hello from vacation!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays!  We're a little bummed that we didn't get any snow other than flurries, but other than that, this has been the best Christmas week ever.  Little Iggy was thoroughly spoiled by Santa and her grandparents, and she is currently dragging all of the new toys all over the house.

 This morning, I'm shipping a few over-vacation orders and then have year-end accounting to work on.  I'm re-opening the Etsy shop and re-stocking both shops during the first week of January, so I better start cranking those carders.


yarn ball ornament tutorial

Here's a quickie gift and/or project for a snow day:

You need:
-Styrofoam balls (I used size 1.5" since my tree is tiny)
-Scrap yarn
-Tacky Glue
-Needle and thread.

Spread a thin layer of Tacky glue all over the styrofoam ball.  Wrap yarn around until the ball is invisible, and finish it off by attaching thread.  Tadaa!  If you select itty bitty styrophoam balls, little tooth picks could be inserted as "faux needles," or you could just sharpen thin dowel rods into needles as well.

Oh yes, that's silver fun fur used as "tinsel."  How else am I going to use all of that random pesky fun fur up? By the way, fun fur makes some pretty adorable fuzzy ornaments, especially if you have it in metallic colors.  I was gifted a bag full of that stuff and never knew what to do with it until now.

PS.  I've got to give a shout-out to my best friend Barbara who brought this project possibility to my attention. Definitely check-out her amazing embroidery.


time for a break, and another half-dozen pomegranates.

I've posted my last update of the year and am now preparing to hibernate until 2011.  I'm shipping my last pre-Christmas load tomorrow, and anything ordered after tonight/early tomorrow morning will ship after Christmas weekend.

I feel the need to apologize for my previous whopper post.  Whew!  It was like a vent/brainstorm/brainsplat, typed out within one of Ingrid's shorter naps.  oy!

Also, the "Gingerbread" spin-along has been posted in my Hobbledehoy Fan Club Group on Ravelry.  I have one more set available if anyone is interested... email me at darthliz@gmail.com.  Here's what the set looks like:

Run, run, as fast as you can..  or don't...  because if nobody snags this, it's mine, all mine, even though I already have a set for myself.   $25 for 5-ish oz.

 The January HobbledeCLUB is now available for pre-order.  The theme is "Constellations" since winter is my favorite season for star-gazing.  The sky is so crisp and clear out here in the countryside, and every night I feel compelled to take a peek at the glittery starscape.

This week, I hope to post a quickie yarn ornament tutorial for those very very few of you with time to burn before donning your Santa roles.  ;)  I just made a few last night for my tiny (and first!) Christmas tree.

Stay warm!


Hello snow!

While we're not exactly trapped indoors over the recent snowfall, we are buried under an avalanche of projects.  Here's what's been happening at the HobbledeBarn:

- Ingrid just celebrated her first birthday last week!  I baked a cat cake and threw a party for her which was hosted by her paternal grandparents.  It was a small party, just close family, since I think it's best not to overwhelm a one-year-old.

-We're officially changing our shipping methods over our holiday vacation so that we can have the mailman pick up our packages.  We're a one-car family, so I've really struggled to get out of the house more than twice a week for shipping.  The reason I haven't switched sooner is a bit complex- I don't get out of the house often, so I actually enjoy my trips to our small town post office.  Also, we live down a long lane that's off of a busy street- so leaving my packages near the mailbox is not an option.  Our mailman/woman varies frequently, so I'll be making an appointment with the local postmaster to discuss options.

-I have accomplished next-to-nothing for my shops :(  Between my lack of spare time now that T is working two jobs and the fussiness of a teething toddler... oh, and add on a whopper of a cold that sank it's teeth into me a few weeks ago but just won't give up.. I'm in bed around 9pm every night and asleep less than a minute later.  Don't take this as a complaint- I love motherhood and I'm thrilled that my husband has two jobs that he enjoys.  I miss working though, and will be up and running a bit more smoothly after February (that's when Iggy starts part-time daycare).  I will be offering up a small shop update this weekend, the last of the year's, along with the January HobbledeCLUB.

-I didn't make it into MDS&W this year.  They offered me a slot on the waiting list, but I decided that I'll take a pass and either try again next year, or focus on a new product line for HobbledehoyFibers.com.

-I'm going on vacation... a mental vacation!  I'm so excited to have a much needed holiday.  Even though multiple days can pass between carding sessions, I'm still looking forward to a break in which the fiber arts will be on a back burner while I can prepare for the new year and where Hobbledehoy will be going from there.  My vacation officially starts on December 21st and will last until January 2nd.  Everything ordered will be shipped by then, including anything ordered during my small shop update this weekend.

The last bit of news is extremely sad.  My dear Huxley (my English angora) died on December 1st.  I'm incredibly heart-broken.  He was such a sweet lap bunny and fibery companion.  The week he died, I had trouble keeping my head on straight, and I'm still having trouble not crying when I see my stash of angora fiber.

I won't lie.  The juggling act this year was rough.  This was my baby-year, and believe me, when given the choice between working or snuggling my little lovebug, I picked my lovebug every time... sometimes to my shop's detriment. Shipping was unorganized, communications were slow (have you ever tried to type out an email while a crawling baby was climbing up your lap while swatting at a crotchety cat who still possessed claws? haha!)  To prepare for 2011, some things are going to have to change.  Either:  a) Hobbledehoy Fibers will officially go part-time and downsize or b) the product lines will be augmented by un-dyed fibers and some limited edition batt colorways each month.  I have always been a little too transparent with my business plans, but hey- I'm hoping that my struggles/experiments/successes will be useful to other small crafting businesses out there.

