Category Archives: Life

Community in the Yarn Biz

Disclaimer: The opinions here are mine and mine alone and I do not represent any of the companies mentioned in the below article.

The word “community” and what it means regarding yarn businesses has been on my mind lately. And yes, I’ve been thinking about it because of the recent controversy regarding Brooklyn Tweed’s debut of Ranch 01, which is extremely similar to Range, a yarn A Verb for Keeping Warm has been making and selling for several years. I’ve been watching mostly from the sidelines with profound disquiet and unease, because in the past, I too have created lines of small batch yarn. I’ve put in the time to connect directly with farmers, gotten sweaty and greasy and shitty (literally) on shearing days, and researched and eventually worked with a few different USA mills. I’m keenly aware of how much time, money, and effort goes into that process, and how hard-won and costly it was to develop the connections and experience to actually deliver a unique end product.

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Shearing

So when I see a popular well-capitalized yarn company come out with a line of yarn that is (at best) highly derivative of a smaller company’s product, and then rally their base with warm fuzzy claims of being such a caring part of the yarn community, well, my eyebrows go up and my hackles rise.

Let me just make clear up front – I don’t really care if Brooklyn Tweed intended to copy Verb’s product or not and ruminating about it is pretty much a waste of time. Intent doesn’t change their or Verb’s yarns, and publishing a timeline doesn’t actually communicate anything decisive about intent, despite BT’s claims that it somehow does. A timeline is just a calendar of events. But something they’ve neglected to spell out in their timeline is quite interesting and worth noting. An excerpt of their post:

“February 2017: During the research and development phase of exploring naturally dyeing the yarn, Stephanie reaches out to three industry and business associates who have experience with naturally dyed yarn. In these calls and emails we state that we are exploring natural dyeing and ask for any advice they might offer about naturally dyeing wool yarn.”

Two of those three “industry and business associates” were Kristine of A Verb for Keeping Warm, and Brooke of Sincere Sheep. I believe the third was Emily of Local Color. I wasn’t on these calls and it’s not my intention to speak for these women or their businesses. All I know and what BT has said above, is that the process of naturally dyeing a large run of yarn (yes, it’s small batch for yarn manufacturing but a large batch for a natural dyer) was discussed.

There are a few important points here. Brooklyn Tweed might be an experienced company in terms of pattern releases and photography, but they were the new guys in terms of both natural dyeing and making small batch single-origin yarn. They reached out to Verb and Sincere Sheep, members of the yarn business community who had extensive experience in both of these fields, expressed that they wished to learn more, and asked them for information and advice. Then a year later, the popular n00bs come out with a yarn that directly competes with one of the businesses whose advice they asked in the first place (and who, btw, is also a stockist for their other yarns).

That was a dick move.

You might shrug and say “oh, that’s just business!” but the fact remains, it’s not how a vocally self-proclaimed upstanding cooperative member of a beloved small community acts. This is how a predatory and exploitative business acts. They call you or arrange for a friendly meeting, and hey, they’re a big name in the yarn world and maybe there’s a possibility of some collaboration in the future, so you take the call or meeting. You tell them about your own business philosophy and thoughts on natural dyeing, what the timeline and process is like, and you help educate them. You do this for free because it’s a really small community – and natural dyeing especially is tiny – and helping other like-minded businesses is how we all do better collectively. And then a year later, the other shoe drops, and you find out that your good intentions were totally taken advantage of. At worst, you were copied, at best, your “fellow community members” didn’t bother to think that differentiating themselves from your existing product (from the same fiber source) was important. Then they have the audacity to claim “Our fiber community is at its best in an environment of support and trust. Inciting division, competition and rivalry has never been, and will never be, an intention held by the members of the Brooklyn Tweed team. Such an intention functions in direct opposition to our definition of success…”

So yeah, this is why my eyes are sprained from rolling them so hard. There’s a lot of talking the community talk, without actually walking the community walk.

