It's September 1st and my third month as a committed blogger! I have been blogging my little heart out (35 entries in the month of August!), but I'm not foolish enough to think I have any steady readership yet. Still, maybe if I keep going, you, the readers will come. And if you are stopping by and you have specific areas of interest, let me know. Maybe you like how-to's or to see projects from start to finish or like to get an occasional pattern. I plan to try to write with more detail and offer more specific information.
Speaking of which, I had roving all over my house today, so I took some pictures and thought I'd write a little bit about my process when it comes to getting my dyed roving ready to sell at my Etsy shop. I was working with two kinds of roving today, 22 micron merino and soy silk. After I dye my roving, I usually lay it out in the sun on clean towels to dry. One of the great things about living here in Arizona, is that the sun almost never fails to shine. There are very few days when I look out of my window and think, "Maybe not today". I have a concrete back porch area like many people do out here, so I lay my roving there rather than in the grass where little critters might find it interesting. One of the other nice things about drying outside in the fresh air is that it naturally lofts up. (Can loft be a verb?) If you take a close look, you can see some short sparkling fiber next to each color. That's the nylon Firestar that I dye with my merino and soy silk. I give about an 8" sample of it away with every ounce I sell. I just think it's fun to always have the option of adding a little sparkle to your yarn.
So while the merino drys outside, I move inside and upstairs to my studio where the floor is covered in yesterday's dyed soy silk. I went crazy this weekend with the soy silk. I dyed 5 pounds in two days. What you see in this picture is three lbs of it waiting to be processed. I often dye just 4 ounces at a time, but these are 8oz rovings. As I said before, I sell my roving by the ounce and one of the things about Etsy is that you always want to be listing. So rather than list 8oz of one color at a time, the first thing I did was to divide these in half as well as their matching firestar. That half goes into a storage bag that is labeled. When I run out of stock of a certain color in my store, then I'll get the next 4oz ready to list. With soy silk, I first tease it out a little. The colors Night Blue and Lichen in the photo have received this teasing and the other colors are still waiting. The reason I tease it is because soy silk likes to pile when wet and so it clings together. You can really
see what I mean in this picture to the left. It's just not showing off how beautiful it is yet. After I tease it out, I further divide it into 4 equal 1oz lengths. The last thing I do before gently rolling it up, is I give it just a slight pull. I don't want to loosen all the fibers from each other, but I do want to get out those last few kinks from being all wet. It's an amazing transformation and though prepping soy silk can be a little tedious, it's my favorite part. It just seems to come to life in my fingers. It goes from being matted and uninteresting to billoughy and soft. It's one of those chores with immediate gratification. Actually, it's only a chore when you do 3lbs at a time!
So While I'm dividing the roving, I also divide the firestar into four equal parts and roll that up too. I set aside one ounce of each color along with it's matching firestar to be photographed for my shop. The rest go into zip lock bags and are labeled with their color and fiber type.
In my studio, which I'll have to show you another time, I have bins where I keep all of my fiber sorted. Right now I've got Merino, Soy Silk, Alpaca, Bamboo and Merino/Silk in stock. I also have bins that store the fiber waiting to be dyed or waiting to be sold to people who either like to dye their own, or like their fiber free of dyes. Once the fiber is photographed and listed at Wind Rose Fiber Studio, the only thing left to do is wait ......and maybe blog a bit.