Here an alpaca, there an alpaca, everywhere alpacas!

I have a confession. I want alpaca. Badly. I don’t know the first thing about raising alpaca or really farming in general, but I would absolutely jump at the opportunity to raise some sweet fuzzy headed alpaca darlings. I love living in town and close enough to run to the store and back in less than 20 minutes for a forgotten dinner ingredient or toilet paper, so why would I want to have farm land? I’m pretty sure its fiber insanity. There is no other explanation. We currently live in a college town in Northwest Arkansas, I will spare the woo pig since I am not a Razorback fan (Boomer Sooner baby), and we live on the outer edge of town. We are within two miles of two grocery stores, five or so gas stations, and tons of restaurants. We are also within a few miles of farm land. Every time we drive in the direction of the farms, I get it in my head that it is so perfectly located for someone like me who loves the convenience of living in town and yet wants about 6 or so alpacas. I find myself plotting ways to try to talk my darling husband into joining the ranks of EIEIO. I read alpaca blogs, hoping that their snippets of information will somehow turn me into an expert farmer. I think about how fun it would be to share raising alpaca (and maybe sheep) with my son, and how I would even love to have a big vegetable garden. Then reality sets in and my bright, sunny hillside fiber farm grows dark with the 8-5 (actually 9-6) cubicle work, bills, and less than perfect credit that greatly diminishes my chances of ever achieving this farm. Oh and spiders, snakes, and other creepy crawlies that seem to love open fields. I guess for now I will settle for visiting the alpaca farm on the other side of town instead.

Some designing

I am in the mood to do some design work. The biggest problem is I font know what it is I am wanting to design. I wish I had some stitch dictionaries. That would be helpful right about now. Just one more thing for the wishlist. Anyway I was looking at a lovely pattern by Kristin Ohmdal that I love. It is a mobius wrap called. Unfortunately I am not a crocheter so I will not be making this any time soon. I am sure I could do it if I really wanted to, but I just don’t because it is crochet. It did make me thing about knitting something similar and that led to me wanting to design something. Oh well there is more to it than that. Her blog has a lovely fan and feather at the top of the page. I love knitting fan and feather. I just might have to find something to incorporate a fan and feather pattern into. I have some ideas ranging from more classic looking designs to more funky art pieces. I wish I could take a picture of the pieces I see in my mind. That would be helpful. I need to work on my drawing since that would be helpful too.
As far as spinning is concerned, well I haven’t been doing much lately. I want to badly, but I haven’t. I have some lovely fiber given to me by a friend that is waiting patiently for me to pull my wheel infront of my chair. I just really want to work on this design a bit first. Tough sketches and stuff. I did get out my drop spindle the other day and spun up a sample from my PhatFiber box. It is a sample from Plum Crazy Ranch. The color at first wasn’t anything that struck me as special. It was pretty, but just didn’t jump out and scream gorgeous until I got it on the spindle. Now I am in love. I played with it a bit, seeing how it looked thicker and thinner and all. I will have to order some later but it will wait a bit.
I should be getting a car this weekend. I am nervous about it. I haven’t had my own car since 2007. Greenwise I don’t want a car. Both earth and pocketbook. However at this point it really will be cheaper and better for us to have two. We will be spending the same amount or less in gas, I will be able to get a job which means even though we will have insurance on two cars, I will be able to make money. So yeah. A car it is. The guy is letting us pay half now and half next month. I am happy and nervous. Jim says he is going to paint it, but we don’t have a place for him to paint it so I don’t know how that’s going to happen. I wish we could buy a small house on a couple acres and have a big shed that we could turn into a paint booth and have alpacas too! Maybe someday. Oh and I want a pool. :0)

Dreams

It amazes me how much dreams can change. When Jim and I first sat down and talked about one day starting a yarn shop and laying out our basic plan, all I really wanted was a brick and mortar shop. I still want this because I think that it is very important to be able to touch the yarns. I have seen yarns that I would never have bought had I not touched them and fallen in love. Not that pictures aren’t nice, but there is something about seeing the yarns in person and touching them that allows the yarn to really speak. Besides the obvious happiness that yarn in person is, there is something special about going to a LYS and being around other knitters. For a long time I didn’t have a LYS. I didn’t know anyone else that knitted. It wasn’t easy to come up with inspiration. There were a few blogs that I read, but I didn’t know about Ravelry or knitting podcasts or anything else. I had very little inspiration. I finally turned some friends into knitters and a LYS opened up in town. It changed my life so much.
So anyway, we sat down one day and discussed the possibility of opening a shop one day. It had been a dream of mine for a while. We set up a tentative 10 year plan which is open to lots of change. One of the things that my husband suggested and kind of pushed for was for me to start selling my own yarns. Although I enjoyed spinning, it wasn’t something that I really wanted to pursue as the bulk of what I did for any real length of time. I was still more or less a beginner and I just didn’t think it would be for me. And forget dyeing yarns! No way, no how.
Opening an online shop well before a brick and mortar shop to get established and all made it into the plan. This meant I had to work on my spinning skills. The more I practiced, the more I loved it. I even tried my hand at dyeing, which I honestly had been afraid to do. I don’t know why. As soon as I made the decision to try it, I had more ideas than I had dye (still do actually!). I have pages and pages of ideas. I think I was so afraid I wouldn’t know what colors or whatever and now the hardest part is deciding which colors to choose! I want to dye everything in sight! I have so much experimenting that I want to do, but I am now at a point that I am comfortable dyeing. I love it except I have to decide between colors and stuff! Hard decisions!
We had talked about selling yarns on Etsy before we get to the point that I am ready for my own site. It would give us an opportunity to work out some kinks and firgure things out. This is a huge learning experience for me. I am really learning so much and I can’t wait to get some of my ideas moving and see how well they actually work. I am now wanting to focus more on online sellin than a brick and mortar shop. So far I have figured out things I have been doing wrong, or rather things that I need to be doing better. The biggest so far is that I haven’t really been willing to commit myself to my ideas and even to the yarns. If I want this so bad then why not commit? I’ve been scared. I have lacked the confidence in this because I didn’t want to be rejected. Now I know that there isn’t a single yarn out there that everyone loves, but just because some people aren’t fond of them, doesn’t mean that they aren’t great yarns. I know that not everyone will like my yarns or won’t find a use for them. There are yarns out there that I adore, but won’t buy because I haven’t found a use for them. I am a project knitter mostly. This means I have a very limited stash, which is both nice and irritating. I rarely buy yarn just because I like it because I don’t want it to sit in a bin knowing it may never be used. I want my yarns to be the same way! I don’t want someone to buy it and it never get to be used! Well really if it bring the purchaser happiness, even if it doesn’t get used still makes it fullfill it’s purpose, but I at least want themto want to use it! This has been a huge hurdle for me to overcome. There are other hurdles like for now I am a domestic goddess (aka housewife) and our money situation is much different than when I was working full time. The good side: I have plenty of time to spin and dye. The bad side: I don’t have much money for product. My husband and I have sat down and talked about if I am going to continue staying home or go back to work. We both like me being home but extra money would be nice too, so I am going to look for something part time to kind of balance everything.