Thursday . . . Again

Love to knit? Have a knitting blog? Not too busy? A working giveaway.

Thursdays roll around, I don’t know, maybe every 7 days or so?  And I’m never ready for them.  Or for Fridays, either.  It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted a Fiber Arts Friday post.  Will someone please remind me to do one tomorrow?

Anyway.  The link at the top of this post takes you to the blog of a friend of mine who is having a give away.  Why not pop over to her blog and see what’s going on.  Oh, by the way, she also an awesome photographer, so if you linger to enjoy the art, I won’t be the least bit surprised.

Fiber Arts Friday

Fiber Arts FridayIt’s Fiber Arts Friday again, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t done much in the way of fiber arts this week except for the some spinning grooming a bunny.  And I don’t have photos of either.  But I will share of photo of the bunny I’ll be working on this afternoon.  I love spinning with Angora.  I’ve made a pair of mitts (that don’t fit well and aren’t the same size, and I still haven’t photographed them) that are a merino/Angora blend that are so soft and yummy that I wear them anyway, even though they don’t match! (If DH is reading, that was an example of a run-on sentence!)

This is Ruby when she was young, about 6 months old.  She is now about 2 1/2 years old.  Her coat is beautiful.  It is lighter now and more dense.  I started working on grooming her on Tuesday.  I got her back, the best part of the coat.  Then we took a break.  She looks silly in a ‘skirt’.  I’ll finish her up this evening and then start on Buster this weekend.

Ruby

Now it’s your turn!  Post a link to your fiber related blog post in the comments section.  It can be any type of fiber at any stage, from on the hoof to finished product.  It’s a wonderful way to share ideas and make new friends.  Talk to you later.  Enjoy!

Fiber Arts Friday

Fiber Arts FridayWell, I missed last week’s FAF post.  We were out of town, staying at a hotel with free wifi, but somehow I still missed posting.  What can I say?  It was just one of those trips.

Here is one of the pics I took at the wedding.  Now I remember why I don’t shoot weddings anymore.  I get so stressed about getting the best shots and then editing them just right.  The bride and groom, in this case anyway, were just happy to have a few shots to remember the occasion.

Wedding Bands

Now to the Fiber Arts.  I’ve been working on a couple of projects.  I worked on knitting the second sock of a pair for my husband while I was traveling.  Need to finish it now.  Just having trouble getting started on it again.  Maybe this afternoon will be the day! Don’t have pics of them yet.  And I also don’t have pics of the wool I’ve been spinning since we got home.  It’s a bright raspberry fuchsia shetland.  Even after washing, dyeing, carding, and carding again (I think it three times total), it still has quite a few seeds and hay in it.  I’m picking it out as I go.  It will be a two ply and very ‘rustic’ in texture.  But I think it will be nice as a sweater.  Or possibly the accent color on a sweater.  We’ll just have to see after it’s finished.

What I do have a photo of is this: This is the yarn spun from the carded batts from a couple weeks back.  I’ll find the link and add it here if I remember when I’m done.  This yarn turned out very nice.  I’m not sure if I’m going to list it in my shop, or use it myself.  I really should list it.  I have plenty of yarn for myself already.  But it is always so tempting to keep yarns for myself.

Now comes the part where you can participate in Fiber Arts Friday.  Post a comment in this post with a link to your Fiber Arts post for the week.  I’m looking forward to seeing what all of you have been working on.

Talk to you later.  Enjoy!

Fiber Arts Friday!

I’m late getting this up.  I was up half the night last night watching X Files on Netflix.  I figured that would put me to sleep.  Wrong!  Anyway.  I didn’t get the photos taken this morning that I wanted to take, so I’ll show you a little something different and save those projects for another time.

These are batts from a braid of SuperWash BFL (bluefaced leicester) wool that I’ve had for a year or so.  They didn’t sell in my website shop, so I took them down to list on Etsy.  But I never got around to listing them.  I decided I wanted to spin them myself.  I still haven’t spun them and they are available if anyone is interested.  I ran them through the drum carder (again with assistance from my handle cranking husband) and really, really like the colors now!  When it was all nice and neat in a braid, not so much.

