“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.
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.
Some of the New Yarns at a Glace
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.
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.
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
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! 😉 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
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!
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.
It’s getting late and my bed is calling…until next time,
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
What’s New on the Home Front
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.
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.
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 dropped the ball on the weekly blog update. After the destash listing blitz I wanted a break from new product listings, coupled with chronic pain (back/shoulder damage and migraines due to being hit by a car in my teens). I just needed a break from the norm. I’m still filling orders as they come in, and taking the opportunity to step back and do a product assessment.
I love to be organized and I feel like everything is out of balance worldwide. The chaos is an opportunity to go within and assess what I have control of changing and bring back in balance. So before I start any new projects I’m taking the time to revisit my products: what could be improved, what should be discontinued (and price reduced) and what inspires me.
That’s what’s up for the next few weeks, so if I’m quiet here, I’m working away! Feel free to drop me a line any time.
I totally forgot to write an update last week! Retrograde had me motivated to clear up the old in anticipation of the new, so I got lots of destash yarn listed here and on etsy. Last month I decided to go through my handspun closet, and had to finally admit I will never get around to using most of these. So, I’m listing them bundled at a discount.
It’s important to read the descriptions so you know what you are getting. The vast majority of these are experiments: you can’t get better at your craft without pushing the boundaries of what you know. You may find deficits in these yarns compared to what I normally offer for sale, or you may not know what the hell I’m talking about because it’s premium handspun fiber and suits you fine. 😉
Now that retrograde is over, I’d really like to get the remaining (approx 9 groupings) listed so that I can return to working on new creations. Here’s a quick peek at what’s for sale:
What else was new last week:
Look at this cute project bag, from Llady Llama Fiber Co in the Finger Lakes (upstate New York). She shared this brilliant design for sock knitters with divided panels for each ball. I’ve used it for a few days now and it’s amazing! I love how everything stays organized and I can just unzip and start knitting. This is a handmade item, a collaboration of the fiber artist and her sewing sister. The hardest part was picking the fabric – so many awesome styles to choose from. If you are a sock knitter I highly recommend!
Just popping on here quickly to share what’s new this week. I finally got a new computer but with that there’s set up, transferring my files and getting used to a new environment overall. Needless to say I fell behind this week with all things creative and handmade business related. I did get a couple of listings from my personal stash listed. I really agonized over the pricing. I’m donating my time, and hoping to at least recoup the material costs.
This may be a short post on new projects and products this week as I want to do a separate post on ugly dyes and how I dye them. Sounds strange right? It’s inspired by this roving and spin you may have seen on my instagram:
Let’s see what’s new here and in my etsy shop this week:
Hope everyone is having a creative winter here in the northern hemisphere and that you are remaining positive. Remember: light wins. 💖💫
I seem to come out of my New Year’s fog on Tuesday – it was that apparent, I can tell you the exact day I stopped feeling both physically and mentally tired. I have not changed a thing, in fact I have not been getting enough sleep and craving sugar. I should check the Schumann Resonance for that day and see if there was a change.
My new studio groove means working on one unfinished project a day and photographing/pricing one yarn listing a day, until I get caught up. I do this before starting a new spinning project. I hear that 2021 is a purge year, and I’m sure feeling that. I’m motivated to get items moved out of the studio.
On a bad note, my computer went bust earlier this week, luckily the resident geek in the house repaired it (for now). Two requirements for handmade ecommerce: a computer & the internet. Needless to say, I am on the hunt for a new one.
Since December is a busy month for me, January tends to run on a leisurely pace. I’ve been concentrating on finishing up older projects and considering what I’d like to do next.
Still, as enjoyable as this slow down should be, the “winter blahs” have set in. I feel more tired and less motivated than usual. It’s probably time to up my vitamin D3 and B12, and more so, simply accept that I will be moving at a slower pace, and that’s okay!
I’m a few days late with my weekly update – but something miraculous happened on Monday: it was sunny! This has been a very drab winter thus far. One downfall of living on a rocky jagged coastline in Canada!
With sun means I was able to take new product photos. I do have studio lighting, but nothing beats natural light for product photos. Only one new listing for this week – She Sells Seashells – scroll down to see, and I’ll probably do one listing a week for now. I’m trying to have a bit of a break to work on personal projects (and to have time to think of new items I can design for sale).
