May 31, 2008

Need to work on writing

I need to work on my writing. My ad copy could use work, my explanation of why the hell I started this insane venture needs to be more explicit then "Hmm... well... because I could?" Articulate! If I just keep repeating that maybe I'll get somewhere.

The weather here has been pretty crappy for my allergies and its making me feel run down and tired. I did manage to make it to a few garage sales today like I had wanted. I didn't find too much but I did get about 5 nice sweaters for my trouble. At one garage sale they had these cute vintage dessert plates 7 for $3. They are c. 1975 by the somewhat well know designer Vera Neumann. Here is a picture of one (not my photo I ganked it from google)

See? SO cute. I couldn't pass them up even though I promised Eli I wouldn't buy anything that wasn't a sweater. Now that I have my new kitchen table I want different dishes. I love 70s dishes they are so colorful and can be had for not much money. I like to mix and match things with similar color schemes rather than have everything be a set so it doesn't matter to me if I have one place setting here, or another there.

I should talk about that kitchen table. For the past 6 months or so I've been trawling craigslist for a 50s formica kitchen table in a nice color, ie red, green, yellow, and not grey. I found lots of the grey ones and I almost had a really nice grey one with this adorable apple applique on it but the woman sold it to someone else the night before I was supposed to pick it up. Bitch. Anyway it was a good thing because another table came along that was better. It was THE table. It it vibrant yellow cracked ice pattern on top (in awesome condition) with chrome legs. I had to go pick it up in mundelein on Sunday and it was HOT and my stupid car doesn't have air so I was kinda stinky when I got there but the girl didn't notice. So I inspected it and took the legs off, packed it and headed home. The legs were a bit rusty but having restored a vintage bicycle once I wasn't too worried. The next day I spent ALL day cleaning the rust off with a SOS pad. The legs look almost new. The pitting is barely noticeable unless you look very closely. The aluminum trim shined up nicely too, the SOS pads take the stains off well and polish while they are at it. The aluminum could use a tiny bit more work, but I don't think anyone but me notices. I LOVE the new table. It makes the kitchen so happy. The new little dishes go with it really well.

The house is starting to feel really mine after so long. I've been on a long war of attrition to give back all the furniture Eli had borrowed from his parents. This was not SO much that I didn't like it, but more that his father was so very anal about it. He made up keep an ugly vinyl table cloth on the kitchen table so we wouldn't harm it. I hated that. Now we most have all out own furniture and we can really use it and love it instead of resenting our living space.

Anyway here are the images of the table from the ad. Yes I'm lazy and haven't taken pictures of anything yet :P Also the chairs, sadly, did not come with the table. Thats ok though I think I can find better ones.

So I guess those are the before. I'll have to take some afters to show the work I did. Its great.

I've been doing things OTHER than buy stuff (not too much though Eli and went to tjmaxx last night) I've finished 3 more hats recently and took the seams out of a load of sweater so I can frog them. This is good. I went to knit at the yarn exchange today after garage saleing. I got to talk some with Sandy who it really great. We were talking about machinery and favorite yarns that you can't get any more of. I yakked too much about my business, but then I always do that. Its just SO important to me it pretty much takes over my mind. So Sandy offered to send any sweaters that weren't good enough for encore my way, like ones with stains and what not. This is AWESOME. Free yarn to recycle? Sign me up! So I am very stoked. I think all fibers should be pretty good quality and all. Small flaws that make a sweater not nice to wear don't impact its frogability much.

I have to say something to all the people I have met since I started doing this. THANK YOU!! Eveyone has been so kind and helpful to me that I don't think I would have had the courage without you. Cassie - thanks for contacting me out of the blue to be in the Eco Art Fair.
Kristin - thanks for all the great advice and encouragement.
Knitting group members - you guys are awesome and fun, thanks so much.

