one more week!

I had a great shop update this weekend, but must apologize to newsletter subscribers- I hit save instead of send and didn't realize until this morning. I am so sorry. I did post about it on my Facebook page, so I highly recommend following that (I update it most frequently) if you're looking for shop update news and more.

I've got one more update before Christmas on 12/23 scheduled, but after that- Christmas Vacation!!! I'll be *away* from woolyworking from 12/24-1/2, and will resume carding in the new year. My shop will still be shop-able and fiber will ship out within 2-3 business days as usual, but my carders will be off-line and my dyepots dormant for about a week and a half.

Next year, I'm going to be doing something a little different- just once. I'm going to have an update consisting of earthy/subtle/natural colors only. Of course, my naturally colored fibers are limited, so I'll be dyeing various shades of soft browns, charcoals, blacks, reds, greens, and very gentle floral tones. This update will probably be the first one of 2012. It's a challenge to myself to try something out of my usual palette, though I know I'll return to brights and saturated hues quickly afterwards.

In other news, my little Ingrid turned two this month. All of the cliche phrases fit- she's the light of my life, my little ray of sunshine, and my reason for chugging along when life throws me rough spots. I can't imagine how my life existed without her, and I feel so lucky to have an opportunity to be a Mum.

I'd also like to wish you all a very Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and a Fabulous New Year! May all of your winter days be filled with the warmth of love and the joy of drama-free family get-togethers. Thank you all for being my friends, family, "co-workers," and inspirations.


sneak peak

Tonight, 9pm EST, a huge woolly update will begin (and later continue Saturday night). Tonight I'm adding ArtBatts, Tinies, roving, and ClassicBatts with possibly a few handpsun thrown in. Tomorrow: more handspun, more Tinies, and RollyBatts. The theme is "Fanciful Dreams" since I've been daydreaming while working instead of listening to audiobooks as I usually do. The names range from wild to wacky, and the colorways are mostly vivid and highly saturated!


cyber monday + monstrous update info

This November has been my busiest online month EVER, and I'm loving it! Everything has been running smoothly for the most part and my shipping timetable is still holding steady at 2-3 business days (though I'm often shipping same day with as frequently as I go to the PO).

I'm offering a little Cyber Monday deal: $12 off the HobbledeCLUB and $16 off the ArtBatt Club. The prices have already been discounted, no code needed!

3 months for $72 + shipping

Because my virtual shelves are looking bare at the moment, I'm whipping up a gigantic update for this weekend: 20+ ArtBatts, a dozen new ClassicBatt sets, over a dozen handspun, a huge batch of Tinies, 4 new RollyBatt colorways, and fresh Roving. I missed last week's update because the first half of the week was too rainy for photos and the second half of the week was designated wool-free family time. I'm really trying to focus on creating a large amount of darker jewel-toned items for this next update too, think purples, navy blue, dark spruce green, and saturated dark cherry red, stuff like this popular RollyBatt colorway perhaps:
"Thunder" RollyBatt -- 3.3 oz. last one available

If you are hoping to get a huge batch of Hobbledefluff before Christmas, I'd recommend dropping by this weekend to see what's getting added. As of December 1st, I'll officially have to discontinue accepting custom orders and requests (though any request accepted before then is fine and will not be cancelled).

Though December will be packed with family events, I'll still be rolling out something new: dyed silk hankies! I'm excited to try some of my favorite colorways on them, and to knit with unspun hankies as well.

have a sweet wooly week, friends!



If anybody regularly reads my irregular blog, they should know I'm not too much of a braggy person. I think my batts are swell, but I also think that other sellers have terrific batts.

HOWEVER.. This batch of ArtBatts really is crazy awesome. There are 20 of them, all dazzling and twinkling and taunting me! There were 25, but I had to keep an armload of gold/yellow ones.

I've also got 4 new colorways of RollyBatts to rolly on out- some are similar to ones I've done in the past, maybe with different fibers or color orders though.

I dyed up about 35lbs. of assorted fibers for the batts including merino top, cormo fleece, corriedale fleece, baby suri alpaca, bamboo, tencel, tussah silk, tussah silk noil, loose bamboo, soysilk staple, banana silk, milk fiber (my current favorite!) and glitz.  Here's a wee sample of all that, mostly this pic shows tencel top and silk noil.

So here's the details:

BATTY UPDATE: Tomorrow (Saturday) November 19th, starting at 9pm: RollyBatts, ArtBatts, Classic Batts, and several sets of Garden Compost batts. See you there!


so sari

FINALLY. I've gotten my hands on a larger portion of pulled sari silk. I'm going to start importing it next month because I don't think I can keep on chugging along without an occasional rainbow-sprinkled ArtBatt. I listed a few items in my shop last night with the fabulous stuff in it, and most of it sold right away!

Here's an example of that fabulous stuff in action:
"Magician" ArtBatt

And here's how it blends when run through my Strauch Petite twice:

"Good Fortune" classic batts
 I only spun a tiny sample of the stuff so far, though I've got a large box of dyed merino top which is just waiting to get blended with a little bit of tussah silk, sari silk, and milk fiber.

I'm also working on incorporating more hand-processed fleeces into my ArtBatts. I'm very very very  picky when it comes to farm wools, not that I expect perfection, but I've been super-disappointed in the past by breaking fibers, dandruff, or excessive VM in bargain fleeces. I invested in a really sweet Corriedale fleece last week and am ordering Cormo this weekend from a poor ewe who was attacked and needed funds raised for vet bills, so hopefully some super-fluffy-crimpy batts will be in the works!

Oh, I've got an offer for Free Shipping available in my Etsy store. Take a peek if you've got room in the stash ;)


Shop move: Complete!

On Friday, I completed my great e-commerce SWITCHEROO and am now happily settled into Etsy again. My main site is going to take a while to transform, and honestly, it's not at the top of my priority list with the fast sell-out rate of my batts and rovings on Etsy. I've got to replenish the stock already!

During the great change, I deleted about a dozen products that had sat too long in my shop and added them to my personal stash. I have no desire to sell anything that has possibly felted in the bag, so I'll probably spin them myself after assuring the fibers' conditions.