SWBFL Batts

Here is where is I invite you to post a link in the comments section to your blog post about fiber arts – any fiber arts!  Just post a link in the comments.  It would be nice and help spread the news about Teresa’s Desk’s Fiber Arts Friday if you mentioned it on your blog and posted a link back to here, but that is definitely not necessary.

There is another Fiber Arts Friday blog I found at WonderWhy Alpaca Farm’s blog. Please stop by and post there, too!

Passports & Silk

Today  my husband and I went to the Post Office to apply for our passports.  We have been invited to travel with friends in July to Canada.  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!  And I’m very thankful to our friends Gale and Brian for thinking of us and inviting us.  If they hadn’t, we would have kept saying we need to get our passports and keep talking about where we could go or might go or would like to go.  But now we can!  Well, we can in a couple of months.  The current wait is 4 to 6 weeks according the lady at the Post Office.  Anyway.  I’m ‘cited!

I came across this photo the other day when I was copying photos from this computer to clear them off.  My Pictures file is loaded with photos of every sort – yarn and fiber, vacations, family.  But this one caught my eye and I thought I would share it with you today.

Hand Dyed Blue Silk

This is Hand Dyed Blue Silk.  I LOVE this stuff!  So luxurious!  I haven’t dyed or spun any in a while.  Think I might have to add some to my next order.

Y’all take care and I’ll see you tomorrow for ‘Wordless Wednesday’.  And be sure have a Fiber Arts related blog post to link to in the comments on Fiber Arts Friday.  Bye for now!

Some Things Just Need to Blogged Instead of Tweeted

Can I just tell you:  I love wool!  It’s soft and yummy, warm and comforting. It’s natural.  It is enduring.  Not just durable, but enduring.  It’s been around for a while.  People have been using it for a while.  It will continue to be used for a long time to come in spite of the synthetic alternatives available.  There’s just nothing that can take the place of natural wool.

I’m from the South.  I’m a certifiable G.R.I.T.S. (Girl Raised In The South.)  I was born and raise along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  It gets hot there in the Summer.  No, let me take that back.  It gets hot there in the Spring.  And it even gets pretty warm in the Winter.  The Winters are often pretty mild.  I remember more than once riding bikes on Christmas Day.  I used to wonder what the kids up North did when they got bikes for Christmas but couldn’t ride them because the roads were buried in snow.  It wasn’t till I was almost grown that I realized that they got sleds for Christmas instead of bikes.  But I digress.

Hand Spun, Hand Dyed BFLMy point is, we really didn’t have reason to need to even think about wool.  Cotton was King.  It was comfortable in the warm temperatures and could be easily layered to keep us nice and cozy in the winter.  (I loved my denim jacket.  In fact, I still have one though I seldom wear it.  I just can’t let it go.)

But wool just wasn’t in our vocabulary. My only experience with wool was a navy blue wool blanket that was my mothers.  I guess she still has it.  It appeared to be indestructable – as long as you didn’t throw it in the washer, which we were given clear instructions to never do.  It was also scratchy.  Or ‘itchy’ as we are often more likely to refer to wool.

Based on this experience with wool, I had no desire to wear it.  Didn’t want to buy it.  Didn’t want to knit or crochet with it.  Even Red Heart Acrylic was softer than wool, right?

When I moved to Delaware – in January six years ago – I got cold.  My South Mississippi and Louisiana wardrobe just wasn’t going to cut it.  My first purchase was a very nice over coat (for $15 from Goodwill).  A very nice wool coat. And it was warm.  And it was nice.  It still is.  It’s hanging in my cedar chiffarobe at the moment. But as nice as it was and and warm as it was, if I had to wear for any length of time on a regular basis, my wrists and neck would itch.  It was the wool.  Wool = Bad.  Right?

