Club test spins.

Here I am with a new year looming and 12 months of club colorways ahead of me. I’ve been working at test dyeing and getting the colors and fibers all lined up. Wanna see what I’ve been up to?

This is January’s club. It’s a lovely fiber that’s spinning up into a great 2 ply.
janclub17

February’s club is undecided. I can’t settle on a color though I have settled on a fiber. So nice is this fiber….
febclub

March and April. I’m having a hard time deciding which is for which month but right now I’m thinking this one is March:
march-aprilclub17
It’s so pretty it jumped the spinning by month order but hopefully I’ll decide and spin February next.

And this is April:
marchclub

Oh, and I figured out the SPA special colorway of the year too!
spa-special

If you didn’t figure out by now, I’ve grey scaled everything. They’re not all the same color in a range of greys, though some may have grey in it. All will be revealed soon.

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Full year of prompts

Well….we made it a full year.
I had all the prompts made for myself in January and did them all in a nice PDF so they could be saved forever and ever. If anyone wants to download the full list I’m putting it at the end of the post. You can certainly use these again and again. Use the same ones every year and see how your answers have changed.

PDF of journal prompts from 2016

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Kid Hollow Yarns

Right after Rhinebeck I got a note from Pogo of Friend’s Folly Farm telling me that a friend of hers was looking to sell off all of her farm yarns. Farm yarns? Mohair? Sign me up. In walks the Kid Hollow yarns to my life. I bought all the blank yarns she was offering and I’m in love with them.

LOVE. Big L-O-V-E kinds of Love.
I feel connected to her flock. These goats weren’t my own but I love them anyway.

I have the 3ply – 48% Kid Mohair, 30% Merino and 22% Nylon
This is such a round yarn. It’s sport – DK and about perfect for warm socks.
kidhollow-3ply
I haven’t been dyeing a lot of it up. Still testing colors on it and working on samples
kidhollow-3all
But just look at it!
kidhollow-3all-close

I also have a 2ply – 48% Kid Mohair, 30% Merino and 22% Nylon
This yarn is more flat. My sample for this is going to be a shawl. Yes, it’s the same content as the 3 ply but it’s got all the characteristics of being an amazing shawl yarn.
kidhollow-2ply
I dyed a couple more in this one and sent some of that red off to Beth Smith to play with.
kidhollow-2all

The final yarn I acquired is a 2ply lace of 50/50 Kid Mohair and Border Leicester.
Can I just tell you that this is a dream yarn of mine. Long wool and mohair. Sign me up!
kidhollow-lace
I haven’t dyed any of this yet because I’m a little stymied on what to make. I don’t wear a lot of lace garments as I can be a little rough on things at times. I am leaning towards things like Ice Queen, La Cumparsita, Alinda Wrap, Abrazo…. Or maybe I’ll wait and see what Beth Smith comes up with and copy her.

I haven’t started to really produce these for the shelf yet. I made a listing on the website so people can order custom almost solids but the more elaborate hand paints will get introduced at SPA at the end of February. Though, if you want something special, please message and we can see about working something out.

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Filofax for 2017

Filofax for 2017.
The book planners in the A5 size were really close to perfect but I wanted to move pages in and out. The Bullet journal style with the index was brilliant. Yet I found it lacking something something. That’s when I switched to the Midori planner. It too was missing something. I started to audition the filofax in a cheap little plastic binder with handmade pages and fell in love.
filofax-plastic
A dear friend gifted me a Filofax binder and oh, mah, word. This. This, I think is finally my dream planner.

Wanna see? Yes you do.
It’s so pretty.
filofax-heresheis
And on edge…
filofax-edge
It looks pretty full but I have some room. I might even pull out some of the weekly pages as months pass. Like in February, I can pull December… and so on. It’s rare that I go back any further than a month but I will be saving it all in my old plastic binder anyway.

