August 18, 2018

Free Offer: Tunis Sheep T-shirt Design

free t-shirt design of a Tunis sheep
You can download a t-shirt design of a Tunis sheep from my Dropbox account using this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j68w8roz3ue2m07/Tunis%20design%20for%20dark%20shirt%20white%20ink.JPG?dl=0.  There is no charge to get the design and you have the right to use it for non-commercial purposes.  You do not have the right to alter it or create derivative art.  My company's name is in small type at the bottom; I created the design to advertise my shop.

There is no account needed to get the file.  When Dropbox prompts you to create an account, just click the link at the bottom that says you want to proceed without an account.

I also have a Bitly URL if you want to share the design on social media: http://bit.ly/2mAVl9C.

The design is meant to be printed with white ink on a dark t-shirt.  I used CustomInk's printing services.  I picked the Anvil jersey woman's t-shirt in purple and the selection "one colour ink, in white."  If you print the design with black ink on a light shirt, it will look wrong, like a photographic negative.  You'll see that that's what the file looks like.  The file is sized so you can fill up a good part of the front of the shirt.

The price of the Anvil shirt might strike some people as a bit high as t-shirts go.  For the price you get soft fabric and a feminine cut.  CustomInk has other styles to choose from and quantity discounts.  

I took the Tunis sheep's photo at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia.  Tunis is an endangered breed of sheep with historical significance for the States.

August 11, 2018

Maiwa Podcast : "Field Notes in the Colour Garden"

I enjoyed the recent Maiwa podcast, "Field Notes in the Colour Garden," with Michel Garcia, posted on July 16, 2018.  It was interesting to hear all the things people have been asking him to do for them regarding natural dyes and what things they've been doing with plant dyes in France.

August 04, 2018

Information Compulsion and Språng

I encountered a nice bit of information compulsion the other day.

Information compulsion is a theory by Tom Wolfe.  Wolfe says that "the best weapon journalists have is what I call information compulsion.  People are dying to tell you things that you don't know."   I first learned about information compulsion from my friend TJ who writes a blog over at https://www.lean6life.com.  And then I found this clip:


Anyway, back to the story.  I ran into someone I knew and told her that I am scheduled to do two programs on språng this fall for the handspinners guild and the weavers guild.  I briefly described what språng is.

And then, up piped someone who was listening: "Språng is very old!"

I was proud of her.

During the språng programs, I plan to keep my own information compulsion down to a minimum.  Not like last time.

July 28, 2018

How to print prepaid postage on a 4 x 6 inch self-adhesive label using a laser or inkjet printer

how to print Etsy postage on a 4 x 6 label with a regular printer
     I took a screen printing class (which was quite fun), and realized I could take the concept of registering a print and adapt it in order to print Etsy prepaid postage on a self-adhesive 4 x 6 inch label using a regular printer, either laser or inkjet, not a dedicated thermal printer.  Looks very pleasing, better than paper taped to a box, and less initial outlay than a thermal printer.  Registering a print in screen printing is figuring out where the ink will land, and marking on the work surface where the sheet of paper (or piece of cloth) should be positioned.

To print prepaid Etsy postage on a 4 x 6" self-adhesive label with a regular printer
  1. select "buy postage" on Etsy.  It gives an 8.5 x 11 pdf to print out on ordinary paper and use to mail an order
  2. print the pdf
  3. lay a blank sheet of paper over top and draw register marks (little corners) where you see the corners of the ink rectangle showing through the paper.  You could use the original copy but then you'd have a buyer's personal information sitting around, a privacy issue.
  4. buy a package of individual 4 x 6 self-adhesive labels, Avery 5292, from an office supply store  
  5. take the sheet of paper with the marks, lay down some double-stick tape (or tape formed into rings to make it double stick), and stick down a blank self-adhesive 4 x 6 label inside the corners. 
  6. put the whole contraption into the manual feed tray, being sure to have it the right way up.  Print the label, selecting manual feed in the menu.  
  7. peel the label off the plastic backing and use it on the package.  
  8. Leave the plastic backing stuck on the paper, and store the paper for next time.
     That's it.
     At my post office there is a big drop box into which you can put prepaid parcels with domestic addresses, if they fit.  It is meant for people using the automated kiosk.  The clerk said it is fine to put parcels in there that have postage paid at home.
     USPS will also pick up parcels, from your mail box during regular pickup if the weight is under the restrictions, or from your home by appointment.
     I'm not sure how international postage would work since you need to add customs information.
     The clerk said it is fine to put a 4 x 6 label sideways on a box and mail it.  This is good for me with my long, narrow boxes for mailing the drop spindle kits I assemble and sell at www.rosetwist.com.  USPS just prefers that the whole label is on the top.
     What if you send a lot of parcels and want cheap labels?

