Saturday, April 29, 2006

Depending on My Computer

I have a webmaster, which seems an exalted title for that position, but does sound better than 'my computer guy.' For weeks my e-mails go unanswered and just about the time I figure he's too busy to do my work, he pops up and works like a demon to help me out. This time I am ready to re-vamp the Wool2Dye4 website, adding pages for the Blue Faced Leicester which I am newly importing, and one for the Unpatterns from Karen Alfke. There are also two new sock yarns being added in May, and maybe I should have a clickable icon just for the sock yarn. This is definitely going back to my roots as a fledgling internet business, to the idea of just finding and stocking great dyeable sock yarn.

The new sock yarns are both superwashes: Kona Fingering 2-ply is from Henry's Attic and is a lighter weight than their regular Kona Superwash Merino. The other is a Blue Faced Leicester superwash, and I think it is in 2-ply also. The BFL sock sample hasn't arrived yet from England and the shepherd who exports it to me. We've been exchanging e-mails about the initial order, the shipping, the arrival, the discovery, and then he mentioned that he also has a sock yarn ... I reserved 25 kilos, more than 50 pounds, of it in expectation of loving it.

Back to the computer though, and two recent 'events' that startle me into a realization that I depend heavily on my one computer. Twice it has overheated and turned itself off, scary indeed. I think I need an extra computer and have written to my webmaster/computer guy who, among his other impressive talents, also sells computers. Having one in the studio will save me lots of trips up and down stairs, though it is good exercise especially if you squeeze your tummy muscles on every step.

Tummy control aside, I cannot bear to think of a day not checking the e-mail for letters from customers and checking the orders. I have a maniacal need to get the orders out the same day they are received, and hate to think of a day without my computer. Maybe this machine will hold out until I get a second one, and then I could send this one to be serviced.

Better yet, I could drive it to Roanoke to his office, and take my new / old car for a test ride. It is a 1991 Toyota Cressida which I bought on eBay, a scary exercise in my faith in used car dealers, but ultimately a satisfaction. Of course, driving the Cressida is only a dream at this point since my husband took one look at it and immediately drove it himself to the garage where he is having everything replaced which could go wrong with an older car.

No, I'll just keep firing off e-mails to my webmaster/computer guy and push for a new computer soon.

Friday, April 28, 2006

It's All About the Wool

For some time now, I've been thinking I needed a blog to link to my website. I have so many brilliant ideas about new lines to carry, things my customers are up to, upcoming fiber arts events ... perhaps the blog will be a new form of communication. Actually, when I first started my website, I had a blog but someone posted a list of filthy words and I couldn't figure out how to delete them!

People write me about their lives when they buy yarn. One person told me about how she learned to knit at her father's knee. He had been young during World War II and his family lived in Scotland. All the children had to learn to make rope as part of the war effort, and he learned to make rope and to knit, and taught his daughter how to knit. What a wonderful introduction to knitting!

Another talked about having cancer. I had written about knitting chemo caps for the local hospital, and she wrote back that she longed for the day when chemo caps would no longer be needed. Another customer had a familiar address, and turns out to be a neighbor of my favorite Italian cousin and even uses Cousin Shirley's flower shop as a landmark when giving directions to her house. Small world!

I am learning that many people who buy yarn from Wool2Dye4 are dyeing it and selling or trading it on the Internet. Some have eBay stores, some use Etsy, many are involved in the swaps. Everyone has a different 'take' on what is the perfect yarn for them and how they imagine that yarn dyed up. I used to dye and knit with mostly smooth yarns, but am now getting into textures (Bolero, from Henry's Attic, is my current favorite). One of these days I am going to knit that sweater to replace my old and worn favorite which was in a small boucle, and I'll use Bolero and a size 5 needle to get the texture that feels so comfy.