My next project for the week- update my shipping amounts to better reflect actual charges.

I'll also be working on more batts of every type, battlings, rovings, and tinies, and I hope to have a large scheduled update at the end of the week.

On a personal note, I'm still having a bit of a rough time with this mystery illness :( I'm waiting on lab results, though I suspect it's long-term sleep deprivation, thanks to a child who seems to wake frequently at night, feel chipper at 3:30 AM, and spends her nap time protesting sleep. OhmyZZZZzzs. I sometimes feel like I've tried everything: co-sleeping (which had to end because she spends the night pinching me), crying it out, solid routines, quiet activities before bed, warm milk, lovies, white noise, you name it! After nearly two years of sleeplessness, I can't even stay asleep, even when the child spends the night with her grandma. On the flipside, she is very well behaved 90% of the time, which is great for a toddler in my opinion, is extremely verbally advanced, and is a happy little extrovert. I guess I've got to accept the crazies with the awesomes and resign to the probability that "this too shall pass."



Dear friends and customers and fiber-stalkers,
I have a few big announcements to make regarding changes to my business :)

1. I'm moving back to Etsy. I've enjoyed selling off of my own dot.com for a full year, but I've found that the changes Etsy has made to the listing process, order histories, conversation organizing, and tracking information are well worth the switch. Sure, I could implement them into my own site, but Etsy's large and growing customer base and glitch-free shopping carts are well worth the fees.

2. HobbledehoyFibers.com will still exist! It will morph into a portal for all things Hobbledehoy: news and events, customer creations (finally!), pattern suggestions, and a better integrated blog. These changes may take a while, so I'll update my customer base on the time line after I discuss my proposed changes with my programmer.

3. All shipping will include tracking. This is another change I've been meaning to do for a while, but Etsy's changes have made it much easier to keep organized, which has motivated me to make this change. Most of my long term customers know that I love to hand-write addresses on packages. I don't know why, but I get giddy cracking out my sharpie and hand-scrawling your names and addresses. It makes me feel more connected to you. Closer. More familiar. Friendlier. I realize, however, that it is much nicer for the customer (and me!) to know exactly where the package is, and when it has reached its destination-  so within a week, I will have made a full changeover to printed addresses and tracking OR hand-written packages and tracking manually entered into your Etsy order receipts.

4. A new return policy will be in effect. There has been a new buzz of conversation in fibery circles online about industry standards, and the main message that I have taken out of the discussion is that I am responsible for continually increasing the quality of my product as well as my knowledge of how best to use whatever products I create. Also, I have seen that through this discussion, many buyers have come forth claiming to be unsatisfied with fiber or handspun that they have received (though none name the sources). I hope that every customer is satisfied with what they receive from me, and so whether or not you begin spinning or swatching your fiber or yarn from me, you are still eligible for a refund if you are dissatisfied. Yes, the item may not be in its original condition, but if I have misrepresented what my product is or you are simply unsatisfied with the what you receive, I hope you feel comfortable contacting me so that I may resolve the issue for you satisfactorily. I have only ever received one return in the 5+ years I have been selling (the colors for a custom order needed tweaked), and the risk of losing useable product through returns is well worth gaining consumer confidence. I am not enacting any time period for returns, but it would be nice if I were notified as soon as reasonably possible.

I am excited about these changes! I know that many fiber artists aspire to jump off of Etsy onto their own sites, and I think it's a grand idea if they're going to spend the time and money using ad campaigns to maintain site visibility. I would be more than happy to share tips with anyone thinking about branching off onto their own dot.com. For me and my little corner of the wooly universe, however, Etsy's looking mighty cozy, and man of the features on their website are difficult to implement for someone who is programming impaired like myself.

ps. Shop update tonight, starting soon!


I always dread blogging after forgetting to do it for weeks. I think I got lost in the endless rainy days and a lingering ear and sinus infection (seriously, who still gets middle ear infections at my age?).

To be honest, there's not much to catch up on. I finished knitting the Haruni wedding shawl for my best friend (pics coming after I give it to her!), I've been working through a fun list of special orders, and I've been drumming drumming drumming, late into the night. I've really enjoyed working with more texture thanks to the Mad Batt'r, and have definitely fallen in love with lovely loose uncarded bamboo fluff.

Recently, I started spinning again! After the great felting disaster earlier this summer, I haven't wanted to touch my wheels. Thanks to a great queue of Netfix instant crap and a super supportive husband who urged me to try something artsy in order to get out of a funk (caused by rain and the eternal ear infection). I've now got 9 gorgeous new yarns to list, as soon as I can stay up past 9pm without face-planting into my keyboard.

I forgot to mention- my sweet toddler wakes up regularly at 4am! Oh woe! I'd be more frustrated, but our early mornings together are priceless. There's nothing sweeter than snuggling with a nearly two year old and discussing the differences between horses and ponies and then making blueberry pancakes together before the sun even rises. These poor sleeping habits however have sapped my usual work time of late nights, so I've been a little slow at a few things, especially planning updates.

So, there's a super-large update planned for tomorrow! It was postponed twice, but now is cemented. I'm starting tomorrow night and will continue it Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon if necessary. You can expect to find new ArtBatts, Rovings, ClassicBatts, RollyBatts, Tinies, and handspun!


A lost week

Well, my Fall season was off to a great start- and then my poor kiddo came down with "hand, foot, and mouth" disease and was super grumpy/miserable/clingy. Of course, I didn't send her to school for a whole week after the diagnosis, and I believe her throat or stomach was causing her enough pain that she refused nearly an entire week's worth of naps. I doubt the diagnosis was even accurate- given the fact that she only had one tiny ulcer in her throat and her fever persisted for much longer than it should have and was freakishly high at moments. Four doctor appointments, one fun-filled day at the lab for blood draws, and two boxes of popsicles later, the poor creature appears to be healed.

Sadly, I am behind on all things woolish and have been under the weather too.

Apology emails are going out tonight and tomorrow for slowly shipped orders and special order inquiries, and tomorrow I start fresh with a few hours at my SuperCard and then a large shop update at night.



I would be ever-so-grateful if you could please answer a few poll questions on the right side of my blog.

