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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Re: what is your favorite music to knit to? on: July 30, 2007 03:57:49 PM
Hmm...  anything on my computer?  Heh, I'm horrible, I know.

Beatles, Bowie, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, classical pieces, Leonard Cohen, things people put together for me thinking I'll like them (and end up loving).  Anything that makes nice background trah, I love.
2  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: DROP SPINDLE vs. WHEEL --Your input appreciated! on: April 05, 2006 03:47:07 PM
Stellie, could your louet spindle have been too heavy for the laceweight you liked to spin? I use a homemade one too, 6" of dowel rod (same width as a size 6 knitting needle) with two of those wooden spoons like you find in children's single-serving ice cream. All in all I think it weighs less than an ounce, and it's much easier for me to spindle fine on it than on my heavier ones. I've gotten up to 70 wpi using this spindle Smiley

I'm not really sure if either of the spindles, the louet or my handmade, are any heavier than the other.  Chris and I could sneak off with them to the grocery store one day to check and see, though!  All in all I think my homemade one is heavier -- I'm guessing it's about 3 or 4 ounces and I'm getting about 30-40 wpi but I'm still able to pull out bulky if I want.  Your spindle sounds interesting, have pictures? Smiley
3  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: DROP SPINDLE vs. WHEEL --Your input appreciated! on: April 05, 2006 07:50:56 AM

I have never used a spinning wheel before.  I started spinning (lace-weight for the most part) this past August with a hank of fiber and my fingers, progressed to a pencil for larger amounts.  Pencils kept me going at about 80 yards a session and I'd sit there watching tv while doing it.  If I had a book that would prop itself open I could read, too!

This past October I decided I wanted to get a spindle.  I asked around to see what to get - brand and top vs bottom.  Chose a louet top whorl.  Everyone gave their praises to it.

And I HATED it.  I couldn't use it, it either went way way too fast or my fiber would snap and it'd fall to the floor.  I broke the darn thing and went back to my pencil -- my friend, however, was intrigued by all of this spinning nonsense.  She and I are sculpture majors so, of course, she wanted to make a spindle of her own.  The result is what you see above -- a bottom made from scrap wood, a dowel from the back of a chair and small pencil rod bent and manipulated to form a hook.  I will say that I absolutely love this spindle and I'd never trade it for the world -- it makes spinning fun for me.  It also goes easily where I go and I've never had a problem out of it.

If you've got a top... I say try a bottom or switch brands.  See where that gets you.  What kind of fiber have you been using?  I'm going to sing praises to the Dorset breed and also to Cranberry Moon Farm.  They have wonderful fleeces and rovings for a great price.  They also keep good contact throughout transactions and have prompt shipping times.

I wish you luck Smiley
4  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Re: Pricing your Handspun? on: April 05, 2006 12:28:51 AM
Found from "MAKING A LIVING AS AN ARTIST" from the Editors of Art Calendar, 2002
ISBN 1-58574-609-6

Chapter 2:  Pricing and Contracts
Pricing Work:  It's All a State of Mind
By Caroll Michels  (Quoted without permission, not for profit -- purely in the interest of saving people time.
Please, if you're interested in hearing more, PURCHASE THE BOOK.  Its a great investment.)

"Setting a price on work can be a grueling task.  Most artists tend to undervalue their work, believing their careers haven't -measured up- to whatever self-imposed standards they believe are necessary to justify charging higher prices.  This tendency is reinforced by galleries whose pricing agenda is rarely in the artist's best interests."

"Setting a price on artwork necessitates homework.  Three factors need to be addressed and integrated:
1. Pragmatic pricing, understanding how much it is really costing you to create a work of art.
2. Market value considerations.
3. Confidence in the price you set.  Self-confidence is paramount to being able to stick to your guns or negotiate with strength to get what you want.

"Pragmatic pricing can be achieved with careful record keeping:  keep tabs on the amount of time spent creating work, including conceptualization, development, and the length of anxiety attacks during the working process.  Pragmatic pricing also must include the costs of overhead and materials, pro-rated accordingly.

"Afer determining a general time range, assign an hourly or weekly value.  In many instances, after going through the exercise of dertermining time, overhead, and materials, and comparing the net proceeds from a sale, many artists discover they are working for a dollar an hour -- or even less.

