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Felted Soap Stocking Stuffers and the post Dazzle Daze Haze

Felted Soap makes great Stocking StuffersThe last few weeks I’ve been consumed with Felted Soap making.  Tons and tons of soap!  With Dazzle Daze behind us and Christmas creeping around the corner, everyone wants a bar or two of soap to stuff in stockings and give out to family and friends.

If you want to get a bar or two of Felted Soap please check out our Etsy Page and be sure to order before December 15th for Christmas Delivery.Hand Dyed Fiber Hanging to DryI had a massive dye day on Wednesday just to keep up with all the fiber needed to fill the orders.  Above is the fiber hanging out to dry.  We are still making about 150-200 soaps a day just trying to keep up with orders.  My new intern, Zoe, is a rock star and TONS of help!!! Dazzle Daze Craft Booth Set UpDazzle Daze 2013 is now just a memory but it sure was a successful show and I had an absolute blast.  Thank you so much for coming out to see me! Above is an overview of our entire booth.  Below was the front display of our Felted Soaps.Felted Soap Display Dazzle Daze 2013We also had an inside felted soap display using an old suitcase found at a second-hand store.  It’s my favorite way to display the soaps.Inside Felted Soap DisplayI could not have done this huge three-day event without help and I have to give a tremendous thanks to my booth helpers.  Girls night out Jeanetta and I giggled our way through the evening.  Claudia and I counted boots and had a blast Friday morning and part of the afternoon.  My step mom, Debbie, relieved Claudia on Friday afternoon and was a huge help all night. Saturday was sister day in The Twisted Purl booth.  Lots of Fun Times at Dazzle Daze 2013Yeah, we are a bit goofy (Twisted Sisters haha)!  We had too much fun and Meg helped support the other vendors and checked lots of things off her Christmas Shopping list.New Yarn Spun during Dazzle Daze 2013Above is a few of the skeins of yarn I created while in my booth.  A few of them sold before I could snap pics…one even sold while it was still on the bobbin!  I hope everyone enjoys the yarn and all the goodies bought during the show and I appreciate your business more than words can express.  Thank you!!!  There will be a shop update on Monday with new skeins of handspun yarn and a few scarves too!

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Dazzle Daze is on the Way

It's Fall Y'allIt’s Fall and not even Thanksgiving but at The Twisted Purl Place, aka my home, it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas Tree with Felted Soap A small tree is up in my living room with new ornaments being added as fast as I can make them.  Felted Soaps are drying under the tree.  I’m singing Christmas Carols as I spin up Christmas themed yarns.

Yep, Dazzle Daze is just around the corner.Dazzle Daze 2013Dazzle Daze is a huge 3 Day shopping extravaganza for an excellent cause.  The event benefits the Conway Regional Women’s Center.  Tickets are only $5 for the event or $25 for the Thursday Girls Night Out Event.  You can buy tickets for Dazzle Daze here.

There are over 85 Dazzle Daze Merchants all with amazing items and lots of goodies.  Each booth will be totally decked out and spreading Christmas cheer and yes my friends, I will be among them.  This is the perfect place to find one of a kind gifts for every person on your holiday list.

Let me be honest here, getting ready for such a big show is a bit overwhelming but immensely rewarding.  As I’ve said often, I ADORE talking to people face to face about my craft and sharing my handmade story.  BUT, the lead up to and preparation for a big show is always a lot.  Three days of shopping means (God willing) the need for enough inventory to sell for three days!  When you are talking all handmade that is a whole lot of work.  In the past I’ve shared a booth, which takes a lot of the pressure off, but this year I fly solo.  So I’m nervous and busy and sleep is not really a necessity, right?

