Saturday, June 28, 2008

yarn review: Gaia organic merino

This yarn is a favorite among the soaker/longies knitting crowd, and for good reason. It's wonderfully soft--glides right through your fingers, like silk. An aran weight yarn, so it knits up quickly. My gauge on size 8 needles is about 4.4 stitches to the inch. Takes dye in a somewhat muted way, not as bright as BFL or Clun Forest (the brightest of them all), but the lovely sheen of the yarn adds an interesting depth. One of my personal favorites.

And the sport weight! It could make a sock knitter out of anyone. A lot of yarn comes through my door, but this is the stuff that I want to keep just so I can pet it. Soft as a kitten.

This is my Flying Fish colorway on the aran weight. I dyed it for the Farmers' Market theme at Venus Vanguard, in honor of those kooky fish-throwing guys at Pike Place Market. I think the colors work really well with how the merino accepts dye.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Flickr for the win

I really admire Carina's photos. She always manages to find a beautiful and often unique angle on her clothing and yarn. I was looking at her new photos in Flickr tonight, and happened to click on her camera type (Nikon D50).

I hadn't realized before that you could search Flickr for all photos taken with a certain camera type, and use search terms. Like, say, yarn. I searched for yarn photos taken with my camera, and the first several pages of photos were, frankly, not that great, even when I searched by "most interesting" (based on views, comments, and number of people marking it as a favorite). I wonder how much of it is who the typical owner of the camera is (i.e., an average sort of photographer who is mostly looking to take snapshots, not fuss with setting up the perfect composition or achieving the perfect lighting), and how much of it is the camera.

Before I get a new camera, I'm going to do a lot of searching in Flickr and Ravelry to find photos of yarn that I really love, and see which camera model(s) were used to take them. Obviously the camera is only one factor in a great photo, but at least I'll get an idea of what the potential is for a given model.

yarn co-ops

I am about to start offering co-ops for my dyed yarns. I have really struggled with what kind of a discount to offer for them. I'm going to try just a small one first and then assess how I feel about the amount of work vs. the reduced profit. There should be some savings in time and increased efficiency; we'll see if they're enough to offset the decrease in money.

I'm also meeting with a local yarn store next week to talk about retailing my yarns locally. I'm really excited about this--it feels like a good step to be taking.

Monday, June 23, 2008

more adventures in dyeing black

So I finally dyed some yarn with my sorta new black dye, following the instructions. The first two skeins will come out okay, I think, though I'm not entirely sure about the green.

I had some dye left over, so I dyed up a skein of superwash merino that I hadn't used before. This one was a bit of a disaster--the dye did not penetrate evenly, so I had to basically paint individual strands, but I didn't have enough room because of the other two skeins that were still curing in my work space, so the dye job probably wasn't very tidy. And the black dye, which was basically a slurry, got smeared in places where it wasn't supposed to be. Guess this one will be a tester skein for me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

photo gallery

Ten kilos of fluffy BFL are in da house, and I'm preparing to offer my first yarn co-op. I've decided to reorganize my photo gallery a bit better. With some colorways, I put both detail and full skein pictures in the gallery. Others have just one or the other. So I'm changing all the ones in my gallery to just the thumbnail version, and adding links to the full skein photos and, if I have them, the yarn knitted up. It's a little tedious--okay, a lot tedious--but when I'm done, it will have a tidy uniform look, and I think it will be nice for people to have the links to other photos.

I'm also adding consistent tags. When browsing other, huge galleries, I have dearly wished for a better search function. Mine isn't 10 pages long yet, but better to plan ahead and do it now, rather than go back and do it later for hundreds of photos.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my business is growing up

I just placed a $650 wholesale order for yarn today--the largest order I've ever placed. Usually I buy through co-ops, for $100-$200 at a time. But this will be quite the box when it arrives.

I've done a lot of random yarn buys over the past year and a half, seeing what's out there and what I like to work with the best. I've decided now to focus on just my preferred few. The worsted, aran and bulky weights will be sold through my HC store; the sock yarn through a future Etsy store. I've narrowed the heavier yarns down to four types, and the sock yarn to two. It feels good to focus!

It should also help me to better track my inventory. I've got two Rubbermaid tubs of yarn full of undyed yarn. But much to my surprise, when I opened them this weekend to get out some yarn to wind off into skeins, I was down to less than a pound of my two most common types. The shortage was totally camouflaged by all the other yarn. I have to decide now if I want to dye it up and sell it, or probably take a loss and just destash it. I'm leaning towards destashing, because I'm excited about my new direction, but the idea of losing money is never a fun one, of course.