Welcome Productive June (I hope!)

When presented with two choices, pick the third.

– Unknown

I’m sure I have not quoted the original of that saying properly, thus why I could not find the original source, but it describes me perfectly. I love the road less travelled, stomping down my own path and finding new ways to approach life and its challenges.

June has to be one of my favourite months of the year. It’s the winding down of some activities, such as my children’s schooling, and the start of new projects, such as growing season! I also get the itch to dye fiber and yarn since it dries so beautifully outside in the warmer temps. More about that later…

I love saying hello to my Hummies again! They started coming back mid-May, and we’ve counted 7 thus far. I adore hummingbirds, and these ones are hungry from their journey north! I feel like I am constantly refilling the feeders with sugar water! LOL!

June Studio Project Update

I’m afraid this update won’t be terribly interesting except to prove I am still alive and well. I wish I had an update full of new goodies to share, but I’ve been concentrating on starting my garden as well as refining the products I currently have. I’m also working towards my goal of offering more bulk and wholesale items to hopefully support local markets/small businesses in the future. I’ve also been doing some much needed updating and refining of the website…just like every month. πŸ˜‰ When you have your own platform vs selling on a platform, it’s a ton of work. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love having my own little corner of the internet.

I’ve got a good pile of commercial wool yarn to dye. Unfortunately, I did not successfully find a Canadian supplier, so I ordered from the US instead. Hoping to find a Canadian supplier in the future.

I ordered a few more skeins to add to the commercial yarn I previously purchased for dyeing. I made a fairly sizeable investment (at least for me) in commercial yarn so that I could offer commercial indie dyed yarn along side my handspun. Fingering, DK and worsted weight merino or merino/nylon mixes, and some 100% cotton as well. I’m finding I’m a bit apprehensive to get started. I’m working towards having a group of colorways that I could replicate vs my typical OOAK (one of a kind) stuff. Luckily I’ve done a ton of dyeing over the years and have taken good notes so I think I have some good to go. That said, I want to take my time to do things correctly and that usually means I end up procrastinating. I know I have to just…jump in there, but that perfectionist in me is always afraid to get started.

I went through my supply closet and found I have quite a bit of handspun yarn for dyeing – even some boucle I completely forgot about. This will be fun to work with

I think once I get the massive amount of 3-ply BFL spun that I can use for the test dyes I’ll feel much more prepared to start. I haven’t spun in a few days due to getting struck down with a major migraine. I am totally bummed: the last time I had this bad a migraine was in January, right after Christmas, and I was becoming confident that my new regime was finally going to rid me of these debilitating headaches. I normally get one a month, so to go almost 6 months without one is huge! I really wish I had access to a hyperbaric chamber, as my migraines are due to a head injury, I think that would help immensely with healing once and for all. After 28 years, I’m anxious to get rid of these once and for all, and not through pharmaceuticals which just mask the issue.

Personal Projects

What creative projects will you be working on at the cottage or poolside this year? Or maybe you are preparing to do some winter knitting in the southern hemisphere. I’m going to do some simple projects in the evening, to use up odds and ends yarn. Below is an example of odd and ends knitted up in a pair of worsted weight socks.

I love to knit worsted weight socks as they work up fast! I don’t even bother to block them anymore: just throw them into the sock drawer and wait for winter

Every so often I purchase a pretty fingering weight sock pattern that I vow to do but truthfully I am so tired in the evenings I’d rather work on something simple and automatic. Lately I’ve been doing socks since I have a basic pattern that fits my feet memorized and I can finish a pair of worsted weight socks in 2-3 evenings. I even do toe-up so that I don’t have to do that dreaded kitchener stitch.

A few of my other worsted weight socks I’ve made, hand-dyed by moi. Now, to tackle the odd and ends of handspun. This will be more challenging as I will have to match up the sizes/gauges, and my handspun tends to be more varied in sizes.

June Earring Sale

To kick summer off, I thought an earring sale was in order! 15% off earrings when you use the code: EARRINGSYAY at checkout. Excludes sale items. You can checkout my Etsy sales for the month here.

Should we plant a Peanut, and grow more cats??

Here’s hoping you have a happy, healthy, productive (and fun!) June!

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May Update: The Month of (re)Vision

“You realize that all along there was something tremendous within you, and you did not know it.”

Paramahansa Yogananda

I’m calling May the month of (re)Vision: Vision being the key word! Last month’s contemplation and urge for change has lead me to a to-do list of revamping and re-branding.

One thing that has always served me well is visualizing what I want and bringing it to fruition. Many times I cannot see the forest for the trees, however! When you are so immersed in a topic or situation (LIFE!) it’s hard to know for sure which direction to take, what to let go of, and what to change.

Comtemplation and Change

Last month’s Etsy strike was just what I needed to refocus and contemplate what do *I* want going forward. It’s easy to get caught up in the game of: what will sell and what (I think) everyone else wants. I have a good base of product so I have time to play and explore the next level, especially with yarn & fiber. I’ve been reevaluating my products, and giving everything a freshen up: either new photos, a revamp or retirement, if necessary.

I also made a wishlist of what I want to make going forward, particularly with fiber. One thing I’ve been toying with, is whether I should add an espinner to my spinning collection. Ok Leilani, you already have FOUR spinning wheels. As much as I love my treadle power, I can’t help but be curious to see how the electric version measures up. What can I say? I love to spin!

What I’m Working On

Part of the re-branding process: New Business cards! What do you think?

I loved my previous business card design, but after 3 years it was time to order more and I thought it best to refresh the overall brand. So out came the camera, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it all came together.

Another item on the VISION list: a static collection of dye combinations for yarn & roving. I’ve also acquired several skeins of commercial spun yarn that I can also dye. In the past I have spun my own bare yarns to dye, as spinning dyed roving and dyeing finished yarn gives two completely different looks. But I came to realize that it will be some time for me to spin a decent amount for sale, and I’d like to get making when the inspiration hits. I also realize some people prefer to knit commercial yarn, which is totally cool too! So it’s a goal of mine to offer both in the near future.

Sifting through old dye notes while envisioning new indie dyed yarn & roving. Reading through these notes is like looking through old photos fondly!

Clearing Out Dyed Roving

Right now I’m thinking about offering the dye combinations in roving, commercial & handspun yarn: full skeins and mini skein sets. Until then, I think I will list for sale some of my hand dyed merino top. I divide this roving into 4oz braids for my own spinning projects, but I may even split them into 2oz as you’d still spin a fair bit with half, especially with a drop spindle.

I’m pretty sure I will list much of my merino top roving I hand dyed for sale. I just have way too much that I will never get to, as I want to try my hand at spinning other fibers in my stash

Supplier Frustrations

Now I have to do a bit of grumbling. I’ve found it particularly difficult to find suppliers in Canada for bulk bare yarn or yarn cones. One mill didn’t even respond to my request. I find this an issue time and time again in this country. I either can’t find what I want, can’t get companies to respond to me, or they are not open to my request (which is fine). But it means I have to go to tried and true companies in the US that I’ve used for years who are happy to take my money and do so with the utmost professionalism.

20+ years as a maker who buys large lots of product be it packaging, jewelry components or fiber and this has been a constant problem. Maybe there are better leads via word of mouth…! Either way, I often feel like there are so many missed opportunities for great partnerships in Canada.

I’m having a hard time finding undyed wool yarn on a cone for dye experiments. So…I’ll make it myself! This is a 3 ply bfl being plied on a 32oz bobbin! So I’ll have several skeins of yarn available on one bobbin πŸ™‚

No New Products this month, but there is a Sale

No new products for this month as I work on branding and new possibilities, and it may be for awhile, yet (we are heading into mercury retrograde, afterall πŸ˜‰ ).

I didn’t have time to prepare a sale in time for Mother’s day, but in honor of all the moms, of which I am one, I am offering 20% off all products in the “Personalized Items” section for the rest of May. Here’s a few products from that section:

I’m running a sale om Etsy as well, if you prefer to purchase there. It’s 10% off items in the Necklaces and Pendants section, as well as a few other clearance markdowns. I cannot offer as deep of a discount there, as their fees have gotten really high.

“Wings” (close up pic above) was developed after the passing of my Mother, in 2008. I wear mine pretty much everyday, I try not to leave home without it! Sending love out to the universe, wherever she may roam <3
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My Birthday, Shipping Woes, Etsy Strike

April Studio Update

Little Junco birds feast in the bird feeder during our spring snowstorm

April Showers bring…spring snowstorms. As I sit here and type this, there is 10cm of snow outside and the wind has picked up. I’m confused if it is April or December! Therefore, it’s good day to pour a cup of tea and write my April Update.

This was yesterday: same window, approx same time. As you can see, we had another little visitor at the bird feeder

I wanted to share this feedback I received via the contact form on the website:

“Hello there! Last week I received a gift that a friend bought for me from your store – 2 glorious skeins of green merino-silk-angelina, along with 2 charming stitch markers. I just wanted to let you know that it is a complete dream to crochet with, and has kick-started a creative drive in me that I thought was asleep for good. Many many thanks for all your beautiful work!”

I cannot stress enough how much this message made my day! Yes, we always like to hear positive feedback about our work, but this means so much more to me. Because this customer has been *inspired* to create again with something *I* created. I feel privileged to know my purpose in life: live an inspired life, and inspire others. Needless to say this comment has inspired *me* to continue to keep creating. Truly, what goes around, comes around…

The Trouble with Shipping, and the Hindrance it places on a Positive Shopping Experience

I’ve written several times about the shipping conundrum. If you are a small business you really rely on the mail to get your goods where they need to go. If you are in Canada, like me, you rely heavily, if not exclusively, on Canada Post. Cost of shipping with Canada post has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. Plus the strain that the lockdowns created in 2020 threw delivery standards out the window.

Although Canada Post is reliable in the sense that packages eventually get to where they go, higher volumes mean that it can take longer for packages to reach their destination. In an Amazon Prime world, people aren’t as patient to wait for the goods they paid for. For cheaper items, I have no choice but to send the padded envelopes via regular mail, and when they are taking longer than usual to arrive, customers get anxious as there is no tracking number.

