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June 2013

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silk – mmmmm…..

June 29, 2013

I’ve just completed my third silk shawl – I’m so in love with silk yarn!

The first shawl I made (all three have been crocheted) was with tussah silk and the other two were with mulberry silk.  It is very surprising how different the two fibres are – the tussah is more yarn like and has a slightly mohair quality, which means that mistakes are costly – pulling back a couple of rows can be painfully slow.  The mulberry silk is made by twisting together 8 very thin strands and mistakes in your work only cost you time to unpick and re-do – it unravels as if it were water.  The lustre and sheen of both is just lovely and the way the made fabric moves is almost other worldly.  Can’t believe I waited so long to work with it!

So, having fallen in love, I definitely need more silk yarn.  I already have a skein of blended silk and camel, which is stranded like the mulberry silk, and I’m looking forward to playing with that.  I’ve also ordered up a couple of other skeins of mulberrry in the most amazing colours: ‘kingfisher pushing up the daisies’ (pictured below) and ‘pestled emerald’.

Thank you DyeForYarn – you make the very best silk yarns, with the very best colour names!

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June 25, 2013

I have not been blogging for several weeks – naughty rabbit!  The reason I haven’t been blogging is that I have been spending quite a lot of time on platforms like facebook, finding my way around.

This has been time well spent for me – I have finally got myself more or less up to speed with social media tools.  I am spending most of my time on facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and I have certainly had my assumptions about each of these challenged!  On facebook, I have found an amazingly buoyant, professional and supportive arts and crafts community.  It is a great way to open a window to your peers and customers on not only your business, but on yourself too – something that I believe is very important for any artisan, since so much of what you produce is about your personal vision and ethos.  For a new business like mine, it is also a brilliant opportunity to see how different creative businesses (and people!) do things, and to be introduced to areas of art and craft that I haven’t previously had experience of.

Pinterest is an extremely fun place – a bit like those old penny arcades in British seaside towns where you walk in and immediately become immersed in an unreal world filled with bright lights and exciting sounds that does something strange to your psyche and makes you blink at the sunlight when you come back out.  You really can spend hours and hours there, pinning like a maniac!  From a business perspective, it is a great place to share your products with a different / wider audience and from a personal perspective, it is like having access to a constant supermarket sweep – the pins are all the things you desire and you can pile them into your trolly with absolutely no thought to the cost – it is a shopper’s paradise!  Just as long as you don’t mind the fact that your purchases are completely virtual, of course!  My wardrobe is absolutely crammed full with enormously expensive vintage designer dresses now – none of which fit me…

Although I started my social media experience with Twitter, I have so far found it the least useful of the three – I’m not yet sure if that is because I aren’t using it effectively, or if it really is a bit limited.  It does, again, give you access to a different and wider audience, but the most useful aspect for me thus far has been getting to know about other makers and the craft and business community in a very accessible and efficient way.  The great thing about tweets is that they take seconds to scan so you can very quickly browse a page of tweets and focus in on what interests you.  Once you have found something, it is just a matter of clicks from there to dive in by levels – to a picture, a conversation, a Twitter page, to a web site or blog.  Sometimes you stop at the first click and sometimes you end up adding the blog to your feedly (another new tool for me!) and read it regularly from then on.

Would love to hear other views about any of these or other social media platforms – I’m still learning!