Friday, June 24, 2016

Catching Up -- A Quick Note

This has been a busy month, busier now than ever.

While I'm tackling The Hoard for the (hopefully) final time, I'm going to post this brand new book cover for you to drool over.


This cover is by the man who did my cover for Swallow the Moon.

Athanasois Galanis the link goes to his website, see his cover art for yourself.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Busted Wing

I'm making do with a broken finger, but I wanted to update this blog.

Went to the Kentucky Sheep and fiber festival last weekend and brought home a lovely selection of pencil roving. The colors are wonderful, the blend feels like alpaca and I can't wait to get to spinning.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fleece, Fiber & Fuzziness

 


I've still got quite a yarn habit. The top photo is some Mohair fleece that has resisted all my efforts to clean it. You might be able to tell that it is almost clean, the ends are fluffy and everything is great...right to the cut end.

What I'm looking to create is more of the bottom photo. Soft yarn in nice colors that spins like a dream.

Not gonna happen with the Mohair, as far as I can tell. The skin-side is stuck together with something that acts like glue. Since this is goat hair, it's not lanolin, which is actually good to have in a fleece. 

There are two schools of thought on washing goat hair. One is LOTS of hot water, but don't touch the fiber because it will felt in a heartbeat. Heavy use of Dawn detergent is recommended. Some people say borax, some say not to use borax.

I've tried hot water & detergent. I've tried cold water & detergent. I've tried cold water & borax and a vinegar rinse. I've tried cold water & detergent soaked for 24 hours. I've tried hot water, detergent, borax & rinsing. I've tied epsom salts, which worked better than plain detergent. Hot water must be kept hot, which makes rinsing a challenge. 

Today, I soaked a big batch of Mohair in a dye bath and a bit of vinegar. I cooked the whole thing in a crock pot for 4 hours. I added green, blue and yellow dye to the pot. The blue vanished, it ether didn't take or it mixed instantly with the yellow, because there's no sign of it.

I've been fussing with this mohair for a week. I also washed two batches of burgundy suri alpaca that came out really nice. So I opened up a bag of Grumpy's fleece and washed a batch of alpaca today. 

I've got very little Mohair and a BUNCH of alpaca fleece. So I've decided to just let the goat fleece soak in it's own 'brine' of potassium. The process is called Suint Fermentation. The link is to one of the better websites on the process. 

I haven't got a greasy sheep fleece to kick start this mess. So I bought some potassium pills to kick start the process. So far it looks like it's working. 

We've got a run of nice weather. I'm allowing the fleece air dry in the back yard. All my washing stuff is set up back there, and the fleece washing project is coming along nicely. 

Tomorrow I collect a few gallons of rain water for the Suint Vat and I'll let that ferment in the back for a week or two. Eventually, I hear tell, the fleece will produce the microbes needed to get the sticky stuff out of the fleece. 

Meanwhile, the stuff I dyed today will be come a crude yarn with tales and stuff sticking out. Like the orange yarn below. 


We'll see if it works or not. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Yarn Ala' Llama

100% Alpaca, dyed with Koolade

Jacob wool, dyed and plain

A peek at the stash

Left to right - Alpaca in yellow & green, wool alpaca blend, llama dyed with cherry Koolade, natural wool in brown

It's time to celebrate something fun and festive...my yarn! I've been spinning, because it relieve stress and experimenting with Koolade dyes.

There's citric acid in the yarn, I get a Koolade aftertaste when I knit. It's kinda creepy, really, to taste Koolade for hours after you put the yarn down. I didn't lick the yarn, or my fingers. It gets into your pores. Makes me glad I didn't use any harsh chemicals to dye the yarn.

Still the colors are bright and cheery. They are likely to be fairly close together when you dye in batches. (One package of Koolade per ounce of yarn.)

If you want to learn more about dyeing yarn with Koolade start here.