A Shipping Example

Why not send everything with tracking? Let’s take that order for yarn, quoted above. The order sold for $43. Of that $43 dollars, $21.43 was spent on shipping. It was going to Ontario, which is in Eastern Canada. I am located in this region as well (Maritime provinces). As it is a bulky item, the tracking option is the only way to ship, there is nothing cheaper. And this rate is with me squishing the yarn into a mailer envelope, which I really dislike, but have to do in order to keep the shipping costs as minimal as possible.

So $21.43 for a bulky envelope of yarn, leaves me with $21.57 for two skeins of yarn that I made from scratch. Nevermind the packaging and little extras I also include. And the Etsy fees I pay as this order was purchased via Etsy. If you think makers sell their goods to make money, you might want to think again…

So let’s say someone buys a stitch marker set for $17. If I were to send this with tracking, the price would be the SAME as the bulky envelop of yarn. $21 to send a $17 item. I instead, purchase an oversized stamp for just under $2. The item ships regular mail with no tracking, but you can understand why.

Understanding and Patience is Key

A platform like Etsy would say, just increase your prices. But how much is one willing to pay for a stitch marker set? How do I stay competitive on the platform when there are US makers whose shipping costs are considerably less?

I’m not looking to gouge people, I want them to enjoy my creations! I want my customers to feel that they paid a fair price. If I wanted to become rich I would have stopped making ages ago.

I’m also not trying to complain, just to educate. I make it a point to turn around my orders as quickly as possible, usually in 1 business day. If you waited a little longer to receive your handmade package from an artist or maker, please be patient, and don’t give them less than a 5 star review if you truly loved your item. Trust me, if I could hand deliver all my orders, to say thanks in person, I would.

Also, you can trust that if your package ever goes missing I will honor your order with either a refund or replacement. Simply contact me by hitting reply on your order confirmation email. I always get back to people right away so if there is a delay, please email me directly.

An Etsy Strike is A-Brewing

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Etsy corporate stating that there would be a fee increase, 30% higher starting April 11th. To be honest, I’m pretty low key on Etsy, and not up with the politics within the community. Not since the last mass exodus of sellers in 2012. I’ve been on Etsy since 2008, and I started selling on the platform about a year later. I’ve been around with all the ebb and flow of change as it has evolved as a company. I would not exactly call the platform exclusively handmade anymore, since it is full or re-sellers. Buyer beware is certainly warranted.

Recently I learned that several Etsy Shops will be going on strike starting April 11th. Their demands are as follows:

  1. Cancel the fee increase.
  2. Crack down on resellers with a comprehensive plan that is transparent, so sellers can hold Etsy accountable.
  3. Give β€˜Golden’ support tickets to sellers affected by extreme AI actions (account termination, 45/90 day holds, etc.)
  4. End the Star Seller Program.
  5. Give all sellers the ability to opt out of off site ads.

Etsy and Me

I stay there because I really like the customers. For the most part, Etsy buyers get the handmade maker philosophy. I keep it as a low-key avenue for customers. I don’t make enough $$ there to be forced into paying for advertising, like some sellers who use Etsy as their primary income.

So when I got the email about a price increase, I shrugged it off as, what can you do? Until I happened to stumble on info on the strike via Twitter. Although I am small beans on Etsy, I’m going to participate in the Etsy strike in solidarity of the makers who rely on Etsy to make a living. I agree whole heartedly with their demands, though I’m very pessimistic that Etsy would ever listen to their sellers.

So I will be putting my Etsy Shop in vacation mode on April 11th, until at least the 18th. I may go a little longer, and take the month to research other avenues to get my work front and center to customers. You can come here to my website to purchase my items, or to contact me for any reason.

Click here to find out more about the Etsy strike

Click here to sign the petition

The Future is Unknown and What I’d love to Happen Going Forward

If I were to put it out there, what would I want to see for my little handmade endeavour going forward? Obviously, affordable shipping would be high on my list! But past that, I’d love to expand to reach more Canadians, and not just singular item orders, but bulk and wholesale to small retail shops that cater to handmade, or local yarn stores. I can give such a better price if I work and ship in bulk.

I’d love to streamline my sales to come through this website and discontinue using 3rd party platforms. But with a receptive audience built in and me wanting more time to create I simply don’t see myself leaving Etsy anytime soon. In fact, the answer may be to go back and diversify the platforms I use. I stopped doing that for simplicity, but here I sit again wondering how to reach more customers without being glued to my computer hours on end. I already dropped social networking for that reason: too much time taken up when I could be making fantastic things!

This Month’s New Products

April Discount

April is my birthday month! Despite rising costs with shipping and supplies, I wanted to offer a discount to say thanks! Creating literally saved my life over 2 decades ago. I am grateful to be here today to share my gifts with you all.

Save 18% on your order of $50+ for the month of April* with code: BIRTHDAYMONTH
*excludes sale items

It would be my pleasure to also include an additional small gift with your purchase.

In gratitude,

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Impatiently Waiting for Spring

“The harder it gets, the closer you are” – Steven Chopade

It always seems that the closer one gets to the end of a task or period of time, one gets the most impatient. That’s certainly me these days, impatiently waiting for spring to start! Thankfully the piles of snow are quickly receding: I almost forgot what my deck and yard looked like!

Today the temperature reached 9 degrees celcius. It’s sunny, and I’m getting my seed starting materials out. Soon it will be time to start some seeds indoors, though I could be starting onions now. Funny how a temp like 9 degrees is exciting and warm this time of year! Come fall we’ll be literally shivering in our boots when the temps reach single digits!

What’s New

I wish I had some exciting news to report, but honestly I’ve just been taking care of housekeeping. Literally. Spring must be coming because I have been in a cleaning and organizing mood! Besides my house and studio, this sentiment also includes my website and Etsy shop. I’ve been cleaning up descriptions, updating info and freshening up listings. And as usual, I have a ton of new items to photograph and get listed, that will probably take me all year to get through – HA!

I’ve been enjoying replenishing my handmade note cards of various sizes and sentiments. I like to include these in orders, esp if there is a request for a gift note

I’ve been working on using up my fisherman’s wool that I’ve had kicking around for years, long before I started spinning. Fisherman’s wool is worsted weight, and it’s been so cold this winter, I decided to make some more pairs. The thicker socks are almost like a slipper sock, though I wear these in my boots as well. They keep my feet toasty warm. I’m currently working on my 6th and probably final pair of socks with the Fisherman’s wool.

New Products

Click on each photo to be taken to the listing for the item. Also available on Etsy, should you prefer to shop there. Pricing structure is slightly different due to listing fees.

These pewter Celtic knot charms have been around for quite some time, but wasn’t inspired to make anything with them, until recently. I acquired some larger freshwater pearls and I immediately liked the look of the larger darker pearls with this pendant. I’m trying to expand my offerings for good quality items that are not precious metal. With the rising cost of…everything, I want to make sure I have products available with a broad price point so that there is a little bit of everything for everyone.

I’ve relisted These 10mm faceted gemstone earrings with the stones I currently have available: amethyst, golden tiger eye and onyx. But one pair or a set of all 3. I used to have more stones available but am sold out and will not be restocking (at least for now).

This is an older product that I sold years ago on my old website, now available once again. This petite awareness ribbon is gold plate over sterling silver. The rest of the necklace is gold-filled. You can find out more about gold-filled in this blog post.

Gold is the color awareness ribbon for childhood cancers, which is what I originally bought these charms for (by customer request). I would say if you prefer to wear gold jewelry and have a specific cause that is near and dear to you, to not let the officially meaning deter you. This piece is nice and dainty: perfect for daily wear.

Living near a beach (albeit a cold one!) draws me to all things beach related. I adore the ocean and love living near it. This necklace can be personalized with a initial charm that I manually engrave. Sterling silver chain. The pendant is culinary grade pewter. You can learn more about these charms and their wonderful detail and quality in this blog post.

Revamped Listing

I’ve decided to amalgamate all the personalized products that are offered in both silver and gold, for ease of comparison and ordering. The horse and bunny necklace from this original collection are now only available in silver, and as of now I am not planning to restock the gold.

I’m off to enjoy this lovely end-of-winter day. Possibilities. So delicious…

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Fighting the Winter Blahs (and a coupon code)

Our winter thus far has been reminiscent of the winters we spent in Quebec! Not only a ton of snow, but several days of bitter cold. I’m over it already…! πŸ₯ΆπŸ˜œπŸ₯΄

I can only describe the start of our year as….blah…we all as a family were dragging after all the Christmas hype. Plus, I have my typical winter dry cough that comes along with this lack of humidity and running our pellet stove constantly. It’s so much fun to have a chronic cough in the era of covid hysteria. πŸ™„

So I took the first few weeks of January essentially off…I filled orders, but I didn’t jump in with my usual zest for getting the year started. I did tell myself I would slow down this winter, so it’s not exactly a loss. I was mostly on the couch: knitting, reading and watching TV/internet broadcasts. My cats were thrilled to have a couch buddy! The lack of energy from being burnt out afforded me the chance to work on small projects that I’ve been meaning to get to anyway.

Latest Projects and Gadgets

Have you ever done a felted join? Merino felts easily, so I often will simply felt the new ball onto the end of the finished ball…and keep on knitting. Any reason to avoid wearing in ends. Ha ha! I’ve had success with felted joins with different kinds of handspun, though I haven’t tried it on mohair. Where it is so slippery, I have my doubts it would felt together well. But alpaca has worked, and most types of sheep wool I’ve spun.
Earlier this month I finally cleaned up the final batch of garlic from 2021. This batch I started in the spring, rather than the fall, just for fun. The bulbs were really small come harvest time, and they’ve been hanging on the drying rack since early November. But as small as they are they are not only super cute but super tasty. We go thru a ton of garlic and I already finished the bulk of what I grew. Definitely glad we doubled the plot for this year!
…and the snow keeps coming…

My husband was going to buy me the interchangeable Kollage knitting needles set as a Christmas gift, but I stopped him. I already have so many types of needles, it seemed really frivolous to buy yet another set. But by Christmas end, I was still thinking about these needles, and decided to go ahead and buy them (with DH’s blessing. We decided to not exchange gifts this year. Just a few treats instead). Shout out to Darn Yarn here in Nova Scotia. I found them on kollage’s website as a distributor, and I was impressed at how quickly I received my order. I would definitely buy from them again, and would recommend!

