Decluttering: Studio Progress

Through this whole decluttering process, my beautiful studio became a dumping ground for all things that fell into the “art supplies” category. In my house, that’s a large category: candle-making supplies, misc. soap stuff, yarn, looms, wool, markers, fabric, paint. Anything that didn’t go in the kid’s art supplies got tossed in my studio to be sorted all at the same time.

Getting through it all was a huge job. It has taken multiple passes through my little 8 x 15 sun room, but over the last few days, I have made major progress.

Here’s the Before:

The other side of my studio, filled with badly stacked boxes, leaving just enough room for my bike and indoor trainer.
The other side of my studio, filled with badly stacked boxes, leaving just enough room for my bike and indoor trainer.

One whole side of the room was covered in boxes and the bike trainer was set up in here, taking up the rest of the floor space. I couldn’t get to my sewing table because of the bike, and my desk got so covered up in stuff that didn’t belong anywhere else, that there was no using that either.

Here’s what it looks like now:

From the doorway, a place to spin
From the doorway, a place to spin (and mint from the garden tied to the ceiling fan to dry)

How I Cut My Art Supplies in Half

  • Paired down my yarn so it would fit into my large set of rubbermaid drawers and put that in the closet. This still leaves me with TONS of yarn. I’m a little afraid I’ll never knit it all.
  • Paired down knitting needles, sewing notions, weaving supplies and shipping materials so that they fit in one of the smaller set of rubbermaid drawers. That fit in the closet also.
  • Also in the closet are my Ashford SampleIt! loom and my homemade Inkle loom, my Foldio.
  • Sorted through all of my WIPs and frogged the ones I was never going to complete and rewound the yarn
  • Organized my spinning fiber and accessories into two baskets. If I can see it, I am more likely to spin it.
  • There is a third set of small rubbermaid drawers in the corner where the iron is living. Inside are candle making supplies and a few misc. packaging and shipping supplies like raffia and tissue paper that didn’t really fit anywhere else.
  • Threw out any paints, ink, or markers that were old and dried out.

Getting rid of any art supplies is an emotional journey. To admit that I was never going to use some old, crusty fabric paint again was a hard decision. And trying to part with spinning fiber? Gut-wrenching. But in the end, I only kept the things I really loved and actually saw myself using in the near future.

 

The Sewing and Art Table
The Sewing and Art Table

I contemplated putting the sewing machine away and making this into a soaping table, but I came to the conclusion that this room is too small to house everything, though that would be fun to do someday! There are a few projects that could contribute to my soap business where I could take advantage of the sewing machine and the printing supplies. Little draw string bags with my logo on them maybe?

The desk
The desk

I’m still using my old Luke’s Diner table as my desk. I love the clean white work space. It’s perfect for spreading out with notebooks and devices, and when I keep it clean, it’s easy to clear off and use as a daytime photo backdrop. In fact, the green bowl in the lower right hand corner of the has a pile of stuff waiting for me to photograph.

Not pictured is a wire wrack next to the desk stuffed with notebooks and business guides and my file folders. I’d like to get a bookshelf for that eventually, but right now we’re working with what we’ve got.

I’m so excited to have this room in working order again. It’s lined on three side with windows, and has beautiful natural light. I hope to spend plenty of time in here over the next few months as I get my soap business off the ground and continue writing.

My next project for this room is decorate it. I found a photographer on etsy, and I’d love to cover my walls with her work.

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Snow Day

Like many folks across the midwest today, I am sitting inside my house, watching the snow pile on the ground fast and furious, and enjoying a quiet day off work. The longer it snows, the harder it seems to snow. It seemed like a good time to take stock of all of my works in progress.

