In Defense of Hand Crafted Prices

Hello my magical friends. Welcome back!

I hope you have all had a lovely holiday season and that we are all looking forward to a new year!

By now I’m sure everyone has resolved to go on a diet – and I don’t mean to lose weight (because screw that). You yarny people know what I’m talking about. It’s the “yarn diet.” The “I’m going to stop buying yarn just because its pretty and use what I already have in my stash.” Yep, sure you are.

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Gretel with Lemongrass

Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re on budget (like me) then a yarn diet is totally understandable. After all hand dyed and hand painted yarns are of a much higher price that what you can buy in a big box store. But if you have disposable income and enjoy being the curator of your own yarn installation (again, me), then I say buy the yarn!

When you buy the yarn, indie dyers and makers like me do a happy dance! We also immediately afterwards have a panic attack about whether or not you will love or hate the yarn, but that’s for another entry. What I want to focus on this time around is the why indie dyers do a happy dance – and why those hand dyed and hand painted prices are as high as they are.

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Deceivingly Delicate

Some of us can guess the basics of the costs that go into a yarn dyeing enterprise. Materials of course: yarn, dye powder, mordant, water (lots of water), pots and trays, towels and utensils specifically for dyeing, even expensive spin dryers and warping mills for those who have the budget for a more extensive operation. These things all add up and to start a yarn dyeing business you almost need a small business loan. Or if you’re me, you just slowly build over the course of a year or so. And I still don’t have the expensive spin dryer, although my aunt’s salad spinner works like a charm!

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The First Hard Freeze

Beyond the materials, naturally, is the time and effort to create your art. Dyeing yarn is labor intensive. At my best in dye mode, I’ve been able to dye 20 skeins in about 4.5 hours. Which really, that’s not a lot considering how much some bigger dyers are able to kick out at a time. But more than the time and effort for just creating your art, you have to market and sell it.

This is where I think some people don’t realize how involved it is to be an indie dyer, very especially when you want it to be a significant source of income (I’m not there yet, but I love each and every customer who helps me climb that ladder). If you want to sell your yarn art, Etsy is definitely a big place to do it – it’s where I do it! See my Sisteresque Fibers shop here.

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An Un-Love Spell

Now Etsy is a great tool for makers. They have a lot of tools and options available for listing, advertising and shipping your items. This is great, but remember, makers still need to create each listing for each item, which of itself is difficult. We need to include as much information for your customers as possible while still being appealing. We need to have exceptional photographs of our items, with good lighting and background. Most of us makers don’t have a copy writer to come up with brilliant descriptions, we don’t have an IT person to list our items and make sure it matches our inventory, we don’t have photographers to show off our art. And that’s not all we don’t have.

As indie dyers or makers, we do it all because we don’t have extra staff and people. We don’t have a warehouse full of workers who package and ship orders when they come in, we do it ourselves. We don’t have a team of customer service reps who field calls and questions when a customer has a request, a question or (heaven help us!) a complaint. We have to handle that ourselves. We don’t have Social Media gurus with SEO training (I still don’t know what that is) to keep up with Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and YouTube. We have to do all that, too.

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Whispers On the Vine

It’s difficult to explain fully the effort and energy put into being a hand maker without getting long winded (or a bit discouraged). But I felt the need to defend the price of hand dyed yarns and of all hand made things. Because behind that lovely, unique item is a real person, who does do a real happy dance when you buy our item. We have real dreams and aspirations, real worries and desperate hopes, real life bills to pay that we often need a regular day to support because making a go of our passion is rough as hell.

I don’t write this little entry to lecture, not at all. What I want buyers to know is that you can trust we indie dyers and indie makers have given our all to that item you buy. We have labored to create it, to put our art into the world, and have been the one person show that gets it from our brain to your mailbox. And above all, you can trust that we love that art we have created. That more than wanting to make a living from our art, we so badly want is for you to love our art. For you to feel joy when you have that art in your hands. The dream is to make a living at it. The purpose is spread our passion to the world.

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Aphrodite, Of Love and Beauty

So from the bottom of my enlarged heart, I thank all of you who support indie dyers and makers! We so appreciate your support, you understanding of our efforts and your sharing of our passions. You truly do make our dreams come true!

So thank you for joining me for this entry. And if you made it all the way thru this behemoth of a post, gold star to you!

Until next circle my magical friends.

 

Winter Berries Design now LIVE

Hello my Magical Friends!

I’m back again! Here with a new a hat and cowl pattern that is now live in my store on Ravelry!

