May the Fourth Be With You…May Update

β€œTo experience what isn’t, love what is.”

― Eric Micha’el Leventhal

It’s been a cold, rainy start to May here in Nova Scotia, so it’s a good time to take a break and write a blog update. I thought I’d have new products to post about this month, but alas, the garden and spring cleaning & organizing calls. One of those “housekeeping” items is updating current products and photos, and including video on each listing. It is a huge under taking that I can only devout a small portion of the day to do.

Even when I don’t have any new products to share, I still like to do these monthly blog updates just so visitors know that I’m still active and keeping things current. I don’t currently use social media, so this is the only way for me to post updates on what I’m working on. Plus, it’s a great little diary for me to refer back to.

What’s New (or at least new-ish)

I’ve started taking new photos and adding videos (or updating them) for my current products. Starting with the stitch marker and earring categories. I’ve gone back to tried and true “old school” photography setup for shooting jewelry & small items. I’m updating the lead photo here on the website, but I have been choosing to keep the old creative style on some of the listings on Etsy. Mostly to keep the variety, but also because I think that casual style is more on brand there.

Revamped Stitch Markers – Underway…

I’m also revamping stitch marker sets (for knitting or crochet). I’ve done a few before now, but I’m going through all to update each set with fresh new beads, pearls and accents. I’m going with 6 markers per set and lowering the price, though, this will vary from set to set.

As you can see in the above photo, I still have a backlog of revamped sets to photograph. Even with artificial light, I prefer to take photos on sunny days to have natural light as a back light (and I rely solely on natural light for video). It’s been cloudy all week! I’ll get back at it when the sun decides to come out again. πŸ™‚

Great Thrift Find

two clear bags of thirft store yarn
Each of these bags of mostly Indie dyed yarn cost $2.25 at a thrift shop! From USA and Canadian Dyers

On one of our semi-annual thrift store trips travelling across the province (with rapidly growing kids it’s a MUST) – I snagged this fantastic find of mostly indie dyed sock yarn for a couple of bucks a bag! I can’t take credit for this find though:

“There’s some bags of yarn over there, and I think it’s the good stuff” – says Hubby

Me, after big sigh: “Bring it here and let me see. Like I need more yarn!”

But he was right: I could see hand dyed merino according to the tags I could see through the bags, so I knew I had to “rescue” it. What a huge find this is! This is not cheap yarn, and as an indie dyer myself, I have a deep appreciation for the artistry involved.

I couldn’t help but feel a little sad: why did someone have to let go of their stash? Or maybe they are simply sick of this gauge of yarn. I know it would be a very hard thing for me to let go of.

So I guess there will be lots of sock making in my future. I’m pretty sure by the feel/texture of the unlabeled yarn it is also wool.

What else Am I working On?

It seems it is the season for revamping and reorganizing, and I think it’s time to tackle the knitting project bin:

Are you like me, with several projects on the go at once? There was a time that this wouldn’t bother me at all, having several unfinished projects. They could sit there for years! These days after a few months I get pretty antsy to do something with them, even if that something means deconstructing.

I have a hat design I was working on (from scratch, not from a pattern), the two sweaters I made using Expression Fiber Arts Knit Your First Sweater Course (they’re too short for my liking, I need to make them longer), a pair of mittens that never fit right (they are just being unraveled, the yarn will be reused in another project) and 2 pairs of socks (knitted toe-up) that I didn’t like the cuffs.

The Revamped Socks #1: Before & After

When I first knit these worsted weight socks I made them ankle socks. Mostly out of practicality: these are leftover yarn socks, and I was pretty much out of this commercial yarn that I had dyed (and a bit left in natural color). Th eleftovers were bits from 3 different dye jobs.

Only thing is, once I started wearing them, I found the ankle design on a sock for the coldest of winter months really annoying. Cold air around the ankles? No thanks. So here we have the finished project, which was a challenge because I didn’t have any of this particular yarn left.

I got stuck in my thinking that commercial yarn must be paired with commercial yarn. I considered buying some more of this exact yarn so that I could dye more and then stopped myself. The point of these socks was to use up leftovers.

The orange section is handspun, and I think it adds a creative element that i quite like. The cuff is also handspun, and the top half of the neck is commercial that I dyed, but not a leftover. I was stuck and decided to borrow some from my stash of full skeins.

I’m much happier with the longer socks and I think they are really interesting! I love a good challenge to use up odd and ends yarn.

The Current Sock Project

With the second pair of socks, I found the dark brown yarn I used for the top of the cuff way to heavy (top pic), and I’d like them to be a bit longer. I’m currently adding on some leftover yak down I spun a few years back. I enjoyed spinning yak, it’s very short stapled. The yarn is very soft and warm. If I could source some locally I would definitely spin it again. I picked this up at one of the numerous Wool Shows I used to attend in New England, from a small producer.

My Creatively Wrapped Birthday Gift

a gift wrapped as a burrito

I have to share the way the girls wrapped my birthday present last month! They know I am a big fan of bean burritos. They are a creative bunch! πŸ™‚

Cats will Go Everywhere

While out working in the garden I came inside to find Moki made a bed in a stack of grow bags…! πŸ˜€

It’s getting late and I think I shall work on those socks I’m lengthening, before bed.

Until next time…

Leilani signature

I can’t believe I forgot…April Update

“My life isn’t perfect, but I am thankful for what I have”

– Author Unknown

It’s a well established fact that summer is my FAVE season. The hotter the weather, the better. But if I’m really honest, as much as I enjoy summer, SPRING is the season I look forward to the most.

There is so much to anticipate in spring. It’s like nature is coming out of a deep sleep and coming alive again. I find it hard to stay in a bad mood, with several opportunities a day to go outside in milder temps, and enjoy the sunshine that gets warmer with every passing day.

garlic popping up from the dirt in early spring
The first signs of the garlic I planted in the fall popping out of the wet spring dirt

Watching the snow melt to expose the grass which slowly turns green, to see buds on trees and the first start of life in the garden gives me a renewed energy.

I will admit I am not looking forward to Spring cleanup in the coming days! This update will be fairly quick so I can get back to planning my garden and getting organized. I have decks and chairs to paint this year, to add to everything else…

How did I forget?

Last month, we celebrated middle girl’s birthday. I was decorating while she was taking a Saturday class and it hit me that I FORGOT to make her a card!

This may seem like no big deal, but I have been making cards for my kids for pretty much their entire lives. I’ve also kept every card each year and wrote special notes and memories, with the plan to give them the stack when they turn 18. So not only is this a devastating big deal, I could not fathom how I even forgot.

Making birthday cards is the absolute first thing I do for each child’s birthday. With the exception of ordering a special gift, if it will take time to get here. I always start a couple of months in advance, especially if I have to order supplies.

handmade card with anime characters from Haiku
The card, a couple of days late, featuring a fave anime (Haikyu) and some birthday greetings in Japanese

So just 2 days late, I came up with a simple yet meaningful card design. Considering anime and everything Japanese (it seems!) is big in our house, I found some digital downloads on Etsy that were absolutely perfect. The internet helped with Japanese birthday greetings. Despite my disappointment in myself I got big hugs for this one.