"Be sure that the price set for your work includes a 100 percent reimbursement of labor, overhead, and materials expenses, IN ADDITION TO any obligatory sales commission,  In other words, a commission should not be paid on labor, overhead, and materials.  For example, if labor, overhead, and materials total $1000 and the work is sold at $2000 without a dealer, you have been reimbursed 100 percent and you have made an additional profit of $1000 -- actual profit is a concept unfamilar to many artists.  However, if the work is sold through a dealer who charges a 50 percent commission, your additional profit is zero.  But if your labor, overhead, and materials costs are $1500 and the work is priced $2000 and sold through the same dealer, you have actually lost $500.  A rule of thumb is to set a price that builds in a sales commission AND a profit margin (This is your career "safety valve" to make up for the times when few or none of  your works are selling), whether you sell through a dealer or not.  The amount of profit is a personal decision."

"A market value -- which might seem elusive to the artist who is just beginning to think this firmly about pricing -- can be determined by visiting many (not just a few) galleries.  Find work that is allied to your own, look at prices and the artists' resumes, and compare their career levels to your own.  But keep in mind that other artists' price ranges should serve only as guidelines, not gospel, because many artists make the mistake of letting dealers determine the value of their work."

I keep this book with me at all times.  I'm just now getting into the fiber arts but I've been a practicing artist, basically, all of my life.  It is a great read and very handy -- there's even a great chapter about taxes and the artist!
5  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Re: Pricing your Handspun? on: April 04, 2006 11:25:55 PM
(X/12)*3= .25X

So for every 100 yards, you'd charge $25?

Depending on the yarn.  I should have said that's for my 2-ply wool/silk/mohair thick-n-thin -- substitute 12 with a number fitting of quality.  The higher the number the lower the quality.  (Or, at least, it makes sense to me -- I've never been that great at math but I've always come up with the right answer.  Or thereabouts.)

I've seen less yardage go for more and folks buy it so I don't see why not.  You've got to figure in your time, your fiber and your overhead.  Supply and demand.  Figure in the quality of the product (fiber/type of twist) and so on.  As long as you feel comfortable with the outcome (you don't feel you're cheating people of their money and you're not slighted), I'd say it is a good price.
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: how big is your fiber stash? on: April 04, 2006 06:27:07 PM
- half a pound of wool/silk/mohair roving
- two ounces process black roving
- three ounces wool roving, unknown breed
- one ounce silk/cotton roving
- roughly five ounces of poodle/chow/collie fluff
- five pounds scottish blackface fleece, washed
- a sampling of shetland, about three ounces
- two pounds natural coloured merino, just washed
- one pound cotswold
- one pound targhee, washed
- one pound romney
- roughly one pound of mixed ends -- merino cross and blue faced leicester from another project

(Roughly 12.4 pounds, total.)

Plus I have, oh, 150+ pounds of wool walking around in the pasture.  Dorsets/crosses, suffolks/crosses, two natural coloured ewes (both black, one deep and one smokey) and a cotswold cross.
7  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Your fiber storage set up on: April 04, 2006 06:17:31 PM
Right now all of my fiber (other than what I've just washed and what I'm working with) is stored in milk crates lined with paper.  Bright colours, they stack nicely and the wool gets a breather.  Since my roomie's cat seems to love my fiber (my cats at home never showed any interest!) I have to keep my stash in the closet when I'm not in the room.
8  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Re: Pricing your Handspun? on: April 04, 2006 06:14:42 PM
I came up with a very strange way of figuring out a price today.

Add up yardage.
Divide by 12.
Multiply by 3.

Price somewhere in that range and/or promptly throw the number over your shoulder.  If it was more than your fiber cost you... you're probably doing something right.
9  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / An Orange Creamcicle and Zebras on: April 04, 2006 06:01:24 PM

Handspun yarn. Wool, silk and mohair -- an undetermined amount of each in all three skeins. The silk is what gives the 'wet' sheen.

The Orange Creamcicle is 106 yards thick-and-thin 2-ply. The Zebras, together, total 181 yards thick-and-thin 2-ply (larger is 106, smaller is 75).

All yarn is spun and plied on the drop spindle you see at the very top -- it was constructed from scraps found in the sculpture studio by my friend Chris. The whorl (round bit at the bottom) was a bit of scrap wood left over from a project, sanded and balanced. The dowel is actually a rod from the back of a rocking chair and the hook was made from a piece of metal rod lying about.

Anyone have a nifty word, phrase or item that can be made into my next skein?
10  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Re: How long does it take you to knit a scarf? on: February 12, 2006 12:10:18 PM
Size 7US needles + usual suspect acrylic yarn = 11 foot scarf (30 stitches across) in about six hours, garter stitch.

That was a few years ago, though, and I know that I was much faster then.
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