Posts filed under ‘Of Interest’

My Yarn Candy Store

Why I love owning Cotton Clouds!

Every year I get to take off for a long weekend and attend TNNA (The National Needlework Association) to see the very latest yarns, patterns, books and trends in the industry.

Here are my favorites! Sign up for our e-newsletters for latest updates on when we add these very new and super-luscious products!

Fun with friends & classy hotels!

Irene at TNNA 2016, San Diego, CA   Grand Horton Hotel     Irene & Lois Weaver

 

 

Luscious new yarns!

New Cotton Supreme          100% Organic Cotton       Cotton Supreme Splash

 

Interesting New Designs!

Spirals                         Multi-Stripes                        Classic

Must-Have New Swatch Maker!

Available in 8, 10 & 12 epi to swatch before beginning a project. Great for RH weavers too!

Gorgeous New Patterns!

Stunning designs in cotton, silk, wool, cashmere merino and of course cotton!

My Spinzilla Passion!

The Spinning & Weaving Group was there!

Sprout & Seedling!

Lots and Lots of New Colors added to our line of 100% Organic Sprout & Seedling!

As you can see owning your own mail order yarn business for over 36 years does have it’s perks.  We will be sharing many of these new products through our e-newsletter so be sure to sign up HERE!

Irene Schmoller, Founder & Owner

 

01/20/2016 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

What Makes Your Heart Happy?

HeartCloud

What Makes Your Heart Happy?

During February we’ve been talking a lot about doing things to keep your heart healthy, and we shouldn’t forget that an important part of heart health is doing what you love! This commercial for Equador, with the stunning photography and wonderful Beatles tune, certainly made our heart soar when we saw it! It’s a beautiful world out there, we should get out and enjoy it!

 

 Our Ravelry Group Responds

Happy Heart CollageWe posed the question, “What Makes Your Heart Happy?”, to our Ravelry group and had a wonderful variety of answers that we expected, and some we didn’t. Weavers, spinners, knitters and crocheters all responded, where you one of them? Feel free to join us! Here are a few of the responses that really struck us:

  •  …when that idea becomes a project just the way you imagined it.
  • Right now my livestock makes me happy… baby ducks next week, and baby goats not too long after that!
  • When my husband helps me warp my looms.
  • Those breath-taking moments in nature like watching a raptor soar on a thermal make my heart sing.
  • Color in the winter!

Crafting a Happy Heart

A fabulous way to brighten up the drab winter days is to bring the color RED into your next project! Red is eye-catching, energizing, and is the color of energy, passion and action! Creating and giving are two of the most important parts to keep your heart happy.

Cotton Clouds will donate 10% of all Stitch Red kit sales (through March 1, 2015) to Heart Truth, an organization that promotes women’s heart health. Join us, and together we can save lives … it could be your own!

 A Chuckle A Day…


Everyone likes a good laugh, but in all seriousness, more women die of cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer combined! Too many of us have family members dealing with heart issues. Take good care of your heart! Give your heart lots of love, with laughter and smiles, exercise and a healthy diet!

Need a New Plan for Your Healthy Heart?

NIHheart2If you need another little boost to help you get started, check out the #4MyHeart campaign from the Heart Truth! They have a 4-week action plan that will educate you, inspire better eating, lower your heart disease risk, and take the next steps to put you in control of your healthy heart!

Cheers to Happy Hearts, Living Creatively, and Following Your Heart’s Desire!

– Irene & Jodi

 

 

02/17/2015 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

Being Merry and Bright and Balanced

cat_holiday_framed

Can you believe it? It’s that time of year: decorations, presents, food and festivities are taking over! Whether you brighten the darkness of winter with lights on a Christmas tree or candles on a Menorah, the team at Cotton Clouds would like to share a few things that have made us smile with the hope that they bring you a smile and keep your spirit merry and bright!

A Better Wish List

wishlist2

Have you spotted this wish list on Facebook or Pinterest? If all holiday to-do lists looked like this, the world would be a better place!

Cotton Clouds Pin to Win Winners

Pin to Win WinnersOur first Pin to Win event was a great success! A reminder to the winners to please get in touch to confirm your email address by December 21, 2014! We love Pinterest as a way to share what you love with others and we have found wonderful inspiration ourselves in taking the time to explore your wishlists. Check out these Pinterest Wish Lists of the winners of our contest:

Keep on Crafting

CraftyElf2

We do hope that you make time to indulge in your favorite crafting activity!

