I'm a librarian, spinner, knitter! This is my blog for crafty things, updates to my shop and more.
You can check out my handspun yarns here - Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarns and my hand knit items here - Kitty Grrlz Hand Knits

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some new single ply yarns

I've been a bit distracted lately, but I have been spinning. I've finished some single plys that were custom requests so they never quite made it to etsy. Yesterday, though, I spun four more single ply skeins, all from some different blends of fiber. Two of them are spun from Optim fiber - Optim fiber is made by stretching fine merino wool to reduce the fiber diameter and lengthen the staple, resulting in wonderful loft and softness - making it feel similar to cashmere. It doesn't have quite the elasticity/memory of wool but isn't quite the same as bamboo. I like how the skeins feel! Very soft and smooth. The other two skeins are merino/silk blends. I usually spin the merino/silk as Navajo 3-plys, but they take me SO long that I was looking for something that would take me a little less time, hence the single plys. Now I've got to decide if I'm going to do more of the merino/silk singles or go back to the 3plys . . . I guess I'll wait and see how I feel.

Here is a mosaic of the new skeins -

From the top left corner to the bottom right corner -

Wine Garden - 130 yards, merino wool and silk, Worsted weight
Rocker Grrl - 130 yards, merino wool and silk, DK weight
Peach Crush - 110 yards, optim fiber, Worsted weight
Captivate - 100 yards, optim fiber, DK weight

I'm not doing so well on the trying-to-blog-regularly, but maybe I will get back into the routine soon. I HAVE been doing pretty good with the exercising, though, which is what I've got to go do right now . . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Midnight Magenta - new art yarn

Yesterday, I spun up four skeins of art yarn! It always feels good to spin the art yarns, and these were both fun colors to try and spin. I also brought out the sparkle for these, though it is difficult to show in the pictures. One of the colors I spun is for a potential custom order, and the other has been listed in my shop on etsy. That one is "Midnight Magenta" - spun from hand dyed merino wool dyed by the Yarn Wench in color "Gemini". I have two skeins available.

I'm not sure I'll be listing anything new tomorrow, but I should have some bamboo ready for Thursday, and maybe some others, too. I admit I've been a little distracted with some things, one of which is trying to get back into an exercise routine! So far, I've actually been doing pretty well - I'm on my second week - and it is helping.

But now, I am going to try and get a little work done. I want to at least get some fiber prepped tonight, even if I don't get a chance to spin it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Batt-tacular Yarns on Sale & 2 new Single Plys

I am clearing out my “Batt-tacular” yarns because I don’t think I will be spinning them regularly anymore and need the section spot for something new! The remaining 3 skeins are being reduced from $35 to $25 PLUS FREE SHIPPING in the USA and $5 International shipping! You can find the 3 remaining etsy listings HERE.

I also listed two new single plys today -

Gothic Dust

Mountain Rose

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Surf's Up! - new yarns!

I listed a couple of yarns on etsy today, along with a bamboo color yesterday. The art yarn is "Surf's Up" and I think I may be spinning more of it soon. It was really difficult to capture the colors accurately, but I tried my best - it is shades of blues and greens. I also spun up "Futomaki" - a color of Falkland from cloudlover. I haven't yet spun anything today, but I'm hoping to get at least two single plys spun for listing tomorrow. In the queue for this coming week? Some merino/silk 3plys, I think, along with some bulky 2ply "Squish-tastics". I also still have some art yarns ready to go but I'm doing them slowly, alternating them with some other types.

In other news, it is now official - I will be at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair again this summer! It is held at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Illinois in July - July 17, 18, and 19th specifically. I'll be there with lots of new yarns! As of right now, it is my next show and might be my only show this summer.

Now, here is the mosaic of the new yarns, and I better get to spinning!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kitty Singles - new hand spun single ply yarns!

Well, I did pretty much what I hoped to yesterday, except instead of spinning 7 WOOL single plys, i spun 4 wool and 3 bamboo. Here is a mosaic of the 4 single plys -

Wineberry - 190 yards, thicker DK weight
Spring Blossoms - 160 yards, Worsted weight
Coral Sands - 170 yards, DK weight
Melon Blossom - 134 yards, Worsted weight

And, here are the bamboo colors. These aren't quite listed on etsy yet, but I will be listing two of the 3 skeins later today (hopefully) and the third will be listed as a custom-spin-to-order, as I do have more fiber in these colors.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Turquoise Parrot Blues

Awhile ago I spun up some merino wool hand dyed by the Yarn Wench in color "Turquoise Parrot". I focused on the teal/peacock colors in that one, along with the oranges and yellows. Well, I've spun this color again, but this time focused on the dark blue shades instead. The resulting skeins are a bit darker and bluer than the previous two. Here are "Turquoise Parrot Blues" -

They are both on etsy now.

Yesterday I also received my Falkland wool from Natalie (cloudlover) so will be spinning single plys today. If I stay motivated, I should have 7 new skeins for tomorrow! Then, I will return to the art yarns.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Finally, some new (art) yarns!

