Etsy shop update!

new yarns

I’m working on a huge update over at FiberWytch on Etsy: lots of new handspun yarns, all ready to be snapped up (at just lowered, holiday-ready prices) and worked unto smashing Christmas/Hanukah/Yule gifts that will make you world-famous.  (Or at least earn you a lot in the way of happy, sincere thanks.)  If you’ve never knitted or crocheted with hand spun yarn before, you’re in for a treat you won’t soon forget.  And if you have, you know that there’s nothing quite like it for beauty, warmth and quality; there is a special magic to handspun.

All of my yarn is hand dyed, and most of it has been completely hand processed by me from raw fleece to finished skein.  I source all of my wool locally to help support the economy of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon in particular.  And I use environmentally friendly, professional quality dyes that are completely free from heavy metals

BUT best of all for holiday shopping, ALL yarns and cords throughout my store now ship for FREE within the domestic US.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go browse some handspun, and get a head start on those mittens and hats!

The annual “I need wool!” sale

Black Sheep Gathering is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: I need wool!  The choicest farm-fresh local fleeces, from a variety of breeds, will be offered for sale after judging closes for the fiber show on 6/22, and as usual I am short on funds.  (This year, we can blame vet bills incurred by our beloved pooch.)

And so, for the next 20 days (until June 17th, 2012) I am offering 20% off any sale in my Etsy store over $20 (this can include multiple items included in any single order, and they will all receive the discount).  If you’ve been wanting a Ritual Cord, or just want to stock up on some fabulous handspun yarn for fall knitting projects, there won’t be a better time than this!  To claim your discount, just enter the coupon code INEEDWOOL at checkout–it’s that easy.  (Or, you know, you could always just donate some money so I can buy wool.)

Edited to add: please feel free to spam this at will!

Fensalir Fiber blog offline for revisions

Since I’ve reblogged quite a few posts here from my Fensalir blog, I suppose I need to let you guys know that I’ve temporarily taken that blog down for an extensive redesign.  I am in the process of defining a solid brand identity for my shop (something that’s long overdue), and I already know that a complete revamping of the store blog will be part of that, so I just went ahead and took it offline now to give myself time to play with different ideas for it as they emerge.  But I have several other projects going on right now too, some of which need to be finished before the end of this month, so it may be a few weeks before the redesigned blog is ready to be unveiled!

Venom Yarns: Fiber with a Bad Attitude

Introducing a special new line of yarns for my Fensalir Fiber Art shop on Etsy: Venom Yarns.

The first four yarns in this collection are available now, and I’ll be adding more as the inspiration takes me. In contrast to the somewhat more positive spin of my mythologically inspired and plant dyed yarns, Venom Yarns are 100% bad attitude and proud of it, with names like Toxic Kool Aid, Sharkbait, and Rotten Apple. They are handspun by me using only the finest farm-fresh fibers, and their gorgeous color ways are hand dyed using low impact professional acid dyes and the occasionally packet of drink mix–meaning they are NOT toxic to the environment. Come take a bite; you know you want to!

In honor of this launch, I am also introducing a new coupon code: FENSALIRLOVE. Enter this code at checkout in my store and you’ll get 10% off on your entire order. Which means it’s definitely time to stock up on some handspun yarn for all that holiday knitting…*wink*

Wytch of the North liquidation sale

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Wizard of Oz (1939) (Photo credit: twm1340)

Sounds a bit like something out of  The Wizard of Oz, huh?

Seriously, though, I will be closing my Wytch of the North Etsy store on August 1st (sooner if all or most items sell before then) in order to concentrate on my fiber and yarn store as well as a couple of new ideas I have.

I would naturally prefer to move out all of my current stock before then, and as a result have deeply discounted everything.  All of my animal totem necklaces on felt cords are $10, all earrings are $6, and if you purchase three or more items you will get a FREE 1/4 oz amber glass bottle of one of my special handcrafted herbal oils.  (Choose from Nine Herbs oil, Rose Love oil, Vanilla Lust oil, or my new Frigga oil.)  These oils are not for sale separately at this time.)

ALSO, if you purchase more than one item your entire order will ship FREE.

Go have a look!

(I’m sorry but I cannot ship to non-US addresses because all of my items contain animal bones.  This is a law I don’t like any more than you do, but there it is and I hope you’ll understand.)

Some exciting news!

First off, I apologize for being so quiet around here lately, and for not uploading the photos from Black Sheep Gathering.  (Hopefully I will get to that this weekend!)  I have been suffering a fibro flare-up post-BSG as a result of being on my feet for two days straight for that event and the work of washing my fleeces, which does involve more heavy lifting than I probably ought to be doing.

As for my exciting news though: I am now a featured blogger for the Witches and Pagans magazine PaganSquare blog.  I was approached by the editor, Anne Newkirk Niven, a couple of weeks back and my first post just went online yesterday.  If you like, you can follow my new blog (Threads: Exploring Frigga, Fiber and Fate) here.

I find it incredibly amusing that, after my having basically said “F you” to any notion of pursuing a career as a writer, something like this happens.  It’s also rather ironic that–given the fact that most of my religious and spiritual focus has always been on Odin–it would be my thoughts on Frigga and spinning that finally lead to a break in the world of pagan publishing.  Go figure.  (I can almost see the Norns snickering.)  But the blog should be fun, and I hope you’ll join me there!

