Yarnscape’s Last Stand

In two weeks’ time I will be preparing for the second day of trading at Textiles in Focus – the first place Yarnscape ever had a trading stall, and quite possibly the last.

Yarnscape's first stand
Yarnscape’s first stand

(Five years ago!  Wow, how things have changed.  And how they have not, too)

At the end of last year, I started dyeing for sale again – and quickly stopped.  I’ve realised that it’s not something that’s compatible with having a full-time job and also pursuing fibre-y things for fun.  There are only so many hours in the day, after all!

I’m definitely looking forwards to my stall at TiF – it’s a local venue, and one of my favourites.  But I’m really, really nervous about getting ready.  I never had the sense to make a checklist for this stuff when I was doing it regularly, so I’m just going to have to hope I don’t forget anything! It’s been over 2.5 years since I had a stall, and though I know I’ll enjoy it when I’m there, I’m feeling slightly sick/anxious at the ‘preparation’ part.  I’ve moved house three times since that very wet weekend at Fibre East; what if I can’t find everything?  What if I forget some important stuff?!

Which is why I’m going to get as much as possible done today!  Wish me luck; local folks, I hope like anything to see you there.



Yesterday was set-up day for Textiles in Focus.  I couldn’t resist sharing a photo of this box with Wensleydale roving on top:

The day was not enhanced by my car emitting a loud twanging noise from the suspension, as it spontaneously gave itself a council-estate ‘sports lowering’.  Yep – one of the coil springs broke…

What dining table?

…it’s a rewinding station!

It’s also kinda out of focus, and has that nasty yellow cast that seems to plague my iPhone camera under artificial light.  The neatly wound skeins are a new yarn for this year; ‘Lissom’, a merino-tencel laceweight that has a beautiful lustre, and takes colour in a most magical way:

Bottom left, you can see some skeins of ‘Dance’ waiting to be rewound and made pretty.  Dance is another new yarn; a BFL/silk sock-weight yarn.  Apparently, I’m all about the shiny right now:

Since the new year, I’ve also been experimenting a lot with more saturated colours.  This is not to say that I’m abandoning my subtle tones, but it’s fun to change things up a bit, too!  I’ve also been playing in the red end of the spectrum a lot, which has been fun because my dye set doesn’t include anything I consider a ‘true red’.  Nothing’s quite so fluorescent as the iPhone flash makes this appear though (and it’s even more yellow!  How come?!):

There’s been some fibre-dyeing, too, but that photo came out so yellow it’s pretty pointless showing you.

Oh!  And I’ve been making toy wheel spindles for my spindling class, too.  As well as the regular size ones, I’ve made some super-lights (not for class).  These little babies weight about 10g.  For an idea of scale, the yarn this one is snuggling into is Dance (again).  That’s sock weight (aka ‘skinny’):

Cute, huh?

My Etsy shop is now ‘on vacation’, and will be so for at least a week.  Hopefully, I’ll get photographing the new stuff *properly* as soon as the show is over, so I can share it with you guys who can’t make it to Cottenham this weekend.  😉

One last thing (I think): J says I should ‘live tweet’ the show.  I might.  If I do, you can follow along by following @yarnscape on Twitter.


It’s that time again.  If you have been planning to buy anything from my Etsy shop, you may want to do it soon, as I will be closing it for a week or two, starting Sunday night.  (After which, it will be back, bigger and better than ever before, assuming I can get some photographs taken.)

Next Friday, Textiles In Focus kicks off for three days of woolly fun and fibre-based mayhem.  Just like last year, I’m selling my own hand-dyed yarns and fibres – and I’m also teaching for the first time.

As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a spin-and-knit-in area next to my stall, in a space that was desolate and unused last year; I’m sort of ‘curating’ it.

Of course, nothing is really ready; I have a whole bunch of new yarns for this year, and I haven’t done the label design yet.  The pile of yarns waiting to be rewound, post-dyeing,  is bigger than my dog.  The course is ready to be taught, except for the fact that I haven’t finished the handout, and I need to assemble the student materials packs.  And a few more sample pieces would not go amiss, bien sur.  Batts!!  I really, really need to card batts.

Printing.  There is so much printing to be done.  (Note to self: don’t leave it till the last minute.  Your printer will break down, or run out of ink, and it will be very stressful.)

This afternoon, I had a mini-breakdown, thinking there was no way that I could get it all done in time.  After a couple of hours of wandering around feeling morose and angst-ridden, I realised something pretty awesome: I have taken on quite a few insanely large projects in my time, from 18th century dresses onwards.  And though most of those have not ended up perfect, and although the occasional all-nighter may have occurred on the way, each and every one of those has ended up working out ok.

So I’m drinking a beer and writing a blog post.  But no photographs: they take too long.  Later, patient readers!  Now, I should go design labels…

Friday is dye day

I’ve spent today up to my elbows in dye – almost literally at times, because I’ve had a spate of leaky gloves.  I now have three blue fingers on my right hand, and a greenish index finger on my left.