What’s New

No new products this month…I do have a fair bit to list but I’ve been in the mood to keep revamping and refreshing my current products and listings. Some items are getting a face lift while others are getting new photos and videos. I think making Pinterest pins inspired me to do a total refresh.

set up for jewelry photography
photographing stitch markers with an old jewelry photo background I’ve own for ages

I’ve decided to bring back an old jewelry photo prop to take new pictures. I’ve been very satisfied with the photos coming out of this “Old School” way of taking pics. It works fairly well with stitch markers too.

I will probably use the new format photos on the website while keeping the creative shots for Etsy. It will really depend on what has the better shot for the cover photo.

I started with earrings, with most items rephotographed. I’m now into stitch markers and from there will tackle necklaces. I’ve somehow messed up my shoulder so I’m taking a break from spinning. I need to be in good form for planting my garden!

A Cute Little Gift

A friend of my daughter’s asked if I could make her a bookmark after seeing hers and here’s what we came up with. We knew she liked red and gold, and my daughter also insisted she liked bears…and this is the end result. As far as I know, it is well loved.


As April is my birthday month, and the big day is on Earth Day, save 22% on your order here on the website with the code BDAYGIFT, and 22% on most items on Etsy. Offer will expire April 30th.

I hope to bring you more inspiring projects in the future, but that’s all for now! Hope you are enjoying the changing seasons wherever you are…

Leilani signature

Call to Action – We Need your Creativity – March Update

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

– Vincent van Gogh

Now is the time

When I left the corporate world to explore a creative life, I was secretive and embarrassed to admit it. It didn’t feel like people took what I did seriously. And who can blame them? I gave up a steady salary and the “prestige” of a career to stay at home and play with beads!

Never before in recent history has it been more important to inspire and create. That is my (humble) opinion. It comes from both my intuition and observation. After the past few years, the world needs YOU. Your inspiration. Your creativity. Your positivity introduced by what you create.

If there was anything you’ve ever wanted to try to do, now is the time. That creative energy will help off set all the chaos and negativity that seems to be relentless these days. We can start a creative renaissance!

What does it Mean to Create?

To create could mean well, just about anything. If you are not into an art or a craft, create a beautiful space to share with friends. Put an intention forward to support others, even if it just means smiling at strangers in the grocery store.

Imagine if everyone created something beautiful and positive every day. No matter how small, it doesn’t matter! Take it a step forward and be brave enough to try that new skill or hobby you always wanted to.

Some Days are Harder than Others

I know not all days are inspirational. Today, I didn’t feel like creating or being positive. Instead, I replanted my seedlings into bigger containers. It’s not what I wanted to do, but by the end of the afternoon I felt a sense of satisfaction for channelling my negative feelings into something productive (and thus, positive).

Nurturing these veggie plants that started from seed

March Update

Follow me on Pinterest

Mt Pinterest profile – if you are on Pinterest come give me a follow πŸ™‚

I no longer use social media actively. In 2020 I completely abandoned Facebook and Instagram and I’m not sure if I’ll return. But I’ve been thinking about putting up pins of my creative work on Pinterest. The other day, after doing some research and watching some YouTube videos for advice, I decided to go for it.

Pinterest is more of its own search engine than a social media platform. I use it almost daily for recipe inspiration. So, it seems a good fit for me. I also like that they encourage individuality and expression but in a positive way. If you use Pinterest please give me a follow.

I may consider social media platforms where artists and creative types tend to gather. But for now, the Meta brand is just unpalatable for me.

What’s new

New BouclΓ© Yarns

Now available: several skeins of bouclΓ© handspun yarn

I enjoy spinning bouclΓ© and have amassed several skeins. So I decided to list them as 1 listing where you can browse all that is offered on one page. Some are mohair and some are Wensleydale, and some are plied with cotton while others are plied with silk thread. Descriptions on each available when you choose a skein from the drop down menu.

These yarns are available here on the website only. I only list clearance yarn items on Etsy. I’m happy to entertain offers for bulk amounts of yarn or payment by barter.

Revamp: Celtic Braid Earrings


These earrings have been available for many years, and originally you got to choose from either Malachite or Onyx beads as accents. I felt that they needed an updated feel, so I decided to pair them with this amazing faceted green tourmaline. Honestly the pictures don’t capture all the beautiful nuances of these gemstones. I’m pairing the silver version with tourmaline that have more of a grey-green tone, whereas the gold has stones that have a more yellowish green tone. Each has an element of either grey-brown or honey-brown as well. I’m really happy with both the look and the feel of these earrings.

New On Sale

I’ve added some new products to the Clearance section. I want to retire some older designs, while others are on sale for a limited time.

What’s New on Etsy

I like to list the one of a kind and limited edition items on Etsy. I typically mark them down right away, and I find Etsy a better audience for these type of items. New this month:

Peach Freshwater Pearl Leverback Earrings

Jade and Tigereye Leverback Earrings

Marble Amber and jade Leverback Earrings

Moukaite and Jade Leverback Earrings

Turquoise Chip earrings on Long Gold-Filled Kidney Wires

What I’m working on

I took an entire week off this past month to just work on personal projects. One is this massive it-was-going-to-be-a-rug, now it’s an “ugly” weighted blanket.

I started this project several years (!!) ago, and I have not done any work on it in the past 3 years. I wanted to preserve some of the first yarns I ever spun. Bulky, uneven and of a tougher texture, I think most knitters would tell me to discard it.

Practice Makes Perfect

In order to get good at something, you have to practice. A lot. And for the first 3 years when I was teaching myself to spin, I spun just about every. single. day. Unless I was gone overnight or had a migraine, I was spinning. Back then I wasn’t spinning merino or any of the finer top rovings. It was a lot of cheap wool rovings that I now realize aren’t that easy to spin! In retrospect I am really glad that I learned to spin on such challenging fiber, because it makes me a more versatile and nimble spinner today.

…the rest becomes an Ugly Blanket

But throw it away? Is it really good for nothing? It’s wool, it came from an animal (mostly small farms in New England) and it needs to be respected. So at first I thought I’d make a rug out of it, but I misjudged the size since I’m crocheting holding 2 strands of this bulky yarn together. Now I’d say it’s turning into a delicious weighted blanket.

2.5kg is about 5.5 lbs – and this project is nowhere near done. Weighted blanket indeed!

Not so Ugly Afterall

I have to pause this project for now because I’m running out of yarn! There are a few older skeins that I may want to experiment on my SampleIt loom. Once I determine that, I’ll pick it up crocheting this monstrosity once again. But as you can see below, the ugly project is not so ugly after all!

This is just single crochet using a size N hook.

Moki enjoying a spare bit of yarn from this work-in-progress.

New Reeds For the Ashford SampleIt Loom

I’m really enjoying my little 10 inch SampleIt Loom. So much so that I had to have every reed available for it! So I contacted John & Alan at the Fibre Garden in Jordan, Ontario and John responded that they did indeed have them all in stock (or would be in stock shortly). By the following week, I had all the reeds.

And wouldn’t you know, I haven’t had the time to play with them, yet! The goal will be to try each size and do a mega SampleIt Loom post, with video! Fingers crossed it will happen this year (ha ha!).

