Friday, July 31, 2009

The Store Closes Before it Really Ever Opens

My heart breaks to admit that I have decided to close my Etsy store before it's even had its Grand Opening. All the Phat Fiber goodies that my Mom finished, all the samples sitting in a box in the hall, all the nekked's finished.

I have always envied the people who post updates on Twitter (what seems like every hour some days) about the stuff they just finished dyeing. These people obviously don't have jobs (outside of dyeing and selling their goods - which, admittedly, is a full time job), or young children. I see people Tweet that live on farms where they work their butts off to maintain their animals and sell what they grow, which makes me jealous...

Truth is, I love my life. I love my son...he is the sunshine in my day (even when he's losing his mind), and I love the fact that I have the luxury of working from home so I can watch him grow and don't have to drop him off at someone's house while I work away from the house.

But on days like yesterday, and they come more frequently as he gets older, when he needs my attention, my work gets put aside. Unfortunately, I still have deadlines and that means I work when he naps (which was a total of an hour yesterday) or in the evenings when his Dad gets home, or on weekends when most families spend time together. That leaves me time to dye at about 1130 at night...and when I finally get to bed and nod off, it seems, Quinn is wanting to get up for one reason or another.

Something's got to give.

My house is a mess...we are trying to sort out what we need to do to sell it. Painting is going to be a big thing, and I have no idea when that's going to take place. Lots of little, everyday things just don't get done (like dinner making) because I'm either having to entertain Quinn or I'm trying to get something done for work. Or, I'm just too damned tired.

Don has headed into busy season with work and he'll be gone away some, he's gone during the day for work and is away leading boxing 3 days a week for a few hours...and boxing season begins in a few short weeks (and it seems like it *just* ended - where did the summer go?) which means that Don will be gone most weekends because he has to get fights for our boxers.

Quinn is getting bigger by the day, and I don't want to look back and regret not spending as much time as possible with him before he gets to the stage where he would much rather just lock himself in his room and irritate me with his horrible choice in music. As he gets older, he'll have things he's involved in which is going to mean me shuffling my schedule, and if there's no leeway, there's no way it's going to happen.

Taking care of him, working from home, trying to run the household, and helping with the boxing club is plenty work for anyone. My priority is caring for Quinn and making sure I'm able to help pay the bills. If I can squeeze some time in there to spin for myself, I'm happy. There's just not enough time to add another job description, kwim?

So I need to say "when". I loved the idea of having a shoppe, and loved dyeing for the shoppe. I even loved listing and promoting for the shoppe and I'll be very sad to see it go, but I have the sense to realize that I'm just too busy and know that something's got to give.

Thanks for all the support you've given me, the encouragement, the advice...I really do appreciate it.

- Jacy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Store Addition and a Sneak Peek

8 Ball, Corner Pocket (named by Don)

8 Ball, Corner Pocket

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pending Shop Updates

I dyed a gorgeous rainbow shetland roving which will be difficult to list in the store (because I'd much rather just spin it up myself!) It's still drying so it will be listed in the next couple of days.

Have some knit up swatch examples of Goth Lipstick and a dip dyed yarn that's about to be posted (just have to photograph the skein).

Goth Lipstick

8 Ball, Corner Pocket

Also listed a 90% Wool, 10% Mohair blend that I purchased from Natchwoolie and dyed a couple of days ago. I love the way the mohair is this beautiful, shiny and wavy strip alongside the lofty wool.

Blue Hydrangea

Blue Hydrangea

Busy, Busy, Busy

Yesterday we had an awesome day at Niagara Falls. Munchkin Punchkin had fun while we were there, but the ride home was a little bit difficult. I am sure he can't wait to be able to see out the windows. Then, maybe, longer trips won't be such a bother.

I hand carded 2 oz of Merino/Cashmere in the sunniest colour I could muster. I called it "Sunshiny Day" and it was a custom order for my Mom.

Sunshiny Day

I also wanted to share a swatch of "Briar Rose and the Little Prick"...the sample we're sending in for the September Phat Fiber box.

