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.

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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


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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?


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.


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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!

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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.



The Next Generation for Fiber Artists and Wood Crafters


I love to share my LOVE of fiber with anyone who is interested but I have a captive audience! GRANDCHILDREN! Mark loves for the children to come to his wood shop to learn about wood and building things too.

We have a total of 8 grandchildren with two of them living less than a mile from the house so we get to spend A LOT of time with them and they love to be in the wool room with me. Kaylee, 6, and Max, 4, are budding Fiber Artists. Both have their own ideas of what looks good in batts.

Kaylee loves to add lots, and lots, and lots and then just a little more sparkle in her batts. She also comes up with unique (and bizarre) names for all of her fiber. She has been known to climb into my box of wool scraps and roll around. I think she’s a lot like me and loves to smell and feel the wool. She is also interested in learning to spin and spends time working her yarn in and out of the spinning wheel. She informed me that the look on her face was not an angry look but a look of concentration.

Max on the other hand is more subdued and likes to draft and stretch the fibers. He loves to watch the machines and touch everything on them. He learned the hard way recently not to put his fingers around the belt to the carder. Max names his batts after people – cracks me up!

Further up the road we have Schuyler, 10, and Brailey, 6, who also love fiber. “OH MY GOSH” is a term that I hear a lot when they are working with me. They’ve been able to make batts to make scarves and have needle-felted little gnomes. Pop-Pop was a little nervous when they were using the needles and Schuyler found out the hard way that the needles really hurt! I can’t wait until they have more time to spend with us learning this craft. Schuyler has also been in the wood shop and has turned an ink pen on the lathe.

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Daniel, 11, lives further away so we don’t get to see him as often but when he comes he likes to be in the workshop with Grandpa. He spent some time this summer building gifts for each of his family members. He has an amazing knack at following directions and putting stuff together. He put together all the shelves for the fiber room!!!

My nephew Tim, 11, also likes to be in the wool! He loves colors and design. He’s one I can call and he’ll come help me with the fiber. He has made several batts which I’ve spun into yarn to make him a winter hat and he’s designed a batt that we wet-felted into a lovely, colorful scarf. He too has needle-felted a gnome and seemed to have a great time doing it.

I enjoy watching the children’s faces as they watch piles of wool turn into something recognizable! As time progresses I hope to be able to have them playing more active roles in the wool room and soon in Grandpa’s workshop working on wood projects.

The Day MK Unique Designs Closed…..(for the day)

Little black and white, furry, low to the ground, stinky balls of “your not going to work today” blocked the entrance to the wood shop! Where is that written in any “Start Your Business” books?

It’s hard to open a business. There are a lot of things to work out. What products? How to make the products? Where to market the products? Etsy? Ebay? Amazon? Brick and Mortar? Internet? Web page? and once you figure all that out….branding? themes? concepts? packaging? space? buildings? Then production. We are well on our way in those departments. My wood shop puts in about 8-10 hours a day building and creating unique one of a kind bowls, vases, boxes, hunting calls and many other wood items and the wool shop averages 3-4 hours a day.

In a new business even a small break affects the amount of goods being produced so we take very little time off right now. In the heat of the day we work on the computer in doors since neither shop is very cool during the day. We have a goal to have enough products by next fall to start going to craft shows to try to get some local business coming our way also.

As we pour every spare second into the business and we jump hurdle after hurdle. Read books and articles and realize what we could be doing better or different and then go back and change, update and rearrange. Frustration builds. We keep finding things we didn’t know or didn’t think about that cause us to slow to a crawl. Well this week we hit a full on STOP! In all our careful planning and preparation no book or article or wise words of wisdom prepared us for what was coming!


Little black and white, furry, low to the ground, stinky balls of “your not going to work today” blocked the entrance to the wood shop! Where is that written in any “Start Your Business” books? We had been smelling skunks in the neighborhood and one was in the yard one morning when I was leaving to go to work. Not so unusual. Then one in the driveway. Also not that unusual. The wood shop started to smell of skunk…..okay still not worrisome until…………..a  little skunk poked its tiny head out from under the ramp up to the shop. FULL STOP! ENGINES IN REVERSE! RUN!

Time to regroup and rethink this business plan……

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For all the animal lovers in my life the skunks were humanely trapped and relocated to a place where they will be able to run free.