To get 4 x 6" self-adhesive labels cheaply  
  1. buy a large package of full sheet, 8.5 x 11 inch shipping labels 
  2. got to a print shop with a machine that cuts paper to size  
  3. give them a cutting diagram like this that shows how to get three 4 x 6 inch labels per full sheet label, in five cuts marked A, B, C, D, and E.  The shop should charge per cut.

how to cut a full sheet label into three 4 x 6 inch labels
What if you have no Etsy shop, just a need to send a personal parcel once in a while, and want to know how to print USPS prepaid postage on a 4 x 6" self-adhesive label using a regular printer?

To print USPS prepaid postage on a 4 x 6" self-adhesive label with a regular printer
  1. get postage through USPS' Click-N-Ship online service
  2. use the same trick above
  3. when making your registration marks, ignore the USPS brand name at the top and aim to keep the "electronic rate approved" number at the bottom so the postage fits on the label
The clerk said this placement is fine.
     Both Etsy and Click-N-Ship let a seller get postage for USPS flat rate shipping and use a standard flat rate box.  Click-N-Ship does not offer first class postage.  
     You could use 4 x 6 inch labels, a word processor, and this printing trick to make yourself fancy self-adhesive bookplates.

To make fancy self-adhesive bookplates
  1. open a new document  
  2. insert a table with one row and one column 
  3. go to table properties and specify a row height of 6 inches and column width of 4 inches 
  4. fill in your rectangle with words, fancy font characters, a photo cropped to 4 x 6", or an image  
  5. use the printing trick above to print the bookplate 
As for how it would affect the book, I'm not sure how the adhesive would hold up over time or whether a label is acid-free for long-term storage.
     But we were talking about postage.

To print a small (1 x 2 5/8 inch) self-adhesive label 
and pay for postage at the post office
  1. take an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of Avery labels style 8160, which is covered in small labels.  
  2. go into your word processor, select Tools, then the Label function 
  3. select "single label, row 1 column 1" for one address 
  4. type the address in the field 
  5. look for Avery style 8160 to select the right label format 
  6. create your document 
  7. print your document on the label sheet using manual feed 
  8. delete the address in the document  
  9. save the blank document for reuse 
The next time you need to print an address, open the document, type the new address into one of the blank spots (a spot for which you have a corresponding label on the sheet that isn't used yet), then print the sheet using manual feed.  You can use the sheet repeatedly for just one address at a time.  Put your own return address on a full sheet of Avery labels 5267/8167.

     To address a Number 10 paper envelope right on the paper 
without any need for a self-adhesive label  
  1. open your word processor
  2. select tools, then envelopes 
  3. select your size 
  4. get the right format for the address by searching for it on the USPS site under zip code search
  5. put the address in the big field on the document, then add your return address
  6. put the envelope in the manual feed tray with the flap to the left on the underside
  7. run the envelope through the printer using manual feed 
  8. check to see if the address printed right side up or upside down, and next time be sure to place the envelope in manual feed correctly 
I print envelopes this way when I mail expense receipts or membership cheques to treasurers of fibre arts guilds.  I think a printed envelope goes through the postal system faster than an envelope with a handwritten address.
     Hope you find this helpful.

Update: I hear that some people use a similar trick to print on PostIt notes.

