Monday, June 30, 2008

Crafty Bastards Silver Spring '08

What a day! I'm still recovering from it. It was so very horribly hot and humid, I thought that I wasn't going to sell a thing...but I almost sold completely out! I brought about 40 skeins of yarn, a bunch of batts, a basket of felty baubles, and two pairs of handspun & handknit fingerless gloves. This is what I brought home with me:

crafty bastards - leftovers

Three skeins of yarn, some felty baubles (not pictured), and the leaves I embroidered during the show. It was a fast job packing my booth up, let me tell you! I felt sort of bad that I sold out, since my table started looking pretty pathetic halfway through the show, but I'm also in shock because I really didn't think I would sell even close to as much as I did! It was a bit of a livesaver, though, since I was worried that I'd be tight financially this month. Now I can afford to go to Jacey's spinning workshop next month! I'm so very grateful for all the folks who bought - or even just complimented - my yarns. I hope they bring you hours of happy crafting!

I loved talking to everyone at the show. Some highlights were getting to meet Jocelyn, a very good customer of mine. I've always hoped I'd run into her sometime, since she lives so close! She was adorable and sweet and bought me a bottle of water, which probably saved me from dying of heat exhaustion later on. I also met one of Cosy's friends (I had Cosy's book with me and was showing it to people - and quite a few people already knew of her work!).

More pictures of my stuff at the show:

crafty bastards - felty baubles

Pick-your-own felty baubles...these were a big hit!

crafty bastards - wool novelty yarns

Lots of people ask me where I get my fibers from, and I'm always happy to tell them!

crafty bastards - vegan yarns

My vegan yarns also generated a lot of discussion, and several people told me that they were glad they got to feel the fibers in person. I had fun pointing out which yarns were made from bamboo and which had recycled plastic bottles in them.

crafty bastards - self striping

My self-striping yarns sold out fast. I think that was the first thing I ran out of! I brought along a scarf that I knit from the original skein of my Selkie striping yarn, and that helped a lot to show how much mileage you get out of a skein.

crafty bastards - basket o' patchwork

A lovely basket of fresh patchwork yarns.

crafty bastards - baaatts!

Batts! I sold every last batt I brought, plus a braid of handdyed organic cotton. I tried to make the novelty batts as fun as possible - they're full of stuff like sequins, fabric scraps, and the ninja batt has some black tulle in it.

crafty bastards - hand dyed fairytale yarns

Lastly, I had some hand-dyed skeins of commercially spun organic cotton & bamboo blend yarn. This yarn is so lovely. All the colorways are inspired by fairytales - the ones in this picture are The Frog Prince, The Princess + The Pea, and Snow White + Rose Red.

I made all the tags and signs for the show, and even my business cards, out of recycled brown paper grocery bags from Trader Joes. We mostly use cloth bags for shopping, but every once in a while we forget to bring them, so I save the bags to cut up and re-use. I love the texture of heavy brown paper bags! I either cut them up and write directly onto them, or I cut them into sheets the same size as regular letter paper and then stick them in a copy machine/printer and copy designs onto them. I'm no good at graphic design, so I just stick to handwriting/drawing all my labels etc.

I'm also grateful to the Crafty Bastards organizers for putting on such a fun, amazing show! They handed out hundreds (thousands? There were a lot) of Crafty Bastards tote bags (shown in the first photo), which were very handy because people had a place to stash their crafty buys. I brought some plastic bags just in case, but it was much nicer to see everyone using reusable cloth bags. I thought that was really great of them!

I have a backlog of custom orders and wholesale orders that I'll be focusing on working through this week, but I'll be spinning up more fun yarns for the shop soon. And there will be a shop update tonight with the few yarns that didn't sell at the show!

P.S. Someone asked for the recipe for the organic green tea chai that I mentioned in my last post. I just use the Yogi green chai and then add either almond milk or soymilk. It makes a great summer morning tea, because the milk cools it down a lot. And it's so very delicious! It gives me a reason to drag myself out of bed early in the morning.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I think that THIS blurb from the Crafty Bastards twitter pretty much sums up today's show.

More tomorrow! I'm super exhausted...the Crafty Bastards and all the lovely vendors put on an amazing show, the best craft show I've ever attended, let alone sold at.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Tomorrow is the Crafty Bastards show in Silver Spring! I'm finishing up the last of my packing right now before I go to bed, which for me means making iced organic green chai tea with almond milk (my new obsession) and baking some whole wheat pita chips to go with my hummus for lunch tomorrow. I'm excited and nervous!! I feel so inexperienced & unprepared when it comes to craft shows...this is only my second official show.

I'll be at booth #64 (you can see the map here), so stop by if you're in the area and say hi. I was planning on bringing my wheel, but now I probably won't because it looks like there might be some rain and I don't want to risk it. There's going to be so much fun stuff going bands, food, supply swaps, plus inside the pyramid atlantic building there will be workshops! If you can't come but want to follow along from afar, the Crafty Bastards organizers have said they'll be posting little blurbs on their twitter all day long.

