6.28.2014

Happy New Year!

Wow, I sure let blogging slide. That doesn't mean the rest of the business is slowing! I took a couple of lazy months half-off after a very successful and eventful Maryland Sheep & Wool festival to re-charge and experiment with new fibers and I'm finally gearing up for a big exciting event - July, the Month of Battlings! Every year that I've attempted the Tour de Fleece, I've failed miserably after one week, but this year I'll be re-focusing my fiber efforts to provide fuel for all of you hardcore treadlers during your busy summer run.


Some days the colorway will be one of a kind, though most days there will be multiple sets available. Bases will vary from Targhee to Merino to Superfine Merino at the end of the month and the colorways will be fresh, classic, and sometimes unexpected!

After July, I'll be kicking fiber production into high gear as I prepare for my first year vending at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival and the very busy chilly months.

In non-wooly news, I've been hard at work on a brand new project : offering business mentorship to a few artists and makers. It feels incredible to pursue my passion for entrepreneurship while helping others thrive. I love this new journey and all of the possibilities that it has opened up.

Happy spinning!

12.03.2013

that woolly season!

Now that we've waded through the seasonal cold a few times, celebrated one birthday, and planned another, I think I'm finally starting to see the Christmas lights! Little Bear turned 1, Iggy turns 4 (!!!) on Monday, and my little business turns 8 in February.

Woolly production work has taken a hit as my babysitting source (ahem, Mom) has had a duo of surgeries to recover from. I'm trying not to agonize about the "to-do" list and instead enjoy this holiday season with my little wild things. However, I am really enjoying painting top again like never before. I dyed up a set of winter inspired colorways last week, here's "Long Johns" painted on a base of superwash merino/bamboo/nylon (panda).


I've also started ramping up Battling production as I hear more and more positive feedback from spindlers about these darling little mini batts.


Right now, I'm working on the finishing touches for a collaborative Nerdy Spin-Along with Kate B. from Gourmet Stash. I blended up three villainous character-inspired colorways using a luxury fiber base and she blended up punis inspired by three heroes. I have a few sets of Moriarty left, and then I'll be completely sold out.


As usual, I'll be taking the final two weeks of December "off" from carding. I'll use that time to destash a year's worth of paperwork and junk, organize my fiber stash in preparation for Maryland Sheep and Wool, paint a little, write that short story bouncing around my head, and.. who am I kidding, I'll probably just sit on the floor and play with plastic dinosaurs.


ps. Here's my birthday boy! He's walking and talking! Fastest year of my life.


8.31.2013

And just like that, another few months zipped by. I'm pretty sure I wasn't meant to be a blogger.

I have too many exciting announcements to make to not blog though, so here we go!

#1. My good friend Jennifer Gallentine recently opened up a shop in Latrobe, PA called Willow Mist Boutique. She's been curating an amazing collection of handspun yarns from all around the country as well as other handmade items. I sent a huge box of batts and battlings with a small assortment of handspun yarns, scarves, and felting tutorials, so if you're in the area, please stop by and check out my woolies!

#2. Christiane Knight, owner of ThreeRavens Yarn and Fiber Studio in Baltimore, MD recently also accepted a huge box of my batts for consignment. I am so honored to be in her beautiful shop. She's an amazing teacher and one of the most inspirational figures in the fiber world. I can't wait to get a chance to drop by and visit as well as shop for fibers from the other fiberistas also selling on consignment there.

#3. TRUNK SHOW! Seriously. This will be my very first trunk show, and I'm over the moon that the lovely ladies of Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Catonsville, MD will be hosting me. September 27th starting at 6pm. I'll be bringing some fiber to leave at the shop too, so if that date doesn't work, you'll be able to find Hobbledehoy at Cloverhill this Fall too.

This summer, I've gone a little nutty with creating battlings after they were such a huge hit at Maryland Sheep & Wool. I also brought back the RollyBatts and am working on 6 new luscious colorways of them next week. Today though is all for ArtBatts, ClassicBatts, and slowly painting some merino/tencel and superwash merino/bamboo/nylon for a collection of hand-painted top inspired by the Farmer's Market. Earlier this month, I had an Addams Family collection and earlier this summer, I used my hiking adventures to inspire the dye pots, so I'm anxious to see how this batch turns out.

On the home front, my little bubba Ira is suddenly 9.5 months old! Now that his terrible colic is in the past, he's the happiest child I've ever met. He's got a great sense of humor and an insatiable curiosity. He lives to eat and taste everything and never stops chatting to himself. We've logged about a dozen intentional words from him, but he's refusing to say "Mama" at the present and instead makes kissy sounds when he wants my attention. My darling feisty Iggy is loving her new bike and spends all of her time outside with her imaginary cat. She turns 4 this winter and I'm having fun planning a "cave" themed party at her request. We're visiting some caverns near Hershey, PA tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get some inspiration. This is where I'd like to pause my little ones and just enjoy them for a few decades, but since I can't, I'm trying to soak up as many great experiences with them as possible. In case you're wondering why my updates are infrequent or my output has tapered.. this is why. I still spend several nights a week in my basement studio, churning out batts and relishing the opportunity to experiment, create, breathe.

5.16.2013

May flies

Just like that, several months of bloggy neglect have passed.

