Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Customer Appreciation


There are a lot of things going on for us all this month. For me, December includes my own birthday as well as more than a handful of family members’ birthdays. It is also an unofficial anniversary as it marks the month where this dyeing thing really became my own. Of course, there are the obvious international holidays that get observed in so many different ways by nearly everyone I know.

So yes, there’s a lot going on. I’m all about taking a little of the pressure off my lovely customers in their holiday endeavors by helping them get their packages a little easier. Take the shipping off the bottom line, and just have a little fun.

For all of December, Black Trillium Fibre Studio is offering free shipping to domestic and international customers. I have many reasons, but I don’t really need one. You’re good people, and that’s good enough for me.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Officially At The Loopy Ewe

It's finally up! My yarns are officially a part of The Loopy Ewe's shop repertoire. Sweet.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blackest Friday Sale Reminder

Remember, 25% off Friday only!

Mark downs will be:

Merilon Sock - $15.75
Roman Blue Sock - $19.50
BFL Sock - $16.50
Meriamboo II Sock - $16.50
Roving - $9.38
Heavy Merino Sock - $12.00
Project Bags - $11.25

Now back to your regularly scheduled knitting.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vampire Holiday



This yarn seems be doing well for itself. I'm waiting for an order of the base yarn I use for Merilon Sock to show up, so if you'd like to reserve yourself a skein of this yarn, please see here for a pre-ordering opportunity. Email me if you have questions.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blackest Friday

I may be the only person in the entire continental US that doesn’t go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, but should it mean that I don’t do something fun in my Etsy shop? No.

For Black Friday (November 27th for the rest of the sane world) I’m going to do 25% off all yarn, roving and project bags. The normal routine: check out, do the Paypal end of things, and I’ll refund 25% not including shipping at the end of the day. This will not include special orders or sock blockers, of course.

Enjoy, and spread the word!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where's The Yarn - An Update

Things have been relatively quiet in my Etsy shop of late due to a rather large wholesale order that needed to go out on a deadline. As the order will be arriving at its destination tomorrow, I feel like I can let you all know...

My yarn is going to be carried at The Loopy Ewe!

This is a rather big event in the life of this small yarn dyer. I've been a customer there for several years because I really enjoy trying new things from dyers far and wide, and since Sheri has impeccable taste I feel like I can always trust what I'm getting from her. Having my own yarns reach her immense audience is, well, beyond exciting.

The yarn will take a bit to get photographed and edited, and with the impending holiday closing down pretty much everything, I don't expect things will get posted until at least the first of December. I'll post a link in my Ravelry group as well as on my sidebar when I have it.

The other fun wholesale order that I'm currently working to fulfill is as the January artist of the Month for Yarn4Socks. This order won't dominate my dyeing time quite the way The Loopy Ewe did for about two months, so I'm hoping to have new things to post on a regular basis.

For those of you who might have wondered, there won't be a November exclusive color. I was rather keen on the idea I had lined up, but time just didn't allow. However, December is all taken care of (and though it's a rather obvious color combo & name) I'm happy with the way it turned out:



"Merry" will find its way to posting between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as I'm firmly in the camp that Christmas decorations & music are thoroughly inappropriate until after Turkey & Family day. Pre-orders are welcome, though, so email me at blacktrillium (at) popculturezoo (dot) com and I'll get started right away.

In other more personal news, it has been mentioned in my Twitter posts and my Etsy front page that I'm rather pregnantly ill. To call it "morning sickness" is doing a serious disservice to the tenacity of my body's version of the first trimester, but there isn't another way to slice the terminology. There will be another little tuplet in our future around the 1st of June, and now that the fist twelve weeks are behind us, I'm feeling much better. I won't begin to speculate on how things will go when I'm too large around the middle to reach the dyepots, but for right now I feel lots more human and plan to work my bum off until I can't work anymore.

Now to start coming up with good baby boy names (we have a girl one already).... y'know, just in cases.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Winner of #500

It all happened much faster than I expected, but we have a winner of the 500th sale!



A skein of "Retro" in BFL Sock went out to Cindy right here in Oregon! Congrats and thanks to everyone for helping me reach this goal.