My fear, and why I’ve gone to the effort of writing this damned treatise, is that nothing about Brooklyn Tweed’s business practices is going to change, and more dyers and businesses who have a smaller audience but have been legitimately active in the yarn business community much longer, are going to similarly be taken advantage of. In fact, small things are already happening. If you’re familiar with Sincere Sheep, have heard her talk about her yarn, been reading her newsletters, or just been following her for a while, you’ll know she talks about her yarn and natural dyes in terms of “terroir.” She lives in Napa, and has specifically talked about the relationship between terroir in wine and terroir in farming and dyeing in her printed and online copy for years. Here’s an excerpt from her website:

“Now, still located in the wine-growing region of Napa, CA, Sincere Sheep continues to be inspired and guided by the concept of terroir. Both wool and natural dyes are agricultural products that depend upon and reflect their environment. Factors during the annual growing cycle such as water, grass, weather and stewardship all impact the quality of the wool clip and plant harvest. You will see the effects in the subtle variation of colors and textures of yarn from year to year.”

Though the concept certainly flows, making the direct parallel to wine and specifically using the word “terroir” wasn’t something I had heard other companies use, oh wait, until Brooklyn Tweed came out with this description of natural dyeing in their blog post profiling Green Matters(the company they ended up using to dye Ranch):

“Natural dyeing captures the beautiful irregularities of nature itself — just as wine imparts the flavors of terroir along with the native characteristics of the grape and the artistry of the winemaker, plants yield different colors depending on soil, weather, and other environmental factors. The dye strikes the wool more strongly here, more gently there, to produce rich tonal variations.”

They wrote this about a year after their meeting with Brooke, in which she did in fact talk about her philosophy of dyeing and how it relates to terroir. Before this copy came out and before Ranch was released, she had still been in occasional communication with Brooklyn Tweed, during which they mentioned they’re considering producing a Cormo yarn. Brooke, in conjunction with Jeane deCoster of Elemental Affects, has been producing a few lines of small-batch domestic Cormo yarns for several years. She and Jeane have been slowly bootstrapping the endeavor, buying more fleece every year, raising awareness of the yarn to their customers, working with designers to release more patterns with it. They’ve put large amounts of time, effort, and money into the endeavor, and have created a wonderful and unique product. And Brooklyn Tweed is now specifically asking her about sources, and one of the partners in the company has purchased a skein of at least one of her Cormo yarns.

Spoiler Alert: don’t be surprised if next year, we’re having this same discussion about a new Ranch 02 Cormo yarn that’s exceedingly similar to one of Sincere Sheep’s and is also naturally dyed.

To wrap this all up – what’s really my point here? I’m trying to say that we – you, me, anyone who buys yarn or sells yarn or works with yarn – get to have a voice in what we want our yarn community to be. Do we want to welcome companies who are exploitative, and don’t hesitate to seek advice from their peers, yet don’t seem to care enough to bother differentiating their products from those same peers? Do we want to support companies who talk a good talk and take pretty pictures, but whose actions don’t support their words? I think it’s worth taking the time to consider these things. For me, I much prefer to support businesses who are highly collaborative, work to support others in their community, and offer truly unique products.

Lamb Talking

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The SkeinMinder is on Kickstarter!

SkeinMinder Postcard Kickstarter_Page_1

I’m pretty excited to finally be able to write that and tell you all about it!  Well, mostly.  I have to admit, I’ve done more writing in the past couple of months than I think I have in the past 5 years combined.  I wrote personal emails to many many dyers, wrote a new SkeinMinder website, wrote the entire Kickstarter campaign, wrote a bunch about it in my Ravelry Group, and now writing more here!  It’s a good thing I like to write.

In any case, I don’t want this blog post to just repeat what you can already find on the website or Kickstarter campaign.  I’ve kept my blog a little more personal, a little more behind-the-scenes, a little more of a direct pipe from my brain to your eyeballs.  So I’ll keep the pitch short – the SkeinMinder is a tool for indie dyers.  It automates their existing motorized skein winders.  You can plug in your winder, set it to a number of rotations, and the SkeinMinder will keep track of them, and automatically stop your winder for you.  It may not sound like much to knitters, but for dyers with table-top winders, it’s revolutionary.  You can read more about life with and without a SkeinMinder on the campaign page.

