RSS Feed

Spinzilla Readiness Kit from Unicorn Fibre!

Spinzilla_editedHey Spinners–Have you all heard about Spinzilla, a handspinning competition/fundraiser that is in its 3rd year? The goal is to spin as much as you can during the competition week, but there is no reason not to start preparing now.

That is why we are offering the first of several Spinzilla Specials we will offer during our second year of Merino Sponsorship…The Spinzilla Readiness Kit!

locks
Perhaps your goal for Spinzilla 2015 is to spin a fleece (or two!) First, scour your locks with Unicorn Power Scour, then make them spin more smoothly by adding a dab of Unicorn Fibre Rinse as you spin.

Spinzilla readiness kit

The kit gives you 16 oz of each product, which is enough for several fleeces, and a mesh bag for a better process. More careful processing = faster spinning!

Stock up for yourself, or go in with a Spinzilla teammate to save on shipping and also get $5 off any order over $50 with discount code UF5.

Stay tuned for more specials and crank up those wheels and spindles!

Fantastic Side-by-Side Product Test for Washing Fleece!

Here is a really excellent Blog post by Marie Spaulding, where she washes fleece in various scouring products including her first experience with Beyond Clean, our scentless version that is great for soiled baby clothing as well as dirty wool locks.

Thanks, Marie, for the terrific work, and for sharing it with us!

This has me really itching to wash a fleece I have stashed away–stay tuned!

More Experiments!

People are always doing good side by side comparisons using Unicorn Fibre Products. Here are a few recent ones!

A very thorough video from FluffyReviews with Unicorn Power Scour vs another wool wash on a gorgeous Cormo Fleece.

There are many washed lock photos on our Facebook page!

Thanks everyone, for putting our Unicorn Fibre products to the test and sharing the results!

Meet Our Unicorn Dealers–Camaj Fiber Arts!

Meet Our Unicorn Dealers–Camaj Fiber Arts!

It was my great pleasure to interview Mary Egbert from Camaj Fiber Arts. Even more so since she and I have met in person on a few occasions at the TNNA trade shows. And, she sent us a wonderful entry for our video and blog post contest a while back. Also, her products are BEAUTIFUL!

batt 1

Unicorn Fibre: Hi Mary, how goes it? Even thought we’ve met, I don’t know the backstory of your company, so this is a nice treat. Please tell me and our readers a little bit about how you got started.

Mary Egbert: We raised alpacas back in 2005 when we lived in Utah. I knew nothing about the fiber end of things and read every book and watched every video that was out there re: hand processing fleece, dyeing and spinning. I started washing fiber long before I spun. I bought my first wheel , a Louet S10, and it sat In the corner intimidating me for a year. Then I took the plunge and loved it! I took my first spinning class with Jacey Boggs in 2013.

yarn

UF: Fun! I resisted spinning for a while too, but it eventually sucked me in! Looks like you have a lot going on right now. I just realized you included Unicorn Power Scour and Fibre Rinse with your Raw Lock Box and we have been a monthly sponsor of your Spinning Box. I bet a lot of spinners would like to get their hands on your next offerings. How can people find you?

raw lock box

ME: A lot of ways! Here are all of our links.

The Camaj Fiber Arts Facebook Page

The Spinning Box Facebook Page

Our Blog

The Camaj Fiber Arts Website

The Spinning Box Website

UF: Wow! That is a lot of great stuff you have to offer! How do most people find their way to you?

ME: They find me through Facebook , You Tube videos, my website and Etsy. I do a few festivals a year so I can meet my customers face to face. It’s nice to meet people that I have developed a relationship with online.

UF: What are some of your favorite products and your bestsellers?

ME: My favorite products are all of them! I love everything I sell or I would not sell it. Everything I sell I have sampled and/or used so I can experience the product and pass along that information to my customer. If I don’t love it I know my customer won’t either. My best selling item is Soffsilk®, but the Spinning Box is gaining speed.

UF: What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your business?

