Posts filed under Behind The Scenes

Hello Iowa!

I'm happy to announce that Fiber Hound is in another store, and this time it's in Iowa!  The Sheep's Stockings is in Marshalltown, IA, so if you are near there you can enjoy a selection of Afghan Hound, our 50% Silk 50% Superwash Merino DK yarn. 

sheepstockings.png
  Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

  Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

The shop specializes in natural fibers such as wool, mohair, alpaca, silk, and organic cottons, and carries a lovely variety of different brands of needles.  After seeing the lovely pictures of their store, I cannot wait to plan a visit!

  Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

  Image by Hannah Thiessen

Image by Hannah Thiessen

For more information about The Sheep's Stockings, visit their website at www.thesheepsstockings.com!

Posted on January 8, 2014 and filed under Behind The Scenes.

October's Yarnbox

I’m so happy to share with everyone that I am the featured yarn for October’s Yarnbox box.  For those unfamiliar with Yarnbox, it is a monthly subscription service in which the subscriber is sent a scrumptious amount of yarn (usually valued between $50-$70), a knitting and crochet pattern, and usually a little sweet to top it off.  The people who run the business, Michael and Hannah, are absolutely great because of how passionate they are about what they do.

I heard about Yarnbox in May through Twitter when @yarnbox happened to follow my account, @fiberhoundyarns.  I try to communicate in some fashion with anyone who follows me, and I did the same with Yarnbox.  I communicated with Hannah (the creative end of Yarnbox) and ended up sending her a few sample skeins, which she adored. She then put me in contact with Michael (the business end of Yarnbox), and we worked out a deal.  Originally, I was set to dye 2,500 skeins of Afghan Hound, half in Hushpuppy, half in Sirius.  It took me a couple of days to be able to digest that number because, at that point, I had only dyed around 250 skeins of yarn.  (The number was later reduced to 1,600, which would have still given me the same response.)

Here's some fun math to really get a grip on the numbers we worked with:
With 1,600 skeins at 231 yards per skein and 100 grams per skeins, we have a total of 369,600 yard total, or 210 miles and 160,000 grams, or 352.74 pounds total. That's the same weight as:
-2.6 Caitlyns
-18.5 Dwights

It would take .00112903225806 seconds for light to travel over the entire length of the yarn, and it's equivalent to 198,591 and an ear smoots.

If a stitch is 1 inch of yarn, you could make 13,304,600 stitches with total yarn.
If it takes 2 second per stitch, it would take 26,609,200 seconds, or 7,391.44 hours, or 307.977 days.  If getting 8 hours of sleep, it would take 6.75 years to knit all the yarn.
In that same amount of time, you could be Rickrolled 126,710 times.  And, if you were to knit with all the yarn, you could make 308 sweaters. 
 

When starting this business, I intended to take things very slowly, growing at a rate I could handle and learn from easily.  Yarnbox threw that out of the window because I realized this was too great of an opportunity to pass up.

To fill the order, first the yarn had to be ordered.  This came in a couple of different orders since my supplier did not have enough stock all at once, so more than once I would come home from work with five to seven large boxes on my small porch, which would then inhabit my living room.  We would then go through the boxes, remove the bags of yarn, tie the skeins with cotton, and then put them back into boxes to go downstairs to the dye studio.

One upgrade I quickly decided to make was investing in more dye pots.  I started out with two pots and added two more.  After the project was done and we had returned from our honeymoon, I discovered the first large pot that I had ever worked with died.  It's nice to know it held on as long as it could.

After dying the skeins, they would come back upstairs in boxes and wait to be reskeined. After a week or so of skeining with my lovely wooden skein winder (and a very sore shoulder), I realized that this was not going to work.  I decided to invest in a 3 skein motorized skein winder, which was the best $500 I have ever spent.  Jeff and I were able to go through the skeins in the queue so much faster, and our sanity was somewhat restored.  After the skeins were finished, they would be tagged and sorted to wait for packaging.

Here’s a picture of 400 skeins of yarn, one fourth of the order (and Dwight.)

I had to make a lot of sacrifices for this project - I had originally planned to seek out yarn stores for my yarns to be carried in during the fall.  I had to turn down a lot of social opportunities and trips because I couldn’t sacrifice the time.  I developed acute tendonitis on my right shoulder, which means that I still have to be very careful how and what I lift.  Because of that, Jeff’s assistance in completing this project was tremendously helpful, and I am very grateful for him.