  • Keep it enjoyable with your favorite mug of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!
  • Remember to stop and stretch! You wouldn’t want to bring on a craft-related injury!
  • Make your supply list and check it twice. CottonClouds.com has all the tools of the trades!

Balance with Feng Shui

Fengshuilist

December can be a tricky time of year as there is so much to balance. Have you considered Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of environmental and interior design? The tips we are sharing here are quite easy to try during the holidays – Thank You! to Sandy Sue of balanceyourlife.net!

Gift Certificate Special

Holiday-christmas-gift-presSometimes the best gift is the gift you select yourself! Now through December 15, 2014, any $100 (or larger) gift certificate ordered will get FREE SHIPPING when they are redeemed. Click here to order the perfect gift for everyone you love…that’s you too! 

Looking Ahead to 2015

lessmore2

Pretty soon we will be flipping the calendar to 2015. Cotton Clouds is planning a few fun activities to welcome in the new year! Stay tuned to our Facebook page and make sure you’ve signed up for our newsletter for all the details!

May you have the Happiest of Holidays this season and a Happy New Year from Cotton Clouds!

cloudstamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/12/2014 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Halloween Fun with Cotton Clouds

Let’s Have Some Halloween Fun!

PumpkinBaby3

Are you ready to fill your Fall with fun? Cotton Clouds prefers the sweet and silly to spooky and scary, so check out our round-up of ideas to cover your crafty needs this month!

Cotton Up to Halloween Costumes!

cottonballcostumes

Right now Pinterest is full of wonderful Halloween Costume ideas. Of course we pinned several to our Halloween Fun board! What better costume for any cotton fan? We get such a giggle each time we look at the adorable “Cotton Boll Kid” as we have come to refer to her, and how wonderful are the cotton ball wigs?

Festive Cotton Decorations!

Time to get festive! Sure pumpkins and candy corns may dominate the color palette, but don’t be afraid to branch out and make use of the other seasonal colors! Why not include cotton bolls in your tablescape? They provide a lovely neutral – aren’t they pretty in these images?

Fall decorations

Spin Up a Scary Yardage!

We’re so proud of Team Cotton Clouds Cottontails as they spin as much as they can during Spinzilla! These fibers and deals are treats for your spinning experience – no tricks!

scarespinnin

Quick & Easy Knit or Crochet Projects!

knitcollageOur go-to yarn choice for each of these quick knit or crochet projects would be Tahki Cotton Classic! Shown above are:

 

Free Shipping: Special Treat in our Newsletter!

Newsletter sign up

Click HERE to subscribe to our e-newsletter with sales, specials, what’s new, hints & tips, free patterns & more!

Happy Halloween!

Here’s to a Safe & Happy Halloween with lots of treats! Feel free to let us know how your spinning & weaving is going – share a link to your project or post a picture to our Facebook page!

Irene & Jodi

10/10/2014 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

True Friendship Across Borders

Knowing what’s right!

Sometimes in life you just know that you must put all your heart and soul into something even when there will be no financial gain.

Women of SR, Guat

THE NATURAL DYE PROJECT with The Women of San Rafael, Guatemala

When I first heard of The Natural Dye Project sponsored by Mayan Hands of Guatemala I knew I had to be a part of it.  My weaving community has helped sustain Cotton Clouds these past 35 years.  Now it was time for me to give something back.
Cochineal dyer 2

The Natural Dye Project taught dyeing techniques to the women of San Rafael

An Idea Is Born

   Deborah Chandler (author, Learning to Weave) contacted me in 2013 to see if I would help market a naturally dyed cotton towel kit that would be produced by a small group of women living in the mountains of San Rafael, Guatemala. I said yes, and along with a fantastic all-volunteer crew of natural dye experts, a fabulous weaving designer, graphic artists, and copy editors we have produced a beautiful Friendship Towel with Tintes Naturales kit for you to weave and to give as gifts and to yourself.