We should do this again at the 1000th sale, don't you think?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Color Exclusive: Roswell

Here's what's cookin' for October:





Radioactive little green men seemed Hallowe'en appropriate.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FO: Crayon Box Socks

Hey all, I wanted to share with a finished pair socks by Monique:



Those lovely beauties were knit in plain stockinette out of my BFL Sock. Monique blogged about the socks here.

If you would like to send me photos or links for a pair of socks you've made from one of my yarns, please email me at blacktrillium (at) popculturezoo (dot) com. Ravelry is great, but I'm discovering that less than 1/10th of the knitters in North America use it. So let's keep each other up-to-date on how things are knitting up!

Take care, and happy knitting!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Diversity

One of the things I love best is having choices. Right now, I can choose to dye up all sorts of things from Wool & Bamboo yarn to Merino spinning fiber that has this luscious silky texture that's just to-die-for. Over the past month I've expanded my Black Trillium etsy site to include way more than yarn: project bags, sock blockers, and now, roving. Here's a preview of what's going to get posted this week:








Monday, September 21, 2009

#500

I sat on the idea overnight and also got some great feedback from regulars. We all seem to agree that the 500th item should be free. So here's how this will work:
  • The 500th item purchased from my Etsy site will be free.
  • Beware: purchasing 2 quantity of the same item generally counts as "1" on Etsy. Don't ask my why, I didn't code it.
  • Sadly, the sock blockers will not able to count as the 500th item as they aren't in my inventory but rather custom made-to-order by Squire Country Crafts, but they will help us get closer to the magic number.
  • The item will need to be purchased, but a full refund for the item and its relevant shipping charge will be made through Paypal.
  • Don't worry, I'll tell you when it happens - especially if you're the purchaser.
I don't have any idea how long this will take - could be a week, could be a month - but I would count on something closer to three weeks to a month if I were betting. So, good luck and enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nearly 500 & a Wee Contest In the Making

Let's start with a little timeline:
  • May 2008: Reserved blacktrillium.etsy.com for my own use knowing I wanted to start a yarn-dyeing business.
  • July/August 2008: start dyeing with some friends from my local yarn shop.
  • September 2008: first yarn item sold on Black Trillium's Etsy site.
  • October 2008: separated from dyeing partners, became my own man.
  • November 2008: really started dyeing for myself as Black Trillium Fibre Studio.
I'm reflecting on this right now because I'm trying to take in the fact that in less than a year, Black Trillium Fibre Studio has sold nearly 500 items via Etsy while at the same time acquiring and keeping up with the needs of four wholesale customers. I think this is pretty spectacular and that I probably have the coolest group of customers on the planet.

Something must be done to make that 500th sale special, and I'm open to ideas. I'm leaning in a few directions*:
  • 500th sold is free
or
  • one my own skeins of Wollmeise could be liberated
or
  • free shipping on order that includes 500th item
Nothing is decided at this moment, but I will post my decision tomorrow. Please let me know which way you think I should go!

* My lovely sock blockers will sadly have be outside the contest as they aren't under my roof.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Always Something To Learn

My son was very small once (ages and ages ago, it seems) and during that five minutes or so that he was tiny he didn't sleep much at all and certainly not while he was alone or uncuddled. I was mostly fine with that, but there wasn't much to do while maintaining bodily contact to increase the possibility of a non-cranky baby.

Joe started a blog during that time, keeping me company while he surfed the internet and began to figure out that he could express his writer's gene that way in an electric medium. I thought, "Hey, if he's doing it, why can't I?" Of course, I sucked at it. I think all of those old posts have long since been deleted, for which I am very grateful.

Lives and children grow and evolve. Joe is now the creator of no less than three blogs, none of which he posts to because he has also started an online pop culture ezine. Pop Culture Zoo is the actuation of a life spent collecting knowledge about the TV, Movie and Comic book industry and turning it into amazing interviews, editorials, reviews and general press articles. He scoops people all the time, which amazes the heck out of me, because I don't have the foggiest idea where to look for any of that stuff, ever.

I am also the author of several blogs, including this one that I started because I wanted to take part in the general push toward every knitter having a blog. Aspire To Knit is the only one that I keep up on, but I have fallen into a familiar pattern yet again. I like to rant, kvetch and editorialize wise about other people's failings, what they're doing to piss me off this week, and what might generally be wrong with the world. And you know what? It kind of makes me ill.