Peanut critically inspecting the current weaving project using the 7.5 dent reed that the 10 inch SampleIt Loom originally comes with. This is for DK and Worsted Weight Yarn. I’m currently weaving panels to use up some handspun that was a little rougher in texture than I like to use for my garment knitting. I’m planning on stitching the panels together to make a throw blanket…or a mat if I don’t have enough to complete a blanket

What is Inspiring you?

I hope this month’s post inspires you to get started with creative projects you have been meaning to start or have put off finishing. Can I assist you in any way to get started? Offer you an encouraging word? I’ve been a maker for a very long time, and it has so enhanced my life in ways I can never truly express. At one time, I could sincerely say, creating saved my life! This was long before I ever delved into the fiber arts.

I’m always open to chat, so please leave a comment or drop me a line any time!

We all need a purpose and a drive toward something positive. At first creative work may seem a waste of time in a society that puts so much emphasis on “the grind”. But I promise you the enhancements you will make in all aspects of your life will make it worthwhile. I’m living proof…

Leilani signature

February Vibes: Inner Work Creates Outer World

“What you’re looking for is not out there. It is in you.”

– Author Unknown

Keeping Busy…

It always fascinates and amuses me, when I tell people that I’ve had a full or busy week that their automatic response is to express pity or wish me “better days ahead”. I used to try to correct them by what I mean, but to them it just sounds like me justifying my miserable existence. πŸ€ͺ🀣

In the studio. Never-ending list of tasks. Infinite creative possibilities.

These days, I just nod and smile. Little do they know, that I enjoy being busy with the things I love: being a mentor to my children, cooking meals for my family, sending a text to check in on a friend or relative, and of course my vast array of interests that make it seem like there is never enough hours in the day.

Creation with Purpose

I never create anything while in a bad mood. I tend to be in a meditative or at least a contemplative state as I work. To me it’s called: create with purpose. I know I am putting good vibes out in the world with every piece I make, with every yarn I spin. This philosophy won’t make sense to all if many, but it is what drives me to continue with my craft. With so much negativity in the world, much that I cannot control, creating something meaningful with purpose is in my control. So I leave social media and the mainstream media behind, and spend my time being inspired and loving life more.

Plying yarn on my SpinOlution wheel

A Clear Change

In the last couple of weeks, it became more clear how to structure my time and organize my products between the website and Etsy. Unfortunately smHauler has decided to close their doors as a promotional platform for handmade, which I can totally understand. So until I find the time to return to Ebay or another platform, It’s just here and Etsy for now.

Etsy for Clearance, This website for new Items

Etsy will be my clearance house of sorts. When I have items that I want to clear out, I’ll list it on Etsy, and mark it down. Each month will be a different rotating sale.

The website will be where all new products will be featured, especially yarn and fiber items. If I feel I have been hanging on to an item too long and I need to clear it out, I’ll move it over to Etsy with a discount.

I won’t be unlisting not-on-sale items from Etsy that I’ve sold for years, though I may allow some of them to expire.

It’s tricky to have my pricing match Etsy when it comes to sales. I’m able to list items here slightly cheaper as there are no listing fees on my own website. Let me know if one of my items is cheaper on Etsy and I’d be happy to match it here.

If you are a US shopper, Etsy automatically converts my prices to USD, where the website is in CAD only. There is a converter at the bottom of the home page so you can calculate the cost in USD.

What’s New

I’ve been playing with color in the studio these past few weeks and I have several new indie dyed yarns as well as some revamped jewelry products.

New Hand Dyed Commercial Yarns

The commercial hand dyed section is starting to fill up with vibrant color! I want to be able to offer handspun and indie dyed commercial yarn for variety. Check out the Commercial Dyed Yarn section to see what’s new.

Revamped products available again

I decided to give these two necklace sets a new font for the engraved initial charms.

Check it out: Mother Daughter Matching Necklaces and Lil’ Sis Big Sis Matching Necklaces

Revamped products available on Etsy

These fun earrings feature a metal diamond shape component that I hand domed. I just felt that the original weren’t long enough, so I added an extra pearl or two to lengthen the dangle.

You can get the details here: Peach Coin Pearl Earrings and Abalone Shell Earrings

What’s On Sale

Sale/Clearance items on the website are available here. Remember that there are price breaks and discounts on most items if you buy multiples. Add the items to cart to see the final discount.

February Etsy sales

This month several items are on sale from 15% to 40% off in the On Sale section

What I’m working On

Have you read my post on 5 quick and easy hat patterns that work with handspun yarn? Unfortunately, I have not made any more hats since that post. Instead, I decided to get an Ashford SampleIt Loom and I’ve been enjoying playing around with this new tool! I’ll probably do a separate post about it, but it was incredibly simple to set up and get started, and should be a good way to use up some old handspun.

I decided to get the smaller, 10 inch size even though the next size up was only $20 more. I like the compact design for easy storage. For my intent and purpose, this will do just fine. I purchased mine from The Fibre Garden in Ontario even though I could purchase it here in Nova Scotia, simply because I have received exemplary service from John & Alan in the past. And bonus: I ended up getting a lacquered loom for the price of an unfinished one!

Moki loves to sit on my workspace and watch me weave on the fun and simple Ashford SampleIt loom

Current Spinning Project: Vegetable Fibers

I haven’t spun in a couple of months, and that is odd for me. To get back into it, I decided I would do a case study of sorts with several vegetable fibers that I have yet to spin. In the past I’ve spun bamboo, cotton and tencel (a man-made fiber derived from wood pulp). I’m currently spinning rose and soy, as well as spinning bamboo yet again. I’ll also spin cotton and tencel so I can get a true comparison of all. The rose fiber reminds me of bamboo or silk, while the soy fibers feel a lot like cotton.

I also have milky mohair, ramie and linen to spin. Hopefully I can do a bit a day. One thing I am very excited about is that I am finally getting comfortable spinning from the fold which is something I always felt a bit awkward with. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

A few of the vegetable fibers I will be spinning, as well as bamboo and rose fibers on the bobbin

Prepping for Natural Dyeing

When I started dyeing yarn and fiber, it was always the goal to try natural dyes. The process seemed daunting to me in the beginning so I decided just to stick with conventional commercial dyes until I felt comfortable with that. Now when I browse my dyeing books and literature, something has “clicked” in my brain and I can’t wait to give this a try this spring/summer.

I want to dye outdoors until I understand more the risks of all the ingredients, including some of the mordants. Natural doesn’t mean non-toxic, afterall…

Proving cat will sit anywhere, even damp salad spinners that just spun out wet yarn before being hung up to dry 😜 πŸ˜‚

Now you see what it means to be busy in my world, and hopefully you can understand why I feel like I’m living a purpose driven, creative life. Hopefully this inspires you to take up or continue on with a passion. You need not be saving lives or have a million social media followers to make a difference in the world. Doing what you love shifts your mood and raises your vibration. Imagine what happens when more and more people find their purpose, no matter how “ordinary” or “mundane” it seems.

There are many ways to make the world a better place. Start with you.