Please comment if you selected an "Other" option in any poll, or expand your answers in a comment as well.

Also, as far as the Color poll goes- Gender Neutral means no pink/purples/glitz. It feels like a silly classification since I know several men (my husband included) who love the colors purple, lavender, and burgundy, but if you've got a little (or larger) fella who doesn't care for those colors but requires cozy knits, please select Gender Neutral in the poll.



I'm going to go ahead and declare it Fall. There's a steady stream of  yellow buses outside and all of the kids have new lunchboxes. The air is chilly and my toes found the grass too cold for sandals this morning.

I'm finally due to receive my new Merino bump today. You might not find this possible- but I only used up a single bump of wool over the course of the entire summer, due to unending time/financial restraints. I have no regrets though, there's nothing like a lazy summer outdoors with a cheerful tot.

Behind Ing, you can see my barn home/studio.

Now, I'm gearing up for Fall production mode! I'm going to be applying to several new fiber shows for next year and need to start plumping my stash. My studio has been re-arranged and most of the shelves are in place, so I have plenty of fresh floor space for drying racks and crates of orders. Last night, I added a dozen new sets of ClassicBatts to the shop, and will be adding some fresh ArtBatts to my Etsy as well. I'm also adding (again) a Clearance category to help me clear out stock that has sat a little too long on the shelves. I hate to see wool sit in its packaging too long- over long periods of time, it felts! I don't know exactly how long it takes, but I do know that the longer a package sits in a shelf or in a crate in my studio- the more jostling and  shuffling it receives as I dig for packages and shift items around. Fortunately, it is very rare for a batt or set to live with me longer than 6 months, and most find happy homes within a week of their creation.

My plans for the Etsy shop, in case you're wondering why batts are trickling into stock: I'd like to keep a semi-stocked shop in order to attract new fiber friends and customers. Exposure from Etsy has always been great for me, and their new uploading features are as easy to use as my own website now, so win-win! As always, if a customer orders from both shops within 24 hours, their order's shipping charges are combined.

Pinata ArtBatt available at hobbledehoy.etsy.com

My plans for Fall are basically to the carder cranks crankin'. I've discovered over the last half-year that ClassicBatts are a customer favorite, that the new wave of lace-spinners love to gobble up RollyBatts, and that the percentage of people who like glitz/sparkle and despise it is about 50/50. Spinning has taken a backseat, though I know I'll eventually get the bug again and will spin more art yarns. Confession: I prefer spinning finer yarns at the moment- fingering weight and lace. You'll probably never see them in my shop though- they take waaaaay too long to spin, and by the time I've completed one, I have dreamed up all sorts of lacy and delicate projects for it.

Coming soon!
-Gemmy Batts (!!!)
-Fresh colorways of hand-painted Merino, Merino/Bamboo and Merino/Tencel top.
-New novelty loose and textured fibers for ArtBatts.
-Small ArtBub (mini ArtBatt) sets
-Individual small ArtBatts for sale- averaging 1 oz.


20% off SALE + Shop update

Starting tonight at 9pm, my 24 hour 20% off End of Summer SALE begins. I sent newsletters out, but in case you look for updates here, the code is summer20

Happy stalking! I hope to clear out my studio so that I can build shelves and do a little decorating/reorganizing in time for the wooly season.


End of Summer

Cool days like today give me hope that the scorching parts of summer are fading. After carding for a few hours this morning, I canned a batch of heirloom tomatoes and started plotting out my Fall plans for the shop while listening to the silly pops of sealing jars.

I feel like I'm always blogging or pondering price increases due to rising product costs as well as better ways to manage my time, and after researching the market, I realize I need another small slide up the scale. Strangely enough, the product I have priced the highest has been ArtBatts- and they take the least amount of time (though can contain the highest amount of fancy ingredients, depending on the individual batt). Taking into account both fiber content and time spent producing different product types, I realize they should all be priced about the same, give or take a few cents instead of quarters. To simplify, I'm going to make everything across the board (all batts and dizzed roving) $7/oz with the exception of Gemmies, which will be $6/oz since they're just merino and angelina. Roving has started the price change, but I'll change the rest of the prices after an End of Summer Sale this weekend. The specific 24 hour time frame of the sale will be revealed on Friday- but it will be a 24 hour 20% off mad-dash.

I really need to build shelving in the studio, and this sale will hopefully give me the room to work/reorganize/destash. The sale will have a code that is valid both on the main site and in the Etsy shop. BEFORE the update, new product will be added at the new price of $7/oz, but the current product prices won't change until after the sale.

Good news for Classic Batt lovers: there will be GOBS of Classic batt sets, weighing anywhere between 2 - 6 oz. I've also got a dozen new rovings, three new RollyBatt colorways, and dozen ArtBatts at the moment- ready to be listed this weekend.

Watch out for a newsletter soon :)


hello again

I re-read my blog to realize I never posted what happened with my lovely Tour de Fleece yarns- I accidentally sent them through an agitation cycle in my washer.

insert panic.
delete sanity.
insert long bubble bath and many tears.
re-install sanity.

Now, I have beautiful felted art yarns that just need untangled and felted slightly more for a smoother appearance. They're destined to become either pillows for my tot's bed, or a giant silly plushie. It's going to be a great gift, and I promise I'll post pictures, once I have the courage to look at them and detangle.

Right after the close of the Tour de Fleece, T. and I went on a lovely anniversary get-away. It will be our 5th wedding anniversary tomorrow, and we celebrated a little early due to his work schedule, but the time away was divine. We went to Philly and visited the Mutter Museum, walked ALL OVER City Center, ate too many Chinese pastries, ate at Alma de Cuba, ate at Le Bec-Fin, and ate ate ate some more. You can tell we're rural folk by how we plotted our course around the city by cuisines we wanted to try but can't get anywhere near our home.You can also tell we're rural folk by the fact that we both confessed to one another while in the city that we had never before been to a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or a Vegetarian restaurant (there aren't any nearby- just farmer's stands and "u-pick" farms). T also got us free tickets to see a Jolie Holland show at The World Cafe, which was really wonderful (what a cozy venue!)

We returned way too soon to our normal lives.