Until next time, I wish you a week of peace & calm…
Happy New year! We flipped the calendar for yet another 365 days, though I suspect the real “new” year is in March. 😉 I’m a tad late with my update. No new products this week but I have some new stitch markers and jewelry that I’m excited to release in the near future.
Here’s a look at what I’m currently working on. The finished products will be revealed when they are listed and ready for sale.
Keep those positive vibes going, I have a feeling we are in for a rough 3 months. Be sure to keep creative and talk it out as much as possible. Your mental health and well being is everything. 💗💫
No new products this week, as I’ve been taking the time to do some baking with my girls, and to get the studio tidied up. When I’m busy with orders, it starts to look like a bomb hit! I do have a few new items as well as revamped items to photograph. Hopefully to do on a sunny day. Winter can be so dark and depressing here in the Maritimes.
I find it ironic how simplified our year has been, and yet, the Holidays still seems hectic! I think my problem is the possibilities of what I would like to accomplish, as I feel like I have time to do it this year. But in fact, orders have picked up significantly this season and I’ve come to the conclusion I still hate being in the kitchen (ha!).
Take for example my goal to have all handmade gifts this year, with the exception of my girls, who want books, lego etc. They are privy to my handmade things all year round. I’m too tired in the evenings to get gifts accomplished, and too busy during the day to work on them. I think I have to start to make handmade gifts…a year in advance! 😉
I dont know if I’ll have an update next week as I’d Ike to have a break, but if I manage to create something interesting I’ll certainly share it here.
I received an e-mail today from Canada Post to warn Small Business customers they are over capacity, despite hiring an extra 4000 temporary employees for the holiday rush. Because of this, I cannot guarantee you’ll receive packages by a certain date whether you have purchased tracking or not. I have been mailing all packages within 24 hours (with the exception of weekends) and upgrading customers free of charge to Expedited shipping (Canada) and tracked packet (USA) whenever possible. This comes out of my pocket. I know this may not be the smartest business move, but it’s the right thing for me to do so that you have the most positive experience possible. Once it goes in the mailbox, it’s out of my hands.
Still, should your package go missing whether shipping with or without tracking you will be compensated. My usual policy is to refund or replace should your item not arrive within 30 days (your choice). It’s worth noting, I have never had a package go missing in Canada, and only a handful to the US. Most of the time packages don’t get delivered due to address errors on part of the buyer. This usually happens when items are getting shipped to 3rd parties. When these items get returned to me (eventually, usually after I’ve refunded the customer) they get returned to me at my expense. Yes, carriers charge for returned packages, meaning I’m out double the cost of shipping. This is why I’m currently not shipping international: too many lost or returned packages.
Anyway, I was too tired to last night to do my usual weekly wrap up, but I did get a couple new products up this week:
What else is new? I’ve been making stitch markers mostly these days, my most popular items for sale, even surpassing my popular charm necklaces.
On Saturday I participated in the 12/12 mass meditation, and unlike 11/11, that left me feeling like I was coming out of a long illness, and “off” for days after, this time I emerged feeling full of a deep knowing that all would be fine. I was emanating pure love, and I’m hoping to keep those good vibes flowing, until the next one on Dec 21st. It was a profound experience but I have not found the right words to describe it yet.
Anyone else find that December began with little fanfare? Add to the monotony of this year, it’s unseasonably mild here in the Maritimes. The kids handled the Christmas decorating, and yesterday I had to remind them that we hadn’t started the Advent Calendar (oops).
Still, I’ve never felt happier. To a certain extent, I feel it is my duty to stay positive, and keep those good vibes churning out to the world. I refuse to get sucked into the mainstream news and the political battles. There’s always more than we are permitted to know. I prefer to vibrate higher than all of that. 😉
Another busy week of home duties and product orders but I did get a few new listings up:
As always, my humble thanks for your support, you all keep me going! I’m dedicated to keep advancing in my craft and this year I feel more confident than ever in my abilities.
I know it’s hard to shop local when many business are closed or limiting the number of customers right now. With the exception of big box stores, which is hugely hypocritical on part of the government. Normally, the majority of my customers are from the United States, which being from Canada I always found odd. It hasn’t seemed like Canadians have embraced online shopping to the extent of our neighbors to the south.