My new Winter Berries Hat and Cowl knitting pattern is perfect for beginners to stranded colorwork. With only two colors used at one time, yarn management is kept to a minimum. It’s perfect for those who may not have experience with multiple yarns at once and a nice simple piece for experienced knitters.

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My sister, Aysha, modeling my hat and cowl while little Lucy tries to get in on the fun!

I used my own hand dyed yarn on my Dense DK base, which you can get in my Sisteresque Fibers shop in any colorway. I loved using my own yarn! The purple color is The Evil Eye colorway; the red is Blood Binding; and the green is The Poison You Picked.

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Peek-a-boo Aysha!

Worked on a US Size 5 needle, this pattern is based on a 12 stitch repeat. This makes it easy to customize the size of the hat or cowl; just add or subtract multiples of 12 stitches when you cast on and follow the pattern as written. Simple!

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I had so much fun knitting this up and designing the charts for the colorwork! I do hope if you choose to support my yarny dreams and purchase my pattern, you will enjoy it, too!

That’s all the self-promotion I have for now 🙂 Until next circle, Fiber Friends!

 

Rhinebeck is on My Bucket List

Welcome to the virtual fiber circle!

This weekend is the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, better known to knitters and fiber enthusiasts as Rhinebeck! Sadly, this is another year I cannot be there in person, though it is on my yarny bucket list. But my magical fiber spirit is strong and I shall participate in Rhinebeck virtually!

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My first task was to complete what would be my Rhinebeck Sweater (if I were going), the Arboreal Sweater by Jennifer Steingass. I used my own hand dyed yarn in my colorways The Evil Eye (purple) and The Poison You Picked (green), both of which are part of my Black Magic Woman mini kits, available in my shop. I loved how they came out in the minis so much, I needed a sweater! Choosing a pattern from Jennifer Steingass was tough, as she has many that I want to knit! But this simple two color yoke sweater was enjoyable and easy on my brain.

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I found a way to participate in a virtual Rhinebeck weekend myself, but what about my followers and customers? A sale of course! I’ve added new colorways to the shop and a brand new sparkle mini kit, Hoodoo Holiday! And for this weekend, the 18th to the 21st I have a 10% off sale running in the shop! No coupon needed, just spend more than 10$ and get 10% off your fun yarny goodness. Just because you can’t go to Rhinebeck doesn’t mean you can’t get yourself a yarn haul!

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And last, but certainly not least, is my Instagram Giveaway! To help my friends and followers join the excitement of a fiber weekend, I’m giving away some special treats! One skein of my own colorway, A Coven Wedding on Plump Sock, a full bar of custom color matched soap from Oak City Soap, their Loverly Lavender guest soap, a mint lip balm and some little chocolates! Follow me on Instagram @sisteresquefibers to enter the giveaway!

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That’s all for this entry, I wish you all luck in the giveaway! If you get to go to Rhinebeck I hope you have a great time, and if not, I hope you join the virtual fun!

Thanks for joining the circle, until next time!

Mini Rabbit Hole

Hello October Lovers and Fiber Friends!

Thank you for joining my little circle! Today our topic is the rabbit hole of mini skeins that I have fallen down, and I’m not trying to get up. It started with my Double Double Mini Kit, available now in the Sisteresque Fibers Etsy Shop. I had a sudden need to crochet something simple – I hadn’t crocheted in ages! So I thought, well why not a blanket for the cooler weather that’s coming. And while I’m at it, why not use my own minis to start so I can better show off how they work up.

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Double Double Mini Kit crocheted into my granny stripe blanket. Colorways from bottom to top: Cauldron Bubble, Toe of Frog, Eye of Newt, Toil and Trouble, Scale of Dragon.

I bought myself a new set of crochet hooks from Knit Picks just for the project. I wanted some hooks with grips for less hand soreness, and thus far they have been great. I started chaining with my Cauldron Bubble colorway until I thought it looked about as wide as I liked and started a simple granny stripe blanket. Just simple double crochet, chain space, double crochet base; then each row has 2 double crochets in each chain space and one chain space between them. I fell in love! Using my own colorways was so much fun, and the Plump Sock base I use is just perfectly squishy for a blanket!

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Black Magic Woman Mini Kit added to my granny stripe blanket. Colorways from bottom up: Double Blind, The Poison You Picked, The Evil Eye, Casting a Curse, Blood Binding.

I was running out of minis from my first kit and wanted to continue in my own Plump Sock Base. What else could I do? I had to create another mini kit! Further down the mini rabbit hole I fell. I created a second kit meant to be a darker version of my Double Double kit and this one I called Black Magic Woman. For those of you who have seen my Instagram feed or previous posts, I loved my green and purple (The Poison You Picked and The Evil Eye) colorways so much, I had to dye up yarn for a sweater! But I was also going to need another kit, so I went to my colorways for inspiration.

