Yesterday I washed raw wool for the first time. I thought it would be a piece of cake thanks to youtube. And of course, nothing is every as easy as it looks. I didn't want to use the washing machine like some sites recommended because we don't own the one in our apartment- I didn't want to be in the position of "whoops sorry broke the washing machine while washing wool" (It's an old washer - with a new one I wouldn't have been as worried).
So - I used the bathtub. The two fleeces I bought, one mohair (white) and one alpaca (black/grey) were dirtier than I thought possible so it took several rinsings to reach a water color that wasn't dark brown. It's now drying in a sheet hammock outside and on our living room floor. Classy. Some of it felted because I didn't know what I was doing, but most of it is salvageable and I've begun carding some of it. After all that work it's nice to see the fluffy end product.
Apparently I was talking in the middle of the night recently and sat up and said "the wool, the yarn, and the felt". Clearly I have a one track mind, even while sleeping.
And now today I'm spending the day figuring out what I'm doing with my business. I'm at a bit of a breaking point and don't know what to do. It's even getting to the point where, yes, after four and half years, I'm writing a detailed business plan. Above is the second sample made of the Milo Wallet. It's a little different and better than the one I make: it has turned edges and a magnetic closure and I'm happy with it.
It seems like I'm not going to be able to put all my line into production at once like I anticipated and I'm sad about that. Having things made in an American factory is expensive. I am constantly questioning whether it's worth it, and whether my customers are going to be willing to pay that additional cost. The sampling and dies will cost around $4000. If I order 25 wallets, each wallet will be $66 which includes materials. So, a preliminary run costs $1,650. I currently sell this wallet for $160 on my shop. Let's say I just do a 2X mark up - making $132 wholesale and then, let's say my shop (or a retailer) does a 2X mark up - that makes it $264. Which is a lot more than $160 and probably more than most would pay for a wallet. So you can see the pickle that I'm in.
A different factory I spoke with said if I want to keep similar prices to what I already have it's a better option for me to have things made in China. That's so discouraging.
Saturday at the sheep and wool festival. These guys were so small and funny, like little clowns all bumping into each other and making the silliest "baaaa"'s I've ever heard. They kept at it the whole time we were in there.
And these alpacas were a sight for sore eyes. They had all just been sheered, I never realized how skinny their necks are! Cutie pies. I got some raw wool there that I look forward to washing and spinning, or maybe even felting if I feel adventurous. I also got a few pelts, one grey and one cream/brown grey. Fun fluffy times.
Somehow I missed this NEW Pulp song from December. I know, how could I do that. I love how after ten plus years of not writing, they are still able to put something out that's A. awesome and B. still sounds just like them. Here's to hoping that this is a sign of more to come.
You might be able to tell that all this sixty to seventy degree weather is making me happy. So, since I'd rather be at the beach than sewing, I thought I could at least get part of the way there (mentally) by making a beach tote. In the shop here. The first picture is the inside of the bag, and I find it quite a bit more exciting than the outside, so I guess you could wear it inside out too if you don't mind the serged edges showing.
While I continue to navigate the increasingly complicated world of manufacturing, I took a few days to make some dresses. The silver dress I actually made in December with intentions to make a holiday outfit (dress and clutch included) but that didn't happen and so I thought it was the kind of linen that would also work great for the summer, so I made two more dresses to go along with it. Everything is in the shop and the coral and chambray dresses are made to order, the silver dresses are ready to ship and I only had enough fabric to make two of them.
I'm also excited about re-doing the main site with a stop-start photo series of bags being thrown up in the air. It's the small things in life isn't it, bag throwing.
A moment of silence for those who were killed and injured in last Monday's attack, and for those who those who gave so much.
This has been heartbreaking. What seemed so sad and shocking on Monday only became more bizarre and unreal on Friday. I think so many of us who live in Boston find it hard to get this out of our heads. I have done little but listen to news since this started. One of many things that strikes me is that places feel different. This took place in so many neighborhoods and locations that it is hard to remember the positive associations we had with those places. It's the oddest thing to see a place you know - a street intersection or the name of a hospital - suddenly being talked about all over the world.
But I know we are a strong city and will get through this.
Skirts are hardest piece of clothing to wear for me. Dresses, yes, skirts, no. In fact, I don't own a single skirt unless you count that kilt I bought in Scotland when I was thirteen. And let's be frank, finding the proper time to wear a kilt is not the easiest thing. This summer, I'm determined to change this (skirt wearing, not kilt wearing). I'm convinced that the problems I've had in the past all have to do with where the waist line falls. I can't do high-waisted skirts because my torso is not long enough and then the waistline just ends up essentially being an empire waist right at the bustline and that drives me crazy. If a skirt falls right at my "natural" waist, the skirt will rise and bunch when I sit down and then I have to pull it down when I stand up. If I get a skirt with a low-rise, often time I just don't end up liking the look.
So I think the solution is to find something that probably has a mid-rise. I also like the idea of some kind of wrap skirt that is adjustable. I like the length of the first skirt from Creatures of Comfort, and also the above the knee length from the two Pip-Squeak Chapeau ones. I could also try to make a skirt, which would be easy enough, I'm just feeling lazy. First world problems, I know.
The Gretel tote is now available in a thick 5/6 oz vegetable tanned leather in the shop. Really great natural grain and texture and very sturdy!
I still don't have any words to talk about how unreal the past few days have been, but it seems weird to not mention it. Of all cities that things could happen in, Boston has always seemed like a city we live in, but nothing big or important happens in. And the fact that it was a Marathon- it's just crazy. Like everyone, I've been listening to radio non-stop, hoping to get clarity. Sending good thoughts out there to everyone who has been affected by this.
Late night browsing led me to stumble across a new favorite line - Carleen. I saw a few of their pieces at Arrow and Arrow (one quilted jacket and one top) and knew I had to look them up right away! I love the use of all the different textures in the fabrics. The styling is spot on and I think the model seriously has the best hair I have ever seen.