As a final note, I want to thank all of my amazing returning and new customers and fiber-friends.  The community of support and sharing has kept me optimistic about Hobbledehoy.  I love you all, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a belated but Happy Hanukkah, and a New Year full of good things to come!



This weekend's packages have been stuffed and shipped, Thanksgiving feast has been nibbled and re-heated into oblivion, and this new rainy week has me busy indoors with carding December HobbledeClubs, Gemmy batts, and fresh novelty batts for a shop update over the weekend.

I had the lucky opportunity over the holiday weekend to re-connect with a childhood friend (military brats- you know how rare that chance can be!)  She and her daughter stayed at my parents house a few miles away, so I spent most of the weekend visiting, cooking, shopping, and trying to keep Ingrid from over-loving my parents' skittish cats.  Thankfully, the weather has been decent, so I've been dragging Ig outside frequently to burn off energy and stave off cabin fever.

Next week- the little one celebrates her first birthday!  I'm making her a kittycat cake and have already ordered (and received) cat decorations, since she seems to be a budding cat-lady.  We're keeping the party small - just grandparents and my sister.  I can't believe it's been nearly year since I brought a teenytiny 5 lb. bundle home from the hospital (actually, that anniversary is Christmas Eve, since preemie Ig spent two weeks in the hospital after she was born).

Well, stay tuned for another post announcing that the update has happened.  I'm through with planning specific dates for updates, since motherhood has taught me to expect the unexpected and to keep plans absurdly flexible.


sweet tooth

I've been eating healthier for the past few months and have lost nearly 20 lbs (goodbye baby weight!) but I'm craving sweets again, in case you haven't noticed by the names of some recent batty additions, such as Cranberry Jelly, Sprinkles, Pumpkin pie, and Fruit Nougat.  In fact, I devoured an entire Alpine Milk Rittersport right before tonight's update.  Yum!  I'm sure I'll easily burn off those calories now that Iggy is a blur of speed now that she has a little shopping cart to lean on as she "runs" through the house, placing anything she can reach into the basket.  Ohmy!

I finally had a chance tonight to update my Etsy shop, and while I was at it, I added more novelty batts to hobbledehoyfibers.com, reduced the price of luxury batts to $6/oz., added a 10% discount code to both sites (go visit the sites to see what it is!), and uploaded a spinning service option at Hobbledehoyfibers.com.


When Iggy is in bed tonight, I've got even more to add- a small but delicious assortment of handspuns, which will be available at hobbledehoyfibers.com.  Gift Certificates will also be available soon, definitely by the end of the week.

Aaand, I'm planning an exciting give-away for Black Friday!  Details about that will be coming soon :)

edit:  handspuns are not going up tonight after all.  I have a grumpy little one, probably working on a couple more teeth tonight.


new fluff

I'm finally accepting that finding time to work is going to be a feat that only a time-bending superhero can manage.  That said, here I am, attempting to update my shop at the not-so-late hour of 9:30 pm while falling asleep into a mug of coffee.

I just finished listing a few gorgeous batt sets into the shop, and am planning on uploading the rest after a re-shoot (deep cherry reds are so difficult to capture accurately).  This weekend, I have medium-ish plans to do a spin-a-thon to fill out my stock of yarns for the holidays.  That means:

coming soon to the new site (!!!)
-more yarn
-spinning service listing
-gift certificates

Also, my Etsy shop will receive a small re-fresher, complete with a small assortment of new batts.

Off topic- I just got the most amazing little gift today - my little one said "I yuv" to me and gave me a hug when I pulled her out of her crib this morning.  Warm fuzzies!


an update on updates

I'm working on a tiny update.

Scratch that.

I have been working on a tiny tiny update for a week and a half, and all I have created is the following:
-three sets of batts
-one 5 skein special order
-one new Shuffle handspun

I'm hopehopehoping to accomplish more tonight for a more medium-sized update tomorrow, but my little one has been sick and teething and time is slippery.

This juggling act isn't going so well, and you know how it goes - baby comes first!


short on time but not on projects

Happyhappy news-- my sweet husband finally found a job after applying for HUNDREDS of jobs, most offering minimum wage to high school grads.  He lost his job when the bookstore he worked for downsized severely, closing nearly half of their stores nation-wide.  The new job is good news for our little family, but finding time to work now will be even more difficult for me.

I don't know if any fiber-working moms out there have found a way to integrate drum carding time with child-care time -- it just doesn't mesh!  My studio is 100% baby dangerous, so all of the wool magic happens with a) baby hangs out with Daddy, or b) baby is sleeping.  Hello, late night tea-fueled drum carding sessions!

Well, last week I did have ample time to crank out some fiber - both hand-pulled roving and novelty batts.  You can find it in my new shop!

 And as if business + baby weren't enough to keep me on my toes 24/7, I started a new lace project (I swear, complicated knitting is keeping me sane), though after knitting the first 20 rows, I'm thinking of frogging it out and starting a new pattern ("Limestone" by The Fickle Knitter) that I just splurged on yesterday.  My new miPattern Saver from slippedstitchstudios arrived, and it's the most genius knitting accessory I've ever purchased, and is definitely my second pair of hands during this new lace project.