ME: It surprises me how many people watch my videos and the positive impact that has had on my business. It really is fun getting a message from someone that said I taught them how to spin or I they learned how to dye fiber from watching my videos. It makes me feel like I’m giving back to the community and sharing what I know.

Fiber-Unicornedit

UF: You are a wonderfully supportive Unicorn Fibre dealer. How did you learn about Unicorn Fibre products?

ME: Through my tenacious research during my start up days when I was hand washing alpaca. It was, and still is, one of my favorite fiber soaps.

UF: I have to admit, I love washing a raw fleece and I will be starting up with that soon, maybe our next nice, dry day. What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

ME: Going to the beach and dancing. Not at the same time of course. Oh and being with my family, especially my grandchildren…all six of them. They are my heart.

UF: That is sweet. I bet they have fun when they see you. What is your favorite craft and who taught you to do it?

ME: Well my very first craft was sewing. My mother and grandmother were tailor quality sewers and they taught me a lot. I did that for a very long time and made clothes and toys for my kids. Once I got the taste of fiber arts and spinning yarn, sewing took a back seat.

yellow mulberry silk (2)

UF: I know how that goes. I just got back into crochet and hand sewing clothes, after a long time where knitting and spinning were center stage. So many crafts, so little time! What is your typical workday like?

ME: Up at 7…coffee…computer time to check/answer emails and orders…pack orders..design cards, adverts, or things for the Spinning Box….play on FB for a little while talking to friends and customers. Walk the dogs…check emails again. Some days I dye fibers or spin or do vids for You Tube. I babysit my twin grandsons a bit during the week too. I have a busy, full, wonderful life.

UF: Sounds like a lot of fun. What advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first got started?

ME: Why didn’t you do this years ago??!! I take that back, I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit, hunger for knowledge, am a great researcher and have flung lots of things at the wall and this has stuck and I love doing it!

sample batt spun colage

UF: You obviously have passion for what you are doing and a great attitude! What is your favorite quote or saying?

ME: I have a couple.

If you have not failed you never tried
Every great journey begins with a small step
Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself
Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

tussah silk 2

UF: Mary, thanks for a wonderful interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?

ME: I can’t thank Unicorn enough for your support to my little biz. I will always be a great supporter of Unicorn as well.

UF: Aww, thanks! Hope to see you soon in the real world!

A Quick Testimonial–Getting Wool Diaper Covers REALLY Clean

We will be back soon with more Unicorn Fibre and Unicorn Baby Dealer Interviews, but here is a terrific testimonial from Heather P:

“My friend gave me some samples of the unicorn wash for my child’s wool diaper covers/pants. I’ve been using another brand of wool wash for about 2 years. That said, I WILL NEVER USE ANOTHER WOOL WASH EVER AGAIN!!! The filth that had built up in my woolies was disgusting and Unicorn washed all that dingy, nastiness right away. The colors were brighter, the fiber was softer, they smelled so much better. I even took a picture of my wash water to show my friend because I was in such disbelief. Thank you for such an awesome product!!!”

woolwash

Thanks Heather! We are glad the Unicorn Fibre Wash was so effective for you!

The Unicorn Fibre Team

Meet our Unicorn Fibre Dealers–Baresheep!

IMG_8771299733064

received_10205493828278902I interviewed Shara Jean from Baresheep, and her responses were so good, I didn’t want to interrupt the flow with my questions. Shara runs her small business in an equally thoughtful way. Here is her story…

Shara: My business is a hobby, sometimes it makes some extra money. I sew custom upcycled wool accessories, clothing and covers for cloth diapered babies and really any babies, cloth diapered or not that can wear wool clothing. I’ve made items from wools such as cashmere and merino, sometimes wool blends. I sew almost anything requested if it is within my capability, things like longies, shorties, skirties, cardigans, vests, booties, blankets etc., and really all kinds of items can be requested and made to order.

IMG_20150402_115053received_10205089026839119

I love to upcycle wools but I also purchase new wool and wool interlock for my products. I have a great assortment of other fabrics as well. The best part of my upcycling hobby is when you see something completed and feel a grand sense of pride that you rescued that from ending up in a landfill and you were able to repurpose it for something that will also prevent toxic waste (disposable diapers).

