Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Call for Convention Orders

I am afraid that I am giving short notice to wholesale customers in this Call for Convention Orders. It is, unfortunately, out of necessity as customers are starting to talk about attending Stitches West in February, and needing to get their stock in so they can dye it up and pack for the event.

Last year I managed what I thought was a pretty good campaign to impress on my customers who resell at conventions and fiber festivals, and the whole effort was to get people to plan ahead. It seems, though, that this will be a yearly battle and that I must start anew. Well, is this totally fair? I do have some customers who are much more organized than I am, and who have quietly pushed me to get their yarns to them with a couple of months' padding before their events. And, of course, there are the newbies who are tentative about how it all works and write me many eMails so that they can get in tune with how long a lead time they will need in order to have their yarn in hand with enough time to dye up a thoughtfully prepared color palette.

Then, there are those who just sort of go with the flow and pick up what they need when they need it. This is great and I am all for free spirits, believe me! It does make having enough for everyone a bit of a problem.

Over the spring and summer there was a big, intercontinental pow-wow which went on for about six weeks, all aimed at getting Wool2Dye4 set up as a Standing Order customer at the merino mill. This process probably could have been abbreviated if I had only understood all the elements which go into play for the entire process. It is certainly not as easy as calling up and saying I want this, this, and that, but involves procurement, scheduling, accounting, forecasting, and other steps at the local level. On the worldwide scene, it involves bidding at international fiber market level, and high finance at a level much higher than I can reach.

So I am beginning to appreciate that tooth-pulling process I went through last spring and summer to get to my Standing Order phase in the grand scheme of things. But since supply and demand remain the basis of all economies, I have had to learn that my demand figures in heavily into the supply I can expect. And, the same goes for my customers and me. It is simply not possible to give my customer base what they want and need if they do not let me know with some warning time built in.

Plan Ahead,then, became my mantra all of last year. Now, I wish I had kept it up! Was I worried that my newsletters were getting boring with all the talk about getting in orders early and helping me keep organized, or was I getting bored with writing the same thing over and over again, myself? I think it was the latter. Man! I should take my own advice sometimes.

Background. There is so much work in the background when it comes to participating at any level in these fiber festivals, conventions, and workshops. They are concentrated in spring and fall months, primarily. Here we are just eight weeks away from the first major fiber event, Stitches West in Santa Clara, California over the weekend of February 17-20, 2011. If my newsletter today scared fire into absolutely everyone, then we should just make the deadline, but this will mean some long nights and weekends stirring the dyepot. I just know it. Luckily, the Standing Order will prop up available inventory on the best selling yarns, and the new British yarns have all been spun in one ton amounts, literally. I will wait 24 hours and see just how many dyers have taken my urgent call for orders to heart, cross my fingers, and plow into another busy festival season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sample knitting from Ushya ... Mirasol's new SuperBulky

Here is a simple wristwarmer done in SuperBulky Ushya. It is one of the yarns which I bought for UptownStitches.com just before deciding to close down that secondary website. ( I continue to call UptownStitches my secondary website, because I have received eMails from folks asking what I will do with all my spare time, now that I am closing this website! They have no idea what a time-monster my main website, Wool2dye4.com, is!)

Here is simple pattern:
Bulky Knit Wrist Warmers
Yarn: Heavy worsted/ Bulky
Gauge: 3 stitches/inch

Cast on 24, join to knit in the round.

Rows 1-10: *K4, P4* around
Rows 11-12: *P4, K4* around
Rows 13-23: *K4, P4* around
Cast off loosely.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Update on the sell-off at UptownStitches.com

Since announcing the '50% off' sale, my life has turned upside down! First, I will say that once I decided to close that secondary website, getting rid of the inventory was first priority. So, instead of starting the sale at, say, 20% off and slowly increasing the discount, I decided not to drag it out, but to get going and sell the inventory quickly.
What I did not consider, though, was that there might be a feeding frenzy in fiber-land, and that's exactly what happened. Pulling and packing many orders -- many for one each of ten different yarns! -- plus keeping current with Wool2Dye4 got to be too much. Since I had moved the dyed yarns, aka Uptown Stitches, to a spare room in my home to give more space in the studio for Wool2Dye4, that meant that I was the one pulling the orders, and bringing them into the studio each day. For the first four or five nights, I was putting in some late hours!
We are going to catch up today and will be current with the orders. Yesterday I reorganized the Uptown Stitches room, and distributed what is left on the shelves so that they can be seen easily.

Here's what we have the most of ...
Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool XL, most of the colors
Elsbeth Lavold Favorite Wool, most of the colors
(cotton yarn) Kraemer's Belfast
(cotton yarn) Kraemer's Saucon
Rooster Aran Almerino, color Gooseberry(sort of dark lime green)
Rooster DK Almerino, color Gooseberry
Rooster Aran Almerino in Custard *

*Now, I know that Custard might not be a very nice name for a color, as lots of people do not like custard. It falls into that category with avocados, where people first describe the texture rather than the taste. Most people like sweets, but not all people like custard. To me, the thought of custard brings to mind the connotation 'eggy!' and that's not a good thing in my culinary consideration. Back to yarn, though, this Custard-named alpaca/merino blend is a nice and rich yellow. It falls into the family of yellows which have a little brown mixed in, to tone down the one color which reflects light. It is actually what I call Italian Yellow. I use that shade to paint all the ceilings in my house! The Italians are always talking about the sun and the sea, and this color on a ceiling is like the sun shining down on you all day long, rain or shine.

Custard. It's a nice color! I've got a lot of that yarn, left, too, and I think it is all because of the name!