 Love love love it!  Though, I should have bought some of the magnet guides... perhaps this weekend I'll order a set.

As a quick end-note to an over-long post, I just have to share Ingrid's latest hand-knit digs.

The hat is Pumpkinhaus's Gnome hat (knit with my handspun, a 50/50 tencel/merino blend), the shirt is Brandy Fortune's "Country Kiddie" pattern (knit with Zauberball yarn), and the shrug is The Shizknit's "Confection" pattern (knit using The Plucky Knitter's worsted Merino yarn).


Wow, the past few days have been a fuzzy blur!  I haven't spent too as much time as I had hoped with my carder, but I've still had plenty of businessy things to do as well as the usual ho-hum chores that were neglected during the launch (ahem, laundry).  Today, however, I did finally have a chance to drum up some novelty batts and roving which will be uploaded into the new shop tomorrow.

I'm really tickled though to have been blogged about once again by a knitter I admire- M. Sartin of M. Sartin Design.  I love her chunky cowls, and can't imagine anything cozier during these chilly days.

My husband and I are preparing to weather-proof this old barn for winter since we've got a little munchkin to keep warm.  Other than sealing up the windows and throwing down a few extra rugs (we're on the third floor of an otherwise empty barn), we're open to suggestions!  The heat is officially on... sometimes.


success :)

I'm so tickled that this weekend's launch went well!  I only have a few minor glitch problems to follow up with, but beyond that, it looks like I nearly sold out of novelty batts.  I guess I know what I'll be doing today:  shipping, carding, and playing with baby dolls.   How did I (a tomboy) end up with a little girlygirl?

The Grand Opening promo code is expired, but I've just created a new one that will expire on November 5th.  Type "twobucks" at check-out to receive $2 off your order.


HobbledehoyFibers.com LAUNCH!

Woohoo!  It's officiallyofficial, HobbledehoyFibers.com has been green-lighted for lift-off, and there's a 10% discount available with code "  october wool  " at check-out.

Currently, there's a flat-rate shipping charge of $4 for domestic orders and $6 for international orders, but that will be eventually changed for weight based shipping.

Also, I'm launching my new fiber club- the HobbledeClub!  For details, check out December's listing:

December edition

And now, a little note on the increased prices:
I have been forced to re-evaluate my pricing scale after years of maintaining the same prices as my supplies have increased in costs.  Also, I've learned that I need to incorporate more than just the time it takes me to card an item into the price tag.  Accounting has never been one of my strengths, but recent explorations of my book-keeping records has show the necessity for a small increase in product prices.

I know that several of my customers are facing hard times, and I know what it feels like since my husband was unemployed for most of this year, so please understand that I am more than willing to card smaller batches of fiber for those on a budget, or for my felting friends which require much less fiber than spinners.  Just ask :)


launch is still postponed

I'm officially postponing the launch until tomorrow morning.  That way, none of you trick-or-treating parents miss out!  It looks like everything will be peachy by then :)

In the meanwhile, I'm tickled to share the following link:  my friend, the very talented spinner and dyer Sosae interviewed me for her blog, and there's a give-away involved.

Don't order yet!

Yikes!  I thought everything was good to roll, but I realized that there are two pretty serious flaws still on the site, and I'm asking you kindly not to order anything until the official launch this afternoon.

I hope everything works out!  I'm a bit of a giant stressbucket at the moment.

Meanwhile, I just have to share a photo of my little lamb!  We were going to dress her up as Yoda, but the costume was on back-order.  I think this suits her just fine, and I hope she someday forgives me for this.


the big switcheroo!

Finally finally!  After months of waiting for my website to be complete - I'm ready for a launch!  I'm going to have a Grand Opening this Friday, and I can hardly wait. The site will be announced that day, after a final test-run.

It's been really rough, sitting on a pile of product, unable to purchase more until the launch was underway.  I should have unleashed it on Etsy, but I kept thinking... maybe this weekend things will be ready, and then things weren't ready, so I'd optimistically think maybe next weekend.   That chain of thinking went on and on and on...  but now, for some news!

The good news:  I have a few art yarns spun up, a whole bunch of hand-carded super-gorgeous roving, and a big pile of novelty batts along with a sampling of my newer luxury batts that will be available on the new site.  I'm also starting a new subscription plan which is going to be filled with optional craft-alongs.  Also, the  new site will allow discount codes, and I'm going to unleash a sweet deal for the shop's launch.

The good for me but not for you news:  I sold a significant chunk of what I planned to put on the new site to a private buyer, so the Grand Opening isn't as super-stocked as I had planned.  But don't pout- I promise I'll crank out LOTS more over the next few weeks, and I am taking a limited amount of special requests until December 1st.

The jump up and down and shout for joy news:  Though they won't be released until closer to December, new fiber bases for batts and roving other than Merino are on their way.  Yay! 

And now, for a little preview of what's in store:

For those of you who may be wondering- yes, I will always sell on Etsy.  I love Etsy, but Hobbledehoy is going through a growth spurt this Fall/Winter.



rainy blustery

October may be my favorite month, but I'm surprised by how chilly it is indoors suddenly.  I'm layering Iggy up and tucking her pants in her socks to keep her legs warm, and the heaters might have to be turned on tonight.  Pre-baby, We would have toughed it out until November.  Even though Ig has never experienced illness (how weird and rare is that for a 9 monther?) I don't want to risk it.

