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

Busy, Tired, Happy: My week at a glance

Image Editor Output Image1679773438 1639358225563.jpg

“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

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,

leilani signature

I’m Around, working away an update…

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

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

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

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

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

Love more, fear less πŸ’•,

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

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

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

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

What else was new last week:

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

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

What’s New Week of Feb 8th

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

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

What’s New This Week February Project Kick off

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

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

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

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

New this Week – Jan 27- Finding My 2021 Groove

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

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

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

Here’s what’s newly listed this week:

What else is new:

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

That’s all for now. Until next week…

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Weekly Update- She Sells Seashells

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year – it’s 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly update: Canada Post is over capacity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I leave you in peace, and wish you well,

What’s New week of Nov 30th – I forgot it was December

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. πŸ˜‰

Another busy week of home duties and product orders but I did get a few new listings up:

Just when I thought I was ready to spin all this cormo I processed/dyed I decided to re-blend it to let the colors integrate deeply. I’m loving the colors that develop. This was pink, purple and beige/brown that was set for a self-striping yarn. It now looks more purple IRL
I’ve failed at my attempt to make socks for gifts this Christmas. I should have realized during my business time of year I’m not going to want to make more stuff for others when I’ve been doing that all day. I’ve been vegging out mostly in the evenings. But I did dye another skein of the commercial sock yarn so I’ll be all set to knit thru the holidays
I’m very tired after another busy week, so I will sign off here. Please enjoy this pic of Peanut under the tree 😻

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.

Be brave, stay positive and flatten the fear,

What’s New Week of Nov 23 – Shop Local

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…

Comparison of 2 skeins of monochrome yarn spun last week. Left is a 2 ply, right is a 3-ply crepe. Interesting how much darker the 3 ply is. This is spun from merino top that I hand dyed into a gradient black/grey
Earring gift and handmade note card sent with order as thanks to one of my customers this week
Peanut enjoying the tree after kicking his brother off the ladder πŸ™„πŸ˜Ή

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…

Love to you πŸ’•,

What’s New Week of Nov 16th – A Renewed Energy

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:

I made some new note cards to be included in orders on Saturday. I also use these to write gift notes for orders being shipped directly to the gift recipient

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.

What’s New this week: the back pain edition

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 πŸ˜€).

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. πŸ€•

Despite this, I got a few old faves updated and re-listed:

In other news, I got my vintage singer knitting machine out again – and it still works after I thought I broke it (happy dance). It’s been stored away for 3 years 😲 Now to spend some time getting reacquainted, and perhaps try to get past basic experience

Alright, back to resting my back…see you next week…

What’s New this week: playing with stones, wrapping up yarn revamp and migraine pause

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’ve been happily playing with stones again this week – some new satisfying pieces to wear and decide whether to make more & list

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.

I’m loving these new bracelets made with 10mm gemstone beads. One is a chakra bracelet, the other tiger eye to support my solar plexus. I was having some stomach pain on the right hand side, near my liver. The emotions I was feeling was impatience & anger/frustration. I dont know of they helped or not, but they are comfortable & fun to wear

Despite the headache & gut rot from Halloween candy, I got some revamped listings completed. Some got slight tweaks, others just needed an updated photo.

I made a handful of these cute rosary bracelets years ago. I found this one in a pile of “expired” jewelry in the cupboard. It’s really sweet and deserves a new home, whether you are Catholic or a collector of religious memorabilia. Available here and on etsy, priced to sell

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 πŸ˜„

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?? πŸ˜‰)

This week in creating: More Celtic Revamps, busy Shipping season, plus Yarn

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. πŸ˜… But I digress…

Look at this pretty group of yarns my customer chose. I love to see what my buyers gravitate to, and if I’m lucky, they share what they make with each

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 πŸ˜‰). 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. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

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. πŸ˜‰

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!

This re-vamped yarn started as a funky soft and textured 2 ply – 1 ply recycled sari silk and the other merino. It looked really interesting but was not structurally sound, so I added twist before re-spinning in the opposite direction to a hand-dyed merino top

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.

This re-vamp turned out amazing – Moki approves – I may sell this one

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.

Autumn in Canada means the perfect walking weather
Last swim of the season, Oct. 24th 😭 Pool officially closed for another year

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…

It’s Revamp Week (or month…)

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…

Sweetheart earrings are available again on here on the website and on etsy

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 these yarns look a little squished, they came out of my personal stash. My personal stash consists of yarns that just did not turn out quite right. I’m hanging them so they have the chance to straighten before they get the re-vamp treatment

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.

This 2-ply yarn has a lot of handspun yarn fun, and is really soft, but is weak in construction. It’s destined to become a 3-ply crepe

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.

A pic of Peanut, cos he’s so darn cute. You can see my Lendrum spinning wheel peeking out in the background

The re-vamp project will continue all month, or months…or, when I get tired of doing it πŸ˜‰

Quote of the week, brought to you by my friend @healers_of_humanity on instagram

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…

Always remember: love wins.