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Praise Poseidon Mini and my own little beaded ghost progress keeper. 

I found a few colorways in various blues that I had in my inventory and decided to dye a few more and put together a kit of blues. However, I also thought I needed a nice transition from the solid mini Blood Binding into my new In The Ether Mini Kit. So just for the sake of my granny stripe blanket, I dyed up Praise Poseidon, a mostly solid blue tonal with just a few little blue speckles. Further down the rabbit hole. Then I started in on my In the Ether Mini Kit.

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In The Ether Mini Kit crocheted into my blanket. Colorways from bottom to top: Spell in a Bottle, Phantasm, Speak to Me Spirits, Witching for Water, Patience Like a River

I’m now fully into the mini rabbit hole with In The Ether, loving all my minis and the Plump Sock squishy goodness of the crochet fabric I was creating! But just as with the other kits, once I got to the my 3rd or 4th colorway and knew I would run out of minis, I had to plan another kit. This time with some glamour!

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Monster Minis Kit inspired by Monster High Characters. Colorways from bottom to top: Spektra, Casta Fierce, She Wolf, Miss Cleo, Daughter of the Yeti. 

For my next mini kit trick, may I present: Monster Minis on Magic Sock! That’s right, its sparkle!! I was especially proud of how these colorways came out. I took inspiration from Monster High characters – not that I watch the show, but I’m fascinated with the concept of second generation classic monsters.

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Monster Minis matched to their inspiration characters. 

I’ve gotten to the end of my Monster Minis kit, and so off to the dye pots I went! What is the newest set of mini kit colorways? You’ll have to follow me on Instagram and my Etsy shop and right here on my blog to find out! They are drying as I type, and soon they will be available as full skein colorways or in another marvelous mini kit! I can’t wait to add them into my granny stripe masterpiece of my own hand dyed yarns!

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Current granny stripe blanket progress. 

Well, that’s all for this week Fiber Sisters and Brethren. Thank you all for joining my circle and sitting a spell! Stay tuned for my Not Rhinebeck Sweater and check me on Instagram @sisteresquefibers for an upcoming giveaway and coupon code during Rhinebeck weekend!

Also, if you’re interested in full skeins of any of my colorways and don’t see it in my shop, feel free to contact me! I’m happy to dye up special orders for any of my special fiber friends!

Wishing you a magical October!

 

Scattered WIPs, Scatter Brained

Long time, no blog post! Hello again Fiber Friends!

Its been a while. Truthfully, I’m going through some big life changes and as a result I have relocated back to South Dakota to be close to family for a while. I am stressed, anxious and desperately trying to figure out a job – sadly my creative life is not yet in position to be my day job, though that is always the ultimate goal.

Still, I am working at slowly at my many WIPs.

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Bag from KnitForBrains on Etsy, Pumpkin needle keeper from MollyKleinDesigns on Etsy.

These are just a few of the socks I have that I told myself I would have ready for the cooler weather. I may have to push that back to ready for the snow, but even that may be a bit of a stretch. I started these while still in North Carolina, and when I bid farewell to my Podcast friend Barb of Super Stitchy, she gave me the sweet little beaded witch stitch marker she made herself. So if it does take me longer to finish these, at least I have a fun reminder of a fiber friend.

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My fun little witch marker from Super Stitchy and my MollyKleinDesigns needle keeper. Madeline Tosh yarn.

I had also told myself I would have a sweater done for the fall by now, but naturally, my latest sweater is not yet completed. Just about done with one sleeve and one left to go.

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My own hand dyed yarn in The Evil Eye (purple) and The Poison You Picked (green). Bag by HappyUnicornStudio on Etsy.

I’m loving my new Dense DK base, I have a loose gauge so the more densely spun yarn won’t grow as much as my Plump DK base. I started this in NC as well, and between settling into a new space and the emotions that come with not knowing what my life is right now have slowed me down. I did finish the body while waiting for my baby Jack Russell, Lucy, to come back from teeth extractions at the vet. However, stress knitting, while useful for keeping me from biting my nails and clenching my teeth, is still not my ideal knitting.

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Bag by TwistedYarnAndFiberBags on Etsy and Malabrigo Rios Yarn.