I finished knitting that little sweatery shirt for her, but since it has little cap-sleeves, I'm now knitting a tiny shrug with some gorgeous Plucky Knitter yarn to go over it.  Next knitting project, a Gnome hat using this dear pattern from Pumpkinhaus and some handspun.

My site is nearly complete, and I'm filling in the FAQs today.  I just have to wait on a little nameserver pointing and shopping cart set-up details to be completed by my programmer, and then----- Grand Opening time!  I'm very very excited, especially over the debut of my new luxury triple-carded batts.  I'll have gobs of new fibers and new wools other than Merino coming in later this month or next month, and am looking forward to one woolly warm winter.



I've guiltily been neglecting my SuperCard.  I use it to make roving and battlings, but other than that, it just sits on my desk, looking heavy and dangerous.  I always assumed I could make batts faster on my little Strauch petite, until I put that assumption up for challenge yesterday, and whoah!  I've been missing out!  It actually does require a little more time and finesse, but look at the smooth super-blended batts that it can crank out!
The batts below contain hand-dyed merino wool, blue sparkle, white soysilk, cashmere, and silk.  (I received an AMAZING package of fun fibers from TheGoodSheep and used several of them in these batts).
I just need to figure out the best way to photograph these new larger batts.  The average weight I can pack onto my Supercard is about 2.5 oz., so it would take two batts to have enough fiber for a lace weight shawl or a pair of socks.  I'm planning on carding up a huge palette of mix-and-match batts as well as slow color-transitioning batts for my new site. 

Besides carding, I've been busy with the dye pots lately, and have recently embarked on a new fibery adventure- wool neps!  I've seen them in batts before, and I love the confetti-like appearance they add to art yarns.  Here's my "Halloween" colorway (I have two other colorways that will be exclusive to my new shop).
 Speaking of Halloween, I need to get busy shopping or sewing costumes.  This will be Ingrid's first one, and perhaps the only Halloween where I have total control over what she'll be, haha!  I think she's going to be a little Yoda, if I can find or make just the right outfit.


slow transition

When I was in Utah earlier this summer, my grandma gifted me a gorgeous green ball of Zauberball sock yarn, and I'm finally putting it to good use, knitting Iggy a little cap-sleeved raglan top.  It's my first sweater-type knit, and it's going well when I can get past the mind-numbing round-and-around-and-around stockinette body.

I just need to finish it before the munchkin (wearing my old dirndl in the photo below) outgrows it.

I love the Zauberball's slow color transitions, so I tried an experiment with my Supercard, creating a triple-carded batt that slowly slowly transitions from one color to the next.  The batt was about 3.2 oz., and I spun it  into a single ply DK weight yarn last night.  I can't wait to knit it up into a long stocking cap to match Iggy's red pea coat and see how the colors work out.

In other transitional news, I'm saving up my latest fibery creations for a huge update once my new site is ready.  That's why you haven't seen any new recent stuff in my Etsy store other than a listing for Gemmy batts, of which I have in fluffy abundance at the moment.  It's only a matter of days until my new site is complete, so I've been swept up in a whirlwind of dyeing/carding/brainstorming/writing/self-caffeinating.  New business cards are on their way, my Phat Fiber samples are in the mail for October, and I just finished up my application to vend at MDS&W next year (keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Oh, and new product previews are coming very very soon, perhaps Friday!



Happy "Explain Yourself to Onlookers and Meet Fellow Local Spinners Day!
I signed up to spin outside of Gettysburg's David Wills House for WWSIPD, and ended up having an all around lovely experience.  While there was a tiny turn-out compared to what I expected, the few people that were there were amazing talented spinners who kept the conversation flowing, and the day whirled by too quickly.  We even got sang to by two onlookers, and a Civil War re-enacting banjo player strummed tunes for us for at least an hour.  After I ran out parking meeter moolah, I grabbed my wheel, two completed yarns, and a bag full of unspun fluff and treated myself out to lunch and a quick stroll down-town.

The only rotten part of the day:  I forgot my camera.

I'm so glad I cracked out of my agoraphobic shell for the day.  It was well worth it, and I hope to have a spinning day with new friends soon.


hello Fall!

My favorite season scattered crunchy leaves all over my balcony last week. The same day the leaves came, I re-discovered my comfiest maternity sweater (a huge wrap-around shawl-collared thing)  in a box of store-ables.  Yay, Fall.  And yes, I'm wearing that beast of a sweater because it's warm, because I haven't lost very much baby weight yet, and because... because .. I'm still clinging a little to those peaceful months of anticipation.

But there's still a little anticipation over here at the Hobbledehoy Barn- I'm rebuilding my business from the inside out to create what a good fiber business ought to be:  super diverse, fully stocked, lightning fast ship-capable, and above all -- fun, for both the owner and customer base.  To do that, I've got a fresh dot.com template in the works, I'm finally setting up a printer so that I can print postage and ship from home daily, and I'll slowly be incorporating new products into the works. By next year, I hope to even offer some simple free patterns.

The new stuff is the fun part, and I've already started tinkering with it:  hand-dyed bamboo "locks," tencel neps, loose soysilk staple, and silk noil.

Soon, there will be even more, including un-dyed luxury fibers such as tencel, soysilk, bamboo, bombyx silk, various wools, fine alpaca, and possibly (fingers crossed) a fresh line of multi-tonal hand-dyed yarns.  I'm also still experimenting with a line of superfine, triple-carded batts containing merino wool + luxury fibers destined for socks and lacy knits.

