Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Packing + Dyeing = Chaos

I'm still dyeing like mad, trying to get through my remaining roving and undyed sock yarn before the end of August. The house is full of boxes and the table I usually use for taking pictures is unavailable. So I have a photo of two new rovings, but the background leaves something to be desired - sorry about that!

Both rovings are Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) dyed with acid dyes. The blue one has already been broken up into samples for the Fibreholics Box but I haven't yet decided whether to put the green one on my shop or use it for samples too.

This past weekend I've also said goodbye to my sewing machine and my Barnett drum carder, who have gone to new homes here in the London area. I'll miss you!

Friday, 24 July 2009

The packing continues

The timeline for our move is shaping up a little bit. I now know two things about how the move will affect my crafting in the near future:

1) My tools will not be going on a boat in August, as previously planned.

2) They will instead be going into a storage facility here in London in August, and the boat will be coming in November/December. Probably.

This means that while I will not be able to make new things after August, which I had always expected, I will be able to keep my shops open with their existing stock! I had thought I'd have to close them. So that's good news for me AND good news for you.

With that in mine, August might be a little bit light on updates as I scramble frantically to dye and spin as much as possible before the end of the month, when my spinning wheel goes into storage and my dyeing equipment is sold!

I'm still holding the Sheepshape Spinning sale for the time being, though since that is less urgent now it could end at any time. It'd be a good idea to grab anything that is catching your eye! My other shop is taking a different approach - everything at Elizabeth's UK Craft Shop has free worldwide shipping! I'm going to have to rebrand that one after I move....

Monday, 20 July 2009

Tutorial: How to buy a Phat Fiber Box

As you may know, Sheepshape Spinning is a regular contributor to the Phat Fiber Sampler Box. Every month there is a mad scramble online to be the lucky buyer of a limited number of boxes that are all listed simultaneously. There's not much time to think and new buyers are often overwhelmed. So Jessie and I have worked together to create this Pictorial Tutorial which shows what it's like to buy a box. Study the pictures before your first try and you will be better prepared for the mad rush!

First, preparation. Before the day that the boxes go on sale, make sure that you have done the following.

1) You have created an Etsy user account.

2) You have saved a shipping address within your Etsy user account.

3) You have created a Paypal account.

4) You have saved the SAME shipping address within your Paypal account.

5) You have created some method of getting money into your Paypal account.

Number five could be by adding a credit card to your account, by adding a bank account and transferring money into Paypal (takes a few days!) or by selling other things online and leaving the funds in Paypal. As of July 2009 you will need $33 for a Phat Fiber box if it will be shipped to the US, $36 if it's shipping to Canada, and $43 if it's shipping anywhere else in the world.

Also please note - your computer speed and your internet connection speed are factors in your success. If your internet browsing is particularly slow then it might be a good idea to find a friend or relative with a faster machine or connection and ask/beg/bribe them into the use of their computer!

OK. You've done steps one through five. Next, you need to know when Box Day will be - in other words, when the box will be on sale. Really it ought to be Box Minute though because they sell FAST! You find out when box day will be by signing up to the notification list on the Phat Fiber website. The notification goes out a few days before the box will "drop" - before the box will go on sale. If you haven't gotten one yet and it's getting to be the middle of the month, you can go to the Ravelry Phat Fiber group to see if others have received theirs yet. And don't forget to check your Spam folder!

When it's Box Day there will be two "drops" - usually one in the morning and one in the evening about 12 hours apart, but it can vary. You want to make sure that you are logged into Etsy before the appointed time so you're not wasting valuable seconds logging in! You also want to make sure there are no other items loitering in your cart - this has foiled several potential Phat Fiber customers in the past.

Before the drop, Jessie at Phat Fiber will remove any other items that are for sale in her shop. It will be empty. Across the globe, hundreds of people are frantically refreshing their screens to see if the boxes have been listed. I suggest you join them! At the moment that the boxes go live, the Phat Fiber shop will look like this:

You will probably have seen people talking about scrolling down to the bottom of the page. This picture shows why that is necessary. There's a lot of information up top, and Jessie does not use the "sections" for the boxes, so if you're only looking at the top half of the page it will look like nothing is there! So you need to refresh, and scroll down, and keep doing that until you see the boxes. There are three types, as shown in the photo. JUST FLUFF is spinning fiber without finished yarn. JUST STITCHES is finished yarn without spinning fiber. There's also a "Regular mixed" box with both types. All of the boxes will have the extra things like stitch markers and patterns etc.

So...choose your box! (And quickly, because hundreds of other people are doing the same thing this very second...) For this tutorial I have chosen the Regular Mixed box. Here's what you see once you click on that choice:

Don't waste time reading the description. With less than two hundred boxes available each month and a LOT more than two hundred customers, you want to make sure you're ahead of the crowd. Just click "Add to Cart". Your cart will show:

Don't lose time here - just click Checkout! The next screen will ask for address information. If you have pre-stored an address in your account then you can choose it here, as the next two photos show.

Once you've selected your shipping address, click Final Review. You're nearly there!

This is the big screen. The Commit To Buy screen. We know that some people have reported having boxes "swiped" from their shopping carts before completing the purchasing procedure. We can't exactly run tests to see when and why this happens but we think it is because there are so few boxes, and so many people trying to buy. We THINK that if you take too long before pressing the Commit To Buy button that someone else can get to it before you. But we also THINK that once you have pressed it and get to the screen after it successfully, your box can't be stolen from you.

But we're not 100% certain about that. It may be, as some have reported, that you have to complete the payment procedure before the box is truly yours. Unfortunately no one is guaranteed a box until that point where Paypal reports successful payment. So I recommend going through the entire procedure as quickly as you can. Part of the fun is the "rush" that you get from going so quickly!

Also, it's a good idea to check the Purchases part of your Etsy account when you're done in order to confirm whether or not there is a box there, even if you think it got swiped. A few months ago there were a few boxes that had been successfully purchased but their buyers didn't know! So they languished unpaid-for until Phat Fiber had a chance to contact them about it. Don't let that happen to you!

So - once you've pressed Commit To Buy you see this:

This one's really easy - just click Pay Now! You then get directed to Paypal.

And log in on the right hand side:

One more screen requires attention - the Paypal Payment screen. Check that the details are correct and click "Pay Now"!

And, if all has gone according to plan, you should now see the Confirmation Screen of Happiness:

And that's it! You should now be the owner of a Phat Fiber box! Double check your Purchases screen in Etsy and then go join in the celebrations at the Ravelry group! Congratulations - I hope you get one of my samples!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Fancy a drum carder?

As part of my destash I've just listed my drum carder on ebay. 99p starting, no reserve!

Here's the link - and as a special bonus, anyone who places a bid (not even a winning bid, just a bid!) will get free shipping on any one order from my Etsy shop.

Monday, 13 July 2009

I'm back! With lots of news.

Hi everyone, I'm back from America! I had a great time. I managed to control myself at Black Sheep Gathering and not go overboard, but it was very hard. So many lovely braids of fibre; dozens of wheels; even a 16 inch electric drumcarder!! I restrained myself and only got three braids of fibre.

I have some BIG news though. I will be moving to America next year! Our house is a flurry of activity at the moment, mostly related to reducing our belongings before putting them all on a big ship across the ocean. To that end I am running a Super Sheepy Sale at Sheepshape Spinning, from now until...who knows? Until the truck comes to take our stuff away. Could be a few months from now. Could be sooner!

If something isn't on sale and you're feeling tempted, send me a message - I might add it to the sale!