When I say that the SkeinMinder is the best project I’ve done, I really do mean it.  Sure, I’ve worked on way flashier cutting-edge tech projects that were pushing the limits of what you could do with off-the-shelf electronics.  The work was fun, and I love an impossible challenge.  The SkeinMinder is comparatively simple from an electronics standpoint, but it has an element of personal connection that is rarely present in a pure tech project.  What I mean by this is that I’m actually improving people’s lives.  I realize I’m not feeding starving children or curing cancer or anything, but I’m making a huge impact on people that kind of mean a lot to me – indie dyers.

There aren’t many businesses who cater to the needs of indie dyers.  We’re a very small niche, we pop up and disappear all the time, and we tend to run our businesses without a lot of spare cash.  Newsflash, right?  Dyeing yarn is a lot of hard work for very little pay.  Lots of personal satisfaction, sure, but not a lot of dollars.  So who would actually try to make tools and sell them to this market?  You’d be marketing to a group of people that don’t really function as an industry, don’t have an official organization or network, have a high turnover rate, and are struggling to be profitable.  Pretty much only another person with a passion for dyeing would attempt this. To anyone else, it’s just a losing proposition.

You can see this with the main tool that indie dyers use – skein winders.  They’re all made by other dyers, or the spouses of dyers.  They’re expensive because they’re made in small quantities – one, five, or maybe 10 at a time if business is screaming.  The SkeinMinder faces the same challenge, but even more so because it’s an electronics product.  It’s possible to make electronics in small quantities, but not at a price at which you can turn them around and sell them to someone else.  You need to build batches of about 100 for the cost of parts and manufacturing to fall enough for that.

This is why the SkeinMinder’s Kickstarter goal is $65,000.  The stack-up goes like this: I need to make 100 in order to sell them as low as $365 each.  Add fees, shipping, and start-up costs to that.  And then, in order to ship in August, I’m going to have to work on the SkeinMinder full-time for 4 months.  I’m not going to be able to dye yarn (other than what I’m dyeing for the Kickstarter rewards), and I’m not going to be able to do any consulting work.  So it has to be able to pay me a fair and reasonable wage for that amount of time.

Making the SkeinMinder is a bit like hand-dyeing yarn – it’s mostly a labor of love.  I don’t know if dyers are a big enough market that I can sell 100 of them.  I really don’t know if I can actually reach the majority of hand dyers by the end of March.  This is where you come in.  (You were waiting for this part, right?)  Yes, backing the campaign is super awesome and you will have my gratitude until my dyeing breath (see what I did there?).  But what’s even more awesome is spreading the word about the SkeinMinder.  Dyers tend to the get their news from other knitters, so the more knitters who know about it, the more the word will spread to dyers.  Sharing, re-posting, re-gramming, re-tweeting, blogging, and podcasting all make a huge difference.  Thank you to everyone who has done that so far!

I really hope that I can reach out to dyers everywhere.  And not just because I want to work on SkeinMinders for the next 4 months, but because I truly want dyers to have better tools.  Wrangling yarn is so much work, anything to make it just a little bit easier is so worth it.  When my beta group wrote me their testimonials, I actually might have shed a tear or two.  Their workflow improved so much and they were so grateful for it – I was moved.  Every engineer’s dream is to make something that people love.  And here I am, living the dream.  Now to do everything I can to make it come true.

Join us on kickstarter 2

<3,

-Carrie


So What’s Next? Part II (finally!)

Electronics

If you know me in real life, or if you’ve been following me on instagram, this next part won’t be a surprise because you’ve probably seen some pictures like this:


If you only know me through fiber, here’s a little background to catch you up.

I didn’t always dye yarn.  In fact, yarn is somewhat of a 90 degree turn in the great “My Life Thus Far” story.  I graduated from college in the late 90’s with a degree in engineering, and spent about 11 years designing and building autopilots for small unmanned aircraft, also called UAVs.  I worked for small companies, on fast-paced projects with small teams and limited budgets.  I learned a ton about how to design electronics and build them in the 100s to 1000s, using entirely domestic manufacturing.  It turns out that this is highly applicable to building just about any device that uses electricity.