I returned from Maryland Sheep and Wool thinking about taking a month off to work on developing new batty ideas and tinker with some of my non-wooly hobbies, but I'm really anxious to get back to my carders and routines. I did build a wooden playhouse, plant a small veggie garden, and help my toddler plant her very own flower garden. I also bought hiking boots for section-hiking the PA portion of the Appalachian trail with my dad. But today I'm craving some studio time, so down I go into my cozy basement studio to drum up some whimsies and listen to podcasts.

2.12.2013

sari

I recently ran out of loose recycled sari silk, a staple in my textured batt-making, so I ordered more from my favorite wholesaler and was surprised that it arrived in a new form - carded roving!


The staple is super-short and a bit challenging, but it's spinnable as-is. I've been using it to add sari-silk stripes in core-spun yarn, though I also tried spinning a thin single approximately dk weight, and that was really interesting too. Of course, the BEST use for this gorgeousness is carding. Add a sprinkle here or there sandwiched between two layers of fine wool for a confetti-batt, or feed directly onto the drum and "paint" the sari silk wherever you'd like it. I also finally ordered lovely sari silk threads, which my Louet Classic accepts hungrily without damaged teeth.


I've been adding globs and tangles of this beautiful mess into my ArtBatts and am now tempted to spin a chunky black alpaca yarn with giant globs of rainbow sari-silk and silver angelina sparkle. Or maybe a white sparkle-batt with giant chunks of random colors.. I just want to spin this madness, but I've got a pile-up of rainbowish bagged fiber to card, and three seasons of Downton Abbey in my queue. I can't lose, it's going to be a great night in the studio after the littles are tucked in!

2.11.2013

carder-love

What a blur.

My little bear is nearly 3 months old and I'm having trouble remembering anything. Some mornings, I pull him out of bed and wonder where he came from.

Living this double-life of making and mothering is is both exhilarating and exhausting, and I'm going to make a goal out of spinning around my children sometimes in order to blend the two roles. Other women seem to manage it. I'm sure it will become easier once the little guy is mobile and can interact more with his doting sister, and I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to this wiggly little fellow getting around on his own.

Since my last post, I've spent hours and hours with my new Louet Classic carder. We've got a serious relationship developing - the batts I'm pulling off that beast are inspiring me to spin more, and I'm finally making the yarns I dreamed of making when I began spinning in the first place. Like this:



And check out how sweet it is to my itty bitty curly BFL locks:




All of the texture and spontaneity I'm able to preserve with the LC has inspired me to whip up Battlings with texture, and I've been whipping those little bubs out in mass quantities for both my Etsy shop and Maryland Sheep & Wool.


Thanks to my mom watching the little guy 2x a week, I'm making some serious progress on Maryland Sheep and Wool preparations. I'll even have more this year than last year - about 200 ArtBatts and dozens and dozens of exciting packages of pretty fibers and batts in varying quantities. I haven't unleashed a huge shop update in a few weeks partially due to my MDSW prep, but I'll get there.. eventually.

1.16.2013

Year of the Bear // BlogTalk interview

Happy belated New Year! I made a loose list of resolutions, but everything boiled down to one over-arching goal/theme : this is my last year mothering an infant.



 With our tiny family complete, I want to be sure I enjoy every little pinch of time with my sweet baby boy. I'm still planning on full-time woolywork, as I've posted before, my family uses my little business's income for our everyday living expenses like groceries, medical care, etc. We're still digging out of the financial hole left by years of my husband's unemployment, but I'm starting to see the other side of this ditch and am optimistic that by the end of 2013, we'll be closer to our family's financial goals. Miles away still, yes, but closer is good enough for now, and I have to be content with the speed of this process.

So, in my year of soaking up Little Bear's infancy, I've decided on the following tiny changes for Hobbledehoy that will probably end after 2013, but are necessary for time management this year. There will be no subscription clubs, special/custom orders, collaborations, or vending events other than Maryland Sheep and Wool. There will be trades (I LOVE trading on a small scale with fellow fiber artists!), the opportunity for customers to reserve or hold items - or notification if I make something similar to what they were hoping for, and there will be an amazing display of fibery goodness available at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I'm sure that fellow parents will understand, and if you are a fiber artist who does take custom order or creates spectacular subscription clubs, please let me know if you'd like to be on a list that I provide to my customers seeking those items. I've always referred customers to other fiber artists when I'm unable to fill a request, and will continue to do so this year.

Whew.

It feels so heavy to type out what I'm unable to do this year, and who knows, things may change towards the end of this year, but I'm happily consumed with keeping batty production flowing for MDS&W, my shop, and spending time with my family. Also, Bear has a classic case of colic - 3 hours of nightly screaming. Three. hours. I've read Happiest Baby on the Block and have tried everything. He'll outgrow it, I'm sure, but it's pretty rough right now.

On an exciting note, I am honored to have been asked by Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms to participate in one of her BlogTalk interviews! Please tune in tomorrow (Thursday) at 9pm EST to hear me chat with her and Kimberly McAlindin. I'm a tiny pinch nervous as I've never been interviewed live before, but I'm anxious to gush about batts, one of my favorite topics in the whole world. Plus, it's exciting to speak with the purveyor of such luxury fleeces! I seriously need to get my hands on some of her lovely fiber, soon! I'm a long-time admirer of her beautiful fiber, sadly from afar.

Eeep, one last piece of news, I invested in a Louet Classic Drumcarder! I'm in LOVE with it's appetite for textured fibers and it's output of high-contrast fluffnormous batts. Update scheduled for Friday, my indoor photography equipment hasn't arrived yet and my outdoor photoshoot is covered in ice and snow. Brrr!  This update will be 100% ArtBatt.