Thursday, July 29, 2010

A BIG Honkin' Spindle Full Of Yarn -- The Garden In Springtime..... And Sampson Says It's a Dangerous Place To Live With All Of These Dang Spindles Everywhere....

"I'm hiding under the desk. You could kill a
pug with all of those dang spindles all over
the place here. If you ask me spindles are the
REAL weapons of mass destruction. And NO,
I'm NOT coming out! (Unless there's a treat
involved. Or a little piece of that sweet
potato. Or maybe...)"
Well, Sampson was going to write this entry but he disappeared somewhere. He's positively terrified of the Monster Spindle (Wait until he sees the new spindles I am designing to have made. The whorls are as big as dinner plates!). He did however turn the spindle with his nose three times so I could take pictures of the new yarn on the spindle, then he skedaddled off to parts unknown. Sigh... Ask a pug to do a simple little thing like write a blog entry and he disappears between one eye-blink and the next. Good help is hard to find, especially here. Anyway, here's the spindle full of yarn. It will be coming off tomorrow, soaked and hung to dry...

And next to answer the oft asked question...

Why Are Art Yarns So Expensive For So Little Yardage?

This question is often asked and I'm glad to answer. Of course hand-spinners of art yarns have all different types of processes, prices, and ways of pricing. One of the reasons I started this blog, other than to have a little fun with the pugs, show the fiber art of the moment whether batt, art yarn or wearable art, and the works in process because I always think that kind of thing is interesting to see, was to speak about my process as an artist and my feelings about different aspects of work as a fiber artist. So, to pricing...

Art Yarns are not typically meant to make a whole project out of unless perhaps a scarf or something small. They are typically used as trim, edging, or sections of a freeform project. I also make "Crazy Quilt Woven Pieces" of all sorts and sizes using many different art yarns in one piece. Here is a piece of wearable art that is comprised of a great many art yarns. This serpent, whose name was Beatrix, was one of my "Rainbow Serpents of the Dreamtime," a line of wearable art, or, a person who bought a different serpent draped it all along the back of the couch. (Oddly, and rather interestingly, one woman bought one of my yarns and loved it so much she said she couldn't bear to use it and part with it so she piled it in a big wooden bowl on her dining room table! Now there's a place I never imagined one of my yarns to show up!)

Beatrix was spotted and sold before she could even make it to the shop, but I will be making more Rainbow Serpents for the etsy shop. These pieces take a long time to make which is why I started with the batts and the yarns. 

The yarn at the top of this page is a good example in the discussion about pricing. It took four days to spin. I sat for hours each day laying out, in 12 to 24" sections, as many as a dozen or more types of fiber. I sit with bags and boxes and containers of fiber and fiber elements completely circling me and it's a meditative process choosing each different section's worth of fibers, spinning that section, and then starting over again. This is why I like working with hand spindles. For me it is easier to lay out a section of fibers, keep changing them, lay bits of curly locks, perhaps, as with this yarn, sari silk, silk noil, Angelina for sparkle as well as Firestar, rayon, bamboo fiber, angora, llama, alpaca, mohair and very many different types of wools, all so soft they are like clouds in the hand.

When the yarn is finished, soaked, dried, and the skein laid on my long old farmer's table I carefully measure it to check the yardage and then weigh it on a digital scale. I price my yarns by the ounce, and the price per ounce varies according to how many different types of fiber have been used, a little more if exotic fibers are used, and the time it has taken me to spin it. All of these things factor in when I set the price per ounce which is different for every yarn. So this gives you a little idea of how my Art Yarns are priced. 

Finally, I thought I would show you a picture of the three pugs who helped me make Beatrix. I am loathe to put the picture up because I was at the height of fluffiness when it was taken (we call chubby pugs "fluffy"...), but the pugs are so cute. And when you've got arms-full of pugs it's something to see. I'm losing quite a bit of weight now (and I'd like to lose this picture of me so fluffy!) but the pugs are just precious to me and it was early on in my life with my wee little black pug Babs who went to sleep and passed away in my arms on June 22. Such a little peapod she is here with Sam and Coco. Harvey didn't come until almost a year later...

From left to right, Sampson,
Babsie and Coco, with my
lopsided forever smile from
Bell's Palsy. Note, while I am
fluffy in the picture and Sam
and Coco thinner, now I am
losing weight and they are,
ahem, fluffier. Somewhere
there's a balance but we don't
know where???

It is now time for the puggeries and I to take a nap. It has been raining very hard all day, and thundering which scares poor Big Dog Moe half to death, and at 3:00 in the afternoon it is as dark as night. I find these kind of days soothing but Moe thinks I'm nuts and the pugs sleep through everything. 

Think happy puggery thoughts, and have joyful fibery days...

And P.S. Someone sent me this You Tube video of a pug singing (really!) the "Batman" song. I keep playing it over and over and it makes me laugh so hard I've had tears running down my cheeks -- a great antidote for those days when you are really down and blue. I sent it to my daughter to show my 6 year old grandson and they loved it too, so click on this link for a great big smile!

P.S.S. Harvey was miffed at me talking about the singing pug and while he doesn't sing he likes to pose, like Batman, or Superman, or...

1 comment:

  1. so you dont wet set the yarn you just use it right off your spindle? I have done that also and never had a problem. Beautiful color choices : )