July 21, 2018

How to Shop for Vegetarian and Vegan Yarn

     If you are a vegetarian or vegan knitter or a knitter concerned with animal welfare, you may wonder how to shop for vegetarian friendly yarn or vegan friendly yarn.  How to get what you want without pestering producers or middlemen and putting them on the defensive.  As a fibre arts seller, I can say, anyone who sells yarn would love for you to tell them what you are looking for and ask if they offer anything like that.
     Be specific about what standards of animal care you would find acceptable, and just say, "Do you offer that in your products?"  Then they say just yes, they do or no, they don't.  No debating about the merits or ethics (unless you really feel the need).  Just, "This is what I am ready to pay good money for, how about it?"
     You may be interested in a previous blog post of mine about A Greener World's certification of humanely-raised fibre.  It mostly concerns wool.  Wool is not a vegan product because it comes from an animal.  The wool certified by AGW is not required to be vegetarian, that is, the flocks are not no-kill.
     You should be able to do an Internet search for wool yarn sellers who claim their yarn comes from no-kill flocks.  Juniper Moon Farm says that their Yarn and Fiber CSA products come from their own animals which "live out their natural lives on our farm" and are "never eaten."  Note that their other lines of yarn come from other flocks, flocks they don't manage and don't make any claims for.  Someone on Instagram said that Hooligan Yarns had yarn from a no-kill flock but I didn't find any claims on their site.  I did find them with Thistle Cove Farms.  Izzy Lane advertises wool clothing from the owner's no-kill flock of sheep.
     Be sure to verify for yourself what the seller means by no-kill.  The shepherd could be breeding lambs and selling them to shepherds without a no-kill policy.  The shepherd could mean that the main flock is no-kill but the resulting lambs are not.  They could mean that they still cull the flock to improve the breeding strain.  To cull a flock is to select animals that do not conform to breed standards or that do not display desirable qualities such as high fertility, and slaughter them to take them out of the gene pool.  They have breed standards not only for looks but also to ensure an animal's health; for example, to make sure you don't get animals with horns that curl too close to the jaw.
     From what I understand, it is challenging for shepherds to run a profitable flock on just the sales of wool alone.  Be prepared to support their premium product with higher prices.
     Or turn to yarn that doesn't come from animals.
     Even when buying cotton yarn, you may be indirectly participating in the meat and dairy industry because cotton seed meal is cattle feed.  Not sure about seed from flax and hemp grown for cloth.
     I like the linen yarn from Catnip Yarns and the hemp yarn from Hemp Basics.  I like Quince & Co.'s cotton yarn and linen yarn, with the Sparrow's structure more to my liking than Kestrel's.  These yarns are all considerably finer than a typical wool worsted knitting yarn or a common cotton yarn meant for knitting dish cloths.  Thus they take longer to knit with.
     You may find it helpful to read Amy R. Singer's book, No Sheep for You: knit happy with cotton, silk, linen, hemp, bamboo & other delights.  Armed with the information in the book, you can knit vegan or vegetarian.  You can commission a knitter to make you something that will meet your needs.  You can use the book to assess labels on ready-to-wear clothing.  
     Singer presents the general facts on fibre qualities, substitution, and yarn use, and she provides knitting patterns.  She doesn't talk much about the why of forgoing wool, whether your reason is an aversion to animal products, a concern for humane treatment of animals, an allergy or sensitivity, preference, or curiosity.  
     Her information on hemp production laws is out of date.  Production is now restricted and regulated in select states and prohibited in others, rather than universally prohibited in the United States as it was at the time of publication.  
     She considers bamboo yarn to be environmentally sustainable because the source material is renewable.  However, some would take issue with this since bamboo yarn is chemically processed.  
     Singer talks briefly about "peace" silk, where the silk worm gets to live out its natural life.  She does not give sources for buying it.  "Peace" silk is sometimes marketed to vegans but I don't know how suitable a vegan would find it for their needs if they do not use animal products, period.  Singer makes the distinction between Tussah silk, from the breed, and "peace" silk, from a process.  I don't think you can expect all Tussah silk to be "peace" silk, only what is labeled as such.  Singer points out that while Tussah silk worms are not hand-fed and kept inside like Bombyx silk worms, they are still farmed.
     What about claims that genetically-modified cotton kills butterflies?  I've heard those claims.  When I traced back to the study, I found that the research was done on BT corn, not BT cotton.  I'm not sure whether the same thing happens with BT cotton or if there were subsequent studies done on cotton.
     I am not vegetarian or vegan myself.  But I believe strongly in accurate informative labels (truth in advertising), an educated buying public, and voting with your dollars for what you want in the world.  