IMG_20140701_231316
Most of my sewing gets done late night and weekends as I juggle a toddler and house during the work week.

20140831_124553

My sewing buddy is “molly” my rescue cat. She typically sits by my feet and occasionally on a pile of wool if it is on the floor. She enjoys her time sitting and mostly sleeping in my finished basement / sewing room, that is – with no toddlers around to pick on her.

20140819_12371120150319_214125 (1)

I decided to start sewing all these items for my own baby when he was just born, of course it was one thing at a time really, and as I needed them.

IMG_20131001_124903

I was very disturbed at all the chemicals that are used to manufacture, produce and dispose of disposable diapers and I naturally wanted a healthy way to manage these things. I knew about cloth diapers from a decade ago when my first child was born but I wanted to cloth diaper full time and with wool as it was much better then the plastic pants of the old days or toxic waste caused from the production of the PUL cover alternatives that are available these days.

IMG_20150120_111102IMG_84061804321674

I wanted to purchase these upcycled things from other WAHM’s and some name brands as well and I did from a few but I quickly realized it was within my ability to make them myself, and it would be better for me to save some $ doing so. Along my journey of almost borderline obsessive researching all these things, I realized how expensive it is getting in general to cloth diaper or even naturally dress your babies with the known brand names available.

IMG_20150402_142910

Not to mention that some of the clothing comes from slave labor, and is processed in such a way that it is polluting the environment, and it really bothers me ethically, morally to support business that are not up to par with the standards of environmental and ethical treatments that are expected these days.

IMG_20150114_093357FB_IMG_14281656262887493

So my simple goal is that I aim to help others afford to naturally cloth diaper and dress their children and while I do upcycle wool it has its own way of saving the environment, one diaper, one hour of slave labor, and 1 cup of crude chemicals at a time. So, kind of like saving the world one diaper at a time, but I hope its more like 1 woolie at a time. But in general I do realize that some people just cannot afford the expensive stash building and gooberly expensive baby items that come with being more environmentally friendly while having to watch your pocket book… and I hope to try to give them an alternative to cheap outsourced and unethically made clothing with my hand made products and all within a great price range that is affordable and very practical. I want to help them build a stash of wool. I even make payment arrangements with some that need it for their budgeting and have had successful luck with those that do need it. I see it kind of like every mother helping every mother and together we create a village, but on a more board scale and sometimes its way out of our village. Lol

IMG_20140701_231512

I really was able to get started because I was fortunate enough to already have known how to sew but I haven’t sewn in years. My Aunt passed away and I was given her sewing machine. After shopping around for woolies that were way out of my budget, I kind of just looked at the boxed up machine and said to myself “what am I doing…? I can totally make some myself now.” And so it began, one sweater confiscated from my hubby’s closet and then another, and then he let me go buy some… after that I was sewing every chance I could and building a stash of sweaters up for other moms too. I have a wonderful husband who totally supports this as a hobby and a small business.

20150124_21412520130929_164901

We just bought a range of industrial machines to keep sewing on that will require much less maintenance then the others we have.

baresheep studio

I am always on the look out for mills to purchase wool from as well as upcycled wool. I try to get a good deals when I find them but I have high standards and I only buy quality wools. We are still building and saving for the next inventory items to keep sewing but it takes time and well, I have the time because it is something I have started to love doing and it kind of keeps me calm and less like the crazy house mom that needs to have a night out.

IMG_20150120_111102IMG_20150303_141705
I started spreading the word of my woolies on facebook, and in wool trading and chatting groups.

