Learn to Knit over 12 months with Mosaic Moon and Valya

Looks Worse Before it Gets Better, Right?

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Our project is zipping along now.  We have back stairs on the yurt!  The front is going to have a small porch and a ramp for the UPS deliveries.

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We’ve had to have the front yard trenched to accommodate the electrical supply–it comes to the property over by the yurt and we needed to run it across to the dye studio…what a mess!

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Never realized how far from the yurt the dye studio is…until there was a trench all along the way!

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So, we’ve got doors on the Studio–although now that they are in, I am thinking that we should have had them opening out to save the floor space!  Hindsight and all…

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They did a great job of matching the siding and trim–going to look great when it’s all painted.

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It’s hard to tell from photos, but a lot of progress is being made inside as well–we have insulation going in and plumbing going on.

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Yesterday, the yurt was electrified!

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We are hoping to move at the end of the month–but it’s going to take a lot of work to get there.  It may be 2-3 more weeks.

Also: don’t forget to share our campaign!  We only have 8 days left, and will lose a % of the money if we don’t reach our goal.  Surely someone out there needs amazing yarn, or coffee, or yarn, or chocolate…

 

 

Progress, Lovely Progress

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Good weather this past week means that the yurt construction is pretty much complete!  The whole thing got a layer of insulation first, then the outer shell was applied.

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Then the glass windows were installed by cutting through the lattice and the covering.  Then framed on the outside to tighten up the seal against leaks.

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And getting the yurt parts out of the garage means more work done on the dye studio!  I have windows!  Glorious windows (that is a neighbor’s house in the background there)

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We’re trudging along on our journey of making this move back home come true.  Check out our Indiegogo page to see how you can help and at the same time get some amazing yarn, or coffee, or LOVE….  We are 20% of the way there with our funding!  We would love it if you could share our story with friends and groups who might be interested in our project!  Thank you <3

Yurt is Nearing Completion!

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Despite the weather–freezing temperatures, much rain, and even some snow–we are getting there with the yurt!  It’s been quite a learning experience all around.

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The lattice-work and the doors went on first.

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Next to go up was the support for the roof.

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The wind has been extreme here this winter too–very unusual for the area.  The yurt has held it’s own against the wind, though!  I am glad that we added the snow/wind kit–not sure if it could have made it through the windstorms we’ve had during construction otherwise.

Next to go on will be the dome/skylight, insulation, and outer cover!  Exciting!!

Our Indiegogo Campaign!

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We have launched our campaign to help with financing the rest of the project.  You can read all of the details on our Indiegogo Page.  We have created a bunch of really great perks to thank you for your support–I have custom colorways on offer as well as grab-bags from the store stock for less than retail.  We really want to make this a success, so after you’ve read all about it and if you like what you’ve read, please consider sharing with anyone you know who might be interested in our project.  We even have a non-yarn perk which includes caffeine…

The closer it’s getting to the time when we get out of the warehouse, the more excited I am getting!  It’s going to be great.

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Project inching along

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December in Oregon is not the best of times to be constructing a yurt!  The builders were, however, able to make quite a bit of progress on the foundation before the holidays took over and in between bouts of rain, wind, and even snow.  As soon as all of the yurt components get out of the garage, it will then be time to jump in on that project as well. We are getting there!

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The Project Continues–some work on the studio; and yurt update.

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The house came with a separate building–a small ‘apartment’, which currently houses 2 of our older boys, and attached garage.  The garage has (so far) only been used for storage, so it was time to clear it out and get ready to transform in into our new studio!

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The first part of the job was having the garage ‘deconstructed’.  Garage door off (along with that whole wall), west wall off.

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Next, the interior walls came off to make way for all of the plumbing and electric that will be going in.

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Framing has been started for the 3 large windows, hurray!

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Super excited that we have taken delivery of our yurt!  All of the pieces are currently sitting in our studio/garage and the construction by Benchmark Builders will begin on Monday!  More updates on that soon.