May 28, 2008


Today when I came home from my appointment with Dr. P to find I had sold 6 skeins of yarn on etsy! I was sooooo happy. I made like $50 today. I've been posting a skein of yarn everyday for the last 4 days or so and I guess it has paid off. I also spent a lot of time yesterday putting all of my yarns on ravelry so who knows, maybe that worked. One of the purchasers was actually my first internet sale which was awesome. So now I have a repeat customer. YAY!! Now I have to package it all up and ship it out. I need to unravel some more yarns today too, I wasn't expecting to sell so many so quickly.

For those who are interested next week is the first farmer's market here in DeKalb, so come out and join the fun. Its at the corner of 4th and Grove.

Also next weekend we are having a garage/craft supply fair in which many fine goods will be for sale for excellent prices. We have high quality acrylic and watercolor paints, an excellent wooden easel, yarns, ceramics, beads and much much more. So stop on by 916 Grove St., DeKalb, IL on the 6th and 7th of June. We will probably be there till 5pm.

May 18, 2008

Trucking along

So I've gotten the go-ahead from ReNew DeKalb about my farmers market stall and I can't hardly contain myself. I went to the salvation army on thursday and bought some display baskets and table clothes for my stall and this really cool wine rack I'm going to hang yarn off of. I already have 3 folding tables so I am getting pretty well set for my display. I feel really happy that this is going forward, but pretty nervous too. I hope all goes well.

Tonight I went for the first time to the DeKalb stitch & bitch and I had a blast. I gave Carolyn her yarn (which she digs) and had a good time discussing knitting with our guest who was telling us about her fleece and sheep. We also talked about a lot of random stuff including some of us who had memorable incidents with ticks. Yes we are classy thank-you-very-much.

I'm putting out a call for anyone who buys my yarn to send me pictures of what they make with it. I'll post them in the blog, it'll be fun. I'm so curious to see what others make of my hard-won fibers I love so well.

A note about philosophy-
This project is really so important to me. I think reusing and recycling has an big impact so I've chosen for the time being to make it my profession in a way. I think it will be so satisfying to see what comes out of rescuing this yarn. I think commercial sweaters are often boring and misshapen and the consequence of this is a very good product essentially going in the garbage. I get all my sweaters from the salvation army and they have a very high turnover of clothing in the store here because of the volume of donated clothing. A lot of what can't be sold gets thrown away. They make no distinctions in fiber quality or condition. This is where I come in and pick and choose what to rescue. There are somethings I look for such as silk and cashmere which I almost always take but there are some more ephemeral qualities I take into consideration when I select a future yarn such as if I personally like the color or the feel of the yarn.

Of course this all ties back into the name I chose for my shop; defaceReconstruct. I sat down with the idea that raw materials make objects which are themselves raw materials for other things in almost infinite ways and that often times we need to take things apart in order to create. This dichotomy is a large part of what goes into my art and life. So I sat down with this idea and a thesaurus and tried almost every imaginable combination of words till I got the current ones. They just sounded right, almost like when you find the resonance pitch of a room and the tone echos and sings in way that no other tone does. So there.

Things I need to get done
- go on a picking trip I have to get more sweaters my stash is running low.
- Build my kiln
- make labels for & photograph new yarn for sale
- return ill-bought skirt to Target
- Send in booth application for Yarn Con (yay!)
- Think about buying some advertising
- Work on ceramics
- Sign up for dancing classes
- Write hat pattern

Whew! I should get started!


May 14, 2008

I made a flikr today!

Today I joined flikr. My username is, of course, defaceReconstruct. I'm hoping it will be a good way to promote myself and my work, plus its neat. I'm so behind on all the internet crazes these days. I joined a couple of groups already on flikr and they seem cool. One is focused on recycled crafts which is right up my alley with my recycled yarns. I also joined a ceramics group which led me to a cool vessel contest called the Art in the Round Contest. Its only $25 to enter and that entitles you to submit 3 pieces. The grand prize is $3000. It would be the best thing in the whole world if I would win, but I'm not confident that I could AT ALL. But it might get me some exposure as its run entirely on the internet and judged by internets peoples.