I may do a separate post on the kollage needles once I’ve used them for awhile, but so far, so good!

As you can see, Moki approves of my order from Knitting Anxiety

Also shout out to Knitting Anxiety in Montreal, who is also a Kollage product distributor. Their Etsy shop has a great selection of kollage needles and accessories. I bought more firm cables for my interchangeable set since I’m always working on more than one project at once. I didn’t get more soft cables, as I don’t think I’ll use them as often. Again, more in an up-coming kollage post.

New Products and Back In stock

Back in stock: Catholic art themed stitch markers

I have re-listed the Catholic Art stitch marker set with a new, updated look. You can now pick from a set of clip on markers or a set of mixed sized closed rings for knitting in the round. The clip on version is great for crocheters, and I love clip on markers to hold drop stitches until I get can around to pick them up. This was a one-time unique purchase of these charms so once they are officially gone I will not be able to restock them.

New stitch marker set: KNIT PURL in gold (also available in silver)

I’ve listed a gold version of the original KNIT PURL stitch marker set. These markers are accented by sparkly faceted glass beads (KNIT) and freshwater pearls (PURL). The set also come with a clip on marker, for a total of 9 markers.

January Aftermath

….and coming… (probably the most snow at our back door since we’ve lived here)

I’m glad to say that I’m finally coming out of the holiday burn out and winter funk. There is lots of creativity flowing and more new creations & inspiration to share in the coming days.

In this divisive world, I only want to spread love and compassion, and it’s a marvellous feeling to see Canadians conquer fear to love & support each other across the country. Don’t let the media bring you down or fill you with fear and doubt. I am in touch with many folks across the country, and the desire is the same: to get back to loving and respecting each other. I know from experience manifesting the future you want is not only possible but very much achievable.

To celebrate the month of love I’m offering 14% discount until Feb 20th on All orders with the code: LOVEABOVEALL (excluding sale items).

Peanut says good night!

Love to you all…

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End of Year Sale – Let’s Celebrate!

End of year sale coupon code available – keep reading to find out…

I hope you are all having a fun and restful end of year holiday…I know, the two really don’t go together! After 4 days of over-eating and visiting with friends and family, I’m looking forward to taking the rest of the week to recharge and get caught up on a few tasks that have fallen to the wayside these past few weeks.

I don’t have time to do a mass Christmas card mailing like I used to, but I still make cards for immediate family members

New Year’s Goals

I’m not one for New Year Resolutions, but this year I have resolved to try to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n as is compatible with the cold and short days of Canadian winters. I tend to treat the winter months as “catch up”, “get ahead” time, even though my body is telling me to rest.

Always enjoy making items for friends and customers. I started in 1999 and have been steadily at it in one form or another since 2001. It is my comfort, and my pleasure to create. I look forward to continue making keepsakes, handspun yarn & knitting accessories for you in 2022!

I look forward to curling up in bed with a good book, trying out some new knitting projects, and catching up with some meditation and spiritual podcasts, as well as expanding my own sixth sense abilities. I’m going to be creative when the whim calls, but I won’t be pushing myself to develop new products for the sake of sale.

These two brothers cozy in the studio, and as you can see, color matching the chairs πŸ˜†

Coupon Code – save 20% on your Entire Order

I am running a sale for the next couple of weeks. If you spend $75 here on the website you will save 20% off your entire order.

Use code: ENDOFYEAR at checkout. This also applies to clearance items!

Sale valid until Jan 10th, 2022.

Click here to start shopping

If you prefer to shop on etsy, I’m currently offering 15% off my entire shop. The sale is officially on until January 3, 2022 (unless I decide to extend it).

My etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/leilanihandmade8888/

See you “next year”…

Leilani signature

Busy, Tired, Happy: My week at a glance

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

My week at glance, at least the creative projects I’ve tackled this week anyway! It’s getting close to the Christmas holidays and thus my “me” time is limited. Still, I have made the commitment to invest in myself more. That means more time for my personal projects and goals. Including, listening more to my intuition, trusting in myself and slowing down to hone my gifts, both physically and spiritually.

Some of the current knitting projects I have on the go. Please tell me I’m not the only one who likes to work at more than one project at a time!

Most Satisfying Moment this week

My most accomplished moment this week, was getting my yarn backlog sorted, tagged and listed. It is always a job getting my handspun weighed, measured and priced, not to mention photographed! Descriptions are also hard. I really wish there was a way you could touch and experience my yarns with all your senses. I am quite confident that you would be intrigued and excited to work with my fiber creations.

You can view all my yarns offered in the handspun yarn section. I also have most of my yarn available for sale on etsy, but the full compliment is available on this website.

The – to sort, price and list rack, before it was prepped for sale. It is now clear all but 3 skeins that I am not sure what I want to do with yet.

Some of the New Yarns at a Glace

Yarn Revamp

One reason why I love working with fiber, is that it is incredibly versatile. Not just for the items that can be made with it, but for the fact you can revamp it if you are unsatisfied with the finished project. Like this handspun superwash merino & tencel.

Tencel is a cellulose based fiber, so it’s very much like bamboo or cotton fiber. I blended tencel and merino together and spun it, I assume for socks but I really can’t remember why now. Sometimes I just want to experience spinning blended fibers.

After spinning I dyed the yarn. Tencel being a plant based fiber will not dye with acid dyes, so my thought at the time was to leave the tencel showing as little bits through the wool. In the end, I didn’t like the effect and shelved the project.

The wool and tencel mix was dyed with acid dyes, that dyed the animal fibers but not the tencel, a plant based fiber. This left the bits of tencel throughout the yarn as little white bits, which I thought I would like but was not happy with the finished product.

So I decided to re-skein the 2 balls and have them take a bath in MX Fiber Reactive dyes. This dye will work on the tencel but leave the merino wool unchanged. I did a mix of slate and grey, and set the yarn to dye overnight. You can read my post on dyeing cotton yarn for more info on dyeing plant based fibers.

I love the final effect with the tencel now dyed. It adds grey-blue bits throughout the yarn which i prefer over the undyed.

After the yarn was rinsed and dried, I loved the grey-blue bits of tencel showing through.

A note on tencel: although tencel is cellulose based (derived from wood pulp) it is technically a man-made fiber, so not exactly “natural” as bamboo, cotton or wool would be.

Experimenting With Setting Yarn with Steam

Two skeins of yarn from the same spin: the one on the left has not been steamed, the one on the right after steaming.

A few years ago, I saw a video either on a blog or social media where the spinner set their yarns using steam from an iron, rather than going the whole soak and dry route. I was really intrigued by this, esp. by how you could watch the plies of the yarn align simply by the steam.

I really enjoy washing and setting my yarns in the sunshine – something about them being charged in the sun adds to all the good energy I put in when I spin them…not to mention how much I enjoy giving them a good thwack on the side of the house! πŸ˜‰ But now that it is winter setting yarns indoors becomes a bit of a pain.

The other day it occured to me that I could use my garment steamer to set my yarns. It is an under used tool (I bought it to steam my wedding dress back in 2006 thinking I would use it often after that, but it’s pretty much been sitting in one closet or another over the years). The results were great and very satisfying to watch. I now want to try setting my knitted items with steam, so I may do a separate post on the entire process.

Why My Creations Make Great Gifts

An order this week that especially touched me. Personalized gold-filled letter charm necklace, manually engraved

I adore all my orders but the special gifts really excite me the most. It is my calling to uplift others, support them and be there when their loved ones can’t. So when I am asked to send a special Christmas gift to a fellow Maritimer from someone thinking of them on the west coast, I am more than happy to oblige. I also made a simple note card for their gift message. I really hope they like their new necklace!

Larger projects

Making progress on my third knitted sweater, with a combination of my handspun. I think it works quite well together. Now on to the sleeves!

It’s no joke that I love to spin, and in order to get good at something, you have to put the time in. Needless to say after hundreds of hours spinning over the past 10 years I have amassed a lot of yarn. I do sell some of it, but much of it is here to be used, mostly because I feel it’s simply not up to par to sell.

It was time to do some larger projects, because hats, socks and mitts were not making a big enough dent. I started making sweaters over the summer and this is my 3rd one, I’ll have to do a separate post on the pattern and tutorial I bought to kick start my sweater knitting.

Mr. Peanut is the keeper of the fiber – and he says, goodnight! πŸ™‚

It’s getting late and my bed is calling…until next time,

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Amazing Dishrags – Knitting Cotton Dishcloths

Knitting cotton dishcloths is a fun and simple project that make great add-on gifts

Why I am Knitting Cotton Dishcloths

When I started knitting cotton dishcloths, I thought I’d maybe make a couple to try and that would be it. I gave one to my husband, who washes the majority of the dishes, to try. “Can you make some more?” He said, “Those are awesome!”. They have become his fave dishcloths, and it has become a ritual that every autumn I make a new batch: some for him, some for gifts.

I also crochet dishcloths which I equally like, but this post will look at simple knitted cotton dishcloths that you can easily make on the go or in front of the TV. You’ll have a ton of gift add-ons in no time!

My wall of cotton yarn, that I hand dyed with fiber reactive dyes – see that racoon on he wall? My mom made that when I was a child. She passed in 2008, so I’m very proud to display it in my studio.

You may have read my post on dyeing cotton yarn. Whether your stash is store bought or hand dyed, these are the simple patterns that I like the most for knitting cotton dishcloths.