Leilani signature

5 Free and Easy Hat Patterns to make with Handspun Yarn

Better Late than Never

I originally intended for this post to happen back in December, just in time for last minute gift making. Well, since the internet is forever, I guess it doesn’t matter that I’m 2 months too late. πŸ˜‰ The following 5 hats were made with tried & true free patterns that I use with my sub-par handspun yarn (I sell the best stuff for others to enjoy).

I want to show how handspun yarn is so beautiful that it really doesn’t need any fancy patterns, nor do you need too much of it. I get it, it’s pricey. Thinking of the price that I have to sell mine, versus the time and effort to produce them, and well, ouch. But it’s okay, my goal is to create positive products and materials for others to enjoy.

So if you have a cherished skein of handspun, a simple hat pattern is just the thing to turn that skein into a wearable keepsake you can enjoy over and over again, rather than staring at it in your yarn bin. πŸ™‚

I’m a Spinner, not a Knitter (or Crocheter)

Yes, I knit. Yes I crochet. And, I knew how to do both before I started spinning yarn. But the truth is, I’d rather be spinning. I’ve knitted all the basic things, and I’m sure I’m capable of cabling and fancy patterning, but I don’t want to. I just want simple easy-on-the-brain patterns for knitting (crocheting) on-the-go or knitting (crocheting) in bed at the end of the day.

So without further adieu, here are 5 patterns that I keep going back to when I want to make a quick and easy hat with my handspun…

Camelot Hat by Lion Brand

The Camelot hat is a pattern by Lion Brand that I’ve had on hand for several years. Like a lot of people, I started out knitting with the name brand yarns from the local craft store. This is a bulky yarn pattern which a lot of handspun is, so it’s a great choice and it works up really fast.

Quick and Easy Beanie by Knit Picks

This Quick and Easy Beanie Pattern from Knit Picks is another fave. In this instance, I was knitting with a sub-par 4 ply cable. It knitted up fine, just not up to par to sell. For the stripe I had to use a 2 ply bulky merino yarn that came the closest in width to the cable. But, because it is a different construction it looked off as a solid stripe. So instead I alternated with the 4ply and it worked perfectly.

Barley by Tin Can Knits

A fantastic I-can’t-believe-it’s-free pattern is Barley by Tin Can Knits. It’s so versatile as it gives many size options as well as a beanie or slouch option. This yarn is an experimental blend of merino wool and bamboo, which I had to dye separately (different dye for animal vs plant fibers) and then blended while spinning. I held both rovings in my hand and pulled a bit of each simultaneously. The results are a gorgeous yarn in feel and wear. It’s totally a: I-could-sell-this skein, but because it was a new concept I wanted the chance to knit it myself. It worked beautifully with Barley and I enjoy wearing this hat.

Yawl by Berroco

I stumbled on Yawl by Berroco fairly recently looking for a new bulky yarn pattern. It’s so easy and fun to knit, you’ll be finished in no time. This is a use-up-that-ply handspun yarn. I had this ply of yarn on a bobbin that sat there far too long and needed to to be completed ASAP. So I chain plied (AKA Navajo plied) it, using a spinning technique where you move your hands through loops to create a 3ply yarn. (It reminds me of crocheting a chain).

I don’t sell much chain ply since there is a noticeable bump where the loops switch in the yarn. It’s not very noticeable in the finished product, but may be off-putting to those unfamiliar with the technique.

Flash Beanie by Judith L. Swartz

This is another pattern I’ve had for several years. It came in a download of 5 different crochet hat patterns from Interweave. I was concerned that I wouldn’t find it again, but here it is bundled with 8 other crochet projects. It’s another versatile forgiving pattern where you can make design decisions on the fly.

One thing I like about simple crochet hats such as this, is that they work from the top down and don’t unravel on you once you make the stitches. Well, unless you intentionally pull them out, anyway. I tried a few different bands on this hat before deciding on this grey hand dyed commercial yarn. The handspun is a superwash merino and tencel blend, another new experimental blend for me. I spun it natural color blending the two fibers as I spun.

Tencel is a man-made material derived from wood-pulp (cellulose) fibers, so it cannot be dyed with acid dyes like wool. The yarn was dyed twice in order to accommodate both fibers. An overdye of sorts, but each fiber will only take up the dye that is appropriate for it. The superwash merino is a very dark grey. The tencel is a dark blue.

What About the Funky Art Yarns

If you have some amazing loopy or chunky art yarns, I would recommend weaving with it or just using it as a accent in a knitting project. But, that’s a post for another day…

But I should be Advancing my Knitting (Crocheting) Skills

Don’ t be discouraged if you have been knitting (crocheting) for awhile and you’re still doing the beginner patterns! They are perfect for my time constraints and showcase my handspun beautifully. These patterns would also be great for charity knitting. Think of all the hats you could crank out with simple and easy patterns!

I plan to do more posts like this as I go through the many patterns I have amassed over the years. Until then, check out my handspun and indie dyed commercial yarns to inspire your next project.

Leilani signature

2023: The Year of Reinvention – January Update

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other”

– Abraham Lincoln

My Year of Reinvention – Creatively

Another quick update for this month. I found the busy holiday season so hectic! I needed a week off to just unwind and recover. I’m taking the next month (or two or three) to reinvent myself – creatively speaking, anyway! You cannot rush the creative process. You’d think I’d know that by now! πŸ˜‰

For the first time in years I was organized going into January. I find calling this time of year the “New Year” so unnatural and strange. To me, the new year should be in March, when spring begins. March is when life in the garden starts anew.

Currently, I have an organized list of tasks: the must do and the want-to-do. Getting these ideas out into the tangible is more challenging especially when you have a family and household to run. But I feel this is the year to reinvent myself creatively.

What’s On Sale

Usually, reinvention in the studio means changing my branding. But this time, I will be going through my products and deciding what needs to be updated, and what needs to go. It also means finally trying some new skills and projects I’ve put on the back-burner over the years. I finally feel confident and motivated!

I know I won’t get to it all, but I’m so ready to finally take the leap. We shall see where I end up. I will be marking down items that I want to retire, so keep a look out for sales. For the month of January, many products on the website are marked down 23% off in celebration of 2023. Etsy has select items on sale from 15% – 23% off.

I hope to stay on schedule from month to month so to have things to share but I certainly can’t promise that.

What I’m Working On

The latest dye experiements

Finally back in the dye pots, starting with worsted weight commercial merino yarn. I’m being too critical with the color choices so it’s slow going. Today I decided to stop looking at my notes and just dye by feel. I’m enjoying the process more and can’t wait to share what I come up with!

Current in-progress yarn dye

I’m having fun with this dye combo, totally winging it! This is a DK merino commercial yarn. Olive brown on one side, a turquoise fade-out on the other. I’m sprinkling nautical blue (kind of like navy blue but richer) in the white space and we’ll see where it goes from there…

If all fails, I’ll just over dye it black (LOL!).

I’m going through some of my engraved products and deciding how I would like to update them. This bead board photos ugly but it’s what I used for years for projects in progress. Once I add beads to this board, nothing will be rolling away on me. Not even when the cat walks across my table πŸ˜€

I’m scrutinizing some of the products that I’ve made for some time but I feel need to be updated or discontinued. Some will change, some will be marked down significantly and some will disappear, at least for now! I’ve been going through pictures of items I made 15 years ago, and I think some may have to make a comeback this year. Excited to get creating!

