Friday, October 30, 2009

Get Creative to Market your Fiber Products!!!!!!

Times are definitely changing and the tides are already turning.... In these difficult times in order to be successful, we have to come up with creative ways to market our yarn products.
Ebay was the it thing, not anymore. More folks are coming up with ways to market their products faster and better than before. Etsy, Ravelry and more have sprouted up.... Remember that old saying, " If it ain't broke, don't fix it". That is true, but in this day in age... Folks are steering away from the same old same old. They want something unique and different. Something that says " Hey, Look at me". They want products that says how they feel without having to say anything to anyone.... So do some homework for yourself. Look at the products that you are marketing. How many of those items have you sold?. Do you find them flying of the shelves?. If they haven't moved and collecting dust per say, then time to restructure your business plan. That is where getting creative comes from. In this day everyone is trying to come up with creative ways to make an income, to of course sell their products.... If you are into yarn, felting, knitting or crocheting or any other fiber art. Sit down and think of ways that you can make those better. The folks that step out of the box and go in a different direction are the one's that will be successful in the long run. Now it might not happen right away, it only takes a few folks to turn your products into big ticket items. Reason for this post is, I am so terribly guilty of taking the same direction of everyone else. I needed to reevaluate my business and take a different approach. It's a risk to do so, it was either fold up or stick this out. So I'm taking on this challenge and I am already excited how it's ending up. It is starting to take me and my business places. Will keep you all updated on this new journey I'm embarking on... Blessings and Get Creative Folks!!!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kettle Dye Fleece

Kettle Dye Fleece!

Dye is so much fun to work with. You are able to do so many things with a hank/skein of yarn. Did you know that you can handpaint your yarn. I like to use those sponge paint brushes that you can pick up at the hardware store.

You can use a variety of different items to dye your fleece. I have even heard of folks using either a microwave or crock pot to dye their fleece. I have used two methods, kettle & steam.

First you have to soak your carded fleece or braided skeins. I use a mixture of warm water and 2 tbsp of vinegar. The vinegar helps open up the fiber so that the dye can be absorbed easily. I soak that for about 20 minutes. Then I wring out the water only. Then I will place this is my pot. You can also apply color to the water or place the color in the pot prior to placing in your yarn. I have done both ways, I have used a cup with different colors and poured those in a zigzag motion on top of the yarn in the pot. Or just used one color and placed the color in the dye pot before placing the yarn. The key is to steep the yarn till the color runs clear. This is how you know that your yarn has taken in the dye.

So you are wondering well how to I mix up my dye. Well you can do a variety of things here. You can use natural methods of dye, or you can use commercial types of dye. Some are better then others. I have used the following:

Ashford Dyes, Cushing Dyes. I have also used, Wilton cake decorating paste and Kool-aid.

These have all dyed beautifully without the colors bleeding out. When you use your colors, some of the commercial dyes only a little bit is needed. Where the Wilton and Kool-aid you need to add more for a deep color. You must remember, that not all yarn will come out consistant if you are using, either Natural, Wilton or Kool-aid. Sometimes the commercial dyes will do the same. Its always a great idea to dye small amounts so the color will go into the yarn more evenly.

Now I have mentioned, steam. Yes don't be afraid of steaming. It works wonders. All you need is a large kettle, large aliminum foil, dye, fleece, cling wrap and sponge paint brushes, squirt bottles or spray bottles. All up to you which method you would like to dye your fleece with. Either way it will be unique and beautiful. First, place some water in your kettle. Then apply your foil to the top of your kettle. Make sure you make a few steam holes in the foil. Bring the water to a boil. Then you lay a few towels down to catch any escaping dye, then your cling wrap, then place your skein in a vinegar bath. After 20 minutes wring out your yarn. Place the yarn on top of the cling wrap. Mix up your dye, and either squirt, paint or spray your skeins. Remember you don't want to drown the yarn. Just enough to color it, then once you have one side completed. You must flip your skein and do the other side. Once you have your skein the way you like it. Fold the cling wrap over the skein, roll up the skein and place on top of the foil.

Let your skein steam till the water runs clear. Now remember, when you remove your rolls of cling wrapped yarn. Please be careful, You can get burned. What I do is use those Jelly jar grabbers and grab the yarn still wrapped up. I then place them in a strainer and allow to cool with the cling wrap on. DO NOT UNWRAP, TILL COOL!. Usually can take 24 hours. Then once cool. Don't rinse. Hang to dry.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Alpaca the fun fiber!

Working with Alpaca fiber is truly amazing!. Alpaca can be blended with so many other fibers to make a true unique blend of yarn. There are many forms of Alpaca fiber that can be dyed to creative colors. I have found that Fawn, White and Even Grey Fleece dyes really well. I have also found that spinning huacaya fleece is easier then suri fleece. Suri is slippery and harder to spin. If you are a new spinner, I would start out spinning with either with a coarse fleece, then move on to the huacaya fibres.

Felting is another cool craft that can be done with alpaca fiber. I just recently dove into Nuno Felting and wow, LOVE IT!!!!!!!

Weaving with 1 ply alpaca yarn is also pretty cool. I wasn't sure if it would handle the reed action, but it did great and has held its own.

If you get the chance try spinning or working with alpaca fiber. You will truly love it.