A Roving, Start to Finish

A couple of friends who work in glass and jewelry are thinking about putting up Etsy shops. One of them watched Ilga do her Photoshop magic to get a picture ready for listing and was impressed. Another, just entered a This Old House bathroom remodel contest (and is still in the running – Yeah!) and was daunted by the work it takes to make a photo ready for the internet.

Ilga put together a list of steps…and then we expanded that to include all the steps necessary to take a roving from start to finish in our store. Beware, this is not for the faint of heart!

  1. After the wool is ordered and delivered, Ilga weighs out the rovings into 4 ounce pieces.
  2. On the day of dyeing, Ilga places each roving into a bin and adds water for it to soak.
  3. Mike mixes and keeps the dyes topped up in my squeeze bottles during the whole day of dyeing.
  4. Next we put out plastic wrap, squeeze out the excess water and arrange the roving onto the plastic wrap.
  5. THE FUN PART: Ilga squeezes the dyes onto the roving!!!
  6. Ilga massages the color into the roving, folds over the plastic, rolls it up and puts it into a bin. Meanwhile, Mike starts the propane burner under the steaming pot (outside on the patio).
  7. When we have an appropriate number, Mike takes the roving packages out to put into the colander in the steaming pot.
  8. After an hour, we remove the  steamed packages, put them into a bin to cool
  9. When the roving is cool, Ilga takes the rovings, unwraps them and one-by-one, rinses them in two to four bins of water, until the water runs clear.
  10. We lay the squeezed out rovings onto towels, fold them over, stomp on them, roll them up for about half an hour and wait.
  11. Then the rovings are taken up to the living room railing, unrolled and are arranged by wool type on the railing. It takes about two days for the rovings to dry. The towels go to the drier for the next batch.
  12. Using a large crochet hook, Ilga chains the rovings and rolls them into coils. We then move them back to the studio.
  13. We name each roving and Mike weighs it and puts it in the database with weight, name, fiber info. Ilga takes a knitting needle and tucks in the ends.
  14. Ilga then takes two photos of the front and two of the back. (Just for insurance. Sometimes one is bad—lighting, focus, something.) Also, the light needs to be indirect natural light, so timing is everything on this. She takes the pictures under skylights, not too early or too late. (For yarns, she takes a minimum of eight photos, one for each: Detail, spiral, skein, and basket.)
  15. We make a directory for the photos in an Etsy Rovings directory on Ilga’s computer.
  16. Next, Transfer the photos from the camera card to the named hard drive directory.
  17. In Photoshop: crop two of the pictures (one front, one back) and size them to 800 dpi for Etsy and save them with their names and whether they are front or back. Example: Nightingale front ETSY.jpg or Nightingale back ETSY.jpg
  18. In Photoshop: level whites (this is two steps in the program to get it right). Lighten and desaturate any shadows around the roving.
  19. Do a color balance (select the roving and adjust cyan 10% and magenta 20%, which are always a little off). Sometimes requires adjustment to blue as well.
  20. Next brighten the photo and, if necessary, adjust the contrast..
  21. Adjust the vibrance down so that it is not too stark.. (All of this checking against the actual roving which is under a full-spectrum light bulb next to Ilga’s computer.)
  22. Desaturate the edges around the roving to make it look more settled..
  23. Use the Smart Sharpen command until you can see the texture of the fiber.
  24. Save the two images. (Whew!)
  25. Write up a descriptive paragraph for the roving. (Ilga does this in email and mails it to Mike. The photos are stored in a mutually networked directory.) We pack up the roving into its little bag. Meanwhile, Mike has printed the little labels that are shipped in each bag, and has cut them (we print them 6 to a page). We put the label in on the back side of the roving.
  26. Mike takes the data from the spreadsheet, the adjusted photos, and the descriptive paragraph, adds keywords, fills out the Etsy forms (including fiber info, shipping costs, etc.), then puts the listing into Drafts.
  27. When we have a few done, Mike lists each roving that’s sitting in Drafts. Then one of us moves the roving back from the first page (since we keep the roving and yarns separate.)
  28. Mike sends out a Twitter when we have a bunch done…and we move the actual rovings from our (adjacent) desks to the studio onto the table for “on-line” rovings which is next to the “reserved” table. Across the way is “sold” and waiting for packing and shipping.
  29. When a roving is sold, it moves to the sold table with a PayPal generated packing slip. It is also marked sold on our spreadsheet with the date.
  30. Ilga wraps up the package,  adds tea, our card and a small handwritten note on the packing slip. She  seals it and puts a tiny tag onto the outside with the recipient’s first name (with initial, if, say, we have two Julie’s or Linda’s.)
  31. Mike takes the package and weighs it for shipping—with everything but the shipping label (he adds that known weight on).
  32. Mike prints the label (postage paid), puts it on the package and collects the day’s mailing in a big bin. If the package is international (we ship to about 15 countries) he prints and fills out the customs form. He drives the day’s packages down to the post office (about 3 miles one-way), comes home and marks the Etsy/PayPal site with “shipped.”
  33. After about 2 hours, Mike goes to PayPal and manually enters the tracking numbers for international packages. On the mailing record of the Post Office website, he enters our email address for each package that we have shipped so that we will be notified when the package arrives. And then we sit back eating bon-bons and hope that the package is delivered correctly and that the recipient will like it.

Easy, right?

Rovings waiting to be listed on Etsy

Rovings and yarn waiting to be listed on Etsy



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