Thursday, June 26, 2008

LavenderSheep Shop!

I am happy to say that after much time and work on my part and on the ever helpful Peninah, I have finally managed to get my new web shop up and running!

I am so excited to finally have it in existence. It is a continual work in progress, as most websites are, but I am very proud of the work I have done on it. I have learned a lot along the way. I wanted to talk a little bit about why I am switching over from having an Etsy shop to having my own web store. I really feel like I have outgrown what Etsy can do for me. I kept hitting little things that built up over time that limited where I want to go with my company. That is not to say that I was otherwise unhappy with them as a company or as a resource. They were the best first step that I could have ever made with my store and I am so happy that they were available. I would recommend them again and again to any artist that is just starting out and needs a good venue. However I have come up with a couple of main reasons why the website is a much better thing and where I would like to see my little yarn shop go:
  • A lack of categories: being limited to 10 categories was fine when I was just starting out. However now that I have nearly 20 different yarns and rovings, not to mention project bags and new ideas, I felt like 10 categories with no sub-categories really limited me.
  • Only Handmade: I love that Etsy has an only handmade policy. I plan on buying lots of stuff in the future from Etsy shops because of the handmade only policy. However, I have ideas about combining other products with my yarns that would go entirely against that policy. I can't tell you guys quite yet what I am up to, but I have been thinking about patterns or maybe some lavender products. Some nice things that would accent my products well, but that I don't have time to make or produce myself.
  • There are a couple of other little things that are nice too. Things like no need to relist items, no listing fees, items not getting buried, etc... These things aren't huge, but are a nice change.
I just thought I would talk about some of the reasons I am making this change. I don't want people to think that I have had any negative experiences with Etsy. Simply they have given me the building blocks to grow my company to a point where I can now move on to something bigger. I am still not sure what I am going to do with my Etsy shop, but I should have items listed there until September.

So, go and check out what is left in my Etsy shop. As things expire I will move them over to the new shop! Make sure to check out the new shop! I think it is pretty cool! So far I only have yarn listed there. The yarns that are up are Alpaca Lace, Handspun, Nylon Ribbon, Panda, Panda Silk, Silk Lace, Silk Noil, Silk Noil Petite, Silky Sock, and the New! Superwash Sock!

Note: Sorry about the lack of photos. I am having a little technical difficulties, so I am mainly working off of my laptop for a couple of days. I can do pretty much everything, but my latest photos are still on the main computer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Black Sheep Gathering!

On Friday Blair took the day off so he could take me down to Black Sheep Gathering. It was a blast to go and see all the cool vendors and buy some pretty pretty stuff! I didn't get too many pictures, because I was soo busy looking at everything!

I saw some pretty cool people while I was there. I, of course, had to hit the Blue Moon booth and check out Dicentra Designs. She actually had 30% off on some of her roving! Who could pass that up? Though the highlight of my trip was meeting Sandy Sitzman, who is the dyer for Woolgatherings, a long time favorite. Her claim to fame is that she is featured in The Twisted Sisters Sock book and is the designer of the Zylie Cardigan that is on the cover of The Twisted Sisters Sweater book. If you remember back I knit that same cardigan for Sarah's daughter for Christmas. Sandy even recognized who I was, since we had chatted back and forth about the sweater as I knit it and when it was finished. It was so cool!

Of course I got plenty of loot! I bought a lot of stuff for me this year. There are two skeins of Blue Moon Sock yarn. Lots of dyed stuff from various vendors. In the back, in the bags, is a shetland/merino blend that is simply wonderful and grown here locally right out of The Dalles by Sporfarm. It is in blue and in purple. I plan on spinning it up and plying it together to make a sweater for me! My absolute splurge is the soft brown in the front. It is 50% yak and 50% silk! It is super yummy and soft! My husband said with all of these purchases that I had better get spinning and he is quite right!

One last special thing: for my birthday my husband bought me a laptop computer, so I can now do business on the go! He also suggested decorating it with stickers to personalize it. So I got a few from the different vendors at Black Sheep and a couple from my alma mater.

One last last thing: The new shop website is up! Check it out! I should have a full post up later!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Socks! Socks! Socks!

Introducing my new sock yarn, dyed in beautiful colors:

I really love how this new yarn takes the dye. It seems to soak it up much more evenly. It is great for the multi's, but I have to work a tiny bit harder with the semi-solids to get them to have variation.

Still, I love this yarn!

I knit another LavenderLamb sock! I love it! These little guys take about an evening to make one! It definitely feels like a much sturdier sock yarn, which is exactly what I was going for. The color it was knit out of is Day at the Fair.

All of the new sock yarns will be available in my new shop! I still don't have an exact date for when it will be open, but I will let you guys know when I do!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Panda Silk Sock!

I just wanted to start out by saying thank you to everybody! Thank you all who left me Happy Birthday wishes, I really appreciated it! Also a big thank you to my husband for posting from North Carolina! He is now home safe and sound! He brought me pretty yarn and a promise to go to Black Sheep Gathering next weekend. So plenty of yarn and fiber in my future!