Stress aside, I am happy to be closer to family, and happy for the cooler knitting weather in South Dakota. Knitting out of necessity gives me unique pleasure. I suppose my productivity anxiety is quelled a bit by the idea of knitting practical items for myself that I know will go to good use, and soon. I started myself a hat in the Acres Wild pattern by Kniting Pirate on Ravelry. I’m using Malabrigo Rios yarn and toting it in a phantasmically perfect bag from Twisted Yarn and Fiber Bags on Etsy. We have one week of temporary warm temperatures coming and then October will be in full cool swing, and I will definitely be wearing this hat.

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My WIPs, my mind and my writing are all a bit scattered, and I would apologize, but that just where I am right now. I am continuing to put my best effort into my Sisteresque Fibers Etsy shop, I have added Pre-Order or Dye to Order yarn in hopes of more sales with less unsold inventory about. I have intentions of creating some colorwork hat patterns and a few cross stitch patterns. I only hope my job search and possible job find won’t interrupt my creativity too much, as it is a large part of what is currently holding my sanity together. Tho, sadly, it doesn’t pay for health insurance. Sigh.

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I will end on a lighter note and say that I am grateful to the fiber and crafting community for providing a place to go during the worst of times. Everyone is so supportive and happy to share times in their lives that have been rough – and how the made it thru to the other side. To everyone who reads my blog, supports my content, my shop and my fibery pipe dream, I love you all! I wish you all the most magical fall knitting and I hope your October is full of treats, yarn and many Halloween movies!

Until next circle, Sisters and Brethren,

Love from Haleigh

Happy Friday the 13th!

Hello Fiber Friends!

You may or may not have noticed – there’s a new look, a new logo and a new name! I have rebranded to Sisteresque Fibers!

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No need for you to change the blog you follow, the Instagram or twitter, not even my Etsy shop. I have updated it all to reflect the new branding.

Change is good! As I am working on self love, self acceptance and just being more me, I needed a change to my business that would better reflect my particular interests. I love the occult, the creepy and the weird and I always have! In fact, some of you may have noticed, I also have brand new audio podcast with my sister called Sisteresque (like how I keep it in the family?) which you can find at www.sisteresque.com as well as on Stitcher, Itunes, and hopefully soon Spotify and Google Play!

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A Coven Wedding – you’re all invited! One of my new colorways for the new brand!

I hope this new brand will help me to have a more specific focus and that you, my yarniac followers, will grow and explore the mystical, the magical and the self with me.  If I can teach myself the website ropes a bit more, I hope to move my shop here to my website rather than Etsy, but baby steps. Part of my self love and self acceptance is knowing I can’t do it all at once.

Also, I’m pretty proud of my logo. I went ahead and figured out how to make one myself! Its a simple and a bit slap dash, but I love it for that.

Thank you all for checking out my site and for your continued support! Every like, every comment, every follow and yes, every purchase from my shop, gives me a boost in more ways than I can tell you. I love you all!

Happy Friday the 13th!

I’m with you Sisters and Brethren 🙂

DTK Pop Up Market Makers

Hello Fiber Friends and Fellow Yarniacs! HalesBee is back with some fellow makers and pals for you to meet! This past Saturday I took part in the first ever Indie Dyer Pop Up Market at Downtown Knits in Apex, NC. I was joined by a few fellow dyers and makers and we had a wonderful day!

I have a little video introducing my friends, you can see it here on Youtube:

To find everyone you see on the video:

DebbieDuckYarns

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/debbieduckyarns 

Instagram: @debbieduckyarns

Facebook: www.facebook.com/debbieduckyarns

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Handmade by Zan

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/handmadebyzan

Instagram: @handmadebyzan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/handmadebyzan

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Full Lotus Pottery

Shop: www.fulllotuspottery.com

Instagram: @fulllotuspottery

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fulllotuspottery

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Super Stitchy

Shop:  www.superstitchy.com

Instagram: @super_stitchy

Facebook: www.facebook.com/superstitchy

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Hey Lady Hey

Shop: www.heyladyhey.com

Instagram: @heyladyhey

YouTube: Hey Lady Hey

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Thank you so much to everyone that came out to support us! It was awesome meeting everyone! Thank you to Michele at Downtown Knits and her helpers, Nikki and Rachel – you ladies are awesome! And thank you to Debbie’s daughter, Rachel, for going on a coffee fun for us 🙂

I hope you enjoy meeting these lovely makers! Do come knit with us at Downtown Knits in Apex on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9! We always have a good time and we’re happy to make new friends!

Have a wonderful week, y’all yarniacs!

Love from HalesBee

 

Pilot Episode? So Cute We’re Dyeing Podcast Show Notes

Hello Yarniacs! The latest podcast episode is up and it I have a special guest! My fellow dyer and friend, Barbara of Super Stitchy has joined me! I am trying to get her to do a podcast with me on the regular, so do love this video and comment to help me convince her!