This holiday season, my US orders are way down, and are mostly from Canadians. I miss my US customers but happy to get more Canadian sales, all the same. I was really thrilled this past week to fulfill orders for several new customers from here in Nova Scotia. I’m hoping this trend continues since mailing items in the same province tends to arrive very quickly, and I’m happy to offer the gift of handmade to my fellow Maritimers.
If you are like me and find wearing a mask difficult, it’s nice to know there are places to shop locally without having to go out, that’s not another big box store option.
I humbly thank you for the chance to create something beautiful whether it be for yourself or for a gift this holiday season. I hope you will be back in the future for more. ❤
Here’s what’s newly available this week…
This is your weekly reminder to choose love over fear, to love each other fiercely and to tune into your higher self/tune out the negative media…
I mentioned last week feeling totally drained after participating in a global mass meditation on Nov 11th. For days after I felt lethargic, depressed and low-vibrational. Something shifted the end of this week and now I feel incredibly positive, hopeful and – excited for the future! Those who know me IRL know that when I say this, I mean I feel it for us ALL. I don’t know about you, but after an entire year being bombarded with negativity I’ll take any expression of a positive future…
It’s officially Holiday rush season, and I’ve been upgrading everyone’s shipping to expedited (Canada) or tracked packet (US) free of charge. I can’t do it if your item cost less than the actual shipping. Canadian shipping charges are ridiculously expensive. I’ve lost out on a few orders, esp. yarn, where the shipping charges made up more than half the cost of the yarn. I know this does not make sense business wise BUT as I’ve said before it makes sense to me ethically. Shipping volumes are up significantly compared to past busy seasons, and Canada Post is not honoring shipping guarantees. I’ll do everything in my power to get your orders to you in a timely fashion, but please understand there are no guarantees that items will be received by a certain date.
This year, more than ever, it is really important to shop local and support the small businesses in our area. The big box store does not have to close since the government has labeled them an “essential” service. The small local shops may be able to do curbside or online orders if they are forced to close. In my case, I encourage Nova Scotians especially to order from shops like me, since shipping times are much quicker within the province than outside.
I’m reserving my time for orders these days as well as wrapping up year end tasks. I did get a few relists done:
Can you believe we are coming to the end of 2020? In many ways, it feels like it just started. What an important personal development and karmic year, 2020 has been! It certainly has pushed us to reexamine our lives whether we wanted to or not.
This will most likely be a very short update this week. It’s been a strange “what’s that pain” kind of week. Including: pressure behind my left eye that made it hard for me to read or watch TV. I suspect it’s eye strain and a type of headache but it was not something I’d experienced before. It happened after a long session of website maintainance followed by frantic pattern buying (Knit Picks had a $1 sale 😀).
On Wednesday, I participated in a worldwide consciousness action, where I went into a meditative state at 11:11am my local time. It was an incredibly profound & powerful experience: I could feel these waves in/out of my forehead & top of head. Afterward instead of feeling refreshed per usual, I felt weak, like coming out of a long illness. My forehead vibrated for hours after, in fact, my forehead didn’t even feel attached to my head, like it was floating a few inches ahead of me. I was still recuperating the following day. Despite the ill feelings, I know this was an important outcome & I plan on participating in the next one on 12/12…
Then, in my rush to catch up the latter part of the week, I over worked my back and gave myself a tension headache – and this is where we are currently, in bed with the heating pad. 🤕
Despite this, I got a few old faves updated and re-listed:
Alright, back to resting my back…see you next week…
My week was cut short this week due to a migraine. My migraines always last 3 days, no matter what I do. Luckily it wasn’t a full blown one, I could still function, albeit much slower. I think this is because I’ve been keeping up with my magnesium. This is the first migraine I’ve had in a few months which for me is really good. I’m blaming this one on the junk food I ate last weekend…I should know better!
I see a lot of people happy to see the year end, even gearing up for Christmas. I know fam in the Philippines, Christmas season starts in the “ber” months (as in, kicks off Sept 1st) but that is too much Christmas for the average Canadian. Personally I am in no hurry to see the year end. I refuse to wish my life away, and I really don’t see much improving next year. I’m happy to cherish everyday, learn a new skill, spend time with my rapidly growing kids, support my hubby and keep on reaching out to feel those vibes.