The Natural Dye Project

   Since early  2013, natural-dye pros Catharine Ellis and Donna Brown (and later Diane de Souza andRocío Mena) have donated their time and expertise in San Rafael teaching the women every step of dyeing cotton yarns with Tintes Naturales. In the beginning the idea was to use local dye plants but with no local dyers left to show the women how to extract the dyes or how to maintain consistent colors, the group has shifted to using commercially available powdered dyestuffs that produce consistent results.
    Rocío has spent the past two months living with the women and guiding them through the process of dyeing, winding and packaging the yarns to produce over 150  Friendship Towel kits The first batch of 30 kits sold out in two days!
Tintes Naturales dyer

The Natural Dye Project in action

More Than A Living Wage

   The women received approximately $450 EACH for the two+ months of work they did. Usually they earn about $45 in six weeks, so $90 in an equivalent amount of time — IF there is work. Right now there is hardly any work for them, so this is not just 5 – 10 times what they usually get, for now it is nearly all they are getting.
   One woman used the money to add electricity to her new home; many have set it aside for their children’s education as well as to purchase corn, their staple food source, since they are unable to grow their own this year with the severe drought in their area.
TN Family Composite

From left, Berta’s family, Abelina’s daughter Mishel, Rocío with Abelina’s family

Rocío Mena Our Angel

   Deborah Chandler writes, “I can say, with no reservations and total gratitude, that this would not have been possible if Rocío had not been there. She has provided everything that the women needed: information, nudging, inspiration, dedication, fun, and a will to push hard when everyone was tired. They all believe the women can now successfully continue, so let’s hope, and WORK, to sell those 117 Friendship Towel kits so we can order more. The women are geared up to do another 50 and I am sorry that I need to tell them not yet. But they are ready and eager so I hope the Christmas season benefits them like it does most other sales.
Rocio and Abelina frame

Abelina and Rocío learning how to weave on her new backstrap loom the women gave her as a going away gift.

 Yes, a HUGE Success!

   That’s it — a HUGE success so far. Now we just need to keep it going.
Women with HW

The five remaining women of the Natural Dye Project with Rocío Mena holding the September/October 2014 issue of Handwoven magazine, featuring the Friendship Towel kit with Tintes Naturales.  From left: Gilberta, Elvira, Berta, Rocio, Fulgencia, Abelina

 

How you can support this project.

The women of San Rafael are so very proud of their accomplishments of dyeing these all-cotton yarns  and packaging them into the Friendly Towel kit with Tintes Naturales and want to share it with you!  Purchase one or two or more kits (each kit makes four towels on any 4-shaft loom) and give and give and give to friends, family, fund raisers, and more!  And don’t forget yourself.
 Each time your hand picks up a Friendship Towel, you’ll be reminded that your hands have reached across the border and touched so many lives in such a huge way!
Women in frame

Order your Friendship Towel with Tintes Naturales kit by Clicking HERE!                    Limited Supply! Order Now!

The Natural Dye Project Team

5 women of natural dye project frame

The five remaining women of the Natural Dye Project and producers of the Friendship Towel with Tintes Naturales kit

Follow Rocío’s Journey in San Rafael

TN Friendship Blog

Click HERE to read Rocio’s blog; two months working hand in hand with the women of San Rafael, Guatemala.

08/27/2014 at 1:17 pm 2 comments

Cotton Dyeing

1-eyeDid you know that your eyes are capable of distinguishing between 10 million colors? That’s what the experts say! Maybe you would like to make a purple sweater – do you want a purple that is more lilac, violet, or fuschia? If you have a specific color in mind for a project, you might want to try experimenting with dyeing your own yarn. Dyeing your own yarn is a fun project to try at home. The result of having your own unique colorway will add to the feeling of pride in your handiwork!

Dyeing Cotton Yarn

Cotton yarns require a slightly different approach for dyeing.

PCfibers

Cotton Fiber and Wool Fiber as seen under an electron microscope

  • Cotton is a cellulose fiber (not a protein fiber, like wool, alpaca, or human hair).
  • Prepare your yarn by winding it into a skein.
  • Wash your yarn to remove any spinning oil or wax that may prevent dye absorption. Click here to our “From Start To Finish: Cotton Spinning” video for specifics on this scouring process.
  • Pretreat the yarn
  • Use dyes that are specific for cellulose fibers – Cotton Clouds offers Botanical Dyes that are great option.