July 14, 2018

Yarn that's Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World

     A Greener World (AGW) has a directory of products that are Certified Animal Welfare Approved, certified by them.  According to their site, "It is the only label in the U.S. to require audited, high-welfare production, transport and slaughter practices."  They put an emphasis on animals being on pasture or range their entire lives.
     The categories in the directory include fibre for handspinning into yarn.  The directory allows you to search by proximity, if local fibre matters to you, or you can search the entire thing.  The listings I saw only referred to fibre or wool, they didn't specify forms such as yarn or roving.  I believe only one offered online shopping.  It sells yarn.  The rest provided a physical address.  Presumably you could write to to inquire about mail order, though you're probably meant to go to their farm gate to shop.
     If you know of a fibre farmer whose work meets the criteria, and who isn't certified and in the directory already, you can suggest her name to AGW here.  AGW also has other categories of vendors, such as farmers' markets.
     AGW's standards for sheep are here.  Mulesing is prohibited, and "The primary methods of preventing parasite infestations must be pasture management or rotation and bedding management and removal."  The standards prohibit tail docking, dehorning, disbudding, and ear marking by cutting or notching.  They prohibit any trap but a live trap for predators, with lethal control of predators as a last resort.  They prohibit the use of hot prods or electric shocks.  (I don't think this applies to electric fences.)
     I think the standards mean a flock of wethers is out: "Ram lambs may only be castrated when uncontrolled breeding cannot be prevented by any other management."  From what I've heard, ram lambs are often sent to slaughter while ewe lambs are kept for breeding.  I've also heard that traditionally wethers' wool was considered prized, as the wool is less pungent than rams' wool and in better condition than ewes' wool.  Ewes go through stress from lambing and their wool shows the results of that stress.  The one exception to the traditional preference for wethers' wool that I've read about was where ram's wool traditionally was kept for a certain purpose, I can't remember what, for some reason such as durability, but again I can't remember what.  I think that was in a Nordic country and might have been for nalbinding or rya rugs.  Anyway.  Notwithstanding traditional practices regarding wool production, and notwithstanding that a ram might rather be a wether than lunch, I guess AGW considers castration of rams something to be avoided.
     This bit was interesting: "14.0.6 Animals must not be displayed or offered for sale or transfer at farmers markets, swap meets or similar venues.  Note: Delivery or exchange of animals at a farmers market or similar venue when the sale or transfer has been pre-arranged may be acceptable."  Never would have occurred to me that anyone would try to sell a sheep at a farmers' market.  I have heard of people arranging for delivery of fibre animals in odd locations.

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. - Proverbs 12:10 NIV

July 07, 2018

Fibershed Interview on Conscious Chatter Podcast

     Kestrel Jenkin's Conscious Chatter podcast has an interview with Rebecca Burgess, director of Fibershed.  S03, episode 118, "Fibershed + Regenerative Textile Systems," June 12, 2018, http://consciouschatter.com/podcast/2018/06/11/s03-episode-118-fibershed-regenerative-textile-systems.  Available on iTunes.
     Good stories, technical details, and the issues around the making of small batch, traceable, community-based, natural textiles, as always.
     Fibershed serves two groups: producers and buyers.  This podcast is focussed mostly on the production side of local cloth and leaves recommendations for buyers until the last several minutes.  Unless I missed it, Burgess did not cover options such as taking yarn from a farm and either making clothes yourself or commissioning a weaver or knitter to make you clothing with it.  It was more about looking for local ready-to-wear, wearing clothes longer and mending them, and recirculating used clothing.
     This is an interesting choice considering the success Burgess had with the Fibershed wardrobe she commissioned for herself.  In the YouTube video, "150 mile wardrobe: local fiber, real color, P2P economy," she says she never wants to go back to conventional clothes.  I'm not sure why she omitted the option to commission work.  Perhaps she considered the amount of time and money involved to be too much to ask.  She was able to fund the wardrobe through Kickstarter, through her Funding Fibershed - One Year-150 Miles campaign in 2010.
     Burgess is a weaver and natural dyer with a spinning wheel.  In the YouTube interview she says she commissioned the Fibershed wardrobe because she didn't have the time to make it herself, which is understandable.  Furthermore, she wanted the wardrobe made in order to build relationships with the ranchers, cotton breeders, felters, knitters, and mills in her region.