Despite the headache & gut rot from Halloween candy, I got some revamped listings completed. Some got slight tweaks, others just needed an updated photo.
What about yarn? Of course I got some spinning in! Rarely a day goes by when I dont. Even with a headache I’ll sneak a few minutes in. I’m excited to report I am finished with my yarn re-vamp project. I am feeling a renewed excitement to knit or crochet my yarns again, and I was even able to move a few in the “to sell” pile 😄
I am such a stickler for balancing yarns. Sometimes it’s impossible to get a 100% balanced yarn without sacrificing twist/bounce- particularly when you are talking about one plies or crepes. I still prefer the look of a plied yarn over its singles cousin.
Now that I’m done revamping and am free to make whatever I want, I’m feeling a bit lost as to where to start. Too many options/possibilities! So I think I will go back to blending/processing wool and contemplate it. I still have a bit of cormo that I hand-processed to finish blending, and some Icelandic that washed up brilliantly white, I’m not sure if I want to dye it.
Now that the days are short I’m looking forward to using the dark hours to create, to manifest good things and to rest (who am I kidding about that last one?? 😉)
I didn’t get as many revamped listings up as I would have liked this week. Autumn domestic chores called, and I had the sudden craving for homemade bread, so out came the bread maker. I don’t have time to make traditional bread, so I thought this was a good alternative. It turned out so good I think I will move along to no knead breads. I found a recipe for cooking a no knead bread in a Dutch oven and I am intrigued!
I love bread, but it doesn’t really agree with me. Plus it’s autumn which means over consumption aaaaand…I start to resemble a lump of dough. 😅 But I digress…
I also had the privilege of filling some awesome yarn orders this week, which has done my creative spirit good. The mail has gotten excruciatingly slow again, I think it’s because people are doing their holiday shopping early this year (per usual, I’m all done 😉). So this causes a bit of worry about my customer’s experience buying from me. I know that it’s out of my hands, but it still feels unacceptable to me.
This week I had a $29 order for a skein of yarn thru Etsy. It was light enough I could have sent it regular post for $5.47. Because the mail was so slow I ended up biting the bullet and sending it Expedited for – $17 after taxes!! Welcome to shipping in Canada. Well, you do the math, I pretty much gave away that skein of handspun. Get this: it’s cheaper to send goods to the US with tracking than within our own country, and I find it tends to arrive quicker too. 🤷♀️
I know that wasn’t the smartest business decision dollar and cents wise, however, it was the best decision for me ethically and conscientiously, so I have no regrets. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m not in this for the money. 😉
Here’s whats newly listed, at least, freshened up. I revamped the Celtic charms so that you can choose from a faceted green bead or freshwater pearl. It comes on both a ball chain key chain & lobster clasp, for convenience of clipping or hanging on an item. Both could easily be removed so that you could add to your own key ring or jewelry.
These earrings were also in the sample binder, along with last week’s. They are really cute and feel good in hand – I feel confident about offering them again. Pewter charms on your choice of sterling silver or gold-filled leverbacks.
Last week I shared that I was going thru my personal stash and re-vamping yarns. I sell the majority of my yarns, and keep the ones that are not quite up to snuff, in my opinion. Re-vamping may consist of over-dyeing, running thru the wheel again to tighten the ply, or adding another ply of handspun in the opposite direction (like a crepe yarn). The odd time, I will deconstruct a yarn entirely. I don’t really do this anymore: un-coiling a plied yarn is as tedious as it sounds!
I like how this one turned out, it’s nice and fluffy and interesting. Best of all it’s structurally sound, which is the main thing.
The second one came out so nice and fluffy, I have set it aside to potentially sell. Even the little pieces of pouf throughout the yarn adds to its charm and that bit of interest you can only achieve with a handspun yarn. It too was re-spun in the same manner as the first yarn.
That’s my week in a nutshell. Spiritually, I am feeling a bit detached, but I trust it is all part of the process while we work toward brighter days…
Mercury officially went into retro-grade Tuesday, so I knew it was a good week to start the re-vamp of old products. It was also a short (work) week due to the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, so I didn’t get too many things relisted. Here’s a look at what I did get up to this week…
One of the first things I did was go thru my sample binder. I stumbled upon a few pairs of sweetheart earrings and thought, why am I not currently selling these?! They are darling cute, and with 7 different colors of freshwater pearls, there are plenty of options for customizing. The pewter charms paired with either sterling silver or gold-filled ear wires give the earrings a well-made feel without being too heavy. I am really proud to list these again.
