Wednesday, December 9, 2009

i heart taters...

tater love!

...and they heart me!

This came out of our CSA box last week. I am going to have a hard time eating it :(

Sunday, November 29, 2009

For the love of Rambouillet

Yes, I'm still alive and well, despite what this blog might lead you to believe. In fact, it must take something special to make me come back after all this time, no?

A few weeks ago, I bought 30 pounds of Rambouillet top. Even though I have miscellaneous Rambouillet fibers lying around (some handpainted top, some fleece) I haven't actually worked with any of it until now. I am sorry I waited so long! This stuff is magical. It's got the softness of merino (I think it's even softer, actually) but it is much, much fluffier. I'm not sure what exactly it is that makes it so easy to spin, but this stuff just leaves my hand and turns into yarn as if it was enchanted. I can spin this fiber long-draw style straight from the un-predrafted top. Seriously. I think that says something. The result is the squishiest, softest, springiest yarn I've ever spun. I can only imagine what divine handspun socks it would make...

Anyway, I sold the first yarn I spun out of the first batch of fiber I dyed, but I'm working on another. This is my new favorite colorway too, I might add- Hanging Gardens:
Hanging Gardens Rambouillet, ready to spin

I've got some for sale in my shop, and I plan to make this a regularly stocked fiber. But you'll have to convince me to list it for you and not hoard it all for myself first!

Friday, October 9, 2009

New! Cloudlover Fiber Club!

I am finally opening a Cloudlover Fiber Club! It will be a 3 month club- each month you will receive a new, surprise colorway (4-5 oz) on a different fiber base. Everyone in the club will receive the same colorways each month so it is perfect for spin-a-longs! The cost will be $55 for one subscription (which includes shipping to the US & Canada, int'l shipping will be $10 extra). If you buy multiple subscriptions, you'll receive a $10 discount. I am starting the club with 10 slots, which will go on sale in my Etsy shop at the following times:

5 slots on Saturday (Oct 10) at 12 PM CST
5 slots on Sunday (Oct 11) at 10 PM CST

I will not be taking reservations for this first round of memberships; the club will open again in January for renewals and new members. Please send me a convo through my Etsy shop if you have any questions :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fun in the summertime

I honestly can't believe it's already the second weekend in July. Last week was our annual vacation to Southern Illinois for hiking, canoeing, fishing, wine tasting, etc. It was a relaxing "I wish this would never end" vacation. Here's a pic of Ben and me hiking at Grand Tower (Mississippi river in the background):
Ben & me at Grand Tower
And here's me under an amazing "secret" waterfall:
me under waterfall

This trip really made me wish I was in an area where I really *could* walk down to a lake to canoe every night, go berry picking, and buy my wine at a friendly local winery. I'd honestly love to live down there, but seeing as how Ben spent the first 24 years of his life in Southern Illinois, I think we'll need to find somewhere new to explore. It's just getting harder and harder to come back from these trips and back into the daily grind of corporate city life. Some day...

As for the woolly work, I'm in full wool-hoarder mode. The Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival starts at the end of this week(!) and I'm doing some last minute dye sessions. Here is a new colorway called "Cereus", inspired by night-blooming flowers:
Cereus Merino

Sunday, April 12, 2009

spring cleaning

Today it's finally warm enough (read: tolerable) to open the windows, let some fresh air in, and get some yucky heavy duty cleaning done. And by yucky, I mean hosing out the litter boxes and bunbun cage. I've got plans to organize my stash room so I can fit ALL of my yarn and fiber in one place. Right now there's a shelf of it towering in my living room in addition to the inventory in the front room. Ben is moving into my place at the end of the month, so I've got to make room for HIS shelves of crap too, ha!