It isn't that I tend toward negative thoughts all the time, but more that I'm weak in accepting an assumed anonymity only the internet can create the illusion of providing. And I know from experience how small the hints have to be in order for one person to make a connection between unprofessional vitriol and the identity of the person being spewed about. I was approached at Sock Summit by a blog-reader of a another dyer who had taken me to town about something-or-other. I had never met the approacher in person and the blogger only once. Its a darn small world out there, and there is no such thing as anonymity.

The really unfortunate mixer that winds up happening is that I rant in one post, and then talk about my business in the next. As a customer, I think that would make me really uncomfortable and I would probably tend to go elsewhere. This is not what I want, for my business, or for peoples' perceptions of me.

To this end, I am contemplating an end to blogging for the time being. I have never been faithful to this particular medium, whereas Twitter really makes more sense to me and so I utilize is regularly. Ravelry works for me, Facebook is at least mildly interesting, and if I really want to get my writing wiggles out about something worth reading, Joe is kind enough to let me do interviews and write book reviews for his site. I've even begun work on a new book column for PCZ, called "Ex Post Facto", that only really needs a logo and some editing of the rough-draft-in-my-head of my take on Twilight.

I will still post, but from now on it will have to be about either knitting or Black Trillium Fibre Studio goings-on. And eventually this might be a place I can post pattern PDF's. No promises, no expectations. Just what the witch doctor ordered.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Utterly Un-PC

Here's my 2 cents on being a socialist if it means proper health care for Ev.Ry.One.: if Canada and England can do it, then the US can sure as heck suck it up and do a good job taking care of its own.

During my first marriage, one of my aunts-in-law was sick with cancer. Her HMO covered several different treatments, but living in rural Montana didn't provide the greatest opportunity for cutting-edge medical facilities. After trying surgery and chemo and I'm assuming everything else they could where she was being treated, her doctor referred her to a program at the University of Washington that had a fantastic chance of success.

Guess what.

My aunt's insurance denied her the opportunity. And she died.

*****

My husband's brother suffers from an organ failure that makes him completely uninsurable unless he takes part in a group plan like the ones some of us are lucky enough to have through corporate employers. He recently landed a good job that would provide such insurance. However, after years of taking medications to ensure he continues to live through having only one kidney, and one that didn't originate in his own body, his bones have grown brittle and he recently broke his hand. The insurance he's going to be taking part in doesn't kick in until next January. Four more months is a long time to wait to have your broken bones looked at for someone who can't take pain killers for fear that it will destroy his donated kidney.

*****

My husband's family has a rather reliable history of kidney issues: kidney stones go back at least three generations. My sweet hubby really hit the jackpot on this particular issue. He's had four kidney stones in six years, on both sides, and the one he tried to pass last year was two inches in circumference. Yes, you read that correctly, 2 INCHES. Last year, the contract for Nike's IT changed hands, and my husband along with 70% of the rest of his department, was laid off by the new company so they could hire newbies for half-sized salaries. In the meantime, we chose not to go with Cobra because we would have had to given up eating to pay the bill. He got a new job, with seemingly fantastic insurance with one small kicker: a 30-day wait period. I'll leave you to guess when the kidney stone happened.

*****

All of these stories are a matter of record with insurance companies, so I'm not outing anyone. However, none of these stories would have had the chance to end as badly if socialized health insurance were in place to regulate outrageous fees and make sure everyone is cared for regardless of employment status, geographical location, or pre-existing condition. At this point, two of the people mentioned in my post are still alive. However, that is not a guarantee. (And if you think you're going to tell me that someone with kidney stones can't die from them, try losing both your kidneys because of stone obstructions and being denied a transplant because you're uninsurable.)

I would ask, no plead, with everyone who thinks socialized health care is a bad idea to get out of the way and let it happen. Do you want to be part of the selfish crowd that denies those in need the right to proper health care? Everyone deserves to live.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just Some Pleasant Photos

I am reminded by a more-tolerant friend that my expectations of other people's behavior choices are often way higher than is fair. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am certainly no stranger to having to apologize for yet another idiot-brain takeover on my part. Instead of blogging, this is going to be a visual post because otherwise it would be a venting rant. I'll get over it anyway and regret kvetching in public, so better to get ahead of myself and act like a grown-up before I feel like one.









