phydeaux hand dyed yarn, drying on the racks

Mike at Yarnbox fell head over heels in love with Phydeaux’s Caresse Worsted at TNNA last summer:  soft, silky, sumptuous, and the color fairly glows off the skein.

I was nervous about his order, but felt certain we could make it happen.  I ran numbers in my head and Excel and with my dad constantly: can we make it?  Can we dye 1,700 skeins for the February yarnbox?

We knew we could do it, but only by changing a lot just about everything about our tiny operation.  I was used to dyeing in the kitchen, like most small scale indie dyers. Problem was, I had already outgrown the kitchen!  Also,  I hung yarn outside to dry during the summer, but that wasn’t going to work in the coming colder (and wetter) months.  I was also going to need help with tying off skeins for dyeing, winding dyed yarn into new skeins, labelling, etc.

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Prior to all of this, a REALLY productive day of dyeing resulted in maybe 50 skeins of yarn, but 22-25 was typical.

After all of this, a REALLY productive day of dyeing can result in more than 200 skeins of yarn and a typical, “kick back” day means at least 50 skeins.

The #1 change with the largest ROI (return on investment):  investing in a used restaurant range with six burners, modified for propane fuel.  This plus a number of electric burners plus the kitchen range made 200 or so skeins a day possible.  We set up the “new” range in the new dyeworks (our garage) – the range will easily move into a new commercial space when that time comes.

dad and his yarn racks

#2 was a new yarn rack drying system designed and built by dad after scouring the interwebs for ideas.  They’re lightweight, using PVC tubes, and hang from the garage rafters.  We can hang 200+ skeins at a time right now, but even with our fans and dehumidifier, that’s a LOT of yarn to get dry.

the new studio/office

#3 was the new studio/office space using a small building in the back yard.  I wish I could say that it’s this nice and neat right now, but the dedicated space for yarn storage and – more important – space to skein yarn, is so crucial!

Next time:  helpers save the day!

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a little thing called yarnbox

by brenda on February 20, 2014

phydeaux caresse worsted weight in midnight phydeaux’s caresse worsted in midnight

When I took my two big boxes of yarn samples to the TNNA summer show last year, I met Mike from Yarnbox.

I’d heard a little bit about Yarnbox, but was always a little suspicious of these subscription sort of business models.  I was intrigued, then challenged (by the sheer volume of yarn that would be needed), and knew I wanted to be a part of this.

And so.  Phydeaux’s Caresse Worsted Weight is part of February’s Yarnbox shipment (one of two independent hand dyers).  We (my dad, myself, and several brave souls – including Amanda, Rijel and Stephanie – who were both invaluable and wonderful in their skeining assistance) dyed, dried, skeined and labelled … 1,700 skeins of yarn this Autumn and Winter.

1,700.

That’s kind of a lot.  But it changed Phydeaux – in a good way – irrevocably.

New process and systems increased dyeing capacity up to 200 a day.  We can now dry nearly 200 skeins at a time.  These are significant increases for us, successfully put to the test in less than a week of preparation Stitches West.

Yarnbox subscribers have, or are about to, receive their packages.  If your package included Phydeaux, I really hope you love your yarn.  We loved dyeing, drying, skeining and labelling it for you.

Join the free mailing list for 20% off your next online order: click here to join!

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stitches west, here we go!

by brenda on February 19, 2014

http://shop.phydeauxdesigns.com/collections/mini-skeins

Just a few weeks ago, I decided out of the blue that Phydeaux needs to be at Stitches West this year.

So I grabbed up the very last booth (sharing with Adrienne from Wool Candy!).

Finished up the HUGE order I’d been immersed in for weeks (which took two more weeks of solid work).

Dyed some yarn, along with drying, skeining, labelling.  Packed it all up to ship to Santa Clara (we were up until the wee hours of this morning doing so).

Loaded up the car, hoped I wasn’t missing anything crucial from my checklists, and drove on down (4.5 hours in the car!).

Boy, am I tired.

But SO worth it.

LOTS of yarn, particularly given the insanely short timeline I had.

So looking forward to seeing my Bay Area fellow knitters again.

And about to crawl into my super comfie bed in Saratoga, near where I used to live (which feels weird:  like returning home, even though home – with my kitties – is 45 hours away).

Booth 1041 – please stop by and introduce yourself!  Can’t wait to meet you  Or see you again!

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Twelve days of Christmas

by brenda on December 14, 2013

hand knit tag

This Christmas, I’m celebrating twelve days of knitting related surprises with you!

In addition to free shipping + 10% off on Phydeaux’s ready to ship buttons and brooches (prices already reduced)

AND

20% off knitting and crochet patterns via Phydeaux’s website or Etsy shop (prices already reduced) …

I put together a free “hand knit with love” care tag for your hand knit gifts.

You can download the free PDF by clicking right here – print the one-page sheet on heavy weight white paper and carefully cut out/trim each tag with scissors or a paper trimmer (of course, little ones doing any work with sharp instruments will need adult supervision).  Use a hole punch on the top right corner and thread a length of ribbon or yarn through the hole to attach your tag to your special hand knit gift.

We have 10 more days of Christmas surprises – if you don’t want to miss out, please join us on Facebook and/or join the free mailing list!

And happy holidays to you and yours.

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