It’s fun to see how much the maker movement is exploding right now.  There are so many great kits and parts that make getting a project going SOOOOO much easier and cheaper than it used to be.  I mean, we used to do a lot of simple quick-turn prototype boards to test out some new sensor and see how it integrated with our existing electronics, or lay the groundwork for using it in a new design.  Now you can buy a lot of that stuff from Sparkfun or Adafruit for under $10.  It’s really given me a renewed excitement about electronics, and my brain is abuzz with ideas for linking things together, and making useful gizmos that will help a dyer out.

Above is an early peek at the guts of a project I’m currently working on and hope to launch on Kickstarter later this year. This one goes out to all of you folks who are tired of babysitting your skeinwinder.  You’ve stood there for hours, watching it count up to 200, then flipping the switch to turn it off.  You’ve known that there has to be a better way, a way that won’t turn you into a brainless zombie staring at a tiny LCD, zoning out and only realizing it when it’s at 247 and then having to stop it in a panic and manually unwind 47 turns and manage a spaghetti pile of yarn that hopefully won’t get tangled and make the next skeins a nightmare, and……..yeah, we’ve all been there.  What you need is:

The SkeinMinder

The SkeinMinder ™ keeps watch for you.  It turns your winder off when it’s done winding your custom 423 yd skeins off of cones.  It turns your winder off when it’s done re-skeining from your 2 yd dye hanks into your 1.5 yd final put-ups.  It turns your winder off when there’s a giant snarl that brings everything to a screeching halt.  It minds your winder, so you’re free to get back to the dyepots.  So you can use that brain of yours to create and sell more awesome yarn.

The SkeinMinder is not an electric winder.  It’s a single control box, about the size of a….package of Trader Joe’s Authentic Feta Cheese?  Box of uncondensed soup?  1 lb bag of coffee?  Brick? – that sits on a table.  You plug it into the wall, you plug your winder into it, and you attach a very simple rotation counter and magnet.  It has one big red GO button and some smaller buttons for changing the rotation set point and other stuff.

I really want it to have a super giant red button like this one in the final version.  We’ll see if it works out.

Think you could use something like this?  Want one right now?  Please fill out this very short questionnaire, it’ll help me get an idea of your current setup and needs.

Have no earthly need for this, but know a hand-dyer or two who might?  Please help me spread the word.  Email them, share this post on whatever social media you hang out on, or do it the old fashioned way and tell them when you see them next.  Thanks, your help is very much appreciated!

At this very moment, the first handmade (with love) prototype is currently being put through its paces by my friend Sincere Sheep, because you never really find out what things suck until you give your project to someone else.  :)  Which is why Uncle Alpenglow NEEDS YOU!  I need FIVE highly motivated and communicative individuals to be early beta testers of the next version, which will be the first pre-production Minders.

What do you get?  You get to be in on the ground floor of development for an exciting new product in your industry, even before the Kickstarter campaign is public!  You get an early version that is hand-assembled, but made with production parts.  You get it at a discount, with a free swap-out for the final production model.  You get to make your needs known, and help tailor it to be the most useful yarn tool EVER.  You also get my undying (or maybe dyeing?) love and a thank-you pile of naturally dyed yarn if you’re into that sort of thing.  I’m looking for businesses with some specific needs, so please fill out the questionnaire.  Be sure to select the “Yes!  Me, please!” button.  If it looks like you’re a good fit, I’ll let you know!

If you just want to be kept in the loop about the SkeinMinder and the Kickstarter campaign when it happens, please let me know with the form below.  There will be lots of yarny goodies for the fiber person who wants to be supportive of small hand dyers, but does not need a SkeinMinder themselves.  :)  Just wanted to let you know.

I also want to let you know that this is just the beginning.  I have ideas for even simpler tools.  I have ideas for a really really REALLY really really cool drop spindle.  I have more ideas than I can shake a soldering iron at.  I can’t wait to turn them into reality.

Read the next SkeinMinder post


So What’s Next? Part I

Part I – Yarn

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I’ve been thinking a lot about life. The universe. Everything. Towels. Towels that get you high. Towels that hitch you rides on spaceships. But I digress. I’ve mostly been thinking about what to scribble on this awesome blank page that is my life. Other than curse words and PENIS because, you know, I might still be 12.