Although I am still very joyful while elbow-deep in my dye pots, I think sewing is feeling a little more magnetic at the mo'. Hopefully practicing this new skill will help me through the coming school year and this next growing phase for my business. The project bags are getting slicker by the seam, and now I'm experimenting with what sort of pocket might work on the inside of my current design. Lots of fabric is on the way too, which means happy fun experimentation and lots of scrappy quilt squares are in my future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Color Exclusive: Retro

Retro, my September space-dyed colorway, has gone up. And on time? I know, I better not raise hopes too high.



Its up in Merilon and Roman Blue Sock, and the BFL sock will go up in as much time as it takes me to wind the skeins and take pictures.

Now to start thinking about October & November. Retro & Big Tree were two color combinations existing in the creative chaos of my head that were really begging to get out. That means my creative inner space is empty and just waiting for new inspiration. (Okay, yeah, that sounds a little woo-woo-ey, but its still accurate.) October begs to Day-of-the-Dead/Hallowe'en'ed, but how does one do that tastefully? Would November be too late to do a fall leaves/last blaze of glory thing? December is obvious - one year as a dyer on my own, my own birthday - a celebratory theme will ensue. Just talking through things here.

If my next idea is anything like Big Tree, I'll see something in a Pottery Barn or Williams-Sonoma (my old workplace) catalog that will really jam. By the way, has anyone seen that new 90th anniversary edition Kitchenaid Artisan mixer? Its metallic cherry red with a glass mixing bowl and it screams for a custom flame paint job. My wants.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New For Black Trillium Fibre Studio

Not that dyeing yarn isn't enough, but I thought it might be fun to add some variety to my Etsy shop. I've done stitch markers before, and of course I chose itty bitty crystals and the smallest gauge wire known to man. The entire project was ridiculously time consuming, and my photography sucked as per usual. Project bags, though, that's more my style: useful, fun to make, and cheerful (when using my preferred nutty bright colors). I could even hand-dye the cotton, although that's another can of worms for a different day.



Red Coral project bag with Dinnerplate Dahlia in Merilon Sock. That skein of yarn, incidentally, is named for the amazing Dahlias coming out of my friend Shelby's garden - some of them were bigger than my head and just amazing colors the way that only Dahlias can be.

I'm also very pleased to get to share Squire Country Crafts' sock blockers with my customers. I discovered these lovely creations at Twisted a while back, and watching the way people lit up over them at Sock Summit really made me sit up and take notice. To make them a Black Trillium exclusive, the trillium part of my logo has been stamped onto the top of each one.



My next project today will be to finish writing up the September newsletter for my shop, including a sneak preview of this coming month's color exclusive. Tomorrow, I will get to post the exclusive in Merilon, BFL Sock and Roman Blue Sock. No stragglers, this time.

Cheers!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Try Me

I thought we'd hit a big milestone when the Dude started making his own lego designs. Now I'm wondering if it was a good thing after all:

Now we're flying this mad kamikaze bastard. What do you want to bet he flies w/o a 'chute?

Sidetracked

A friend brought by his hand-sewn great coat to show off this weekend, and it was a total of about a minute after he left before I started to feel the burn on getting out my own sewing machine. This coat project was one I helped cut out in preparation for the Portland Pirate Festival, which is part of the why on show-and-tell, and so you can imagine yards of charcoal felt and shiny pewter buttons. Its an amazing period piece and apparently an infectious agent as well.



My first quilt top has been in progress for a very, very long time. Longer than the Lizard Ridge blanket, I expect. The colors totally scream "kid's room", which is good because this is supposed to be for my son's bed. I didn't do as much border as I originally planned in the interest of actually finishing the thing, so it won't quite cover the hand-me-down Queen that is supposed to be where my son sleeps. I'm hoping something new and fun for his room will induce the Dude to consider his own bed a good place to crash.