Thank you so much to Michelle of Downtown Knits for letting us record in her beautiful shop!

Watch the video here:

Find all of my social media links here on my blog and definitely follow me on Instagram @halesbeehandmade for all the fun updates!

Find Barbara on the social medias at these links:

Shop: www.superstitchy.com

Instagram: @super_stitchy

Ravelry: SuperStitchy

Twitter: @SuperStitchy

Facebook: SuperStitchy

Here are all the fun yarny things we talked about!

Patterns:

Elphaba Shawl by Haleigh Overseth (Me!)

Gull Beach Shawl (working title) by Barbara of Super Stitchy

Touchstone Shawl by Laura Aylor

Lucy Cloche by Carina Spencer

Serenity Now Shawl by Jenny Faifel (Craftsy Kit)

Brioche Pussy Cat Hat by Jenga Knits (Dragon Hoard Yarn Co.)

Also here is the video I watched for how to knit a sock inside of a sock!

Yarns:

Super Stitchy

HalesBee Handmade on Etsy

Spun Right Round

Life In The Long Grass

Craftsy Cloudborn

Wollen Boon

Dragon Hoard Yarn Co.

KnitCrate Sock Crate

 

Other Makers:

Truffle Shuffle on Etsy (@truffleshuffler on IG)

Knit for Brains Designs on Etsy (Also a podcast on YouTube!)

Molly Klein Design on Etsy (She has podcast, too!)

Hey Lady Hey

Don’t forget to come see us at the first ever Indie Dyer Pop Up Market at Downtown Knits in Apex! If you’re a yarniac in the Raleigh area, come see Barb and I and our other dyer and maker friends: Debbie Duck Yarns, Hey Lady Hey, Handmade By Zan and Full Lotus Pottery!

Thanks so much for watching! If I forgot anything, please comment or message me 🙂 If you have clicked on any affiliate links and made a purchase, I do make a small commission. This means you support my content, and for that, I thank you!

Love from HalesBee

 

 

Touchstone Shawl And Other Updates

Hello my dear fiber friends! Life has been hectic and I have missed you!! I am finally back for a Friday update. I have a few things off the needles, some new projects going and fun podcast surprise to tease! Let’s get into it!

 

My Touchstone Shawl by Laura Aylor is finally off the needles! I have had a number of distractions, I have never been a monogamous knitter, but here it is! I used my own hand dyed DK weight yarn and my Knitter’s Pride Zing needles. The colorways from my shop in this shawl are: Remnants; Coffee and Pie, Oh My!; and Chateau de Bleu.

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I did very much enjoy this shawl. The pattern itself is simple to follow and the lace is not complicated. It’s definitely a shawl you can knit while watching Father Brown on Netflix without worrying about making a mistake. (I just love those BBC detective style shows, don’t you?!) I love the way this shawl can be wrapped up and accessorized and I’m excited to have it ready for cool nights!

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I also started and finished a two color brioche Pussy Hat this week, finally! I’m always behind the curve on trends, but I just had the perfect yarns for some brioche and thought a hat would be a quick, satisfying knit. I was right! The blue colorway is The Water Is Fine from Spun Right Round and the pink is Wild Roseberry by Life In The Long Grass. Both super gorgeous, luscious yarns! I loved working on this hat!

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Lastly, for this Friday, I am working on a Lucy Cloche by Carina Spencer with the left over Life In The Long Grass yarn from my Pussy Hat. I chose this hat because one of my dogs is Lucy 🙂 It has a contrast color band, and I will use the blue Spun Right Round for that. I’m hoping to have this hat done by Sunday, when I will be podcasting with a special guest! You will have to stay tuned to meet my guest, and if we’re all very lucky, my guest might join me regularly! So watch for the new episode and wish me luck in finishing my hat!

That’s all for the knitting update. I will show off my four at a time socks soon!

Before I go, I want to tell my Raleigh area yarniacs to mark your calendars for May 19th! I will be at the first ever Downtown Knits Indie Dyer Pop Up Market! I will be selling my squishy, fun yarns and my cute stitch markers up close and in person! Do come to Downtown Knits in Apex to see me and my other indie dyer and maker friends: Super Stitchy, Debbie Duck Yarns, Handmade By Zan, Hey Lady Hey and Full Lotus Pottery! Stop in and see us!

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Thank you for joining me and I wish you all a wonderful weekend full of whatever craft makes your heart happy!

If you have clicked on my affiliate links and made a purchase, I do get a small commission, which means you are supporting my content. For that, I thank you!

Love from HalesBee

 

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