I have a facebook page, www.facebook.com/baresheeps and I have an etsy shop as well www.baresheep.etsy.com and my email is baresheep@gmail.com mostly people message me on facebook or etsy.
I just bought a website and am tinkering around with that http://www.baresheep.com, so stay tuned for that.
IMG_20150402_120443

Some of my favorite things are baby blankets, cashmere longies and interlock wool, but I think my booties have gotten a lot of love this past winter too.
I think that the most surprising thing that has happened would be that I really enjoy it, enough that if I can keep doing it I will keep building it and it has brought me much joy, but just as much frustration at times with the legal and business aspect of it.

baresheep unicorn baby
I learned of unicorn products from a brand of wool that always was a lot over my price range, I did order from them but they never had stock of the washes and rinse. I also didn’t like their customer service and finally after 2 months of waiting for my order to ship I just contacted unicorn myself and then also found about being a retailer and I thought it would be great to always have stock so other didn’t have to wait to wash their wool for a very long time either. It just kind of makes sense.

Outside of work I enjoy my toddler playing at the park. I really enjoy coffee, like artesian coffee, and I love to brew it different ways and try new roasts or favorite coffees – I guess this is my favorite craft at heart but I would like to start roasting my own coffee someday and have a small coffee shop possibly with a lending library. I also enjoy running and generally all things outdoors. I am a nerd at heart and I swear when my toddler has a longer attention span I would love to dig into my biology and chemistry roots and start some vegetable garden and soap making.

baresheep workspace

Typically my work day starts the min I wake up with a toddler poking my face and rubbing my cheek or hair. After I stumble into the kitchen to make a bottle, start coffee, change diaper, make breakfast, make coffee, probably feed the cat put some cartoon on for the lil man and finally get to drink coffee. I start checking messages, any orders and thinking about what and when things need to get done. what do need to order, where is my laundry at and when are my shipments coming in.

baresheep thread and computer

I dont typically get to actually do a lot of the “work” until after dinner time or on the weekends, and it usually lasts until the wee hours of the night and occasional morning. It is a lengthy process, but it can be easy and quick too. some people like to be really involved and others just need that easy button but mostly the time consumption is from finding out what they want, how they want it, sizes and then the choices to present them. I help them choose from the best wools from the stash of mine once I have determined their needs and chosen the best, then I need to measure it, make a pattern and wash/ dry it before it is cut and sewn and finally rinsed before being shipped.

baresheep dyeing

It takes a few days and it’s a process, but I aim for the items to be the highest quality and with the best customer service. I am happy to offer a full range of wool care, including not only unicorn products but I have made my own pure lanolin and spray lanolin for the cloth diapering wools and soon I hope to have artesian made baby skin care products for eczema and other sensitive and extremely sensitive skin as well.

baresheep brand
Quality over quantity is the one thing would tell myself all over again. Sometimes it takes me a while as every piece of wool is different than the last and I take the time to work with it the way it needs. I feel there is a real skill in working with fibre and especially with wool and felting it as well as sewing.
My favorite quote is “ if you are going to do something, do it perfectly or don’t do it at all” and my favorite saying it “nothing comes easy that doesn’t go easy” or “this wasn’t meant to be easy or everyone would do it” particularly I tell myself this running or during marathon training but it also comes in handy with some sewing too lol
I am hoping to enter the crafting shows this year and have some ready made products available on my website for those that need an easy button with quick shipping.

20150303_131719

The picture of the truck blanket was a PAY IT FORWARD item. Sometimes I make things randomly selecting people who are in some groups and are in need of items im comfortable making. I feel its important to give to those who need it, you never know the days ahead when you may need some help too. We havent taken a family pic in a while. Ill get one later today and send it. Use any of these you like and if you need a caption for it just let me know. Im off to sleep a few hours before monster wakes up. P.s. Molly is snoring on her wool blanket.

IMG_20150121_104714

Meet Our Unicorn Dealers–Handknit Habitat!

hhshowpic

For the next installment of the Meet Our Unicorn Fibre Dealers, I’d like to introduce Carla Cain of Handknit Habitat. Here she is (left) with her mother, who helps her at the craft shows where she sells her finished goods and patterns. Carla has found a niche within a niche and focuses on science fiction and fantasy-themed handknit accessories. She makes each hat or scarf by hand from materials that are as responsibly sourced as possible. Many of her yarns come from independent American mills and dyers.

