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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.)

greyalpaca
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

appleblossomandpeavines

harvestgoldpteranodonworsted2

sea glass tunis

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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.

Tunis_Handspun_Yarn
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.
Tunis_next_to_cormo
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:
Rambouillet_Lock

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.

washingwool
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!

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Sky Scapes in Wool

It has taken me a whole month, but I have finally organized, photographed, edited and listed all the of the fiber I dyed in January and February. (I didn’t do a whole helluva lot in March, I’m not going to lie. I was in a late winter funk. Most of this work has been done in the past week.)

I dyed a whole set of wool in an interpretation of different sky scenes I’ve witnessed in the past few months. I was really proud of them, and I think they turned out just how I imagined. I was happily adding the braids of Falkland wool to etsy when I realized that all of the first names that popped into my head happened to also be the titles of all of the books in the Twilight series! I wrote a paper (for myself, which has never seen the light of day) that was pretty damning of Twilight on a literary level. (I was working on Tess of the d’Urbervilles for school at the time, the contrast was night and day, I tell you. Night and bloody day.) I thought to myself, while those names are succinct, you can be more specific. You can do better. So, yes, I changed the names of what I was going to call my braids of hand-painted fiber because I didn’t want them called the same thing as Twilight books. I kept one (New Moon) because there was nothing else I wanted to call it, that I felt fit. Everything else went.

Why?

Because I like to bash on teen vampire angst-drama? No. I mean, I think it’s an horrific series of books for all numbers of reasons, but you can blame that on the high-falutin Creative Writing degree if you like. No. I changed the names, because once the thought occurred to me that I could do better, I had to try.

Telling myself that I can do better has been a great motivating factor for me these past few weeks. I have been scheming and planning on how I can once again work for myself for a year. Since the day I went back to being employed by someone else, I have been thinking about how I could get back to working from home, and actually making money at it this time. Knowing that the second time around I won’t be so completely zonked from the marathon that was finishing my degree and working a pre-dawn, low-wage job for years, so I won’t need so long to recover is in itself a huge leap forward from before. Building a confidence in myself through my current place of employment has certainly helped. It has reinforced that I am good at what I do–which is a much better feeling than not being able to find a non-pre-dawn, non-low-wage job after busting my ass to get my diploma. It’s easy to caught in the security of the steady paycheck and just give up trying to do what I want. But you know when you leave for work in the morning and you know you could easily fill the next 10 hours with your own creative work that the job is just a temporary solution. And here’s the thing, I really flippin like my job. It’s exactly the perfect fit for me if I am not going to be working for myself. I feel blessed–ineffably lucky–to have this job. But at the end of the day, I know I can do better.

I have had it in my head for so long that I need a three-year plan to be back to working from home again, but even with the best intentions, I don’t sit down and try to outline this plan. I keep putting it off month-by-month so that my three years has already nearly become four. I would like it to not become five. So I am endeavoring to start putting as many hours in on the work I would like to make money from as I do on the work I do make money from.

You came here to look at pictures of pretty hand-dyed fiber and I tricked you into to reading an hour’s worth of belly-gazing. Aren’t I sneaky?

Here’s the wool:

foggy morning falkland
Foggy Morning

newmoonfalkland
New Moon

summer skies 3
Summer Skies

starry night falkland2
Starry Night

Sunset Falkland
Sunset

dawn
Dawn

Thunderclouds Falkland
Thunderclouds

And no, I’m not telling you which ones I changed, but I’d love to hear your guesses in the comments!

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A Peak

I have been busy busy busy what with preparations for the farmer’s market and the spate of special orders I have had lately. While I have some fun blog posts brewing, today I thought I would share a bit of what I have been working on.


Some local Lincoln roving drying on the balcony


Some bulky singles hand spun from Falkland wool.


Another skein of hand spun. This thick n think yarn out of Corriedale cross.

What are you up to?