Why Make Knitted Cotton Dishcloths

Cotton dishcloths are super absorbent and feel great in hand. I prefer a pattern where front and back look the same or similar. I’ve tried a lot of patterns and the simple, basic knit stitch looks best, in my opinion. To add interest you can accent with different types of stitches mixed in. That means these patterns are perfect for beginners!

Cotton is a completely different textile to knit compared to wool. Yes, the mechanism of knitting is the same, but cotton is not springy like wool. Since it has little to no give I find that it can be hard on the hands if you knit a lot in one sitting. You also don’t want to make your stitches too tight or it’s hard to knit the next row. Too loose however, and you may find your dishcloth falling apart prematurely.

I’m curious how handspun cotton will feel, because I find it to be significantly softer. You can also buy cotton/acrylic hybrid yarn that feels softer in hand, but I personally don’t have any experience with it.

My first attempt at spinning cotton yarn. It’s much softer than the commercial variety. It’s very short stapled so I think next time I will need to spin it from the fold if I want a thinner yarn. I’ll write about dyeing and knitting this yarn, another day.

My Fave Memorized Dishcloth Pattern

My fave simple easy knitted dishcloth using two different colors of yarn. The contrast color was a speckle dye.

This is a really simple idea for knitting up a basic dishcloth. I was tired one night and wasn’t ready for bed, so I let my hands and brain do what it wanted.

Here’s the pattern, it’s very easy to remember. I’m using mill ends cotton, with size US7 needles. You can make your dishcloths as big as you wish, so simply use my sizing as a guide.

With MC (main color) Cast on 32

K13 rows with MC

Row 14 – switch to C2 (color 2) – K1P1 across

Row15 – K1S1 (knit one, slip one) across with C2

Row 16-17 – with MC, knit across

Repeat Rows 14 – 17 5x

Then knit MC K13 rows

Cast off

I told you it was easy! Perfect for beginners, and easy to do while watching a movie or sitting on the bus (or waiting for kids to be done their activity, which is the story of my life).

This dishcloth was knitted as a variation of Knit Picks Woven Stripes Dishcloth Pattern

Other Easy Patterns You May Wish to Try

KNIT PICKS WOVEN STRIPES DISHCLOTH

KNIT PICKS WOVEN POLKADOTS DISHCLOTH

KNIT PICKS INTRO TO INTARSIA DISHCLOTH

I like these three patterns as well, free for use from knitpicks.com. Super easy to remember. I make mine smaller than the patterns call for.

As you can see I put off weaving in ends last minute! Probably my least favorite thing to do in knitting projects. I messed up the join in the middle (too loose in some areas), but I cut a long tail and wove it through to remedy that.
Easy Short Row Knitting makes a nice looking dishcloth with two contrasting colors. Why not try 4 colors? That’s on my to try list!

Other Types of Cotton Yarn to Knit With

Cotton scrubby yarn is easy to work with too – since you can’t see the stitches, just do the knit stitch every row. They work wonderfully on stubborn baked on food.

I enjoy making little scrubbies with cotton scrubby yarn. I’ve wondered if I could spin a variation of this, maybe like spinning a bouclΓ©? It’s certainly an affordable yarn to buy commercially, so I’ll stick to that for now. I buy the white and off-white, and dye it myself.

There is also an acrylic equivalent to this yarn, but I have no experience with it. Since it has a texture I don’t do anything fancy with it, just the basic knit stitch. You won’t see the pattern well anyway, due to the yarn construction. I make these even smaller than the traditional knitted dishcloth, by request of my hubby. He liked the smaller size for scrubbing out pots.

The finished scrubby dishcloth. Make them whatever size you desire. My DH likes them on the smaller side.

Other ways to Come up with Dishcloth Patterns

Think of some of the patterns you love in other projects such as hats, scarves or sweaters. One thing I also like to do is practice new-to-me stitch patterns.

Practising tunisian crochet (left) and working out a pattern from my encyclopedia of stitches (right)

How Long Will Knitted Dishcloths Last

Knitted dishcloths do fall apart eventually. The type of stitch you use, as well as how loose your stitches were knitted will make a difference. I also find really lacey patterns, although pretty to look at, fall apart quicker than basic knit and crochet stitches. At least this is true for dishcloths, they would probably be fine for face cloths.

Above is an array of dishcloths in various stages of use. The front cloth was made this time last year, and will have been in circulation for one 1 year later this month. The other two are approx. 3 years older, and you see they are starting to develop holes. We use them until there is basically nothing holding them together anymore, so we still expect to get at least a couple years worth of use from the old ones. Also of note is how my dyeing skills have improved since! You can read my post on dyeing cotton yarn for more info.

Once I get through this batch of cotton yarn I really want to try making dishcloths and hand towels out of bamboo. I’ve heard such great things about bamboo for these practical purposes. I love to spin bamboo, so I think it willbe a fun project to embark on. More on that in a future post.

Do you love or hate to knit with cotton? Will this post encourage you to give it a try or do you have an tips or tricks for me? Would love to hear from you…

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Tips and Tricks for Dyeing Cotton Yarn

My latest hand dyed cotton yarns drying in the autumn air

Last week I was dyeing commercial (aka store bought) cotton yarn in the studio, to add to my existing stash. It occurred to me that I have not seen many blog posts on the topic of dyeing cotton yarn, especially if you want to achieve vibrant, rich colors.

I’m a self taught (indie) dyer so I thought my trial and error experiences would benefit others. The following info is from my own personal experience with dyeing cotton, and should only be taken as opinion. Someone else may have success with other methods, or disagree with my methodology.

Over the years I have come across many posts and videos on dyeing wool yarn, but not so much with cotton yarn. If I do find a post or video, the colors achieved tend to be very muted or wash out quickly, which was my experience early on. This is a compilation of tips that I found helped me get vibrant, lasting color.

Currently I am going through mill ends of cotton, because you can buy these relatively cheap, and the odd knot in the hank doesn’t bother me. You can often get cotton yarn on sale at the local arts and craft store, as well. I re-skein them into smaller yardage as I don’t need large amounts of one color for dishcloths.

I have done a bit of cotton spinning. It’s challenging for me since it is such a short stapled fiber, but I do love the softness of the finished product. We’ll leave spinning and dyeing cotton fiber for another day.

Type of Dye Used

I am currently using MX dyes, which is a fiber reactive dye for cotton or cellulose fibers. At first I used packets of Dylon dye from the fabric store as I didn’t expect to get into dyeing cotton as much as I do. I found they worked just fine. The larger containers of MX Dye is more cost effective for me now. I purchase MX dyes from G&S Dye in Toronto.

Another learning curve I hope to tackle in the future is dyeing cotton yarn with natural dyes, but for now the synthetic stuff will do. If you have dyed cotton or plant fiber with natural dyes I’d love to hear about your experience! πŸ™‚

Dyeing Plant fibers vs Animal Fibers

Here are the 4 main points to keep in mind when dyeing plant fibers such as cotton or bamboo yarn, especially if you come from a animal fiber dyeing background (like me):

No Heat Required

Unlike dyeing animal fibers, you do not need to apply heat in order for the dye to take. You also will not have to add a product like citric acid or vinegar like you do with acid dyes. Instead you should pre-soak your yarn or fiber in a soda ash and water solution prior to dyeing for maximum dye absorption/color brightness.

The most important element to successful cotton yarn dyeing is time, not heat

Set aside at least 24 hours for your yarn to soak in the dye, overnight at the very least. I leave my cotton yarn in the dye solution for up to 2 days. If you are opting to sprinkle on dye for the speckled effect, wring it out thoroughly from the soda ash water, sprinkle on your dye, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside at least overnight. Your yarns will always appear darker when wet, so expect the color to dull by a fair bit once dry.

MX Dyes will not exhaust like Acid Dyes

The first time I dyed cotton yarn I was horrified because the dye would not exhaust, and so much of the dye ran out at rinsing. I thought it was an epic fail. But it turns out, these particular types of dyes do not exhaust, and you can expect a great deal of color to wash out when rinsing. This is why it’s very important not to…

Do not Skimp on Dye when Dyeing Cotton Yarn

It’s important to read the instructions and follow the amount of dye required per yardage as suggested by the manufacturer. YEAH RIGHT! Who has time for that?? I am really impatient, and notorious for not reading instructions (or even taking the time to understand them). Like I have time to weigh and measure every skein before dyeing, then work out the proper amount of dye by using (gasp!) math.

A few years ago, I paid for an online video course for dyeing with acid dyes, and I swore I would stick to using a very precise scientific method. But let’s face it: WHERE’S THE FUN IN THAT?? I prefer to find out via trial and error and learn to feel out how much dye I should use. It feels more artistic and expressive that way. I can always over dye it, if it doesn’t achieve the color I wanted originally.

This yarn was dyed brick red the first time and while wet the hue was nice and dark. But after it dried, it was too muted. So back into the dye with 1/3 tsp of brick red and 1/3 tsp of scarlet

My Method of Dyeing Cotton Yarn Step by step

1. Soak yarn in a solution of water & soda ash for at least 20 min for best dye absorbency. Soda Ash, also known as calcium carbonate or washing soda, helps keep colors bright when dyeing with fiber reactive dyes. It is supposed to keep your yarn colorfast, though I haven’t found this to be the case (more on using a dye fixative, below).

I use approx. 1 tbsp, and fill my crockpot with water, leaving space for the yarn so it doesn’t overflow. The crockpot is not on, I just use it as a container for the soda ash water. Give it a stir, and the soda ash should easily dissolve in the water.

I have found if I use too much soda ash it won’t dissolve completely, but you want to use a decent amount as this is what keeps the color bright in your yarn. Less dye seems to run out at rinsing when I use the right amount of soda ash.

I love having a dedicated crockpot in the studio. It’s my prefered way to dye wool rovings and yarn since it keeps an even heat and I don’t have to worry about catching the studio on fire. πŸ˜‰ It’s a bonus that I can use it for pre-soaking my cotton yarns. The flatter version on the right is great for low water immersion dyeing.

