Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spin, Spin, Dye, Repeat

Hi Gang!

I've been spinning up a storm. I love my wheel. I've been spining up stuff that we weren't too happy with once they were dyed or stuff that never sold. Man, on either count once this stuff is spun its BEAUTIFUL!!! The first was some superwash in Espresso to Latte (check out the shop for other color ways) that the black broke purple and bled down the length of the roving. So I kept it and remade the fiber with no black. I've spun that up in a fat single and I'm going to knit (OMG NO!!!) a hat for my loving hubby for x-mass.

The next was some Salt Water Taffy in a Superwash merino. I was practicing the thick thin spinning for a potential customer. While it came out OK, I found that the superwash is very "slippery" when you try to spin it. It's very pretty and soft but it is as delicate as silk so I had to be VERY gentle.
Next, was 8 ounces of Domestic wool (aka nubbly, scratchy outdoor wool) dyed in Tapestry. I do not understand why someone didn't buy this stuff. True it is scratchy, but its very nice looking. And it naturally slubs it's self, the clumps and pips make for easy slubs that come at relatively equal intervals. The one I'm working at now and I won't have any pictures for you is the Pretty Sophisticated in Superwash Merino. Yea, I'm trying the superwash again to see if it was just me being ham fisted. Its still slippery, but my spinning buddy Gail gave me a couple of tricks to try and they seem to be working. This color way is a sweet pale pink and smoky gray mix. I working it in a standy yarn size. Not fat or chunky but definately not lace weight.

My fantastic Hubby made me a hand carved Niddy Noddy in teak!!! Take a peek and be very jealous!! He even made three different lengths of center poles!!!

Gotta get back down stairs and dye. Today is yarn and some more Superwash.
If I don't get back to you, have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Daytripping to Rheinbeck!

Hi Gang! Happy Halloween!
Couple of weeks ago Jenn ,Raisin and I made the trek to Rheinbeck Sheep and Wool Festival. What a great day! It was cool and a bit windy when we started out, but in a short time it was warm and sunny, what breeze was there kept you from getting too hot.

Look at all of these colors!!! All of these skeins we spun up boulce (?).

There were people EVERYWHERE! Yes, I know its to be expected with this size faire and all but..... Wow. And what I found so astounding was that EVERYONE was wearing something that they had made. There were sweaters, scarves, shawls, gloves, hats, vests........ I could go on and on. I was the only one, that I could see, that didn't. Jenn was sweet enough to lend me her scarf - THAT SHE HAD MADE - to keep me warm. Oh yea, I didn't tell you that this was our chance to be walking billboards and get the name of June Pryce Fiber Arts famous! Jenn had these cute shirts printed up. Short sleeve, because at the Maryland Sheep and Wool we almost died from the heat. So here we are in this chilly day with short sleeve shirts on. Jenn, brilliant woman that she is, put it on OVER her sweatshirt. It looked nice, she does not agree. But I had this jacket on and was attempting to wear the shirt under but on backwards so you could see the logo. Didn't work so well. We will make up Sweatshirts for next time.

See isn't she cute? Don't look too close, I caught her with her eyes almost closed. (She is gonna KILL me.) We spent a bit of time checking out different spinning techniques. Now that I'm "helping" with my wheel - THANK YOU GAIL!! - she was showing me what I'll be able to accomplish. Speaking of which I have been using my wheel, quite a bit. I'm spinning a superwash merino into a thick single for a hat for my Dad for christmas. I hope. Remember, I'm Ok spinning but I SUCK at knitting.... I'm using a book called "Kids Learn to Knit", it is well writtten for kids like me who need to go slow and have it explained in the simplest form.

This was also a fact finding mission. See, we are considering taking our gorgeous product out on the road to different festivals. We needed to look into how other fiber artists displayed their stuff. You know, what shelving systems made the product look the best, which would be easily portable, how to price things out and what other toys/tools to carry. While we we there we also found this great idea on how to package up our scarf/sock kits. Soon to be seen on our site - Keep watching!

