Monday, March 30, 2009

Maybe it's something in the water? Part 2

Well after getting all fired up this morning about my supplier, everything worked out okay. Better than okay, actually... fantastic!

At first, I didn't think things were going to go very well... I got transferred to three different people. In the end, that worked out great, though, because I talked to the actual person who packed my order, who went to the actual bin the fiber is stored in. It seems that one of their sticky labels "migrated" from one of their giant bags to another. They were super-grateful that I pointed this out to them, and apologetic about the problem.

They not only are sending me the correct fiber, they are sending it Priority Mail instead of my usual snail-pace UPS. I don't have to ship back the incorrect fiber. Which is a good thing, since I'd dyed up a third of it already.

The only bad part about the whole thing was that I was so set for a confrontational, bad phone call, my adrenaline was still pumping when I got off the phone. I probably sounded like a bibbling idiot. :D

Anyway... the "mystery fiber" is regular merino/tencel.... NOT superwash. Hewitt's Woods (posted to the shop yesterday, and taken down briefly) has been correctly labeled in the shop and reposted. The poor batch of "Wicked Candy" roving (based on one of my sock yarn colorways) is bound for the "oops" collection, since it's pretty felty.

I would have sworn this had nylon in it, because I don't get that lovely streakiness in my superwash merino/tencel like I did in Hewitt's Woods. My guess is that they don't blend the two fibers as much when it's straight merino, for whatever reason. But watch my tencel listings carefully for the next dozen or so listings, as I wouldn't want one of y'all to end up with the wrong type of fiber.

Maybe it's something in the water?

All of my suppliers have gone insane, aparently. Last night when I was rinsing out a second batch of roving from my last order, I realized what's been bothering me about this roving... it doesn't feel right when it's wet. It's been dyeing up with streaks of undyed bits, like it's got a small percentage of plant fibers. And it *hasn't fallen apart once*. This stuff that's labelled superwash merino/tencel is NOT tencel... and I'm pretty sure the merino component isn't even superwash! It FELTED when I rinsed it. I have never felted any roving in my (admittedly short) dyeing career.

In fact, this felted so badly that two 4 ounce pieces felted the ENDS together so that it was one long piece. I had to vigorously tease the ends apart.

I am going to have to call my supplier today, and I am not looking forward to this conversation. This is the third supplier snafu I've had since January, not all from the same supplier, but still! I'm afraid they're going to get the brunt of all my frustration. It can't be helped though... I can't afford to absorb a $100 loss from their mistake. And since I've dyed up about 40% of the order, I'm not sure they're going to be able to send me the right stuff. I think the best I can hope for is they identify what they really did send me so I can label it properly. The batch that felted is probably toast, though. And by toast I mean I'm going to have to absorb that... more "Oops Collection" items for me to spin personally.

There are other, cheaper, places for me to get my roving. I *like* this supplier though because they have a great variety, and the quality is very nice... when I GET what I ORDER. :/

So, nothing on the horizon for the shop... unless some miracle happens and they send me what I originally ordered as an apology. The Batik idea I was working on has been put aside... the wax removal process is disgustingly messy. It's very labor-intensive compared to what I could charge for the pieces. I would also want to order cold-water reactive dyes to do it properly, and I just don't want to incur that kind of expense at this time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Knit Alongs and other stuff

I'm making progress on my Mystic Roses KAL shawl... here is a picture taken right after the setup was completed.

I'm now on Row 35 of the first clue. I got to 33 the first time and had to rip back five rows because I apparently moved my chart marker one row ahead of myself. I've also made one mistake that I may or may not go back to correct. I thought I was following the directions, and reversing the cables on one side so that the two halves would mirror each other, but it sure isn't looking like I am. All these tiny cables are annoying. But I will admit, it is turning out very pretty.

On the horizon for the shop, a shipment from Dharma Trading Co. is coming in today. It will most likely be my LAST order with them. I don't know if it's the economy that is affecting them, but their customer service has gone way downhill, as did their attention to detail. You would not believe the hoops I had to jump through to get the correct tracking number on this last order after I received an email from them with the incorrect tracking information. And the person I spoke to on the phone was rude.

Anyhoo, this order contains better supplies for silk painting/batik. If I could have ordered all these things at these prices elsewhere, I would have. As it stands, the only things I *may* need to go back to them for are my fringed silk shawls. Otherwise all their supplies can be obtained through ProChem, or candlemaking supply shops. As my husband would say, Dharma needs to "tighten up". It's a military thing.

I had planned on making another video today, as I was not pleased with how my last spinning video turned out... pretty dim. And my couch was really messy. But with the package from Dharma (I get flashes of John Locke punching buttons in the hatch every time I say that, heh) coming in today, I will have to wait until that gets here. I might do another "unpack the goodies" video, and then tomorrow or the next day do some batiking.