I’ll be back next month with an update. I’m not sure how much of one…

Leilani signature

Have Yourself a Wonderful December

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

– Michael Altshuler

The Sale Continues

I hope you are having a wonderful December! It’s hard to believe this is the last month of 2022. I had a wonderful time processing orders via a successful Etsy sale, and I’m keeping the momentum going by putting most things on sale here and also on Etsy.

I realize just how much I love to give. So if it means eating some of my time and shipping costs so that my handmade goods get into people’s hands: so be it! Money is tight, I get it. I know I weave magic as I create, and I want that good energy to enter the world. It’s my little way of giving back. Positive intentions is just what the world needs these days.

What’s New

I’m almost done listing yarn on Etsy. Yes, the shipping is expensive. I currently have the shipping set to $19.99 per item. But, just like here, you can save the shipping costs by purchasing $65CAD or more. For comparison, the other day I shipped a small flat bubble envelop to Quebec with tracking and it cost $24! That’s only 2 provinces over. So I end up paying out of pocket for shipping fees regardless. Shipping discounts are based on volume which is virtually impossible for little makers like me.

Back in Stock

These two stitch marker sets sold out and are now back in stock with a new revamped look. Owl set available here and on Etsy. Love to Knit set available here and on Etsy.

These earrings were very popular this gift buying season

Celtic knot and Pearl earrings – available here and on Etsy

My late night knitting buddy

Here’s to a lovely end of the year full of laughter, cheer and those you love the most. I’ll have new goodies in the New Year…

Leilani signature

November Update: Nearly Everything is on Sale!

“If you can’t change it, change your attitude”

– Maya Angelou

Beat the Holiday Rush Sale

Hello lovely internet folks….nearly everything is on sale both here and on Etsy to help you with your holiday shopping needs. I know money is tight these days. If there is anything you like but it is just not in your budget please make me an offer, and remember I also take payment in the form of barter.

What’s New

October totally got away from me on account of every single member of my family coming down with that change-of-weather detox: AKA a bad chest cold. Of course they didn’t all feel poorly all at once, so it was a 3 week marathon of coughing. So this mama, being the only healthy one in the house, ran the household, along with prepping wholesome meals to help speed up the healing process. All the while filling orders as they came in, which was not many, and for once – I was glad.

It is my pleasure to take care of my family and understand the privilege I have to be able to drop everything and do just that. I have many tools in my arsenal to assist in their healing, but ultimately rest is the best remedy.

That said, I am feeling a bit burnt out from my 3 week nursing-everyone-back-to-health stint and not feeling 100% creative just yet. I’m dabbling in a bit of hat knitting and crochet to get back into the swing of things. I’m planning on doing an article on some of my fave easy hat patterns in the coming days, once I have some examples to post.

No New Products, but Almost Everything on sale

So I have no new products to share, BUT I’ve decided to put most things on sale as I’m happy to fill orders. Discounts are automatically applied. You will also receive any bulk or tiered discounts relevant to that category – EVEN IF IT’S ON SALE. So the more you buy, the more you save. Simply add the items to cart to see the final cost.

For Etsy items, prices as marked. For example, My pewter and silver keepsake (engraved) necklaces are 30% off on Etsy!

I did manage to do some deck staining and got my garlic bulbs planted. We’ve been having some glorious weather here in the Maritimes. I can’t believe I planted my garlic in November…in a tank top!

The sale is running until December 3rd. I am not planning on having any sales in December past that, except clearance items. This is to encourage shopping EARLY for the holidays. I hate the stress of rushing orders and worrying whether they will arrive on time or not.

I’m off to get some rest – just like Osuna

Alright keeping it short and sweet this month. Hope you are all well and if not, are able to get the rest you need.

Leilani signature

Come with me as I scour Sheep Fleece

The amazing transformation: clean vs dirty sheep wool. This is my process for scouring sheep fleece if you’ve ever wanted to give it a try

An Unexpected Project

A few weeks ago I attended the 100 Mile Food & Fibre Festival in Billtown, Nova Scotia. I swore I would not buy any more raw fleece. I have so much unspun fiber.

But, after checking out the different vendors I could not resist a half fleece from Ambleside Farm in Petite Riviere, Nova Scotia. Besides gorgeous fleece, it was nice to make acquaintance with someone who also has attended wool shows in the US (like Rhinebeck…oh, how I miss you Rhinebeck!).

Why Process Raw Fleece

There is something both lovely and reverent about taking a raw fleece and turning it into a wearable garment. In the beginning, I bought raw fleece for the sheer economic benefit: I get all that wool at a discounted price and all I have to do is throw some elbow grease into it!

Sometimes a little elbow grease turns into a lot. Processing fleece by hand can feel like a back breaking endeavor. I’ve learned my own do’s and don’ts over the years of trial and error fleece scouring. It will vary from person to person, but here is my process, step by step.

I decided to film my process of scouring. It’s easier to show rather than describe, and I’m a visual person who appreciates seeing things happen in real time.

This is crudely filmed with my cell phone for educational purposes. Please excuse my mumbling/fast-talking… I’m not comfortable talking to myself out loud – HA! I did not edit these videos but did sub-title them, so you can understand me better.

Step 1: First Soak

Sheep fleece needs to be scoured in order to remove dirt and lanolin, AKA wool wax. Lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands and helps waterproof the fleece for the sheep. Raw wool has a delightful pungent “barn-y” smell which I happen to like…and my cats adore! It tends to keep this smell mildly even after washing, but I don’t find that it lingers after being transformed into yarn.

In Summary:

  • fill plastic bins with hot water for soaking the wool
  • add a de-greaser. The most popular cost-effective product for scouring fleece is blue Dawn (I kick it up a notch by adding Simple Green)
  • start adding the unwashed wool, careful not to over fill the bins
  • gently press down on the fiber to encourage the release of dirt.
  • don’t overly manipulate the wool so to not encourage felting
  • let soak 24 hours

How Much Soap?

I don’t measure the amount of soap degreaser I add. It depends on how dirty the fleece is. In this instance the wool wasn’t too dirty so I squirted in some Dawn and added a splash of Simple Green. I wish I could be more specific, but it’s really by feel. If your fiber is not getting clean, add more soap in the next water change.

Why I chose this Fleece

This particular bag of fleece was super clean. It also had a uniform crimp, a nice feel in hand and was a combo that I had never spun before: Romney, Corriedale and BFL (Blue-faced Leicester). I figured it would be a breeze to scour.

As mentioned in the video, Simple Green and Blue Dawn are my fave products for scouring. It’s cost effective and readily available. There is some amazing scouring products out there specifically for wool, and they work well, but they are on the pricey side (yes, I’m cheap). Plus I have to order it rather than pick it up at the local hardware or grocery store.

