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!
I made a how to video for making your own fiber blending board and rolag spinning fiber.
Check it out and hit me up with some questions, hope this is helpful. Blending your own fiber is super fun and shouldn't cost an arm and a leg in my opinion.
My brand is called crafty housewife because I'm a big fan of finding value and frugal uses for things.
I love the old saying from the depression era
" use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without "
www.paradisefibers.com for the drum carder cloth
and your local ace hardware for the rest.
So I thought y'all might get a kick out of this "bloopers" reel. No I do not expect anyone to learn much of anything about yarn spinning from this ha ha.
Delia and the spinolution pollywog
" I help I help"
What better to do on a rainy nap time then to spin up some Faux Cashmere!
So I'm working on a custom colorway for a local shop ( shout out to Atomic Fibers in Oak Ridge TN). Half of the order is going to be on Merino with silver sparkles and the other half is going to be on Faux Cashmere which I was very excited that the shop owner was as excited about as I am. I'm normally a huge fiber snob and not a huge fan of anything that's not a natural fiber but I must admit faux cashmere has brought me over to the dark side. It spins up like a dream and is pretty brainless, it's fluffy and light but has a decently long staple length so it's easy to achieve a thinner yarn. I find it a bit harder to per-draft than merino or other wools so I normally end up breaking off small blobs of it and spinning thin from that which seems to work well. Yarn spun from faux cashmere has a nice subtle sheen and is fabulously soft and light weight. It also takes dyes well and the results are normally bright and cheerful. The best part is unlike real cashmere you wont have to take out a loan to get a decent amount to spin or knit with. In this video you will see some faux cashmere spinning action on my Spinolution King Bee ( Love) as well as a bit of rambling about the adventures of me and the little people and why I compulsively spin for relaxation. As normal feel free to hit me up with any questions or comments.
Stay tuned for info on some late summer limited edition yarns that will be faux cashmere of course. Joining the coupon email list is by far the best way to know when that happens and save money while you're at it.
Here is the link to the three patterns I wrote for using small amounts of handspun yarn or art yarn. These are not exacting patterns they are detailed suggestions.
I have other more official patterns on on this site they are also free, they are also meant to be knit with handspun yarn alone or mixed in with yarn from your favorite yarn shop.
This PDF with the three small patterns are free, please enjoy and I hope they inspire you to make something beautiful out of you're yarn stash.
Having recently moved to the smokey mountains of TN and being from a family who is historically from the area I felt compelled to learn about the area. My two little girls were just at their grandparents in SC for a few days so I took the opportunity to drive to all of the local yarn shops in my surrounding area. That's one thing I love about having something you are passionately interested in is it gives you great excuse to explore and meet new people. I found many different and interesting yarn shops from Atomic Fibers in Oak ridge ( named for the towns ties with nuclear power) to Clinch river Yarns ( in a cute old house in Clinton TN ). I also made the short trip from my new home to Gatlinburg TN to visit a place called " The Spinnery" It's a lovely drive past Dollywood down a winding road that cuts through the mountians, moss and over a creek to Gatlinburg. The Spinnery is located right downtown and is a trove of beautiful yarns, fibers, wheels and tools. One of the laides who worked there spent lots of time explaining all of the different historical fiber processing tools to me. I am thrilled that I picked up a new pair of hand made wool combs which will greatly help with processing my Tunis wool for my shop.
I appreciate all of the time spent on me because I know they two ladies there were working very hard restocking the entire store due to smoke damage from the recent tragic fires in Gatlinburg TN. Even though we were living in TN at the time it's easy to feel removed from such sadness. I am so thankful that this lovely store and all of it's history was saved. If you looked out the windows you could see directly next door a building and surrounding woods were completely gone. They were very happy to tell me that "Ms. Ruby" a life size wool felted and ceramic statue of an old woman weaving was still safe. She is made by a local ceramic artist who tried her hand and felting and did an outstanding job. She is so life like she's almost creepy.
I found this great old video from 1947 about the people and heritage of the Great Smokey Mountains. They of course all reminded me of Ms. Ruby. The whole 15 mins is great but if you skip to 8:30 it has a short bit about hand spun yarn and weaving.
It all reminds me of one of my favorite sayings
"Use it up, wear it out, make it due, or do without"
I learned how to knit in college, I always joke that besides learning how to properly pencil my eyebrows that it was one of the most used skills I picked up in my 4 years at College of Charleston ( besides my two college degrees of course)
One of my roommates was from Maine and her sister worked in a yarn store there and she was always knitting in the common room. I become completely enamored with learning how since it was something I always wanted to learn but no one close to me could teach me. So it began, with super slick super cheap yarn and some equally slick metal needles. Unfortunately I'm also a really loose knitter so my first project became " the magnificent trapazoid" I kept it in my car as a dust rag for many years for sentimental reasons. During finals my senior year, I was a double major so I was twice as crazy I attempted to knit my first sweater. This also ended up being a disaster. I picked a pattern that had to be totally sewn together after and then I knitted it on giant straight needles and it was dk weight. Many years later I found out I sewed the sleeves on upside down which had a very attractive bat wing affect. I'm sure all of this has now put great faith and reassurance in you that I am a crafts person with discerning taste and ability. Well fear not , I have continued to knit and join knitting groups and even met some ladies with actual spinning wheels in the great northwest where such hipster things are actually available and readily talked about. The first time I ever felt handspun yarn it was all over. Not that I don't love ready made yarn, but handspun is so dense and just asked to be held and squished and always creates something special. Not to mention it opens a whole pandoras box of learning about different types of fiber. So this is a very long way to say, I'm really excited about this website, business, adventure. My goal is to provide what it is I'm always looking for when I go into a yarn store "that something unique and special and locally made" . I hope that one of these skeins of yarn speaks to you and you feel compelled to make it into something special no matter how simple or complex. I know I put a lot into each and everyone and they are all unique in they're own way. I will also have a select group of handmade items that are mostly inspired by whatever nerdy obsession i'm currently into. With two babies a healthy dose of escapism is always welcome right? On that note I may need to go re watch "stranger things" on netflx to make sure someone didn't have something cool and knitted that needs to be created..... Maybe Barb had a heinous 80's headband or something. (just kidding, maybe)