break them up by throwing them in a big tub to soak.

To keep the lock integrity as much as possible, I am using the Yarn Harlot’s method for stove top wool washing.

Updates when it’s clean!

Linocuts for Knitters


If you were one of the folks who subscribed to the first ever installment of the RAWR! sock club, then you know that I have started having fun with linocuts. Those few lucky ladies received my first two note card designs in their sock club packages, and now they are available to everyone in my shop!

The first design still makes me laugh, and I hope it puts a smile on your face too, tiny_dino_knit_before_it_was_cool_notecard
We’ve all known Tiny Dino was too cool for school for ages, but now we can spread the message with a top-hat wearing Tiny Dino knitting away at a garter stitch scarf.

My other design is a bit more classic–and to me at least–the epitome of calm, serene, happy things.


I love this little sheep!

I am printing these cards made to order at the moment, in single goes or sets of four using kraft paper note cards and professional printing ink.

Here’s my sheep block. I have a few more uncut blocks, so be on the look out for more designs.

Tunis Roving is Here!

braidoftunisroving Buy This Here!

I think I mentioned awhile ago that I had purchased some wool from a local rancher and sent it to The Shepherd’s Mill here in Kansas. Well, I just got it back and I love it!

It’s Tunis wool. It’s been minimally processed so it has a great sproingy hand along with a little bit of vegetable manner and just a hint of lanolin smell. mmmmmmmm Sheepy.

A little bit about Tunis:
Tunis is a medium wool sheep with modest crimp. (my Tunis has more crimp than usual and has been bred for fineness). There is some faint lustre, but Tunis is known for it’s peachy overtones. Fine grade Tunis (like what you see pictured) is good for next to skin wear and for midrange garments as well. Tunis does not felt easy. Overall, it’s a pretty durable wool. It would make a really great fisherman’s sweater. And I currently have four pounds of it undyed and available to for sale up on the etsy site so you can do just that.

The stable length is about 4.5 inches, and I did my best to capture the crimp definition in this photo. (Before I sent this to the mill, it looked more like Corriedale lock than the pictures of Tunis I’ve seen in books.)


I am going to go spin some right now!