Monday, June 6, 2011

A New Year

Well, it's been almost 2 years since I attended my first TNNA in Columbus. What can only be described as one of the peak experiences of my life up to that point was the weekend I began my new career as a yarn manufacturers' rep.

Two years later, I am still having fun, but am not anywhere close to where I want to be financially. Unlike many reps, I never picked up a commercial, "workhorse" line, due to lack of interest on my part and lack of opportunity. I have made a lot of changes with my lines and how I do my business, and I feel like I have found the right, manageable portfolio of boutiquey, independent lines. But I do need to make money--not a lot, but SOME--or this fun experiment is not going to be able to continue. I have some ideas I will be trying over the next few months, and I may end up concentrating on JUL, if that business grows to the point where it can pay me a salary, and I will be open to what might be there for me at the upcoming TNNA trade show in Columbus.
Here is a photo of my peonies at their peak, maybe a week ago. These were among the plants I inherited from our home's former owners, and I really love to see them, and that I was home this year to enjoy them is a big plus. We've also had lettuce, and not many strawberries, but the ones we got were very red and delicious. My theory is that they did not get enough sun when we were getting all that cold and rain earlier this spring. Or maybe they are just taking a rest this year.
A mid-range project of mine is to hand-process this bag of Coopworth Lamb fleece. I went to the Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster, OH with Erica and Anne. Man, did we have fun! One nice thing Anne said was that in her old jobs, she had friends, but not people that you wanted to have sleep-overs with! I agree. I always had work friends at other jobs, but only a few of those people actually "stuck" and became real friends. How cool that I met Anne at the Spinning/Knitting retreat, and a couple weeks later, I was staying at her house and enjoying wonderful hospitality, food, and very silly inside jokes that were cracking us up! One of the neat things I noticed when I started traveling the region visiting yarn shops is that knitters, crocheters, and spinners (to generalize) are people who value connecting with others, they seem to slow down enough to really treasure their personal relationships, and they are always trying to play up the commonalities among their groups. I am so glad to be a part of this world, and to make new friendships where we can all be so real. And then there's the thing about being able to spill your most intimate thoughts more easily when you are sitting around fiber-ing and chatting, because of no eye-contact.
So, last weekend I started washing the locks, Beth Smith style, in very small batches in the tulle envelopes. I maybe have 18 or so done, with 6-8 locks in each one. I will be sharing the fleece (almost 5 lbs, unwashed) with Anne and Erica, and with whoever else is really nice to me and expresses interest. I still have 2 bags of cleaned Romney from MDSW 2010 and a gigundo pile of cleaned Romney-Bond cross to play with. And my mom gave me some of her last year's Pedro fleece. At least I am actually spinning the Romney-Bond. It is dark brown and kinda shiny. I am spinning it as fine as I can and will do either a 2 ply or 3 ply and try to make enough for a sweater, maybe Sprossling, or a modified Laar, since I really doubt I will be able to make plied laceweight!
Look how yummy and silvery this is, and it is not even washed yet! It really is clean and beautiful. I am just doing one wash in Unicorn Power Scour and two rinses, and it is coming out great. I really don't have time to play with it right now. June will be super busy. I am leaving for MD this morning to help Laura get ready for the show, then we will drive to Columbus and have TNNA all weekend (come see me in booth #539 if you're going!) and then I will go back down to MD to help fill orders and to see some customers, then home finally (poor husband and dog are going to miss me) around June 21. I'll stay home for a week, and then I'm off to Michigan for some sales calls and to start my new business strategy.


  1. what a great and insightful post :) i love your assessment of crafters. i agree.

    looks like i'll just miss you in michigan; i'm headed up for a beginning-weaving class at woven art on june 25! travel safely and i'll have my fingers crossed that you find what you're looking for and soon. <3

  2. LisaBe--Have fun weaving and tell Nancy I said hi! Also, I scored some of that alpaca bamboo roving, and realistically, I won't get to spinning it anytime soon, so if you want it, let me know!