We finished up the last border yesterday afternoon, so as soon as my husband was home and dinner was over, the little guy and I ran over to the fabric store to get a backing. I chose something rather unexpected that will be a fun surprise every time the quilt gets turned down, and since red is my son's favorite color, I think it works. Don't ask me to make matching curtains, though.



There are probably as many people making project bags on Etsy as there are indie yarn dyers, yeah? I've bought a couple, but for years have avoided draw-string bags thinking they weren't the most sensible option. Zipper box bags had a more finished look to me, and struck me as more practical. Then I got my little Rav Party Swag Bag during Summit, and found the little guy very addicting. How smooth is that opening! If I have a bag for every sock project that means no more tangled needles and wondering where my ball of yarn got off to. So I made a few.





Now that the kid's quilt top is finished, I'd like to start one for the family bed. I have an older quilt from my BF's grandmother, and it was made for a Queen bed in grass green, ecru and pink. Not. My. Colors. I've been playing online w/swatches (first pic) and with patterns (second pic). I could buy half a couch for the price of the fabric I'd need for a king-sized quilt, so this project might go on a while.



And all of that sewing means this is all I've finished on the Christmas knitting.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christmas Is Already Too Close

If you read the same knitting blogs I do in about mid-November, you will find that 90% of the post subjects will be about how far behind the author is on their gift knitting. For two years running, I've been right there with everyone else. This year, I defy tradition.


From left to right: Louet Gems Fingering in black, Black Trillium Meriamboo in some random moss-green color, Liza Souza Timaru in Agate, Madelinetosh Sock in Oxblood, STR Light in Spacedust, STR Light in Knitters w/o Borders, Fly Designs Monarch in Fire, STR Light in Korppi. (Yes, I could link to all of these, but honestly, you could also google them. I'd rather knit than write html.)

I made a mental accumulation of how many people I wanted to give knitted socks to this year. As its possible that some of them might view this post, I'm not talking about who they are. Chances are pretty high (like 99.9%) that if you've gotten socks from me before, you're going to get another pair this year. Rather, that's what I plan to do. I'm open to a few other big things getting in the way.

My list is about *counts on fingers* six or seven people long. Not too bad, eh? One of those lovely folks (move along, Joe, nothing to see here) is pretty overdue for several pair at once, so maybe eight or nine pairs of socks. I'm going to be smart about this and make a plan. To that end, I went through my sock yarn stash and nominated all the things that I think are ready to go. This happens to include all my STR Lightweight, which I've found since casting on yesterday for the first pair, that it knits up very fast with 60 stitches on US 2's. Scary fast, in fact. I cast on last night while we watched a show and finished about an hour ago. Sock-in-a-day. I thought knitting STR Medium was speedy-licous enough. Hah.

So, step 1: start a project to get the ball rolling. Chee-eck.
Step 2: choose yarn for the rest of the group. Chee-eck.
Step 3: document my craziness w/photos and a blog post. Chee-eck.

Now for the hard part: all that knitting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An August Yarn Sale

Hi all, I'm at it again. It seems like when there's just a little too much yarn hanging around, I feel compelled to put some of it on sale. So, two of my base yarns are 25% off until Sunday.


Merino Sport
Meriamboo II

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

....

Black Trillium just got mentioned in another podcast! It's a short mention, along the lines of "I saw Coraline", but as a long-term lurker on Jessica's blog, its very fun to hear my yarns mentioned outside of my teeny-weeny Portland knitting community. Thanks, Jessica & Erin!

A friend came by with some lovely flowers from her garden. This little guy broke, but he looks pretty fun floating in one of my random teacups. Among the flowers now gracing my table are some amazing (and huge) dahlias, and their colors are driving me to try and get a similar effect in the dyepot. I suspect a merino/cashmere/nylon base would get me one step closer, and, tra la la, I have a new wholesaler who sells just the thing.
Now that the Lizard Ridge is done (well, still missing the crocheted border, but who's counting?), I'm taking a break from longer-term projects. Things that take more than a year to complete. Hah, you believed me there for sec, didn't you. I might have even believed myself for about six minutes after posting photos my King-sized blankie.