June 30, 2018

My Taste in Yarn

     I had this on my profile on Ravelry, but got to thinking it was a bit long.  So I copied it here and trimmed what I have on Ravelry.


     I'm Canadian, from Vancouver Island, B.C. and since I'm far from home and expect I'll eventually move back, I'm trying to keep the amount of equipment and fibre I collect to a minimum.  What, did you just laugh?
     I also try to limit my WIPs, and focus on finishing.  
     I am a handspinner first, other crafts come second.  I use drop spindles to spin yarn, not a spinning wheel.  I have rarely bought yarn for knitting but that is starting to change.  I like to weave with handspun wool or commercial linen yarn.  I can do an obscure technique with yarn called språng (braiding on stretched threads).  I adore the process, the product, and the research aspect.  Many of the YouTube videos I've posted are about how to do språng.
     I like to choose breed-specific wool and make the yarn's structure suit the project.  The look of lustrous long-staple wool appeals to me most.  It's too bad longwools are often scratchy and hard to find or expensive in yarn form.  I try to buy breed-specific wool or yarn that is traceable to a region or flock.  My exception (and my favourite breed) is Blueface Leicester wool, which is usually imported in bulk. 
     I really love linen cloth, whether woven or knitted.  I would wear linen everything if I could.  I am not sure I will ever get around to learning how to spin flax.  Not keen on cotton, silk, or short stapled fibres like cashmere or merino.  I use a bit of hemp yarn for dish cloths.  
     I admire Kathryn Alexander's use of energized singles in woven cloth.
     I like knitting stockinette in the round on double points, and I like the way stockinette looks.  I dislike the look of garter stitch.  I think embossed exchange patterns are very pretty, such as in Svetlana Volkova's Anemone for example.  I like to follow patterns I can memorize and do without much concentration, whether knitting, weaving, or doing språng.  
     I care more for texture and structure than I care for colour.  I do like colour.  I like royal blue, electric blue, ice blue, fuchsia, scarlet, hot pink, emerald, lemon yellow, dark grey, pure white, burgundy, teal, clear turquoise, British racing green, and sapphire.  
     I consider myself to be on a synthetic dye diet.  I wear as much un-dyed or naturally-dyed clothing as I can and I work primarily with un-dyed or naturally-dyed yarn.  I make exceptions for gift items.  I've stocked up on naturally-coloured wool to spin and yarn to knit, and I've increased my plant-based dyeing skills and knowledge.  
     I admire Rebecca Burgess' original fibreshed project.  For a year Burgess wore only clothes made of undyed, naturally-coloured, and naturally-dyed fibres from her area.  All the labour came from her area too.  The criteria for fibreshed (and the tagline of her Fibershed organization and its affiliates) is local fibre, local dyes, local labour.  Here is an interview about Burgess' original wardrobe project:



     I love the guilds and group I belong to.  I joined my handspinning guild near the end of 2008 and they got me from the ground up.  The members taught me how to spin, knit, dye, and shop for supplies and tools.  They fed me how-to books and videos.  I took weaving classes from one of the members.  My Ravelry projects page has some embarrassingly basic and lumpy stuff, the yarn equivalent of baby pictures.  Språng I learned by myself from books.  
     I inform, advise, and encourage people as they begin to use drop spindles.  At festivals and guild meetings, friends send aspirants my way.  It's great!  I enjoy giving people useful information about handspinning and språng.

