Category Archives: CSM socks

Keeping Records

A towel is underway on the CM loom, socks are being made, and yesterday I took time to update records I keep of the handcrafted socks I make and sell.

First there are the orders I receive, usually via email, occasionally a phone call. Name, address, phone, email, exactly what has been requested, size, colors, when they were made, funds received, and when mailed. Also, any other special circumstances (tracking down a lost package, and so on).

Then I updated an alphabetized list of socks by name, yes, I name each color combination. Currently there are almost 100 names, and the colors in each are also there. There is a second list, also alphabetical, which begins with the colors, then the title. This way, if someone calls and wants another pair of “Up North,” I consult the list and pull those cones of yarn off the shelf. The second list helps me identify socks that do not yet have a tag, or put a name on each of the photos in my files.

I take photos of each color combination, and the third job yesterday was identifying which pair they were. Bring up the photo, enlarge if necessary, ah yes, Black, Green, and Red, that pair is Holly & Ivy. I’m not finished with this job yet, but good progress was made.

A few days ago I sent three photos out to someone who was ordering a pair of socks, as she had requested a specific color be used. Since I work with three colors (almost always), I decided to send her photos of two or three pairs using that color, and she made her choice.

In the busyness of summer and fall, I had fallen a bit behind in record-keeping, and these long, bitter cold days are just right for catching up on some of these jobs.

New Beginnings for 2009

The New Year seemed a good time to begin the new warp, a 10 shaft twill with stripes of bleached and unbleached 22/2 cottolin, sett at 24 epi, 2 epi in a 12 dent reed. This afternoon I tried out a singles slub linen, first with one strand, then with two, both as plain weave and twill. Ideas for borders are going through my head as I weave. In a bit, I’ll begin weaving the first towel or runner on this 15 yard warp.

Also this afternoon, my son Noah made a heddle jig for me, cutting and sanding a board and setting in the nails for the long-eye heddles I need to make for the drawloom. There is a heddle on the jig, though the seine twine is difficult to see here.

This sock pic was taken this summer, on a sunny day, on the lakeside porch. I enjoy taking photos of my weaving, and socks. I photograph my work outdoors in summer, to get as close to the true colors in the yarns as possible. Taking pics indoors in this log home, where the logs absorb all light, is a challenge anytime of year, and something I continue to work on.

This is a wonderful time of year for setting goals for the coming year, re-prioritizing, listing what needs to be done, and later the feeling of accomplishment of checking things off as they are completed. This is also a good time to consider marketing, looking at the big picture of the year ahead, making choices for venues, and remembering not to over-commit. And as always, continue to take care, ensuring fine finished work.

Studio Days

It was cold and windy in the northwoods today, warming up to a brisk -6 F around 10 AM this morning. A great day to stay in the studio and do more cleaning and organizing. More and more I want clear, uncluttered, organized work spaces, and I’m enjoying the process of choosing what to keep, what is useful to my life now, and what can go. Keep the memories, not necessarily the stuff.

All in all, I’ve been very happy with the studio swap, as I have more space now, and better light during the day for weaving, spinning, and cranking socks. Evenings, I work upstairs, closing toes on socks, sewing, and combing/carding fleece. Last night I worked on some wonderfully lustrous Lincoln fleece, using a flicker as it is too long for the drum carder. There is always more to learn, and how to use wool combs is on my list.

“Holly & Ivy,” newly cranked, are shown below. Pat received her red and black “Checkerboard” socks in the mail, Carol is coming over Wednesday to choose four pairs of socks and in this bitter cold weather, I could use a few more pairs of wool socks myself. As I write this, it is -16 F., and dropping.

Socks Gone Astray

In October, a woman had purchased a pair of socks, “Goldenrod in Bloom.” She liked them so much she contacted me in October to order three more pairs, which I made up and mailed to her on Nov. 4th. I had a tracking number, but as I’ve never had a package not be delivered, I did not check up on it. Later in November, she emailed me and asked if I had sent the socks out as they had not arrived. I wrote back telling her when they were mailed, then got on the site to check tracking.

Usps said the socks had been accepted in Conover on Nov. 4, and processed on Nov. 5 at two different locations in IL. It did NOT say delivered. I checked with my local postmaster and she said found the same information. Back home, I dialed Information for a phone number at the IL post office in question. There, I was told they would get back to me within a business day. Late the following afternoon, I called them again and was told someone had called that morning and,… “Wait,” I said, “I just arrived home, I’ve been out all day, no one has been home, no message was left on my answering machine, so no one called here.” They did not know where the package was.

What could I do but go home and make three more pairs of socks and get them ready to mail, which I did. The day I took the second package to the post office, the postmaster asked me if I’d checked tracking that day. No, I hadn’t, so she did, and it appeared the package was in MN on its way back to me, so took the package back home again. It took about five weeks to make its way back to me.

The next day, the original package of socks was in my mailbox, mailing label missing, but a small label with return to Shuttle Works affixed to it, and the end taped shut.

I took photos of the outside, then opened it, and yes, it had been opened, the raffia nearly off, tissue re-wrapped, and in the bottom of the envelope one of my business cards/tags that had been inside a sock. I called Deb again, and she said the label must have come off at some point going through the machinery, and the package sent to recovery, where they are authorized to open packages to try to determine the destination or origin. They had found my card and were able to send it back.

So, the following day, back I went to the post office, this time clear tape over the label to make sure it would not come off, insured, tracking number, and signature required. I also sent a package to Oregon, another sock order. Both arrived at their destinations the same day. Then last night I received an email from OR that the socks had arrived. I wrote back thanking him for letting me know, and briefly telling him about the other package that had gone astray. He wrote back saying he had looked, and the label was coming off that package, too.

Live and learn, right? Either replace the labels or clear tape over each one to keep it on (or both), or just write directly on the packages with permanent marker.

And now I’m three pairs of socks ahead on my sock supply for the coming summer.

More Sock Orders

After being away for a few days for Thanksgiving, visiting my parents/family members, I returned home to finish up a sock order for Ann, who when she ordered them had said “no hurry.” Left to right, “Wild Blueberries,” “Cranberry Harvest,” and “Raven Trail.” Thank you, Ann!

Along with Ann’s order, it was time to make another pair of socks for Pat, who had called to order a second pair of Checkerboard (red and black). Her phone message of, “I just LOVE my socks!” really made my day. Did I have the yarn to make another pair? Yes, so when Ann’s order was finished, another pair of “Checkerboard” came off the sock machine. Enjoy!

Then an email came. Could I make a pair of socks, for a gentleman’s wife, for Christmas. Yes! So “Keep Me Warm” were also made up. A couple nights ago I had a nice sock wash and they have been drying by the woodburning range in the kitchen. Today 8 pairs of socks were finished with some steam, tags written, and they will be taken to the post office shortly.

Meanwhile, I had ordered more anchor pins for my Glimakra loom treadles as I was FOUR short for tieing up the ten shafts/twelve treadles. I have some of Texsolv ties and anchor pins missing in action around here somewhere.

I also ordered a tube of seine twine so I can begin making additional long-eye “string” heddles for the drawloom. There are ten ground shafts on that loom, nine of them have approximately 100 heddles each, and one shaft currently has none, and that needs to be changed. Now, I need to try to make a heddle jig, or have one made. Moving along,…