Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Batts in the Belfry

A couple of weeks ago, I ran off to my parents' house in Louisiana. Well, more of a long, pedantic flight from Seattle to Louisiana, but you get the idea. 

My sister was there for most of the time, and we spent our time painting our parents' master bedroom and the hallway in their house.  My mom would have never allowed the painting to commence if Pia were around, since she was small and very sensitive to odors, but we went forward. I actually started developing headaches from the low/no-VOC paints we used. I suspect this was due to lack of ventilation (the A/C was on) plus the fact that I am now used to not only using a respirator, but also painting in a much shorter span of time, not dragging it on for days on end.

In the evenings, once the air had cooled off a bit, we would head to the lake (for which the city is named) and walk around for a bit, chatting and watching the local wildlife.  Ducklings were in abundance while we were there.

It was a great trip, and I hope one day I can convince my entire family that Seattle is the place to be! Especially when my brother and sister were both suffering through prolonged power outages in Maryland these last few days, coupled with high heat and humidity. Eee!

L-R: Rosanne, me, and our mom

On an unrelated note, I am thinking about opening up a new Etsy shop for selling, or at least destashing, some handspun yarn and fiber.  As a consumer, I think the most fun purchases are spinning batts, or carded masses of fibers.  Even better if they include textural elements such as mohair curls and Angelina (glitz) fibers.  To that end, I made some batts over the weekend on my drum carder.

A lesson I learned was that my carder only seems to effectively handle a batt that weighs in the neighborhood of 25g.  Most batts sold on Etsy hit around the 100g mark, so I had to combine a few batches till I got sets of batts that weighed in at or close to 100g.

Another lesson I learned in the past was to have a scale. One time, I destashed some raw (beautiful) alpaca fleece, and I honestly thought there were 2 lb in the batch. Well, I got an angry email from the lady who purchased it, telling me I had shortchanged her by a pound. I ended up refunding her half her money, but the funny thing was that my asking price was still fair for one pound of fiber, and ridiculous for two pounds.  The reason I sold it was that I discovered I had a severe allergic reaction to processing unwashed alpaca fleece. I suspect it has to do with the lack of lanolin in the alpaca fibers, and when I would start to tear apart locks and card them, the dust would fly into the air, along with whatever plant pollens the alpaca had in their fur. That was not a fun night.

Well, now I have a scale and I also have a pricing scheme based on other sales of batts of artists I have bought from on Etsy - roughly $0.23 - $0.25 per gram of fiber.  The astute among you will notice that, if you are selling a 100g batt, the price will be around $25.

Without further ado, below are some pictures of batts that I carded over the weekend.


 This first batt has plenty of kid mohair curls and some green glitz, as well as kelly green tussah silk (you can see a chunk of it in the lower batt on the right side).  "Summer Garden"?

This second set of batts is actually based on some dark brown Shetland fiber I have had stashed away. I love the interplay of the brown, violets, plums,and the occasional shot of yellow.  "Violet Storm"?

This last one is a pink indulgence.  After the blending with some other batts, it's final form is more of a mess of roses in different colors. This batt is based on some Bluefaced Leicester dyed fiber I had stashed away. "Roses"?

I have enormous fun spontaneously blending batts together in our second bedroom. I even dragged in the iPhone dock Daniel got me for Christmas so I could listen to music.

I'll update when I finally list some of these items for sale on Etsy! Till then, I kind of just want to spin the batts myself! 

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