Friday, October 26, 2007

One months work

What you see here is 7 oz total of brown Corridale 2 ply yarn. It took me a month to spin it at the rate of about 2 oz per week. Now according to established guidelines, this yarn is costing me: 6.00 purchase price 3 hours of spinning each at 1.00 per hour and 5.00 per oz in overhead. I will soon be adding 10 cents each for labels. That adds up to 14.81 roughly.
I WOULD NEVER PAY THAT FOR A SKEIN OF WOOL YARN! (maybe cashmere or silk but not wool alone)
Now here's where I go wrong. It takes me too long to spin too little. That means I have to apply a large amount of overhead to a small amount of product. OK, so instead of 8 oz a month lets try 8 oz a day. (We would spin singles for 5 days and spend 2 days plying)

Now we can have the same time it takes to spin 3 hours per skein, the fiber still cost me 6.00 but I have 10 lbs to spread that overhead over, so it drops to something like 1.26 per oz. That makes the skeins cost 6.07 instead. But that would earn me 3 dollars an hour. Here's where a lot of people go a little nuts. I can't see charging much more than that. I might bring it up to 7.00 tops but not more, meaning I'm still making squat.

There are things you can do to alter the numbers, buy cheaper fiber, spin faster, don't ply, reduce your overhead costs, OR charge 15.00 a skein because you are a human and not a machine. In the end it's up to you. If the people will pay it by all means charge it. It's nothing less than you deserve, and worth every penny for one months work.


Sunday, October 21, 2007


When I went to the Plum Nelly I bought a n 8 oz bump of hand dyed wool from Brown Sheep that they wanted tested for market. So today that's our topic. This wool is a roughly med length wool, hand dyed in blue, pink, and a shade of pale green that is kinda close to blue.

My first sample is spun on a drop spindle and is a high twist, fine 2 ply. I just split it lengthwise, predrafed and spun following the color sequence. The drafting wasn't bad, it was actually quite fun. I didn't have to worry about the spindle dropping, the crimp was more than enough to hold it together. The dye sections were short but when I spun it they lengthened out quite a bit.

I then plyed on the spindle (something I usually don't do), skeined, and washed it in warm water. I pressed it in a towel and hung it to dry under the vent for 1 hour. It was dry and I noticed the fiber was harsh and over spun. I thought the plying and washing would even out the twist and it did but the yarn didn't relax much in the water. I had left it to soak for 10 min. It will be good for sturdy sock bottoms or maybe weaving. If I were to knit it I would make a bag or belt or something.

So now I wanted something softer. This time I carded the wool on my drum carder twice making a nice feminine purple. Then I spun a heavy DK/light worsted single on the wheel spinning slower for consistency. The drafting was a little more difficult now, mostly because I really had to pay attention to the fiber length. I found that a long draw worked better with some redrafting of the thicker spots. I didn't predraft the batt at all so I wouldn't make the single too thin. The wool felt softer in the batt, and in the yarn. Finally I plyed it at about half the rate, skeined it, washed it, pressed it out in a towel, and hung it to dry. I could already tell this yarn would be more suitable to a hat. The yarn was squishy before I washed it. Now that it has dried It is very bouncy. It still has a rough hand but the look of the yarn is decidedly softer.
Click for a close up photo of the yarn.

Finally some book reviews: Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair...funny as all get out! Read it in 2-3 days and laughed myself silly. This lady has a blog called Crazy Aunt Pearl. I haven't checked it out yet but I will.

Paula Simmons book Handspinners Guide to Selling is another book I've picked up and it is a great resource for info on production spinning, and the business of selling your product. The tips of consistent weight and yardage in your yarns. Picking only a few weights to produce, equipment that will help, spinning tips that will help, Using samples to sell to LYS's, pricing ideas and pretty much a way to make a living at it. The only downside is that the book was produced in the 60-70's, and I don't trust that people are still making a living solely off of production spinning. She does state that demo's, teaching, writing books, and selling finished goods are a good way to round out your income. (I demo'd at the Children's Museum Sat and I wonder about charging for it. It sounds like a good idea.) It's more like they're necessary as far as I can see. The cycle of "craft resurgence" is a long one. There was one in the 60-70's and now one in the 2000-2010's That's a 40 year stretch. As much as I may want to, I think I'll keep my day job.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Plum Nelly

Too tired to post really, I just came back from a weekend trip to Hastings and The Plum Nelly.
Please take time and visit this store. If we don't purchase from our fiber shops they go out of business. It's only 2.5 hours away(unless your me and then it's 3) and well worth the trip. The prices are cheap and the selection is good. They carry fibers from local artists as well as Brown Sheep. Iris is wonderful to talk to, and they have classes, and equipment, and...and...
Just go. You'll love it.
I gotta go lie down now.
Oh yeah, don't forget Threads in Lincoln as well.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oct 9