Brocks Aran
Brock’s sweater has continued apace, but I set it aside about a week ago because I was jonesing for something with a little bit more color and a little bit less mental involvement.

garter stitch baby kimono
Insert the Garter Stitch Baby Kimono. I’ve been working on this sweater a stitch here and a stitch there for the last couple of months, but this past week I decided it was time to finish it. (This has nothing to do with feeling like my due date is suddenly much closer than it was two weeks ago.) This is my kind of dye job. Bold. Bright. A little garish, perhaps, but completely adorable at the same time. (Yarn is Vice Yarns Paradigm in Plain Jane.)

baby hat
The sweater used most of the skein of yarn, but I wanted to make matching accessories anyway, and I just happened to have an undyed skein of yarn that is, if not the same base, a very similar one. I cast on a little hat and am planning on making a pair of Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Cutest Booties in the undyed yarn with the bright yarn as the ties and the pom poms…I should have just enough yarn left for that.

latest handspun
Last time, I showed you some singles on the bobbin of the yarn I was currently spinning. The photo above shows what those singles became. It’s a squishy worsted weight two-ply yarn that I think needs to become a great big, warm, squishy shawl.

shawl ingredients
Pairing it with this undyed skein of merino yarn should help stretch to make the handspun into a great big shawl. This will be my snow day project–seeing how much of it I can get done before the snow clears up.

wensleydale
And if I need a break from knitting, I’ve got this lovely little ball of Wensleydale that needs to be spun up as well.

Stripey Baby Blanket
Or I could try my hand and decorating some more fabrics.

Stay safe and warm everyone!

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My Weekend in Pictures

It feels like I have a million different projects going on, but none of them are finished enough for a real post. I am still working on Brock’s sweater, and I am still working on various sewing projects for the baby. In the past few days I’ve knit my sister a pair of mittens and spun a skein of yarn off a gorgeous batt I made, and I’m still sick enough to not have a voice and to feel pretty crappy in the morning and the evening.

So today, I mostly just have pictures.
sheep on a blanket
Printing sheep on a baby blanket

baby blankets
Still need some practice. (That yellow in the background is another baby blanket that I dyed yesterday. First time dyeing plant fibers!)

half a ginat batt
A really horrible picture of half of my giant batt. I forgot I hadn’t taken any pcitures until I had half of it spun already. Yes, I was that anxious to spin it.

spinningfromabatt
The other half of the batt, already on the bobbin. I got about a 200 yard worsted-ish weight skein out of it that is currently drying.

What have you been up to?

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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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Twisted Fiber Festival

Just in case you were wondering where I have disappeared to:

I have been organizing this with the help of two lovely ladies who are, like me, going to be vendors also. As you can see below, I am teaching a class as well.

Twisted! Details

Vendors:
Alpacas at Orchard Hill
Knit n Spin
Tiny Dino Studios
Twisted Sisters
Th’red Head
Blushing Ewe
Shirley’s Succulents
Tom Swayne Woodworking
Prairie Productions
Laura’s Pygoras
Creations by Anna
Rouse House
Images in Time 3D
The Wicked Stitch
Elaine Kruger’s Sewing
Barb’s Nuno Felted Wearable Art

TWISTED Fiber Festival
FREE Classes/Demos
Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Potwin Fiber Artisans are happy to offer the following FREE
classes/demonstrations during the course of the TWISTED Fiber Festival! Each of the demonstrators is an artisan in the subject matter of their class/demo and many have scheduled classes in January so that you can build upon the knowledge and techniques you learn during the festival. Each session is 45-55 minutes long and the artisans will have tools available for you to utilize during the class; some will have tools available for purchase, and many vendors at the festival will have fibers available for purchase!

10am- BEGINNING KNITTING with Jenny Binfield
Jenny will show you how to caste on and begin knitting, and will have a handout with her basic knitting tips and techniques. Needles and yarn will be available, or you can bring your own needles and purchase some delicious handspun from one of the vendors.

11am- BEGINNING CROCHET with Susan Hudgens
Learn the basics of crochet, including slipknot, chain, slip stitch, single crochet & double crochet. Bring a crochet hook, yarn and scissors-some materials available, first come, first serve.

Noon- SPINNING with Marla Holt
Learn drafting techniques that allow you to quickly and easily spin fun thick n thin yarn and lofty thick singles on your spinning wheel. Please bring your spinning wheel and about 4 ounce of fiber you are familiar with spinning.

1pm- EMBROIDERY BASICS with Susan Hudgens
Learn the skills needed to complete a simple embroidery project including choosing materials, overhand knot, back-stitch, overhand stitch, French knot, satin stitch,, Lazy Daisy and as many other as we can fit in. Bring scissors, aida cloth, needles & floss-some materials available, first come, first serve.