Hobbledehoy has outgrown it's infancy and childhood on Etsy, and though I will always maintain a limited stock there, a "room" of its own is long overdue.



I canned 60+ jars of salsa yesterday, and looking at my counter smothered in filled pint jars of perfectly sealed spiciness makes me so proud!  I have a loose recipe that I alter every year, and this year, I think my batch came out really tasty and chock full of jalapenos.  I also made two chipotle batches and one black bean + corn recipe (which isn't as spicy as I like- but it has a good smokey sweet flavor).

This past week made up for my missing week of lazy home-bound vacation.  I purposefully delayed ordering wool (partly hoping for a good deal which was promised but not delivered soon enough) in order to lounge about and knit and spin, but now I'm ready to get hopping again with "wool weather" only a couple of months away.

I had purchased some lovely Creatively Dyed roving at MDSW, and finally started spinning some.  In fact, I loved it SO MUCH, I had to order more.  I like how her rovings come in 8 oz. braids, and I adore the bases.
I spun the roving on the left (a freebie from her!) and plan on plying it with some of my own fiber- maybe a muted burgundy, and I'm half-way through spinning the pink merino/tencel roving on the right, which will be fingering weight and is destined for a weaving project.  The whopping pound of orange lusciousness is still untouched, but I hope to get started on it soon.  I want to spin a DK or light worsted weight yarn to knit into a hooded poncho for Ingrid. 

On a final note- I'm working on a new product:  super smooth batts intended for sock or lace knitting.  I'm going to be using my beastie Supercard machine to double card these, and plan on making them multi-tonal 50/50 merino and some other silky fiber (tussah, bamboo, soysilk, tencel- whatever). My problem is that I can't think up a clever name!  Next week, I'm planning on digging into my ravelry fan club for suggestions, and whomever thinks of the product name that will be used will receive 4 oz. of the new batts.



I'm back from vacation in Utah.  I didn't get very many photos since I was wrangling a baby (she was a very good traveler, I must add).  Originally, I planned on taking another week off from work when I got home, but soon realized that I was antsy to work.  So I did.  And I had an update on Wednesday, though not much is left in the shop from it.

While I was gone, I finished my Travelling Woman shawl, started a baby blanket (which I just finished a couple of days ago), and bought some new knitting needles.  Here's proof that I've been knitttting:
I need to block my Wool Leaves baby blanket and weave in the ends, but I'm totally happy-dancing over the fact that I started and completed two knitting projects within a month.

Pause.  I better knock on wood before typing the next bit.

Suddenly, things feel "in order."  I know I've complained and moaned about a colicky cranky baby, juggling household duties, and my business, but somehow things have straightened out recently.  I don't know if it's because Ingrid has turned a corner and is now the world's HAPPIEST baby, or if it's because my husband suddenly took on more householdy chores, or possibly the fact that I've finally given my brain something paradoxically challenging and relaxing to focus on, but I feel magically better

Now, all I have to do is light a fire underneath my business expansion plans and get things rolling.  Realistically, I'm aiming for the revamp to be complete by the end of September or early October.


travelling woman shawl progress

I've nearly finished my second repeat of Chart A, and I have so much yarn left to use, that I think I'll repeat it three more times before starting Chart B.  This is the most fun variegated yarn ever- a hand-dyed superwash merino / nylon skein from Creatively Dyed.


late night carding

I'm starting to think that folks out there think I'm lazy or a terrible time manager, and perhaps its true- I don't know how some women juggle it all.  My house would be total chaos if it weren't for my somewhat organized husband.  Between baby and housework and squeezing in a weekly update (if I'm lucky), this year is zipping by and I feel a little dumbstruck.

I took Ingrid to a cheap mall-studio type photographer for 6 month photos (well, she was closer to 7 months by the time we got there) and it hit me- the "baby" year is halfway over, my production level has been slashed in half, and I don't remember the last time I got a haircut.  (The haircut was quickly remedied when I asked my Mum to slash a few inches off, but I'm still unfashionably frazzled).    I feel compelled to make the most out of every second I'm with Ingrid, and I'm sure that comes from losing two siblings to childhood cancers.  Maybe I'm going a little too far though, and not giving her enough space to be independent.

Amidst this all, I took up lace knitting because I need something intellectually stimulating.  I've got brain sludge coming out of my ears and I think I can quote certain passages from certain Dr. Seuss books easier than I can remember the author of the last adult-ish novel I read.

Finally, however, there's a little bit of light at the end of this tunnel- Ingrid has FINALLY started to sleep through the night- about 4 times a week.  When she does wake up, she's usually ravenously hungry and will nurse for 20-30 minutes like she's in some kind of eating competition, so letting her self-soothe really isn't an option.  She's still in the 20th percentile for weight, so I feel like I should feed her all the time to fill in those funny skinny baby arms.  I remember reading in one of my parenting books something that suggested that most babies *should* sleep through the night at 8 weeks, and here I am at 7 months post-birth, finally getting a few solid nights of shut-eye each week.

Oh, and the lace knitting bit- it's wonderful!  The first pattern I'm doing is Travelling Woman by Liz Abinante, and I'm slightly reluctant to call it lace since it's so far a simple ripple.  Maybe I'll pull my hair out and scream LACE when I get to chart B, which looks slightly more complicated.   I'm half-way through the shawl right now, and have already picked out pattern #2, Blackbird by Kieran Foley of Knit/Lab.  Pictures coming soon, but don't be too harsh!  I'm not a very good knitter, so I'm sure my lace will be pure wack for the first few projects at least.