I fired up the electronics brain again, and also fired up the dye pots and dyed a metric fuck-ton of yarn for Stitches West. So what’s up? Is it yarn? Is it engineering? For the love of Bob, what is it going to be?!?! As far as I can see it (and some days I can’t even see across my backyard), the plan is this. Yes. Yes is the plan. Doing things that I feel positive about, am excited about, doing things that I’m learning about. Because I’ve figured out that I’m kind of a learning junkie. If I’m not developing some new skill, or challenging my brain in some way, I get really bored and dissatisfied. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some solid repetition of things that I’ve learned to do well. I do! But constant repetition with nothing new kills me. I need variety.

Take yarn. Yarn is squooshy. Yarn is colorful! We make cool, three-dimensional things that we can put on our bodies – and lo! might even be functional! – out of yarn! Yarn is great. But as I was dyeing the metric fuck-ton, I remembered what I didn’t like about yarn. I didn’t like dyeing the same colors over and over. And I found that I tended to gravitate to the same palette again and again -the colors that I knew would sell, the colors that were predictable, the colors that were easy to make, the colors that I knew I wouldn’t screw up. They’re   delightful colors – I love almost every single one of them – but I felt like I was on a treadmill. With natural dyes especially, there are so many things you can try, so many variables. Every time I dyed a batch, I would think of a dozen other questions I had, experiments I wanted to do, things I wanted to explore. What if I used a different acid? What if I used a different reducing agent? What if I used a different species of plant? What if I used more of this and less of that? But the metric fuck-ton and Stitches West wait for no dyer. No time, just makes the pretty colors that you know will turn out well. Even then, there are guaranteed to be surprises that will completely muck with your schedule.


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I also learned something else – it was super fun to share the process of how I dye with people. If you haven’t already read it, I wrote a series of posts in the Stitches West Vendors Thread about each dye I used. The preparation, the boiling, the straining, and the yarn-coloring. The response to my posts, especially in person, was amazing. Far beyond what I had even hoped for in a tiny little corner in the back of my brain. So many of you came up to me and thanked me for sharing, it was just really sweet and completely made all the effort totally worth it. Thank each and every one of you so, so much. (And to the lady who works for Facebook who was interested in putting together a class but didn’t have a business card – info at alpenglowyarn eagerly awaits your email. Dorking out with other engineers about dyeing is totally my idea of a good time.)

I want to do more of these things. More sharing, more exploration. So I’ve made the decision to stop the production dyeing, and morph into something a little different. Clubs. That’s right, CLUBS. The c-word, the thing that has made several people fake their own death on the internet because it was just too much. Clubs. The cool thing is that I’ll have the opportunity to do a different exploration and theme with each one. To maximize the number of colors without making it stupidly expensive, each club would be a series of mini-skeins. So you would get 100 yds of 8 or 12 different colors that would all work together. You’d also get an article with each one, with a detailed account of how each color was made. Maybe sometimes, you’d even get mordanted yarn and some raw dyestuffs so you can try it at home. Sound like fun? Let’s see, which one of these should I do first? Tell me at the end of this post!

  • The Mythical Blue-Red. I managed to create it once and I’ve been trying to do it again for years, ever since it immediately sold out and people were pissed that I didn’t have the same exact red that the display shawl was knit out of. Seriously, I had to take the shawl down because it was causing too much trouble!
  • Madder Red. Related to the above, but different. What is the reddest shade I can coax out of madder, without making the wool harsh? Can I use chalk at all? How about no acid in the mordant bath? How about rubia tinctoria vs rubia cordifolia? Whole roots vs finely ground? Keeping the extraction bath under 160F or boiling the crap out of it?
  • Shades of Blue. How does indigo tinctoria differ from indigo suffruticosa? Does using thiox vs hydros affect the color? What’s the difference between 1-minute dips and 5-minute dips? What’s the difference between 1 dip and 10 dips? The list goes on, I could probably do several clubs with just indigo.
  • Backyard Sunshine. Yellows are the most prevalent natural dye and the easiest to grow. Weld, French marigold, Mexican marigold, chamomile, coreopsis, dyer’s broom, goldenrod. I’ve grown a bunch of this already, it’s just waiting in a dry bin for me to get around to playing with.
  • All Those Other Random Dyes I Have that I Haven’t Gotten Around to Trying. With lightfast tests. This is usually the piece missing from a lot of dye books. Some have this real boner for “dyes” that are hardly more than stains, that fade to brown and grey in under a year or with a few washes. Let’s look at some of these, and put them through their paces. Maybe I should do a half-price one called “Fugitive”, where the entire point is to use dyes that won’t last. Whoa. That would be crazy. Who would buy that?

