Perfection isn’t perfect

norway spruce“The Spruce Fir is generally esteemed a more elegant tree than the Scotch pine; and the reason, I suppose, is because it often feathers to the ground, and grows in a more exact and regular shape: but this is a principal objection to it. It often wants both form and beauty. We admire its floating foliage, in which it sometimes exceeds all other trees; but it is rather disagreeable to see a repetition of these feathery strata, beautiful as they are, reared tier above tier, in regular order, from the bottom of a tree to the top. Its perpendicular stem, also, which has seldom any lineal variety, makes the appearance of the tree still more formal. It is not always, however, that the Spruce Fir grows with so much regularity. Sometimes a lateral branch, here and there taking the lead beyond the rest, breaks somewhat through the order commonly observed, and forms a few chasms, which have a good effect. When this is the case, the Spruce Fir ranks among picturesque trees. Sometimes it has as good an effect, and in many circumstances a better, when the contrast appears still stronger; when the tree is shattered by some accident, has lost many of its branches, and is scathed and ragged. A feathery branch, here and there, among broken stems, has often an admirable effect; but it must arise from some particular situation.”

from Woodland Gleanings by Charles Tilt, 1853

New Year, new house…

Well, I suppose the New Year just wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have the prospect of moving house (again) on the horizon…  I did announce several months ago that we planned to be moving, but actually we had recently decided to stay put.  Never mind that, it’s all on again!  We managed 2 whole years at the current property (a record for us), but we have high hopes that the next one we will manage even longer.  Wish us luck, though, because by historic evidence, the property gods are clearly not on our side!

The TangleCrafts & E.T.Printworks stores (etc) will be closed throughout February, but back in March.  The packing ‘festivities’ do not need to begin in earnest quite yet, though, so please do take advantage of the coupon code NEWHOME at Etsy checkout, for a 25% discount until the end of this month.  (If you prefer to order through Folksy, drop me a line with or immediately following your order, and I will apply the discount retrospectively, as a Paypal refund.)  Your help in diminishing the quantities I will need to pack is truly much appreciated! 😉

Printing changes & clearance offer

Until now, I have printed, folded & bound all my zines at home, to order.  I love the process of handmaking, from start to finish, however, the more orders I receive, the less time becomes available to develop new ideas and work on new projects, and depending on outside circumstances, it is sometimes easy to become overwhelmed by demand & unable to keep up (not a bad problem to have, but something of a vicious circle!).  So I have been looking at ways to diminish my workload, and the most obvious solution was to relinquish control a little, and allow a printer to do some of the work for me.

I am very happy to have found a printer  that can provide recycled and FSC (sustainable) papers printed with vegetable-based inks, and has very high environment-friendly standards in all business concerns.  This was important to me, as I have always used recycled papers and really didn’t want to give that up.

So I have now done a couple of test print runs, and have decided that this is definitely the way forward for me.  The printing & folding will be done externally, but I will continue to bind & add in all the usual extra elements by hand.  I can’t afford to alter the process immediately for all of my zines, and I will continue to print from home, also; but one by one, over time, the changes will take effect.  And already I can see the difference it will make to the time I have available for project-work.  Yay for more time!

But it has been a bit of a learning curve.  The first print run did not go quite to plan when I cleverly selected the wrong paper option for the first batch of DIY French Knitting zines printed…  The paper used has a high quality shiny finish (but is still eco-friendly, as it is from a sustainable source) rather than the matt, more natural recycled look that I prefer.  It’s just a matter of aesthetics & the content is exactly the same as other versions of this zine you see elsewhere in my Etsy store, so if you’ve had your eye on this zine previously but not yet taken the plunge, now is the time to bag yourself a bargain!

Housekeeping, housemoving

I have finally got around to applying a spot of much-needed housekeeping to these pages – nothing dramatic, just updating some links here, revising information there etc etc.  I’ve even added a new page, but I’m not going to highlight it until after…

…the housemove…  Yes, it is time for that occasion which seems to occur all too frequently for the Mwamba family: we are on the move again.   Despite our hopes that we would finally settle in our current home, circumstances have conspired against us, and – thankfully at no expense to ourselves! – we will shortly be re-locating once more.  On the plus side, the new house has more space to accommodate our joint and multitudinous possessions.  And it’s called ‘The Roselands’, which is kinda nice.