I haven't spun for anything but a few Yarn Clubs in AGES!  It felt so good this week to plunk myself down at the wheel and crank out over a dozen yarns.  Here's some yarn pr0n, for those who are curious.

I listed them in my shop, and am planning a few more out to spin next week.

I keep making businessy plans like launching my own dot.com, starting a newsletter, and doing more promotions, but I never seem to follow through.  I keep blaming baby, but maybe I need to just stay up later or get up earlier.  Hah!  No more excuses this summer- my Mum has offered to watch Ingrid for two days a week while she's out of school (she helps teach in a toddler Montessori classroom), and I can't wait to build up stock and finally accomplish some goals.  I feel like my business has started to slip away from me, between decreased work time to feeling out of touch with the fibery community at large since I'm rarely online.  Also, my husband has been out of work since January when the company he worked for closed down nearly half its business, which has made life a little trickier.  Poor fella spends a good 40 hours a week job searching on top of maintaining his own little business selling rare and out of print media, but he's a terrific supporter of my business, sharing the baby and house duties equally with me.  Thank heavens we live in a rural cheap-ish area where we can squeak by using the internet as a business platform!

Oh, and my little Ingrid seems HUGE! We just celebrated her half-birthday with presents and cake.
I can't wait for her 6 month check-up when we find out how tall and chubby she is!  She's been measuring in the 15th percentile, but I'm sure that won't be for too long.  Her personality cracks me up, and she LOVES story time and getting tickled.  She especially loves it when we sing silly songs to her, and tries to sing along with her crazy Yoko Ono style.


give-away / goal!

I can't believe I'm nearly at 3000 sales in my Etsy shop!  I know if I tallied my off-Etsy special orders to the mix, I'd be well over that figure, but hitting 3000 on Etsy alone will be super-exciting.  Unfortuantely, I don't have much stock at the moment, so I'm doing two things to help nudge me over the edge this month. 

1.  Give-away!  FIVE lucky shoppers (from 4/15-4/21) will receive a free surprise batt in their order, and ONE extra-lucky shopper will receive a 4-month Batt Club subscription!  All you need to do in order to enter this give-away is type "batty" in the message-to-seller box at check-out.  The reason I'm having anyone type anything at all is because some people don't care for extras in their orders.

2.  I'm having a wee update tonight.  Sadly, I don't have too much new to post, but there are quite a few one-of-a-kind batt sets, which adds a bit of excitement to the shop.  I love drumming unique sets- it gives me a chance to experiment with color and texture without committing a whopping 12+ oz. to a multiple-quantity listing. 

here's a few of the sets:
While I'm not counting on it, it would be really swell to hit my goal of 3000 sales by my birthday (which is tomorrow). 



I'm lapsing into my old habit of not posting very frequently.  Oops.  I had big plans for March, but nothing seemed to work out right- my wool order arrived two weeks late, Ingrid was a sad fussy baby, we had a roof leak in our bedroom, etc.

Each month (thankfully) feels like a fresh start, however, and April is feeling deliciously fresh.  Seriously, could this Easter Sunday be any more beautiful?  I had put together an Easter basket for Ingrid, complete with teething rings, rattles, and a new sleeper- and at the last minute, kindly decided not to make her search the house for it.  haha!  After we washed off her new toys, I hung laundry in the sunshine and we all went over to my parents' house to dye eggs and eat dinner.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weather (if they have this lovely sunny stuff that we have!)


I visited my accountant today, and hoooooboy, was it confusing at first!  I'm not very organized, admittedly, when it comes to finances.  I've really really improved over the last year, however, and my taxes were at least smoother to figure out this year than last year.  It's all over now, and I'm ready to forget about it until next year.

Trevor and I also tried out Ingrid's new carrier- a Beco Butterfly II, and we all loved it! 

I'm lucky that Ingrid enjoyed it, because I don't think a stroller would work at MDS&W.  They might not even be allowed... but I don't remember.

We stopped for the ultimate treat, right before our appointment:  baklava truffles from Zoe's in Waynesboro.  I'm pretty sure nothing beats them, except perhaps Zoe's new dark chocolate covered caramels sprinkled with sea salt.  Hello, calories!  My baby gut is here to stay another day.

Oh, and for a wee pinch of fibery news- I just peeked in on the Gemmy batts spin-along and my eyes popped out of my head!  Head on over to Ravelry and take a peek :) 


"garden compost" batts

Ever since I read Pluckyfluff's Handspun Revolution, I've hung onto little treasure-box scraps of fiber that come off the small drum of my drum-carder.  Lately, however, I've collected far more than I can ever use, and have started smushing them together, carding them into batts and bunching them into sets called "Garden compost" batts.
They're a patchwork-ish hodgepodge of color and texture, and perhaps are the craziest batts I've ever produced.  I used to use scraps to create corespun yarns, but I imagine these would be much easier to spin from.

Speaking of spinning- I've noticed that some of the Gemmy batt spin-along participants have received their fiber!  I started spinning last night, using some silver-sparkled Gemmy batts to create a very thin yarn that I hope to ply with dark plum roving and knit a sweater for Ingrid.  I'm saving a gold-sparkled set for myself- maybe for weaving on my rigid heddle loom.


catching up

Wowee!  I finally hit the point of sleeplessness where my brain has turned itself inside-out.  Fortuantely, I've taught little Ingrid how to take naps, and I'm finally getting caught up on those valuable Zzzzz's.  I think I've been busy throughout the past week, but truth-be-told, I don't know what I've really accomplished.