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Greywater System

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We’ve got the greywater system for the new studio installed.  Andy Fischer from Sacred Earth Design here in Ashland did the planning and implementing.  We have several underground basins that the rinse/soak water from the business gets diverted into. There is a branched drain system coming from the new studio to the basins.  The basins contain a ‘biofilter’–organic matter like mulch, gravel, (hopefully a bunch of helpful microorganisms too) and even some carbon for filtering any dye residue.  The water will then filter slowly out and be absorbed/utilized by the new plants and trees.

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This is where the studio plumbing links up with the greywater system.

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Our new trees and other plants.

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It’s Oregon!  We have to have Bartlett Pear.  We also have an almond tree, bing cherry, apple, asian pear.

Next up, tackling the garage!

Super Exciting Project

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I am so excited to share with you all my current project for Mosaic Moon!  We have gone from a one-woman operation (me) dyeing in the kitchen with kool-aide and the back of a chair for a swift through many changes and dye ‘studios’ including 2 different laundry rooms, a sun porch, a garage, and now a warehouse.  At this point, my husband and I are working full-time.  We have one full-time employee (Jessica, who does most of the admin. work, shipping, labeling and sorting), my mom works part-time doing spreadsheets, bookkeeping, and label-writing not to mention more than her share of babysitting, our son Truman does most of the skeining, and other kids work on various other tasks around the business.

When we left our home with attached garage-studio in Beavercreek Oregon to move back to Ashland, we were unable to find a rental home with space for the business, so we reluctantly moved the business into a warehouse.  While it’s been great for space and the ability to make a huge mess and has loads of storage capacity, it’s really quite less than ideal in many ways.  The lighting is terrible–it’s dark and the industrial lights create a strange color cast.  There are few windows and not much in the way of fresh air.  Though we have a ‘playroom’ for the smaller children, I have to admit that I don’t like having them there–it can be a bit of a depressing environment.

We now have a new home (bought by my mother and rented to us) with nearly 2 acres, and our exciting project is this:  we are moving the business back home!  I am SO excited about this.  We will be remodeling the garage into a dye studio and putting up a yurt for office and storage space.

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This is the front lawn, and the yurt will be off to the left.

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This is a 20′ yurt, ours will be 30′

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A picture of Anwen and me at Pacific Yurts.

Since we are starting over (again!), we decided to incorporate as many ‘green’ features as possible.  We are installing a greywater system which will use the rinse water and soak water from our dye operation to water our ‘food forest’ being planted on the front meadow area.  I’ve sourced new cookers which will use 1/4 of the electricity that we have been using.  The remodeled garage will have 3 large windows and the doors will have glass panes to allow as much natural light in as possible.  Morale will definitely be UP with the wonderful views and general work environment.

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Trenching for pipes and the basins that will hold the ‘biofilter’ for purifying the water that runs through.

Coming up soon, adding plants and trees, our “food forest”!

 

New Yarns, and some Changes Afoot.

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We’ve got some exciting changes going on!  This post will describe the yarny changes, I will save the other subject for another post.  We have added several new yarns and fibers to our regular offerings recently.  We now have Fifty-Three yarns and fibers as regular offerings.  Below is a picture of one of them–Yak Silk Merino DK.  It’s a non superwash yarn that’s soft, round, and has a slight sheen from the silk.  It starts out as a medium-light brownish grey, so it dyes with added depth and earthiness.  This yarn is really similar in feel and look to our Organic Merino Line and would make a cosy sweater or cowl.  I look forward to your feedback!

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In related news, we have (finally!) named all of our yarns.  You will find their new names, fiber content, and short descriptions here.  I Hope that you love the new names as much as I do!  Naming was a painstaking process, but I have been told that they sound ‘magical’, and that’s good for a product that, through the alchemy of knitting, becomes something extra-ordinary…right?

We have also changed the skein size on several of our yarns (see the Product Line Page)  We’ve bumped up the ounces on anything we can get on cones to 4 oz vs. 3.5.  We are finding that our customers prefer the extra yardage.  Those remaining at 3.5 oz are the yarns that we can only get on skeins at the moment.  Prices for the ones now at 4 oz have gone up slightly.