Tomorrow, I'll be carding lots of one of a kind Classic Batt sets for the shop, and possibly some other lovelies will be in the works. My production level has been low this summer, ever since Lump downgraded to half-days at the daycare. While I look forward to her return to part-time full days next month and more time with the carders and dye pots, I'll miss our lazy summer together: reading in the hot shade, visiting the kiddie pool before naps, picking mean ol' horn worms off my tomato plants and giving them to the little boys next door, summer music class at the local music academy, and bowls of freshly picked and frozen blueberries. This age/stage of hers is my favorite, despite signs that the terrible two's approach.


shop update in progress

I started a shop update this evening, but will finish it tomorrow afternoon/evening/latenight. I've been sitting on it for nearly a week now, just waiting for a chance to have a moment at the computer.

Please tell me you've been there.

My poor cat Lucio needed emergency surgery this week for a nasty abscess, and keeping the toddler and cat separated in an open-styled apartment with few room boundaries is next to impossible. The toddler is tired of the cat stealing her toys, jewelery, snacks, and blankets. The cat just wants to be near the toddler 24/7. Lucio is presently sleeping on Ing's train set, purring away.

I've tried to stay outside to avoid the silly drama, so Ing and I have been swimming at the park, obsessing over our ripening tomatoes, and laying under the walnut trees with stacks of library books. The walnuts haven't begun to fall yet, so it's still safe.

As for the Tour de Fleece, I spun religiously until day 12 and then had an epiphany: obsessing over what to spin and when to find time to do so was not the way I wanted to spend my rare free moments, so I'm going to scale back a wee bit and spin more casually. I've got a gorgeous stack of art yarns out of the experience, and am thrilled to have completed a 300 yard skein with 3 oz. of hand-processed corriedale fleece blended with silk.  Ohhh, luscious!


Tour de Fleece 2011, days 1-3

This year, I'm determined to make it through the Tour de Fleece. I've joined two groups on Ravelry and have also started my own thread in my Fan Club for folks to share yarns created during the Tour with Hobbledehoy Fibers.  I started off Day 1 really strong, waking up at 6am to spin a corespun yarn from my own ArtBatts.

Day 2, not so awesome. I spun a few yards of a bulky single ply while my toddler spun my wheel (I need a walking wheel now!) It was one of those days where the Universe was sticking out its colossal tongue at me.

Day 3, I managed an amazing spin thanks to a gorgeous Jazzturtle batt + some fiber I carded to coordinate with it. I'm naming it "Tasseography," which is the "art" of reading tea leaves.

Tomorrow, I might enjoy one final art yarn before I begin spinning yarn for my friend's wedding shawl.

Oh, I woke up super-early this morning and freshened up my shop! There are new Rollybatts, Classic Lil Batts, Garden Compost batts, dizzed rovings, and now, TrotterBatts! TrotterBatts are batts created with sock yarn spinners/knitters in mind. They have a durable soft base with a 10% nylon blend.



It's been a little too long since I've last updated. I've been totally absorbed by my great tomato experiment (and the baby pool and the cool sandbox).

The Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow and I'm anxious to participate this year, even if I won't end up being a frequent poster over on Ravelry. I will be sure to spin every day, and I need to! My friend's wedding shawl is still unspun.

I'm throwing a fun little summer spin-along, and if you're interested, take a peek over at my website for more details. It's a "Pick your own adventure" type deal, inspired by my gardening mis-adventures.

I also have an update planned for this weekend and will be rolling out 6 colorways for my new TrotterBatts- batts intended for sock yarn spinners/knitters which include Polwarth wool, nylon, and another fiber (sometimes bamboo, sometimes milk silk, and in the future, perhaps some baby suri alpaca).


I'm really loving today already. The weather isn't too hot, I have baby tomatoes on the vines, and my kiddo slept in past 6:30 for once.

I meant to have a shop update yesterday but my photoshoot was rained out. By the time the sky cleared up momentarily, I was on my way out the door for a much needed date with my honey. So, the update will (weather permitting) take place tonight.  I've got new ArtBatts, three new RollyBatt colorways, a handful of the classic lil' batts, ArtBubs- small collections of mini ArtBatts, a fresh supply of Battlings, the three art yarns I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, and a few hand-painted Merino/Yak tops. I'll also unveil the July HobbledeCLUB theme, which at the moment, I still am waffling between two ideas. The above sounds like a large update, but really, there's just a small selection of everything.

I've been working on my first ever fleece-to-shawl project for my best friend's October wedding, using part of a Corriedale fleece that I ordered from Arvgarden.  The knitting pattern is the Haruni, and I can't wait to get started with the actual knitting stage.  Right now, I'm still tweaking the batts- blending them with some honey colored tussah silk and perhaps a bit of milk silk to get the color just right.

The wool is a bright white, and is so incredibly fluffy and clean. It washed up in a little over an hour, which is much faster than quite a few other fleeces I've worked with.  I have another fleece from Arvgarden that I'm washing this week for my upcoming PrarieBatts which will be exclusively farm wools and fibers. I'd like to try natural dyes for the PrarieBatts, but the class at the Mannings about natural dyes was filled. Maybe I'll have to spend a few evenings with online tutorials.


more ArtBatts + Free Shipping

I added more ArtBatts tonight, and have more to add tomorrow night. It looks like I'll be sending a large pile of fluffy packages out tomorrow afternoon!

I'm participating in a Fiber Community sale, and am offering FREE SHIPPING until 6/9 with the codes freeshipUSA for domestic orders and freeshipINT for international orders. Now that I just made a few sales, I think I'll have to start shopping the other great sales that are out there!  I don't know what it is, but there's a thrill in spinning other people's batts and fibers, and with the talented pool of dyers/carders/spinners out there, I'm sure I'll be able to find something special.

ArtBatt lovers- please feel free to send special requests my way at hobbledehoyfibers@gmail.com. At the moment, I'm well stocked Polwarth and assorted hand-dyed novelty and luxury add-ins, so custom orders (minimum 3 oz.) are very welcome.


Art Batts!

My lovely new BFF arrived in the mail- a Mad Batt'r! In anticipation,  I had dyed gobs of luxury and novelty fibers in order to make some extra-special batts, and I'm thrilled with the results. 