The Yarn is soaking in Soda Ash and water, what’s next?

2. While the cotton is soaking, make your dye solution. I have 2 ways that I like to dye cotton yarn. The first is mixing the dye with tap water in a plastic container. It’s very convenient, and since you don’t need heat, you just add the yarn, put the lid on it and let the magic happen. Usually I use stacking containers to minimize space used on the counter.

The second way is sprinkling the dye unmixed over top the soaked yarn and wrapping it in plastic wrap. Then set it aside at least overnight.

How Much dye should be used when dyeing cotton yarn?

I don’t have a specific formula for how much dye should be used at a time. Roughly, for a 80 to 100 yard skein, I will put two 1/3 tsp of dye into cold water, mixed directly in the plastic container the yarn will soak in. EXCEPT for black: I always use a ton of dye in order to get nice, true black. I’ll use 1 tbsp of dye for the same amount of yarn, and then dye more skeins in the leftover dye solution into shades of grey. I adore back and grey yarns for contrast in projects.

After dyeing cotton yarn black, I use the leftover dye to get a few small skeins shades of grey. Here I am adding a new skein into the dye solution, taking my time to make sure all the yarn gets soaked up with dye.

I have tried re-using the dye solution with other colors, but I find the color is so washed out and light it isn’t worth it. At first, it looks like you’ll get nice, rich color, only to have it mostly wash out when rinsing. The amount I use seems to be just right for one skein, and I can’t push it to get more like I do with acid dyes.

This is the final red yarn from above, once dry

Finishing Your Dyed Cotton Yarn

3. After your yarn soaks for a good bit of time, rinse the yarn thoroughly in cold water. Remember, time is your friend when dyeing cotton, so try to leave it in the dye solution at least overnight. With this last dye run I got the urge to do this pretty late at night. I removed it from the dye bath the following afternoon. You will find a fair bit of dye will run out when you rinse, you may prefer to soak several times until the water becomes clear.

4. Here is the controversial part: to finish your yarn at this point by hanging it up to dry, or soaking it in a fixative such as Raycafix. The first time I dyed cotton yarns the color faded very fast in my dishcloths. Like, almost back to its original color. Mind you, my first dishcloths were a very light color. Little did I know that I did not use enough dye, so maybe the remedy is to simply use more dye. Since that first run I discovered Raycafix and I have not had any issue with color fading or bleeding.

To Soak or Not to Soak in a Dye Fixative

I say it’s controversial because these types of products assumingly contain some harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde. I don’t know this for certain but I do take precautions when using. Let’s face it: if you buy conventional clothing or furniture, you are already exposed to these toxins.

I am pretty sensitive to toxins, and have detox protocols for many synthetic products I come in contact with, even for certain food additives. I’ve never had any known health issues with using this product. From time to time I use a variety of noxious materials, from synthetic dyes for fibers, to patinas for metals or polishing compounds for gold and silver. It’s up to you to decide what you are comfortable with.

I take my yarns outside to soak in their Raycafix bath. I pour a small amount into some hot tap water, swirl around with a gloved hand then allow the yarn to soak for 5 min. We have septic, so I have a dedicated place away from the house to pour out the water. Again, I have no idea if that is even necessary but these precautions are easy for me to do.

My latest yarns taking a bath in Raycafix Color Fixative

If you don’t feel comfortable using a dye fixative, I’m confident you will be just fine using soda ash and a fiber reactive dye.

If you do use a fixative, soak the yarn afterwards in cold water before wringing out and hanging to dry.

I’d love to hear about your experience dyeing cotton yarn! If you have any tips and tricks for me, I’d love to hear them.

My next post will be about knitting with cotton yarn, including my fave (easy) dishcloth patterns….

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learn more about me

More About Me (Let Me Reintroduce Myself)

A photo of a small brown foldable spinning wheel with black wool roving on a wooden deck over looking a landscape
A moment outside with my Louet Victoria travel spinning wheel and some black merino roving
A photo of a tan skinned mixed race woman with long black hair wearing a blue knitted hat and wide white and gold glasses. In the background is a artist painting of a man and woman

I’ve been putting in some much needed maintenance on the website, and I thought this would be a good time to reintroduce myself. I’m Leilani, a maker currently living in the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, Canada. I’m a born and bred Valley gal, though I spent 20 years away before moving back “home”. I was raised in Hants County but now reside in Kings County.

I’ve been making and selling handmade jewelry for over 2 decades, and spinning /dyeing handspun yarn for 10 years. I also enjoy papercrafting & knitting/crocheting, as well as gardening albeit on a small scale.

I’m a mom above all else, and a wife. My husband is originally from Yarmouth, NS. We met 20 years ago, the same day I decided I would stay away from romantic relationships and enjoy being single. Fate is funny like that.

I have a huge family in the Philippines whom I’ve never met. I’m not really sure why I’ve never made the trip, especially back when I was young, single and working in the travel industry. I blame it on money, scheduling and distance, but I guess in many ways I’m overwhelmed at the prospect. I was raised in a completely different culture. As fond as I am of my Filipino roots, I’m not exactly sure how I would fit in. I didn’t get to know many of my family members until my mom passed in 2008.

A tanned skinned mixed race woman with long straight black hair and a purple shirt lays in the grass sporting black rimmed glasses and a white headset

I’m a high vibrational empath. What does that mean? For me, it means living more by what feels right rather than following the masses. It also means navigating the world as a highly sensitive individual. That can often leave me feeling emotionally and physically drained. Think of me as the energetic air filter. The global pause in 2020 afforded me the chance to get re-centered and moving in a positive direction again.

If you order any of my products typically they will ship via Canada Post within 1 business day. My packages will typically ship from 1 of 4 places: Canning, Kentville, New Minas or Windsor, Nova Scotia. It really depends on where I am on a given day. I ship with tracking when possible but please understand that it’s very costly (averaging $17 on small envelopes to most of Canada). It’s not something I can afford on my inexpensive items.

The good news is, if you reside in Nova Scotia, you’ll get your order in a matter of days, many times in just 2 days. It’s pretty quick to Maritime provinces in general, and I’d love to pick up more customers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. I ship throughout Canada and the USA. Unfortunately I cannot ship internationally anymore: too many lost or returned packages.

I used to offer wholesale and consignment, and would be open to do it again. I can picture my stitch marker sets being a great addition to a LYS (local yarn store). Handspun yarn is trickier as it is so labor intensive to produce. It’s difficult to come up with a cost that satisfies both me and the store owner.

I often thought my creations would be fantastic in a maker or souvenir shop here in the Maritimes. I can always come up with some beautiful and cost effective earrings or necklaces. Engraved letters for personalization, semi-precious gemstones or themed charms could be focal points.

If any of these options appeal to you as a business owner, I’d love to hear from you. If it feels like a good partnership, I can always tailor the products to match your business.

What else should you know about me? Other than being a mom to humans, I am also a cat mama. We currently have 3 Persian cats, two of which are Exotic Shorthair. A typical evening for me would probably be my latest knitting or spinning project while listening to an interesting podcast (probably health or spiritually themed) and a cup of tea or coffee.

I’m happy to chat or support you on your creative journey…I hope you feel inspired here! If you have any questions or comments on the topics and techniques discussed please don’t hesitate.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Baby it’s (getting) Cold Outside

Latest Creative Projects

Autumn is in full swing here in the Annapolis Valley which means change-of-season chores before the snow flies, and I’m in denial that it’s November! How can Christmas be next month? Weren’t we just swimming in the pool and picking veggies in the garden?

I know a lot of people like this time of year, but I feel sad that summer is over. Shorter, colder days are ahead. Plus, I find the adjustment to less natural vitamin D a struggle.

Handmade Birthday Cards

We’ve had 2 birthdays go by and I forgot to share the handmade elements from each. I figured I’d at least share the cards I made. I customarily do that on Instagram, but I’ve been enjoying my time off social media. More time to create & connect to people in real life, and less negativity and drama!

This is the card I made for my youngest’s birthday. She loves cats and it seems every birthday has a cat theme. I used a stencil to lay color with a sponge ink tool (I love Ranger Distress Ink). Then I added flower decals and sticky rhinestones to add some 3-dimensional texture. The little cat holding the “Happy Purrthday” sign was stamped, then colored in with watercolor pencils. I also made him a little party hat, and I think the different sized googly eyes really make the image.

I wasn’t happy with how this card turned out. I’ll admit I left it too late and was rushing, but I knew my youngest would love it, just the same.
I was much happier with how this card turned out, for my oldest who is into sloths. These sloth images are from 3 different stamp sets. I love how they are just hangin’ out on the front of the card. I colored them with watercolor pencils, and a stencil formed the white leaf pattern in the negative space. The sayings “Hang in There”, “You’re my favorite to hang with” and “take it sloth” round out the card beautifully on a brown paper background. The textured green leaves and white/pink flower were cut out using a die cutter

What’s New on the Home Front

I pulled these carrots out of my garden this week, now that we officially have frost. I love that it’s November and my garden is still giving! I hope to expand on the gardening next season. The kiddos helped me get the garlic cloves in the ground last week. Hubs expanded the garden plot for me, hopefully we’ll have double the garlic next year.
We had a couple of nights with light frost so I had my kiddos pick the garden huckleberry. They are the perfect dark purple color, and it’s my first time growing them. I hear that when cooked they taste like blackberries. High in antioxidants, I can’t wait to make a sauce out of them. I
We are learning first aid, and it seems the cats want in on the action too! Do you think we could teach Osuna how to do 30 compressions, followed by 2 breaths? He looks ready to learn! This is more of a refresher for me. I have taken first aid before, but many things have changed so it’s nice to get caught up.

Here’s the latest new products

I’m trying to clear up the back log of products, but it’s slow going. Currently there is 13 new skeins or yarn sets to get listed, and numerous pieces of jewelry. I’ve decided to put spinning on hold until I sell more skeins and use the time to get back into knitting and crocheting again. Maybe this year, I’ll get more Christmas projects made!

