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Renovations, etc.

workday saturday
This is what happens when your husband watches you set up a shot: he keeps adding things to it. It was originally just the yarn and the coffee, but everything he added to it, the fresh banana bread, the zucchini from the garden, the baby toy, all seemed appropriate. They are all reasons why I haven’t been blogging much the last couple of weeks, but not the only ones.

In June, I made myself a schedule and tried to stick to blogging 5 days a week for a month. I mostly made it, but looking back at the end of the month, I felt like I hadn’t done anything but blog. I love, love, love blogging–and if I didn’t also have a full-time job, I could probably swing five quality posts a week. Since paying the bills is an unfortunate reality, I am going to have to cut back on the blogging schedule–and, you know, have some time to do stuff to blog about…like update my etsy shop.

I have been planning some renovations for the Tiny Dino Studios online store for ages. I am finally starting to implement them. If you stop by, you will see that I currently have no listings. Over the next two weeks, I will be taking new photos, writing new copy, and adding new product. New listings will go live on August 16th!

In two weeks, I’ll have a whole new store. In the meantime, you might see a few new graphics popping up or some minor changes on the blog and other social media outlets–be sure to check those out for sneak peeks of what I’m working on.

Mug from FriesenArt.

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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.


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

New Moon

summer skies 3
Summer Skies

starry night falkland2
Starry Night

Sunset Falkland


Thunderclouds Falkland

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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January Spinning Complements

January’s spinning complements are here. And they are spectacular if I do say so myself.

Diagon Alley

The Boy Who Lived

Not only are the (1) Harry Potter themed, but they are (2) superfine Merino and (3) fun whimsical colors.

Together they make up just about 8 ounces of luxury spinning fiber, great for any mid sized project. You can find them both in the Tiny Dino Studios etsy shop, along with a couple of other Harry Potter inspired tops.

Happy spinning!

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Free Pattern: Owl Coffee Cozy

Looking for a quick stocking stuffer idea? Know people who really love coffee? This knit coffee cozies are quick and cute. I love home made coffee cozies. These cozies are insulating, cute, and reusable. They are also a great way to use up left over yarn, taking only about 50 yards to complete each one.

Owl Coffee Cozy Pattern

Materials– about 50 yards worsted weight yarn (one skein of my Pteranodon yarn would make a set of four, for instance.)

Gauge– 22 stitches wide by 28 stitches tall in 4 inches done in k2, p1 rib pattern

Needles– one set US 9/5.5mm double pointed needles

Tools– cable needle
darning needle
six small buttons (optional)
sewing needle and thread (optional)

Pattern Key
BO — bind off
CO — cast on
C4B— slip two stitches onto cable needle, hold in back, knit next two stitches, then knit from cable needle
C4F— slip two stitches onto cable needle, hold in front, knit next two stitches, then knit from cable needle

CO 36 stitches, dividing evenly over DPNs being careful not to twist. (I like to do 12 stitches over three needles)
Rounds 1-4: K2, P1 around
Rounds 5-7: K8, P4 around
Round 8: C4B, C4F, P4 around
Rounds 9-15: K8, P4 around
Round 16: C4B, C4F, P4 around
Rounds 17-22: K8, P4 around
Round 23: C4b, C4F, P4 around
Rounds 24-26: K2, P1 around
BO in rib pattern

You can use as is, or for more fun, sew six small buttons on for eyes.

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Just in time for the holiday season, I am kicking off a new line of tops for spinning. Most folks dye their spinning fibers in about 100g or 3.5-4oz batches, myself included. While this is really great for small project like what I shared yesterday, I understand that sometimes 4 oz just isn’t enough.

That’s why I will introduce a new complementary set of hand painted tops every month. The two braids will make up at least 8 oz worth of fiber for spinning or felting, and while they are different colorways, they will be close enough that when used together, they will complement each other very well. The two braids will be listed separately, and can be purchased individually or together. However, if only one of the braids is sold, I will not be able to duplicate the colorway exactly, so I would get them both while you can!

November/December Complementary Hand Painted Top:

4 oz Falkland Top Hand Painted in December

5.3 oz Falkland Top Hand Painted in Winter Solstice

Happy Making!

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Hand Knits in the Shop! (finally)

I know I have been teasing since May about working on some hand-knit items for the shop. I shouldn’t have, it was mean, I know. But I finally got some good photos of what I have been working on. This is just one of the items that is currently up in the shop. (And I do take custom orders!)