New roving arrived yesterday, too, so I'm going to have to figure out how to work that in.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Ah, spring. Warmer weather, goofy pastel colors everywhere... in the grocery store, on the tv, in little dyed eggs. And pollen. Yeah.

Spring break for the little moppet ended today... it's back to school. This means mom gets to go back to work (especially now that I'm not at death's door). I had *fully intended* to go ahead and do some video blogging during spring break, but between my bout with that virus, and monkeypants being home, my HOUSE was not presentable enough. And my energy level just wasn't up to a huge cleaning. Now I'm getting that urge to spring clean... get the germy nasties out, etc. So expect the video to start again soon.

But no, I will not videotape me *cleaning*. There are lines I will not cross.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Am I pleading or whining?

I have been a loyal customer of for many, many years. I want to say at least eight years... possibly as many as ten, since I do recall buying toys for my daughter when she was quite young.

Amazon used to be cool. It was a treat to shop there, and maybe it was because I spent so much money with them, but they used to send me a little gift around Christmas time. Nothing fancy, maybe an insulated coffee mug with their logo on it or something, but I used to feel valued. I used to feel like they really appreciated me.

Now I feel like they're dirty money-grubbers angling to get my money.

It was little things at first. They stopped sending gifts. The little section below the main item you were looking at stopped giving you an added percentage off the item if you purchased it with another suggested item (yes, they used to do this!). Then, in what seemed like a wooing gesture, they offered Prime membership. At first, this was great. I purchased enough from them that I got my membership fee back several times over every year in free two-day shipping.

Then one day, after using my husband's computer to browse for some business supplies, the truth hit me... Prime members were getting charged higher prices on items than standard members. One piece of equipment was *forty dollars* higher on my account than it was on my husband's.

Amazon, I used to love you, but it's over now. I may give you the occasional drunken call at 1am for cheaper books, but we have no future together.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Apparently I'm impulsive...

Probably one hour after I posted yesterday that I was afraid to dye my merino/tussah roving, I dyed it up. In a rose-themed colorway. I know, right? If I had a good eyeroll emoticon, consider it inserted right here.

For all my waffling, I think it turned out pretty awesome.

The "Purple Heart" roving is up in the shop, back by popular demand. Okay, one person... but she's pretty persuasive. :D

I *may* be up to continuing my video blogging later today. My plague symptoms have mostly subsided, now I just have to deal with what feels like some nasty heartburn. It woke me at 4am, hence the early-tude of all my posting today. You know that old USArmy commercial where they say they get more done before 9am than most people do all day? Yeah. So true. But civilians can pull it off too if they have a reason to get up at oh-dark-thirty.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the horizon

Two colors of roving drying in the drying room today. A new, experimental "one should not dye stuff when they're on the verge of getting sick" colorway, and an old favorite, "Purple Heart". It took forever for my roving supplier to send me out my last order, apparently because they couldn't come up with a full 8oz. of the merino/silk blend I purchased as a treat/experiment for a week.

Naturally I am now afraid to dye it. :/

I am tempted to dye it in "Beth's Roses" so I can spin up some laceweight for the Mystic Roses KAL I joined. The still-slightly ill and procrastinating part of me wonders if I can dye it, spin it (and spin enough of it), and have the yarn *ready* for the start of the knitalong. I'm thinking no.

I do have four undyed hanks of the natural version of Knitpick's Palette yarn. That has more yardage (undyed) than the author used for her shawl, but less than the recommended amount. I *could* also knit it up undyed, and then try the hand-painted post-knit dyeing technique I've seen floating around Ravelry lately. I'd get to set up my large vertical silk-painting steamer. I'd also have to buy dye thickener to keep the colors in place. Ah, decisions decisions.

*eyeroll* As though I've ever finished a shawl I've started yet. *snort*

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bring out yer dead...

I was seriously contemplating going to the emergency room yesterday.

On Friday, little Aquamarine (or Monkey Pants, as she is sometimes affectionately known) came down with a nasty virus. It was a good thing she spoke up when she did, because otherwise its volcanic effects would have ruined the day of about 30 kids on the schoolbus right at the beginning of their half day before Spring Break. Then nobody would have had any fun all week long.

By Saturday afternoon, she was fine, but then I succumbed. I am not rebounding as fast as the mighty mite, however. I have that same icky feeling you get after a round with some really powerful antibiotics. I won't gross you out with the symptoms that made me think I was bound for the emergency room, but lets just say I looked and felt like a horse that had eaten too many green apples, with no relief in sight. It got to the point where I was pacing from one end of the house to the other, hoping for results.