Several years ago, I used to sell a lot of Celtic themed jewelry. I am from Nova Scotia, so Celtic themed objects are not uncommon here. You can even study the Gaelic language in Cape Breton. The popularity seems to have dipped for my Celtic themed products in the past few years, so I eventually stopped relisting them on Etsy. Looking at the samples, they are still really nice looking earrings, so I am offering them again while supplies last.
I have several variations of these engraved silver and gold plated charms. I decided to offer them with a bit of bling at no extra charge. I think they stand out more on a bag or piece of clothing with a freshwater pear or faceted bead added. I also added a lobster clasp so that you have the choice of clipping it on or attaching with the ball chain key chain. You can easily remove the Keychain and clasp if you’d like to add the charm to exiting jewelry or keyring. First up is the doula charms, with breastfeeding awareness, babywearing, and international child charms coming next week.
If you’re on my Instagram, you may have seen a few yarns I re-vamped from my personal stash this summer. I sell the vast majority of my yarns, because I’d rather be making yarn than knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both knitting and crochet, I just prefer to be at my wheel. I keep the yarns that were fails or simply not up to snuff for my standards.
One of my all-time fave yarn constructions is crepe. I am an avid plyer- which is strange considering I was adamant I would only make bulky 1-ply art yarns when I started spinning. Judith MacKenzie’s “The Gentle Art of Plying” and Sarah Anderson’s “The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs” really inspired me to both perfect and play with plying. So I rarely make one plies anymore, opting for the balance and interest of a plied yarn.
The secret to a good crepe yarn is in the twist. Basically a crepe is 2 plies spun together, then you re-spin to one extra ply in the opposite direction. It’s important to add extra twist to the first two plies in order to have a balanced 3 ply crepe. The yarn pictured above was a fun and funky 2-ply but was not structurally sound. Therefore, I will run it back through my spinning wheel to add more twist, before re-spinning it the opposite way to an additional ply. I’ll post the results next week.
The re-vamp project will continue all month, or months…or, when I get tired of doing it 😉
Between mercury retrograde and the general vibe on earth as of late, I’ve come to some revelations this week that looked downright horrific. It’s crunch time for all sensitives and intuitives, and I cannot stress enough now is the time to visualize the future you desire, to choose love over fear, and spin some good vibrations into the air. We all can do this, regardless of where we are at on our spiritual journey or abilities. I am still optimistic we are headed for better days, but cautiously feel the next few weeks will set the stage. This is my plea to all to please take this time to work through your fears and emotions, and embrace love, compassion & understanding. Keep an open mind, beware of group think. My children’s, and all children’s futures depend on it…
I got this week’s listings finished early! I will be cooking for the fam for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, and I’d like to enjoy the process unhindered. I’m not big on cooking, and I only enjoy it if I can concentrate all my energies on it. Still, I love to see my kids’ and my hub’s eyes light up when they eat a meal I prepared.
This week’s lovely offerings, all made par moi:
I feel very accomplished to have 9 listings done mid-week. I also feel there has been a shift, energetically this week. I feel very light, and hopeful. I hope it’s a long term trend but I’ll take it if even a fleeting moment. I wonder what my fellow intuitives & empaths are feeling…?
I’m pretty much caught up on yarn to list. I pulled a few from the 35 new skeins available that I want to re-think or even re-imagine. I’m very thoughtful about the products I put up for sale.
With yarn caught up, I’m going to focus on older jewelry products that I pulled to re-consider. Some will re-appear as is, and will be discontinued once all are sold. Others will be slightly tweaked or “freshened up” since they were developed over a decade ago!
Happy thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians. Instead of obediently being “thankful”, let’s try to send some light out to the world and beyond…
I had a rather mundane week of listing new products. I’ve been guarding my spirit and emotions all week: something is afoot. Here’s is a recap of what’s new this week…
I’ve created a coupon code for 15% off orders of $100CAD or more (approx. $75USD). Available both here on this site and on etsy: BULKSAVE100 at checkout.