This project was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I am so glad it is done with as I get to experience the fun part: so many people being excited about for what we have worked so very hard on.

Because Yarnbox subscribers received one skein of each color, it was important to me to find and make a project that could show both of them used together.   I decided on Thendara, a shawl by Stephen West.  A blog post will be posted soon talking more about this project. A future blog post will examine this shawl in more detail.

 The Yarnbox project was a lot of work and tested many of my personal relationships, but I am very grateful that I did it. I know if I hadn't, I would have regretted it.  Thank you to everyone who has helped me complete this project, and thank you to Hanna, Michael, Yarnbox and all of the subscribers for this opportunity and all the wonderful feedback I have received.

As a final tidbit, please enjoy the coupon design that went in every Yarnbox.

 

Just as a reminder, Arts Cafe is this Sunday! For more information, please visit our Events page. For up to date information on events or other goings-on, please follow Fiber Hound on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fiberhoundyarns, and or on Twitter at @fiberhoundyarns.

Posted on October 30, 2013 and filed under Behind The Scenes.

Fiber Hound's Secret Second Store!

I’m happy to announce that my yarns are going to be in a second store!  Because the store has not opened yet, I am going to keep the name quiet until they open.  But I can still give a sneak peak of what goodies they ordered!

 

With their order, I had the opportunity to invest in some packaging supplies, and I’m probably more excited about them than most people would be.  

 

With some product testing, I was able to get bags that perfectly fit 6 skeins of yarn, which is my normal dye pot.  With those 6 skein bags, I was able to find a size of boxes that fits the bags nearly perfectly!

Dwight approved every step of the process.

 

Posted on September 25, 2013 and filed under Behind The Scenes.

Fiber Hound goes to TNNA!

Every year around the middle of summer, yarn shop owners, designers, and wholesalers from all over the world gather at a trade show hosted by TNNA (The National Needlearts Association).  A purpose of the show is for yarn shops to see what is new and happening with the vending yarns and designers, along with notions and other fun yarn-related objects.  This was my second year attending, and my purpose was to see what's new and to see what new bases were out there for dyers, as well as any other useful tools.  Traveling with me was Kristen, who is looking to open a shop in the next year or so, and we enjoyed sharing our goal of talking to a TON of different people.

We traveled from South Bend, Indiana to Columbus, Ohio Friday evening, and enjoyed a 5 1/2 hour drive riddled with bizarre construction and the occasional detour.  We stayed at an amazing B&B called Hawthorne Park Bed and Breakfast, which was a short drive from the convention center.  The architecture of the home was incredible, and our hosts were very kind, and great cooks too!  We ate the breakfast they made for us both Saturday and Sunday.

When we went to the convention center Saturday, we were able to enjoy the opening ceremonies, which played into this year's theme of "Hollywood".  (We don't recall there being a theme last year.)  This involved some guy performing various show tunes on a stage setup along with dancers, as well as what I can only assume was a specially composed song just for TNNA.  It was weird, well done, and delightful, but mostly weird.

We met up with Schacht, the creator of the Zoom Loom, which I used to create the woven samples on the Fiber Hound website. They were delighted to see the samples in person, and thought that it was an ingenious idea to use the Zoom Loom in this fashion.  I was excited to see how well it was marketed across the show floor; the majority of the yarn booths had a small sign with a sample of their yarns woven with it.  It was so much fun to be able to chat with the creators of many great products.

We stopped at the Ravelry booth, which had the purpose of helping store owners use their pattern sales tool.  While Kristen was learning about how to use the tool, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Casey, who does the main coding for the website.  I showed him a picture of Dwight, and we chatted about how goofy both of our dogs were.

One can never have a blog about TNNA without mentioning Jeni's Ice Cream, which originates in Columbus.  Eating their ice cream is considered a rite of passage for the trade show, because they're made from all natural ingredients, with both common and bizarre flavor combinations that all have delicious outcomes.  Across the street from the convention center is North Market, which has a number of small restaurants and shops, as well as one of the Jeni's location.  There is another down the street from the convention center, and they are both often packed.  Because the trade show is going to be in Indianapolis next year, I'm sure thousands of people will mourn the lack of incredible ice cream.