These are neat aren't they? Inside they have everything you need, directions, yarn and such plus you get this cute hand colored picture on the front to show you how it will look once all knitted up. These plastic containers would also work for our felters kits, no? So we chatted up vendors, took many, many pictures and of course bought some stuff. I know that sounds funny, someone who can make whatever color they desired purchasing a hank but sometimes it just fun to have someone else do the work for me.

OK kids back to work, I go in search of a new roasting pan. Mine sprung a leak and I can't steam the fiber without it. I'll have to focus on yarn today, but only until I can replace the pan.......

Hope you have goulishly good fun tonight!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Getting A Spinning Wheel!!!

Hi all! Sorry its been a bit. We had a small emergency with my father needing some more coronary jewelry. Five stainless steel stents in all. He is fine, at home and in good spirits. Thanks for asking :)

I'm getting a wheel!!!! Yup, Santa (aka my hubby) is coming early this year! Jenn had sent me a e-mail about a lady who was selling perfect Louet 10. I laughingly sent it onto Hubby, who I guess had no idea of what to get me for Christmas, quickly called and snagged said wheel!!

I flipped! Not in a good way either. I was unsure of if I would use the wheel enough. The last thing I want is another "thing" taking up space and collecting dust. And I just couldn't take years of "you wanted it so badly......Are you ever going to use that again....". So I got on the phone to cancel the pickup. That being said, I am still getting the wheel. Gail, the LOVELY woman who is selling the wheel, was wonderful. Fun, interesting and a spinning addict like myself! She reminds me a lot of my friend Lia. Full of life, creative..... I can't wait to meet her!

We will take the two hour ride tomorrow to pick it up! Pictures to follow! Gail, sweet thing, asked me to be her "spinning buddy". I gotta tell you this clinched the deal. I really look forward to spinning along with her (I'll keep you in the loop). I am just so impressed with the way Jenn spins, I hoping that some day I'll be just as good.

My poor family. Hanks of dyed fiber in boxes everywhere, little colored tufts of fluff on the rug and now there will be this gorgeous wheel sitting in front of the TV along with their wii paraphenalia (sp). I can't wait to hear what they tell their friends when they ask "what is THAT?!"
More when I get this beautiful girl home!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

OMG!! It's Everywhere!!

HELP!! I need an assistant! I have wool everywhere! This is a picture of my dining room table. At this very moment.
The buns with pieces of paper on them are to be banded. Which means that they are dried, fluffed and have had their pictures taken. All ready to be put into stock and await their new home. The banded purple hanks in the left front (Napa Valley colorway) have been sold and need to be packaged up all pretty to go out on Monday. The pages in the front with the scissors are bands to be made for the buns in the back of the picture. There is handspun in the digital scale, and the large silver pail is for pickings (cleaning up of the wool of any little frayed bits) that I'd love to sell (GIVE??) to felters. I think I have about 5 small sandwich bags packed full. What you don't see in the pile of expenses and inspiration papers that need to be filed away.

AAAHHHH!! And I have to blog (woohoo I'm gettting something done!!) and get the postings ready for this coming week. I can't set up posts from my day job because the pictures are here on my laptop. I also don't have the time, it flu season. It's easier just to drop in the listing address and press finish. Then, just so you don't think I'm done whining, I must go down a begin dying. I know, wah wah wah, suck it up and get back to work.

Man, I feel better. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I've been Spinning Again!!

Help me!!! I adore my drop spindle. It seems that Jenn has been reading the blog and I got caught. It's OK tho, its better that my problem is out in the open now....
Ahh to watch that beautiful fiber twist up into juicy fat singles..... The anticipation.... The silky softness. Oohhh almost as good as chocolate.

This is the "Sari" colorway from the shop. Its the BFL. This one "broke" and I had to take care of it. There is the Sari in Merino still for sale, but not for long if I can help it ;) heh heh heh heh. (Think sick pervert laugh). The first, sorry second, attempt was the Sea Glass colorway.

