back and forth

My two lives. My late night/early mornings life of mad crafty energy, where my fingers itch to create and my mild mannered day life of teaching, biking, tennis and the love of my life!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Betty's Home!

She's back where she should be! $75 later, she has a new tension knob, tuned up so she purrs, and runs perfectly!! And I swear NEVER to take a screwdriver to her again, and start fiddling (I thought I saw some lint stuck in the tension dials. Really.)

That's an unfinished baby bug next to her. I made it to a 3rd page in my Etsy shop! First time!! I'm very excited...


My beautiful Singer is in a hole-in-the-wall 'Singer Service Center' in Sac being fixed. 'No problem, easy' says the guy. 'Ready by tomorrow'.

I go back 3 days later, and it's out-sourced to 'Frank' who was the previous owner, and he'll have to call me when she's fixed. AACKK!!
I need it NOW. I have a pile of fabric to be sewed!

Oooh, here's nice. I stopped by my favorite quilt shop, Pincushion and they're having a fabulous sale! I bought a TON of fabric. Gorgeous/bright/fun fabric! And I used my resale license for the first time. Woot. I'm going back Saturday to see if they put out more stuff.

Other stuff: Rode 40 miles with nl yesterday, then played 2+ set with the guys. 'Bounce, Hit' works!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ack! My review is coming up too fast!

So here's my wonderful problem. is reviewing my Etsy for their summer issue of Extremeties. AWESOME!! But one family emergency, a slightly burned out teacher (me) and my usually artistic distracted randomness, my Etsy goals are not being met!

Here are the things I have been doing. First is a pic of my part of the Lunarium/Beckarahn/Sockdiva coproduction. Mine is the upper right. Theme: Earth. The upper left is Beckarahn's, theme: Sea. And the bottom boldness is Lunarium!

Before I could make myself sew, I had a polymer clay obession! This is the result from my custom cane from clayartist. I asked for sock canes, and she made two. This is my favorite! I love it! So now I sell stitch markers. I spent hours searching for all things polymer clay, my usual obsessive uploading of information. So now I have lots of clay that I bought on sale at Michaels, joined a local forum, I signed up for a class for Kaleidoscope canes at the Mendocino Art Center in July with Sarah Shriver . I have visions of selling intricate kaleidoscope and mosaic jewelry out of polymer clay with socks as a theme. Really. lol.

Then before I could get myself to sew, I had to shop. This is my uber-cool find for my sewing corner. A magnet board! It was around $10 that I picked up in the housewares part of Ace Hardware. It's a metal sheet, with these tiny, powerful magnets. I meant to hang paper patterns and such from it, but I had a small pair of scissors in my hand when putting up a pattern piece, and BAM, the scissors flew out of my grip, and hung there like a trophy. 'Aha' moment, and I started putting all the sewing accessories scattered on the surface of my sewing machine, and put them up too. I also bought a new pair of scissors , and a strong pair of reading glasses for when I'm trying to handsew with black thread in the evening.

Fully satisfying my distractions, I'm working on my first batch of Sock Bugs. I hope to have at least twice this in time for July 1st.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My space (not that one)

Frightening, isn't it? This was the space I was working in, on all things Etsy. My sewing machine was in another place, surrounded by storage things in the garage conversion.

I'll never have a reputation of being a neatnick. I'm random and scattered, and more artistic than neat.

Bless my dd for telling me she needed my computer, which she declared was the 'family' computer, and she wanted to load a game called 'Guild Wars' that she had bought. Uh hem. And I was to go where? To do my Etsy thing? This is a small house. Maybe 1200 square feet of 3 pack rats. Need a close-up?

I probably spent more time reading forums than anything else, sometimes. Needlessly checking my Etsy every 15 minutes... then spinning for a few minutes, switching to origami, switching to omiyage, switching to packaging, switching to penning new ideas.

And my dd was kicking me out?!

Blessings in disquise.

I looked around my tiny abode, and although nothing looked possible, I saw my favorite window with new eyes, born of necessity.
Move some empty aquariums, some boxes of dd papers and supplies, some lapidary rock, shift things a bit, and ta da!!!