I'm going to try to take pictures this time. I'll have a few fun things that I didn't have last weekend, like "pick your own" felty baubles and handdyed vegan (organic cotton/bamboo) commercially spun yarns in fairytale-inspired colorways.

Oh, and if you're interested you can read my interview for the Crafty Bastards blog. I put off answering the questions until the absolute last minute, because I also feel so self-conscious/dorky!

I'll leave you with some pictures of my current dyed vegan fiber stash (you can click on them to go to the flickr page for more details)...this is what I'll be dreaming of during slow times at the fair:

vegan fiber stash

Although really I can't start spinning it until I get all my current wholesale & custom orders done. But I can dream.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pile of Craft

Pile of Craft was fun, and now I feel much more ready (readier?) for Crafty Bastards next saturday! Pile of Craft took place in this gorgeous church:

pile of craft 08

(you can click on the photo to go to the flickr page & see the pictures better.)

And even though I am not really a city person, I was really impressed with the community in Baltimore, to the point that Lucius and I talked a little about moving there at some point in the future. The people there reminded me so strongly of my last year of high school, when I discovered the radical community in Milwaukee. I'm so glad that I went, and now I'm looking forward to applying to more shows in Baltimore so I can go back.

I didn't bring my camera to the show, since it's a clunky ancient thing that is current held together with a few rubber bands (sadly, this is not an exaggeration) and it can only hold about 9 pictures at a time, so the above pics were "borrowed" from other folks via flickr. But I did take one picture of a few of my self-striping yarns all labeled up on Friday:

labeled yarns

I left off labeling my stuff until the absolute last minute, and it took FOREVER. Lesson learned!

I did well enough at the show to make it worth it, but not so well that I have to completely re-spin my inventory for next saturday, so it worked out perfect! I know I would have sold a lot more if I had been able to accept credit cards, but I put that off until the last minute too and ended up having problems setting up a merchant account, so I need to call and get that figured out today.

I had a bunch of batts with me at the show, and a lot of people looked at them but obviously had no clue what they were. Most people had the same reaction to them - a sort of blissful tactile awe combined with complete confusion over what the heck they were. This batt wins the "most-fondled" award for the show:

seafoam batt

I think nearly every single person who laid eyes on it picked it up and petted it. But I think I'm going to spin it up myself now - it's a yummy blend of raw merino-cross wool from homestead that I dyed in seafoamy shades plus a hint of pale green, pale blue mohair, seafoam bamboo, sparkle, and white & seafoam tencel nepps from Steph. Yum!

I also brought home this yarn, one of my favorites:

princess tree handspun

As you can see, I've taken spinning leaves into yarn to a whole new level, hah. I call this one "Princess Tree", and I made some awesome abstract black & pink leaves for it. If this one doesn't sell next Saturday, I think I might keep it for myself. I also managed to cut out & embroider 30 felt leaves at the show! So more leafy yarns are on the way.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Come see me in person!

The two craft shows I'm going to be at this month are:


If you're in the area, come see my yarns in person! I'll have loads of handspun, plus some other bits and bobs like felty baubles and handcarded batts.

I still have lots to do to get ready! I'm about to go back to spinning - I'm finishing up my vegan yarn club yarns for June. They'll ship on Monday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm still here!

Well, I was planning on updating my etsy shop regularly this week - until I realized that my first craft show is 11 days away. Eep! And my vegan yarn club yarns need to be ready to go by the end of this week. I spent most of today carding and prepping a bunch of vegan fibers to spin. I think I have about 7 skeins worth of fiber all ready to go for a major spinning marathon!

carding frenzy

It is SO hot here. And I like hot weather (normally). I've been carding with a fan pointed straight at me, and it doesn't seem to be helping all that much. We have an AC unit in the living room (my fiber, carder, and wheel are in the bedroom), but I don't like to use it - except it's been hitting 100 degrees (or close to it) every single day this week so far! Ugh...I could stand it if it wasn't so humid. I bought one of those plastic popsicle-making thingies and I've been freezing fruit juice popsicles to help cool me off. Lots of showers and hot tea (to raise my body temperature) as well. The GreenCraft forum on ravelry has a thread with lots of awesome tips for keeping cool without AC...the next thing I'm going to try is putting cardboard covered with aluminum foil in the windows to reflect the heat. A bit crazy, but if it works my life will be so much easier.

I've actually been doing a few things other than dyeing/carding/spinning/sitting on the computer lately. Lucius & I have started running at a track by our apartment that is the perfect distance away - we can walk there, and it's just far enough that we're warmed up by the time we get there. And we also joined a local pool, so we'll be swimming soon (I'm going for the first time today!) as well. Lucius is taking adult swim lessons, which I think is super cute. He knows how to swim, just not all the different strokes etc. I haven't taken lessons since I was about nine or so, so I'm hoping I'll just magically remember everything.

I also actually finished the hemp market bag that I started crocheting. Amazing! It turned out perfect. I thought it was going to be too short & wide when I finished, but it stretches when you put stuff in it, so it's exactly the dimensions I wanted. I can't wait to take it to the farmer's market - I've already been using it to carry random things just because I'm so happy with it.

hemp market bag