New products listed this week. I’m trying to catch up on the backlog of items created over the past several months, so it won’t be this many every week. I should be caught up in the next couple of weeks, and then I want to revisit some older designs that I still like but feel they just need a bit of tweaking.
I wanted to share this really cool pic, taken this morning. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen it. Every so often we get fog over the valley but it never seems to get quite as high as us here on the mountain. It gives the feeling of being among the clouds, and also very disorienting when you are used to seeing a vibrant valley below.
I forgot to share the new listings from last week. Both available here and on etsy:
This was shared by my friend and soul sister @orek.e.l_saj777 on Instagram. I think it sums up this coming few months beautifully (and also expresses how I’ve felt for the past 7 months):
In my last post I promised that I would blog more. So I put it under “goals” on my to-do list to do one post a week. I don’t seem to get the urge to blog anymore, so now it has been penciled in. 🙃🙂
After that was decided, the question was: what shall I write about this week? Then this happened: I broke one of my smallest sets of bamboo circular needles. 😫 I’d love to say I broke them after a fierce session of sock knitting, but it was due to my own carelessness.
I’m a huge believer in mindfulness, and try to make a point to be present, in-the-moment, for most of my day. Even during the most mundane of tasks (you won’t believe the epiphanies I’ve had whilst folding laundry by simply staying in the moment!).
On the other hand, I am also someone who possesses a great deal of energy and motivation to plow through and get shit done, so I can get back to creating. When I get going, I can be a bit of a bull in a china shop (I am a Taurus, afterall!). 😉
So I was going thru the yarn bin in my bedroom, and saw a ball of handspun silk yarn I thought was in the wrong place. This yarn bin is for in progress projects. I was not knitting any projects with silk, to my knowledge. I picked up the ball, and – huh. The end of the yarn was stuck on something. So I gently tugged. Still was stuck. I pulled a little harder, and harder until the ball came free. I was confused because not only did I have the yarn, but circulars with knitting on it…well, I had 75% of the circulars anyway. Seems I started a pair of socks months ago I totally forgot about.
Yup. I broke a set of circulars just being careless. 😫 I was really upset with myself: not only did I break a useful tool, I absolutely hate waste. What am I going to do with a broken set of circulars? Can I re-purpose them? Then I thought, maybe I can fix them…
Before I was a fiber artist, I was an avid jewelry maker (still am!) so I have quite a few tools at my disposal. The tools are for working on small objects, so I thought I may have just the thing to help fix these. Off to the tool closet to dig in the Dremel bits. A-ha! A tiny burr which happens to be the same size as the opening where the bamboo needle attaches. I had to ream out all the wood that snapped inside if I had any chance of re-attaching the needle.
Steadying the arm holding the circular end on the arm of my chair, I rested the arm holding the Dremel on the side of said chair arm. I have a flex shaft attachment on my Dremel so I find holding it super easy – I’m sure this would work fine without, you just need a steady hand. On the lowest speed I got to work slowly. Before I knew it, the bit goes clear in the metal end and it’s completely clear of bits of bamboo. It also made the cutest little pile of saw dust.
I used the same burr to shave down the end of the needle. It was slightly wider than the opening and wouldn’t fit as us. Then, I used a piece of sandpaper to give it a smoother texture. I admit I could have done a better job at smoothing out the end, but at this point I was getting anxious to see if it had worked. I did a couple of fittings before getting enough shaved down that it felt snug inside the metal.
As an added precaution to make sure that needle end stayed put, I went looking for an appropriate adhesive. E6000 seems to be in every jewelry maker’s arsenal. I applied a small amount to the needle’s end, before returning it to its rightful place on the circulars. Now to wait for the adhesive to dry.
Close up it does look like a puppy chewed on the end, but not so bad in real life. It certainly doesn’t feel like stitches would snag on them. We’ll know for sure once I put them to use.
After they had rested for a few hours I was seriously impressed at how solid they felt. I’ll know for sure if they are truly fixed once I knit with them. I will get a replacement set, just in case. Probably another brand, maybe steel just because I like to have different tools at my disposal. You never can have too many knitting needles in my opinion! 😉
I live in a rural area so will have to order a new set, if you have any suggestions of what to get I’d love to hear it!
Thanks for reading about my broken needle saga. I hope I’ve inspired you to try fixing a broken item before throwing it away. You just never know! 😊