Category Archives: Fiber

Anything spin-able. Wool, fur, silk, seaweed, soy, bamboo, flax, hemp, rayon, nylon, and whatever else turns up.

Naming Things

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A huge part of what I do in my yarn and fiber business revolves around coming up with names. Names for yarn bases. Names for colorways. Names for special coupon codes or snazzy sales. This in itself can be exhausting (I can’t imagine what Adam went through – naming all those animals) but when you add in the fact that the name should be somewhat appealing, descriptive, and easy to remember and spell, you have a recipe for a lot of hyperactive tension.

For instance, shall we look at a sample?

This might look familiar. It’s that beautiful fluffy green roving I mentioned a couple posts ago.
Now, how to go about coming up with a name for it. First up, the first few things that pop into my head. Lemongrass. Leaf bud. (Which tangents into Twigs and Twiggy.) Cucumber. Silver veil.

What on . . . .? Where did silver come from? I think it snuck in there because of the softness of the green. Rather like dew drops.

Well, I already have a lemongrasss in my store, and it’s a much yellower green than this, so that’s out. Leaf bud just doesn’t have a nice, aesthetic sound to it to me. (Everyone has a different opinion on this, which is what makes names so personality-filled.) But I do like the idea of a leaf bud. Some other ideas coming from that might be “tender.” Now, I like tender. We’ll just file that away and keep skimming.

Twig sounds cute, but could create issues with people visualizing vegetable matter in the roving. Otherwise I’d go with something like “Tender Twig.” But “Tender Cucumber” just sounds weird.

Leaves. . .Tender. . . Spring. Spring is a good word, and we’re getting close to Spring, but to me “Spring” is a much lighter green than this roving. (Maybe it I just wasn’t so picky we’d have this figured out by now.) Rain! Rain makes things darker and carries a sort of silvery conotation to it.

The final name? (After several days of not thinking about it.) “Spring.” Although now that I’m thinking about it again, “Spring Rain” would be a nice one, but that would call for blue. Or even “Budding Leaves.” But! It’s named, and we’re going to leave it. (For the sake of my sanity.)

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I finally got this braid, and a couple others up in my store, so take a look and let me know what you think.

February Dyeing

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It’s been a busy week on the dyeing front around here – as evidenced by the growing pile of yarns and fibers to be photographed, the rapidly filling drying racks, and the ever-changing splotches of color on my hands. It’s not every profession that allows you to get away with blue and yellow streaks on your fingers. (Yes, I love my job, why do you ask?)

The biggest project has been a twenty-skein order from a local yarn store. Remember, the one that carries my merino/silk laceweights? We’re swapping out some current colorways and renewing some old favorites.

I’m a little concerned though. My supplier might be hiking the price on the laceweight yarn base, and that would mean hunting for a new yarn blend. I have a potential source in mind as backup, but we’ll wait and see.

And, in and around those twenty skeins, I’ve been doing a lot of fiber dyeing. I’ve got at least five batches of rovings ready to be photographed, and listed in the near future. I’m rather tickled about that. It’s been awhile since I brought in some new fibers.

Disappointment and Fiber

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I have once again been reminded that dyeing is a ridiculously emotional art-form for some of us. Maybe it’s the chemicals. Maybe its the wet wool fumes or knowing we eventually have to stop and make supper. Or maybe (like today) it’s because almost everything you touch goes wrong.

Notice I say “wrong”, not “hideous.” I have to admit that some of the colorways I came up with are not at all horrible. (Like the one pictured above. It’s beautiful!) They’re just not what I expected.

I’m sure overloading the schedule had a lot to do with the inevitable break down. Now that I’m using a shiny new method for measuring the dyes, (which lets me make things more than once!) developing a new set of colors is a very time consuming process. As much of a bother as it is to haul all the dye equipment out and put it away, I really need to start breaking a typical dye session into two days or more. One day for developing the colorways on a few select skeins, and then the next in actually dyeing the bulk of products.

Hey, anything that will keep me from trying to get through three or four pounds worth of dyeing in one afternoon. All new combinations, or trying to recreate non-documented colors. Yep. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I didn’t make it past the first pound or so.

Ah well. Tomorrow is another day. And I rather like how this one turned out, even thought it was supposed to be blue with green hints. (Too much yellow, you think?)

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Shop Update Today

I’m finally back from my childcare sojourn, and can’t wait to get these fibers up and running. Here’s what will be available in the shop later today.

Fresh July Fibers

I made some brand new fibers in honor of Phat Fiber’s July theme “Art Nouveau”, and I thought I’d share some pictures with you.

This first one ( “Violette” ) is named after a Maxfield Parrish painting. The painting is a rather whimsical piece in which the Knave of Hearts watches Lady Violette baking those famous tarts. But, while the subject matter is more humorous, the colors are downright gorgeous.

This scarlet and sapphire one was inspired by another of Maxfield Parrish’s paintings, but was very difficult to name. I finally settled on “Venice.”

