Tencel, Tencel everywhere!

While some of you follow my Orchard House Studios page on Facebook, maybe all of you don’t. Here’s the deal: I’ve been hunting for a 5/2 rayon replacement for a while now. I really prefer Tencel rayon because it is processed in a more eco-friendly way. I know that no fiber process will be completely green but I do try to do my part and support the ones that try to be green. Plus Tencel has SUCH a lovely hand (feel)! Tencel is processed in a closed system where they recycle 90%+ of the waste water so it’s not just going out into the environment.

But back to the hunt. The usual online yarn stores I order from do not have Tencel in a 5/2 gauge. Most carry either 10/2, 8/2 or 20/2. I’ve used quite a bit of 8/2 Tencel but I really like having chunkier yarns for some of my work. Anyway, I asked on a weaving forum (Weavolution.com) if anyone knew where you could find Tencel in a 5/2 gauge and one gal answered and said to contact Teresa RushΒ since she dyes 5/2 Tencel and sells it on her website. I emailed Teresa and asked where she gets her yarn. She was quick to reply that she gets it from a mill in Quebec by 1,000lb orders…That seemed a bit excessive for my purposes but she said she was offering it for sale in smaller quantities. There was a 50 pounds minimum for wholesale and I decided the wholesale price was too good to pass up so I ordered 25 pounds of 5/2 and 25 pounds of 10/2. She was quick with the PayPal invoice and quick to ship. She was even going out of town for a week and preparing for a weaving conference and she STILL shipped all of the yarn before she left! I am SO thankful and SO excited!!!

My yarn will be here Monday. I checked the tracking info with UPS and it says the box weighs 54 pounds. Eek! That’s a lot of yarn!

I’ve already begun planning projects for the yarn. Since the yarn is all white, I have to add a step to my planning: DYEING! I have to admit, I’m fairly excited about this prospect. Yes, it will make projects longer but I think it’s going to be good. I like the idea of controlling more parts of the process. I like mixing my own colors. The idea of rinsing out over a pound of yarn is a bit intimidating, but I’m investigating alternative fiber-reactive dyes. We’ll see what comes of this…

The first warp going on will be an overshot threading with a twill treadling for striped shawls in a thick 5/2 weight Tencel. I’m planning on setting it around 12 epi. I’m going to do a sample warp of three scarves. I plan on increasing my number of scarves per warp by one or two so I have less waste and less time spent dressing the loom. So three scarves seems like a good start. I can’t wait for Monday and to get my hands on some YARN! Now…where will I put all of it….
~JoAnna

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General update

Hello friends!
I know I’m terrible at blogging these days. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to run a meat business, weaving business, dairy business, build a house and be a housewife all at the same time. Just don’t get much time to blog. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, that being said, hopefully you haven’t totally given up on me. Here’s an update on life:
I participated in the 41st annual Spring TACA (Tennessee Association of Craft Artists) Fair this past weekend and it was wonderful. I enjoyed nearly everything about it! (Minus my poor feet swelling due to the heat and a very rainy end to the weekend. No. I’m not pregnant. My feet just swell when it’s hot and I can’t put them up. I’m also not diabetic.) The show went really well and I have several exciting business developments that may come out of it. Overall, I’m now more excited than ever about my lovely little weaving business.

I don’t think we’ve had any new animals born lately…I hope I mentioned my sweet Amelia, the latest Jersey calf. She’s about 3 or 4 weeks old now. She had a bit of a rocky start to her life although it’s hardly slowed her down! When she was born, she somehow got a really nasty gash on her upper right front leg. (Kinda shoulder area) We didn’t notice it for probably the first week(?) Well somehow someone noticed it eventually and we ended up having to stitch it because it had continued to split open and was down to the muscle! Poor baby! 😦 It’s almost completely healed now and she’s walking mostly normally. I think even without the gash she would be a strange and awkward calf. But she’s absolutely adorable and she loves EVERYTHING. πŸ™‚

I donated my hair to Locks of Love a week and a half ago. I have wanted to do this for as long as I’ve known about Locks of Love and I finally had enough hair to do it! I think it was around 12 inches. I had thought I was going to cry since it’s been a really long time since I’ve had short hair but I think knowing that I was helping a child that wouldn’t have hair otherwise really helped me be okay.
However, I was NOT happy with the original cut I got after donation. I had wanted something fun, easy to care for with lots of layers since I hadn’t had my hair cut in two years. Well…It was short and that’s about all I could say for it. No real layers and not easy to care for because there were no layers. I ended up having to go back to the salon and got another girl to put some layers in and it looks SO much better. Now I love it. πŸ™‚ It does get dirty a lot faster though…

We are making small steps on the house but as you might guess from the explanation at the beginning of this post, we don’t have a lot of free time. Ben is still working about 60+ hours a week right now. And I’m handling the brunt of our chores on the farm. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my wonderful in-laws! They help us out so much with all the day-to-day chores as well as business plans, marketing and selling our products.

If you didn’t already notice, I started to update my blog in other areas. I’m working on a portfolio/gallery of my work so people can hop on here anytime and see what kinds of things I make. I’m also planning on updating my Etsy site soon. I just have to figure out how to market that… I updated my bio a little on here. Eventually I’d like to have a list of galleries where you can find my work.

That’s my next step in the weaving biz: find galleries in three major cities to take my work. (Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga) I’ve seen a big interest in handmade crafts in these cities and I plan to be a part of it!

I’ve got a few new projects I’m working on but they are still in the design/sample stages. Hopefully I’ll be able to weave up the samples SOON! I have been tossing these ideas around in my head for probably a year or so now and I’m finally going to try them out.

Well that’s a general update. Perhaps I’ll have time for more sometime soon. For now though I should get back to work on one of the many jobs I should be doing…
~JoAnna