I pulled out all of my Dream In Color Smooshy stash, and found that the color combo worked. All six skeins. I did some yardage calculations against my first square knit up on US 4's. If I want a blanket that is about 50"x50", I need 3100 yards, or seven skeins. And my local yarn store was happy to oblige. An additional skein in Plum Paisley has thus joined the team. In the log cabin spirit, and with a twist of Moderne Log Cabin from the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book, I cast on and am knitting away at large swaths of color. I'm already 5% of the way done! (feel free to snort, snicker, or otherwise doubt my sanity - I do)

A sneak peek of September's exclusive. The first test went so-so, tweaking will ensue. If you'd like to hear the full details when they're ready, give me a holler at blacktrillium@popculturezoo.com and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lizard Ridge - King Sized



Alright - that's it! There's no more knitting involved in this project! All the ends are sewn, the borders crocheted on, and then sewn together. There's one final step before I block it - a border on the entire blanket, but I couldn't resist getting some pictures up anyway.

Finding a way to photograph this puppy is giving me a headache. Getting the angles right, getting the whole thing in the frame, trying not to get too much else. I think the only way a good square-on picture is going to happen is if I suspend myself from the ceiling. That makes sense, doesn't it? So yeah, my photo, big hack job. Oh well.

A note on scale: I had no idea how large this thing was going to be. I added pattern repeats, entire squares, several borders. Unblocked, that baby covers my entire king sized bed. Not all the way over the pillows. Yet. That's what, 76" wide and 80" long? No wonder it took two years.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Brilliant Colors

I feel as if I can breath again. As much as Sock Summit was an incredible experience, I'm somewhat relieve to return to life with less excitement. For instance, I went to Knit Night for the first time in three or four weeks tonight. It was quiet, and I wasn't stressed about whether or not I was going to have enough time to get everything done.

I'm sharing pictures from my simple pursuits of the last few days. Watching the tomatoes grow. Tough business. This little dwarf determinate threw out long branches toward the bottom, but pretty much didn't go up at all. The plant next to it is spindly and overly tall by comparison, and I think I should be feeding them more. The third pot over has a volunteer, which I find exciting just because it found its way there without my help. My fourth pot on the porch has pumpkins that my son planted. They're flowering, but I really can't picture actual fruits. My four little pots are a poor substitute for a real garden, but somehow that doesn't reduce the pleasure in watching things grow.

I have been using my plants to get a better idea of how my camera works. Today, though, the camera was doing something I really don't think it was supposed to. Is there ever a good time for technology to go screwy? The answer is obviously "no way sucka" and so I'm hoping a solution will present itself or the problem will just disappear. (This is me wishing out loud for a few less things to be on my plate)

Two years ago, I started the Lizard Ridge blanket from Knitty. It seemed genius at the time, but that probably describes half a million other hair-brained schemes of mine. In the intervening time, I've expanded the project by adding a pattern repeat to the individual squares. I started that right away, so no do-overs necessary. I then thought it would better accommodate the expanded length of each square if I arranged them in rows and columns of five, adding another square to the original 24. Then I noticed my first square, done all those months ago, was significantly smaller than the rest. Oops, felted potholder. Ravelry, in a swift move of brilliance and deplorable accuracy, showed me how blankets with this many colors looked a bit jumble-y, so I added a crocheted border in black to set off each pane like stained glass. Almost 26 squares later, I'm so close to finished I can taste it. What will I agonize over when I finally finish this monster?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Round and Round

Here we go, I'm going to be skeining and skeining, followed by a flurry of labeling, and then it will be time to set up for Sock Summit. Cutting this a little close? I never miss a deadline, but that doesn't mean I get a full night's sleep beforehand.

Things I've learned thus far:

1. Portland is *not* near the ocean. If it were, we wouldn't get heatwaves reaching nearly 110 degrees. Okay, maybe it got hot in Seattle and at the coast as well this last week. I am tempted to insert a few key swear words right here. +100 degrees outside (and inside, no A/C) isn't conducive to dyeing loads of yarn.

2. I'm ready for the next step. Meaning, I've sort out a lot of what it means to sell my yarn wholesale as well as retail. I'm very happy to keep selling my yarn on Etsy, although I can't see myself starting up a proper website with a shopping cart and all the coding headaches involved therein. I'm also quite happy to have several well-placed and very fun-to-work-with wholesale customers. I wouldn't be able to be at Sock Summit without them.