It came out a bit more thick and thin than the Sari. Still I love it!! I really need to learn to knit. What am I gonna do with all of this?? Any ideas? Do I need to start going to SA (spinning Anonomous) meetings? Hey! No comments on my lack of spelling skills :) Have a Great day, I'm out!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall's Here!!

Hello all! I am loving this weather!!! FALL IS HERE!! Cool mornings thick with dew then a nice warm (not the muggy hot of summer) days then back into a crisp cool evening. Gets my blood all up for the fall colors. I just finished a new colorway "Autumn" - so very predictable of me - and it's gorgeous!! The color mix was requested by a customer who is test driving my new techniques. I had a small problem early on. This IS a learning process after all. And this is the customer who pointed it out, so only fair she gets free stuff to test for me now. All of the stuff coming out of the WORK ROOM, Yup, still loving this space, is perfect. Fluffy, completely dyed and easy to draft. Its too bad that my photography skills suck so very much. Jenn has it down pat. Her stuff is all artsy fartsy and shows off my work perfectly. BUT sending the hanks down to her in PA just to have their pictures done is sort of cost prohibitive. She dosen't have as much storage space as I do. She also has two little people that need her attention more than the wool does. So I struggle with lighting and set-up and pray that people will purchase this great stuff even tho the pictures on the site suck.

This is MY idea of a artsy picture. I'll try to down load one of hers and you will see the difference.

I've been spinning on my drop spindle. I'm addicted. I watched this cool tutorial on u-tube by this girl Megan. She was so very helpful in the learning process. I've tried the wheel, and was bad at it, I liked it but Jenn is in possession of the wheel. Sp I don't get much time to practice. Jenn is MUCH better at it than I so I started with the spindle. I've done a ew different pieces. My first looks a bit like Noro.

See? Not so bad for my first try. The second and now third trys are getting much much better. I can't stop. I take it with me everywhere. Spin a little, draft a little. Now all this time I've been telling Jenn "no" when she has anounced that their is a particular hank she wants to spin. I feel so naughtly, I'm not only eyeing the fiber but I've gone so far as to have the roving "break" while prepping it for pictures, which makes ut unusable for sale. And free game for me to spin. I think I have a real problem......Hope Jenn dosen't find out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My loving and VERY patient husband has hooked me up!! After 10 months of dyeing on the counter in thte kitchen, some days the tie dye affect is very pretty, Hubby has found a way to give me a WORK ROOM! Ah, revel in it for a minute........No more dragging stuff up and down the stairs, taping the plastic down, dying with a time line and then reversing the process to feed my family. The problem is now cleaning out and setting up of this new space. In a past life I was a Personal Chef/Caterer. Yup, I went to Johnson and Wales and everything. 2 years, long days and a GPA of 3.95, I am VERY proud to say. The food industry is tough. More power to anyone who can do it for any lenght of time. You work horrible hours. When everyone else is partying you are in a hot and dirty kitchen slaving over their food. When I worked for a restaurant - a very short stint under a WONDERFUL Chef (Tommy D), I would get home smelling of onions and fryolator oil. its hard and dirty work and I was NOT cut out for it. The catering was about the same, ecxcept I picked when I worked and charged accordingly. The Personal Chef racket was the BEST. Working in someones home, making their meals, cleaning up and then heading home. Ahh, the memories. But sadly, I came into the position just as the nation hit the economic crisis. I needed a paycheck I could rely on. So I was introduced to the Doc who needed my organizational skills and personality and its been working fine for about 2 years now.

That being said I had accumulated a LOT of catering stuff, platters, serving dishes, glasses, chafing dishes of all sizes and shapes, candle sticks, coffee urns and on and on and on....... This was all stored in a room in the basement, shelves and shelves of the stuff. As you can see from the picture. And this is after I've already started clearing it out!!! This is where the new WORK ROOM (I love saying that) is going to go. Boxes of stuff to go to Salvation Army - where I purchased quite a bit of it - Consignment - I gotta get something to help pay for the upgrades - and friends who do the catering thingy also. I did keep service dishes for myself. Hubby wasn't happy but when I explained that we will still be having holiday dinners and need to serve the food, he agreed.