My friend Julie, my wonderful scrapbooking, knitting, enabling friend Julie, told me it wasn’t the wool.  It was the quality of the wool.  If the wool was itchy, it just wasn’t the right kind of wool. She then introduced me to Merino.  Oh, so next to the skin soft Merino. That was pretty much all it took.  After that, all I wanted was Merino.  I wanted to knit with it.  I wanted to touch it.  I wanted to pet it.  I had to have it!

But I’m cheap.  A penny-pincher.  I looked at the price of the yarn. I felt the yarn.  I wanted the yarn.  But then I looked at the price again.  And I looked at the price of the acrylic yarn.  And it would do, right?  And I felt the acrylic yarn.  Well . . . maybe it would do.  But wasn’t Merino. It was so soft and warm and comfortable and comforting.  I had to have the Merino.  And, being cheap as I am, I figured out really quickly that the best way to have all the Merino I wanted was to buy it at wholesale prices and sell it. 

At the same time as my friend Julie introduced me to Merino, she also introduced me to spinning.  And I discovered hand dyeing yarn and fiber all on my own.  So, if I hand dye it and sell it, then I can have all I want at a price I like, right? Right!  That was the beginning of Teresa Levite Studio Hand Dyed and Hand Spun Yarn and Fiber.  Though Merino is still my first and my true (fiber) love, I have a sincere fondness for Silk, Angora, and BFL (and that’s BlueFaced Leicester, not Big Fiber Love!) And much more.  Much, much more!

Featured Artist: Debbie Malloy

I recently stumbled across an Etsy Shop named “Wugglyees”.  Before I even saw the name, however I saw this:  White Czech Glass Button Flower Fly Brooch. I fell in love! Unfortunately, I can’t purchase everything I want.  Otherwise, Wugglyees would be a near empty shop!

The shop owner, Debbie, and I are following one another on twitter (@PoetessWug2).  I’ve gotten to know Debbie a bit and find her very interested in helping fellow Etsy shops.  If you want to see a great selection of items available on Etsy without having to do all the searching, Debbie is a great twitterer to follow!

When I read Debbie’s profile on Etsy, I thought she would be the perfect artist to kick-off my ‘Featured Artist’ post here at Teresa’s Desk.  Here are a few questions that I asked her.  If you have more questions, I’m sure she will be happy to talk to you on Etsy or Twitter.  Her Etsy shop link is below, as well as the link to her book of poetry.

Etsy Shop:  www.wuglyees.etsy.com

Book of Poetry: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33081816

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> What crafts do you engage in when creating?

I crochet like a mad woman most of the time! To finish a lot of my pieces though, I also have to do some sewing (Buttons and gem dangles, and so forth).  Occasionally I do some cross-stitching, knitting, …and whatever else  I can get my fingers into…for finishing my work. I also do latch-hooking, and I write…mostly poetry!

> How long have you been crafting?

I have been crocheting for about 40 years, and knitting for about 30…As for writing, I’ve done that since I was old enough to write, I think! The writing started with a personal diary that I kept every year, and advanced to writing down everything I had for dinner at night and rhyming it!…All the way up to writing my thoughts and feelings on everything that happened to, or around, me… Oh, the paper I have used up over the years!!!

> Who taught you?

I tried to get people to teach me to knit and crochet, but people…I found out the hard way…can be very impatient! So, I bought a “How To Crochet” book, with pictures of hand illustrations, and taught myself!…I was inspired to write because I needed someone to talk to! My childhood was a story just waiting to be written about! Anyone that reads my book of poetry will see what I mean!

> Why do you create?

I crochet as a way to express myself! I am a girl who likes lots of different things, but I don’t like to waste my time! My shop carries that thought with it’s crocheted necklaces, brooches, scarves, hats, pocketbooks, WHEW!…men’s boutonnières, pillows, a personally designed bracelet that I call a ‘Hand Sandal’, shawl, and Poetry!…And remnants of these projects also become embellishments and interestingly funky key chains!

