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Hearts and Stars

This past week, I gathered material for and carded my first ever themed art batt! It took me awhile (big surprise) to choose my theme, but after viewing some photographs in my friend’s astronomy textbook, all my stars seemed to align. I knew my destiny: to create a galaxy-themed yarn.

Pretty pretty images like this served as my guide:

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With stardust in our heads, Cyndi and I journeyed to Hobby Lobby, searching for various materials and colors to deconstruct in the drum carder. The added material would serve to make the space-yarn as funky and textured as possible.

As usual, it took me ages to card the art batt.  Surely I was blending enough fluff for like 200 yards of yarn, I thought.  But no, I ended up with less than Cyndi’s 100 yard average, and it took about three times as long to do so.  (She’s a pro, what can I say.)  But here’s the result:

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Cyndi sent me a link to her Instagram post of my star-fluff (I don’t have my own Instagram– I can’t decide whether to get one or not… I love photographing so it would probably take over my life (Also I need to charge my phone)). Anyway, I was very pleased with my star-fluff, and excited to see it in yarn form.  I had to leave before Cyndi had time to spin it (I won’t go into the details, but there was a lot of  weird stuff going on that Tuesday; the fireplace, printer, a necklace, and a power outlet were involved).  A few days later Cyndi sent me a text with a picture of the yarn, and said it sold in about five minutes. I was over the moon.

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I love it I love it I love it! Next time I will have to be sure and add larger amounts of fiber into the drum carder, though, so more yarn can be spun.

Friday (VALENTINE’S DAY– MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY) Cyndi and I wrapped some fluff into dryer balls, and discussed social media and internet presence.  We will continue this conversation next week, as I definitely have a lot to learn.  At this point in my life, with my studies, jobs, and internship taking up almost all of my “free” time, I’ve decided to forgo having any sites of my own (including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter).  One day, especially if I have my own business, knowing how to post on and navigate sites like these will be crucial to my success.  Amidst tips and bits of information on social media, Cyndi informed me of something perhaps even more important: the existence of heart-shaped pizzas on V-Day. I was higher than over the moon.  I was over the Milky Way. My life, I said, would never be the same. Seizing the moment, Cyndi immediately called Papa Johns and I placed an order. Later that day I gave the pizza away as a Valentine’s gift to two of my friends, complete with M&M lettering, Princess Diaries style.  My time at The Twisted Purl also inspired another one of my Valentine’s Day surprises, this one to my roommate:

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A yarn-bombed kitchen!  I didn’t have much time before she woke up, or it would have been much more extreme.

And finally, my lovely friends threw me a surprise Valentine’s Day party. One of them picked me up for our “date,” blindfolded me, and drove me around Conway for half an hour.  When I took the blindfold off, we were in another friend’s apartment. Most of my closest friends were there. They told me it was Kate’s Day, made me dinner, and gave me presents and wine.  They also made me these adorable sheep cupcakes:

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BEST DAY EVER. Thanks to Cyndi and The Twisted Purl for starting it off right.  In all of my busy-ness, I sometimes forget how blessed I truly am.  I’m studying at a great school, I have the kindest of friends, two flexible, paying jobs, and a lovely, gratifying internship. I’m living the life.

<3 * <3 * <3

 

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So Happy I Could Dye

It’s hard to believe this past week was only my second week at The Twisted Purl… I’ve learned SO much in such a short amount of time.  Thanks to Cyndi, I’m already comfortable with a number of terms and pieces of equipment that, just two weeks ago, I didn’t know existed.  I feel as though I’ve been initiated in to the secret world of fiber arts, and I’m loving every second of it.