Fortunately Barronius (the hubby-beast) has not succumbed, despite his rather touching attendance to the ill and near-dead in the house this weekend. He must be washing his hands like I warned him to repeatedly. He's a very manly-man in that respect... thinks that no germ would ever dare touch him. I shall hate to be there when something does, because I'm pretty sure his lack of experience will make him a very whiny patient.

Anyhoo... the point of this whole thing is to explain my brief absence, and let y'all know that packages may ship out slowly for a bit. I'm going to be performing a serious decon on everything as soon as the energy levels get back up to par.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pretty Purple Pansy People

Yeah... I am a sucker for alliteration.

When I did my YouTube video of me dyeing up my Pansy People roving, I did not video tape what I did moments after... which was use the dyes on a silk scarf that the UPS man had delivered almost as I was finished with the roving.

The resulting roving wasn't what I intended, but I'm still very pleased. The scarf, however, exceeded my expectations. So I've decided to put it up on my shop.

And if it's anything like the roving I've been trying to recreate since November, it will probably be a one-of-a-kind.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Videos and fuzzy stuff

I went for it yesterday and uploaded *two* new videos to my YouTube channel. My friend Iggy is considering a ballwinder and swift, so I showed her how nicely they work together... had I known there were a bazillion youtube videos about that exact thing, I probably would have pointed her to one, but oh well. :D The other was more spinning.

This morning I am working on a video about recreating "Wine in a Copper Vessel" which was a very awesome couple of braids of merino/tencel I did a few months ago. Here is a picture of the old one that was already sold:

Now that's the stuff. I really, really, really wanted to keep that one. Oh so very much. But I think I have enough yarn and fiber to outlive me, so I can't keep everything. Just my "Ooops" collection will keep me spinning for years.

I am so very tempted to save my spending budget from hubby for a month or two, and buy an entire bump of roving. This is 352 ounces, or would divide up into 88 four ounce units. Dat's a lot of roving. I don't do it because hubby's quitting smoking has failed in an epic way, and I can't really nag him about it again *right now*. The next time he's feeling broke and unhealthy, though, I'm going to lay it on really thick. There may be pie charts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wicked Garden strikes again!

Yesterday (Monday) I made a video dyeing up some superwash merino/tencel blend roving, which can be seen at .

I was going to embed it here like I did with my last post, but it's a two-parter and that's just too much. :D

The roving took a mere 12 hours in front of the fan to dry, so it's up on the shop already at: Wicked Garden

I discovered in the rinse process that it is exactly like my former "Wicked Garden" colorway, so that is what it is named, just on a different base. Which is something that I frequently do, move a colorway from one base roving to the next, so I'm fine with that.

My BIFF (best internet friend forever) bought a bunch of my stuff this week. It seems she had a financial windfall and wanted to spread the joy, so I say "woohoo!". She's getting a little extra in her packages for being such a darling.

Wow, that sounds kinda naughty.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Springtime Mondays

Despite all my daylight savings time prep yesterday, my alarm still didn't go off as scheduled. I have an iPod docking alarm clock, and apparently it was knocked askew sometime over the weekend and the batteries were completely drained. I guess this means I have to set the second alarm to the *beep* setting for five minutes after the music one.

I dashed off a really quick video of me making some stitch markers Saturday. Hubby and little doodle made a surprise hour-long trip to the park, so I dashed around like a madwoman and got this recorded. I was just sitting down to my editing suite when they came home.

There was very little time for planning, lol.

On deck for this week... I designed a very bold necklace of hammered brass links and striking glass beads from my big order that came in Friday. Unfortunately, even at 4pm in the afternoon, the downstairs neighbors got irate while I was hammering and pounded on the ceiling. For TWO YEARS I have put up with their slamming their front door so hard it knocks pictures over on my shelves, but they're going to complain at 4pm on a Sunday?! Jackasses. So I only got 3/4 of the links done. I plan to do the rest this morning once we hit 9am. I'm hoping they'll still be asleep so I can give them a piece of my mind if they actually come to my door to complain. I've heard they're moving out, so getting all snarky about noise at this point seems odd and childish.

I also plan to dye up some more roving. I'm expecting a new shipment of Brown Sheep Superwash sometime this week, and someone has requested my first colorway, "Purple Heart" through a convo. It's been a while since I've made it, mostly because I felt like I used purple in *everything* so I was avoiding it. Also, my perfect Glad container for doing one braid's worth of roving in the microwave has mysteriously disappeared. I think the hub-beast may have thrown it away. :/ I shall have to make a run down the street to the HEB grocery and see if they have them in stock, but they won't be the Christmas Green that I used to have.