TNNA was a delightful amount of fun.  There are many things which occurred that I am not able to mention in this post because they're surprises for later, but I'm really excited about all the people I was able to connect with, as well as having made some decisions for the future of this business.

 

We surprised Dwight with a bowtie from a shop in Columbus.

Posted on June 26, 2013 and filed under Events, Behind The Scenes.

Yarn Bases of Fiber Hound

Within the past week, I launched the Bases page after finishing the samples made from each type of yarn.  Just as I did with the Colorways page, I made individual knit, crocheted, and woven samples of each yarn base in order to show customers how the different yarns look and behave.  Now that it's live, I'm excited to tell you more about each of the different yarns Fiber Hound has to offer.

 


Basenji

Basenji is a lace weight yarn made out of 100% superwash merino. This yarn is a 2-ply yarn which is loosely piled, creating the opportunity for gently draping fabric. Although the fabric it creates appears delicate, it’s actually quite sturdy, and is a perfect choice for shawls, sweaters, or other lacy projects.
 

Saluki

Saluki is made from 55% superwash BFL and 45% Silk, and is lace weight.  BFL stands for Bluefaced Leicester (pronounced Lester), and is a British wool that is remarkably different than Merino.  Raw Merino wool is extremely crimpy, while raw BFL is a straight, curly lock.  Light reflects better off of straighter wool, therefore when combined with the sheen of silk, Saluki is the shiniest of all the yarns Fiber Hound currently carries.  The ply structure is similar to Basenji, having two plies and a luxurious drape.  Saluki is great for both extra special projects as well as everyday items, like lace garments and shawls.
 

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound is a fingering weight singles yarn that is 100% superwash merino.  It is gently spun, creating a soft fabric that has fantastic stitch definition.  Because it has only one ply, it’s not a good choice for more heavy wearing objects such as socks or sweaters, as it will easily pill.  It’s a great yarn for cabled projects, shawls, and hats, where its special characteristics will be most effective.
 

Dachshund

Dachshund is a tightly 2-ply fingering weight yarn, featuring a sturdy mix of 80% superwash Merino and 20% nylon.  It makes an incredible choice for socks, as the nylon content and tighter ply makes the fabric very strong against the aggressive wear of feet.  Because this yarn is a 2-ply, there is a lot of texture in the final fabric.  This yarn is great for socks, shawls, sweaters, and pretty much everything else!
 

Borzoi

Borzoi is a very special yarn, featuring 80% superwash BFL and 20% Bamboo.  The combination of these two fibers creates a magical yarn, which has a sheen similar to silk.  Because bamboo is a plant fiber, it does not absorb the dye in the same way that animal fibers do, and if you look closely, you can see a whitish haze surrounding the yarn.  Because bamboo is a renewable resource, it also makes this yarn more eco-friendly.  Borzoi has four plies, which makes it great for cables, socks, sweaters, and shawls!
 

Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound is a uniquely constructed sport weight yarn, created from eight plies that were chain-plied together.  To chain ply a yarn, previously plied yarns are then plied together; in this yarn, four 2-ply yarns were plied together to create a super round, springy yarn.  It’s made of 100% superwash Merino, and is fantastic for cables, sweaters, and socks.
 

Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound is a 4-ply yarn that is 50% superwash Merino, and 50% silk, creating a DK weight yarn that creates a very smooshy and luxurious fabric.  While this yarn doesn’t have a sheen as bright as Saluki, it will be very obvious you’re working with something special.  It’s a great yarn for sweaters, hats, and mittens.
 

Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound is a 4-ply 100% superwash Merino yarn that is very hard wearing, but still soft and squishy!  It’s tough enough to be great for outerwear sweaters, but soft enough that it can be worn against sensitive skin for scarves, mittens and hats.  The stitch definition makes it great for patterns with cables and texture!

Making all of the different swatches took a lot of time, but I think all of this effort for the swatches has really paid off.  I feel it gives visitors to this website a special look at how the yarns can react in different formats, as well as a better way to see which yarn is the best fit for any project.  

Which weight of yarn do you prefer working with?  Do you tend to gravitate towards heavier weight yarns, or lighter weight?  Is there a particular fiber you simply love, or refuse to work with?

 

 

 

Dwight, unlike cats, apparently does not like being in boxes.