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The One Woman Studio…

I am Bombed Yarns. I am proud of where I am today. The move and building of the studio, was a big leap. It was a good decision because I am able to be more efficient and productive. It also meant the demand and interest has increased. Which honestly, is very flattering. This was a surprise. The best bit about the move has been the ability to warmly welcome the community to the space to enjoy, learn or share their skills. This has been the heart of what I wanted for this creative space.

For Bombed Yarns to happen, I need time. Time to think, to plan, to prepare and to make. Once made… time to share and experience the joy of the item, take photos that are good and clear, to fill in information for the purchasers and to finally release for sale. Admin is a big part of selling handmade. It is time sucked away from producing. Meanwhile time is also needed to process the orders already waiting (pictures above), respond to messages and emails (this I enjoy when I do not have time restraints), prepare for future ideas and thoughts (many do not get to fruition stage!), test ideas and thoughts (see a colourway in photo), re dye and re try, do my own personal handcraft (see Hipsters Shawl photo), tidy work space, plan events and meanwhile be a mum (school holidays!) and wife/sister/daughter. The balance is forever being rejigged.

Handmade – is made by a person who has studied their craft and have taken that scary leap to share it. They do it from scratch or with deliberate intention to produce something of high quality and beauty. This means time and lots of learning on the way. So when you purchase something handmade – there is a story behind it you will not know. Instead you will have the piece that is part of that story. I was not a well practised dyer when I began Bombed Yarns with my business partner. I had only been dyeing for a couple of years for myself. When I look back at the beginnings – still beautiful yarn but different. When Bombed Yarns became just me – I needed a bit of time to work out where I was going to take it. I knew I wanted to dial down the ‘properness’ and inject some not taking it too seriously fun. I feel like I am getting there. I still smile at my yarn names and things I have displayed.

Oh and I forgot to mention social media. This in itself is a huge importance to my business but also is another business of its own. There are people who sell support to manage the social media. Seriously peeps it is full on. Nothing quick or straightforward about it. It can be one of the things that stop people from selling their beautiful work. They want to enjoy and love what they do, not be in front of a screen ‘admining’ fair enough. I am constantly doing things in the background but it is not for social media (plus the time to actually photo etc etc), who wants to watch me dust the yarn shelf, clean dye pots and type on a computer?

Enabling others and myself and heading into my middle age years finding new things and my purpose. It is my anti depressant. That is the one woman studio.

We lost a member of our community this week. A lovely lady who was only ever so kind. She came to the last community get together, which was so lovely. RIP Stephanie.

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Behind scenes

On the weekend, the youngest and hubby decided to do some ‘digging’ for a cousin. This meant I did not feel guilty heading to the work space ‘to do some stuff’. I wanted to tackle this job – it needed to get done.

I am not a professional photographer in any way. I have learned on the job. It is such an essential part of what I do. I have a fabulous high quality camera on loan from my father-in-law. Really after two years, I should buy it from him or go get one. The latest iphone, just does not do the job good enough. I worked on 46 different bases/colours. Just doing the photos took about four and a half hours. The next big job is sitting down in front of this screen and colour checking. This will be another many hours, depending how well the camera worked. That was todays plan – but that went out the window. Orders, replying to emails/messages and a friend visiting on her birthday was a priority. Tomorrows job now. Once this is done then I can start putting them up on the website. Which means the promised new colour way has not been put up. I hate disappointing people.

I pride myself in making sure I get the colours right in the photos. I want to know, when customers receive their yarns, they receive what they are expecting. I have purchased yarn and they look nothing like the photos – which makes me crabby. Colour checking can sometimes take A LONG time. Sometimes I just re do the photos… you can only filter so much!

I did employ a professional photographer to try and see if I could outsource. For a few important reasons it did not work out. They never came back to me and asked why. Feedback is so important, it could have meant a ongoing job for them. Sometimes it is just easier to do it yourself. You never know – someone might come along and nail the job so I can focus on the other things.

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My Ashford Electric Ball Winder

It has been a while since I purchased my Ashford e-ball winder. When I shared it on Instagram a few people asked what I thought of it. I think now I can fairly review it.

I was pretty excited to purchase it. Though it was a good bunch of the budget, I could see the value. With carpel tunnel flaring up and lots of orders to ball yarn, I just had to do it. I used it on odd occasions because I getting hits and misses with it. I was not able to work out what made it a hit. This often meant I was reballing a ball just to make it look tidier and not always successfully. Was kind of defeating the purpose.

A friend wanted to help me with stuff at the studio. SO I gave her the ball winding job. She was having the same outcomes as I have been. SURELY at that price and with good reviews, I have to be missing something. I decided to do my research… I came cross Sally Ridgeway’s blog about her experience. Sally is another local hand dyer so I knew I can trust her review. I was relieved to see, she had experienced the same thing as me. Not only did she review it – she also shared her insights and how to make it work.

She nailed it – I (cough) should have read the instructions and watched their video which is less than minute long (face palm)…. SIGH… I adjusted a few things and hey presto it is working like a dream. I even send a video to my friend so I did not scare her off for life.

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You need to start somewhere

This time five years ago, I would never have imagined I would be doing what I am. Sitting in front of my computer beginning a blog, hand dyeing yarn professionally and a website to boot. What a ride it has been. The mix of emotions, learning curves (some have been oh so steep) and the demands. What has come with it, has been amazing and if I had to do my time again, I would.

You have to start somewhere. What ever you do – it does not mean it will be where you are in two months or two years. What it means, is you are giving it a go, your belief is great enough and you value the opportunity. I feel like I am constantly starting something. A colour way idea or an event or an opportunity to share what you love. It just has to start – with the only promise of giving it a go.

Here in this blog, I hope to share the daily stuff that comes with being a yarn dyer. I will keep it real. SO here we go. Lets begin…