What’s Up At Abby’s Yarns Lately

So right about a week ago, Victoria Crossman, who was my first-ever production right hand at my old brick and mortar studio got ahold of me and let me know she had some space in her schedule.

Abby and Victoria in the middle of the Great Production Room Emergency Sort And File

Abby and Victoria in the middle of the Great Production Room Emergency Sort And File

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows her, or who remembers my studio, that I leapt at the chance to have her come help me out with some stuff. For starters, she attacked the chaos that has been my production room here at home, sorting everything (because she already knew what it all was, and I could say things like “separate out batt materials from class supplies,” and she already knew) and setting up two carding workstations, one for the Strauch and one for the Pat Green.

That made us ready to push through batt and roving production like we used to back in the day. And then we got to doing that.

So for our first week of ramping back up, we managed to do 1 Batt Bar Batt, 16 Fresh Rovings, and a whopping 76 Classic Abby Batts. We’re so impressed with ourselves right now it’s almost cute.

Fresh Roving 20171115a is my favorite this batch. A base of 70% superfine merino and organic Corriedale blended with 30% hand-dyed tussah silk, 70 grams / $24.50

Batt Bar A

Classic Abby Batts: Forest Floor

Now, in fairness, we used to do that in two days, so we’re a little slow still. And also, those days were longer than the ones we’ve got right now. But I have to tell you: it’s amazing what it’s like to get back to work with someone I’ve already worked with, who’s already trained up and skilled up, and who already knows the big picture thinking and objectives and goal-setting and all that sort of thing.

Once I knew we’d be able to do some really solid production, though, I had to accelerate my plans to retool web sites and relaunch an online store and all kinds of stuff like that. I’d figured on spending a big chunk of next year trying to find and train someone to work with me on production, and it was all kinds of overwhelming for all kinds of reasons, ranging from work room chaos to finding someone and training them up.

So, what I’ve done this past week includes:

– make a “First Dibs Fibers” section that’s exclusive to Patreon members for the first 2 days
– make a “General Fiber Sales” section that’s where everything goes after Patreon folks have had their first crack at it.
– install a cart I thought I’d like, broke this web site, got it unbroken, and started reassessing the cart solution while keeping the First Dibs and General Fiber sections sorted and working.

Anyway, if you’d like to follow along with production and have insider access while we’re doing it — hear about what we’re making, see advance pictures, catch the occasional livestream as we’re able to get that sorted — we’re doing it on Discord chat and the Patreon feed. Once we’ve got a few tech things sorted out, we’ll probably open up Discord server membership more broadly, keeping some channels patron-only, but I’m trying to keep things moving at a pace where I can keep up and sort out hassles as they happen before they become entrenched.

Do expect to see redesign work going on for this web site for the next little while. Picture one of those early animated GIFs of a worker digging. Any time you’re working on a system that’s been up and running for over 11 years, you’re probably going to break something if you touch it.

Stay tuned! Lots more great things are happening.

2015 Class List!

The fall teaching schedule is always jam-packed and exciting, and when I get home — usually just before Thanksgiving — I tend to have a huge email backlog from being on the road, and a staggering to-do list that I always expect to complete in the relative lull (well, at least it’s a travel lull) of late November to early January. Topping that to-do list is always “update the class list.”

Throughout the year, I keep notes about the things people ask me to teach, and the things I hear people asking. In November, I do outlines and descriptions and materials workups for the new classes, check out all the details and work out pricing, all that sort of thing. I’m always amazed — even though I should know — at how much longer this takes than I expect! But, I’m done for the year! Huzzah! Here it is.

FranquemontClassesPolicies2015

You can also use this permalink, and it’ll always be the most current class list, so even if I add classes halfway through the year, they’ll be in this list:

http://abbysyarns.com/contact/class-list

It’s a PDF and there’s a ton of information in there! So I figured I’d summarize things a bit. My class list allows for three main ways to hire me to teach for you (although there are always unique considerations and special cases). First, in what I call the “hosted model,” you can hire me and pay my flat daily rate, plus travel and lodging, and then I’ll show up and teach while you promote the event, deal with registrations, and fit things into your pre-existing routine. This usually works out well for guilds, shops, and some festivals and retreats. Second, in what I call the “grassroots model,” you can have me handle registrations and collect an all-inclusive per-student fee, while you find a location where you are, do some on-the-ground logistics and advertising (like arranging for the location and telling your friends). This tends to work out well for informal groups or for a group that doesn’t have a pre-existing structure for holding classes. Third, you can come where I am with a small group, and we can put together a retreat with me at the Golden Lamb, where we’ve held Stringtopia retreat events over the past few years. This can be done either paying me the flat rate to have me deal with the logistics at this end and for you to show up with up to 7 of your friends (more by quote), or it can be made into a grassroots model retreat which I host and handle registrations and so forth.