This is a revamp of the “Survivor” awareness ribbon and boxing glove necklace. I am officially out of the ribbon charms, and won’t be stocking them. So I decided to re-work this piece to spotlight mental health, though I think the words could be meaningful for many reasons to the owner.

These are trying times, and this customizable necklace comes with choice of inspirational word charm (Live, Power, Honor, Health), and letter charm, that I will engrave at time of order.

Funny story, the day I took the photos for this piece, I could not get a great shot. I was perplexed, as it was shot under the same lighting conditions as any other piece of jewelry. All photos looked far away, with not the greatest detail. So after editing and putting up the listing, it dawned on me: the macro lens was not on my camera!

When I take photos of my yarn I use a regular lens, because macro tends to show too much detail and it doesn’t fairly represent the yarn. But macro is an absolute must for jewelry shots, to get nice close ups and show greater detail. It’s certainly not perfect. I’m an amateur so my photos aren’t the greatest, but I think they are adequate and showcase the pieces with the vibe I want. I may retake these photos, but for now, onwards…

I have offered this necklace with just the silver charm and back engraving for a few years now, and it was…well, boring me. To freshen it up I decided to nix the back engraving and pair it with a letter charm in my fave font, Curlz (engraved for you at time of order). I also decided to ditch the Swarovski crystal accent. While it was pretty and blingy, I felt that something more natural matched the vibe of the piece better. There is a choice of 4 colored pearls: white, peach, grey and dark iris. I also engrave the butterfly charm by way of template.

Much like the engraved butterfly necklace, I decided to refresh the lotus necklace in the same manner. I manually engrave the lotus flower symbol on a sterling silver blank, that I then hand punch into a charm. Instead of back engraving I’ve paired it with a Curlz font letter charm. I chose 4 freshwater pearls that I thought best represented the lotus: choice of white, pink, magenta purple or pale blue iris.

I’m off to work on my current sweater and try out some new dish cloth patterns. My hubs mostly does the dishes (lucky me) and he prefers my handmade ones over the store bought ones.

Until next time…

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Maker, Mom, Empath.
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Hello, from my desk

Important tools of the trade these days

Waving hi from my desk, which is relatively clean, but ready to be filled with stones and connectors, fiber and dye samples. Sometimes it’s good to clear the space and start anew. I wanted to do this post so that my customers know that the site is current and I am still creating and still selling my creations. A few months back I was have major pains in my shoulder and it was a signal for me to slow down and streamline how I spend my time. The major thing on the cutting block was online time. When I thought about what impacted me the most negatively, it was screentime. Too much causes my energy to be off, I simply feel anxious and out of sorts, not to mention the physical strain on my body from sitting and typing for extended periods of time. I’m also very sensitive to EMF, and can get a migraine at the drop of a hat, so it was a no-brainer to limit my time at the computer.

Limiting screen time means more quiet time, more time to spend at the things that are good for my soul. More time in the garden. More time in the kitchen cooking for my family. More time to reconnect with creative projects that have fallen to the wayside over the past few years. Inevitably, this has lead me even further down a spiritual path of wellness and wholeness, and I realize just how toxic social networking truly is. Yes, I miss sharing and supporting the maker community, but it’s trying for an empath to know every last detail in people’s lives. Add to that the incessant censoring which I am vehemently against, even if I disagree with the opinions shared, and I was done. I still pop on a couple platforms for a short period of time, but there are some I simply don’t miss and won’t be back.

Still making yarn, though I took a break for a few weeks for my shoulder to recover. I have several new pieces of jewelry to list as well, so I’ll be back to the computer to edit photos and list soon. Right now, I am enjoying the summer vibes and reconnecting with myself and those closest to me
Very satisfying to pull garlic from my garden! My first year growing garlic, potatoes and peas, and all did very well. I love getting into my garden and speaking to my plants. Next year, I must handle the slugs so my leafy greens flourish
Another outdoor activity I’ve enjoyed this year is filling the hummingbird feeders. The feeders are new this year and I’ve counted 7 of these little guys at once which makes me very happy! When I go out with the sugar water they chatter excitedly, and I’ve even had some hover near my face checking me out. Bonus, the cats enjoy watching the birds from these window feeders – free Cat TV πŸ˜€
I’m excited to share I finally made a sweater! I’m far from a novice knitter, but never had time for such a project. Even more importantly, this sweater is made up of revamped yarn that was one of the first skeins I ever successfully made. It’s was a naturally dark brown.bloack alapca fleece that I processed from raw. I respun it recently to some merino top I dyed to help even out the uneven spots. I will cherish this as a reminder of how far I’ve come as a self-taught spinner. This pic is pre-blocking, and I have yet to block it! πŸ˜‰
Today is the peak of the Lion’s gate portal, new energies and frequencies are now reaching earth (if you follow the Schumann Resonance you know what I mean, and if you are a sensitive you have certainly felt it – I know I have!) so I feel drawn to my tarot cards again. I don’t use them in the traditional sense, just as a guide as to where to focus my energy for the day. This deck is very helpful for us creative types, and I thought it would be fun to create a piece (jewelry, or fiber dye combo) based on the colors in the card I pulled that day. Wouldn’t you know, I pull the card that basically means, “take a pause”. So I will heed that advice and take a slow 8/8 day 😊
As usual, Mr Peanut is constantly by my side to “help” with the process 😁😸

As usual, I’d like to end my post with a little uplifting message. The theme for me the past 18 months, is learn to love yourself again. I didn’t even realize this was what I was working towards, until recently. I have placed myself in the service of others, sometimes in unconventional ways, and I forgot to focus on my growth and what I wanted out of this lifetime. I’m still committed to supporting others, and living a compassionate existence, but going forward I want to extend that support and compassion to myself. What have you done recently, no matter how small, that makes you proud? Start there, and build from that. That is how we will navigate the “new” world.

I wish you peace and boundless creativity,

leilani signature

A Happy Handmade Birthday

Last month, my tween had a birthday. She’s really into Seals so this was the theme for her special day. I’m late getting this post up: we’ve been busy doing the usual spring prep around the home, and I’ve been going thru my products and giving them a revamp. Mostly my jewelry and some of my stitch markers, I feel it’s time to freshen up the stock. It’s been a wonderful albeit intense process that has opened the door into new creative ideas. 2021 is going to be an exciting year creatively!

Back to the birthday. Being a maker I try to incorporate as much handmade into the celebrations as possible. I found some wonderful presents from Etsy this year, and I wanted to give a shout out to those artists as well.

Every year my kiddos get a handmade card. This is the card I made for her this year. It’s a slider card, so she enjoyed watching the seals “swim” up and down. “I’m keeping this card forever!” she informed me. Little does she know, after every birthday I write them a personal note in their birthday cards, a recap of the year so to speak, and them file them away to share with them when they are grown.
Osuna, our exotic shorthair cat who inspired the Keychain purchase
My oldest made the birthday girl this Minecraft character – isn’t it awesome? When I asked her what was harder, the usual rounded design of dolls or the square design, she said square is definitely harder

This is not a handmade item, but was a cherished gift just the same. Recently, I found out about Ocean Conservation Namibia and their seal rescue efforts. I gave a donation on the birthday girl’s behalf, and showed her videos from their youtube channel. They are a small rescue group that could really use the help. Be sure to watch their videos, and donate if you are able.

I’ve completely fallen off the wagon with weekly blog updates, and I feel like I am always posting and dashing! Back to the studio to create something new…

leilani signature

I’m Around, working away an update…

I dropped the ball on the weekly blog update. After the destash listing blitz I wanted a break from new product listings, coupled with chronic pain (back/shoulder damage and migraines due to being hit by a car in my teens). I just needed a break from the norm. I’m still filling orders as they come in, and taking the opportunity to step back and do a product assessment.

I love to be organized and I feel like everything is out of balance worldwide. The chaos is an opportunity to go within and assess what I have control of changing and bring back in balance. So before I start any new projects I’m taking the time to revisit my products: what could be improved, what should be discontinued (and price reduced) and what inspires me.

That’s what’s up for the next few weeks, so if I’m quiet here, I’m working away! Feel free to drop me a line any time.

I finished this pair of merino handdyed handspun! Coming to my shop in the near future
In the evenings I’ve been making messy bun hats with leftover handspun! My hair has gotten so long I’m loving these this winter. I’ll probably give away most of these, or keep for gifts. As these are wool they are lightly blocked.
Remember my ugly dye (right) that I loved in the end after spun? I tried spinning a few color combos and stumbled upon this one in my stash (left). I think it’s the winner…

That’s it, that’s all…until next time,

Love more, fear less πŸ’•,

Destash Handspun Yarn Bundles are now available

It’s a miracle, I got all the destash yarns from my personal stash listed! They are grouped in bundles. A couple of these are new product, I figured I might as well list them all and clean the slate entirely.

Be sure to read the descriptions on each so you are confident on what you are getting. You will notice a slightly higher price on etsy to cover fees. If you are buying one bundle you’ll probably find etsy cheaper as each listing is free shipping. If you are spending more than $45 CAD (approx $36 USD currently) it’s cheaper to buy here on the website. Don’t forget to apply the BULKSAVE100 code to save 15% if you are spending $100 CAD (approx $79 USD currently).

Thanks for looking!

Weekly update- A little late, all kinds of new destash items

I totally forgot to write an update last week! Retrograde had me motivated to clear up the old in anticipation of the new, so I got lots of destash yarn listed here and on etsy. Last month I decided to go through my handspun closet, and had to finally admit I will never get around to using most of these. So, I’m listing them bundled at a discount.

