Designer Roving

“Unique” roving created by spinners for spinners.

My wonderful spinning group “Spinning in the Shenandoah Valley Virginia” graciously agreed to help design their dream spinning fiber. Each one had an idea of the colors and blend that they wanted to create and we had a blast looking at fiber and imagining what the final product would look like.  I so look forward to designing more roving with these wonderful spinners.

I loved their inspiration. Carlene, Day Dream, had a vision of the sky and clouds moving; Kay, Jungle Frog had a picture and created her fiber using those colors; Linda, Damselfly, had a picture in her head too and then found the Damselfly that was the perfect name for her fiber and Nancy , Apple Blossom, had a vision in her head of the colors of the apple trees in the area when they bud out in the spring.

I too have been designing fiber for projects and am excited to be offering these in our shop. Most of my creations have been created for the The Spinning Box, a monthly box of fiber put together by Mary Egbert. You can get yours at

I want to be able to create “Unique” and one of a kind projects and this is really a fun way to experiment with colors and textures, fibers and blends, and different spinning methods to get the perfect yarn for a project. Au Natural was designed to get my feet wet in spinning flax. The roving is Black Welsh, Natural Flax and Tussah Silk. The roving is a gray/black and the yarn translates to a brown/black/gray which would make a gorgeous sweater. The flax will offer some structure, the wool a little spring and the silk some softness.

All of the Designer Roving will be available in our shop and larger quantities can be special ordered.

Wool,  Roving,  Spinning Fiber,  MK Unique Designs
Au Natural
Black Welsh, Flax, Tussah

Learning New Things 2018

My plans for 2018 include spinning and knitting hemp, ramie and bamboo then knitting up swatches and I have a ton of ideas and patterns for those.

When you knit, spin, crochet, weave… do you ever challenge yourself to learn new things? I have decided to work on a few new things this year in my spinning, knitting and weaving. I am going to spin different fibers and so far, I have spun flax! Which I found I really enjoyed! I also knit up a sample swatch, which brings me to my next new thing I want to do this year. I want to knit my swatches to have a border and learn a new stich/pattern while doing it.20180202_081536 (2)

My plans for 2018 include spinning and knitting hemp, ramie and bamboo then knitting up swatches and I have a ton of ideas and patterns for those. I also want to get back to weaving so I am planning to spin enough natural flax and bleached flax to try to make some woven linen towels.

I have been looking at patterns for a sweater too! I want one that is easy with not a lot of extra steps for my first attempt. I have some yarns that I dyed so they will be perfect but I am so hesitant to get started. It seems like such a big commitment compared to the hats, gloves and mittens I have been working on. I am just going to have to cast on and begin the journey.

20180202_115625 (2)

Another new thing in the works is a line of “Unique” roving for spinners. I want to create some fiber and color combinations that spinners want to spin. My spinning group is helping design the first round of fibers and they are really excited. If you want a specific roving yourself please don’t hesitate to contact me! I’m always looking for new ideas!!!!!

Mermaids and Mystical Creatures

I’ve been filming the opening of my spinning box from spinningbox.com for a while now and I’ve had multiple challenges over the years. First one was what do you use? Tried my computer and my camera…..okay results. Then bought a nice little video recorder and that created a very nice video but the lighting was off…..so I tried various ways to create adequate lighting….and final decided that outside in natural light was the best. That decision led to another problem!

I live next to a trucking company and on a busy highway. On to sound. I tried two different microphones but they only intermittently worked and as anyone who has seen any of the latest videos knows…..I’ve not had sound. Since you can only have ONE box opening there has been no going back for a redo so I kept on looking for a solution. This video I used an “interview” microphone. I have it hung in front of me (hoping to drown out the lawnmowers that seem to be out whenever I want to film).

Let me know how it sound!

 

Facebook Rules

Who knew that this above Facebook post would cause me so much drama today?……How Hard could it be? …… What could possibly go wrong?

Screenshot_20171021-134822Who knew that this above Facebook post would cause me so much drama today?  I created what I thought was an innocent little post to sell off some fibers quickly. Usually I don’t try to sell on Facebook – every group seems to have a lot of rules. Too many for my brain to understand but after a week off work I thought I could tackle this! How hard could it be??

I created my post and then I shared it to a Facebook group. Yeah me! Yes I read the rules first…I was selling something – check. No links in ad – check. I had the item in my possession – check. I had a site for fiber – check. I remembered to put in the price – check. I was confident that I could figure out how to invoice and get paid – check. I had enough – check.

What could possibly go wrong???????

First a notice from the admin to remove the link to my business….. hhhhmmmm……don’t know how to do that. Matter of fact I didn’t know what they meant. So I took down that post and put it on my page and then linked to the Group. So I’m set! Right?

So I go ahead and post to two other sites. Read their rules and all seem to be okay!

Then I get a message that my original post has been pulled down because I broke another rule. Back to the rules I went: my stuff, my site, priced, description, picture…..

Apparently I couldn’t post in the original group if the price was the same for another site…okay…..not really understanding but back to the rules……there it is right in the beginning of the pinned post. So now I had a choice. Raise the price for the other sites or not post in the original group.

I must be honest I really thought about writing to the person who kept messaging me a lengthy missive about how stupid that last rule really was. I didn’t understand really. I was selling at rock bottom prices and if I put it higher on another site the bad side of me wanted to add – “you can buy it cheaper from me in another group.” But reason prevailed and I just removed my posts except from the one site. I couldn’t handle figuring out MORE rules for the other groups.