Anyway, these are the ideas that fly off the keyboard in just a few minutes. I have tons more. You could spend your entire life experimenting with and coming up with processes for natural dyeing. People do!  I could. The fact is, I’m not exactly going to. I’m thinking of only doing 2-3 Alpenglow clubs per year, and 2-3 collaboration clubs with other dyers or businesses. Wait a minute, do you know about Among Friends? It’s an amazing group that I’m thrilled to have recently contributed to (and hope to again!). It’s run by the fantastic women behind Knitted Wit, Sincere Sheep, and Spark!, and the whole idea is to put together themed kits from a few different dyers and designers each time. With awesome, really cool, side-goodies. Go sign up for one now. I promise you will not regret it!

Where was I? Right. Spending less time on yarn. And more time on??? Electronics, duh! I think I’ve already rambled enough for one post, electronics is a whole ‘nuther topic worthy of its own post. And I totally promise that I will not be George RR Martin and make you wait for 5 years for Part II. (TV series coming soon! Now with EVEN MORE BOOBS!)


Where the hell have you been?

Seriously, WTF?

Stitch marker commentary provided by Knitifacts

Honestly, the first thing that popped into my mind for this post title was “Back in the Dye Life Again”. But then I realized I would be quoting Steve Winwood and I am way too freakin’ young to be that much of a fogey. So instead I went with profanity, that and beer are always a good choice!

But we have a question at hand – where in the hell have I been? It’s been almost 2 years since I updated this blog, DOH! Well, I really have no excuse for the first half of 2012. I dyed a lot of yarn, did a lot of shows in California, and was just generally pretty busy with yarn. Until the summer, when a friend called and I decided to change my entire life all at once. The short version is that he asked me, “Hey, wanna join my startup?” and I said “Hmmm….OK!”

That really is quite the oversimplification, though. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I really, really, REALLY loved living in San Luis Obispo. It was the first place I felt I had a community and a home. It was small enough to make me feel like I knew everyone, but big enough to be interesting. And there were hills without houses that you could see from everywhere around town. And the weather was nice. And the rent was cheap. (Though I didn’t appreciate that until I moved to Mountain View! Holy Shitballs is rent expensive in the Bay!) Anyway, I was Happy. I wasn’t making any money (newsflash: it’s incredibly hard to make dyeing yarn pay the bills, much less pay for anything else), but I loved my life. Honestly and truly.

And then this asshole from college calls me up and has to ruin everything. :) I kid, but that’s a little how I felt. A smidge angry at having to make a really hard decision. Risk my happy life to do something new and uncertain, or risk staying where I was and bypassing a unique opportunity that had the potential to be awesome. What it came down to was one simple thing: if I said no, I would always wonder. And that I just couldn’t handle. I knew I would always ask myself “What if…?”

It’s true that we fear change. I feared it a lot. But fearing something kind of makes me angry. It kind of makes me committed to overcoming that fear. So I said fuck that, I’m lookin’ you straight in the eye, Change. Come and get me.

And ohhhhhhh, it did with a vengeance. New job, new location, and new boyfriend all within a month. It was crazy, really really crazy. Crazy fun, crazy exciting, crazy exhilarating! Crazy exhausting too. I don’t even know where the rest of 2012 went, I blinked and it was 2013. Actually, I pretty much blinked and it was summer. Work consumed every ounce of energy I had. I became a hermit, I didn’t visit with new Bay Area friends, I hardly kept in touch with old SLO friends, I didn’t make any new friends. I’m pretty introverted at my core, and at the end of every day, I had no energy for interacting with people. I barely had energy to make a pizza or a salad, and sit in front of the TV and watch something really really stupid that didn’t take any brain power (oh CSI, thank you for a year of brain-dead zoning out).

