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What’s Going On Around Here This Week

Victoria and I have been working hard during our current transition period. If you haven’t heard the news, Victoria was accepted for a Kiva small business loan! We’re hoping funding will happen soon, and are already in the process of getting her own workspace setup in her own home. This is an incredible opportunity for her, and for all of us really, because we expect this transition to mean lots more batts for everyone.

Victoria, seen here with the ever-trusty Cardzilla

Sunday, 10 December 2017, will mark one month since we relaunched production! What’s been particularly exciting for me about it all is that, whereas years ago, Victoria was my employee, now we’re an entrepreneurial partnership. With her having her own equipment and workspace, she’ll be earning more on each batt she makes, and getting to spread her designing wings as well with a range of Victoria’s Choice (well, we haven’t settled on a name for her product line yet) fibers from time to time in addition to her production work on my designs.

We have been testing logistics and all kind of internal things, including Victoria borrowing my trusty Cardzilla on a short-term basis! Victoria worked on Cardzilla for a year or so in the Stringtopia days, and has been working on Cardzilla since we started working together again. To say she’s familiar with Cardzilla is an understatement.

I didn’t want to loan Cardzilla out long term for multiple reasons (I admit: mostly because he’s kinda my baby and I’m on record as saying “I might grab Cardzilla on the way out the door if the house were on fire”) or I would have done so from the beginning, but when Victoria’s Kiva Small Business Loan became a reality, I decided a one month loan would be perfect. Not only will it give her the ability to produce more batts from her home and spend more time with family, but borrowing Cardzilla will allow her to figure out her own workspace logistically so the transition from Cardzilla to her own brand new carder will be seamless for us, and for our batt lovers.

As a result of this transition time the upcoming batt batch we wanted to release this week didn’t quite make our self-imposed Friday deadline. However, with us working hard over the weekend, the new batch will be listed on Monday, December 11, to kick off the second month of our re-launched batt production! The theme for our upcoming batt batch is Banned Books! We’ll have unique fiber blends in colorful tributes to some of our favorite banned books: The Color Purple, Leaves of Grass, Fahrenheit 451, and a few others. Do you have some colors or titles you’d love to see? Let us know — this might not be our last Banned Books tribute series!

Classic Abby Batts
Classic Abby Batts

Victoria will be working from home on Cardzilla over the weekend to finish up this batch, so make sure you stay tuned for all the updates on getting her getting her space up and ready for some mass production, along with sneak peeks of the blends in this batch!

We still have a few batts left from the beach cocktail series we did last week — check ’em out if you haven’t seen ’em yet!

Life’s A Beach is the blue with teal and green at left, but they looked so good side by side with Tequila Sunrise (orange, at right) that we couldn’t resist using this photo.
70% Superfine Merino
30% Hand-Dyed Tussah Silk
30 grams each
$9.95 ea
10 available

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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.