So let’s see what we have inside.
First are the pockets. OMG, so many pockets and I have a couple of plastic ones too. I might find I don’t need these though seeing my expired coupons at a glance is always handy. OH – that paint chip thing, is a book marker…. I’ll show you how to make those in a later post.
filofax-pocketsgalore

Next is my gratitude section. When I feel a desire to make note of great things I have a few pages I can write on.
filofax-grateful
You can see I haven’t written a ton but there are about 5-6 pages in this all with different prompts that I’ve started at least a little something on.
filofax-littlethings
The pages in this section are ones I’ve cut to size from a Rhodia pad of paper and a plain pad of calligraphy paper. Both are perfect for using fountain pens. Actually, everything I’m using works well with no bleed through and minimal shadowing if any. All this paper is just wonderful

This is my spiritual section. I can write things about my yogic or ayurvedic studies. I might break them apart at some point but right now, they’re together.
filofax-yogic

Finally we get to the meat/tofu of my planner.
The monthly calendar (purchased from Filofax)
filofax-monthly
We have the weekly pages – grid on one side and weekly schedule on the other. I got this from Paper Shae on Etsy. This is the format I fell in love with using the Midori. I knew I had to continue it.
filofax-weekly
And then my daily checklist. It’s not filled in yet for 2017 but I’ve been using one for a few months and I’ll fill this one in when I take a couple of days off next week. I might discuss what I put on there at another time. This post is already long and pic heavy.
filofax-daily

The following little section is just random stuff I threw in there. Things that I wanted to keep track of but that wasn’t necessarily needed in the meaty section
filofax-booksweightexp
Because I get asked… I know I don’t necessarily need to lose weight… but my doc suggested that if I lost 10 pounds or so I wouldn’t need to be on BP meds for a little longer so I’m working on it because I’ll do almost anything to avoid taking another pill.

The final section has another clear pocket and blank pages/dividers that haven’t been designated a category
filofax-extrapapers

But don’t worry, there’s a ton more pockets in the back!
filofax-backpkts

There we go. We’ve come to the end. This is the planning system I’m using through 2017 and probably longer. I really have loved this more than I’ve loved the others. I know I get excited about new planner things and then start finding fault with this or that but I don’t hate anything about this yet. I don’t feel like I’m compromising on anything that I’ve wanted either. We all need different things from our planning and this right now is doing it for me.

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Super basic hat.

I’ve been making this slouchy hat lately.
basic3
Well…. that makes it sound like I have more than one finished. I don’t.
I have one finished and one started:
hat-worldturns
And 2 more balled up waiting for attention:
nasty-bad
All Spunky Eclectic Targhee Classic. I might dig around and find some handspun to do this with. I’m on a wee hat kick lately.

Anyway, if you want to make this slouchy easy hat I quickly jotted down the pattern and listed it on Rav. It’s the Simple Basic Hat. It’s the last free pattern I’ll be putting out for a while. I have a few others I’m working on releasing (patterns that I have finished testing long ago and never released)

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This is where we are now.

The industry is changing.
The fiber industry is always changing (as most industries are) but for some time we’ve been seeing a gradual shift that in the last year or so has been undeniable. We’ve had discussions on fair fiber wage for teachers, farmers never get paid well and lately there have been discussions from designers that are talking about changes. It’s changing for the dyers and fiber suppliers too. It’s changing on all fronts. Seems normal enough in the cycle of life for this kind of shift to happen. Still it can smart to know that goods/ideas/information that was worth paying for 5 years ago are no longer considered “worth money” now.

I can’t tell you exactly when this shift started but it was going to happen at some point. There are many things that can contribute to why this shift has sped up though. Social issues, a switch in popular craft of the moment and an over saturation have helped to increase the downhill speed of the cycle. Regardless of when or why, this is where we are now. This post is not being written as a complaint. Far from it. It’s just the facts with maybe a little opinion tossed in.

I am thankful to all the people that kept the fiber industry going during it’s last slow spell.
I am thankful to my colleagues that rose up with me during my 15 years of owning Spunky Eclectic to help make this industry what it is now.
I am thankful to the new folks bringing new energy into the industry.