I found that I missed making stuff. This was the first job that was 100% management, where I never created anything physical. Well, it turns out that I have no sense of accomplishment or fulfillment when I’m not either: A) making a physical thing, or B) making a physical thing go. I also found that I really like driving the bus. I’ve always worked in small companies, and the great thing about small companies is that you have a bigger impact on projects and the company itself. But after 3 years of being my own boss and having my own (albeit one-person) company….well let’s just say that I like being the boss. I like making the decision of what direction to move in, I like doing what I think is right.

The other thing I really missed was lifestyle. Working for myself, I could go grocery shopping in the middle of day when the stores were quiet, and then work until 9pm at night. I had almost completely merged life and work. I had no concept of weekend and weekday anymore, I did personal stuff and business stuff all day every day. I know that’s probably not for everyone, but it totally worked for me. I rarely got burnt out, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like personal tasks were these awful chores that took away from my preciously hoarded free time. (Well, except for laundry. Laundry is always a chore.) When I went back to a “normal” workday, I hated it. I also missed SLO something fierce. The Bay is big and busy, and doesn’t fit me well.

After a year, it simply became time to move on. I needed personal fulfillment again. I needed to do technical work BADLY, I felt my brain was rotting from pushing Google documents around and going to meetings all day. There was a good stopping point for my job in late September, just after we delivered the first new unit to a paying customer, and the next phase would be mostly planning. So, I stopped. And promptly moved in with my boyfriend, because after the previous year, one huge change just wasn’t enough. ;)

So here I am! I’m in Redwood City now, even though my website still says that I’m in San Luis Obispo. I haven’t really had the time – no – I haven’t really had the heart to change it. And it doesn’t lie – all that yarn was absolutely dyed in San Luis Obispo. I haven’t dyed a single thing since moving up here over a year ago. LAME!

But that’s all going to change, right about now. The house we’re in has a huge backyard with a gazebo which just screams DYE YARN UNDER ME NAO! I just finished an inventory of my dye shop (OK, so it’s currently a storage unit) and I have a fair amount of undyed yarn and natural dyes. So my current mission is Wrap-Up and Re-Evaluate. Stay tuned for more relevant info about that mission. I swear, I SOLEMNLY SWEAR I WILL WRITE IN MY BLOG REGULARLY.

I know what you’re wondering. Gee, it sounds like you weren’t real happy, do you regret your decision? I can honestly say NO. No, I don’t regret my decision one bit. What I would have regretted until my dying (no “e” for once) breath, was never having tried.


Happy New Year! So long 2010!

I made a New Year’s resolution to blog once a week (inspired by the indubitable Jacey Boggs), so I’d better get on it! Actually, I’m gonna do a double-dual update-o-rama here because I do have a bit to talk about. I’ll eventually write another post about Dan and myself’s recent trip to Spain (he’s becoming quite the world almond traveler, I’m just trying to tag along when I can!), but that will be later. Maybe even after Stitches, we’ll see how much time I have between now and then. Hahahahaha….like none! So first….

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks! This is how they do Christmas trees in Madrid:

Spain 2010_0285 (Medium)

It was a very cool stainless steel structure that lit up red and green at night. The pic is from inside, looking up into it. The Spain trip was just before Christmas, we actually spent Christmas day at the Ranch. With sheep and lambs!

Lambs at Ranch (Medium)

It was rainy and misty…I always feel lost in time at the ranch, but the especially so this day.

Windmill 2 (Medium)

It was very still, the pond was a perfect mirror.

Mirror Pond (Medium)

The moss grows thick on the trees.

Mossy Trees 2 (Medium)

It was quiet and peaceful, nice to visit and see most of Dan’s family + extended family, even though I came down with a nasty cold in the middle of it. Which is still lingering on, arggh! I wish it would get over and done with because…(this is your cue to go to the next post).


Family emergency, website delayed

I got a very tragic call this afternoon and am heading to the east coast tomorrow morning for a family emergency. Website launch is now delayed, likely until mid-September. Sorry for the run-around, and please send positive energy eastward to my family. Thanks, and I’ll be touch.


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