So within a month, we should be installed, and all the projects I have temporarily put on hold will be re-instated.  And guess what?  I have actually completed Telaic Fantasy #4! Yes, I have, it’s true!  But I am going to wait until the upheaval is over before the ‘grand unveiling’.  😉

Just a note re. the house-move – all of my mail will be re-directed, as soon as the move is complete, so any project submissions or other correspondence will still reach me, even if you send it to the old (/current) address.  I will be updating all of my zines with the new contact details, but if you need my new postal address, just drop me a line, and I will keep you updated.

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone has had a festive festive season & a happy new year.  I’ve had a fun but full couple of weeks, with very little break from work (despite lack of posts here).  Despite best intentions, I accomplished virtually no weaving, but I did squeeze in some time on some more text-driven projects I have in mind.  I intended to handmake Christmas cards, which kind of happened, but was all very last minute.  I invented a Christmas card-cum-mini D.I.Y. weaving kit that I gave one each to my mum & sister.  I feel slightly guilty about it, but they were at least handmade…  I did manage to handweave one card – very hurriedly! – for an older gentleman, who has been a friend of the family for years.  At least he will appreciate it!

I don’t generally ‘do’ New Year Resolutions, but there is quite a lot in my head that I would like to see happen in the coming year, so I thought the act of writing it out might push me to see more  through.

  1. Moving house. 😦  Not happy about it, but we’ll be looking to move on again as soon as we find somewhere.  I’ll be happy to be in a different house, but I just hate all the upheaval and not being able to get on with all the ‘usual’, day to day things.  Hopefully, this will be the last time, for a while…
  2. Set up Etsy store. I need to do this sooner rather than later, as I know it will make things easier for everyone involved to have a ‘proper’ online shopping facility.  This is my resolution for January.  I will do it.
  3. Finish adding products to site. Okay, the blog is a never-ending process.  But I still have quite a few products in my head that just need a little bit of work to turn them into real kits and concepts to sell online.  There will definitely be new products added in the near future.  Watch this space…!
  4. Exhibit at more craft fairs. Again, time limits the amount of saleable stuff I can produce, but I would ideally like to fit in 3 or 4 fairs this year.  I have found a couple of organisers who arrange things relatively local to me (not being able to drive, this is quite a big issue for me) so it should work out…
  5. Write a book! Okay, maybe it sounds unrealistic, but I’ve been looking into it in a very real sense. I already have a lot of material – I just want to pull all the D.I.Y. weaving ideas together in one place, with some miscellaneous extra bits, too.   I’m looking at self-publishing rather than mainstream, mainly because I just want to get it done, but also because presentation is quite important to me, and I don’t think the author has much control over that aspect with mainstream publishing.  But using my home-printer isn’t financially viable, so I will lose the nice recycled papers I prefer to use, regardless. I need to look at viable printing options that retain a measure of eco-friendliness, but are also, and essentially, low-cost. I’m thinking about hand-making the covers to retain the personal touch, but I need to think about how realistic that is.  As you can see, there is lots of stuff bubbling about in my head, with regard to this!
  6. Self-publishing some zine-type things. This is where the idea for writing a book originated from.  I soon realised that there is too much D.I.Y. weaving material to make a single, financially-realistic zine, but not enough peripheral material to pad out a whole series of D.I.Y. weaving zines.  But I do still like the idea of running some small booklets off, on the home printer, and am thinking of website/blog reviews, book reviews, that kind of thing.
  7. Re-format Stitchery stuff. My stitchery/bargello designs fell completely by the wayside in the latter half of 2008.  It’s not my driving focus at the moment, but I would like to re-organise things slightly, so that the designs are more visible/accessible.  If I get the D.I.Y. weaving book off the ground, it would be nice to dosomething similar for my bargello ideas, too.
  8. Weaving. Hey, there’s a novel thought!  I really hope I have time to do some weaving this year!  I had an idea months ago, to make some truly miniature weavings and I guess that is the thing I should focus on first, to follow through.  Look out for weavings a borrower would be proud of, at TangleCrafts this year!
  9. Isn’t that enough?!

So that’s my grand plan.  Wish me luck – I think I’ll need it!  Did I mention I work full time, as well…?