Briar Rose and the Little Prick

I love the way the "blood stains" go a nice coppery colour once spun up. It's so soft and easy to spin, this Merino/Nylon blend!

I have a 4oz bit of shetland in the steamer right now and it's about time to turn it off and let it cool for the night.

I hear my bed calling me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Two Shoppe Adds

Alright! It's been a little tougher than I thought to upload two of the many things that need to be added to the Etsy shop but I present to you the first two items in the Munchkin Punchkin store...

Goth Lipstick

New Moon: Complete

462 yds (100g) of fingering weight yarn in red dip dyed with black. The red run is about 33" long and the black around 42", each fading into the other.

Briar Rose and the Little Prick

Briar Rose and the Little Prick

Get your mind out of the gutter! Sleeping Beauty's name was "Briar Rose"! This colourway features a peaceful blue sky base periodically interrupted by blood hued spots. (Get it now??)

This is a sneak peek at what we will be contributing to the September Phat Fiber box.

This 4 oz. roving is made from 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon.

While I was posting this on Ravelry, *someone* ordered the Briar Rose roving. So I'm back to having only one item in the shop! Not that I'm complaining, haha. We're off to buy more fibre today! I'm sure we'll be updating again very soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mood Ring SW Merino

So I dyed my first roving two nights ago...I named it Mood Ring because it has shades of turquoise and green, just like my favourite mood ring from high school. I had no intention of selling it in the shoppe as soon as I saw it. I just HAD TO spin it!

A 4oz roving spun up to 198 yds 2 ply.Mood Ring Handspun

Mood Ring Roving

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tears of Joy

Quinn just took two unassisted steps. He did it last night for Don (while I was cooking dinner) but tonight he did it 3 times in front of me. He's way too young for that!

I finished my spinning for the Tour de Fleece today. It was made up of mill ends that weren't even good enough to be sold as mill ends that I got for free. I think it looks great and am considering buying more mill ends in those colours to make a whole proper hank of it.

3ply sw merino

I also finished my first roving dye job. It's 8oz of superwash merino in shades of lemon, lime and turquoise. I call it "Mood Ring" because it reminds me of a ring I used to have. I can't wait to spin it.

Mood Ring by Munchkin Punchkin

Rainy Day Update

Busy, busy, busy with work, but wanted to update before I forgot all the fun stuff I want to talk about.

  • Updated the look of the blog using a free template. There are a bunch of things I want to adjust, and I will (when I have more time).

  • Spun up some of the Camel Top I bought. Couldn't figure out why the heck it was so rough, like sisal. Then I *read* the bag and realized I have 2 bags full of Low Camel Top, which is basically just stiff hairs in a roving. Great for a rug, if that was my intention. Maybe I'll list it in the shoppe later. I'm sure someone can use it.

  • Took Munchkin Punchkin out to play in the rain this morning. He was still in his sleeper, and I was going to have to change him and wash it anyway...why not let it get wet? It's important to us that he enjoys the outdoors, and what better way to foster a healthy love for all types of weather then to go out and play in it? He had fun splashing around on the deck, but it is unseasonably cool and I didn't want him to catch a chill. We came in and I dried him off and changed him into warm clothes, and he spend the next 20 minutes "telling" his toys how much fun he had. At least I think that's what he was saying.

  • I've been invited, by a lovely member of a local guild, to spin at the John R. Park Homestead in August for the Blueberry Festival. I don't have all the details, but thankfully we are free so Don can bring Quinn out and I can spend the day spinning my brains out. That was good news.

  • Tour Update: I'm currently spinning some random blobs of roving. Really, that's what it is, just blobs. It's like mill ends that are so messed up they can't even be sold as mill ends plus discount. I plan to spin something awesome with them. Stay tuned...if I can find time to spin today and tomorrow.

