Show Prep 101 from my favorite booth expert Heidi Stone Black

Heidi’s Show Prep 101 :)



So you just got accepted into this epic show, and now you’re freaking out.

What’s next?



Not to worry my friend. While I can’t be there to tell you exactly what you need to do, here are some extremely important things to research, decide, and then do! Plus some important purchases to consider, that I highly recommend.



First you must figure out what the target market is at this show. Are these people looking for spinning fiber, yarn, already made knit/crochet/woven items? All of these things? One of these things? This information will help you choose your display method, which is the next step. 



Next, you need to get on Pinterest and start browsing for display ideas. For my next adventure, we are doing Vogue Knitting Live in Columbus, OH. I don’t have displays for just yarn based shows. So my husband and I are designing them. I found some super cool stuff that’s easy to DIY on Pinterest. Some things you need to think about: The displays have to be light enough and easy enough to move. Assembly required is a good thing, but not if it’s IKEA status assembly. Hahaha! (know what I mean?) For my yarn displays we will be doing some displays(kind of fruit stand like), that have 4-5 shallow baskets on each one. They will be made with barn wood because we have a ton of it already, which will keep the price down. I may also have a backboard wall like thing with wood pegs coming out of it, and a shelf on top. We shall see. 







Now that you’ve decided what style you want for displays, it’s time to DIY or find them already made. To each their own. Before you purchase or make these, make sure you have a nice indoor/outdoor area rug that is the size of your space.(I still need to get one for this next big show:/ no worries though) This will make it feel and look sooooo much better than if it were just yucky concrete flooring, which it so often is. Lay the area rug out on the floor and use it at your markers for your space size. Seeing it in real life will allow better design planning. Make sure people can walk through the space effortlessly. You do not want to bombard them with so much stuff that they can’t move or see your awesome work. Make sure you have a space planned out for a register or your iPad to make sales from(the front desk in a retail shop, but like 2 feet wide) and a barstool or chair to go behind the desk area.



Now that you’ve got all that figured out, you must take stock of what you have in inventory, and what you still need. How many people are attending this show? This is indicative of what kind of sales you could possibly be making. I am making myself a spreadsheet with 4 columns across. Images of my yarns on the left, materials used, in stock, sold at end.

This will help you see everything better than you will ever see in the bins. You must have variety. I have a ton of wool yarns, but need to make more alpaca and faux cashmere happen. Each yarn has its own hang tag with its info on it, plus the price and wash instructions. Having everything they may need to know on the tag makes it so easy for them to shop and make decisions. Rather than having to bombard you with questions. Especially considering you could be making sales to other people, instead of answering questions. Prices must be clear. Don’t do discounts at shows, unless it’s something like 2 for $40. Having to do % off is a hassle when trying to ring up multiple items and lots of people. 



I separate each colorway/blend in its own 2 gallon storage bag, then they all go into the bins together. The bags keep them safe from getting all tangled and damaged. The bins are easier to store than just bags. Ikea bags are actually awesome for shows also, and they have handles.



Do you have a sign? You’re going to need one. Remember how I said we are building a backboard wall like thing with a shelf on top? That’s a great place for your signage to go. Maybe with a couple plants or display pieces? I will probably make some hats or a sweater with my yarn and put them up there as displays of what can be done with my hand spun yarn. Be sure to have samples of what can be made with your items, or samples of how they can be used. If you make Christmas ornaments...you better have them displayed on some sort of tree. Not everyone has a vision in their head. Some people, most in fact, must have the vision given to them.



A few little things you will most definitely need if you use electronics for sales etc...especially if you didn’t spring for the “electricity” in your booth. You don’t need the electricity. Just get some power banks. Make sure to charge them every night if it’s a several days long show. I personally own 4 different power options to recharge all my electronics. My favorite one is my Ion Block Rocker speaker. Hahaha! I know, I know. But it charges my phone and it gives me music. Depending on the show, they may have a policy about such things, but I’m a rule breaker. And not one person around my booth has ever complained about my classic rock selection. In fact, they’ve all thanked me for helping their sanity. I purchased this for $100 for my own wedding. And we use it all the time. I also have a solar power bank, a bigger one that will recharge the electronics all day long, and I have a mini keychain sized one. These are absolutely of the utmost importance. 

Bring layers and a change of shoes. Nobody tells you these things. Is it winter? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not winter inside with 30,000 people smashed in beside you and around you. Wear your winter gear, but wear layers and bring sandals or not as hot of shoes with you. Water is an important thing. For me, I bring coffee(lots), water(lots), food. This includes snacks. Sometimes it’s so busy you can’t get away to eat or drink. So be sure you have sustenance. Pack deodorant, especially if you’re like me and use natural stuff. It doesn’t last when your drenched in sweat. You do not want to stink. Hahahahahaha! For real though! Who wants to buy stuff from a smelly person?!