June 23, 2018

Teal & Co. English hand wool combs

I was pleased the other day to have been in the same room as a set of four pitch English hand wool combs made by Teal & Co.  Never really took to combing wool myself, but I consider Peter Teal's book, Hand Woolcombing and Spinning, to be a great read.

Teal & Co. English hand wool combs

Speaking of wool combing, let me also show you the fancy diz I made with copper and jade:

copper and jade diz for wool combs

June 16, 2018

Linen Handkerchiefs and Entropy

handsewn linen handkerchiefs
The linen handkerchiefs, the ones I sewed six years ago, are just starting to get holes in them.  That's good, especially considering how thin the material is.  I think it was Fabrics-Store.com's 2.8 oz linen fabric which they describe as sheer.

One hankie hitched a ride in a t-shirt I was taking to a dye workshop, so it went into the indigo vat.  So very pretty and yet so very wrong.  Handkerchiefs should be white.

June 09, 2018

Tweeting a Bit

     Happy world wide knit in public day!
     I've been tweeting a bit, at www.twitter.com/RosetwistLLC.  I learned to use TweetDeck, which is part of Twitter, to schedule tweets ahead of time.  Useful.
     Besides product update tweets for my company, I'm tweeting about running a knitter business.  It's sort of like what I do here, writing about what I do and learn.
     I don't know if you've read my blog posts from the beginning but the small business economy, crossed with the fibre arts, has been an interest of mine.  And service design.  Even when I was just a customer.  Maybe it also interests you?
     If I've inserted the HTML properly and you're not using something like Ghostery to block content, you should be able to see a preview of my recent tweets here.



    You can now see a gallery view of the things I've made with handspinning, knitting, handweaving, tablet weaving, natural dyeing, and språng, on this new blog page: http://thesojourningspinner.blogspot.com/p/portfolio.html.
     I am pleased to tell you that just over 5 000 people have subscribed to my YouTube channel, which is mostly about how to do språng (braiding on stretched threads).
     Thank you for your interest.  I hope you're getting enjoyment out of seeing my work here and around the web.

