Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrations and Reflections

I turned a year older today and it is also my wedding anniversary. Thought I would share a photo of Marc and me from our wedding. Hard to believe that 28 years have passed. My brothers and sisters were all betting that our marriage would not last long. (One of my sisters revealed this a few years ago.) Marc and I met one month in the Army Signal Corps Advanced Course, got engaged the next month, and then got married the next month. When you are in the army and you can be stationed anywhere - there is not a lot of time to wait - if you want to end up living together for the next three years. I could have spent four years in Tampa, Florida, as a recruiter, while Marc went to Heidelberg, Germany. By getting married over the Christmas break, we were able to be assigned together.
When we got married, I would never have dreamed that I would own a shop. I worked as a clerk in a department store to pay my way through college and hated it. I have a whole new perspective on retail business now and it is a lot more positive, since I am selling something that I believe in. I have been commissioned to make a mural. Above is one side of a batt and below is the other. Both will make lovely skies. I will probably use the lighter one for this commission, but I can never seem to card a whole batt in one color!
A few days ago I went out and discovered Josey acting weird. I am now sure that she is pregnant. It is hard to tell with the larger animals, because their size hides it well. She is no longer standing to be petted by guests. Her due date is the 29th, but I would not be surprised, if she delivers early.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Yarns and Progress

I am spinning a few yarns in between working on my orders. Most are finished, a few will go in the mail today, and the vest is half done. I really like how the supercoiled yarn looks in a closeup.
A supercoil hung on the mannequin as a cowl scarf. I am going to list it on etsy this afternoon.

A more southwestern colored skein that will also go on etsy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yarn scarves and shows

Nuno felted shawls got a lot of attention this winter, as well as my version of a supercoiled yarn. I sold several of the shawls, so I will be glad to teach the class in order to replenish my inventory. The yarn in the photo sold.
This was my booth set up for Tempe. All but three of the supercoils sold there, so I spent last week spinning those exclusively.
Last week's yarns. The only one left is the pale blue one at the very center of the photo.
While giving someone a tour of the animals last week, I discovered this nest on the ground. No babies in it, thank goodness. Even birds can be artistic. A very good use of color from my chickens' feathers.
I spun these yarns last Thursday and Friday. The burgundy and the multicolored skein at the front are the only ones left.
My 4th Avenue Street Fair in Tucson booth. I mention the Tucson part, because at the other shows, everyone wanted to know where the 4th Avenue was. It was a lot better than last winter and spring, but it did not come anywhere near the Tempe Festival of the Arts. I was really impressed that I had customers from Tempe that came down to buy yarn scarves. They had come by on Sunday in Tempe and the choices were slim. Thanks to all who did come out. I have covered my feed bill for the summer, so Marc is happy and I have lots of motivation to produce more of everything!
This was a scarf ordered in San Diego. It goes out in the mail today. I have several other orders and I am working on all of them. It is hard to settle on only one project!
New shows: I have been invited to participate in the Pasadena Bead and Gem Show. I will have 500 square feet to fill. It is by invitation only, so I am excited that people in San Diego have been passing the word about my art. The dates are July 28-31, 2011. I have the option of teaching in my space, which is nice. I plan to offer a basic drop spinning class, pin weaving, or my novelty yarn class there. If the classes don't fill, it will be OK. I would like to offer nuno felting, but don't know that they will have the appropriate facilities.
Among other news, I got a new phone (Droid X) last night and have realized that there is going to be a long learning curve. It is more like a computer with phone capabilities. Anyhow, if I am talking to you and something weird happens, blame it on my having to learn new tricks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Will post booth photos tomorrow, but I could not wait to share that it was an absolutely awesome show! Met lots of cool people. Taught 4 people to drop spindle and sold lots of "yarn" scarves. Received several orders, so I will be busy and definitely not bored.