I've got 17 more batts to list in the shop (a few will probably show up on Etsy), so if you're interested, take a peek over at HobbledehoyFibers.com later tomorrow night.

Sadly, I need to take a mini break from my new carder.  It's making a strange knocking sound, and despite attempting to adjust it multiple times, I can't seem to figure out what's going on.  In the meanwhile, I'll be washing the world's loveliest Corriedale fleece, carding some Hobbledehoy Classic batts, and tending my new tomato plants.


oh, anticipation!

I'm waiting on UPS and FedEx deliveries with huge plans for the day. My studio is squeaky clean and organized, my toddler is at daycare for the day, and all I need are those shipments. In the meanwhile, I think I'll package a few orders and fire up a couple of dye pots.

I took full advantage of yesterday's heat to dry the slightly damp top from my whirlwind of dye sessions. This is just a third of what I dyed- the rest (mostly wools) dried much faster.

Yesterday, I had typed about retiring my old batts.  Never fear, that's not going to happen.  I thought and thought and thought about it last night, read a few emails (and a comment) from my readers, and even did a little spinning myself. 

Yes, my little Strauch Petite is a bit of a beginner's carder, but those tiny batts are just too nice and easy to spin.  I'll probably end up lumping the little batts into a category like HobbledeClassic or something... and as soon as I can get my hands on fresh Merino (it had been on back-order through my two main suppliers all Spring), I'll start blasting out some oldies-but-goodies: Gemmies, Garden Compost batts, and fresh colorways.

On to another note, I'm working on compiling a large list of patterns for art yarns. Any suggestions?  At the moment, I'm browsing patterns requiring bulky or extra-bulky yarn that won't totally obscure the art yarn.


dye spree

Instead of having a massive single update, I've been adding new batts, rovings, and painted tops to the shop a little at a time. I have more to re-photograph and list tonight along with some quirky bumper stickers and buttons, and then the next update this coming weekend will hopefully include my Art Batts!

In preparation for the Mad Batt'r's arrival, I went on a dyeing spree: polwarth wool, superfine merino, border leicester locks, baby suri alpaca, kid mohair, blending nylon, icicle, some bfl, tencel, bamboo, bast bamboo, and even hemp! I already have a crazy stash of dyed uncarded bamboo, tencel neps, and loose soysilk staple which are all destined for the new carder.

I am also changing the spelling of RolyBatts to RollyBatts. Since Summer is traditionally my season for experimenting, it may change again. The big decision I'm facing right now is whether or not to retire my traditional style of batts- the cute little ones that I've been selling for 4+ years. If so, I'll have a line of Smooth batts (the Rollies) and the Art batts, which will be more textured and less blended. Here's the line-up of what I'm pondering:

RollyBatts: Smooth double-blended batts which may or may not color transition across the width.
TrotterBatts: Sock-recipe batts! Well blended carefully selected fibers + nylon for sock yarns.
PrarieBatts: Hand-processed fibers from farms with minimal (or possibly zero) commercial fibers.
ArtBatts: As much texture and fiber variety as the MadBatt'r tolerates. I'm still trying to think of a clever name- CrackleBatts?

Later this afternoon, I'm hoping to have a clearer idea so that I can post a few polls and dig for input. I've got some give-away fiber and other goodies that I could offer as an incentive.


art yarns in action

The most common question I hear when spinners are showing off their art yarns is:

"What can you make with that?"

Sure, there are some simple answers: scarves are the most common suggestion perhaps, but I have recently stumbled onto some really amazing knitted and crocheted projects that clearly required out-of-the-box thinking.  Of course, if you're looking for a project to knit/crochet with your art yarns, you'll have to wait for another post where I'm assembling a list of patterns. These projects are one-of-a-kind works of art, and the responsible fiberistas are nothing short of visionary, and I'd hate to see any of them get ripped off.

When I first started searching for artful knits, I really wanted to find a garment large enough for an adult, which of course requires gobs and gobs of spinning. Gaby / Wool Shepherdess has an Etsy shop where she sells her own artsy handspun yarns along with some of the loveliest sweaters I've ever seen, AND batts!

"Handknitted shrug with many different handspun art yarns" by WoolShepherdess

Next up, a unique wrap by hannahariesThis wrap incorporates handspun, recycled materials, and commercial novelty yarns, and looks like an instant wearable fiber party.  You're really going to want to see every angle of this wrap- there's a surprising twist!
"Mediterranean Sea" by hannaharies

For years, I've admired the final artist of this gushy post. Heather / girlwithahook creates freeform crochet caps (and brooches and headbands) out of her own handspun yarn along with yarn from other spinners.  Everything in her shop is on my Christmas wish list, especially this one:
"Blush Coils" freeform crochet hat by girlwithahook

I think the thing I love most about her hats is the form that they take on. Her freeform work looks like the yarn just looped itself into the form it desired, organically and effortlessly.

I've got a whole list of other great art yarn finished objects that I've found out there, and will have to post them a little at a time.

PS. Dear Santa, I'll take any/all of the above.


after the wheel

Here's the AFTER pics of the lovely blue jumble of fiber from Monday's post.

The Border Leicester locks were shorter than I had anticipated, so I ended up carding them on top of some other random fibers.  This yarn was spun waaaay bulkier than I'm accustomed to, and it filled my Lendrum's bulky bobbin.  

And here's the pink/red yarn:

They're both due to debut in my shop this weekend during my next update, probably Saturday night.

One final art yarn, a super-coily spin containing little bits of this and that from a fiber swap at MDSW:

Whew!  That's about all the yarn I can take in a day before one of my knees starts to feel like it's about to explode.  I believe I'll keep up with these artsy spins over the summer, a little at a time. Batts, especially some crazy new art batts, are on my horizon, now that I've ordered a Mad Batt'r Drum Carder.  I'm excited to be able to have two ends of the batty spectrum available in my shop: super-smooth RolyBatts (available now!) and crazy textured ones (mid-June).