In club news, we’ve changed the Gradient club to be a club with previews.  The commitment is one skein per month.  You may choose ONE of any of the colors in either gradient offered, a gradient set (or two), etc. on whatever yarn or fiber you desire.  There is still time to join–previews will be up very soon but in the meantime you can read about the club on our Clubs Group on Ravelry.

Lastly, we are a featured dyer for KnitCrate for November!  Massive amounts of yarn are on their way to Texas as I type.  KnitCrate is an amazing yarn subscription service that you will want to check out if you have not.

Mosaic Moon Begins

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What better way to start a new blog, than to tell the story of how Mosaic Moon began?

As a small child, I told my parents that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.  I also had a habit of locking myself in the bathroom and making ‘potions’.  I had been a knitter since childhood. I don’t even remember how old I was when I discovered my mother’s long-neglected knitting bag and tried to figure it out myself. I didn’t go very well, but I kept trying. One day, my grandmother was over, and I told her how much trouble I was having–then she showed me how to cast on–magic! I soon had the hang of it. I would make blankets for anyone who had a baby, using acrylic yarn from the local fabric store.

One day, I discovered cotton yarn, and that was a revelation! Baby blankets made from cotton were so much nicer. I made many blankets, a few hats…and that was it. I had 5 children before I branched out to wool. I was part of a parenting message board right around the time I had my 5th child. One of my online friends encouraged me to knit wool soakers (I had used wool covers since my first child, but never tried knitting a soaker). I was dubious, but she told me that if I could knit a hat, then I could knit a soaker–which after all, was merely a hat with leg holes. They were selling big on eBay, I was told!

So, after selling off a bunch of vintage jewelry on eBay to fund my very first digital camera, I set about starting up a wool soaker business and Mosaic Moon was born.  This was January of 2003, and at that time there were very few hand dyers out there.

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I was using Fisherman’s wool from the local craft store, and dyeing the yarn with Kool-Aid.  While fun and functional, I just wasn’t getting all of the color variations that I wanted.  It wasn’t long at all before I was using acid dyes.

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My soakers were absolutely flying off of the shelves!  I joined Hyena Cart (as the second store ever), a site designed to sell natural family-living items and specifically to prevent overselling–since I would stock my store, refresh the page, and everything would be SOLD!  During the few years where was I knitting them for sale, I knitted literally thousands of wool soakers and wool soaker pants for use as diaper covers.  My last 3 children have all worn them as well.

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I did soon realize, however, that there was a market for the yarn I was dyeing–in fact, I could make better money through selling the yarn than the soakers.  Pretty soon, many of the work-at-home-moms who had started their own soaker knitting businesses were buying their yarn from me (and other small hand-dyers).

By 2004, my husband was off of work due to a work injury to his shoulder, and over the next few years our business blossomed as I took on more and more of the responsibility for earning the income to support our large family.  All the while, I was learning to knit more and more things, I joined Ravelry, and began expanding my dyeing to encompass yarns used for every imaginable project.

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Over the years, my children have joined in work here and there–performing tasks such as skeining, reskeining, labeling, etc.  My husband David now does all of the dye mixing, the rinsing, and wringing out/drying of the wool.  My mother does our order spreadsheets and some of the bookkeeping.  My best friend from childhood, Jessica, is the newest addition–taking charge of the immense task of shipping–as well as general organization, yarn-twisting, labeling, and much of the customer service.

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We now have our own website, we also sell on Etsy; and now have linkups to social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

The soaker craze seems to be over, but we are very thankful for our small (but growing!) group of loyal customers who knit amazing things for themselves, family and friends from our yarns.  We now have clubs, do co-ops and take custom orders.  We have also started doing fiber festivals and fairs–which have been amazing experiences of getting to meet customers in person and see what you all are drawn to.

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There have been many changes over the years, and there are more ahead as well (see future blog posts for some interesting developments).  As always, I am so grateful to be able to provide for my family with my craft–a huge thank-you must go out to all of my loyal customers who have followed me on this journey, as well as the new ones who are just finding us.


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