Designers, Teachers, Farmers, Dyers, Businesses, Suppliers, and really anyone within this industry can probably feel the change. I felt it shift in 2014 and started to make plans then. Of course, I didn’t think the change would happen as fast as it has, or as palpable, or have as many people noticing it so strongly. Here we are. Change is here and now we need to decide what to do about it.

Part of that has been the fair fiber wage. As the industry demand is shrinking, there are places that want to pay less. They still want to make the same profit even if it means squeezing that from others. Sorry, we’re all taking a pay cut. This is how it is now. I’m not going to work for a venue for less than a fair wage. Sure I help some places out for various reasons but no, you can’t step on my back to keep your profit margin the same. I will share your burden but I will not shoulder the whole burden.

So…. where does this leave me, really?
The only thing keeping me in the industry is my love of fiber. I love spinning and weaving and yarns with every little crunchy bit of my black heart. I have been working extra hours just to hope to squeak by one more month. The fact is, I’m working longer hours than I ever have in this business and making less money. I appreciate all the helpful people that have said things on other blogs and such. If you’re not living it, you don’t know. I work when I get up, I work when I go to work, I work when I get home. My kids used to see me doing “things”. Now they see me working. All the time.

It’s actually now at the point where hard decisions need to be made.

Yes, I’m staying right where I am. Spunky Eclectic will continue to exist, dammit
You can picture me with Scarlet O’Hara – Gone with the Wind…. kneeling in my field of fibers and clutching some of it at sunset. No? Too dramatic. I agree. But I plan to keep right on trucking along. Sort of.

I/We can’t keep working these long hours for this little income for our family (fair fiber wage indeed) so I’m restructuring. I need to know if this much work is acceptable to me. I mean, it feels oppressive sometimes and as a team my husband and I are not making a sustainable income this year. Sometimes that’s the way it goes in business but sometimes it’s not acceptable. Jay is looking for work and I have found part time flexible hour employment. My job is only entry level and it will give me some idea (since I’ve been self employed for 20 years) if I hate working out there enough that working in all my awake hours for myself is better than doing any work for someone else.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s my blog and I have a habit of going on and on about myself. Also to let you know there are business changes if you’re a customer. If you’re only ever an online customer, you won’t see a difference at all. You can probably disregard this whole posting. The difference is going to come by way of brick and mortar shop hours. As soon as I get my new hours at the new job I’ll be adjusting the hours of the physical store. If you plan to come to the shop, please call ahead.

Now, I’m expecting this shift to be a really really good thing. In the least it will be a learning experience for me and a chance to experience some new challenges. Also, I’ll be leaving the house and talking to adult people on the regular. That’s going to be interesting. Maybe having an outside income will help free up more creative time at work.

I’m not the only one in the industry that’s in this shift. There are some that already have their part time jobs, others that are looking, and I’m sure others yet that some time soon might realize that’s a decision they need to think. There will likely be others that don’t even notice the changes in the industry at all and that’s awesome.

All industries have their ups and downs. The beautiful thing about ours is that it’s a community and even in the low times, a community rallies and holds each other up. I know all the businesses alive today won’t make it through the industry changes (it’s the way it is) but I’m rooting for you all. Those that do change and move on to other things, I’m hoping for it all to be for the better. Those that stay, I hope it’s not a struggle and that you are being fairly paid for your work.

Rock on you gorgeous people.

Posted in life, spinning, Spunky Eclectic, Spunky Eclectic Shop News | 9 Comments

Ply day

Every so often I have a ply day. It’s not that I hate to ply…. it’s just not my favorite and I need to be in the right frame of mind. That frame of mind seems to be “I want my bobbins back so I can spin more singles”.

I made a couple of bulkies:
bulkies

I am totally in love with this sport weight:
2plysport

I finished off these wee little skein of blue that might need to be an accent color in a hat or something:
tinyblu

And then because I had a few bobbins free and I got tired of plying, I spun up some Aran weight singles:
worldturnssingles

I’ve already started to amass singles again but there are a few on the wheel I want to finish so maybe I’ll be posting about plying again in short order.

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