Oracular seidhr for November: Tuesday the 12th

My next oracular seidhr session will take place on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013. If you would like to be included, please email your question to me at: wodandis at gmail dot com.

Since I skipped my October session, I will be relaxing my limit of five querents for this month’s session; I have a few questions I saved from last month, have already received one new request this month, and have room for a few more.  So if you have a question, send it in!

Per usual, I will still be accepting only ONE question per session from each individual (with NO follow up questions, please!) . Please allow 2-3 days after the session to receive your answer, to account for the fact that Jo needs to type up the dictation she takes down during the sessions, after which I look over and sometimes amend her transcription before emailing the answers off to you.

Please get your questions to me by Monday night if you would like to be included! I will reply briefly to your email to let you know you’re in, and will post again when I feel I’ve reached my limit for the questions.

Although this is a free service I provide to the community and payment is not necessary, donations are always VERY gratefully accepted, especially this month, as I really overextended myself on preparing my booth for my recent craft fair venture and made no sales at it.  (More on that later: the venue and so many other things were wrong about this!)  Also, this disaster coincided with my having recently reduced my working hours to 25 per week, and while I am definitely seeing an increase in my energy levels as a result, there is also a rather large decrease in my paycheck.  So as always, if you appreciate what I am doing with my seidhr practice and/ or my blog, and I have helped you in some way, I deeply appreciate any financial gift you can afford to make, no matter how small. If you would like to make a donation you may do via Paypal at wodandis at gmail dot com.  Or, you could always hop on over to FiberWytch on Etsy and pick up some handspun yarn or a ritual cord or two instead; all of my prices have recently been lowered with the holiday shopper in mind (I realize many of you have money issues of your own, but you still need to get those holiday gifts bought or made, right?), and I’m adding at least one new item every day.  (Plus, domestic US shipping is now free!)

More information about my seidhr practice may be found here.

Not just a maker

Reblogging this not only because it’s a fabulous affidavit for my handspun yarn (thank you, Heather!) but because she brings up important points about the essence of Making, which is the art of bringing things into manifestation that did not exist previously in the physical realm, and traditional crafts as a link to the ancestors. This has been one of the most compelling things about hand spinning for me: the fact that I can feel the unbroken thread (pun intended) stretching back through time connecting me to all of the women who have ever spun. This is a very, very long thread indeed, and some of the women have never been mortal. I also knit, and I plan to take up embroidery at some point in honor of Anne, who was a talented needle worker, but spinning is the craft that calls to me most powerfully, perhaps because spinning is the act of collecting the filaments of potential, smoothing and drafting them, and twisting them into something strong and durable. It is Wyrdworking.

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!

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*

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.