Hand-Spun! . . . and a whole lot more

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200 yards worsted weight hand-spun wool

I am thrilled to announce that I am adding a line of hand-spun yarn to my etsy shop! The first addition is pictured above and more are on their way. I have been spinning all day long. I find the motion of spinning a deeply soothing exercise now that I have the hang of it. Because of that, I have been spending a lot of time at my wheel. So much time that there is no way I could ever knit all of the yarn I have been spinning. (Well, I probably could but I would really like to avoid having my apartment over flow with yarn the way cartoon laundry rooms do with soap suds.)

The summer is winding down. I have been finished with school for about three months now. Athrun started Kindergarten on Tuesday, and I have had zero luck finding a job outside the coffee shop, particularly a job I feel like I can really do well. This summer has been full of waffling back and forth on the issue: Do I find an office job that pays a little bit more and allows me to sleep like a regular human being or do I concentrate on growing my own business ventures and creating a job for myself? Do I find a job where I might have to cancel on Shephreding Camp (because did I mention I am going!) or do I stick with the coffee shop and work toward my goal of starting my own farm, possibly fiber csa, sometime within the next decade or do I go try my luck as an administrative assistant or a customer service rep?

To tell the truth, as ready as I am to be the coffee shop customer instead of the barista, I also want to have the opportunity to participate in 2012 season with Growing Growers so I can learn more about growing food out on my Future Fantasy Farm and meet the really great farmer’s who live in my area. I can’t tell you how drawn I am to the idea of participating in that program, but concerns about money kick in just like they always do. The basic concern being that I could really use some more of it. The temptation of money has pulled me back and forth over the past three months, but the strangest thing pointed me in what I feel is the right direction about two weeks ago. The complete lack of money for the right thing.

Not far from my apartment, there is a great shopping center which is mostly full of small, local businesses. One of these, a coffee shop that has always struggled (and was never open when I could go there, might I add) closed down. It’s a cute shop space, and if you’re from Topeka, you know which one I mean. It was all wood with big windows, a nice bar with a little seating downstairs, with a homey upstairs. I noticed the closed for good sign one morning on my way to work while filling up my gas tank. All I could think was “STUDIO SPACE!” and that’s pretty much all I thought the rest of the day.

The downstairs, with some renovation would make a really cute yarn shop, which Topeka is sorely lacking. And upstairs would be the perfect classroom space. You could hold small knitting/spinning classes and maybe even some dyeing lessons. It would small, cute, cozy, a gathering space even. Maybe I would keep the espresso machine. Everything a yarn shop should be. I could see it perfectly, but I knew the rent on that place would be more than I currently pay for where I am living, and nobody is giving out business loans–especially to a girl who already has a little debt and barely-above-minimum-wage job–but the motivating thought the past few weeks is that I can get there.

I don’t necessarily need the rented studio space, but it might be a stepping stone somewhere along the line. Right now I don’t really know. All I do know is that I am putting myself full-steam back into Tiny Dino Studios and going where it takes me. (I am hoping this means more blog posts as well as more products.)

I have some hand-knit samples worked up, but the photography hasn’t quite worked out yet. I almost feel like I need a dress form. But one, dress forms are expensive, two, most of the modern ones are ugly, so I would want to find a vintage one, which is probably even more expensive, and three, I have a very small apartment and finding a place for it might be a problem. All that aside, if you know of someone who has a nice vintage dress form along these lines, I would be happy to make them an offer.

Now, I am off to do some yoga, which is my other new project: losing all the weight I gained when I went back to school–which is a whole other blog post.

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Developments

The fingers on my left hand are teal. One of my kitchen gloves must have a whole in it somewhere. Last night, I dyed the very last of the un-dyed yarn in my apartment. Three bare skeins of bulky wool became three skeins of turquoise and teal colored wool. I don’t have any pictures, because it is all still wet, but they match the Mosasaur skein from the previous post…in theory at least.

I am planning on making a winter set for myself out of these guys. I seem to have lost all my hand-knit mittens, and that just makes me sad, and I have been wanting something colorful to go along with my charcoal grey wool coat since I bought it in November. I haven’t picked all the patterns yet, but I will probably start on the mittens soon. My hands are cold. Of course, I am also working on a sweater for myself (cannibalizing the February Lady for the Idlewood, pictures to come.) I am half way through the first of The Ugly Socks, and I have promised to make the boyfriend a sweater, which I am going to try to start this weekend (fingers crossed). And I am taking a sweater class at the Yarn Barn this spring to make this cardigan… and school starts on Tuesday. So, if my winter set is completed before warm weather hits, it will be a miracle.

I have officially dyed myself through everything I purchased last fall. While that was about four pounds of yarn, most of it went into an afghan, and a good portion of the rest has seen itself become socks or mittens or at least been set aside with the intention of becoming socks or mittens. It was probably enough yarn to last me through this semester if I so chose, but it still left me with nothing to dye. I placed my very first wholesale order a few days ago. Granted the “wholesale” part means that this yarn is not for me, but it does mean that I will have 10 whole pounds of yarn to dye in a few more days. Did you get that? 10 pounds. That’s 5 kilo. 2 pounds of five different yarn bases.

In fingering/sock weight, I have a 80/20 superwash Merino/Bamboo, a 100% superwash Blue Faced Leicester, a 100% superwash Merino, and a 75/25 superwash merino/nylon. To be honest, I love just plain wool socks and mittens. I know a lot of people prefer nylon added to make it stronger, and the bamboo is the same principle. I am interested to see which of the three sells better. I also have some 100% merino worsted weight wool coming in. Not sure how well that will sell, but I am interested to find out.

A picture, for posterity:

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