MY SPACE. I moved up my most precious old Singer sewing machine from my dearest momma, a spool holder that was my Grandmothers from the laundry room, where it held leashes, tools, and misc. junk, a low table to use as a cutting surface (before I had to clear ds's stuff to put my board up to cut things on the low table downstairs) and I'm by my plants, my daughter's art (a winged heart from my dd for my last birthday) my Joy, and it's the Best Space ever for my Etsy! Sure, sure, I should have finished putting things away before I took a pic, but it'll end up like this on a regular working basis anyway...

I have much better light, which will let me sew at night, which I wasn't able to do before.

My wheel is right there. I can talk to my plants while I work.

It's the best ever. I'm so happy. And the timing is perfect, right before my summer vacation -


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Handspun vs. Handpainted

While at my dye workshop, I had dyed 100% alpaca top right next to a skein of 100% alpaca fingering yarn.

Here's the comparison. On the left is the fingering yarn, on the right is my handspun.

Pretty interesting, yes?

(This is what I did instead of report cards...)

The fingering yarn is 1.65 ounces, and came to 174 yards. My handspun came to 160 yards and is 4.10 ounces! True, I spun it pretty tightly, thinking socks, but what do they do to commercial yarn? Puff them up with some mysterious lightness? My handspun feels dense.

Here's a close up of a strand (ala Vogue Knitting!) I found I really knit loosely. According to my stitches, the commercial fingering is DK, and mine is worsted. Heh. I knew my handspun would work as sock yarn! Call it sport at least!

Next: the swatches!

My handpainted commercial yarn.

& ..........

My pretty heathered handspun! More organic.

I like both, just very different effects.

Last pic of the day? The koolaid auction socks!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Coloring my World at West Valley Alpaca

I've been looking forward to this all week!! Today, I got to drive out into the country, and take a dye workshop with Pat at West Valley Alpaca in Esparto. There were just 3 of us. Michelle from Oroville, Kaye probably a Bay Area gal, and myself. We met in the shop, where we were surrounded by all things alpaca. Pat sells it all! Yarn, fiber, Ashford spinning wheels, kits, buttons, Jacquard dyes, needles, alpaca bears, books and more.

Here's a close up of some of the amazing alpaca things, for sale and inspiration! Pat is the best kind of teacher. The kind that you can ask any question that comes to you, without feeling self conscious! She had all kinds of samples to show us of skeins; dyes over different natural colors, knit and woven samples to see the resultant patterning from handpainted yarns and fiber (the focus of the workshop) and books. Oh, and she had tea and cookies for us too. :-) After a general intro talk that included safety, we were ready to get started! Just outside the shop is a big open barn, with a large plastic covered table, and jars and jars of dye. The mad scientist in me began to bubble up...

Here's the dye work area. Any color we could possibly want, and the whole set-up, just ready for us. I loved that part! It was really nice to see how streamlined and efficient her working rhythm is, from years of hand painting yarn herself. I found this particularly valuable!
Here's my classmate carefully applying dye with a syringe. Me? I did the pour and pat method. Pour it on with a cup, and pat and squish it around with my hand. See that coiled red/purple colorway to her left? That's mine! Because there were just 3 of us, and I didn't bring a lunch because apparently I can't read, I dyed 3 different projects, plus a handful of silk cocoons to play with later.

Here's a shot of the dyepot. The two large coils are fiber, the top is a skein of local grown alpaca. I need a second kitchen...

Talking about locally grown alpaca, here's a newly shaved resident! Pat and her husband are very careful breeders. They only sell their animals locally, so they can be availabe to help if needed with vet recommendations, advice, and so on. I think that's very cool. You KNOW they really care about their animals!

"Hey, you lookin' at me?!"

And ta da! Our amazing results of the day! Pat says there are some that take her workshops more than once. I may be one of those! It was $35 for 4 hours, and you get the company and inspiration from other fiber artists in a beautiful setting, and you get to shop, and you don't have to clean up afterwards!

I am one happy camper! All right, NOW I can do report cards...