I love to share the steps of the handmade journey with you and this new yarn journey is exploding with Christmas colors and texture.  Here’s the “Basket of Fluff”:Basket of Christmasy FluffAlong with my standard handspun yarn, felted soaps, and other fiber creations for Dazzle Daze I’m making a few ornaments.  That’s the plan for this yarn.  Funky textures and Christmas colors for uniquely handmade ornaments.Sparkly Drum CarderAbove is a photograph of the fiber spinning on the drum carder.  It looked super sparkly (Angelina fiber does that and I love using it).  Below is the picture of the carded batt once it went through the drum carder.Christmasy Carded BattFrom the batt I spun the fiber into yarn with my spinning wheel.Yarn on Spinning WheelBecause I plan to use this skein strictly for Christmas Ornaments I put it directly on my ball winder and skipped the process of putting it on the swift and into a hank of yarn.Christmas Handmade Yarn for Ornaments at Dazzle DazeHere’s the finished yarn.  It turned out pretty spiffy. Below is an example of one of the ornaments I’ve made.Ornament made with Handspun Yarn for Dazzle Daze 2013Want a discount? Come out to Dazzle Daze this year and show me the below coupon to receive $5 off. Save paper! No need to print it, just pull it up on your phone (even just tell me you saw it). 😉Dazzle Daze 2013 Coupon for The Twisted Purl Booth Dazzle Daze will take place at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds at 2505 East Oak Street, Conway Arkansas. November 21-23, 2013

The Twisted Purl featured in 501 Life Dazzle Daze Shopping Guide
The Twisted Purl’s Items Featured in 501 Life Magazine’s preview for Dazzle Daze Shopping Yay!

Find out more about the Dazzle Daze schedule on their website or through their Facebook page.

Hope to see you there!!!

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Journey of Alpaca Fiber: Farm to Yarn to Scarf

Alpaca from Sweet Clover AlpacaEarly this spring, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Sweet Clover Alpaca’s shearing day.  I really got to know these adorable animals and their gracious owner.  I’ve fallen in love with the unbeatable softness of the alpaca fiber.  Look at all that cuteness…Aww!Cute AlpacaI came home with bags and bags of alpaca.  (Bags and bags and bags)  Thinking oh yeah, I can spin this up in no time flat.  Ha!  If only all I had to do all day was spin, then maybe. Look at all the colors and did I mention the softness.  Yum!!!Bags of AlpacaThe idea of being able to spin local alpaca was so delicious.  Alpaca raised right here in Conway and then turned into handspun yarn here too. Talk about keeping it local!  There’s no better way then this.Basket of AlpacaPictured above is a basket of the large variety of the colors found naturally in Alpaca.  I took the basket of fluff and blended it together through my drum carder to mix all the colors.Alpaca Fibers Blending on a Drum CarderThe fibers are blended on my drum carder to become a carded batt.  Carded Batts are easier to spin.  The drum carder lines all the fibers up going the same direction which makes spinning on a spinning wheel faster and smoother.  Plus, although alpaca are a whole heck of a lot cleaner than sheep, the drum carder helps remove excess hay and dirt before spinning.Alpaca Fiber Spinnig on WheelThis is the yarn on the spinning wheel being turned into handspun yarn.  First the yarn is spun directly from the carded batt to fill up the bobbin.  The fiber goes through the spinning wheel once, it can then be considered a finished single ply yarn.  I like to ply my yarn either with a strong thread to add texture, or with itself depending on the colors.Handspun Yarn made from Arkansas AlpacaAbove is the finished alpaca yarn.  After this step, the yarn has is rinsed and the twist is then set.  Being this fiber is directly from local fiber, some hay and dirt is completely washed and cleaned from the yarn.  Although a lot of the extra stuff gets pulled out while spinning, the yarn gets a good rinse to remove any excess dirt and barnyard.Alpaca Handspun Yarn turned into a ScarfHere’s a finished scarf made with the above alpaca.  It was hand weaved. Simply divine to touch!  Wrapping up with this on a cold winter’s day would be the best! That’s the entire journey: farm to fluff to carded batt to spinning wheel to yarn then finally into a scarf.Alpaca Weaved Scarf up closePictured below is Caspian, another Sweet Clover Alpaca.  He was a Cria (which is a baby alpaca) and I was fortunate enough to watch his first shearing and buy the coat.  His fiber was so fine and full of fun crimp.Alpaca into YarnThe yarn spun into what looked like a boucle style yarn, with little wispy curls all around. Handspinning AlpacaSince he was such a little guy, there were only two skeins of yarn made from his gorgeous first coat.20131008-071256.jpgHere are a few more skeins of finished alpaca.  The all natural colors are perfect.Four Skeins of Beautiful AlpacaThis last one has a touch of added bling with sequins on the thread.Handspun Alpaca with added blingPlease let me know if you have any questions. I’m working on putting together a few more “This is how it’s done” type of posts.  I tend to ramble on and on about spinning and carding and felting and realize a lot of you do not know the variety of steps or even what the heck I’m talking about.  Here is a earlier post with a video showing how fiber goes from fluff into yarn using all the tools mentioned above.