Step 2: Rinse and Repeat

In Summary:

  • 24 hours later
  • You see oily lanolin residue floating at the top of the water
  • Drain & refill bins (away from septic whenever possible)

I’m Cautious With Septic Systems

When I lived in town, I never gave much thought to dumping the dirty water down the drain. Then we moved to the country and I started to question whether I should be dumping this greasy water down the drain. I’m not sure if lanolin would build up in your pipes overtime like cooking grease, but I’d rather not take the chance. I empty the bins in a discreet area on our property away from the house, just in case.

In Summary:

  • The fleece is back in for a soak and already you’ll notice the water has become clearer compared to the first soak
  • It’s not necessary to leave the fleece to soak for 24 hour periods
  • You could change the water more frequently, but this is what works best for my time schedule

How Many Soaks?

Your fleece will get cleaner with each water change. How many times will depend on how dirty the wool is.

In Summary:

  • The fleece soaked for 48 hours and then drained
  • I placed it on a clean part of lawn and rinsed with the hose
  • A slight bit of oily residue floating on top in the water this time
  • Feel very little oil when touched
  • Will attempt a final soak
  • Can repeat if needed

When the water looks relatively clean and the wool feels fairly clean you can prepare your fleece for its final soak.

In Summary:

  • I spread the fleece out on the deck for inspection
  • It feels pretty much clean at this point
  • I contemplated what I should make with it
  • Currently thinking I should spin it into an art yarn, to preserve the gorgeous crimp
  • Will make an up-coming video on the process of making yarn with this fleece
  • For the final soak, I added a bit of vinegar to the hot water to remove any soap residue
  • Fleece will feel gummy (sticky) if the soap residue is not removed
  • A gummy wool is hard to work with
  • I don’t mind a bit of lanolin in my fleece before spinning

Don’t forget the Vinegar

Adding a bit of vinegar to the water for the final soak is important to make sure all the soap residue is removed. Just like adding the Dawn and Simple Green, I don’t measure. A splash of vinegar will do. Remember you can always repeat this step if you still notice any soapy residue in your fiber.

In Summary:

  • After the final soak, I laid the fleece out on the lawn to dry a bit in the sunshine
Moki checking out the newly washed sheep fleece

Time for Drying

After the sun disappeared for the day, I brought the fleece inside to prep for the drying racks. I ran small amounts at a time through the salad spinner to remove excess water. A salad spinner is a dedicated tool in my studio. I use it a lot: even for freshly dyed yarn to spin out extra water before hanging up to dry. I purchased mine after Christmas a few years back for 40% off, so keep watching for those sales!

In Summary:

  • I placed the fleece on the drying racks set up in my basement
  • these racks are repurposed merchandise racks obtained for free
  • Will leave for a few days flipping ever so often
  • could run a dehumidifier or add a heat dish if need be

Clever and Free Drying racks

If you are Canadian, you will remember the popular department store chain, Zellers. When it closed several years ago, we snagged these merchandise racks for free. Our basement has pegboard already installed so they hang off pegs (also from Zellers). These racks have gotten a lot of use over the years. I’ve even used them outside for drying fiber in the summer months. They will rust over time if left outside, however. It’s always great to find inexpensive tools and you can’t beat free!

My washed fleece from a sheep named Lucy. Look at that crimp & curl! Thank you, Lucy

Do’s and Don’ts when purchasing a raw fleece

  • DO decide what you would like to do with the fleece once cleaned, what breeds you would like to check out, and your budget. It is easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have a plan, esp at a large wool show or fiber festival.
  • DO be adventurous and try new fiber breeds. If you are like me and want to work with as many breeds as possible, then budget is all that needs considering before shopping
  • DO ask questions. You can usually tell how the animals are treated by getting to know the producer. Some farms breed sheep for both meat and fiber, so keep that in mind if you don’t agree with meat eating
  • DON’T buy a fleece that is not well skirted. If there is a ton of VM (vegetable matter), dirt/mud or poo, it’s best to skip this bag. The more dirty a fleece is, the cheaper it tends to be, but remember this means more work for you (and a lot more discarded unusable fiber)
  • DO take a look at the crimp: are they even in size/length? Is the crimp appealing to you?
  • DON’T buy a fleece where there are broken locks – and/or evidence of lice
  • DO check for the bag over for second cuts, which happens when the shearer goes over an area more than once.
  • DON’T buy a bag of fleece with too many second cuts. Those shorter cuts are a pain to pick out and not good for spinning.
  • DON’T buy fleece that appears to be matted or otherwise unhealthy
  • DO purchase a fleece that you like the color, crimp, feel and price of!

A Note on Free Fleece

I’ve been given free raw wool in the past. But now that I’ve picked and scoured many a fleece I would probably say no to any incredibly dirty ones. For the reasons stated above, it is a tedious job. Also to keep in mind, hobby farmers don’t always produce a healthy fleece, and meat breeders are not concerned with the quality of fiber. So you may end up with a lot of discarded, unusable wool. Not a great return for all that work.

Keep in mind alpaca does not contain lanolin in their fiber so that’s usually an easy one to work with. I’ll do a separate post about alpaca fiber in the future.

If someone asks for a product in return for the free raw fleece (eg. just make me a sweater), I would caution against this. It really depends on how much usable wool you get and people are often unaware of how much yarn is needed for such a product.

Browse for yarn inspiration

Looking for some handspun yarn inspiration? You can check out my handspun yarn section to see some of the skeins I’ve made in the past. I’ll be blogging the progression of processing this fleece in the future.

Scouring fleece does not have to be a daunting task. Know what to look for, and trust your gut. Be sure to have fun, and I’m happy to answer questions or hear your comments. πŸ™‚

Leilani signature

Suddenly It’s Over: October Studio Update

“Autumn is the season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have”

– Unknown
A few of the faves from my garden this year…I will miss it! Now that I keep a garden this time of year is even more bittersweet

Bidding Adieu to Summer

The weather has changed suddenly and I find myself frantically getting the garden ready for winter. Typically this happens far more gradually, but this year it was BOOM: frost incoming. Add to that 3 family birthdays, out-of-town family visiting, and one tropical storm Fiona all last month. Needless to say I don’t have much of an update regarding new products…this is more of a, yes, I am alive, and here’s what I”m working on post.

The two birthday cards I designed this year! Time permitting, I’ll do a separate post of how these came to be

How to: Scouring Fleece

Fleece from “Lucy” a local sheep from Ambleside Farm in Petite Riviere, Nova Scotia 😍

I got the inspiration to film a few short videos on my process of scouring sheep fleece and I’m working on a blog post about it. I wasn’t in the market for more raw fleece but I met a delightful producer at the Fleece and Fibre Festival in Billtown, Nova Scotia last month and I couldn’t resist buying a half fleece romney/corriedale/BFL mix to process. The videos are very crude and I hate the sound of my own voice, but I think it it’s valuable to share what I have learned for those curious or who want to give it a try. The post is now live – CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Scouring fleece is not as hard as you think. It just takes time and a little know-how on what to use and what to look for before you buy

What’s New: Supplies in Stock

I replenished some jewelry making supplies and with that, a few strands of interesting bead caps and beads I look forward to designing with soon! I also picked up some Canadian wool roving (roping) from Custom Woolen Mills in Alberta. It’s been a few years since my last order and I enjoy experimenting with the different types (breeds) of roving. Not to mention buying Canadian! This time I got two of my favorites: Corriedale & Targhee. My Corriedale yarns for sale are from this very mill. I have not tried their Targhee yet, I’ve only spun Targhee top from a US producer, so this should be fun!