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Sale and New Wool!

To celebrate finally earning my bachelor’s degree, I have a sale going on over at the shop through this Sunday. Use code DINO10 and receive 10% off your entire purchase.

Here are a few of the things I have been dyeing up lately:

Two 100g skeins of fingering weight BFL yarn done in Robin’s Egg Blue.

4 oz braid of BFL Top in Wildflower

4 oz braid of BFL top in Fire Flower

(I will have a more substantial post later on, I promise.)

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I Have Been Listening To a Lot of David Bowie and Other Ruminations

The song “Starman” by David Bowie has been stuck in my head for weeks now, and I have only just got around to digging up all the David Bowie files on my computer. So, my title is kind of a lie, I haven’t really been listening to David Bowie, just the facsimile of him that runs through my head.¬† I am not sure what took me so long, other than I just didn’t like any of my media players. I recently ordered one of the new Zune HDs (but have heard nothing from Zune about when it will be shipped, so whether I will actually be receiving this device at the marvelous sale price it was at last weekend is yet to be determined), so I downloaded the Zune software. I actually really like it. iTunes and I have never really got on, it might be because I have no patience with apple software. I know I might be in the minority here, but it is counter-intuitive to me, having always used a PC. (And I love my asus laptop with a strength of emotion that might not be healthy for a piece of equipment I will most likely have to replace in a couple of years.) All of that to say that I dug up my nearly complete David Bowie library, and after admiring the staggering amount of amazingly rockin’ live albums he has, I found the classic, original The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust in an attempt to relish in the greatness, and perhaps get that song out of my head for a little while, as great as it is. And then I listened to it. . .

And I just can’t help but apply the chorus to my life as it is right now. I am interpreting the star man being afraid of blowing our minds but knowing¬† it’s all worthwhile, as a little bit of a personal message for me right here right now, no matter what anybody else thinks it should be about.

One of my major goals this year was to go into business for myself. Three weeks ago, I opened my etsy store, and even though I have not made a sale just yet, I have been dyeing and promoting and slowly working to get over my internet shyness. It has been going well, I feel, and I know it is only a matter of time before I am making regular sales and am making enough money to put back into sustaining my business. I do know that I am not going to be making enough money to support myself from Etsy anytime soon, but I am working on it.

Aside from the fiber arts, my other passion is writing. It is what I am going to school and getting into major debt for. I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not writing in some way, shape, or form. And though the last couple of years have been rather tumultuous with me personally what with getting divorced and basically starting from scratch like I did when I was eighteen and moving out on my own for the first time, and I did not write as much, I am finally finding some equilibrium. The compulsion to write a lot has returned full-force. It turns out I have a lot to say.

One of the major things I have learned though all of the previously mentioned tumult is how to allow myself a voice. In other words, the things that have terrified me about writing in the past, like sending out query letters and promoting myself and *gasp* actually letting people other than the chosen few read my work do not scare me any longer. (At least not to the debilitating extent that they used to do so.)

A major factor in this is that I am fed up with my day job. It is not any worse than any other job where one works for other people and sometimes works too often. This is common, and for a lot of people, it is waaaay too much to ask, which is why they work for themselves. I am there. I fantasize daily about working from home: about working on my latest essay while the steamer is setting the dye on the yarn.

Then today, the wonderful Susan Gibbs from Juniper Moon Farm, where I am a shareholder, posted this to her blog. Go take a look, and I know the pictures of the sheep and goats and puppies are distracting, but please come back. I will wait.




So, like Susan, I knew exactly what that sign was talking about too. It was my message from the Star Man. Write more. Get published. Get out of this place (I was checking my reader at work, I will freely admit) and do something that doesn’t stain your fingers brown! (If you are a new reader, I manage a coffee shop.)

It just so happens that Tuesday, my first essay for my essay-writing class is due. I have had this essay in my head for a couple of months now, but had not given myself the time to just sit down and write it. But tonight, I sat down and did it. I finished my first draft. While there is a ton of work to do before it is fit to even be turned in for workshop, it feels so good to finish my first piece since November. And I know right now, that even in this rough state, this one is publishable.

I can do this.

I have no idea when I will really be able to work from home, or if I will find a job (with benefits and/or a sustainable salary) outside the coffee shop before that happens, but I do know that I can get the writing done until then. And really, after a few years of feeling really down on myself and my ability to create, that is all I need.