Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Opportunities, New Ideas

No pictures today, just some brainstorming and thought swirling lately.

I've known for a while that Knitters and Crocheters were spending a lot of time on Ravelry, and I created an account several years ago but didn't really know how I planned to use it. In recent months as I get more and more familiar with some of the etsy crafters out there, I've started to notice mentions of various Ravelry communities, discussion boards, forums, swaps, and giveaways. Various bloggers promote their communities, and new friendships are formed. So I've dipped my toe into the waters, and plan to be more involved with the crafting community, as it exists in some of these projects, craft-alongs, and special events. I'm likely to make a few friends along the way, and if some of my networking turns into sales ideas or customers, that will be just incidental. I'm looking forward to being part of these supportive communities.

I was invited to place some of my crafts on a commission in a crafting booth at the end of May. I've got some very specific ideas of what to make for this event. This morning on my way to work, I was daydreaming about some of the components and supplies I might need. It dawned on me that I could *make* some of the components from balsa wood and/or fimo clay. I'm really excited about solving craft plans as I just sip coffee and navigate traffic.

I was also contacted about photos of some of my yarns. One friend of mine, deeply embedded in the crafting community herself, met another dollmaker who is frustrated with commercial yarns. I sent along some photo links, and I was really grateful that I'd been logging my photos each step along the way. I had quite a few to draw from, and we'll see if maybe this results in another contact or not. But for my own purposes, it was a very good thing to be able to survey my photo website, and put together a nice portfolio set of links for someone. I'm feeling very good about my progress.

Oh! Okay, maybe I was wrong -- I have a completely different progress photo that I'm proud of this morning. So you get one photo after all. Enjoy.
Apparently all my hard work is starting to show. ♥
Full image:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Making Me Cry, in the Good Way

Remember this yarn?
RED DIRT GIRL - Silk yarn
I got this feedback today:
My mom got the yarn today. She cried. She loves it. Its perfect. Said its the best Mothers day present ever. Loves that its called "red dirt girl" because I am. Reminds her of the little girl with feet stained red from hawaiian volcanic soil when I was eight, and of my roses now as her grownup girl. So your craft is also a blessing to my mommy. She says shen she looks at it, it glows.

So, huge thank you's to my dearest Flora for sharing this with me. Huge thank you's to Lynn for selling some of her stash at the Fiber Frolic. And thank you's to Enchanted Knoll Farm for the dyelot in the first place. Wow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just another Rock n Roll Artist

I had to laugh at myself this weekend, as I prepared to perform a live gig with my band. How many other singers in bands spend their days spinning yarn and creating floral hair clips, then get all gussied up to perform on stage? Here's the actual remark I posted to twitter:
@cayswann -- do laundry, clean room, make 3 floral hair clips, spin 2 skeins of yarn, apply makeup, go be a Rock Star singer in a band.
The gig went really well,  and I was just as struck by the surreal nature of performing as being artsy beforehand.

So then, to the Arts!

I'd been making so many yarns based on commissions, that I finally decided just to make a yarn because the fiber looked interesting. I bought some blended fibers on a whim on etsy, and thought the bright orange blend would be the perfect shiny and exciting yarn to lift my creative spirits.

MARIGOLD SPARKS - listed on etsy
Full set of photos start here (12 total):

In the early morning sunshine

In the mid-day sunshine
Several examples of wraps per inch
My favorite is a 3-part image of an extreme close-up photo of yarns wrapped around my new "wrap per inch" cedar tool. I really love the little wooden tool, and I had the perfect custom kumihimo cord to string it that Dayle made for me and gave me last weekend at King's Hunt.

I'm extremely thankful that I've been keeping extremely detailed records on where I purchased fiber, from whom, how much it weighed, how much it cost, etc. I was surprised when I figured the cost of materials into the finished yarn, because this orange yarn was deceptively soft and luxurious... lulling me into almost forgetting that I actually spent quite a bit on the luxury fiber before I spun the yarn. Recording keeping is going to save my sanity.

Then I assembled half a dozen commissioned small floral hair clips for a fundraiser, and one large hair clip for my store. I cannot show off the commissioned pieces yet, until their troupe store is in place. But here's the personal stock I created.

SPIRAL JOY - listed on etsy
Full set of photos start here (6 total):
Spiral Joy - such a fun hair clip

Easily the largest floral hair clip I've assembled to date, both in length and height
I've noticed that I want to buy additional feathers for my stock. My selection is far too limited. *grin*

This week I'll be working on two doll-hair yarn commissions, one personal-choice yarn (I've just passed the 50% mark on the fiber), and possibly building tassels. I need to check my home library for my tassel books. My friend Ellen has launched her henna business recently, and her booth at King's Hunt was decorated with some of her tassels. She spun and dyed the yarns (natural dyestuffs, of course), and then created the tassels. I was really inspired by the variety of tassel designs she had assembled, reminding me to do some research before working on Natalie's tassel belt (version 2.0).