I'm anxious to start spinning for the Gemmy batt spin-along, perhaps I'll give it a whirl tonight.



I'm so excited!  Events have been posted for Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival- and I'm thinking about signing up for a workshop.  I can't decide between "English Longdraw vs. American Longdraw" and "Getting it just right."

Either way, I've got to conquer my fear of spinning around other spinners first!  At Camp Pluckyfluff, I just popped Xanax until I felt just right (I was starstruck stupid by Lexi Boeger AND quite overwhelmed by the amazing spinners that showed up)... and that's not an option this year since I'm breastfeeding Ingrid.  I'm not the most technical of spinners- I have three spin "modes":  bulky, novelty, and fingering weight.  Each mode comes with a rhythm that magically creates a well-balanced yarn.  No math or treadle-counting involved.  I'm certainly not a perfectionist either, in any facet of my life, except perhaps in cleaning the kitchen, where perfectionism matters!

Well, little Ing is grouching.  She's not a morning person like I am, haha!  It takes her a full hour to stop stretching and grunting, after which she usually falls back asleep for a morning nap.  How can so much personality and persnicketyness be packed into a 10-ish lb. being?


Two things have eaten the past few days: colic and diaper rash.  I feel so guilty that Ingrid came down with a wicked rash.  Those angry red splotches nearly spell out "bad mother," right?  Blah.  I discovered that her fleece lined cloth diapers were repelling liquid, so I "stripped" them using Dawn dish soap and Calgon water softener- and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed (thank goodness we have well water and gobs of melting snow supplying it!).  Meanwhile, I used disposables with Desitin to heal her.

Well, the washing did help the diapers to stop repelling, but within 24 hours of putting her back in cloth, she was rashy again!  I was even changing her every two hours, on the dot.  Over the weekend, I cut up rectangles of fleece to use as liners in her cloth diapers so I can use heavy duty creams that aren't normally cloth diaper friendly, and I also ordered a couple dozen unbleached Indian prefolds and a wool cover (the only breathable cover option I've found so far... and why haven't I considered wool yet anyhow???).

They arrived today (thanks to super-quick shipping by Abby's Lane, my favorite cloth diaper source), and I've already washed and prepped the new goodies for use.  Hopefully, that helps.  If not, I'm calling the pediatrician.  And crying.

On the colic front- I tried rocking, extra burping, singing (poor child), massages, baths, and white noise.  Some methods worked... occasionally.  I feel bad for Trevor- lately, every time I hand her over to him, she starts to fuss and crane her neck around, looking for me.

Don't read this the wrong way, I love being a mum and I love my little Ing with all my heart.  I'm just feeling a lot of guilt and helplessness too.  She'll eventually outgrow the colic, I'm sure.  Her father and I both were both terribly colicky, maybe we deserve this for what we did to our parents.


snuggle time

The day after any large update is a day made for snuggling and taking it easy!  I carded two dozen sets of Gemmy batts yesterday, and actually sold out today!  I can hardly believe it, and I can't wait until my spin-along companions receive their fiber in the mail.

If you missed out on my last update but still want Gemmy batts, shoot me a message on Etsy.

Well, here we are.  Doing nothing in particular, soaking up the Olympics with my parents.
A sleepy warm content baby is bliss.


rainbow connection

So, it looks like there's plenty of interest in a spin-along!  I spent all of yesterday afternoon carding Gemmy batts- and I carded so much that I ran out of silver sparkle!  I ordered more, but if this batch sells out, I'll start carding some with gold until my new chunk of silver arrives.  Personally, I prefer gold because I love to wear brass and gold antique jewelry, but I don't know what other spinners like!

My favorite thing about Gemmy batts is how I can grab from EVERY color in my stash- even the odd ones like medium raspberry, peach, and mottled bottle green-  and the batts turn out gorgeous!  I plan on saving a couple sets for myself for a plied yarn and an artsy yarn.  Or, perhaps I could spin a giant two-ply yarn for a baby surprise jacket for Ingrid to wear at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

 My update might have to be postponed until tomorrow due to the windy snow (I take photos outside), but I'll post on Ravelry when I begin my update.

Poor Ingrid was very very colicky last night until it was time for her Zantac.  It breaks my heart when she cries until tears stream down her face.  I wish little babies didn't suffer from such bad tummy pains.  I'm just grateful that her daddy is able to calm her when she's feeling glum- it sure helps to give me a break!


gemmy batt spin-along

Hiya!  I'm sniffing around and trying to see if anyone would be interested in a Spin-along.  I just posted this thread at Ravelry about it, so go and leave a comment if you think you'd be interested in a Gemmy batt spin-along.

Gemmy batts are rainbowish Merino wool + silver angelina sparkle batts that have GOBS of different colors in each set.  They notoriously sell-out for me, as soon as I list them in my shop. 
I've never even spun a set, and I'm anxious to card a couple batches for myself to spin.  I'm thinking a 2-ply, perhaps plied with a dark chocolate solid color, or maybe a quirky Navajo plied yarn, or maybe even a quirky corespun yarn with extra chunks of glitz thrown in.