Supplies for class, plant dyes, and Fensalir Fiber update

(Crossposted–mostly–to Fensalir Fiber Art)

My 2-day “Camp Puckyfluff” workshop with Lexi Boeger is coming up in only two short weeks, and I am SO excited! Yesterday I went through my supplies list and stopped in to Eugene Textile Center to pick up a few things:

Supplies for Camp Pluckyfluff Eugene
Supplies for Camp Pluckyfluff Eugene

My purchases included Mohair fleece, recycled silk sari ribbon, whole silk cocoons (with the bug still inside; I actually have a project for my store in mind for these), silk chiffon and cotton lawn fabric, green mohair/Merino yarn, and an assortment of  decorative lace weight cone yarns, for plying: stainless steel, red wool with stainless steel, and tea green silk with stainless steel.  You can’t see these very well in the photo, but they’re really beautiful and shimmery.  I was also eyeing some pineapple fiber lace  weight that I may sneak in to pick up next week (I’m having buyer’s regret that I didn’t get it).

I keep saying I’m going to finally get a lazy kate, but there always end up being things I want or need more!  My shoe boxes are working just fine for now anyway, thank you very much. 🙂

I also received mail happiness this week in the form of a pound of Gotland/Merino cross fleece and a pound of gorgeous Lincoln locks, from Shepherd’s Lane on Etsy.  So I am very well set with wool, until Black Sheep Gathering at any rate!

I am currently dyeing half the silk and cotton fabric yardage with coffee grounds, and will be dyeing the other half with madder root later this week.  Although I’ve been getting some fabulous results with the Jaquard acid dyes, I’m feeling pulled towards experimenting with plant dyes (and kitchen waste dyes) again, and hope to be able to go out and harvest fresh flowers and leaves for the dye pot too now that the weather is finally getting warmer and the rain is tapering off.  The bright acid dye colors are really pretty, but the softer effects of the plant dyes are more “me,” more aligned with my personal aesthetic, I think.

(As an aside, I am thinking the cotton lawn fabric would be the perfect material and weight for handsewn head coverings! I’ve been playing around with sewing these myself, but need a lighter weight fabric for summer, and I love the idea of dyeing it myself with plant dyes, for results that cannot be found in any fabric store.)

In honor of Earth Day, I also got a start of my dye plant garden today, with madder seeds:

Madder seeds
My flat freshly planted with madder seeds

I hope these do well, since I haven’t been able to find any starts for this plant anywhere!

Oh and almost forgot: this week’s Fensalir Fiber Art update on Etsy includes Border Leicester in Cherry Blossoms (the perfect spring color!), California Bling (California red wool with green-copper sparkle), and Cotswold Glitz (silver Cotswold with marcasite sparkle.)

Border Leicester in Cherry Blossoms
Border Leicester handspun yarn in Cherry Blossoms

My identity crisis

(cross-posted to Fensalir Fiber Art)

Or not mine exactly, but that of my business, Fensalir Fiber Art.

As those of you who have followed the evolution of my little Etsy fiber shop will know, this is an issue I’ve explored and reexplored since even before posting my first skeins of yarn. My recent post on Fehu in the Pagan Blog Project seems to have brought it to the forefront again. In that post, I talked about the fact that many pagans feel reluctant to spend their money on items crafted by strongly Christian artisans. I myself have no issues with doing so, but I respect the fact that many people do.

Recently it came to my attention that many fiber artists (spinners, knitters, weavers, what have you) are people of very definite and overt Christian faith. I’m not sure why this surprised me; after all, fiber working is a traditionally feminine craft in most cultures, and devout Christian women– at least those whose Christianity is a major part of their lifestyle and identity–seem to gravitate towards traditional femininity and its trappings. (This happens to be the same demographic of Christian women who choose to veil, unsurprisingly, and as a corollary to that there is a disproportionally high number of fiber people among pagan women who cover their heads–but I digress.)

Now, to a certain extent fiber (like most serious crafts) is its own language, and I’ve found myself able to talk freely to almost anyone who works with it, as long as the conversation is about fiber, spinning, knitting, sheep, and related topics. The one time I’ve brought up religion in the midst of such people I got a rather cold and mildly offensive reaction (I won’t go into detail), so I’ve learned not to do that again. As I said above, I don’t mind dealing with people on the level of fiber and working with it, and leaving it at that; people don’t need to be all things to me in order for me to find some use for them in my life. I also don’t have a probem buying my supplies from such people, or taking lessons from them to enrich my own art. (Hey , I’m Odin’s; we are nothing if not opportunistic.)

However it did get me thinking about my own efforts to keep my fiber store separate from my religous life, and I had to ask myself why. It’s one thing to maintain a separate blog for the store; that’s fine, and I’d rather reserve my more heavy duty, in-depth religious posts for my spiritual blog. But why try to downplay the fact of my being pagan when it is so central to my own identity, when it is in many ways the thing that defines me? What else is there that sets my work and my store apart–especially considering that most of the people I’m competing with have been doing this for far longer than me and have much more polished skillsets? It occurred to me that I am not increasing the appeal of my business by trying to downplay my pagan identity, but rather shooting myself in the foot. What about those pagans out there who knit or crochet and would love to have handspun yarn but don’t care to buy from flagrantly Christian handspinners? What about all the cool accessories with pagan appeal (Tarot card and rune bags, anyone? tailspun ritual crowns? handknitted headcoverings?) I could be making with my handspun? And how for the love of Sleipnir do I expect to blog, Tweet, and post to Facebook and Pinterest to help my prospective customers get to know me better when I’m trying to avoid mentioning such a central part of my life?

What sets me apart as a person and as an artist is, unquestionably, my pagan faith. Embracing that fact may not be my secret to success, but rejecting it and trying to compete on an equal playing field (I almost typed “equal plying field” there) is certainly not going to help my cause any.