Later today, I'm going to be uploading a few woolies into my empty Etsy shop. I made quite a few duplicate sets/batts/painted tops in preparation for MDSW, and also because many spinners enjoy having larger quantities of each colorway... but lately, only a few orders have been for large quantities of any particular colorway, so I'm splitting a few colorways up.  Of course, if you order from both sites over the course of 48 hours, I'll combine shipping charges and refund you the difference.

HOLYMOLY, I forgot to mention, one of my art yarns from YEARS ago has made it into an art show!  I'll be sure to post more details as I find them out. I can't believe I've been doing artsy spins on and off for years, since 2006, to be exact.

a day off

The weather has been stormy and brutal lately, so when I read that we were supposed to have a morning free from rain, I popped the munchkin in the car for a day filled with playground hopping, duck chasing, and (boring) grocery shopping. I'm pretty sure that dragging a toddler all over town counts as an intense cardio and strength training work-out. We had a blast, and only three tantrum/melt-downs.

Those artsy spins will make an appearance tomorrow. The Mixed Novelty Fiber packs are available now, however. Also, I've renamed the super-smooth luxury batts "RolyBatts," with the help of Ady Bee // KnittinK.


before the wheel

It's gloomy and muggy and noisy outside today, and I'm starting the week off with a couple of hours at the wheel with an icy glass of freshly brewed lychee tea.  Here's the BEFORE pics of the art yarns I'm dreaming of:

This collection of lovely fluff includes GnomeGarden batt, roving from Feederbrook Farm, a batt I received in a swap, and some dark dark spruce Border Leicester locks that I dyed last week.

Wait wait, there's more fluff to be spun!

This fluff'splosion is a leftover hodgepodge of wool from a carding session and mohair and wool locks from my stash. 

While I was searching for crazy stuff to spin, I found a full box of woolies that didn't get unpacked from MDS&W festival, and I suppose I must have thought the box contained my personal yarn stash or baby clothes... either way, it's a goldmine!  I have a dozen 2 oz. bags of loose-ish novelty fibers and carding leftovers- these were a huge hit at the Festival (I sold two dozen!)  I'll be sure to upload those fibers into the shop tonight- 2 oz. of crazy luscious fibers goes a long way towards creating an art yarn when paired stash leftovers or stray batts.

I've also given more thought to some "Storybook" colorways, and started a pin board to keep track of inspirations.


bookish nights and spinspirations

Tomorrow I'm officially using my work hours to work.  I've needed a brain holiday from thinking too hard about wool in order to avoid batty-burn-out, and couple that with some pretty rotten toddler tantrums... somebunny please, pass me a cocktail.

Over at the HobbledeBarn over the last week, I've:
- adopted a one-eyed baby box turtle named Tuck and built him a simple (but large) home.
- potted several tomato, herb, and pepper plants on our balcony.
- finally learned how to use a pressure cooker.
- knit 1/3 of the border on my Limestone shawl.
- begun building drying racks for fleeces and neppy fibers.
- and cleared out the studio, destashing and organizing my studio.

Looks like a slow week, now that I read the list, though there's nothing "slow" about a morning outdoors with Ig, or juggling three pots on the stove while a screaming tear-streaked toddler is smashed between my legs, or bedtime book-time which involves a parade of 20+ books across my lap as a little critic declares "yes" or "no" or "again, Mommy."  I believe I've read "Goodnight Moon" three dozen times over the last week, which reminded me of a great link that a friend shared to "Goodnight Dune by Julia Yu.

Speaking of books, I'm pretty sure my next set of batts will follow a picture book theme. When I first started college, it was with the intention of pursuing illustration as a career. I changed my mind after two semesters, but have recently started digging through my giant stacks of children's books and finding a fresh and unexpected set of colorways. 
My favorite children's book is "A House is a House for Me" by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Betty Fraser. (Appropriately, I found a sheepy page to share from it!)

If you're looking for a little nostalgic magic, check out the blog Vintage Kids' Books my Kid Loves, which is where I'll be browsing in search of dreamy summer colorways.


supah smooth

My SuperCard creates huge intimidating batts (which are surprisingly light).  It has taken me two years to figure out whether or not I wanted to sell whole batts right off of "the Beast," and I think I finally found a method to create well-blended batts without over-blending.  I've listed large batts only once before, and the photography was dreadful, so I'm going to give it another whirl after building a platform large enough to let these batts expand and show off their facets.


 I'm so tickled with these batts.  They're such an easy spin for finer yarns - just buy two batts for a larger project and ply them (or stripe) together.  A single batt is enough for a simple cap.

Tonight, I'm core-spinning one of these lovelies and adding in random bursts of hand-dyed Border Leicester locks... if I can stay awake at the wheel, that is.


thinking of June

If I could bypass Summer entirely, I would. But because I can't, and because this barn heats up like a pressure cooker, I intend on distracting myself from the heat with cool luscious veggie fibers, spinning at sun-down on the balcony, and plenty of home-made mojitos. Iggy loves the outdoors, so I imagine many early mornings with the baby swing under the giant maple, or dodging fallen walnuts in the backyard.

I'm also looking forward to a new batch of fibers for the website- mohair for wispy batts, baby suri alpaca (yum!), milk silk, and my very first bump of Polwarth.  I'll be selling un-dyed fibers again soon, along with fresh hand-painted top- bamboo and bast bamboo, perhaps?

I've been taking the past couple of weeks "off," in a way.  I returned from MDSW with a new perspective and a list of home projects to work on, so aside from carding the May HobbledeCLUBs, I haven't been giving my carders or wheels any love at all.  After a weekend of knitting, I should be back in the saddle with my new colorways/products/surprises in the works.  The first project on the to-do list is one I'm really looking forward to:  the June HobbledeCLUB!

I had so much on my plate with festival preps, that I completely neglected offering the May HobbledeCLUB to anyone but subscribers (and I think they'll love this month's treat!), but June is inspired by Garden Parties.  It's available for pre-order now, and will be shipping during the first two weeks of June.



I don't know where to begin, and I've even had a few days to process the whole shebang.  Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was a huge hit!  I arrived with a bazillion batts, painted tops, and yarns, and left with only 30% of what I came with.  Because of the late notice that we made it into the festival, I kicked off a collaboration with my Mum, MarigoldJen, to create over one hundred hand-dyed yarns, and we only brought 18 skeins home.