EZ Dye and Dye-Lishous

EZ-Dye (Dye-Lishous) Cotton Sliver and Cotton Yarn have been pre-mordanted so that the fiber will take up the dye so that you will not have to mordant your cotton prior to dyeing. This eliminates the pretreatment step, saving time, money, energy and water!

Top: Botanical Dyes, EZ-Dye Dye Lishus Cotton Sliver undyed and dyed; Bottom: EZ Dye Cotton woven into Napkins

Top: Botanical Dyes, EZ-Dye Dye Lishus Cotton Sliver   Bottom: EZ Dye Cotton woven into Napkins

The other great advantage of EZ Dye Cotton is that it can be dyed so easily after spinning and weaving. Weave the EZ-Dye (Dye-Lishus) yarn by itself or with an untreated cotton yarn. The fun begins when you immerse the finished cloth in a dye bath! The treated EZ-Dye (Dye-Lishus) cotton yarn will absorb the dye, and the untreated will not. Imagine napkins, baby blankets, shawls, and jackets that can be quickly woven without color. Once you know what color you want your log cabin or shadow weave project, you simply dye it! Magic!

Here are the kits CottonClouds.com has ready for you:

 Everything You Need to Know is Here!

Handspinning Cotton

Whether you’re a hand spinner or just want to know the most successful way to spinning cotton yarns, this newly re-published (by Cotton Clouds) book, Handspinning Cotton will give you all the recipes you’ll need to dye your cotton!

 Dyeing with Drink Mix

An easy introduction to dyeing, and one that is also a fun activity to do with kids, is to use powdered drink mix. You’ll end up with a yarn in a unique colorway and one that smells fruity too! Just know that the color will fade over time and with washing.

Yarn Dyeing

Cotton yarn before, during, and after a dip in a summertime drink “dye” bath!

 

 What’s Your Dyeing Experience?

We’d love to hear about your experiences with dye experiments! Leave us a comment here on the blog, share it on our Facebook page, or post in our Ravelry group.  If you’re inspired to give dyeing a try, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards for even more inspiration!

 

05/19/2014 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Make it Happen!

The Olympics got me thinking: What Olympian challenge do I have in my life that could use a little bit of motivation to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Sochi
Whatever it is in your life; whether it’s about finishing a knitting, weaving, crochet or spinning project, getting healthy, eating right, losing weight, finding a job, doing yoga, volunteering, starting your own business, it’s all about people who have a dream and work at it until they MAKE IT HAPPEN!  
only you

The three short videos here tell one story from three different angles. Enjoy!

 I love the story of my friend, Jeanne Carter of Imperial Stock Ranch, who had a dream of keeping her family’s ranch alive and how just by being there at the right time and place,  wool from her sheep was transformed into the USA 2014 Winter  Olympic Team’s sweaters for the opening ceremony!

      Meryl Davis and Charlie White, win GOLD at the 2014 Winter Olympics with a flawless program that’s been declared a masterpiece.  If you’ve seen it already, watch it again, this time imagining how you can MAKE IT HAPPEN, whatever your Olympic feat might be!  These kids have been skating together since they were pre-teens.  They kept at it over and over again to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

  My favorite current motivator is Danielle LaPorte who knows just the right words to inspire you to see that you too can MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Make It Happen In Your Life

     I’d love to hear your story of how you have or plan to MAKE IT HAPPENin your own life, no matter what that might be.  Post it on Cotton Clouds’ Facebook page or email me directly!

My Make It Happenings

    Mine?  I’m going to Houston February 27 to become an educator for  Ageless Grace to MAKE IT HAPPEN in my life- to work with baby boomers (myself included) to keep our mind and bodies healthy and active, even if it’s in a chair be-boppin’ to 60’s music!
ageless grace

Let’s all MAKE IT HAPPEN!and see how we can change ourselves & the world!

 
Cotton Clouds can easily help you MAKE IT HAPPEN with our full line of cotton, cotton blend yarns for knitting, weaving, crochet and spinning.
Visit us online at www.cottonclouds.com

Join us on Ravelry

Join us on Ravelry to share any project you are working on during the Olympics!
Ravellenics2014banner.3  Irene & Jodi

02/21/2014 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment

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