Thursday, 28 May 2009

Special offer now till June 10th!

I'm going on vacation soon! Since I am going to America, I am running a special "free shipping to America" offer for items from my shops.

Any purchases made at Sheepshape Spinning or Elizabeth's UK Craft Shop between now and June 10 2009 will get free shipping to a US shipping address, if you are willing to wait till my arrival in the US (June 15th) to have it shipped. Just put “Willing to Wait!” in the buyer’s notes for a full refund of the shipping charges.

Now’s the time to get your glow in the dark yarn if you’ve been eyeing it, or to request your custom sock yarn colourways!

I'll be back from my trip on July 6th and anything that is bought between June 13th and July 6th will be shipped when I return.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The farm in the middle of London

It took a while to find it, and I learned that Brick Lane is very...interesting...but I have finally gone to the Spitalfields City Farm! They were having a festival to celebrate shearing day. I got to watch Pants the Sheep get shorn. She didn't seem to care for it too much, but I bet she was glad once that coat was off. It's very hot in London today.

While I was there I spoke to a staff member, and ended up buying two fleeces! (It was an adventure getting them home on the tube...) These sheep photos are credit to Spitalfields Farm because I forgot to bring my camera. The first one is Teggan. They call her the Badger-faced Sheep but I'm not sure if that's a true breed name or just a nickname. Their website says she's of the Torddu variety. She hadn't been shorn yet when I was there but this is last year's fleece. If I like it I am sure to go back for this year's!

These two lovelies are Isla (pronounced eye-la) and Kirsty. They are North Ronaldsay breed. Isla was shorn today before I arrived at the farm, and I got her fleece. (I don't know which one she is in the picture.) Apparently she was being very wiggly for the poor shearer!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

I've been on the front page of Etsy!

A very kind Etsy user wrote to me tonight to tell me that I am on the front page! How exciting. I took a screenshot!

In the centre bottom of the shot is my Rustic Rainbow yarn. It's been marked as a favourite seven times since going on the front page! And the shop as a whole has gotten 13 new favourites. This is great!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The final Phat Fiber sneak peek for May

Some of you are already receiving your boxes! Follow the excitement at Ravelry in the Phat Fiber Sampler Box group.

Here's the last item that was sent it for my May samples! It's a Pocket Sheep!

I've put a penny into the shot for scale. This little guy is made of sock yarn and has an embroidered face, ears and feet. I hope he makes somebody very happy.

I am thinking about offering these Pocket Sheep on my Sheepshape Etsy shop. Would people be interested in getting their own Pocket Sheep that way, or do you prefer having them in the Phat Fiber box?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

May Phat Fiber sneak peek #6

At this moment your Phat Fiber box may be winging its way to you! Jessie of Phat Fiber tries to get them out as quickly as possible after the sale, though because of the storms she's experienced lately (an inland hurricane! wow!) I'm sure she'd appreciate extra patience. It's hard to wait, though, isn't it!

To help with the waiting, here's the second-to-last Sheepshape Sneak Peek and the final yarn peek.

These ten samples are called "Summer Skies" and are a wool/nylon blend. Each one is slightly different because of the variegated colours of the fibre. These fibres were part of my unlabelled stash that I bought from a retiring spinner, but I applied a "burn test" to the fibres and I am reasonably certain that some are wool and others are nylon, in more or less a 50/50 split. They're very soft!

Tomorrow - the final Sneak Peek where you will see this month's special unique item!

Monday, 18 May 2009

May Phat Fiber Sneak Peek #5

More Yarn! The boxes for May have now been sold - I hope you got one! :)

If you did, you may be one of the few lucky people to get some Glow in the Dark yarn in your box! This month there are five glowing samples in either blue or white colourways.

The white ones are nylon and Wensleydale Longwool and I can't recall what the blue ones are but I think they are probably nylon and Alpaca. It's so fun to play with this stuff. If you haven't seen it in action check out the parts of my shop for glowing yarn and glowing toys - each listing shows an "action shot" taken in the dark! (The action shot is best viewed full size.)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Chunky Monkey yarn!