It’s important to read the descriptions so you know what you are getting. The vast majority of these are experiments: you can’t get better at your craft without pushing the boundaries of what you know. You may find deficits in these yarns compared to what I normally offer for sale, or you may not know what the hell I’m talking about because it’s premium handspun fiber and suits you fine. πŸ˜‰

Now that retrograde is over, I’d really like to get the remaining (approx 9 groupings) listed so that I can return to working on new creations. Here’s a quick peek at what’s for sale:

What else was new last week:

Look at this cute project bag, from Llady Llama Fiber Co in the Finger Lakes (upstate New York). She shared this brilliant design for sock knitters with divided panels for each ball. I’ve used it for a few days now and it’s amazing! I love how everything stays organized and I can just unzip and start knitting. This is a handmade item, a collaboration of the fiber artist and her sewing sister. The hardest part was picking the fabric – so many awesome styles to choose from. If you are a sock knitter I highly recommend!

That’s all for now, back to listing yarn…

What’s New Week of Feb 8th

Just popping on here quickly to share what’s new this week. I finally got a new computer but with that there’s set up, transferring my files and getting used to a new environment overall. Needless to say I fell behind this week with all things creative and handmade business related. I did get a couple of listings from my personal stash listed. I really agonized over the pricing. I’m donating my time, and hoping to at least recoup the material costs.

I’m slowly getting thru my personal stash of yarns – weighed, priced & photographed. But first I am grouping them together as I’d like to sell them off in bulk as much as possible. I’m donating the time it took to make these, but still have to pay shipping & listing fees. I’d like to at least recoup the material costs if at all possible. I wish shipping wasn’t so expensive in Canada. I charge free shipping on Etsy and a bulk rate on my website (free if you make the purchase minimum).
Keeping it short and sweet again this week! Bye for now from Peanut and Moki

The Ugly Dye Experiment: Is there truly a fail when dyeing roving for spinning? Adventures in Indie Dyeing

Ugly dye? That doesn’t sound appealing at all! I’ve had many hits and misses over the years in my indie-dye journey. When I started spinning 9 years ago, I swore I would never get into dyeing: another learning curve. But then I started processing fleece from raw and the appeal was there to learn. Soon I learned it was easy to fix mistakes by over-dyeing, salvaging over heated/manipulated fiber by re-combing or picking it, and by spinning the fiber in a more methodical way so to get the color to flow more beautifully together.

All four of these rovings were dyed using similar colors (the middle roving has purple omitted). Amazing to see the dramatic difference in the final project depending on the technique and amount of each color used

I decided to document this mini-experiment for myself to refer back to, as well as for encouragement for those who are interested in dyeing, who feel they are failing at dyeing or are feeling stuck in their indie dye journey. Let my curiosity be your inspiration!

This post will not be helpful if you don’t have some basic knowledge of dyeing fiber. There are many ways to dye and this should not be taken as the best way or the only way.

It all started with this roving I dyed several months ago. I called it my ugly roving:

My ugly roving turned out to be nothing like I envisioned/sketched out. With disappointment, it sat on the shelf for several months. I had absolutely no idea how I would spin this, nor any desire to do so

As people on Instagram pointed out, it’s not really that ugly. I think it had too much going on, and it went back in the dye pot (in this instance a rectangular crockpot with low water submersion) a total of 3 times while I tried to “salvage” it. The second time I added more dye to areas in order to intensify the color. There were these muddy areas where the colors ran together that I simply hated! The third trip to the pot was to add those blobs of purple that I was convinced was the nail in the coffin for this ugly roving. I had officially gone too far, done too much. After drying, I braided it and socked it away. Since it is merino top (good quality fiber) I knew I had to use it at some point.

Recently, it emerged from its ugly slumber due to boredom. I was in between spinning projects with no good ideas. Upon examining it, I decided to strip the roving before spinning it (the action of pulling apart roving into thinner pieces for spinning). Breaking up the color more, instead of spinning the intact roving from top to bottom, would hopefully give me the best chance of harmonizing all that color.

I was really pleased with how it started to look:

I was having such a good time spinning this “ugly” roving, that I decided to spin up all 4oz and ply it to another roving to give me maximum yardage. Not all 4oz fit on my bobbin. I am still deciding what I will ply this to. It may not even exist yet! The beauty of dyeing, is that you can have whatever color scheme you want at any time

My hate-turned-to-love for this roving intrigued me enough to try experimenting some other variations. Again using 4oz of merino top, this “ugly dye” consists of:

  • Gold ochre
  • Deep orange
  • Kelly green
  • Turquoise
  • New fuchsia (not to be mistaken for fuchsia)
  • Amethyst
My dye notebook. This is the start of my notes on the final dye, a dip dye of all these bright colors. I tried to keep the ratio of each color similar to that in the original ugly roving (thus less fuchsia and amethyst). Each roving gets assigned a number so that I know what to reference in the future.

For the second experiment, I decided to lightly soak the roving in water with dissolved citric acid. The bottom was well saturated, but the top was not. It was then arranged it into a rectangular crockpot. Dyeing fiber and yarn in a crockpot is super simple, and I love that I can set it and forget it while I work on other things.

In the first ugly dye, the roving went into the crockpot dry with a little water and citric acid in the bottom of the crock. I also added the original color in sections rather than at random. This time I sprinkled all the colors all over.

I let that sit for awhile, before spritzing it a over with water and citric acid:

After spraying down the top, I walked away for awhile. Probably about 15 minutes. Then I pressed the color into the roving with the back of a spoon:

I know what some of you are thinking. It looks so pretty, why press the color in?? Remember, we are going for UGLY roving… πŸ˜‰

Like the first ugly roving, there is a lot going on. Nonetheless, I love the “mood” of this dye combo, and there is several interesting patterns and striations of color that does not come through in the photos.

For the 3rd ugly dye experiment, I decided to soak the roving entirely with a water/citric acid solution. Then into the rectangle crock. I erred on the side of caution and omitted the purple as I knew the dye would travel around more on a thoroughly wet roving, and it may cause too much muddy color:

I forgot to get a pic of the dye after I pressed it into the roving with a spoon – but see below for round 2

After pressing in the dye, I left it in the crockpot for approximately 1 hour. After rinsing, I was dissatisfied with the result. The color was very muted, I assume because the roving was fully wet, allowing the color to spread a larger distance. Sooooo…back for round 2 it went.

Here’s the end result after rinsing for a second time, then drying:

The results of a fully soaked roving before adding dye is fascinating: “muter” in some elements, and brighter in others

This may be a good contender for plying to the original ugly roving:

Maybe ugly dye number 3 will be plied to ugly dye number 1? I won’t know for sure until I spin it

The final roving in this project was a dip dye of these colors for comparison. What a dramatic difference:

All 6 colors neatly arranged
Only six different dye shades to make 4 completely different rovings for spinning

Now that you’ve seen what can be done with just 6 shades of acid dyes, I hope this is inspiration for your next dye project. If you are new to dyeing, I hope this encourages you to simply invest in a handful of colors to get started. I am far from an expert in this topic (obviously!). I’m simply willing to try and share. I hope to do more posts like this in the future, and if I can assist you in any way on your indie dye journey, please do not hesitate to contact me! 😊

What’s New This Week February Project Kick off

This may be a short post on new projects and products this week as I want to do a separate post on ugly dyes and how I dye them. Sounds strange right? It’s inspired by this roving and spin you may have seen on my instagram:

Let’s see what’s new here and in my etsy shop this week:

This is the gold version of the “celtic heart” earrings, again a revamp of an older project. The larger grey pearls have a nice iridescent sheen that really complement the gold. All components are gold-filled with the exception of the heart charms which are culinary grade pewter

Hope everyone is having a creative winter here in the northern hemisphere and that you are remaining positive. Remember: light wins. πŸ’–πŸ’«

New this Week – Jan 27- Finding My 2021 Groove

I seem to come out of my New Year’s fog on Tuesday – it was that apparent, I can tell you the exact day I stopped feeling both physically and mentally tired. I have not changed a thing, in fact I have not been getting enough sleep and craving sugar. I should check the Schumann Resonance for that day and see if there was a change.

My new studio groove means working on one unfinished project a day and photographing/pricing one yarn listing a day, until I get caught up. I do this before starting a new spinning project. I hear that 2021 is a purge year, and I’m sure feeling that. I’m motivated to get items moved out of the studio.

On a bad note, my computer went bust earlier this week, luckily the resident geek in the house repaired it (for now). Two requirements for handmade ecommerce: a computer & the internet. Needless to say, I am on the hunt for a new one.

Here’s what’s newly listed this week:

What else is new:

I finished spinning the Wensleydale boucle. This is a labour intensive yarn and my back and shoulder are sure feeling it! If you ever wonder why handspun seems so expensive, keep in mind the amount of time it takes to create these yarns and the toll repetitive motion has on our bodies. I never make my time back on these projects, and I try to source out the best price while remaining as ethical as possible. For example I decided to use a laceweight commercial cotton yarn and set the loops with a lace weight commercial wool yarn. I used to be a purist who would never mix a commercial yarn with handspun and then I got real! Saving time and energy but still offering a great product is not a bad thing especially of it means I can sell it at an affordable price.
This was a total accidental dye from awhile back and I adore the colors (i mixed up two dye formulas plus made the colors intenser than desired – don’t ask). I think I will dye a new batch in superwash merino for some sock yarn spinning (I’m using this spin to fix up this old boucle- one of the first i ever spun. I’m going to fatten it up with a new ply and hopefully knit it into something fun to wear. Otherwise, it’s destined to be a pillow cover)

That’s all for now. Until next week…

What’s New this week – winter blahs and leisurely pace

Since December is a busy month for me, January tends to run on a leisurely pace. I’ve been concentrating on finishing up older projects and considering what I’d like to do next.

Still, as enjoyable as this slow down should be, the “winter blahs” have set in. I feel more tired and less motivated than usual. It’s probably time to up my vitamin D3 and B12, and more so, simply accept that I will be moving at a slower pace, and that’s okay!

