Monday, April 25, 2016

Lights, Camera , Action!

As promised, here I am again.  It has been a week of just pushing through to get stuff done, even when all I'd like to do is sit on the couch and knit.

I am working my way through a backlog of t-shirts, slowly making them into t-shirt yarn to put in my shop.  Knowing that these t-shirts are all clean and ready to be made into yarn has been wonderful for me.  I'm falling into this rhythm of prepping a shirt or two (or 6) after work and each night doing another piece of the prepping process.

This chipping away at things approach allowed me to do a shop update yesterday.  Given that last week left me no large chunk of time to work on shop things and Saturday was spent visiting an out of town college, that feels amazing.

Here's a peek at a portion of that shop update:

You might also notice a change in my shop pictures.  That's because I've finally unpacked the light kit that arrived a week or two ago.  I am no master at this lighting thing but what a difference even my incompetent set up made in my photos!  I'll need to work on that but I'm so pleased overall.

I spent a good portion of yesterday dyeing plain white t-shirts that I had been saving.  I have a cache of dyes that I'm working my way through trying to learn dyeing technique.  Here's a peek at the results of that and some future t-shirt yarn

I'm quite pleased with the results both of the dyeing and the photo.  Now I must get ready for work.  See you in a week.  


Monday, April 18, 2016

Motivation & Introspection

One could say that I'm not very good at this blogging thing and they would be right.  Not long after that last post I went on vacation and, when I got back, I started a new job that has kept me hopping.  The job is a good fit, I get to be around creative people all day but I'm tired at the end of the day and by the time I get in a little work for my shop, I don't have much energy left for blogging.  In fact, after the holidays, I barely had time or energy to update my shop.

All that changed last week when my husband went on strike.  He's one of 39,000 Verizon employees walking the picket line.  Rather than talk about the anxiety that produces, because its a little too obvious to comment on, I'd rather talk about the motivation it has provided me with.  It really got me thinking about my goals and how I want to move forward.

The introspection actually started a few weeks ago as I was working on this special order t-shirt rug.  I started thinking about pattern recipe that I've developed for making these rugs.  For the first time, I took extensive notes on my process.  I've always jotted notes down but this time I really paid attention.  I even tweaked my technique to improve the overall look.  Honestly, that change was so obvious I'm ashamed to admit it.  In the end, my customer was really happy with the rug and so was I.

My goals as far as the t-shirt rugs go are to phase the pre-made ones out of my shop, offer special order ones to customers made out of their own t-shirts as this one was and to have the pattern recipe for sale by mid-May so you can make your own masterpiece.

Another thing this rug project got me pondering was how to maximize the t-shirt yarn that I can get from one shirt.  I needed to use every bit of the t-shirts sent by my customer to make sure I had enough to make the rug size he wanted.  I played with different cutting techniques to accomplish this and eventually found that joining smaller strips was the way to go.  This experimentation for the rug led me to make this joined yarn ball.  Its still an experimental process as
far as I'm concerned.  I'm going to wait for some feedback from the customer who bought it before making more but I'm really excited about the potential of the process.

I also had a question from a potential customer about how thin I could make the t-shirt yarn.  I experimented a bit yesterday and discovered that, although the cotton t-shirts I prefer to work with don't like to be much thinner than I'm already cutting them, I can get a cotton polyester blend t-shirt as thin as 1/10 of an inch.  As with the joined ball, I'm still considering this an experimental process but I'm hopeful that the potential customer will agree to take this first ball, use it and offer some feedback.
I have other goals in mind but this post is running long and I need to get ready to go to work.  I'll save some of my other thoughts on how I want to move forward for my next post.  Speaking of my next post, I'm going to aim for a weekly post done on Monday mornings.  So I'll see you in this space again on the 25th, I promise!