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Spinzilla Week Continues

 

Wrapped Felted SoapDay Two of Spinzilla week consisted of creating felted soaps for a few of our retail stores, so spinning was a bit slow.  Yesterday, however was a different story. Alpaca Fiber on Drum CarderI worked up a blend of natural alpaca fiber.  The different variations of color reminded me of chocolate chip cookie dough.  Delicious. Seriously, it was making me hungry while spinning. In the end I had 135 yards of fresh spun yarn…guess that’s better for the diet than cookies anyway! 😉135 yards of all natural alpaca spun for SpinzillaNext, on the smaller spinning wheel, a few more yards were being cranked out. Although I adore my Country Spinner for large projects (and even really all spinning), when I really want to spin and not think, I gravitate back to my Joy.Handspun Yarn on Spinning WheelAfter quite a bit of spinning, this one added 140 more yards to my total.140 Yards of Handspun Yarn created for SpinzillaAll this spinning was wearing out Daisy.Tired Daisy DogShe may have been beat, but I was ready to tackle the next skein of yarn.  I had this carded batt made up a few weeks back and it was calling my name.Carded Batt Spinning FiberThis carded batt consisted of merino wool, bamboo, starbright, and some hand painted up-cycled yarn bits.Yarn on BobbinAfter spinning this up as fine weight as possible, I had 159 more yards for Spinzilla.159 Yards of Handspun Yarn for SpinzillaThursday will be yet another Felted Soap day, but I’m doing my best to get in as much spinning as possible in between soap batches.  Next year, I’ll have to be on a team for Spinzilla, instead of going rogue. I’m absolutely loving having the motivation of the competition to kick my spinning into high gear.  With Dazzle Daze just around the corner and The Locals opening soon, high gear is a necessity.

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Spinzilla Day One

Spinzilla is a week long competition to see which spinner can spin the most yardage of yarn. I found out about the event too late to join a team, so I signed up as a Rogue Spinner.

Day one started pretty strong with a bright burst of color.

Bright Rainbow Carded Batt by The Twisted PurlUp and spinning at 5:45 am, nothing was going to slow me down.  Sleep is overrated, spinning….not so much!Rainbow Yarn on BobbinThe first skein was complete and I was feeling pretty accomplished.  102 yards under my belt for Spinzilla before 6:30 am.Rainbow Yarn made by The Twisted PurlWith  a pretty large amount of Alpaca from the local Sweet Clover Alpaca farm in town, I figured my best bet would be to tackle this pile next. Tons of bags of Alpaca FiberI grabbed a luscious bag of baby alpaca and let the fiber turn into the yarn it wanted to become.  This cria had the softest, crimpist coat.  Spun, the yarn almost looks like a boucle yarn.  I’m in love. Baby Alpaca going onto the Spinning WheelAfter this skein, I had another 89 yards finished!  Yay!!!Baby Alpaca handspun yarn by The Twisted PurlKnowing I had to get quite a few soaps felted, I had to make the most out of my last spin of the day.  This one reminded me of a Christmas Peppermint.Christmas Peppermint Carded BattI needed lots and lots of yards, so I focus the Spinzilla Force and spun probably the lightest weight yarn that has come off my wheel in years.Handspun Yarn on the Bobbin Christmas Peppermint Candycane196 yards…folks for me and my normal super bulky yarn was an accomplishment.  I really love the look of this one!  Most likely after Spinzilla Week I’ll go back and thread ply it to make it even more fabulous. 😉Christmas Candycane Peppermint Handspun Yarn by The Twisted PurlLots more spinning is ahead for the week!