Let’s see what I have been working on this week:

New stitch marker set: Rural life. I was inspired by the different creatures we often see here in the country. Available here and on etsy
I finished my revamped handspun bamboo socks: they’re so cute, and feel much better on. I counted wrong and realized I made these smaller than intended, but they are stretchy and feel comfy thus far. Better than the too big pair! I’m going to make a second pair at the intended size, and potentially will give this pair to one of my girls
This yarn order is on its way to Ontario – and it’s a nice variety of 6 skeins! 4 of these were listed as a bundle of 2, I think I will bundle more yarn for sale in the future. This customer took advantage of the BULKSAVE100 coupon featured at the top of the site. You can use this code here and on etsy to save 15% on your $100 order
I love making these simple note cards to include in orders. I am grateful for customers, and I’m grateful to YOU, for visiting my website and checking out my work

Until next time,

Weekly Update- She Sells Seashells

I’m a few days late with my weekly update – but something miraculous happened on Monday: it was sunny! This has been a very drab winter thus far. One downfall of living on a rocky jagged coastline in Canada!

With sun means I was able to take new product photos. I do have studio lighting, but nothing beats natural light for product photos. Only one new listing for this week – She Sells Seashells – scroll down to see, and I’ll probably do one listing a week for now. I’m trying to have a bit of a break to work on personal projects (and to have time to think of new items I can design for sale).

I finished my bamboo socks, then promptly unraveled them! Now that you think I’m nuts, here’s why: despite measuring my stitches per inch and my foot size, the socks were too big. I’ve never had that happen with wool, and despite me loving a big comfy wool sock, I found the air circulating around the bamboo kept my feet cold. I think due to the nature of plant fibers being less stretchy than wool, the socks ended up bigger than anticipated. I wore them for about an hour before changing to wool socks. I’m going to re-knit 6 stitches smaller on US4 needles. I could have made a new pair and kept these, but why hang on to something you don’t like?
I finished my latest sock yarn, and it’s a whopping 618 yards! Last week I posted a photo of the 2 dye baths for the superwash merino and bamboo fibers that make up this yarn. Rather than blend it, I simply held both and spun simultaneously (more wool to bamboo). It worked beautifully and I’m really happy with the results. I’m planning on spinning different fiber blends to make socks, and try them myself before spinning more for sale
“Caribbean dreams” is one of my all time fave dye jobs. It’s handspun Icelandic sheep wool that I originally planned to keep natural color. When I decided to sell it I dyed it these gorgeous vibrant turquoise, green and yellow tones that was inspired by one of my fave places: the Caribbean. It’s now been re-homed to a customer in Ontario
Peanut loves wool, and this bag of alpaca is no exception! This is whats left of a bag of fleece from an alpaca named “Vita Von Teese”, who was 2 years of age in 2012 (the year i started spinning). I most likely obtained this one from the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Show. I miss traveling to New England to fiber festivals, getting to know the small producers & their animals. It’s been 6 years since my last wool show.
New stitch marker set – She sells seashells- available here on Leilani handmade & on etsy @ leilanihandmade8888. These cute enameled charms are paired with freshwater pearls. Various sized rings for different needle sizes. Set of 8

Until next time, I wish you a week of peace & calm…

Happy New Year – it’s 2021

Happy New year! We flipped the calendar for yet another 365 days, though I suspect the real “new” year is in March. πŸ˜‰ I’m a tad late with my update. No new products this week but I have some new stitch markers and jewelry that I’m excited to release in the near future.

Here’s a look at what I’m currently working on. The finished products will be revealed when they are listed and ready for sale.

I finally started my bamboo socks! These are on US4 needles and I’m farther ahead since this pic was taken. I cant seem to find a good chunk of time to finish these yet. I love the feel of the fiber, and the soft metallic color of the added firestar makes these visually appealing IRL. Look forward to trying these out
I recently sold my last gold horse necklace, and I dont think I will be restocking this one. I’m looking to phase out older designs to make way for new ideas as I sell out of the components. This is a gold-filled necklace, with an engraved initial done by myself. The horse charm is gold plated pewter, very durable. I still have lots of the silver version available
I always get excited when I have an order for matching necklaces, I dont get many requests for these. I have both mother-daughter and big sis/lil’ sis charms in sterling silver. I’ll engrave your first initials on the sterling silver disks. This particular charm has sentimental significance to me, as my mom is buried in her half (bracelets I made for my wedding). She was only 54 when she passed. This particular set is on its way to Idaho
I truly wish you could touch this yarn, it is soft and inviting. Kid mohair art yarn is on its way to British Columbia. It’s the last funky art yarn that I had listed. Time to make more (and go thru my stash to see what I can part with)
I finished my superwash merino/tencel blend, the next sock experiment yarn. This is also a thicker spin, I will most likely knit it up on a US4 needle. Once spun, I dyed it, and decided to just use a black acid dye that I worked sections at a time to get a grey scale yarn. Because it only dyes animal protein, the tencel (a man-made fiber derived from wood pulp) would remain undyed. I wanted to be able to see how evenly distributed the tencel ended up in the yarn. I have to admit I don’t like it. Plus after setting the tencel really stands out almost like it is not part of the yarn. I’ll knit it up and give it a chance. These will probably be socks for my husband
My gorgeous boy, being naughty for almost the final time this season. He was making that meow that tells me he’s about to climb up the tree! It’s coming down this week (he also hates it when I talk to him from up here for some reason πŸ˜‚)

Keep those positive vibes going, I have a feeling we are in for a rough 3 months. Be sure to keep creative and talk it out as much as possible. Your mental health and well being is everything. πŸ’—πŸ’«

Update Week of Dec 14th – Baking, baking and more baking…

No new products this week, as I’ve been taking the time to do some baking with my girls, and to get the studio tidied up. When I’m busy with orders, it starts to look like a bomb hit! I do have a few new items as well as revamped items to photograph. Hopefully to do on a sunny day. Winter can be so dark and depressing here in the Maritimes.

I find it ironic how simplified our year has been, and yet, the Holidays still seems hectic! I think my problem is the possibilities of what I would like to accomplish, as I feel like I have time to do it this year. But in fact, orders have picked up significantly this season and I’ve come to the conclusion I still hate being in the kitchen (ha!).

Take for example my goal to have all handmade gifts this year, with the exception of my girls, who want books, lego etc. They are privy to my handmade things all year round. I’m too tired in the evenings to get gifts accomplished, and too busy during the day to work on them. I think I have to start to make handmade gifts…a year in advance! πŸ˜‰

Socks I was hoping to make for Christmas gifts. Will I ever get the first pair finished?? πŸ˜πŸ˜† I dyed this commercial superwash merino blend with Christmas gifts in mind
I’m still reblending my cormo though I think I’ll take a break and get spinning. These 2 balls of fiber are the exact same, the one on the right is just blended more thoroughly. Not sure which I like better, so both may end up in the same skein of yarn
I’m currently spinning a mix of superwash merino and tencel in my quest for the best sock knitting textile. Tencel is a man-made fibre derived from wood pulp. It’s my first time working with it. It dyes like a cellulose fiber so the question is how to dye this. I may use a full spectrum dye that will dye both animal & plant fibers. I could also blend acid and plant dye together or leave the tencel undyed and just use an acid dye to dye the wool. It will be fun to experiment! I have one bobbin done, I’m aiming for a 3ply, but knowing my impatience it will end up being 2ply.
Neighbors are checking in on my rental property as my tenants are stuck in Spain. Although the arrangement was thru my tenants and the neighbors, I wanted to send along a small gift of gratitude. The property is an hour away and it’s such a help to have them keeping an eye on things when I can’t be there. I wasn’t sure if she even wore jewelry but I’m happy to report she loves them

I dont know if I’ll have an update next week as I’d Ike to have a break, but if I manage to create something interesting I’ll certainly share it here.

Sending you end of year greetings and winter solstice well wishes. Don’t forget to keep those vibrations high while we head toward the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, AKA the Christmas star 🌟 . Let’s start 2021 on a positive, high note

Weekly update: Canada Post is over capacity

I received an e-mail today from Canada Post to warn Small Business customers they are over capacity, despite hiring an extra 4000 temporary employees for the holiday rush. Because of this, I cannot guarantee you’ll receive packages by a certain date whether you have purchased tracking or not. I have been mailing all packages within 24 hours (with the exception of weekends) and upgrading customers free of charge to Expedited shipping (Canada) and tracked packet (USA) whenever possible. This comes out of my pocket. I know this may not be the smartest business move, but it’s the right thing for me to do so that you have the most positive experience possible. Once it goes in the mailbox, it’s out of my hands.

Still, should your package go missing whether shipping with or without tracking you will be compensated. My usual policy is to refund or replace should your item not arrive within 30 days (your choice). It’s worth noting, I have never had a package go missing in Canada, and only a handful to the US. Most of the time packages don’t get delivered due to address errors on part of the buyer. This usually happens when items are getting shipped to 3rd parties. When these items get returned to me (eventually, usually after I’ve refunded the customer) they get returned to me at my expense. Yes, carriers charge for returned packages, meaning I’m out double the cost of shipping. This is why I’m currently not shipping international: too many lost or returned packages.

Anyway, I was too tired to last night to do my usual weekly wrap up, but I did get a couple new products up this week:

This is the font used for the letter charm on the Pink Ribbon Necklace
Swaorvski crystal colors available (omit the pearl)

What else is new? I’ve been making stitch markers mostly these days, my most popular items for sale, even surpassing my popular charm necklaces.

This is the most popular stitch marker set this holiday season! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to replenish these charms once they sell out, so get it while you can. Available here and on etsy
I spun bamboo yarn for a sock experiment this past week. It’s blended with firestar for strength and interest, bamboo left undyed. This is a 2-ply, I would have preferred a 3-ply, but wanted to spin this rather quick so I could get on with the knitting (now to find time!)

On Saturday I participated in the 12/12 mass meditation, and unlike 11/11, that left me feeling like I was coming out of a long illness, and “off” for days after, this time I emerged feeling full of a deep knowing that all would be fine. I was emanating pure love, and I’m hoping to keep those good vibes flowing, until the next one on Dec 21st. It was a profound experience but I have not found the right words to describe it yet.

I leave you in peace, and wish you well,