There are also some supplies coming in from Dick Blick art supplies... but those contents are a surprise. Lets just say I plan to get really creative with my pendants and necklace focal pieces.

We Etsy sellers must do what we can to be unique and individual, yes?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Good grief! Is it *next* Friday yet?!

I woke up to a confluence of events that can only be described as the "Perfect Storm" of WTF?

I must have made some folks nervous with my post yesterday. Let me just say that the person I was writing about has already been contacted, so it wasn't you. :D Three Etsy conversations waiting for me in the morning was a little unnerving. It's entirely possible it was all a coincidence, in which case, don't feel bad.

PayPal has apparently completely FREAKED OUT over something. I can't access any transactions older than 2/18 no matter what dates I put in the search parameters. One of my jewelry suppliers decided to bill me twice for the same shipment, and of course they're west of me, which means I can't call them till nearly lunch time. I think this is the last time I order from them with my business account. I don't know how the IRS is going to feel about it, but if they're going to pull this kind of weirdness, I just can't do it.

To top it all off, my daughter decided she's wearing a swimsuit to school under her school clothes, and refuses to explain it to me. If it's anything like last year, it's the post-TAKS testing celebration that they always have at school. They write it up like the kids have been working so hard, they need to let off steam. I think more likely it is the teachers... which makes no sense, because if the teachers are stressed, I'd think the last thing they'd want to do is deal with the crazy-crazy of 400 kids fighting over their place in line on the slip-n-slide.

I don't know what they're thinking.

I do know that not only is today PAYDAY, but it's Mom's Day Off. Mom doesn't get the day off, though... I have one, possibly two, items to list, and a very large bead order coming in. Well, considering how I goofed off yesterday, I guess it all evens out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh, the drama!

So, the big surprise was I decided to finally put my video camera to use! I made a short (ha!) video of me blithering like an idiot while I spin yarn. I don't even much talk about the spinning process, just yarnie type stuff.

If you'd like to see it, it's here: Warts (not real ones!) and all.

The batteries do run out during part two, but you get a nice title card to look at while that's going on.

I suppose I should say something...

I've been putting off making my next entry because I'm waiting on a friend to vet a surprise thing I'm doing... but she hasn't gotten to it yet so it's in a holding pattern. Possibly tomorrow though!

New rovings are up in the shop, and there will be a third tomorrow. Tomorrow is Mom's Day Off but I'll still list the last of the triad. They're all named after foods... and no, I'm not on a diet. I don't know what happened there.

Expecting a big purchase from Fire Mountain gems tomorrow, so more jewelry in the weeks to come. I had my first jewelry purchase from my Etsy shop yesterday, so that's good timing. Very motivational.

Something less motivational happened this week that I'm mortified about, because it is my fault in the sense that I trusted someone else in my family to take care of part of my business, and then they screwed up. I don't like total self-reliance in everything, but in the case of my baby business, I should have taken care of such things myself. My bad. I hope it turns out okay.

Sorry about the vague, but after my "Social networking" post last week, I just don't want to air everything to the world, ya know?

Sometimes when I blog, I remember this creative writing class I took in college. I don't know if you've heard of my professor, the "mad hugger" (it was on TV back in the 80s... one of the news programs, I don't remember which) but he was my creative writing proff, and he asked us to do journal entries which we then turned in. He commented on them, saying they were very candid... got an A. I think my point is though that I don't filter stuff I put here very often. They feel like diary entries when I do them. I try to keep them on-topic for fiber, knitting, and the shop, but yeah... it's my only blog, so I do vent sometimes.

Thanks for reading, in any case.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Did Renoir or Monet have a lilac period?

I think I understand all the comments which have made their way into mainstream humor/punnage about an artist's "blue" period. I think I'm in a red/purple/hot pink phase, and I'm trying my best to break out of it, but it's making me insane. It is really, really hard to stay away from red. Purple, yeah, I lovelovelove it, but I don't have to put it on every roving I paint or dye. But red... ah red.

It doesn't help that when I was trying to find my "signature" red, I bought about six different shades of Jacquard red. Even if I reach into the dye cupboard and randomly pick something, odds are it will be red.

And it goes with damn near just about everything. I can even make it work with green.

Well as I type this, I am steaming four new braids (two each of new colorways) that are definitely using reds. In fact one is probably going to be named "Blood Orange" because it contains two shades of red and a burnt orange shade that's pretty awesome. Instead of breaking from my color rut, I changed things up by using a more direct method of applying dye with a paint brush instead of my usual drizzling. I think I'll have fewer surprises when I pull them out of the steamer as far as colors migrating, but I'm concerned that all the wet manipulation of the wool surface with a paintbrush is going to make things felt-y. We shall see.