Anyway, as you know, I've been dyeing my butt off for the summer shows I'll be vending at. I'm aware that I now have more stock than will fit in Ben's car, but I dye on! I've been coming up with lots of new colorways lately, which livens up the sometimes mundane dyeing of 4-6 colorway at one time. Check these out:
"Futomaki" on Falkland:
Futomaki falkland

"Valencia" on merino/tussah silk:
Valencia merino/tussah silk

Spring is also time for gardening, which means it's time for food, which means it's ALSO time for our CSA from Genesis Growers! We got our first box a couple of weeks ago, and it contained a bunch of yummy cold-weather veggies- beets, onions, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, kale... I made a fantastic "root roast" and served it alongside sauteed kale and garlic topped with almonds:
root roast & sauteed kale

I think my favorite part about root roasts is that they are so yummy all on their own, without adding much in terms of seasoning. All I did was chop up the veggies, tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and a dash of Italian seasoning blend, and then roasted them at about 450 until done. You can't go wrong adding a smidge of freshly grated ginger too, if you're into that sort of thing. Anyways, I'm actually quite pleased when I open up my refrigerator and find it almost empty except for a few stray condiments and drawers full of fresh veggies. It makes the whole "what should I eat?" question a lot easier to answer, and my mind is forced to concoct new ways to eat all of these garden treats. It's definitely a welcome form of mental "spring cleaning!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

dirty little secret

My shop has been kind of sparse lately, but I've been dyeing more now than ever. Where is it going, you ask?

fiber overload!

I'm prepping to vend at my first sheep and wool festival, the Shepherd's Harvest Festival in Minnesota, during the second weekend in May. I have no idea how much I should bring, so I'm erring on the side of more than will fit in Ben's hatchback.

Yeah. I'm getting tired just looking at that pic!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Look, I'm spinning!

It's been really hard to maintain a balanced schedule between work and the fiber biz. I loathe getting home at 6 and having only 4 hours in which to make dinner, take care of the animals, catch up on Etsy stuff, list items, and then hopefully card batts or spin before it's time for bed. Sticking to a shipping schedule frees up time, but not enough! I blame the day job ;)

Anyway, I managed to finish a few yarns this week. Here are two of my favorites:
Maerchengarten falkland yarn
"Märchengarten", my new favorite colorway, spun into a Falkland single!

Cupid & Psyche
"Cupid & Psyche", spun from batts carded by Hobbledehoy! I spun this one thick and thin and added little squishy coils here and there.

And as long as I've got spring on my mind, despite the fresh blanket of snow outside, here's a pic of Mr. Bun!
Mr. Bun
I can't wait until it's nice enough to let him romp around in the yard!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

off to a good start

January is turning out to be much more fun that December. Something about the dark winter months and the drama with the holidays just kind of gets me down. Even though it's even colder, the days are getting slightly longer and it's enough to get me revved up again. On top of that, I've got new fiber blends to dye and new colorways dancing in my head. I'm going to try to give myself a schedule to stick to on the weekends so I have room for dyeing and drum carding. Here's a peek at a mystery batt I was working on the other day:
carding mystery batts

And for those who are curious, here is my super high-tech roving painting set-up. Even though he insists on overseeing operations despite my best shoo-ing efforts, Bela Lugosi has not yet managed to dye his feet hot pink. Sometimes I let Mr. Bun out for a romp and he ends up chillin' underneath the table- one of his favorite spots!dye setup

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New year, new toys...

First off, I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my fiber adventure in one way or another- my customers, my spinning buddies, and my boyfriend. I can't believe how far I've come over the past year!

Also, I promise to get better about blog posts. I'm going to aim for at least once a week. Hold me to it!

My new big thing outside of spinning and dyeing has been baking. I treated myself to a KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer a couple of weeks ago, and the oven has been on ever since. I LOVE making bread, but I hate having to clean off a big section of counter space to knead it on, which then ends up making a big flour mess... Now everything is done in a bowl that cleans up lickety split. Hello fresh loaf of bread twice a week! If that wasn't enough, I bought a cheese making kit from Ricki the "Cheese Queen". I made my first batch of mozzarella last night and marinated it in olive oil, herbs and red pepper flakes. My lunch today: harvest grain bread with mozzarella:
brot und kase!

In other news, it has snowed more in Chicago this year than I think it has in the years since I moved here combined! Thankfully the cold snap is over (almost 2 days straight with subzero temps).
Blizzard 2009

Ok, I've got to get back to the dye pots. If you're a spinner or fiber enthusiast, please check out the poll on the top right of the page! I've got access to tons of new fiber blends, so I'd like to order the ones you all want to spin the most!