And I can’t show you today’s results, because they still look like a mess of soggy wool, indeterminate colour.  But I can show off the stuff I dyed last week.

I’ve been playing with some old favourites:

Bluefaced Leicester roving, in ‘Violetta’

And some new yarn bases:

Merino/tencel laceweight, in ‘Geode’

Revisiting colours from last year’s favourites:

‘Moorland’, on brown Bluefaced Leicester roving

And a few new experiments:

D.K. and a (new!) wool/silk sock yarn in ‘Seaglass’

I’m delighted to announce that I’m  going to be exhibiting again at Textiles in Focus this year.    And, if you check out the programme (PDF), you *might* just notice that a certain Alison is teaching a course. Eeeeee!

*Taptaptap* errr… Is this thing still on??

Well, so much for a post a day in February.  Never mind, eh?
I had *the* most awesome time at Textiles In Focus, and I will definitely be going back next year.  Highlights included:

  • About half of the my local spinning group showing up, at various times, saying, “I didn’t know you did this!  Wow!!”
  • Selling out of drop spindles on the first day, and having to make more that evening.
  • Teaching a friend (Lorna!) from the knitting group to use her own, rather lovely, drop spindle.
  • Selling out of all my drop spindles for the second time whilst Lorna was grinning and squealing with delight behind the stall.
  • Being asked to teach drop spindling at TIF next year!
  • Having several people come past and tell me they’d found/been following this blog! Well hey, if you’re still here, stop by and comment!
  • The hilariously knowledgeable lady who came past on Saturday, and solemnly informed her friend that, “Of course, you can’t use these yarns for knitting with”.  WTF?!
  • Persuading Pauline, the organiser, that the unused space next to my pitch would be perfect for a sociable spinning area next year.

Speaking of comments – I owe an apology to everyone who has commented so far.  I had the configuration of this blog set up wrongly, and they’ve been disappearing into the ether.  Technically, I suppose, I really owe everyone who commented a *reply*, but that seems sort of silly after a two-week absence. Mea culpa – and I’ll try to do better in future.

Meanwhile, I suddenly realised yesterday that I haven’t dyed anything for almost a month now.  Given that my next fair is only just a month away, I’d better get moving!!  (April 18th, here we come!)

Hmm.  Given that we woke up to a hard frost again this morning, do you think we’ll want spring/summer yarns by mid April, or will we still be in the depths of winter?

Textiles in Focus: teh awesumz

Today has been such a long day.  Twelve hours ago, I was panicking madly, because my (usually very staid and dependable) wallet had gone missing.  That’s bank cards, credit card, driver’s licence, RAC card, about 50 quid and sundry loyalty cards and other personal items. Vanished.

Twelve hours ago, I was an hour behind schedule.  Half an hour after that, I had found my wallet, told J he could return to work (because he was en route home to look for it himself, bless him), and had actually made it to Textiles in Focus, where I had planned to arrive a full 90 minutes earlier.  I was still pricing goods after the doors opened, but to make up for it, I’d made my first sale before the doors actually opened, so it all balances out.

I have one photo:

Yarnscape's first stand
Yarnscape’s first stand

Though I know others took some more!  I look kinda dazed, don’t I?  And not just because of the vent grill sticking out of my head. This was taken around mid-afternoon (thank you, Scarlet!) and by that time, I was feeling the hit of the adrenaline, the conversation, the mad fibre-frenzies that happen between and before class sessions…  It was awesome!!  I never feel so alive as when I get to spend a day around other fibre-folk, chatting and listening, inspiring and being inspired.  Sharing knowledge.

Oh!  And I almost sold out of drop spindles, so I’ve spent the evening making a few more.  Batts and roving are also disappearing fast (I guess that we have both spinners and felters attending, so the market for them is doubled!).  I will try and make up some more batts for tomorrow and Sunday, but when the roving’s gone it’s gone…  At least for this show!

But now, I’m gonna finish my glass of wine and head to bed.  Because tomorrow, I get to do it all over again.  (Except, I hope, the bit with the wallet).  Sleep well!

Set-up day

No desk for me today – it’s set-up day for Textiles In Focus!!  None of my photos capture the joy I feel in this stall, not the ones of the sign (painted this morning, no less):

Nor those featuring the yummy display stands I just *had* to have:

Nor those featuring the ‘blue’ section:

But this is all because I am still a totally lame photographer.  I am so, so happy with the way this stall looks; I just wish I could capture it in all its glory for those of you who can’t make it to the venue!

I’m still slightly worried I won’t have enough stock for three days, though.

So near!

Tomorrow is setup day for Textiles In Focus, and I am so near to ready.  Not so near that I can take the night off, of course; all my roving braids still need to be labelled:

Gorgeous, aren’t they??  Unfortunately, I still haven’t decided on the best way to label these puppies, so it might not be a quick job.

I decided only to create small braids for this fair; 50 g each.  I wanted lots and lots of variety on the stall, and I believe that felters will outnumber spinners by a significant proportion, so: small pieces, many colours. I hope the decision doesn’t come back to bite me!