So how do you do posing in groups?? Do the rules drive you crazy? How do you respond when the admin admonishes you for breaking the rules?

Thanks for letting me rant a little bit!   Kerry

 

Lessons Learned from my First Craft Show

 

IMG_0816 (640x427)

Lessons Learned at our First Craft Show

I  like the anonymity of selling on-line. I get to wear my pajamas and not comb my hair and my business ticks along but…….I would like to reach a more local audience. Our products are the kind you need to touch and feel (and smell). A picture cannot do justice to the nuances of colors in the wool or in the wood. You can’t experience the weight of something made of wood or the softness of the wool as you run your hand over it through a picture. I can try to show how large something is by putting something next to it to compare it to but once you put it in your hands you just know.

So…….craft show! I’ve been really hesitant to venture into this venue of selling. I was worried that I might fail and failing with people watching is a little unnerving. I had so many questions and concerns. So much work! Too much to plan! But alas reason won over fear and I set off on a new adventure with Mark in tow.

We decided last year that we were going to attempt ONE craft show. We went to the venue and checked it out during the Fall craft show and I once again questioned my resolve! There were hundreds and hundreds of people. I felt swamped and all I did was walk around and get a sense of the place but we pressed on and signed up for a booth strategically located by the food and not far from the bathroom.

With five months to plan and get ready all should go off without a hitch! We both began stockpiling our wares. He made bowls, bandsaw boxes, pet dishes, salt and pepper mills and hunting calls. I washed, combed and dyed wool. I spun my fingers to the bone and started weaving. We had a lot of unique items to show and sell.

We received our paperwork and I read and reread all the rules and suggestions. We made booth displays and planned out a layout to showcase our products. We enlisted help from our wonderful family – daughter Lee and son-in-law Jon. We washed the trailer and added our logo. We put our logo everywhere. I worked to unify the booth with theme and color. I made stickers and signs and business cards and sticky notes. I measured and set up and thought about and dreamed about then panicked about the set up. So with all this thought and planning I should have had everything in order right?

NOPE!

So this is what I learned:

Lesson 1: There will always be new lessons to learn.

Lesson 2: You can plan and do dry runs and have everything ready but if you misread how large the tables are going to be you’re screwed before you even begin!

I “thought” the paperwork said that there would be one six foot table in the booth and we chose to have another six foot table added but when we got to our ten by ten square booth there were two EIGHT foot tables eclipsing the space. Shouldn’t be a problem more space to put stuff!!! Wrong….. Big problem!!! I had ordered tailored six foot tablecloths so no table coverings to unify the space. Then we noticed that Mark’s wheelchair and my chair and Lee’s chair and Jon took up about another eight feet of space. I suddenly became quite claustrophobic as the trailer was getting unloaded and all of our stuff started piling up. Lee and I quickly moved one table out but that left us with only eight feet of table and no way to use the layout that we had to carefully planned. Fortunately I had brought a four foot table that I had planned to use to put all the extras like calculator, money, bags, wrapping materials and so on. We quickly shifted gears and folded the tablecloths to make them cover the one table and used the four foot table (which had a matching tablecloth). Voila! Booth set up! Crisis averted!IMG_0810 (640x427)

Lesson 3: You can never avert all crisis’.

Too many people, too small a booth. Fortunately for us Lee was more than willing to not come and help on the day of the show and Jon left once Mark and I had our rhythm going. Love them both for being willing to change their plans for us! Our booth was still very cramped and small feeling. I felt hemmed in sitting behind my overly high tablescape. We readjusted and move out chairs and as our booth neighbor began to sell and move his things closer together we began to move ours further apart.

 

IMG_0807 (640x427)IMG_0817 (640x427)IMG_0819 (640x427)IMG_0811 (640x427)

Lesson 4: No matter how nice your layout looks it may not work.

Day one we had a very hard time getting anyone to come into our booth. I had one table across the front and one down the side but everyone walked past just looking at the front side of the table. I had even put the colorful items high and in the back of the booth and had a bin full of free items inside with a sign that said FREE but very few takers. At the end of day one I moved things around and lowered my layout but I did not rearrange the table placement. Day two fared slightly better but we still had trouble getting people to come into the booth and look around.

Lesson 5: Bring something to do!

I remember reading about this when researching how to have a successful craft show so I brought a small electric spinning wheel with me just in case we were slow and I needed something to do. Well we were in deed slow and I really needed something to do so after a couple of hours I broke out the machine and fired it up and started spinning…….and the kids started coming! And with kids you get parents. I can’t say that this increased our sales but it did get more people to come inside the booth. Day two I brought my regular spinning wheel and while the show did not have many children that day I did have a lot of adults who came to watch me spin! And I met some spinners who were so excited to find fiber to buy!

Lesson 6: Get to know the other vendors!

Some of our best sales were to the other vendors. Because the show was so slow for everyone there was time to go around and check everyone out! I made some great contacts and Mark has several new friends!

IMG_0820 (640x427)

Lesson 7: Well lesson 7 is I’m going to do this again in the fall.

I’m going to be in the same booth with the same eight foot table (for which I’m going to get the right sized tablecloth). I’m going to open the booth and not have something blocking the front so people can walk into to see what we have to offer and I’m going to spin, spin, spin.