And, I have the 4th Avenue this next weekend!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

San Diego

I had an 8 by 10 foot booth. It was the smallest booth that I have ever had, so it was a challenge to get it all in. Most of the supercoiled yarns from the front sold. Non knitters were buying them to wear as scarves. I have decided to take them off the wheel in smaller batches, so they will be less expensive. I will have multiples of the same colors, so knitters will have enough to make scarves. The price per yard/ounce will not change.
While in San Diego, we visited the La Jolla Cove to see the seals. I caught this pelican in the middle of a yarn.
The seal in the middle of the water was definitely an older male. Kind of ugly, if you ask me, but the water was a lovely color.
While at the San Diego Zoo, I saw this palm tree. I was struck by the owl formed by natural growth and tree trimming.
This was the first show for the San Diego group and foot traffic was not so busy that I did not have time to spin. I started spinning the single in the ball at the foreground, but switched to thick and thin as I saw the supercoils selling. I plan to coil all of these today. The dark blue single on the top is the same roving as the thick and thin blue at the back. The two blues at the front are also the same roving. I love how changing the texture changes the color of the yarn. I will post photos of the coiled yarn this afternoon, so you can see how they changed again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Off to San Diego

Latest creations. Top and one below are the same skein - two sides. The last is one spun yesterday.
If you need to talk to me, please call my cell 520-572-3758. Marc is here at the home number 572-3758, if you need batts or roving. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shearing and Another Show

I discovered that the Art Institute of Tucson is more culinary-oriented than fine art. They do have a fashion design course, but graphic arts, video, and cooking are their focus. About the only thing that I accomplished by doing their show was to realize that I can pack a lot more in the truck than I thought, so I will not need to take the trailer to San Diego/Del Mar next week. A huge relief, since I don't think I could back the trailer up, if I needed to!
Penny came and sheared the rest of the goats and the sheep that I was planning to sell. She did a super job - very few second cuts - and now I have a lot of lovely fleeces! Above is Black Sheep Cup (BSC), the white herdsire. This is his fifth fleece and it is lovely. It is superb, when you consider that it came off a buck.
A close up of his fleece. He has a lot of curl for his age and it is still next to the skin quality.

Penny, Charles (her helper), and I started naming the goats that I am keeping and we decided to use names of comic characters. Since I was able to be there as they were being sheared, I was able to analyze their fleeces and determine which will be the best fiber producers. This red angora goat was named "Blondie" for her white hair on her forehead (obviously gone.) All the wrinkles on her body meant she had a very heavy fleece. It was the curliest and softest of the reds. If I had to pick the top kid doe, Blondie is it. Dainty and Brazen had lovely fleeces, but did not have the weight that hers did.
This is Monet. Marc and I picked her up at "FAIR" at the Petsmart yesterday. We went to buy a climbing tower for Pixie, so she would quit using our legs. As I was passing the kitties for adoption, I saw Monet and loved her coloring. As an artist, my eye was instantly caught by the unusual coloring. I mentioned her to Marc as the guys were loading the towers (we splurged and got two) into the car. He said I could get her, if I wanted. It was not an impulse purchase, since we had been talking for a week about how we had never had a sole kitten. Very cute and photogenic! Took a while to get a picture, since she is always in motion.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pitiful and Inspired

Barbara is my oldest doe. She looks pitiful without her fleece. I have a picture that I took of her as a kid and she has not changed much - in terms of sad look. She does have the middle age spread!
I got inspired to finish my southwestern landscape. It was so close to done that I felt stupid showing it to people this past weekend. I will take it to the Art Institute of Tucson for their festival this weekend.

I am entering the Albuquerque Fiber Fiesta and had to send a collage of my work, so I played around with photo staging this morning. Time to get back to the carder and my wheel to fill my orders.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tucson Wool Festival Anecdotes

Danny Smith, my scheduled shearer was not able to make it this year, so I talked my friend, Scott Scheyli, into filling in. He used to shear his angora goats, but now spends more time shearing his horses. He has not lost his touch and the animals that he got sheared are very grateful. So am I! I hate advertising an event and not being able to follow through. The shearing is always a highlight of the festival for everyone and I would not want to have disappointed.

Alpacazona - an Arizona alpaca farm with a wide variety of handmade items and raw materials for the fiber artists.

Yumiko Alexander from was here selling her book and patterns. Very original designs! She wants to learn how to create her own art yarns!

Celestial Designs traveled the furthest and had a wide assortment of fiber related products.

No festival can be a success without all of the volunteers who show up before and during the festival. Above is Judith Segel with her triangle loom weaving demonstration. She shows up every year - with no other motivation than to share her love of her artwork with passersbys.

Virginia John splits her time between Arizona and California and shows up to help, if she is in town when the festival takes place. This year she warped the loom and encouraged others to sit down and try their hand at throwing the shuttle. Even children were given the opportunity, so the rug will be a true community project. The rug on the loom will be raffled off at the April 9, 2011 Spring Shearing to benefit the Casa Maria Kitchen.