Spinning For A Purpose at SOAR 2008

The hope behind having three ways to do this is to try to have as many ways as possible to be as accessible as I can be to the widest range of people in the widest range of places. Of course, next year I’m going to finally have developed the online automated quote generator system with date scheduler and a robot that handles everything. I say that every year, but somehow, I never seem to do it. So if you’re interested, just email me — abby at abbysyarns.com — and we can go from there! And if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments for all to see.

Looking forward to seeing lots of you this coming year — and beyond!

Stringtopia 2012

…is coming! Watch this space for more info to be released throughout the weekend, and registrations starting sometime next week, the week of February 13-17th.

Here’s what I can tell you right now.

What is Stringtopia?
Back by popular demand, Stringtopia this year is a 3-day event with a spinning focus, along with some weaving and knitting. It will take place starting Friday, April 27, Saturday the 28th, and Sunday the 29th, at the historic Golden Lamb inn in Lebanon, Ohio. Featuring classes, fiber shopping, and social events, in an intimate and friendly setting.

Who’s coming?
For starters, world-class fiber arts supplier Carolina Homespun will be in attendance, which means you can check out lots of stuff in person that usually isn’t seen outside of large fiber festivals or in a handful of world-class shops.

But of course there are also the classes. I’ll be teaching, debuting some of my groundbreaking new classes as well as longtime favourites. And the fabulous Beth Smith will be joining us from Michigan where she runs The Spinning Loft in addition to teaching all over the country and producing fantastic instructional content. Rounding out the teacher lineup is Woven Treasures author Sara Lamb, known internationally for her down-to-earth approach to creating all manner of fantastic textiles, and teaching sellout classes in spinning, dyeing, knitting, and weaving. Sara is bringing us a themed weekend of All Silk, All The Time.

What’s happening?
Friday and Saturday feature full-day classes, and Sunday features half-day classes. There’s also a kick-off bash on Friday night and a free spin-in Saturday night. You also have the opportunity to share meals at the Golden Lamb with the whole group, and spend time in the social spinning suite where informal spinning activities will be going on throughout the event — including ongoing demonstrations, Q&A, and an opportunity to try your hand at spinning yarn if you’ve been curious what it’s about.

What’s the full class list?
I’m glad you asked. Here’s the class lineup. Registration for classes begins next week.

FRIDAY
Classes are all day.

Abby Franquemont: All Spindles All Day
Beth Smith: Breed Study
Sara Lamb: Knitting With Silk

SATURDAY
Classes are all day.

Abby Franquemont: The Rut Buster
Beth Smith: Spinning For Lace
Sara Lamb: Weaving With Silk

SUNDAY MORNING:

Abby Franquemont: Getting More Done With Spindles
Beth Smith: Drafting Methods
Sara Lamb: Dyeing Silk

SUNDAY AFTERNOON:

Abby Franquemont: Truth Or Dare
Beth Smith: For the Love of Longwools
Sara Lamb: Spinning Silk

What’s it cost?
Full-day classes are $125, and half-day classes are $75. You can take as many, or as few, as you like, and you don’t even have to take any to come and be part of the fun. Rooms at the Golden Lamb are $90 a night for a shared room ($45 a person) plus tax, or $80 a night for a single. Additional rooms are available off-site at the Kirkwood Inn, including a fantastic breakfast, for $69 for a shared room (about $35 a person) or $64 a single, or you can choose your own accommodations nearby. Chef-prepared dinners are $25 each, and a box lunch option (eat it in your classroom, the dining room at the Lamb, or take it with you for a stroll to a nearby park) for $10.

Stay tuned! We’ll be bringing you the detailed class descriptions, material information, and actual registration opportunities over the next week. We can’t wait to see you!