That’s all for now. If I have more to add later...I will be sure to make a new updated post!



Good luck at your next show!!!

Xo

Heidi

For more info on Heidi , her business or her yarns please find her at www.cocoonhomespun.com or her business facebook page.




The Crafty Misfits and Tour De Fleece 2019

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It's official! CHY is having a wildcard team on Ravelry for Tour De Fleece 2019!!

True story: I don't hang out on Ravelry too often, so I thought this would be a fun experiment. We will be posting and chatting in our handspun yarn love group on Facebook, but the official rules say we have to have a thread on Ravelry, so we're going to do our best to do most of the chat there.

Here's what you need to know now:

The "race" is July 6th-28th

You can spin along with the Crafty Misfits (our team name) with either wheel or drop spindle, this will be a laid back fun group for learning. 

Step 1. Sign up or go to your Ravelry page and join our group there. https://www.ravelry.com/…/hand-spun-yarn-love-with-crafty-h… ( it looks kind of crappy and neglected now but we're working on it ha ha)

step 2. Go to the official discussion in our group for this event https://www.ravelry.com/…/hand-spun-yarn-love…/3928630/1-25… and post something like an introduction and what you're spinning on or looking forward to, wheel, drop spindle etc.

We have team goals, but you’re free to set your own goals for the event and let us know what they are! We’re looking forward to seeing what everyone accomplishes during the race!

We are coming out with some fun fiber bundles for the race so we can all have matching supplies to play with, but it's not at all required. You can use whatever you want. 

If you have any questions about the fiber bundles and what they contain, feel free to email your questions to Erin@craftyhousewifeyarns.com


In other (but related) news, Spinolution is giving away a Pollywog spinning wheel to a lucky participant of the Tour De Fleece! Please stay tuned for more information.

www.spinolution.com/tour-de-fleece is the link where you sign up for the drawing. You can be on any team but of course if you want to hang out on ours you’ll also get a chance to win fun prizes from CHY!

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You Don’t have to do the group challenges but I want this to be fun and where we can all learn and teach our tricks to each other because that’s kind of what we’re all about. I will be making videos for each of the special techniques each week so feel free to join in.

Fear not if you are new to spinning or just drop spindle, this is a very drop spindle friendly group and we will have special prizes for yardage on drop spindle and best yarn from a new drop spindle spinner ( 1 year or under)

Tell your friends and spread the word!

Here’s some info

Here are the prize categories ( Thanks Brianna)

1) set and meet goal 
2) complete weekly challenges
3) most yardage weight with a wheel 
4) most yardage weight with a spindle 
5) most magical Misfit award. wink 
6) best collection of yarns or most improvement from a new drop spinner 1 year or less

Also here is the link to enter the spinolution giveaway 
https://www.spinolution.com/tour-de-fleece

Our # for here insta, fb etc for fun is

#craftymisfitsTDF


DIY fiber blending tools. Don't get your hackles up! Why hackles are great and how to make one.

DIY fiber blending tools blog post

Well y’all know I’m all about DIYing some fiber tools if you can to save some money. fiber blending is super fun and rewarding, but the tools can be pricey. I’d say the first place to start would be getting some decent hand cards which look like giant dog combs, in a pinch you can even use giant dog combs. You can also find hand cards pretty easily in second hand fiber tool markets online. I bought mine used from any who was advertising them with our spinners guild.

hand cards

After adventures in handcarts you may want to branch out to a blending board to blend some colors together and make some little rolags for woolen style spinning. If you’re like me you have noticed that these things can be pretty expensive for what they are. Luckliy for you I have a video on how to make one for much less money check it out below.

An alterntive fiber tool is a hackle. While it looks like a bee torture device it’s actually a really handy tool for making combed top with a comb or making your own roving with a dis. I’m going to link below my friend Ambers blog post about how to make your own hackle for around $10 in around 20 minutes how great is that!!!

DIY fiber hackle

Get excited for the Smokey Mountian Fiber Arts Fest

spinolution pollywog at the fiber fest

Well folks it’s time coming weekend. April !2-14. The Smokey Mountian Fiber Arts Festival is held every year in Townsend TN at the Great Smokey Mt. Hertiange Center. It’s a Gorgous location I really enjoyed going last year. This is the 10th Annaversary year of the festival which is hosted every year by the Townsend spinners guild( our knoxville guild volunteers). Every year you can look to sign up for classes to further your love of the fiber arts, shop from many wonderful vendors, check out some livestock and generally have a wonderful time. There are many places to camp or rent cabins in the area too if you’re not local.

