Monday, September 27, 2010

Bad Shows Happen

What should have been a great market day was anything but, and serves as a prime examplet of how sometimes, a bad market is just out of your control and therefore you have to just roll with the punches. I had a booth at the LA Market at Dodgers Stadium, and what should have been a great market was killed by unexpected soaring temps of over 103 degrees, which resulted in the show being shutdown in the middle of the day. It was so hot that literally almost all of my pillar candles started to melt, and are now so deformed, I will have to completely melt them down and re-mold them, which is additional work for me when my time is already at a premium. Despite my van being insulated, even the inventory that I kept in there was destroyed.

But I try to walk away from every show, even a bad one with a positive outlook, and walk away from it learning something. At this market, I learned that while it may be great for some of my products, its not great for all. Also, I learned that the 20 foot space they provide I could totally utilize a lot better that I did with a little more preparation. Also, this type of a market, I would use more for getting rid of excess or discontinue inventory, rather than making everything new. More importantly, I learned the importance of allways bringing a cooler and plent of water with me, especially for an outdoor market.

What happened today is a prime reason why I gave up doing outdoor markets 9 years ago, but I am going back for my customers, who are wonderful and loyal, but who cannot always make it to one of my larger shows due to either location, or excessive high parking and entry fees. Therefore I am trying to do as many local markets in between my larger shows as possible.

Another good thing I learned from this show is that Lee Philly's Gogi Food Truck is too die for! They had the most awesome global cuisine. My favorite was the Gogi Taco, which was a really big taco for only $2.50. Gogi is Lee's seasoned Korean beef which was juicy, tender, and the taco was topped with cheese, spices, a kimchi salsa? Whatever you call it you will love it like no other! This food truck hits up a lot places around the LA area, so if you ever see it, definitely stop and have a taco.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Bigmama's Pineapple

As I have mentioned before, I love vintage crochet. My great-grandmother (whom I lovingly called Bigmama) had a lot of crochet items that her mother made and left her. One of my favorites was a table cloth that had an intricate pineapple in the center of it. I have finally figured out how to make this particularly intricate pineapple after years of: try like and over and over again. And before you say it, yes I have searched for it in pattern books (hence the overindulgent purchases to Abebooks and Thriftbooks), to no avail, and in a twisted way, really enjoyed the trial and error aspect overall. Never mind the many unpleasant words I used and created every time I had to rip it apart, but nonetheless, perseverance has finally paid off.
I made the one pictured above using Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread #3 in silver, but my plan is of course to make them using my own Badan ARTisan hand dyed yarns in various weights, and to also play with variations on how to connect them together in various designs. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hard at Work

Ok, so I have been working really hard trying to:

  1. Get all of my products listed up on Etsy
  2. Get all of my products photographed
  3. Write out descriptions for all of my products
  4. Make product for my fall shows
  5. Make product for my weekly markets

So blogging has taken a serious back seat to everything, however, I am trying to get a lot better at that and at least post once a week.

Now that its starting to cool off ever so slightly, it is perfect weather for dyeing, knitting and crocheting, and I have been doing a lot of all three. I have also been researching old vintage patterns to add them to my more modern designs as I have always loved vintage crochet and knitwear.

With that said, I have put in a lot of hours and dollars on Abe, which is an awesome sight for book collectors. It is a network of independant used book dealers around the world, and you can purchase all sorts of vintage books and magazines for pennies. In most cases, the shipping costs more than all of the books so I always figure around $4 to $5 per book including the shipping which is usually $3.50 to $3.95, and worth every penny. I have also vastly increased my cookbook collection thanks to Abe Books.

Another one of my favs is, which is the same principal as Abe Books and has a lot of the same book dealers, but some different independant book owners. Thrift Books also has a lot of library books, and despite the descriptions of "good" condition or "fair" condition, all of the books I have received have been in more than acceptable condition considering many of them were under $1. A little tip though when browsing through these sites, try to look for books from the same dealer, most will give discounts on shipping with multiple items.

I got some crochet books from a dealer in London, and amazingly I received my order exactly 1 week later. Each book was $.50 and shipping was $3.95 for each book, so for $12 I got 3 rare old crochet (and 1 knitting) books, which I think is an awesome deal!

Now, back to dyeing!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baby on the Brain

Last month I was fortunate enough to find out that my little sister is pregnant with her first baby. Not only am I going to be an aunt for the first time, but I am also going to be a God mom again! So with this news, I've had nothing but baby on the brain. Therefore, for fall I
will be rolling out lots of new baby patterns and yarns. Also, since my sister is in Chicago,
i will be doing lots of yummy warm yarns inspired by the freezing Chicago weather which I miss believe it or not. Being in warm California sunshine all year can be a bit boring at times. I miss the change in seasons which always inspired me artistically. I love fall colors! The deep oranges, browns, green, reds, etc. I could never get enough of them.

I have been asked recently, how do I mix up my colors, wet or dry? Actually, I mix my colors both ways: in dry powder form and is liquid concentrates that I mix up and then store in class gallon size bottles, that I use to further deepen, brighten or just adjust the color variations in general.

I'm happy to answer any questions about dyeing techniques, just send me a message.Add Image

Friday, March 19, 2010

The "I Sit on Acid" Colorway is a hit!

Last weeks show was awesome! A ton of happy, creative customers purchased my hand dyed "I Sit on Acid" Collection which is new for Spring 2010. No matter how I tried, I just could not go with pastel colors for spring, my brain is just too far out there I guess. I just got more vibrant and more contrasty (that's not a word) and completely out there. Also, seacell as a fiber has been a great hit. I personally find seacell to be one of my new favorite fibers as well. I am trying to decide the line up of fibers I will be concentrating on this year. Definitely more silk, since I am a total silk junkie. Also, I had a special request from a lovely customer from Scotland at the Costa Mesa show last week, asking me to bring in Scottish yarns, so I am currently looking into that, as well as more bamboo and mercerized Egyptian cotton and linen.
I have a small batch of 100% cotton chenile which is so soft and nice, so once I have dyed that up, I will see how everyone likes it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Look to the Bulbs for Inspiration

I have a Easter show to get ready for, so I have really been inpired by what I see growing in my garden. Lots of irises and day lillies are popping up, so my mind is completely excited about the possiblities. I decided not just simply create pastel or candy colors, I want spring to be infused into my yarns through nature. So with that said, I need to start working on mixing up some new colors. I prefer to mix my dyes dry, before putting them in water. I know I know some dyers say only mix dilluted colors, but I am a rebel. Fearless in creating the perfect Spring colors.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thick v. Thin

I love thick & bulky weight yarn! I truly enjoy bulky and super bulky weighted yarns, and at the smallest, I will go for a nice worsted weight. However, it seems at times that I am the only one. This picture shows the same color combo in a sock, dk/sport and worsted weights. Of course I love worsted the most and made a ton of it, however, everyone that purchased this colorway went for the the other two and I still have the worsted left. Why is that?

I think that thicker weight yarns are just as flexible as thinner weights. Also, I love the stitch definition achieved with a great worsted or bulky fiber. Am I totally alone on this. I also did a batch of a beautiful turquoise as part of my "Adobe" Collection. The first and last sale of the collection was the Seacell Sock weight. I still have beautiful big bundles of Irish worsted that are awesome.

So tell me, why the resistance to thicker yarns?

I can't stop dying bulky yarns them because I love them so much. And I figure, what I don't sell, is a perfect excuse to use it for my own personal creations.

What do you all think?