I finally have listed some new art yarns! (also a couple skeins of Ice Princess bamboo, a single ply spun from an optim/soy blend, and a Springtime in Paris bamboo skein) . . . but mostly, I'm so happy to have some new art yarns! I went on an art yarn sorting spree this weekend, where I matched up fibers with novelty and specialty yarns. That process always takes some time, but now that I've got them all sorted they are ready to spin. I managed to spin two colors this weekend - Twilight Garden and That 70s Yarn/Clockwork Orange - and have at least 4 more colors ready to go. Plus, i've got a few other colors tentatively ready, too. I will probably be spinning these most of this week but will also spin a few skeins of bamboo here and there. I should have more Falkland wool for more single plys by mid-week, so I also hope to have some more single plys done by the end of the week. For now, though, here is a mosaic of the newest yarns listed in my etsy shop -

Monday, April 6, 2009

Quit Your Day Job interview on etsy!

Etsy does a weekly feature on a "full-timer" - someone who has quit their day job and is crafting full time. Today, the feature is an interview with me! You can find the article HERE or click on the picture below . . .

Nothing else to say right now, though, as I've got to get back to spinning! :)


Saturday, April 4, 2009

My lighting set-up . . .

Almost any time you go into the etsy forums, someone is asking about pictures and how to take good ones. There are tons of blog entries about it, tons of tutorials, and tons of suggestions. Today, I'm going to show you what I do . . .

When I first started selling online, I knew pictures were important. From selling on ebay to selling on etsy, I knew if my pictures weren't good, then people probably wouldn't buy. Early on, I tried different things, including scanning items directly. At the time, that actually worked for some of the things I was selling like barbie clothes and pictures . . . but it sure wasn't going to work for jewelry or yarn.

My first pictures on etsy were HORRIBLE. It's amazing I sold anything at all in those very early days, when I only had some jewelry and a few hand knit scarves. The jewelry especially was difficult as I had a crappy digital camera and didn't quite know how to use the "macro" setting. I tried, though. And, failed. One of the first "convos" I received on etsy was actually a nasty one telling me my photos sucked! (Okay, they didn't say that *exactly* but it sure wasn't a *nice* note with constructive criticism in it, it was sarcastic and mean.)

ANYways . . . slowly my "photo set-up" evolved, making use of what I had. At first I only used one Ott-Lite and that crappy camera (3 megapixel, i think, though it may have been less than that). Now, I use two Ott-Lites (well, one is an official one and the other is a knock-off), take pictures at the peak time of day for good, natural lighting, and have a 10 megapixel digital camera (nothing too fancy, but it works for me - it's a HP PhotoSmart R967). I usually use white tissue paper as a background. I also make use of a thread storage thing I bought (it was filled with thread) that i use as sort of the "back" of the "light box" and also to steady the camera when shooting the picture.

I take pictures right in front of a large window. I usually take pictures right around 12noon - if I take them earlier the sun is too bright and streams right into the window and if I take them later it can get a bit too dark. I have a rolling shelf-cart in front of the window where I set everything up. I put a light at each corner, facing in, and the thread storage thing on the side opposite the window. My idea here is that it sort of acts as a reflector for all the light, brightening it up a little since, really, i probably could use brighter lights. I also use it as my "tripod", and basically shoot looking down at the yarn.

I place the yarn in the middle, steady the camera on the thread storage thingy and snap the pictures. Here are some shots of the set-up -

Even as recently as this past December, I was complaining about my pictures. My wonderful boyfriend actually bought me an official light box but it really didn't work for me! I think I needed way brighter lights than came with it, and I didn't like the lights anyways. I really like the natural light of the Ott-Lite. So after that foray into trying to use the light box, I have finally come to accept my pictures and set up as working all right for me. I know I could probably improve them even more, but with what I have at my disposal, I think this set-up works well.

I do also use a photo-editing program to resize and edit the pictures a bit. I usually sharpen them and sometimes adjust the levels (which usually brightens them). Since beginning to use GIMP recently, I also play with the color levels just a bit sometimes as the one problem I still seem to have is the colors appearing duller than they really are. I try to do minimal editing, though, and on a perfect-picture day, I only have to resize and sharpen!

A note - GIMP is FREE! I used PhotoShop as well, but when my computer died and I couldn't find my code to reinstall it, I switched to GIMP. I didn't like it at first, but have really gotten used to it.

I STILL have issues with taking pictures of my hand knits, but at least I've got a good thing going for the yarn pictures! :)

Want to see the difference? Check out my pictures on flickr and look at some of the oldest pictures! :)

Random 3am thought . . .

Today (this morning, around 1am), I was looking for something to watch. I had one more yarn to spin and knew I needed something on that would help keep me awake. I start flipping through channels and there are 3 movies on . . .

Purple Rain
The Doors (with Val Kilmer)

I actually opted for Footloose since it seemed the least depressing/least serious of the three, but it made me realize an odd thing . . .

almost all of the movies that I remember as being my favorites, from when i was a kid, or just younger, are all "musicals" - not, well, actual musicals, but movies that have lots of music in them - here is a short list -

Purple Rain

plus, I love the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! The main 80s movie that doesn't fit this list is The Outsiders. I loved that movie, and the book, too. Not much music in that one, if I recall, though it did have the Robert Frost poem in it . . .

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I knew most of this from the top of my head, but when I looked it up realized i had missed two lines (the leaf subsides to leaf and eden lines)

This one always makes me think of another poem snippet that was in another book I read back then . . . Beat the Turtle Drum . . . the line was "O dance along the silver sand and beat the turtle drum, that youth may last forever and sorrow never come". I'd definitely have to look that one up as I don't remember its origins at all - just remember it was in a book that i read.

okay, that is my random thought at 3am and now i must sleep! and, just to make this not seem like someone else hijacked my blog and posted, here are two yarn pictures! :) (all new ones recently listed on etsy)