1pm- DRUM CARDING DEMONSTRATION with Jennifer Beck
With an eye for color and texture, Jennifer creates beautiful art batts! Come watch her show you just how fun and easy it is to create an amazing fiber batt on a drum carder, ready to be spun into a unique OOAK yarn or used in your next felting project.

2pm- MAGIC LOOP KNITTING with Meg Wickham
The Magic Loop Technique allows you to make something small and circular by using one long 32″ or longer circular needle. Bring 75 yards of worsted weight (very soft) yarn and US sz 7 needles at least 32″ if you want to try alongside the instructor.

3pm- DROP SPINDLE SPINNING with Lori Warren
Lori will cover the basics of using a drop spindle: getting started, prepping your fiber, drafting, starting a leader, and park & draft spinning. She will also demonstrate how to skein and finish your handspun yarn. Drop Spindles, made by Lori, will be available for $10.

4pm- NEEDLE FELTING BASICS with Anna Walker
Stab something into existence and learn from @FELTit herself! With a barbed needle and some pretty fiber, learn the basics of needle felting as you create your own little cyclone! Basic needle felting instructions will go home with you along with your felting needle and a foam block!

I might not be very present until all of this is over, but when it is, look for the relaunch of the Tiny Dino Studios Etsy store and lots and lots of knitting!

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In the Works Wednesday

Last night, I finally put down my knitting needles long enough to get some spinning done.

I spun these two Merino/Silk/Firestar batts into these two skeins of yarn:

They are slightly thick n thin singles that I hope, maintains the idea of how they looked in the batt–and then slightly fulled. I love how much silk there is in this mix and the texture it gives the yarn is luscious .

Next step: warping the loom!

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Spring Bazaar

A few of you locals might be interested to know that instead of being at the farmers market this weekend, I will attending the spring fiber arts!

I, the Potwin Fiber Artisans and I will be at Potwin Presbyterian Church in Topeka. We are on the First Friday Art Walk Friday from 5-9 pm. On Saturday, we will be open from 9am to 5pm. The coolest part is that we will be offering mini-classes, from knitting to spinning to weaving.

Come join us. It will be a blast!

Other notables:
Alpacas at Orchard Hill will be there (ie, the finest alpaca in Kansas)
Blushing Ewe will be there as well with her gorgeous batts. (I usually can’t resist buying one myself.)
The Industrious Knit’n Spin who has been working her tail off, so make sure you give her some love when you see her.

My mission, to find yarn and / or fiber for my first unsupervised weaving project.

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Breakfast of Champions

I have a long, full day ahead of me, so I started it out right. Brock made me this heaping plate of peppery scrambled eggs and bacon. I couldn’t eat it all, so the leftover bacon is in a baggy for a snack later.

I am visiting a farm out in the country with some fiber friends where they sell garden supplies–hopefully I can get a good deal on some seedlings since the hail we had yesterday morning destroyed some of mine. After that I have some Farmer’s Market planning to do. Then, best of all, it’s Open Stitch Night at the PFA!

If you’re in the area, come join us from 7-9 pm at Potwin Presbyterian Church in Topeka, KS. Bring your favorite fibery project. I’ll be there with my spinning wheel and some sparklies, and hopefully will have had something to eat besides bacon.

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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?

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Progress

All I have been doing is spinning and processing fiber. So here’s a photograph of a half filled bobbin on my wheel. I have about 3 times this much spun and am about 2/3 way done.

I am *this* close to being done with carding the dark alpaca. I have about 6 oz. of rolags. (Which may or may not be for sale. . .I have decided yet. It’s very fine fiber, and has trapped some veg matter in there. Then again, could easily come out while spinning. I don’t mind it, but I know some folks get very antsy when they are reminded that their fiber used to live outside and get dirty. Anyone have an opinion?)

In other news, it has been cloudy and rainy here for three days now and I miss the sun. That’s not going to stop me from getting outside for at least an hour today, but just in case anyone who has control over that sort of thing is reading, a little sunshine wouldn’t hurt.

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