> What have been your favorite projects?

The book of poetry that I have in my shop right now, because I chose the design for the cover and chose a sampling of poems to include from the more than 200 poems I have written down…It was very interesting for me to decide what part of ‘who I am’ to include, and choosing the layout…As for crochet projects, my Ugly Wuglyee Bear, as crazy as it made me to crochet it, was another favorite project. Favorite…and LAST! The last bear this crocheter will crochet! The creation of him, in many ways, is the reason I have my Wuglyees shop though!

> Are you a professional artist/crafter?

I’m not sure if I would “technically” be considered a professional at crocheting or at writing, because I think it has to do with how much money you’ve made at doing it, but I certainly consider myself to be a professional. Sheer years of doing it, and the results of what I’ve created make me so!…Disagree if you like though! LOL

> What resources or assistance would you like to be made available for
> crafting businesses?

I’d like there to be resources and assistance that I’m sure will NEVER happen, like a button to push that takes all the photos of your item, adds a description, and posts it to your site! Then all I would have to do is CROCHET and WRITE! Which is all I want to do anyway!…Oh Yeah, and get somebody to pay me to do that! LOL…If I could have someone else to do promotion for me, that would be great too! I don’t mind showing off what I do…but I don’t like being REQUIRED to do it!!!

> Where do you see yourself/your art/craft business in 5 yrs? 10 yrs?

In 5 years I’d like to see my crocheted necklaces and my hand sandal bracelets being Oooooed and Awed over, and being worn by lots and lots of people who know my brand by name…In 10 years I’d like to see my shop making enough money to support a simple lifestyle for my hubby and me. Both of us off of the road, together…Me crocheting, and him…Whatever he wants!!!

Etsy Shop:  www.wuglyees.etsy.com

Book of Poetry: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33081816

Why My Yarn Looks Like My Yarn

Notice the ties.

You may have noticed that my yarn in my photos does not look as neat as others yarns available online.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  The first is about me.  The rest is about the yarn.

First, I have fibromyalgia.  I have some days that I feel pretty good.  I have other days that are . . . well, not so good.  The undyed, commercially spun yarn I use comes in skeins, ready to dye.  It doesn’t come on cones and requiring me to wind it into skeins to be dyed.  I could purchase an electric skein winder to wind the yarn from cones.  This would save my a few cents per skein on the yarn.  But the cost of the electric skein winder would add to the cost of the skeins.  So, in order to save me – and you – a little on the cost overall, and to save me potentially a lot of pain, I’m still purchasing the yarn in pre-wound skeins.  These skeins are tied with the same yarn as the skein in three places.  I usually add a nylon tie or two of my own to make it a little less likely to tangle.  My primary source is relatively close to home rather than across the country (less shipping, a little ‘greener’ and lot more economical).  This company also uses domestic fibers for many yarns.  This is a big plus for me.  I’m also picky about the softness/scratchiness of my fibers and will only offer yarns that pass my ‘next to the skin softness’ test.

Next, when my yarns go to your homes, you should receive yarns that are easy to wind into center-pull balls or yarn cakes. The less my yarns have been handled, the more likely you will receive skeins that do not tangle.  I could remove all the ties and manipulate the yarn so that it looks neat and pretty.  But I would rather handle it as little as possible between the time I hang it to dry till it arrives at your home.  I even try to twist the yarn into loose skeins rather than tight skeins so that your yarn will not be stretched or under any tension or stress while stored.  Sometimes I do twist them tighter than I really like, but it’s still not to the point that it will make your knitted or crocheted work twist or skew as you work.

If you have any concerns at all about your yarns tangling when winding into a center-pull ball, I will be happy to do that for you, free of charge.  Just let me know.

I hope you will enjoy working with  TLS Hand Dyed Yarns and Fibers as much as I do.  It is  joy for me to create the supplies you want.