I'm currently working on a hat (of course) and might try a set of fingerless mittens, with the green and yellow alpaca. I loved my stumpy-looking llama wool mittens from two years a go. I might give that another try,

Monday, August 31, 2015

Picking Up The Slack

Mom had a thing about saving Kleenex boxes.

Weeks of drama are now behind us, and I'm starting to draw a breath.

The Hoard is slowly finding it's way out of my house, back into the Peddler's Mall booth #329.  A couple hours work tamed the mess inside the house and on the porch. We took a load to the flea market booth and made a bit more breathing room. There's much more that needs to go!

Something will need to be done about the studio, but not today.

There's been some interest in the little farm, not a serious offer, just a low-ball to see if I'm desperate. As much as I'd like to see the farm rented, it would have to be to people who can afford to keep the place up.

Dad is doing as well as can be expected. Dementia is a bitch, strokes make it worse.

The books are selling better now that I've switched from Smashwords to Draft 2 Digital. It's amazing the difference in just changing vendors.

I've got more mowing to do here at Jordan's Croft. The bush-hog is running VERY well.

Time to get back to it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Hoard - An Ongoing Project

Oh man, I wish there was a faster way to get rid of #TheHoard.

The majority of it is mid-way between "too useful to pitch" and "too valuable to pitch" so I'm putting a buck on the average item and stocking the booth with it.

I know, I could have an auction.

That's what normal people do.

But I don't know what's there, so I can't just let it all go. There are a few valuable items, somewhere in that mess. I wouldn't get anything for them at an auction.

Three months, I'm going to do this for 3 months. I should be able to dispose of hundreds of items in 3 months. Some of the stuff I'm offering for sale is mine. That's what's selling the fastest.

But I keep bringing in a load of stuff a week. Cleaning it up at the house and pricing it. And it's selling.

I'm taking another load to the booth today. Tomorrow I'm going to get another load from Talbot Hill. We finally put a dent in #TheHoard. I'm seeing progress as I go back to the farm and walk into the barn.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Announcing: Book Stop Central

Got A Newsletter?

No? Join Our Newsletter Co-op

As writers, we're told that we need a mailing list with at least 1000 fans in order to be successful. Then we're told we need to send that newsletter out monthly or even (gasp!) weekly.

But most of us are woefully short of time and short of the magic number of fans for our list.

HOWEVER -- if enough authors band together and pool our precious mailing lists, we CAN produce a monthly newsletter than can be sent to enough people to make a difference for all of us.

THEREFORE - We at Icy Road Publishing are inviting you to join our co-op list. 
HOW IT WORKS
Your book(s) will be added to our newsletter "Book Stop Central' for 3 months.

Each ad will require
  • $10 set up fee per book
  • your email addresses
  • a copy of the book's cover in JPEG format
  • the blurb for the book 
  • the vendor website links you want included in your ad
The $10 will cover the creation of the ad, adding the cover, text and links you send us. If your book is available as a paperback, provide us with that link, or the website of the books store where the book is available.

At the end of 3 months, you have the option of leaving our list, or you can sign up for 3 more months.

WHAT'S THE CATCH?
 
You will be required to add 10 emails to our list each quarter. You're welcome to keep copies of the addresses you collect. The success of this venture will depend on the number of email addresses we get. We need the addresses of readers, people who will want to buy our books. Random addresses are not going to give us the same results.

We ask each author contribute email addresses from your readers. Most of us don't collect email addresses because we don't have a newsletter. Remember, this is your newsletter, to your fans, let them know about it.


Feel free to forward this message to anyone who would be interested in joining us as a reader or a writer. 

GOT A RELEASE COMING?
If you would like us to send out a special Newsletter, we can do that if you send us the information, cover art and links. The price will reflect the time required to produce your press release: starting at $10.

If you provide services to authors, or run a bookstore, you can join us as well. We'll be sending out a quarterly newsletter to authors and will advertise your services.

READERS: To join our newsletter, just fill out the form to the left of this page.

WRITERS: If you want to join the newsletter co-op contact us at:
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