And this one is called “Amber Lily,” and it was purely an accident. But definitely a happy accident!

I’m hoping to get up some pictures of the finished samples I sent off for Phat Fiber, but it’ll be a bit before I’m able to import them from the camera.

Time Weigheth Heavily

Well, it’s not so much the time that weigheth heavily as it is the seeming lack thereof. (Daily dose of Old English has now been administered.)

As for me, well, I’m up to my elbows in a pile of spinning projects. Lovely projects, for lovely people, but there seem to be tons of them.

First off, I’ve been working on spinning up some Aussie fur for a good friend. (Yes, dog fur.) It’s really soft and fluffy, and has been washed. Definite bonus. I’m spinning it on a spiffy new gadget I’ll have to tell you all about in a future blog post.

Theoretically this yarn will end up as a two-ply fingering weight, although there will be some DK weight bits in there, given the nature of the fiber. I carded the fur into batts, but it’s so fine that it spins more like a cloud, which results in a lot of difficulty keeping things even. And there seems to be different lengths of fur in there, which also makes things interesting.

All in all, it’s spinning up to be an interesting taupe color. Almost like sand.

PhatFiber Box for April

It suddenly occurred to me that I completely forgot to share pictures of the April Phat box I received! Shame on me. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure. These are the fibers.

I hadn’t been expecting to receive a contributor’s box, as I hadn’t sent in quite enough samples, but it came anyway, to my great delight!

I’ve already started spinning up quite a few of the samples on my drop spindle. (Which I recently went after with my stash of calligraphy pens and inks and decorated it to within an inch of its life.) My current idea is to spin them all up and possibly knit a tam from them and the yarn samples. The colors are fairly well matched. Lots of rainbow-y themes and blues and greens. Sounds like the recipe for a lovely tam to me!

Part of the fun of the Phat Fiber box is seeing what everyone comes up with for samples. I’ve been getting sneak previews of what June’s box is going to be (Science Fiction theme!) and I’d really, really like to be in on it. I’ve got ideas for three Jules Verne batts, and Wall-E sock yarns. Due to lack of time and funds, it’s looking like I might barely be able to squeak into the box with the Jules Verne, but as roving, not batts. We shall see.

Something Old, Something New

Let’s start with the new, shall we? Everyone likes to see pictures of new things.

I recently participated in a trade with a local dyer. MamaJude does simply beautiful work with plant dyes and can also dye cotton. I cannot dye cotton, so we worked out a swap where she would acquire a couple skeins of cotton boucle from me, and I would receive some indigo batts from her.

The batts arrived a few days ago, and they are gorgeous! There are six of them total. I haven’t weighed them, but I’m guessing the batch is in the six-to-eight ounces category. Here’s the best picture I could nab of one in the fading afternoon light.

I keep thinking that I should mix these with some of the lovely soysilk I have stashed away and make something large. But they’re so light and fluffy, I’m wondering if I could find a light spring/early autumn top or cardigan pattern. That might do them more justice. Whatever I decide on, it’s going to have to wait awhile. I’ve got two or three other spinning jobs lined up, plus the BFL lace I’m finishing up now.

Officially Spring

I realize that Spring begins in March. But personally, I don’t really count it as Spring until it feels Spring-ish. And yesterday I went on a picnic lunch in a lovely park, and now realize that Spring is fully Spring-ish. So, happy Spring!

I guess the biggest news I have to share is that I’m expanding into the wholesale realm. A local yarn store is going to be carrying six special colorways of my merino/silk laceweight. (Including Dawn Treader!) If you’re in the Athens, GA area, stop by and visit Main Street Yarns to take a peek. It’s a lovely store with all sorts of goodies. (I have to be very strict with my wallet when I’m there.) I just sent off a lovely lineup of twelve skeins, but completely forgot to take a picture of them before they left! Gack!
There’s a chance that I’ll be visiting the yarn store next week, so I’ll have to take my camera and attempt to get a shot of the yarns hanging up on the wall.

Along the same line of “business,” I’m looking into giving my laceweight yarn bases some names. So, instead of calling it “70/30 merino silk” I would call it “Hawthorn Lace” or something like that. I’ve seen this done in various stores and supposedly it helps people remember the yarns. I’m all for it, except that I have to come up with the names. No pressure, right? It just reflects on me and my business if I choose poorly. Yeeks. Some top ideas now are naming them after various vines, or floral/botanical type things.

A Birthday Shawl

Remember those undyed batts I carded way back when? (A lovely blend of BFL, baby alpaca, and mohair.) Well, those batts are now being used! Yes, it’s been over a year, but I’ve been waiting for just the right project. Handspun yarn for a birthday shawl.

The shawl was supposed to be my dear aunt’s Christmas and birthday present, however both of those dates have passed, so I decided I’d better get hopping. The last thing I want to do is end up like I did with my last two “birthday gift” yarns and not deliver on them until after the next year’s birthday.