Right now, I'm just gauging interest so I can estimate how many batts to whip up.

My wool from my most recent dye session is dry and ready to go!  I can't wait to either use it for a Spin-along, or start cranking out something else.



Yesterday didn't go quite as planned- packaging and trekking to the post office took a whopping 4 hours!  Between Ingrid's colicky crying bouts and a really relaxing trip to my in-laws, I didn't get my dyeing done.

Today, I need it to happen though!  Hopefully some soft tunes will keep Ingrid peaced out while Trevor cares for her.


dye day

Good mornin'! 

Today is "Dye day!"  I only do this once or twice a month, since set-up and clean-up are so time consuming.  I've got about 20 lbs. left on my Merino bump that need dyed, and if I can locate some soda ash in this tiny town, I'll dye 5 lbs. of bamboo too.  I've recently started making lists of colors to dye, but for the past three years- it was all totally random.

My top dye goals today are (I use Jacquard acid dyes):
  • deep indigo (purple + navy + a wee hint of black)
  • gold (sunshine yellow + a pinch of brown)
  • burgundy
  • mint (tiny sprinkle of spruce and perhaps a tinier sprinkle of yellow)
  • fuchsia
 Do you have any favorite dye recipes?  I tend to add little pinches of brown to colors to decrease intensity.  Burnt Orange (which comes out pretty bright), lilac, and blue benefit from a bit of brown.

Since it's winter- I'll have to let the wool dry indoors, which means I have a couple of days to spin leisurely.  Thank goodness I splurged on this delicious LOST-inspired "Smoke Monster" batt from Esther of Jazzturtle!
It's a million shades of gray with hints of black and is oh-so-loaded with luxury fibers.  I can't recommend her shop highly enough for top-notch luxurious spinning fiber.   I occasionally trade with Esther, and ever batt I've ever received has been an exciting thrill.

Well, I'm off- first to the post office, and then home to the dye pots.


a day oot and aboot.

Sunday is "family day," which usually translates into "stay-in-bed-until-lunch" day or "do absolutely nothing" day.  I was a little more productive than normal, but not by much.  In the morning, I snuggled in bed with Ingrid and folded paper cranes for my studio since she tends to stare at the ceiling while I'm working, and it's too nippy to turn on the fan.
Then, noticing that the weather was deliciously warm, Trevor took Ingrid and me out on a surprise date- out for lunch and a little shopping.  Back at home, I spent time working on little promos to send out with orders- magnets, buttons, and wee bits of fun fibers.  In the far far past, I always sent freebies, but then I stopped after I learned through the Etsy forums that many shoppers dislike anything extra with their orders.  The only reason I'm starting up with freebies again is because I'm a hoarder, and I love to save little bits and scraps of fibers for novelty yarns, and I imagine many of customers do the same. 

Here I am now, snuggled in bed with Queenie Colic, listening to her grunt and fart and belch and occasionally giggle.  I rocked her for over an hour while she screamed, and I think her eyelids are finally drooping for a couple hours of sleep.


morning after

Last night was rough.  Ingrid kept waking up, barfing, screaming, and barfing some more.   Her Zantac didn't help at all, and the only thing I could do to keep her calm was to rock her for hours.  By the time it was 6 am, all I wanted was a cup of coffee and some peaceful non-screamy snuggle time with my poor refluxy baby.

Then, after stuffing diapers (I use cloth pocket diapers- Rumparooz and Fuzzi bunz) and watching trash tv, I went shopping with my mum.

Lazy, perfect day.

Ingrid ended up having a great evening too- she discovered that she owns a pair of hands while sitting in her pappy's lap.


fully stocked

Wow.  My shop actually has 30 items in it!  That's a first in... say, months!   Not that it's a bad thing that fiber flies off the shelf.

Now, I'm planning on cuddling up with my honey and baby and a mango mojito for a Dr. Who marathon.


the juggle

Ever since I brought Ingrid home from the hospital (she was there for 2 weeks learning how to eat since she was a preemie), I've really wrestled with finding a balance between work and mothering.  I had no idea what kind of schedule a baby lives by, or what to do with Ingrid between nursing her and nap times.  I also had no idea how much a tiny baby could barf, fart, and belch!

My stash of Merino wool, already dyed, towered toward the ceiling- and for weeks, I ignored it.  I felt obliged to get back to work as soon as possible since I had been on bedrest for nearly two months towards the end of my pregnancy, and also because T. found out in November that he would be losing his job sometime in January.

The first few weeks that Ingrid was home, I found time to card wool into batts because she slept all day long, but those long nap stretches ended  quickly.  My schedule was punctuated with 10 minute feeds, activity time (which usually involved Ingrid staring at my face while I read her books that were mine as a child), loads and loads of laundry, whirlwind cleaning sessions, and showers (have I mentioned how much she barfs?)  Now, I find myself relaxing a little more- skipping cleaning sessions and laundry loads in order to snuggle with her as she wakes up from naps and curl up with her while watching the morning news on my laptop.  T. has picked up the slack around the house, and even brings me breakfast and coffee in bed each morning!

Just this week, T. started practicing pulling roving off of my Pat Greene Supercard, and I have begun to use my parents as babysitters while I work for a few short hours at a time while they're in the same room with me. Oh, but with a face like this staring back at me from the floor in my studio, how can I focus?

I'm sure I'll be back to work at full steam... oh, perhaps never.  But I sure do love my wee distraction.