I'm all for dignified names, but sometimes the work insists upon itself, to take a phrase from Peter Griffin. I thought for sure that this batch of fluff was going to be called 'nature vs. nurture'. It has my usual blend of fibers- wool, alpaca, heaps of yak and sparkles and horsefiber plus guinea feathers, shreds of Japanese language newspaper and candy wrappers. The message seemed clear to me. The impossible polka dots on the feathers and the bright colors of the fibers contrast and blend at the same time with the candy wrappers and kanji. I had conceptualized this arty notion beforehand and the batt's final destination had a lot to do with that. Except that while I was carding it and then spinning a proof of concept skein I kept having visions of Fraggles bopping in my head. Forays into the Gorgs' garden, radishes and postcards from Traveling Matt. Which, in its own way, is just my own nature getting the rug pulled out from underneath it by my nurture. So 'All-knowing Trash Heap' it is.
I miss having a bit of earth to play in, to plan for. But that doesn't stop me from trying. I've been reading lots of books about permaculture lately, leading to a lot of moping around (I'm not the kind of girl who enjoys window shopping, it's kind of heartbreaking when you get down to it) but also lots of ideas about how to maximize the scant growing space we have in the yard currently. Spirals, for one, are a genius idea! Some Ianto Evans style Polyculture will be a must this spring, given my love for arugula and Gerry's desire to pickle radish pods this year. Maybe I'll do some take on Three Sisters planting, too. Plus, I have a small stockpile of seeds to start in the next few weeks and worms to feed. So its not like I'm wanting for things to grow, I just wish there was room for some chickens, maybe a guard llama in there somewhere. Not to mention a few sheep for him to guard. Someday.
This was one of the first skeins I ever spun, a rich unmixed blend of yak, tussah silk and...wool? Alpaca? I even forget the name I gave it. Neapolitan Melting? I do remember it being crazy soft and rather rope-like at the same time. So, of course, it was also one of the first skeins I sold. It seems to be a truism among knitters and spinners, maybe just makers in general, that finished product rarely stays with us. It's journey only begins in our hands.
I had a few firsts this last week. My first custom yarn order, which necessitated my first attempt at intentionally recreating a couple of colors. It's a task I had ever really considered before. The thing is, I have these color formulas I use for the low-impact synthetic dyes. I keep them written down on a few dye-stained pages in my master notebook. They're little bits of arithmetic for the colors I've come to use over and over. It's kind of like having my own personal pack of crayons, some with names I've given them myself. Names like rusty grape or broken black. But for all the times I've used them it never occurred to me to notice how close one batch has been to another. Variation is kind of built into the process. In fact I love being able to invite chaos in. The surprises generally outweigh the frustration and I know of no better way to learn something new than to just leap and take notes as I go along. Different fibers take up dyes at different rates and saturations and I have a habit of putting random combinations of fibers in the jars with each round of dyeing. So color me surprised when I got both colors I needed on the first try! I guess from now on I'll have to admit that, while I feel letting chaos into my process is essential, it's a controlled sort of chaos...with compulsory sparkles.
I miss my childhood orchard home. The now me totally gets that, but still appreciates the irony. The old (18 year old) me would probably be pretty pissed off that I've been schemeing so hard to get back. Not literally, but my thoughts and plans have been leaning toward the bucolic, the sheepy and the agricultural. The idea of establishing something between the Homestead Wool and Gift Farm and the Fibershed seems like a fantastic five year plan. Okay, maybe four year plan. I don't want to jinx myself. An onslaught of interesting books coming from the Paonia area haven't helped to dissuade me, either. Especially the one that saw the protagonist fly directly over the canyon walls of what was once my (albeit hormonally influenced) personal hell.
I'm not usually the type to set goals or come up with New Years resolutions or anything like that. But it wasn't very long ago that the thought of seriously considering myself a 'yarn artisan' seemed kind of far fetched, too. Back then I was daydreaming of hitting the road with my family and spinning wheel packed into some vintage RV, but kept my feet on the ground by telling myself it was more practical to get a teaching certification attached to my history degree. Pphfftt! After the prerequisite car crash I realized that there is no 'keeping one's feet on the ground'. The ground can disappear at any time. I have a sneaky suspicion that folks who come to take themselves that seriously make a habit of plan-making, as well. Therefore, in the interest of holding myself accountable and maybe bringing myself to attention of some passing wish-granting ( not so bitey) fairy, I'm going to up and tell you my plans and my goals for Eat Agar in this coming year. There are already exciting, exigent things brewing, but I also like the idea of having a record to come back to next year. especially one that I can't spill coffee on or lose in a move. These goals are still pretty basic, as I'm a plan it now & figure out the logistics later kind of person.
one major print ad
regular online sales stream
a dedicated dye garden & a fiber rabbit
an art shows worth of fiber art (beyond the usual yarn)
a small collection of pattern postcards (5-7)
1 regular summer market w/ a max. of 2 holiday markets
perfect custom order process online & at markets
That's it chickens. You know, besides all scouring, dyeing, spinning, photog, marketing, bookkeeping, etc...Any advice on how to accomplish any of the above or whacks on the noggin with a sparkly wand are welcome.