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Handmade for Arkansas Tornado Relief

rofit benefit Tornado Victims

Handspun Yarn by The Twisted Purl

Tornadoes ripped through Arkansas on April 27th, 2014.  Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighboring cities of Vilonia and Mayflower and all those dealing in the aftermath of this natural disaster.  Blessed my family was spared from the utter, unbelievable amount of destruction this powerful storm caused, this hit too close to home.  My heart is breaking for those affected.

Yesterday, I traveled to Little Rock from Conway, on Interstate 40.  At Mayflower, I drove directly through the devastated path the tornado left.  The massive scale of the scene was too much to take in and the amount of wreckage was unbelievable.  There were RV’s stacked and twisted together, concrete buildings only half standing, and a tremendous amount of indescribable loss.

After seeing everything first hand, I knew I had to help.  There are many ways people of Arkansas are banding together and I’m proud being part of this state.  (We are #ArkanSTRONG)   I’m just one person, one small handmade business, but I know that every bit helps.  The news reported a $10 donation to the American Red Cross can give two blankets to victims.

In the wake of the tornado, not only are people involved, but pets too.  Our local Humane Society has a number of lost, injured, or orphaned pets in need of care and shelter. They are hosting an Arkansas Tornado Pet Relief Effort.  They are raising more funds to help with the surplus of activity they are experiencing.

For the entire month of May, The Twisted Purl will give:

10% of all profits to the American Red Cross

10% of all profits to the Humane Society of Pulaski County

A portion of our gross profits from any purchase from The Twisted Purl Etsy shop,  website store, or from one of our shows this month will be donated to the above charities.

Etsy Make a DifferenceThere are a few other local handmade Etsy shops helping to raise funds for the Humane Society of Pulaski County  as well.  All have agreed to give at least 10% of their May gross profits!

Any purchase from the shops listed on this Facebook Page: Arkansas Strong: Etsy’s Tornado Pet Relief Effort Fundraiser will benefit the Humane Society.I’ll be adding the handspun yarn photographed above and more to my Etsy shop.  There are a few other handmade items, including our felted soaps, available.

By no means do I want to profit from this disaster, just want to help raise extra funds I would not otherwise be able to contribute.  Below are more resources for different ways you can help.

Additional ways to help:

The Made Thing has a couple posts:

AR Scene has put together this information:

Donate funds directly to the American Red Cross

Donate to the Humane Society of Pulaski County

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Raspberry Pi Bake-Off Hendrix College 2014

First place medal for winning the Raspberry Pi Bake Off competition at Hendrix College.

Raspberry Pi Bake-Off 2014Pi day was March 14th (3.14 of course) and we attended the Raspberry Pi Bake-Off competition hosted by Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.  It was the perfect place to show off the Raspberry sPIn, a new electric spinning wheel powered by a Raspberry Pi.  You can read all about the Raspberry Pi powered spinning wheel here.

The family and I were really excited to see all the things the community members created with a Raspberry Pi. Family on way to Raspberry Pi BakeoffHonestly, I didn’t know what to expect.  I was praying the Raspberry sPIn would work and hoping I’d be able to articulate all the steps taken to get the wheel spinning.  I was pretty nervous.

Let me get real with you here, I’m a huge chicken and a big time self doubter.  Almost all my ideas I second, third, and continuously question.  Thankfully, I have supportive family and wonderful friends who hear my doubt and then tell me to get over it.  Making this wheel was a way of testing myself to see if I could do it.  I was pretty proud of my creation.  But this is where self-doubt creeps in. Heading to the Bake-Off, I figured all the brainy gurus of Conway would scoff at my simple coding.  I assumed I would be ridiculed for wiring something wrong or for doing something elementary.

Scared to death, my hands shook as I set everything up.  With a few hiccups in getting the wheel going, great relief came when the wheel turned on and started showing off all it could do.  Once everything was working, my nerves quickly ran away and I immensely enjoyed the evening.  I created yarn throughout the event and talked up fiber arts and how fun it is crafting code.

Cyndi at Raspberry Pi Bake Off
Photo Credit to Michelle Corbet from the Log Cabin Democrat.

My experience at the Bake-Off was the absolute opposite of all my fears.  The brainy gurus scratched their heads and congratulated my accomplishments.  It was very rewarding and satisfying. It says a lot about our community as well.  Conway is supportive, encouraging, and totally rocks.

Creation is a way of life, whether it be through physical art like handspun yarn or through code and making things work. Don’t let anything like fear or self-doubt stand in your way of learning and creating. Get over it and get into it!IMG_0511_edited-1When it was time for the winning project announcements, my family and friends gathered around.  Honestly, I figured the Raspberry sPIn wasn’t high-tech enough or my coding was too simple to really win anything.  I figured it might be worth third place, or possibly second, but I would never get first!  I was just happy being there and seeing how the spinning wheel grabbed the public’s interest.

Third place announcement went to a Q-Bert Game Simulator.  It was a sweet interactive creation, where you stood on different squares to make Q-Bert move.

Second Place announced.  It wasn’t me.  But hey that’s okay!  Second place went to a 3D printer server.  It was definitely as cool as it sounds.  The Raspberry Pi was controlling the 3D printer and creating amazing things.  I really thought he would get first place.