  • And finally, perhaps the most exciting of my news, I dyed my first roving last night. I decided to dye the superwash merino to limit my risk of messing it up too badly. With Don's help, I chose turquoise, chartreuse and yellow and it's currently drying. Roving all wet looks like a horrid clumpy mess. I can't wait for it to dry so I can fluff it back up a bit and photograph it! It was pretty labour intensive, since I have limited space and don't have everything in one spot (can't wait to have a workshop!) but I did it. And I'm damned proud of myself. We'll see how it worked out and maybe I'll have stuff up in the shop sooner than later.

Back to work I later I'm sure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alright, I'm back!

After a few days of "relaxing" at the cottage (anyone who has a baby knows this just doesn't happen), we're back and raring to go. I brought my wheel and, thanks to Don, was able to carve out some time to spin.

Catching up...

Day 4

Plyed the milk that I dyed with Koolaid.

2ply milk fibre dyed with Koolaid

Day 5

Spun eXtreme Spinning's "Iris" shetland single.

Shetland Top from eXtreme Spinning


eXtreme Spinning's "Iris" shetland

Iris and the Dock

Day 6

Plyed "Iris"

2 ply "Iris"

eXtreme Spinning's "Iris" shetland

Day 7

Spun pewter sw Merino from The Black Lamb.

Pewter merino

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Appreciation: eXtreme Spinning

In the few months that I have been a part of the Phat Fiber community, I have "met" and purchased from some really incredible people. I'm going to try to write an appreciation thread for the people who I really...well...appreciate.

Those who have the pleasure of knowing CJ, the artist behind eXtreme Spinning, will tell you how amazing she is. When you buy from CJ, you can buy in good conscience. The products in her shop are dyed organically, and she seems to like supporting her local farms and processors. She knows what it takes to raise fiber bearing animals, having experienced it first-hand, and obviously holds her fiber suppliers to the same high standards.

It was through her that I learned about the horrific practice of mulesing. For those who don't know, mulesing is the process of cutting loose skin away from the buttocks of a very young lamb, and it's not required to give the lamb any pain relief before, during or after the procedure...even though it's apparent that the lamb does feel pain. Why does this happen? To help eliminate flystrike. Are there alternatives to help eliminate flystrike? Yup.

CJ's fibers are sourced from people who do not use this procedure. Maybe a little more difficult to find these farms, maybe the products are a little more expensive, but it's nice to know that she's trying to get products in her shop that she can proudly stand behind.

So, other than her ethical values, why do I appreciate her so much?

CJ has patiently answered numerous questions from me regarding all sorts of topics. I saw a collar that I wanted to make and she walked me through the process of tailspinning a yarn, helped me choose the right locks for the project, made a custom order for me, and offered to answer any further questions.

I've dealt with some people who are happy to make the sale, and are appreciative, but who are not available unless interest in spending more money is apparent. CJ makes you feel like you're a good friend. That means a lot.

Her stuff is gorgeous. Seriously. Check out her store. And she's willing to work with you, if she has the fiber, to make what you really need (or want).

And her business cards are pretty awesome. She puts that little bit of extra effort into everything she does.

For those reasons, and more, I will proudly continue to support eXtreme Spinning.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 3: Completed Beach Glass (and got a new car)

Day 3 was a tough one. With Quinn teething, work getting busy with looking at the Fall catalogs (and I pray it's not going to end up 90 hour weeks for 4 weeks this time around!), and having to get to the car dealership before they closed, I really didn't have any time to spin.

That's sad.

TECHNICALLY, I finished up the Beach Glass 2-ply at 130am...which makes it Day 3. Don't argue with me!

Day 3: 2 Ply Beach Glass

Day 3: 2 Ply Beach Glass

And, a photo of my new car (which I am supposed to pick up tomorrow).

My neeewwww caarrrrr!

Oh, and I also found out that I won a silk brick from Natchwoolie because I participated in the Firecracker 500 contest. Awesomely, my Mom was the winner of the red firestar prize.

Day 2: Beach Glass Batt from Giffordables

I spun up one of my Beach Glass batts from Giffordables as time permitted. I got to finish up the singles while watching a movie with Don after Quinn went to bed.