My husband also sent me flowers on my birthday. I think they are so pretty, so I thought I would share them with you guys! Ok, so on to the rest of this post:

Panda Silk Sock Yarn! Yay! So, of course, I couldn't just get the Panda Sock yarn without getting the new Panda Silk sock yarn. It is sooo pretty. I just love the way that it takes the dye. It is such a nice round and soft sock yarn. It is 52% Bamboo / 43% Superwash Merino Wool / 5% Combed Silk.

If you notice the Panda Silk has Superwash Merino (whereas the Panda Sock just has wool), which means it should definitely be machine washable. I am going to do some samples and wash them up soon, just to check it all out. I don't have the heart to try it out with my baby socks, but some plain samples should be fine. I don't think that the Panda will really felt, but I am curious to see how it will bloom when washed.

Here is another bitty baby sock. This one is knit out of the Panda Silk, of course, in color Citrus. The yarn was very fun to knit up and the sock went very quickly. I have named the pattern LavenderLamb Sock, since it is for babies 0-6 month. More on them later...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Blair in North Carolina Yarn Shops

I am guest blogging from Hickory, NC today. I've been away on business for two weeks (one more week before I go home). Yvonne asked me to check out some yarn shops around Hickory, and do a little guest blogging.

My coworker and I paid a visit to four yarn shops nearby:

Wildskeins, A Strand of Purls, Hollybee Yarns, and Chix with Stix.

We stopped by Wildskeins in Hickory first, after our GPS had us go about 5 miles in the opposite direction. After arriving, we met the proprietor as we took photos of the exterior (also making sure to snag a shot with the Linux penguin in the shop window next door), who thought it surprising and odd that a husband would go yarn shopping and blog for his wife. And why not?!

Anyhow, inside, we found a small, cozy shop, stocked with many popular brands of yarn. I found a lovely skein of Paca-Peds HT. The proprieter, Brandi, was down to earth, and after explaining what we were up to, chatted us up for a bit. Before leaving, we got a picture of the pretty store-bird.

We traveled to A Strand of Purls, also in Hickory. This shop is a little larger, and accordingly has more yarns in the store. There were several women knitting when we came in, who thought we were awful nice going yarn shopping.

Laura, the proprietor of A Strand of Purls, shared with us that her shop is very new, just about a year old. With the export of furniture manufacturing jobs from Hickory and Lenoir to China, she and her husband decided it was time to look elsewhere for employment. Laura decided to open up A Strand of Purls; her husband is still working in furniture, until he can find something more long-term. I wish both of them good luck!

I ended up with a ball of Filatura Di Crosa Superior silk & cashmere blend yarn.

We made a quick jaunt over to Valdese, NC to HollyBee yarns. We thought this was an outlet for Peaches and Cream yarn, but it turns out they actually sell the same yarns made for RedHeart and Lion Brand yarns. The woman we spoke to showed us all around, pointing out all the yarns she had, some acrylic, some cotton, and some wool. Not much in selection, and they do not carry any brand other than their own; however, if you want a deal and you are in the area, you may consider stopping by. Most balls are $1.

At the same time, she was asking if we'd be interested in buying her shop; they have been trying to close and retire over the last year, after Wal-Mart told the yarn mills the shop was purchasing from to stop selling yarn to the shop, or they'd stop selling the yarn. However, it seems that even with that request met, for the most part, Wal-Mart in the area has stopped having craft sections altogether, as we soon learned when we visited Chix with Stix.

Chix with Stix is located in downtown Lenoir, NC, in the back of She*Sha's. I'm new to this concept, of a store within a store, but it was fairly cute. If you need some yarn or needles, this shop will suffice in a pinch.

We managed to hit Chix with Stix right before closing, and while classic cars were pulling into downtown Lenoir for a classic car rally. According to the person working at Chix with Stix, there is a car rally every other weekend during the summer in Lenoir, alternating with a flea market downtown. There was live entertainment, and many families out, possibly enjoying the summer weather (I find it too hot and muggy).

If we had but more time, and more knowledge of the area, we'd visit more shops. Everyone we met was friendly, and helpful, and willing to have a chat with a stranger.

Before I go, I must post photos of our treasures:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yep, today I am a whole quarter of a century! So, I thought I would share some pretties that will be available in the new website store:

This is a brand new sock yarn that I am dyeing up called Panda Wool. It is 51% Wool 39% Bamboo and 10% Nylon. It is the same Panda sock yarn that is available from Crystal Palace. I just love how it dyes up! The bamboo doesn't take the dye so there are little white stripes to the yarn.

I knit up a little baby sock out of the yarn too! The pattern is my own. This is actually a little sneak peak into a new something for the shop! The yarn knit up very nicely. I think it will make very sturdy socks. I haven't tried washing up a sample yet, but I will in the near future and give you guys a full report!