The Shawl raffled off this festival was won by Bethany Newhouse. A photo of her wearing/holding it will be published once she picks it up. The raffle brought in $148 which will go to the Casa Maria Kitchen of Tucson.

Other winners:

Isaac Barrios - $10 gift certificate to Unique Designs By Kathy

Windy Hunter - stitch markers

Kim Newhouse - yarn

Martins O'Brien - felted bag

Rhonda Grimaldo - stitch markers

Julie Olson - Batt of Rambouillet wool

I have a different shearer coming on Tuesday to finish the shearing. If you missed the shearing and would like to see a different style, come out after 11 a.m. She is supposed to be here earlier, but traditionally runs late.
Thank you to all who came out and supported the event. Without you, it would have been a dull day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crazy Lace and Tucson Wool Festival Project

We always begin the raffle project for the next shearing event at the one prior. We have decided to weave a rug for the April 9, 2011 shearing, so the weaving will begin this Saturday during the Tucson Wool Festival. You can see the colors that have been selected. One skein is ready and hopefully a few more will be, so the project can be completed in one day.
I began this crazy lace scarf/kerchief last fall. I spun the yarn for the ruffle on a drop spindle during the 4th Avenue Street Fairs. I like to have one new project for each show, so this is mine for the wool festival.

Side view.
This is all the spinning that I have done for the shop this week. I am busy spinning for the rug and cleaning up the workshop and the ranch, so it will look lovely for the visitors. Good thing we do this twice a year! Marc hit the dump this morning and will do Goodwill this afternoon. Amazing how much we can accumulate in 6 months!
I am doing the Art Institute of Tucson's Artisan Festival next Saturday. 10-3. It is on the north side of Grant just east of Swan. The shop will be closed as a result on November 13th.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Setting up shop

The worst thing about doing shows is the set up once I am back at the ranch. It takes a few hours and after standing around at a show, I am ready to be spinning or creating again. Fortunately I had Sunday to put the shop back together, although I admit that I did not finish till 11 on Monday. I am debating not putting it back up after the San Diego show, since I would have to take it down 2 1/2 days later.
There was very little foot traffic at the show, which was a real shame based on how many vendors made it. I used the opportunity to hand out flyers for the wool festival. Hopefully lots of people will show! The Tucson Home magazine has an entry about it, but the magazine was not available at Barnes and Nobles last night, so I was not able to pick up a copy.
I noticed that my check for Stitches West has been cashed, so I am going for sure. It will be fun to see a large fiber show - as well as participate.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Hard to believe that a week has already passed since I gave a presentation at the Old Pueblo Knitters' Guild about the importance of needle size. No computer issues, which was a total relief. It is always a challenge to prepare for a group that could know as much as you do about a subject!
Pixie is the newest addition to the ranch. My son took two of the house cats when he left this summer and the house was just too quiet. We still have Emerald, but she alternates between living in the couch and hiding in Kyle's old room. She is coming out more now that we have Pixie - but it is only to terrorize her. Pixie comes to the studio a lot. She and Charcoal tolerate each other. Some friends came and helped pluck the rabbits last week. Pixie decided we did not groom them sufficiently, so she worked for a while.

Cadbury's cage was given a new floor by one of my new friends. All of the rabbits are now outside. The English is still on the back porch, since I need to cut the hair off his belly. It matted too much to be plucked.

I spent a few days spinning black and red in order to have some complementary yarn for a freeform skein. If it does not sell soon, I plan to knit it up. The above is an alpaca/Merino blend. The alpaca had a lot of trash in it and the static electricity kept attracting it. A turn through the dryer with a perfume free Bounce cleaned it up a lot.
I am setting up at a fiber art show tomorrow south of Tucson. I will be at the Amado Territory Inn at Arivaca Road. Go south on I-19 to exit 48. The inn is on the east side of the highway. Hours are 10-4. The shop will be closed and reopen on Monday. Come visit!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tucson Wool Festival Shawl

The shawl to be raffled off to support the Casa Maria Kitchen in Tucson is now finished. The Freeform Spinners of Tucson spun, wove, knitted, and crocheted
Rambouillet wool in natural brown and roving that I dyed in autumn shades. I spent the last few weeks assembling and adding a corkscrew border.
Raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. This year I will let you buy tickets in advance. You do not need to be present to win. You do have to provide a valid telephone number or email, so I may contact you.

Hope that a lot of you can make it to the festival this year. There are always new vendors, changes at the ranch, and different volunteers. It always amazes me how quickly the time passes and how much more creative we all get!