What’s New: Etsy

I added a few of the new fiber products to the yarn/fiber/stitch bling section of Etsy.

Unfortunately, due to the cost of shipping bulky items in Canada, I had to remove the free shipping option on Etsy. BUT there is now a COUPON CODE for saving the shipping on Etsy orders $65 CAD or more. If you are in the US, you are subject to Etsy’s free shipping Guarantee and have to spend $35USD to save on shipping. Ironically, it’s cheaper for me to send bulky items with tracking to the US, than it is in my own country. Go figure, Canada Post!

The code for saving the shipping on Etsy is: FREESHIP65

All light pack/flat items remain free shipping on Etsy (such as jewelry, stitch markers, or keychains).

What else is new

I’ve also been working on updating handspun yarn listings with new videos, and splitting some of the bundles now that shoppers have the option to pick and choose their own sets of yarns and receive a discount at checkout.

I’m always refining things here on the website, and I was horrified to realize I messed up the pricing for the new fiber section. Items were way too expensive! I’m not sure how I did it since I use a spread sheet/formulas to price products. Those prices weren’t even what was listed in the spreadsheet! Word of the wise: don’t do something as important as pricing unless you can give it 100% of your attention!

Peanut says “Bye for now…”
Leilani signature

September Studio Update: Fibery Goodness

“The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.”

– Unknown

In this month’s Studio update:

  • Fiber Braids for spinning or felting, now in stock
  • The first commercial indie dyed skeins are now available
  • Videos are starting to be added to listings
  • Handspun bundles are being converted back to single listings
  • What’s new on Etsy
  • Near future plan: share more knowledge so others can grow their creativity

A productive Month, overall

I even surprise myself, how much I packed in the month of August! Every day had an element of productivity, and I was filled with such drive and joy to complete each task. Unfortunately, I seem to have hit a wall now that it is September. Or perhaps I just need a break! I still have a fair bit of tasks to accomplish so hopefully this feeling of no motivation leaves soon. I have a feeling October will be a challenging month, and I want to be free to go with the flow.

September is typically a busy month for my family. Several birthdays, getting back into the swing of homeschooling and desperately chasing the sun/warmth before it’s gone for another season. Although there is much to celebrate, I can’t help but feel a little sad that my fave season is soon coming to an end.

However, there is still an entire season to enjoy creating color, and I usually can still take advantage to hanging yarn and fiber out to dry after dyeing. There is plenty of harvest still to come from the garden and the changing colors in nature are always an inspiration.

Fiber Braids Are Now Available

These are a few of the new fiber braids now for sale:

I’ve listed some braids I had dyed for personal use, either Merino or Targhee top. As much as I’d like to spin them all, it would be impossible to accomplish with my current schedule. Better for them to go to other fiber enthusiasts to enjoy! I’ll probably dye some more in tandem with yarn in the future, so I look forward to expanding this section. There are discounts if you buy more than one. Discount will be applied at checkout. Visit the brand new fiber section to browse them all.

Testing the waters with Hand Dyed Commercial Yarn

Here’s the first commercial hand dyed skeins. I ran out of time to fully explore expanding this new line, so I’m listing a few that I had dyed some time ago that I was not sure if I would sell or keep for personal use.

These two are socks yarns, but I also have worsted and DK weight merino commercial yarn that I can’t wait to explore color on! Hopefully the month of September will go smoothly and I’ll have more available in this category soon. Keep an eye on the commercial yarn section for new products.

Adding Videos to Product Listings

Don’t expect cinematographic masterpieces (LOL!). I literally hold up my Canon EOS camera with one hand while holding the item in the other. I don’t edit them so that you see “in real time” what each product looks like with movement.

The video will be listed after the photos for the item. I’m a visual person so I know I appreciate a simple product video. I also like to leave them unedited so that there is honesty in what I am selling. Keep in mind that different monitors and smart phone screens will show the colors slightly different. I’ll continue to add videos to listings this month and make a list of items that need them.

I’m converting some of the Handspun Yarn Bundles Back to Single Listings

Now that I have bulk and tiered discounts set up on the website, I am in the process of unbundling some of my handspun listings. I had bundled yarns to sell in groups mostly for Etsy. Etsy prefers free shipping, which is virtually impossible to offer here in Canada on bulky items.

Currently, the average cost of shipping a small package starts at $24. So, if I am selling a skein of yarn for the same price, I would have to double the price just to cover the shipping. I find that both ludicrous and dishonest. Etsy being a large corporate beast now, sees no issue with this. But as a maker, it prices me out of ever being competitive. So with bundles I could count on a similar cost for shipping 2 or more items without too much out of my pocket.

I’ll keep some of the yarn as bundles, but I feel that the ones I will be listing as singletons again gives the shopper the freedom to chose what skeins they want, and still get a discount.

What’s New on Etsy

I didn’t spend too much time listing new products on Etsy last month, concentrating on the website instead. I still have many more products in the jewelry and accessory category to list in the coming weeks! πŸ™‚

Share More, Give More

I want to finally catch up on website tasks so I can get back to writing how to’s and tip blogs like I used to. I miss it! I’m an autodidact and find it fulfilling to share my experiences with others to aid in their creative growth. Fingers crossed the schedule will allow me to get back to writing this type of content. I will be concentrating on beginner/getting started topics, such as spinning, dyeing, product reviews and basic jewelry making tips. Allow me to help you grow!

That’s all for now…have a wonderful September!

Leilani signature

Work as Flow – August studio update

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

-Lao Tzu
I finally finished the 3ply BFL (Blue Faced Leicester sheep wool) I started over the winter! To show just how grand a 32oz bobbin really is, here it is beside the bobbins for my Lendrum and Electric Eel Wheel

Flowing through the Rest of my Summer

Part of my plan to live more intuitively, is to make adjustments to how I structure – or should I say – flow through my day. For the past few weeks I’ve been making a conscious effort to ask myself, “What do I want to do now?” rather than, “I have to do this first”. Of course there are appointments and obligations that I have to keep, but aside from that I will go through a list of the tasks or projects I would like to accomplish in a given day and see what “speaks” to me.

It’s hard to resist the urge to tackle the chores that seem more important, more responsible and more pressing, so that I can get them off my plate to do what is more desirable. The better I got at listening to my inner voice and doing what I desired first, my day would not only flow perfectly, but I struck a good balance between doing tasks I enjoy and doing tasks that are part of life that need to be done. More was being completed and I felt more balanced and accomplished by the end of every day.

I am by no means perfect at it, but I found the latter part of July went much smoother than the first half. I got so much done! Once I started aligning my day by feel rather than expectation, I found even the most mundane tasks would pop in my head to say, “Okay, it is now the right time to switch to (enter chore here)”. Hopefully I can keep it up. I’m excited to see what August has in store. No expectation. Just going to let it happen.