Ok, no monkeys, but definitely very chunky. I finished spinning and washing this yarn this weekend:

This is a Corriedale/Ryland cross fleece that I bought from LongDrawJames on Ravelry drumcarded by me and livened up with bits of the Serendipity Fiber Arts sample from the April Phat Fiber Box. It's very chunky, very soft and I suspect is destined to become a pair of mittens. I've got plenty more fleece and a little bit more of the yellow sample batt if I decide to spin more for a matching hat!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

May Phat Fiber Sneak Peek #4

Today's a fibre day! It's also a very special day for the Phat Fiber community. I hope you're ready!

Hand-dyed blue roving, the fibre is Bluefaced Leicester. Each roving is at least 1/4 ounce and is dyed in shades of blue and green - the "showers" part of Showers and Flowers! There are fourteen of these mini-braids out there...I got better at braiding during the course of preparing for this box, too!

Bluefaced Leicester is a wonderfully soft fibre and also very good for spinners who are just getting to grips with their spindle or wheel. I've got some in a pastel colourway in the Spinning fibre section of the Sheepshape shop - and if you're a member of the Ravelry PF group don't forget to check the Box Day Specials thread for a one-day discount offer!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

May Phat Fiber sneak peek #3

Time for another Sneak peek! There will be seven in total, following a pattern of fibre, yarn, yarn, fibre, yarn, yarn, surprise. So today is yarn!

There's a colourway in my Etsy shop called Lilac Gardens. I have sent in two samples of Lilac Gardens for this month's box. I had enough for about 2.5 samples, so one is normal sized and one is jumbo!

It's worsted weight, 50% Corriedale wool (the darker purple) and 50% a mix of white silk and light purple Merino wool. The shop listing has 252 more yards but there's only one listing and when it's gone, it's gone! Also, for the month of May this yarn will ship anywhere in the world for free.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Quick informational post

I've just run through all the listings on my Sheepshape Etsy shop and added estimated currency conversions for British Pounds and Euros. I'm happy to invoice any purchases in those currencies instead of US dollars!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

May Phat Fiber sneak peek #2

Part two of seven for the Sheepshape Phat Fiber sneak peeks!

Today is a yarn day, and the sample is a three ply cabled yarn called Strawberry Patch. This yarn is made of Jacob and Merino in grey, green and dark pink. It reminded me very much of visiting my friend Benji in Delaware and seeing the strawberry garden he had tucked away behind the house. I;d love to grow strawberries at home!

A cable yarn is made of two or more smaller plied yarns twisted together. Technically I suppose this isn't *quite* a cable since I used one two-ply and one single, but it works for me. This type of yarn is made by making some singles, intentionally overtwisting them when plying, then taking the overtwisted plied yarn and plying it with another overtwisted yarn, but going the opposite direction of your usual plies! The second round of plying gets rid of the extra twist and you end of with a thick, textured yarn. You may have done this to make long, thick handles for bags but twisting the yarn, doubling it on itself and letting it ply itself together to get a thicker "rope". It's fun!

Friday, 8 May 2009

First May Phatfiber sneak peek!

Can you believe it? It's nearly time for the next Phat Fiber box!

This month Sheepshape Spinning has sent in fifty samples, more or less evenly split between yarn and fiber. That is, if the "Garden Explosion" pencil roving isn't counted as both yarn AND fibre! Pencil roving is a thick unspun line of wool, about the thickness of a thinnish pencil, that has a bit of twist in it - just enough to keep it from falling apart, but not quite enough to call it spun yarn. But you can knit with it if you like!

Here is the "Garden Explosion" colourway. Each mini-skein is at least 1/4 ounce of wool:

To spin from a pencil roving, you will need to predraft, because the fibres get a little bit compressed in the processing. Start at one end and hold a strand of the roving in your hands with your hands a few inches apart, and pull gently. The fibres will move apart - the trick is to let them extend and fluff up without pulling so much that you end up with two pieces of roving. Once you've predrafted that bit, move your fingers along a few inches and do it again. It can take a while but makes the spinning much easier.

If you have trouble working with pencil roving, I suggest spinning it in the opposite direction to what you usually do. When you're making the single, spin your wheel or spindle counter-clockwise, and ply it clockwise. This is because the small amount of existing twist in the roving is in the clockwise direction. When I first started spinning this kind of roving I found it difficult to draft it while spinning it because the roving twist and the wheel twist would build on each other and make it difficult to draft. But by spinning it backward, the wheel helps to pull the roving's twist *out*, leaving you free to draft as needed.