In other news I'm still waiting to hear back from ReNew DeKalb if I get my farmers market stall or not. It makes me a little nervous as my recycled yarn is just in a little bit of grey area as to whether or not they will consider it enough of a craft to let me sell it. I do quite a lot of processing on the yarn to get it from sweater to skein so I am of the opinion that it is indeed a craft and does take some skill. I really hope they let me sell it.

I need to start building my kiln soon and work on some ceramics so I can have some more to sell in June. I hope the kiln won't destroy all greenware as I would like to not have to find a way to purchase an electric kiln. That would pretty well suck. $$$$$$ I'm going to be optimistic and make a bunch of draped slab work (quick and dirty) to test in it. I can't imagine it will take more than a day to set up, but I don't know for sure.

My first sale on my etsy shop finally left me feedback. It was good of course with a nice comment that gave me the warm and fuzzies. I'm hoping that if I keep at it I will get more sales. I'm still trying to think of it as a backup to my local business so I don't get too discouraged if I don't end up selling all that much.

May 13, 2008


Today I met with Kristin whom I met a couple of months ago when I decided to go to the knitting group on Fridays at the Yarn Exchange. She's a very inspiring girl who runs the blog craftleftovers. The subject of today's meeting was an interview she wanted to do with me about my etsy store and the recycling of sweaters. I was pretty nervous that I would be nervous and awkward, but I feel pretty comfortable with Kristin and it was easy for us to gab about things. It was easy for me to answer her questions because I have spent so much time lately thinking about what I'm doing and why and figuring out logistics and making plans. Its pretty tiring really but I get by.

Kristin is coming by tomorrow to take some pictures of me and my pottery so I think I'll dress up and bit and ham for the camera.

It was funny, she was going to record our conversation so she could take some quotes but she ended up not turning it on. I almost think this was a good thing considering how much I digress about things. I don't like recording moments, like photographing events or videotaping them. I like the fuzzy logic of memory, sifting through what I remember and what others remember and constructing my own stories out of bits of the past. But I'm famously digressing again.

I really can't be happier with Kristin answering my questions today and being so kind and friendly about giving me advice about my etsy shop and sharing her experiences. It is honestly one of the most helpful and kind things that has happened in the whole experience of my business. It definitely gave me warm fuzzies.

After I came home from talking with Kristin I went outside and took more photos of my yarn and prints and took some preliminary photos of my ceramics. I need to take some notes and think about what angles I missed and what might make them look best. The late afternoon sunshine in the back yard is glorious this time of year with all the flowers in bloom. It makes me remember why I like being here. The yarn and print photos are pretty fab though. I think the print ones are especially fantastic. I made a little spiral photo holder with some florist wire and planted it in a little bare patch of ground that was surrounded by very short ground cover with little white flowers and there was a single tulip and the rock bench in the background. Goodness those picture don't even look real.

See what I mean? Photographs are so weird for me. They always seem like something that just happens, not like something I have created. Sometimes I look at them and think, I composed that? I made that image exist? It feels strange. But this was very productive. Then I spent forever and a day uploading the rest of the pictures on to my listing for my store. I sure hope they sell some things!

May 9, 2008


I just read blog post and I am sickened and saddend by the treatment of the women in the article. SO fucking sad.

May 4, 2008


I had a great time at the Eco Fair on Tuesday and made a tidy $50 or so. A friend came over afterward and we had a good time chilling out and eating Eli's delicious food.

Today I sold my first thing on my Etsy shop! I'm hoping it will start taking off soon, but I'm not relying on it. I think it will mostly be a supplement to fairs to help build my local customer base. I'm trying to get a booth at the DeKalb farmers market(they're craft friendly) and trying to get myself signed up for some art fair booths to sell my yarn and arts. This week is the last week of school and there is a LOT to do! I have soooo much ceramics to work on its not even funny, but I hope I can sell some of these things once they're finished. I have a couple of commissioned cups almost done for a friend and I want to make more because they are cool.

Here's a sample of the stuff in my Etsy store. BUY SOME!!!