The big shocker for me:  the dozen artsy yarns I spun sold within the first two hours of the Festival on Saturday.  I don't even have pictures of them because they're GONE!

Other big sellers- painted BFL/silk top, painted merino/yak, a new product called "Ply packs," which contain 6 different coordinating colors of hand-dyed merino/bamboo or merino/tencel top, Tidbits of hand-dyed superfine Merino for felters, Battlings (a near sell-out!), and BFL based batts.

Of course, being the giant doofus that I am, I didn't take as many pictures as I should have.  We started off busy, thanks to cute little buttons and bumper stickers from ZippyPins which I consigned at the front of our tent, and maintained a line for 4-6 hours straight on Saturday.  Sunday was a big day for batts, and when I came home to check out the receipts, I noticed that a huge stack are from buyers who returned to our tent after shopping on Saturday.  Thanks for coming back for an extra scoop of wool, folks!

I only managed to sneak away a few times- mostly for food or to grab a few woolies for myself.  My favorite purchase- a super-glitzy Jazzturtle batt from the CloverHill booth. 

I finally had a chance to meet many of my customers and fibery "co-workers" at a spin-n-swap Saturday night, and came home with a huge bag full of fluff, which I plan on spinning into a huge half-pound DK weight yarn for a toddler raglan sweater.

Speaking of the toddler, guess who managed to keep herself entertained during set-up?

We built her a cabin out of discarded boxes, and she was content to read to herself for far longer than a toddler can be expected to sit.

Now that I've organized everything that has found its way back to my studio, I'm preparing for a monster update.  I've got six huge bins filled with things to list in my shop, and will start unleashing the batts tomorrow, followed by hand-pulled rovings and painted tops within the next few days. Many of the batt colorways that I'll be adding have multiple sets available, so if you're looking for sweater-sized portions of fiber, be sure to take a peek.

So, what's in store for this summer?  Local demonstrations, more art yarns, my first bump of Polwarth wool, spindle & wool kits for newbie spinners, and thousands of happy little (and big!) batts.


I'm feeling really awkward and oversensitive today.  Not sure if it's the lack of sleep from late-night carding sessions, or if it's the uncomfortable reality that I know I've got a huge "social" event on the horizon.  Blah.  I know that persnicketyness exists in every industry, but for some reason, I'm starting to lose even more sleep on braids vs. chains, hand-written labels vs. typed, my decision to buy superfine Merino over Polwarth, and carding multiple batt sets vs. OOAKs.

On a happy non-paranoid note, I'm nearly finished with hand-pulled rovings.

I just need to braid and label the contents of this box, and possibly card another dozen, and then it's time to move on to BFL batts, superfine Merino batts, and painted tops.

Oh, despite the worry about braids vs. chains vs. "loping" vs. skeining the rovings pictured above- I'm still undecided.  The fiber, Merino mostly, stores so much nicer in braids, and will probably withstand being handled better at MDSW.  I'm finding a preference for chains, however, and really need to mull it over.



I've carded 15 lbs. of batts for MDS&W so far, and have about 35 lbs. to go, along with 25-30 lbs. of painted top.  I'm feeling very optimistic that I'll reach my production goals and that my tent will look FABULOUS. A few of these new colorways are really popping!

I'm going to post pictures this week because I need to document and remember the color formulas for the website, which is officially in hibernation until the conclusion of the Festival.

I now also know exactly where I'll be:  Lower Corral 21!  I've never been down in that area before, but I hear that it's near the area where Sheepdog demonstrations happen.  To get there, you'll want to walk past the Main Exhibition hall and then take a right into the grassy Lower Corral vending area.

Even if you have zero shopping interest, please stop by my booth and say hello!  I'd love to meet many of my online fiber friends.


Maryland Sheep & Wool

What a huge surprise! I just found out that:  1) a space opened up at MDS&W and 2) I was on the waiting list.  I remember blogging that I decided not to wait on the list and instead, go shopping with my toddler, but hey- this sudden twist is too exciting to turn down.  Unfortunately, this means that the Spring Batt line is once again on hold- which means I'll end up holding out for a Summer Batt line.  I had promised a give-away to go along with the launch of the repeatable batts, and still plan on doing so once Summer rolls around.

I’ll have a giant 10x15 space outdoors, and I’ve got lots of fiber to crank out before the big event. Due to the very short notice, I also have tons of fiber to order along with new dyes, a tent, better packaging, and promotional items like signage and displays.  It's overwhelming, and I was torn between shutting down the shop and saving everything I have for the festival versus having a sale to raise funds for all of these last minute expenses so I came up with a middle ground:

Everything in my shop is 10% off until Saturday morning with the code "Maryland10."  Saturday morning, I'm unlisting everything to be spun or sold at MDS&W.  This gives my fiber friends a chance to nab what they might have been eye-ing up along with an unexpected discount.  I'm hoping to clear out as much as possible so that I can start fresh with some new colorways and have less to re-package and re-label, so if you're interested in a larger purchase of $200 or more, use code Maryland15.

I usually dislike promoting large discounts because sales can devalue the countless hours of work that fiber artists put into their products, but these are unusual and unexpected circumstances.  Crazy life-twists happen to everyone, right?

HobbledeCLUB members, never fear!  Your April goodies will ship on time this weekend, and to my subscribers- the May theme will be announced tonight in my newsletter, and May shipments will go out following the festival.

I'm so excited for this opportunity!  If I would have known even a month more in advance, I wouldn't need to shut down the website temporarily, but I want to make sure that I can juggle a toddler and these last-minute preparations with as clear of a head as possible.

PS.  Here's a batt set that's getting listed tonight.  I liked the colorway so much that I carded 5 sets!  It was an original possibility for the Spring batt collection, and the name is "Thaw."

woolly hugs!


I'm so excited by how many people are giving the HobbledeCLUB a whirl in April, and by how much I've raised for the Red Cross's relief efforts for Japan.  I'm closing the April club's sign up on the 4th, and will send the funds digitally after that.  It feels great to be able to do something, even if it's small.