Unicorn Fibre: Hi Carla, thanks for doing an interview! Is there anything else I forgot to mention?

Carla Cain: …hmm…maybe just that I’m a lifelong crafter who was searching for way to share her love of handmade goods with the world…

UF: Please tell me the nuts and bolts of your business…how did you get started?
CC: I started in 2011 selling multi-colored hats with a bohemian style on Etsy. I had put myself on waiting lists for several local craft shows and conventions and the first one that responded was a group called Gallifrey One. They stage the largest Dr Who convention in North America right here in Los Angeles every year. 3000+ people attend and they are a very friendly crowd that loves to shop! I learned quickly about how to understand and appeal to a niche audience and now I focus all of my work on the science-fiction/fantasy community. I also do craft shows at costume shops and other such venues as well.

hhimage

UF: You have a cute website that connects to your very interesting blog, www.handknit-habitat.com. How do people usually find out about your business?

CC: Mainly from the craft shows and conventions, and my Etsy page.

UF: What are some of your favorite products that you sell? What is your bestselling item?
CC: My best-selling item is a hat made famous by a character from a TV show called “Firefly”. One of the characters on that show wore an orange, yellow, and red Chullo-style hat that has become an icon for “in-the-know” sci-fi fans and those hats have really become my bread and butter! I also started selling kits for people to make their own when I found out how many fans are also knitters.

Rbhts

UF: What is the most surprising thing that has happened with your business?

CC: On the positive side I’m always touched by how loyal, friendly, and welcoming the sf/fantasy community is. But I seriously underestimated how much work it takes to run a one-person business.

UF: Yes, so many of us in the needlearts industry are really just one person shows, or small, family businesses. How did you learn about Unicorn products?

40zrinseandwash_96333__06432.1418509665.500.500

 

CC: I learned about Unicorn products while searching for something to use on my personal knitting products. It worked so well, I’ve started recommending it to my customers and giving out free samples as a gift-with-purchase.

UF: What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

CC: I love being outdoors. I’m really looking forward to an upcoming trip to Yosemite.

UF: Wow, sounds rugged and beautiful. I like to be out in my garden and am so happy the weather has turned nicer here on the East Coast. I even do some knitting and sewing outside when I can. What is your favorite craft and who taught you to do it?

CC: I love knitting, and my grandmother taught me.

scarf

UF: That is really nice, and especially so since your mom helps you out at shows. Great to have the help, too, I suppose. Those shows can be busy. Please describe your typical work day.

CC: Work the “day job” till midnight, up at 9am to do business (order yarn, plan projects, balance the books, etc) for a couple of hours, then I spend 2-3 hours knitting, then it’s time to get dressed and go to the “day job” again.

UF: Yes, many professional crafters fit this work in and try to balance with another job. It can be tricky on many levels. What advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first got started?

CC: To take an accounting class! Book keeping and accounting are not my strongest assets, and the learning curve has been steep.

UF: What is your favorite quote or saying?
CC: This passage from Seth Godin’s blog keeps me inspired to work hard to improve my craft:

The difference between commitment and technique

We spend way too much time teaching people technique. Teaching people to be good at flute, or C++ or soccer.

It’s a waste because the fact is, most people can learn to be good at something, if they only choose to be, if they choose to make the leap and put in the effort and deal with the failure and the frustration and the grind.

But most people don’t want to commit until after they’ve discovered that they can be good at something. So they say, “teach me, while I stand here on one foot, teach me while I gossip with my friends via text, teach me while I wander off to other things. And, sure, if the teaching sticks, then I’ll commit.”

We’d be a lot more successful if organized schooling was all about creating an atmosphere where we can sell commitment (and where people will buy it). A committed student with access to resources is almost unstoppable.

Great teachers teach commitment.

UF: That is a great one, and so true. I know many creative business people who follow him. Thanks again for doing the interview. And keep up the good work! Anything else you would like to add?

CC: Thanks so much for this opportunity — I’m such a huge Unicorn fan that it’s really an honor!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 681 other followers