I spent the holiday weekend both dyeing and cleaning up. The walls are now bright white and the floor painted a soft grey. My MIL was re-doing her kitchen and hooked her son up with basecabinets and countertop AND a double sink!! MAJOR SCORE!!

I have been relegated to using a hot plate to steam the rovings. hubby is not even entertaining the idea of a stove top in the basement. Bummer. I've got a sump to pump the water up and out and even have hot AND cold running water. Man he is the GREATEST!
The room is finished. The process was tedious but well worth it. Still have to find a hot plate. But that can wait for a weekend or two.

I know, two entries and no information about fiber, sorry! I have been so excited about the new space!! Next entry I promise to start twlling you all about what I do now that I have a place to do it in!! Any time I want!! If inspiration strikes in the middle of the night I'm set. Ah.............. More later have a great day!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So this is how it begins....

OK, Jenn (my sister - the one with the baby) and I are going to keep a Blog on our experiences as "fiber artists". How we do stuff, why we do stuff and what happens when stuff goes wrong.....which happens more that I would like to admit. Luckily ususally my screw ups can be fixed or a least salvaged by Jenn. You know, the overall ups and downs of our new venture.

A history would help anyone reading this to undertand how I started - more like was dragged - into the world of fiber dyeing, so I'll start there. This is us, Jenn is in the red and I'm in the brown and thats our little sister Lori in the middle. Jenn is attempting to teach us how to knit. I am a very poor student. Ok back to history.... When I turned 13 my parents decided to become Gentleman and Lady Farmer and purchased 52 beautiful acres in Orange County, New York. They started small with ducks and chickens, add a few horses then a few cows, then the sheep came. 150 sheep exactly. They were everywhere, white fluffy tufts sprinkled all over the fields. My mom would be out in the barn at all hours during the lambing season, the baby monitor bleating pitifully in the kitchen as the ewes attempted to become mothers. I wanted none of it! I ws a teenager, I wanted to party, to date to SHOP!!! It was oonly much later, as luck would have it, that I realized what a gold mine I could have had my blue hands on. Hundreds of pounds of fleece went off that farm and now I think back and cry. Now I have to get online and purchase what I could have had for free, and dream of what could have ben. I could have been happily dyeing my head off. Jenn could have spun enough yarn to circle the world, a few times! Ah hindsight.......

This is the Barn now, years later, its so quiet now.

That being said, I love what I do, the gorgeous colors, the baby soft fiber and the sometimes suprising results of mixing the two. Each weekend (and on Tuesday when I don't work at my "day job" for the Doc)I cover the counter tops with plastic, drag down the box of dye stocks and boxes of fiber and begin to work. I have to drag out the implements of my personal torture each time I dye because at the moment I do not have a "work space" set aside for this activity. My poor family.....the kitchen becomes off limits when I dye. Food and acid dyes are a dangerous mixture...I wouldn't want to kill anyone. At least not yet....(creepy laugh here). So everything must be cleaned and set up then put away and cleaned again. The tie dye affect on the countertop is beginning to wear thin tho. The up-side is that the kitchen must stay very clean. The last thing anyone wants is to purchase a beautiful roving and find a bit of carrot in it. Yuch!! Oopps gotta run this will have to be finished tomorrow (?) its time to go make dinner. Hope you enjoyed reading so far and I'll be back soon.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shop Announcement

Welcome to June Pryce Fiber Arts!

We've been busy working on new products! Specifically, a Spin-to-Knit kit for a scarf like BrooklynTweed's . This is his, made with Noro:

Our kit pairs two graded hanks of luscious Merino to be spun and then knit. Once I can work out some instructions that sound like English, you'll be seeing the kits in our shop.

Here are some of our color pairings:

Gold and Arctic Ice

Emerald and Espresso

Check back for more updates on what is new in the shop!