To add to that, I've had several inquiries lately regarding expanding to more stores, and these conversations have sparked some very interesting thought processes for me. For instance, am I comfortable working with a store where I really have to become somebody other than myself in order to live up to the retailer's perceptions of a wholesale relationship? I think not. My wholesale policies are getting a lot more detailed and much clearer as I work through some of these quandaries.

3. I may not be as ready as I thought to have another baby. I'm spending all kinds of time building up this business, and really having fun doing it. I'm nervous about starting from square one with a new youngling. I'm also nervous I'd get all this biz stuff started and then have to watch while I lost traffic, customers, and wholesale accounts because I couldn't keep up with my mom jobs as well as my business. Lucky for me I have time to think about this some more. Sometimes the getting the second one started isn't as "whoops" as the first, if you get my drift.

4. I'm a sucker. As long as I don't really think about it, I can feel okay about having just set us up to pay our cellular carrier *even more* moolah because I fell for the Crackberry Storm a little too hard. Alright, the truth is that anybody who knows me very well knows for a fact that I'm a sucker. It's why I'm normally such a tightwad control freak. One look at the closet in my son's room and you'll see that I can't say no to a sweet face and a few batty eyelashes.

I'm doing my best to stay *up* on things, and I know I'm not really present where I could be more so right now. I think the Yarn Harlot just put it very well on Twitter tonight: do you want Sock Summit or do you want sleep? Some good things will come of all this sleeplessness, that's the feeling I get.

*Mwah*

Nighty-night. (see you on Twitter, my fellow insomniacs)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dyed and Gone

I keep getting funny looks from non-knitters when I try to explain what it is that is keeping me so friggin' busy these days. I've been absolutely no help to pretty much anyone but myself. Here's part of it:



I have a new base yarn that is going to be great - my first real "hard twist" sock weight - and I've been dyeing it up like mad to deliver a wholesale order to Knitty Noddy before Joe, the kid and I go off for a week and I must refrain from dyeing because I'm in someone else's house. There's a single lonely skein of it listed on my site as well. I promise there's more to come, but a few hurdles must be gotten over first.



There's an event in the yarnie-verse coming up called "Dye For Glory", where those of us whose yarns will be sold at Sock Summit will get to enter a special new color we've just developed into a contest to be judged by the nearly 400K people on Ravelry. Let Coraline (the above) not be found wanting. I'm doing a presale for both the colors I've put together on my Etsy site, in their own little section.

There is also a wonderful new wholesale customer in Canada to fulfill an order for, and of course the massive order I promised to have for Twisted at their Summit booth.

I am learning very quickly just what it means to be busy with my yarn dyeing business. I know lots of folks in my life who've know me since before I was a knitter aren't really going to see the appeal of all this yarn, but that's okay. I am having fun, in spite of being a little chicken without a head. I guess that a forced vacay probably isn't a bad idea, either.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Heat


When my son wants something warmed up, food-wise, he asks if it can get "hotted up". I've spent the last four or five days feeling like an overheated french fry, and I'm over it. 95 degrees or more means we're having our share of being hotted up, without even firing up an appliance.

Granted, the weather is going to be fab for the Fourth of July, which in general is a nice thing. The heat will also force me to actually take a holiday. Who wants to stand in front of a stove with several burners going to dye yarn in this weather! But relief is coming, from the heat, as Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be around 75 with rain. So, humid, but not knocking on the 100 degree door.

As far as the dyeing is concerned, things are going smashingly. The next chance I get, I will be working on my Sock Summit Dye for Glory color. I've narrowed my ideas down to just one, which I should be able to show off sometime next week.

Stay cool.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It Rains, But It Frakking Pours



Pop Culture Zoo colorway

Things are definitely building at Black Trillium, and a lot of it seems to be happening at the same time as Sock Summit. My dear husband, the Editor-In-Chief of Pop Culture Zoo (for which this colorway was named) is heading off to San Diego Comic-con 2009 starting with Preview Night on July 22nd, and isn't coming home until that following Sunday. I get to be in Seattle that whole time, which means no dyeing for five or six days(eek!), but I'll get to see my BF and her fam instead.