Highlights This month:

  • Engraved Awareness charms are now available on Etsy
  • Tiered and bulk pricing is now live on the website
  • Add a gift note to your order
  • New products both on Etsy and here on the website
  • Product videos – coming soon!
  • Fiber braids – coming soon!

Engraved Awareness Charms on Etsy

Now Available: Tiered and Bulk pricing

I’m really excited to have tiered and bulk pricing set up on the website. It finally came to me just how I would like the pricing to be structured. Let’s take a look at it more closely as the options are different depending on what you buy.

Bulk Discounts

screenshot of a listing to show an example of a bulk discount
An example of a bulk discount: buy multiples of an item and save

Bulk discounts are available if you buy 2 or more of an item. The price gets lower the more you buy. If you see an item and would like to purchase more than what’s listed, it’s worth asking me if I can make more. The price gets cheaper the more you buy.

Tiered Discounts

An example of a tiered discount. Purchase 1 item at regular price and receive discounts on subsequent items from the same listing

Tiered discounts are on products where you buy 1 item, then save on subsequent items from the same product listing. This usually occurs on products that have several options for customization. The above example is from the product listing Custom Charm Necklace with Engraved Letter Charm – Animals & Insects. You will have to add the items to your cart to see the discount. If you don’t see an option in the listing for bulk pricing, then tiered pricing will come into effect.

Discounts for Yarn and Fiber

An example of discount pricing for handspun yarn

Yarn discount pricing applies to any items purchased from the handspun yarn category. Since I very rarely have more than one of each skein, it only made sense for the discount to apply to any yarn in the category. This will also apply to fiber braids when they come available (for more on that, keep reading…).

Sale/Clearance Discounts

Items where there is 1 left will be moved permanently to the Sale/Clearance category

Any items where there is only 1 left and will be retired after sold, will be moved to the sale/clearance section until sold. I’ve also decided that any items that I create that there is only 1 of, will be available on Etsy only. I find these items better suited to Etsy as they get more views quickly.

I still will be running sales from time to time on top of the built-in discounts, or in replacement of. I wanted to be sure the opportunity was always there to save instead of waiting for a sale. If you are a small business in Canada looking for stock I can do better with wholesale pricing. Fill out this form to inquire.

Adding a Gift Note to your Order

Etsy already gives an option to add a gift message to orders, and I’d say the majority of orders I get are for gifts. I have changed the wording to the “order notes” section in the checkout to give a place for customers to write a small message to go with their order. I will include your message in a small handmade note card. Usually I handwrite these messages, but if you include special characters then they will be printed on a label and included that way. I’m happy to offer this little extra free of charge.

Where you will find in the checkout the place to add your gift message

New Products for August

These items are also available on Etsy. The Teacher Clip on charm and Engraved Celtic clip on charm are revamps.

New Products – Etsy Only

The following products are available on Etsy only, and they are OOAK (One of a Kind) or only 1 left (usually made up of charms I have had leftover from past custom work either personal or for customers):

I’ve been catching up with photographing new products so I hope to have many more items available in the coming month.

Coming Soon

Fiber braids! I’ve started photographing my available braids of fiber (mostly merino top, with a few exceptions) to start listing for sale, and I’ll have much more once I start dyeing commercial yarn. I like to dye fiber in tandem to either test the color or to use up excess dye. I’m going to put the fiber up for sale hereon the website only first, and gauge the interest. Price is a struggle especially with inflation and Canadian shipping charges. I usually don’t get paid for my time. I hope to have a few up by next month’s update.

Finally, I will be adding a short video of products to the listings. This option is already available on Etsy, and I thought it was such a shame that I was not offering the same visual representation here on the website. Once I get it set up I’ll start adding videos to the products. It’s not for every product, particularly some of the older ones, but I’ll work toward filming those in the future. As a visual person, I know I appreciate seeing items in “real time” as video gives a better idea of size, how it moves/wears, etc.

That was one heck of an update! I hope you are inspired to try to flow through your day, if only for a portion of it.

Until next time,

Leilani signature

Joyous Jubilant Jam-Packed July: Fun in the Sun and Soaking in the Inspiration

β€œThose who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”

– Lao Tzu
Here in the Annapolis Valley, you know it’s officially summer once the strawberries are available! We enjoyed picking a flat of no-spray berries

July Update

As with most of our lives these days, June did not go as planned, at least with my creative endeavours! I had laid out a plan of what to update, what to revamp, re-price and how to execute it all, but per usual, the creativity had other plans. Mostly, it’s taking me a lot longer to finish the goals I had laid out for the month of June. Things weren’t, shall we say, cooperating. Projects would take a completely different turn. On top of it all I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden (something I should have anticipated!) and on (much needed!) day trips with the fam.

In the end I decided to go with the flow. I’m enjoying the refinement of some older products and listings here on the website. I have some new features coming to make shopping simple, easy & affordable. I don’t mind that it is taking me longer as I think it will be a benefit long term.

New Products/Features

One of the biggest epiphany’s I had last month, was that I want to concentrate on making the website more about bulk ordering and Etsy would be the place for individual products. Not to say you can’t order just one thing here on the website, I want the option for discounts up front if you were to order more than one product. To go even further, I have set up a contact form for wholesale/bulk orders for small businesses, events or fundraisers that would be interested in my creations.

Offering bulk ordering sets me up for my future goal to offer my products to local and small Canadian businesses in the future, and reward shoppers in general for supporting my work.

The first step was to try out a new bulk pricing plugin and I now offer bulk discounts on my engraved advocacy charms. It takes a bit to come up with the proper pricing, but I am happy with the outcome. I also revamped the advocacy charms to a more simple design/offering, as that seems to be the most preferred, and easier for me for bulk orders. I manually engrave these charms at time of order which can be time consuming as well as very hard on my already bad shoulder. It was important for me to streamline the design to something I could execute quickly.

New Cool Tool: E-spinner

I mentioned in a past blog post that I was considering an electronic spinner. I went for it with an affordable design from Dreaming Robots! I had my eye on this tool since first seeing it on Instagram a while back. I also had plans to buy a SpinOlution e-spinner since I own the parts that would work with it already, but they never got back to me as the best way to order it and have it delivered to me in Canada. So for now, we’ll stick with Maurice’s wonderful design that is a dream to work with! I even bought the battery pack her recommended so now I don’t even have to contend with plugging it in when I use it.

Bonus: I really wanted a yarn counter to make dividing up my yarn for sale more easy, so I got one of those too!

I will have to do a post just on these tools at a later date: simply no time at the moment. But do head over to Dreaming Robots website and check it out.

On Sale/Discounts This Month

I’ve been so busy playing around with new features on the website, I didn’t feel inspired to run a particular sale or coupon code this month, but you can always check out what’s in the sale/clearance section or see what’s on sale on Etsy.

Okay! Back to it!

Until next time…

Leilani signature

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!

Leilani signature

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
Leilani signature

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,

Leilani signature

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…

leilani signature

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…

Leilani signature

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:

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,

Leilani signature

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




I like these three patterns as well, free for use from 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…

Leilani signature

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….

Leilani signature

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…

Leilani signature
Maker, Mom, Empath.
Check out my feedback on Etsy

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,