Check out this great news clip about this years festival

You can come hang out with me and Demo the Spinolution Bullfrog on Saturday. I’ll be hanging out with my yarn and wheels at my Friend Alyssa at the “Unilded Hands” booth. You will know her if you’ve been to some of the CHY booths at the makers city market in the Old City Market. We’ve enjoyed hanging out making yarn before and I’m sure this weekend will be no different. She sells lovely spinning fiber batts and hand dyed yarns and I believe she has a few more surprises up her sleeve for this festival. She’ll be there all 3 days with the Spinolution Pollywog if you’d like to give it a try and I’ll be there with the Spinolution Bullfrog and some handspun on Saturday.

For the love of chunky yarn

Ah Chunky yarn, We all love to squish you in shops and booths. For some people soft fluffy chunky yarn is our natural go to for projects while for others it can seem a bit confusing. While I think everyone can agree on its beauty, not everyone can picture what exactly to make with it. I personally love using chunky yarn. This probably has something to do with the season of life that I’m currently in. With the girls and Jolene constantly running circles around me the thought of a quick, cozy and textural knit is super appealing. While many chunky knits are super simple which lets their texture really shine some feature chunky lace patterns or drop stitches. I think the same can be said for yarn with beads or embellishments, beehives, or thick and thin yarn. All you have to do with more textured yarn is look for a pattern where you’re not forcing the yarn to behave in a flat compact fabric. If you leave a little breathing room I think you’ll be really happy with your result. When working with Chunky or embellished yarn I like to think about the finial product more like a sculpture than a garment, for me at least that lets me embrace the chunkiness of it all. Below are some fabulous chunky patterns I found ( and saved in my favorites) on Ravelry. All of these would use 1-2 of our Chunky weight yarn skeins.

As always we’d love to see what you make. If you have any projects made with fantastic handspun or art yarn , ours , yours or someone else’s please tag us on instagram #craftyhousewifeyarns

 

click images for links, All patterns are knit except for the bottom one from cocoon homespun ( don’t miss the 20% off coupon on her site)

Adventures in Lexington KY

Bourbon, Yarn, and Christmas lights…..

woodford reserve barrel room

The husband an I made the short couple hour drive up to Lexington KY form Knoxville this weekend for his birthday. He’s a bourbon enthusiast, so am I even though we all know I prefer gin when I spin but that’s big bourbon country. We spent a wonderful weekend on a bus tour of the bourbon trail which is nestled in history and the extensive horse farms. We also caught a late show from one of our favorite comics. Of course this trip wasn’t without the fair share of yarn. It was freezing cold so I had much opportunity to bundle up in some of my favorite knitted items as well as a good bit of car knitting for our Outlander Yarn along in our facebook group. I also had a couple yarn shops down town that I wanted to scope out and we were lucky that both were close to where we were staying. Magpie yarns was a lovely little shop with in walking distance of main street and the college district. They had a lovely selection of pretty yarns and pattern samples made up. I bought a really pretty skein of yarn from a local dyer that I plan to use for a pattern I’ve been dreaming up using a skein of bright indie dyed yarn along side the new natural colored yarns we’ve been spinning for the natural collection that will be coming out with “ The domestic engineer” a fantastic business out of Atlanta. The next day we went to Rebelle yarns which I’d been really exciting about visiting because with their fun indie and local selection and slogan “ reinventing domesticity” and cute pink trimmed shop I knew it would be a great place to hang out. I got some lovely dyed falkland wool from “ Deviant Fibers” a local dyer and one of the owners of the shop. For those of you who aren’t impressed with how fun a bourbon tour could be it really was a ton of fun. We visited Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve. The distilleries were so old and had so much history and they were all surrounded by these huge horse farms which was something I’d never seen. Now we’re back home and back to reality but that’s not bad news because we’ve got christmas parties and preschool pagents to go to. I hope you’re having a great holiday season in whatever adventures you find.