June 02, 2018

LinkedIn buy and sell group for Indie Fiber Artists and Those Who Love Them

     I have started a LinkedIn group for indie fiber artists and those who love them.  You can find it here, https://lnkd.in/dTdrQcf.  
     It is meant to act like a classifieds, with postings of "for sale," "in search of," and "free offer."  
     I know the fiber arts community doesn't use LinkedIn that much.  And it's a bit of a bother, signing up for another site or downloading another app.  I only signed up years ago because a family member strongly urged me to be there.  
     I chose LinkedIn because the platform functions well and it's meant for business.  Compared to Facebook which is meant for cat photos.  (Nothing against cat photos.)  Or Ravelry which is meant for knitting project management, knitting pattern sales, and knitting discussions.  (Nothing against knitting.)  On LinkedIn you can easily see who someone is, how to contact them, and what they offer generally for goods and services to the public.  You know they're open for business.  And the group page lets you discuss what's going on in the field.  
     These are the guidelines for the group:
To participate you as an individual must offer to the public your own work which is traceable domestic (U.S.) in-house fiber (wool, cotton, linen, hemp, etc.), plant-based dyes, fiber arts services (milling, knitting, weaving), fiber arts instruction (books, classes, blog posts), fiber arts tools, fiber arts research and development, or fiber arts themed fine arts (original drawings, paintings). 
Or be a buyer of the same. 
Or be a professional (in the U.S.) who offers to the public products and services that fiber arts micro businesses really need (graphic design, vendor spots at wool festivals, artist residencies, etc.). 
     It comes out of my personal experiences as a buyer in search of traceable, undyed or naturally dyed clothing.  That's been a somewhat fruitless quest so far and I'd like to make it easier for people like me who want a wardrobe of artisanal clothing without having to throw a few thousand dollars a year at the problem.  Or who at least want to know if that's what it truly takes.  Cloth with a story, terroir.  Stunningly beautiful cloth, eco-friendly and humanely raised.  I'd say local cloth is where local food was twenty years ago and the movement needs help to reach a tipping point.  
     It comes from my experiences as a handspinner of wool yarn, wanting to buy obscure products like dried Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) which is a moth repellant.  I don't want to grow it.  I want to pay someone to do that, and order by clicking a button.  This is just an a example of the niche needs fibre artists have, and we are willing to pay good money to have them met.  Handspinners get up to a lot of stuff, growing indigo, raiding mulberry trees to feed silk worms, spreading the good word about wool.  We buy many goods and services, and not many businesses cater to us.  We rely on the secondhand market, each other, and our friends and family for some needs, like help with social media and advice on fibre arts techniques, and that doesn't always do the job.  (It's still pretty good, though.)  I never did hear how it went with all the fiber flax seeds I gave away to friends for their private research, and I really wanted to know.  
     It comes from some comments friends and strangers have given me lately, how much they value the attention, encouragement, and information I've given them regarding their work.  
     And it comes out of my experiences as a micro business owner selling sterling silver yarn-themed jewellery.  I buy products and services and education for DIY solutions in order to do my production and marketing.  I am doing okay on production since I'm able to make and source what I want to, mostly, and I'm ahead of customer demand.  Maybe I'm ahead of demand because I'm making things people don't actually want to buy?  Notice I didn't say need to buy.  The fibre arts are not about need, they are about desire.  Anyway.  I choose to think my need is to get found in order to get sales.  Advice is welcome!  I am not alone in that need, I've observed.  
     I think we need to get found and find each other better than we are doing.  
     Will you consider joining me on LinkedIn?  And talk about this topic with others wherever you are?  Thanks.  
     I know LinkedIn is probably a long shot.  Our demographic is on Facebook and Ravelry.  But again, the platform is for business.  Plus, Facebook and Ravelry are Balkanized, with a group here and a group there dedicated to one seller and that sort of thing.  Ravelry is good about showing you all posts but Facebook's newsfeed is not.  



Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.
Proverbs 22:29 NIV

May 28, 2018

Video Interviews about Guild Membership and Handspinning Flax

Every so often I record a fibre arts conversation with someone and post it on YouTube.  (I'm not all språng how-to videos!)

Here is Cindy, talking about her homegrown clothing, the wheel she was given, and how to spin flax into yarn.


Here is Monica talking about the benefits she has gotten from membership in her local handspinners guild.

May 23, 2018

Excited for PNW Fibershed's System Map

     Well, this is exciting!  Pacific Northwest Fibershed now has a map of producers of local fibre, local dyes, and local labour at www.bit.ly/Fibershed-crowdmap.  It's called Mapping the Domestic Fiber System, and it's on Google.  It's done in partnership with Ecotrust.
     While Pacific Northwest Fibershed is primarily concerned with producers in its own region, it appears that the map is meant to cover the whole United States.  At least, there are entries from other places.
     Appears that to qualify for a producer listing, you don't need to fall into an official Fibershed affiliate area or need membership in an affiliate.  This is a boon to regions like mine which are only partially covered and lack a producer program.  But, as they say on Air Farce, I'm not bitter.
     Do you produce Fibershed goods or services?  The map is crowd-sourced, so you can add your listing.
     Do you buy local fibre, local dyes, local milling and spinning services, local patterns, local tools, local knitting, weaving, dyeing, or design services, local seeds for dyes or fibre, local fibre arts books, or local fibre arts instruction?  Please give the link to your sources and urge them to add a listing.
     I am still trying to clothe myself with pieces made with natural fibre, plant-based dyes (or naturally-coloured fibre), and fair labour in order to make my life more eco-friendly, beautiful, comfortable, and interesting.  Traceable local materials or labour are a bonus.  So if you're on the map, I might buy from you.  My stack of real indigo J.Crew tees are getting a little faded and shabby.
     And there are 14 000 Ravelry users who give their location as within 100 miles of Richmond, Virginia who probably want to buy good stuff too.