Ok since the last post was so heavy and non fiber related, let’s get back to the business at hand.
I have continued to spin the brown Corridale roving and now I have almost 2 full bobbins of it. I will soon be ready to ply for length, at length. I fixed my antique wheel this Sunday and went to Lowes and bought some Danish oil and gave it a bath. It loved it. I loved it. Then I set up the distaff with some white Romney wool and spun. It’s a lot like my Schacht on that the take up is uneven but I like it any way. The bobbins are so tiny! Yesterday I oiled my other two wheel and they looked better but still kinda like they needed more.
I have been listening to my podcasts and found one of the songs from Cast-on played on a tv commercial. I think it’s called simply the way I am by the licivious biddies? I’ll have to look. I noticed there was no podcast from Knit Picks, I need to re listen to the last one and see if she said why.
On that note, the Mangelsons group has its’ last meeting for 6 weeks tonight. The Halloween section is taking over the craft room. I’m not sure where I will be going for that. We have been invited to the Panera bread place on 72 and Giles. I just may go to Cranes Coffee.
Knitting update:
Lace- up to chart 3 and still loving it.
Top Down Raglan- needs metal size 13’s for the yarn is catching on the wooden needles.
Skirt- going to be ripped and balled.
EZ raglan sweater- still needs to be sewn up, still not sure on the wearing part.
Reading- I still read all my blogs, but I have torn though 2 really cool books in the last 2 weeks.. One is The Red Tent. It’s a great book. It should remind women that we have always had a measure of power over our own destinies.
Second is called Drunk Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair. Hilarious! And rewarding. Not the smooth and flowing river of The Red Tent, this is the wild short rush of the rapids (or water slide for the tamer of us).
Trips: I’m taking a trip to the Plum Nelly in Hastings this weekend. I will be leaving Sat and coming back Sun. Just me, no kids, no J, no obligations. The 2.5 hour drive 1 way will be new to me, but I know I can handle it. Me and Map Quest that is.
Family: my 15 year old got her promotion and rope this past week from ROTC. My 14 year old learned how to study and her Spanish lessons are coming along. The 9 year old has a field trip today..I think that’s #4. J is scoping out his next Bike and bought a leather vest.

Well that's all for now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Bakers

My family taught me some things that as I head into the second half of my life I learn are not true. I'm learning to recognise them and am trying to shed them.
1)Men have a better life
If you can't get anywhere in life it's not because your an alcoholic, defensive, thin skinned, anti social, or unreliable and bitter, it's because your a woman.This got translated into being female is to be weak. But I realize now that it's not. I actually like being a girl and have decided to start acknowledging my feminine side. Wearing clothes that actually make me look like a woman, Flirting because it's OK to be friendly. I don't drink or smoke, I try not to be defensive and try to be reliable. I like people Most of the time and try to let go of the past as much as I know how.
2) Emotionless -ness is a strength
Nope Just makes you get drunk a lot and express them, or smoke, do drugs or ignore those who love you. It makes you seem cold and heartless. It leaves your children not knowing how to express love, or worse how to recognize and accept it. Even now it's hard for me to accept the affection of my husband because of this and the following rules. It's also hard to give it to him or ask for it when I need it.
3) Sex=love
Yeah, need I say how many times this has bitten me?
4) They're only nice to you cause they want something from you
Yeah so now we're suspicious of anyone who's nice and trusting of any one who treats us like shit.
5) Men are worthless, only useful for making babies. Women Don't Need Men and should value Independence over everything else.
Men are not worthless though there are a lot that are to me. That's OK, there is someone for them or an event coming to them that will set them right. No one is perfect and gas is perfectly natural. Women don't need men, but we want them and that's why we have them in our lives.

Both my mother and grandmother were single mothers. Men came in and out of our lives and very few managed to stay. My grandmother had one great love and it wasn't her husband. She found him around 25-30 years old. My mother had 3 children by 3 fathers but found her great love at her late 20's early 30's as well.

I don't want to follow their path. I want a man who will stay, and I don't want to be such a shrew that I drive him away.(Neither will I give up my self, but there is room in my life for anothers' ways, ideas, and opinions. I don't have to agree with them, but that does not make them less valid.) I want to be able to give and receive love freely with out always wondering what do they want and will they think I am weak. I want to be happy being a pretty woman and wearing skirts, and flattering clothing without wondering if I'm inviting someone to take advantage of me or just not take me seriously.(I find I really like mid calf length swingy skirts. You know the kind that flare out if you twirl?) I don't want to constantly fight anymore between what I feel and need and what my family has taught me.

Is your head above water still? Good. Cause I'm learning to swim as I go.