The CHY 2018 Shop Small Holiday Guide

My lovely little downtown Knoxville

My lovely little downtown Knoxville

As I write this it’s super early in the morning on the 24th “ Shop Small Saturday” as its become known. I’m drinking a giant cup of coffee and getting ready to head out to the old city market after decorating the Christmas Tree with the girls in a few hours. “Shop Small Saturday “ came about as a response to “Black Friday “ of course. I’ve never been a big black Friday shopper, I much prefer shopping online to standing in lines with big groups of people. I always hate seeing the nasty news reports every year of people running each other over in Walmart. So Shop Small Sat has become the happy alternative for me where we celebrate shopping from small business both near and far. This could be eating at a non chain restaurant or coffee shop or going to a local store or market. Cyber Monday is also fun because then you can shop from your favorite small business from around the globe. As my business has grown I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet and shop from so many other wonderful businesses that it has become really fun to create these little shop small catalogs of some of my favorites. Please check it out and most importantly share a link to this page with all you’re friends so we can spread the word!

merry and bright handspun yarns

Merry & Bright

Don’t miss our newest collection of holiday art yarns! Click here

All About That Llama!

llama fest
Our aothor at a local llama fest 

Our aothor at a local llama fest 

Since Erin has put up a few videos about llama fiber I thought it would be cool to learn a little bit about this amazing fiber.  I first learned about what I think are amazing properties of wool reading the Clara Parkes book "The Knitter's Book of Wool".  I highly suggest reading it if you are into that sort of thing, it is readily available on amazon.  It's the hippie/nerd combination in  me that likes to know this type of information so I can kind of reflect a little about the animal while I spin some yarn or knit up a project with it.  Don't get any ideas in your head of me wearing a flower crown and spinning naked in a field of flowers or something.  I usually just pick up a bunch of fiber and admire it for what it is and then spin and continue on with my latest binge-worthy show on Netflix. I love sci-fi fantasy so you can picture me spinning to Game of Thrones!  (Ugh when will that last season be out already?)   Anyways here is a list of the super neat qualities of llama fiber!

It's hollow which means two things....its very warm and pound for pound it will outperform wool in the warmth category.  Basically it's lighter and warmer than wool.  It's kind of like the difference between worsted and woolen prep yarn.  Woolen is looser and has air pockets when spun and is therefore a little warmer because it can trap body heat. 

It has a lower natural scale and therefore has a low prickle factor for next to skin use.  Scales are also what will cause a fiber to felt and or shrink with washing and agitation because they hook together on themselves.  These scales are the reason why we now have the super wash wool products on the market today, to prevent the felting.  Super washing is a process where the wool is washed in either acid to remove the scales or in resin to coat it and mat it down.  This takes away the prickle factor of wool and also prevents it from shrinking.  As with anything it seems in life with the positive comes the negative.  The wool will not wick moisture as well as it should because the surface of the fiber has been altered and it looses durability.  With llama because if its low scale you don't have to process away the scales so it keeps its natural wicking properties and is highly durable. 

Llama fiber also does not have lanolin like wool does so it doesn't carry a natural odor or pick up environmental odors.  This means if you are careful with any garments or products you make out of llama yarn you also don't need to launder them as often.  When you do wash it, it can be done in low heat with mild detergent and it will readily air dry.  This makes it better for our environment using less water, cooler water, and no dryer.

The fiber is very resilient so it doesn't pill or mat.  That means its functionality is very high.  When garments or materials wear its usually because there is a coating or layering (like the super wash resin)  that wears away after a period of time.  With llama fiber there is no process and therefore there is no functional fatigue, or rather it takes a very very long time or rough treatment for it to wear out. 

Llama fiber also carries little to no static electricity. 

Please don't take this as me bashing wool products.  Wool is the first fiber I fell in love with after learning about all of its super cool qualities.  The nerd in me will always go out and learn as much as I can about whatever it is I'm doing at the moment.  This moment I just happen to be spinning llama.  I still love wool and always will.  I hope you all learned something new today and it encourages you all to go and find out about whatever fibers you happen to be using in your crafty lives. 

llama yarn

Are you a Yarn person but not a tech person?

So I find that the fiber community is pretty evenly split between folks who love the internet and technology and those who are most likely using dial up.  I even ended up being the " web person" for my local spinners guild because no one else wanted to do it.  I feel that this is to be expected because if you enjoy passing your time with yarn and spinning wheels you may not be into all things technology.  As a result I've gotten a good many questions about the website ravelry

Ravelry is an online search engine and community for fiber artist. I personally have sort of mixed feelings on it.  It absolutely can't be beat for pattern searching and finding new designers.  I personally prefer Instagram or Facebook for socializing and sharing projects just because I find the sites more user friendly and updated.  Here are some videos I made to give sort of a run down on the site and how useful I find it for finding the perfect pattern to incorporate some handspun or art yarn.  Please comment if you have any questions and I'll be here to help.  

 

 

Drop Spindle Tips I wish I had known...

Well here's a companion video for my popular video " knitting tips I wish I'd known"  

I'm self taught and pretty excellent at making mistakes and then figuring them out, I like to think that this gives me a super power to explain things to people who may be making the same weird mistakes.  

Also if you didn't know, CHY has a pretty popular Youtube channel go check us out and like and subscribe if you care too.  

If you'd like to get more advanced check out our online course.