This is my progress mid-day:
Day 2: Beach Glass batt from Giffordables

While my assistant, Mara Jade Skywalker, looked on approvingly:
Day 2: Beach Glass batt from Giffordables

and the President of the company slept:
Day 2: Beach Glass batt from Giffordables

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tired Tour Update

We're on Teethwatch. Munchkin Punchkin had a restless night last night so I didn't get much sleep.

I stayed up fairly late spinning up one of the Beach Glass batts from Giffordables. It looks pretty good. I have to get some photos.

It's Day 3 and I'm already thinking I probably won't bother making an effort to post the photos in the big daily thread. I think I have the strategy figured have to post your photo early in the thread and it should be rainbow or something equally as vivid. Those seem to be the finishes that get the most votes.

I'll still spin every day, and probably post updates in the Phat Fiber Team thread, and not stress myself out if I don't get a photo up in the daily thread.

My dyes came today and I'm really anxious to dye up this fingering weight SW wool yarn I also ordered (it's soooo soft) but being this tired, I'd probably mess something up pretty majorly, so I am going to just wait until MP takes his nap and lay down for a bit.

We're supposed to look at cars again tonight. Why dealerships close at 5 on a Saturday, I will never know...but what I do know is that Don needs a new car, so it's up to the city we go. Unless he has to drive out of town to visit customers (which he'll need to do this week as well).

So tired.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tour de Fleece: Day 1

Ok, so it's 45 minutes after midnight. The tour technically starts today. I have a busy day ahead (when I wake up) and with all the hubub, I'm sure I won't have a ton of time to spin, so I took advantage of MP's sleepy time and spun some merino I had in my stash.

I'm anxious to get all my bobbins cleared so I can spin those gorgeous Beach Glass batts from Giffordables (and yes, I know those will be lumpy a bit, lol - *that* I expect so I'll spin accordingly).

Chiro tomorrow (thank goodness!) then we're taking Willow to lunch for her birthday (to Mongolian Grill, yum!). We'll check out some car lots so Don can do the test drive thing and then head home. I have work to do this weekend, unfortunately. Maybe I'll save that for Sunday.

Update: 8:30pm

Day 1: Merino, originally uploaded by MunchkinPunchkin.

I have about an ounce and a half to complete this braid and I plan to ply it with another braid from this artist. I might just N-ply it...haven't decided.

I hope to have a little time tonight to finish this one up. It was a LONG day :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Kromski Stuff :)

My Kromski Stuff :), originally uploaded by MunchkinPunchkin.

Mailing List, Tour de Fleece and Store Update

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I have a whole lot of fiber to spin for the Tour de Fleece and I want to get started.


I have dyes and sample products winging their way to me. They didn't come today so maybe early next week. I'll be going up to Port Hope next weekend to pick up some fibre to see if it's what I want to sell. I'll have to dye it, spin it, knit up a sample, wash it a few times, and see if it's good enough to be stamped with the Munchkin Punchkin's face.

I need to print up a bunch of business cards, and think about a few strategies. I need to find a supplier of natural yarn that I like, preferably Canadian sourced. I really need to move stuff downstairs because it's taking over the kitchen and living room. I'll have to scour yard sales for a few more pots, bowls and crock pots, as well as drying racks. My Father is making me a drying table.

I need to find an old drafting lamp to finish off my photo/light table and set it up downstairs. I also need to buy a bunch more wire "cubes" for storage.


I have to find a place to get packing materials at a good price, and somehow still manage time to work my full time (plus) job, take care of Quinn and run the boxing club.

More for the Tour

HUGE fluffy batts of Beach Glass (the same as the samples in the June Phat Fiber box) from Giffordables.

And she threw in some really awesome "Giffies" that I can't wait to get into. I can't put into words how fluffy and soft these 1/2 oz batts are...even after the long trip up North!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Merino Top

Spinning this as thin as I can...we'll see how it turns out.

Today's Phat Giveaway

A giant gorgeous skein of handspun from It's a Colorful Life!

Here's one of the products in her Etsy shop...

Isn't this gorgeous?? All of her colourways are equally as beautiful.