This week, I've been painting rovings in two-of-a-kind batches, fine tuning the Spring Batt line (I may drop down to 4 sets after reconsidering the past popularity of two of the colorways), and am planning a weekend update with a mixture of one-of-a-kind items and colorways with multiple sets/items available. 

On the home front, I just packed up Ing's baby clothes.  I don't know how she morphed from an itty-colicky-grumpy baby to a happy perpetually dancing toddler so fast.  Pass the kleenex, please.


lion of a month.

March has been pure chaos, in both good and terrible ways.

The good:  I found out that I'm going to meet many of my online spinning friends and customers at MDSW!  Esther of Jazzturtle is organizing a spinny gathering to take place in the lobby of the Hilton in Columbia, where many of us are staying.  I am so excited to finally meet so many of you in person, and I'm also anxious to take Jazzturtle's Nunofelting workshop.

Also, I've managed to have a great week with the dye-pots, turning out some of the following colorways which are available in my shop:

I feel like I'm really bonding nicely with this new dyeing venture, and the Merino/tencel top is my absolute favorite base in the universe.  If if if, some genius of a mill could come up with BFL/tencel, I'd probably explode with happiness. 

This weekend's update also included a fresh assortment of one-of-a-kind batts.  I'm nearly finished with the one-of-a-kinds, however, since my Spring line will start to take shape this coming week.

The terrible:  Earlier this month, we lost hundreds of Ingrid's baby photos when a hard-drive crashed.  We attempted data recovery twice, but the memory was heat damaged and I'm still kicking myself for not backing up the images.  Fortunately, we had low resolution copies saved in email accounts and facebook, so all is not lost, but it was still heartbreaking (and a wake-up call about data back-up!).

Compared with the destruction that tens of thousands of people in Japan are facing, my loss seems so tiny, and while I'm still feeling really sad about losing so many images, I'm feeling very blessed and over-privileged.  I used the money that I would have spent on albums and printing hundreds of pictures to send a donation to the Red Cross's relief efforts in Japan.  I wish I could do more with my limited budget, which is why I'm also donating 10% of all orders of the April HobbledeCLUB "Old Lace" to relief efforts.  I've already donated from the orders I have received as well as percentages from 3 month subscriptions, and will have the listing available for purchase until 4/4.  When my Spring batt line launches, I will also be selecting one of the batt sets to be a fund-raising set, and will use a poll to have my customers help me decide which one.


April HobbledeCLUB :: Old Lace

The April HobbledeCLUB is now available for pre-order.  The theme "Old Lace" is one I've been looking forward to doing ever since I started the new HobbledeCLUBs.  After months of bolder colors, this batch of luxurious fiber will be more neutral, and I hope it's a colorway that will inspire subscribers to create something sweet and special.

Here's some lacey inspirational photos:


dillydally dye

I fiddled around with painting wool tops today after an especially rough daycare drop-off (Ingrid had a substitute teacher).  While I was trying to transform from Mama into Worker, I shuffled through a few of my favorite distractions, looking for a little inspiration, and I thought I'd share what's been keeping my dyepots bubbling and carders humming:

I'm a huge Belle & Sebastian fan, and their latest album has been playing nonstop in my iTunes... at least, when I'm not listening to the following audio book.  Since my husband has worked and/or volunteered in noncommercial college radio for the past 14 years, I've enjoyed the chance to listen to new albums months before they're released.  This album distracted me though, and I've barely paid attention to anything else (other than the new Carolina Chocolate Drops EP) in about half a year, especially since I think the new Iron & Wine and Devotchka albums are bummers.  Don't take my word for it, I'm a lousy music critic and have listened to the same 10 albums for the past 15 years.

Thanks to my favorite splurge, a monthly subscription to Audible, I'm finally "reading" again.  I went from reading 2-3 books a week in college to ONE book a year since getting pregnant (pregnancy changed my eyesight and having a little one turned my time focus from reading to getting caught up on housework).  My Mum recommended Elegance of the Hedgehog after I had polished off a real doozy of an audiobook, and I'm about half-way through and completely hooked.

When I do get my hands on a physical book, it's usually to flip through searching for clever product names.  Last week, I browsed my Harlan Ellison collection to find names and inspirations for hand pulled roving.  Recently, I've also used themes such as Shakespearean characters, female authors, teas,  physics terms, and minor planets.

The painted rovings from this morning's dye session are drying on racks in the studio, and I am so excited for the next shop update, which will most likely happen on Friday.

What's been inspiring you lately?


calling off

I've unfortunately had to "phone in" sick this weekend after a nasty sinus infection knocked me out.  I'm half-way through my antibiotics and will be back to dyeing, carding, and listing soon, but in the meanwhile, I'm just trying to chase this fever away and remain aware enough to be a good Mum.  If you're a parent and have ever been ill with a toddler in tow---- ooohh, my hat is off to you!  I'm feeling lucky that my little one is such a well-behaved sweetheart through this whole ordeal.

When this all blows over, I should have a lovely update filled with hand-painted braids and some new batt sets.  I'm guesstimating that Wednesday or Friday night will be when the update takes place, and I'll keep everyone posted.



Holysmokes, the batts from my shop update last night flew the coop!  Half are packaged, and the other half are destined to be tucked into mailers this morning.  There are still a few sets left, as well as a pretty selection of hand-pulled rovings.  Here's my favorites:
Cherry Soda batts

Cliffs of Dover roving

Today, I'm polishing off the March HobbledeCLUBs, shipping orders, and ordering dyes.  It's time to start ordering my favorite colors by the pound.

Also in the works:  repeatable batt colorways!  My Spring line of 6 repeatable batt colorways will debut mid-late March, and I'm planning on carding gobs of each colorway in advance so that they ship immediately.  Around the same time, I'll be transitioning Gemmy batts from "made-to-order" to "in-stock."  They're still a hot seller, over a year after I first began carding them.  I estimate that I've carded over 1000 individual Gemmies!

This weekend, weather and toddler permitting, I'll be adding new hand-painted braids to the shop using the following bases:  BFL/silk, Merino/tencel, and Merino/bamboo.  Until then, happy spinning/felting/knitting, everyone!