Tuesday, after discussing a number of important topics– namely women entrepreneurs and haunted mansions– Cyndi put me to work practicing and perfecting techniques I learned last week.  I relied on trusty old ROY-G-BIV to make several carded batts, and labeled many many felted soaps.  Although the above tasks are somewhat repetitive, I sincerely enjoy them.  In truth, repetitive tasks tend to be my favorite.  There is peace in the process, in addition to that lovely feeling I get when creating anything with my hands.  In the short time I’ve been an intern, I’ve already noticed that after a morning of creative activity at The Twisted Purl, I face the rest of my day with a calmer, more joyful attitude.

On Thursday, Cyndi taught me a few methods for dyeing and painting wool roving.  As usual, I was hesitant about choosing my colors, and unconfident in my final product.  I am, however, excited to see how they look as carded batts and/or spun yarn! Cyndi said that if she has time, she might spin one of them this weekend (ahh!).  Although I’m a little worried, I’m not too worried, because if it’s really ugly we can just sell it to my mom. I don’ have a picture of the first roving I dyed (which was very “Springy”), but the second is pictured below in the shape of a pizza.

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Yeah, I know, it kind of looks like that rainbow bread they used to sell at the grocery store.

And here it is again, steaming to set the colors:

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My favorite roving I dyed, though, was a solid color “in-bowl” experiment.  It turned out (I think) to be a nice lavender.  We shall see! Also, while all of this dyeing was going on, Cyndi managed to learn how to arm knit and made a scarf using the technique. I can’t keep up with this lady! Next week, she is going to help me make a more “artful” carded batt, and my homework is to come up with a theme to base the colors on.  (Check out Zoe and Cyndi’s Monet yarn, it turned out so beautiful!)  Time to start looking around for inspiration–

Kate

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Love Partnering with Interns

In the summer of 2013, a good friend (and phenomenal potter), Chris Massingill, suggested hiring an intern to help with the constant workload.  I had never thought my business would qualify, basically because I work out of a home studio and it’s just me.  I always thought of internship being for huge corporations…like Google.  She assured me that all sizes and types of businesses hire interns.  She worked for a potter, one summer, mixing glazes right out of a home studio.

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Our very first intern, Zoe, learning how to dye fiber using a hand painted method.

Being a big planner, I had to do my research and of course, put together a kick ass intern program.  There were a couple of things I knew up front.  There’s really not a tremendous profit in what I make.  The internship would be unpaid.  Okay, so that made me feel pretty awkward.  “Hey, how about you come into my house and do some work for me, but yeah, I’m not going to pay you!”  *gulp*  So with no money being offered, this internship must be a mutually beneficial relationship!  Yeah, they are working and doing some of the remedial tasks associated with running a business, but this would be fun and very educational as well.

Basket full of Carded Batts made by Kate
This basket of beautifully carded batts made by our intern, Kate.

The program consists of 8 sessions (which can last a week or several weeks).  There is a different focus each week and the intern learns all types of tricks and tips while being here. I’m passionate about fiber arts and yarn, and yarn, and did I mention YARN?  I wanted to partner with like-minded folks and pass on the passion.  Also, let myself be inspired by their creativity and energy as well!  This internship is a partnership.  Each intern is learning how to dye fibers, create carded batts, felt, and spin. Additionally, they learn what it is really like to run a full-time craft business.

Last Thursday was the first day Zoe played with dyes. I was so pleased with the outcome!  There were several colors needed for felted soaps but after that I told Zoe to have fun and paint whatever colors she wanted.  I shared with her a few techniques including a couple different ways to lay out the fiber and explained how the colors do bleed together.  Once the fiber got over freezing, defrosting, and drying, I couldn’t wait to turn it into yarn!  Above is photographs of both the hand painted roving Zoe created and the finished handspun yarn I made over the weekend.

As the weeks go by, please keep an eye out for blog posts from both our interns, Zoe and Kate.  They will be sharing about things they are learning and their journey with The Twisted Purl.  I adore my intern partnership with these two girls.  They have lots to say and you’ll love hearing from them too.  Also, there will be lots more from me on all the fun things happening in the studio. We will have a few really big announcements soon too!  Will share more as soon as I can.