First place announcement.  Me…wait…WHAT?!?!?!?!  To my absolute shock, the Raspberry sPIn won first place.  It just proves that when you put your mind to something you can do it. I was also the only woman in the competition. Girls can code too! Raspberry Pi Medal I won a sweet medal printed from the Hendrix 3D Printer and another complete Raspberry Pi set up.  My boys are already dreaming up all the things they want to make with the new Raspberry Pi.  Special thanks to Tony Bates of Arkansas Geek Central for generously donating the prizes!

Throughout the event a team from Hendrix filmed and interviewed attendees and participates.  Check out the video!

Below is the video from David Hinson’s website.

Very pleased with the win and huge personal accomplishment.  I’m already planning on improvements and things to add to the wheel.  Laser lights and a fog machine were suggestions offered during the event.  Ha!  I want to add something that counts the yards of yarn being spun and a few other fiber fun things.

Please check out the story in newspaper about the event by Michelle Corbet.

Much more to come from the Raspberry sPIn. Still looking for a good place for it in the studio, but it’ll be up and spinning soon.  You can come see it on May 3rd, 2014 during Toad Suck Daze, at The Locals.

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Alpaca Shearing Day at Sweet Clover Alpaca

Baby Alpaca Gale Storm Thrilled for the invite to the annual alpaca shearing day, out at Sweet Clover Alpaca, I could barely contain my excitement.  This year, Deb invited 5 alpaca farms to bring in their alpaca for the spring shearing.  There was a whole lot of shearing going on and a tremendous amount of adorable, undeniable cuteness.

Painted LadyI was able to visit a few favorites from last year, like Caspian, Painted Lady, and Zorro.

Also, the opportunity to meet new cuties like Gale Warning was priceless.  She was born 2 weeks before the shearing day, during a very stormy evening.  She is awfully sweet and follows Deb, the owner of Sweet Clover Alpaca, around everywhere she goes.

It was wonderful to meet so many alpaca farmers too!  The passion for their animals is palpable.

Along with the alpacas, there was one llama.  Llamas need haircuts too!  He was a beast in size compared to the alpaca.  The poor guy was very upset though.  He was so hard to get into the laying down position required for shearing and once he was there, he screamed.  Like seriously screamed.  Screams that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud.  He was definitely a drama llama.AlpacaI adore watching how the alpaca greet each other after being sheared.  When a new alpaca comes back, all the alpaca gather around the freshly sheared one. It’s like they are checking out the new do and either approving or humming out laughter at how skinny they look and other inside alpaca jokes.  It only lasts a moment but it’s interesting to watch the gathering. AlpacaSheared and NotAbove is a sheared alpaca next to one that’s still waiting her turn.PaintedLadyShearingDSC03197Last year I was able to buy the very first cria (baby alpaca) fleece from Painted Lady.  This year, I am hoping to get her second year fleece as well.  Here she is above just before shearing.  On the right, you see the experts from Top Knot Shearing, gently shearing off her beautiful fiber.

Although it looks a bit uncomfortable,  shearing the fiber off the alpaca is a total necessity.  Think about the hot summer days ahead. These poor babies would die of heat exhaustion without the spring shearing.  They need their coats in the winter, but come summer, they are happy to have them gone.

Here’s Painted Lady’s blanket from this year’s shearing.  It’s okay to drool.  I hope to have some yarn made from this to share with you soon. Painted Lady FiberGiddy being outside on such a gorgeous day, I adored observing each alpaca’s individuality.  Plus the fiber…oh the fiber!!!  Delicious.  I wanted to roll around in it.  I took a lot of pictures (probably too many, but who can resist those faces???) and will share more in future posts.

I’m super appreciative to Deb, at Sweet Clover Alpaca, for letting me in on this annual experience.  Just wait, lots of new alpaca yarn is on the way!

Post from last year’s shearing day: Journey of Alpaca Fiber From Farm to Scarf

This year’s shearing day made the front page of the newspaper.

On a side note, special thanks to Courtney Spradlin. She came out from the paper, took beautiful photographs, and wrote up the lovely story posted in the paper.  Her journalistic adventure is taking her outside of Arkansas.  I’m going to miss seeing her around all our local events and wish her the very best of luck in all her future endeavors. ♥

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Shop Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo Conway

Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo in ConwayJust in time for Easter, you’ll find The Twisted Purl among other fantastic local businesses and entrepreneurs at the Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo.  Don’t let the name fool you, this is a shopping extravaganza full of wonderful goodies to go into your Easter Baskets and make your spring sing.

There will be lots to see and do including free door prizes, a live DJ, and lots of fun.

EVENT DETAILS:

Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo: Come out and support businesses throughout Central Arkansas as they showcase their products and services to the public.

When: Saturday APRIL 19, 2014 from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Where: Conway Expo Center, 2501 East Oak St, Conway, Arkansas 72032  Get Directions

Cost: Free Entry, Free Door Prizes, Free fun….FREE!!!

Website: Facebook Event Page

Hope to see you at this event.  Please let me know you saw this post for a freebie at The Twisted Purl booth!