Then we come back from Seattle and the madness begins. I'm going to attempt to take part in Dye For Glory (what a great name) in two of the categories, and the judging should give me some idea if I need to dye mass quantities of my entries or just a few. I have colors picked out, but I can't reveal anything until I list them in my stash. I'll tweet the heck out of it, don't worry.

Then the Summit happens. I'm hoping to be part of the set-up crew, and I'm working Saturday, in the Twisted booth. You'll know me by the knee-high orange and red stockings I'll be wearing, probably with shorts because I don't think I'm going to have time to go skirt shopping between now and then. Maybe in Seattle on my forced mini-vacation from the dyepots.

Right around Summit, I'm delivering two more wholesale orders for entirely new wholesale customers. I'm as shocked as anyone, I didn't really know that anybody outside of local yarn stores had noticed my yarns. But apparently somebody in Canada thinks my work is worth looking at. There's a new feature on my sidebar to let everybody know where to get my yarns, and I'll post links there once I can share them.

So, if you're curious to hear updates in Ravelry, check out my new-ish group, or catch up with me on Twitter to see when I post new items.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Black Trillium Sale - Comicon or Bust

San Diego Comicon 2009 is a month away for my dear husband and his website, Pop Culture Zoo. This is the biggest news event of the year for him, where he gets to talk to actors from shows such as Twilight, Battlestar Galactica, Leverage, and Doctor Who, as well as writers, directors, and various other VIP in the pop media world. I'm doing my part to send him there, by fund raising through my yarn business. Please, check out the sale - 25% off all yarns - and help us get where we need to go this year.

Thanks, and spread the word.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sconage

I want to share my version of a recipe, what my son very affectionately calls "Sconage":

1 1/2 cup flour - white mostly although sometimes I use a little whole wheat as well
1/4 cup soy protein powder
3 tbsp granulated sugar - this can be increased to 1/4 cup for extra sweetness
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt - decrease to 1/4 tsp if using salted butter
1 stick butter - what is that, 1/2 cup?
6 ounces half and half
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (or dudilla, as my child likes to say)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients, then cut in butter until the sizes of small peas. Combine wet ingredients separately until smooth but not frothy. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture. Mix gently until flour is moistened, then using hands fold dough two or three times. I want my dough to make a small cake or ball that can be easily handled into the pan - I don't like crumbs and bits falling everywhere - but this might be over mixing by some standards. Be wary of overusing your hands to mix, as your body heat will melt the butter and all those lovely little pea-size solid bits of butter are necessary to make like and flaky scones. Cut into fours and space evenly in a Pyrex baking dish. Yes, I prefer Pyrex, sorry for the gratuitous plug. Bake for as long as it take for the edges to brown, usually about 15 minutes.

They rise like crazy and will continue to cook for a couple of minutes after they have been removed from the oven. The thicker the original pat, the taller the scone and the longer the cooking time. A batch of these usually lasts all of five minutes in my house, especially when my beloved spouse is home.


We're watching the original Superman movie today, with Christopher Reeve. We have the super crazy big set with all the movies, including the Return with the new guy, so we watched all the extra features including Reeve's screen tests. Does watching him now give anyone else chills? He was so young and sweet when he got his Superman role. What an amazing human being.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Roman Blue Sock in Rainier



Roman Blue Sock in Rainier - I am so loving this color combo that I might just have to knit some for myself!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cookies To Sweeten The Soul


I am so lucky - today, I received a box of cookies from Canada.



They are made by a lovely woman whom I am beginning to think of as a dear friend - she pushes me to go beyond where I think my limitations are creatively, and she has been a wonderful person to get to know as both an individual and a customer.

I'm not sure if my photos convey how wonderful and sweet these cookies are, and how detail oriented their maker is. They certainly taste like a little bit of nirvana.

This guy kills me! He has a fluffy tail! The squirrels eating my tomato plants on the porch aren't one quarter that cute.


My child thinks these cookies are absolute genius, and he's right. They are beautiful, tasty, fun and hand-crafted with care.

El, you bless us with your creations. Thank you so much! Maybe there's a box from Canada waiting for another lucky person at Milk.