Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Happy To Be Back!

I'm back from Vacation. My husband and I took our two boys up to Pine Top in Arizona for a short ski vacation after Christmas this year. Here's a photo I took with my iPhone from the car. It's our first snow encounter on the highway up to the Mogollon Rim.

I am always struck by how profoundly the landscape changes as you drive through this state. You can be in the desert surrounded by saguaros and then an hour later, there's not a cactus in sight. First they are replaced by low growing trees and shrubs. The farther north you go, the taller the trees become. Next thing you know, you are in a forest of evergreens and birches. It's so beautiful!

This ski trip proved what I kind of already knew to be true. My family is much more of the sledding sort than the skiing sort with the possible exception of my husband who skied as a kid. Fortunately we planned for this and scheduled a day on the slopes and one for sledding.

We have lived in Arizona for two in a half years now which is just enough time to feel really odd in layers of clothes. We all groaned at the necessary gear we had to put on in order to stay warm. Everything felt like so much more effort. I also forgot how hard it is to walk through deep snow. As we made our way to the tubing hill, my 12 year old decided to exert his independence and went off the beaten path. He found himself in snow up to his waist. I made a silent wish for him to be able to liberate himself so I would not have to go in after him. Luckily, he was up to the task. Still we found ourselves trudging through snow up to our knees. It was both exhilarating and exhausting.

Here's another picture from the car only this one is much closer to home. I loved our exploration into the snowy world, but I am happy to be back among the cacti and palm trees. It's awesome that we live close enough to a cold climate to visit, but it's even better to come home to paradise!

Before I sign off today, I want to say THANK YOU to all of the shoppers who visited Wind Rose and made purchases even while I was away! My little business means a lot to me and I feel so blessed that it has become a place where people like to shop. I love the fiber arts community and I'm thrilled to be a part of it! So really, thanks everybody!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Studio Redo ~ Vacation Notice

I hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday. I always love spending the day at home with my boys. By the afternoon we had all settled into our favorite activities. My 9 year old was busy building a huge Lego castle. My 12 year old was fixed in front of the Wii. My husband was happily watching football. With all the men in my life entertained, I slipped into my studio for a little reorganization.

Maybe I'm crazy, but organizing is fun for me. I'm surrounded by all of my materials, my iPod playing for company, and I just get to work. I love to start a new year feeling like everything is in place and I have to be honest, my studio was in need of some attention. This picture is of the back wall of my studio. My big innovation was to elevate my organizers freeing up more wall space. That way my bins of dyed fibers could have their own wall. This is a much nicer situation than the previous one of having them in the middle of the floor.

So I can see the floor of my studio again! I even have actual work space in there now. Imagine that! Merry Christmas to me!


Also, I just wanted to let you know that I'll be away from my studio for a few days. I always keep Wind Rose open for business and my shop announcement has all the details. Any orders placed today up until 3:00pm will ship out today. After that, items purchased between Dec. 27-30 will ship on the 31st. Feel free to stake your claim to your favorite fibers while I'm gone and thanks for your understanding. Even us fiber obsessed types need an occasional holiday.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

We wish You a Merry♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪We Wish You a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥We Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...

One of my friends posted this on Facebook today and I thought it was sweet. Happy Holidays from Wind Rose Fiber Studio!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Calling All Spinners ~ It's Time to Join the Revolution!

"...spinning right now has entered an active phase so it's not only a craft but it's a movement. Spinners are moving the craft, pushing it's boundaries, changing it's form as well as it's purpose and this is happening because we're all doing it together."

"THE REVOLUTION IS HERE" writes pluckyfluff; the creative mind behind this fantastic project. Here's what she plans to do:

"I want to take a yarn from every single spinner out there willing and connect them all into one single continuous strand. One yarn made from many. An example of our collective individuality culminating into a single beautiful whole. Which is exactly what the Handspun Revolution is. It's all of us spinning our own completely unique creations and allowing those ideas to absorb into the craft as a whole. We are all working on one giant worldwide yarn all the time if you think about it like that, as knowledge being created and shared. You in?"

OK, enough with the quoting. I just have to say that I'm totally in! I love this idea and I'm excited to be a part of it! For more details including where to send your handspun skein of yarn, head over to pluckyfluff1's LiveJournal. There is also a Contributor's Ravelry Group. The deadline for submissions is March 1st, so start spinning

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hand Painted Falkland Top

I'm bummed about my pictures today! It's cloudy here in Phoenix and I couldn't get my camera to take a good photo to save my life. I must have taken 100 pictures trying, but they all came out either too dark or with too much reflection. So sad!

I have posted these, my new colorways at Wind Rose. However, I hope to improve upon the pics the first chance I get. Let me introduce you, from left to right:

Alien Nightfall ~ This roving is painted a beautiful night blue with shocks of chartreuse popping out.

Cherry Tree ~ This one is a vibrant blend of cherry with olive and brown tones.

My Fair Lady ~ Finally, this roving was created with fair skin tones in mind. For anyone who felts dolls or animals, they'll find peach, porcelain as well as pink and very light brown. This came out a little heavier on the pink than I planned, so in the future, it will have more light brown and a pink that is even more fair. If you spin, my first thought when I saw how this roving turned out was "baby girl". This colorway would make beautiful baby clothes and accessories.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Silk is in a Polyvore Set

Browns and Oranges

I was just checking my mail today when I noticed a nice little note from withourhands. She was writing to let me know that I was included in her Polyvore set. My first thought was "What's Polyvore?"

I'm still checking it out for myself, but it looks like a fun place and a great way to shop. You can design sets of your favorite items and promote sellers you like. There are many ways to search for what you want and then you can see it paired with complimentary accessories. I love how visual and creative it looks. I can see how people would enjoy designing their own Polyvore sets. And if you're buying, it's like having the help of a personal shopper. Cool!

I'm very grateful to have been included in this one. Do you see my little round Burnt Orange Tussah Silk Roving? It reminds me of the "I Spy" books I used to look at with the kids, the ones with fabulous picture collages. It's so nice of withourhands to promote so many ArtFire artisans. Thank you for supporting the handmade community!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hummingbird ~ Hand Painted Merino

This National Geographic photograph was the inspiration for my Hummingbird hand painted merino roving. I just think these colors are so striking! I went with more of an orange than a ruby. I like how the orange stands out among the other colors.

Good Earth ~ Hand Painted Merino

Good Earth is the result of my latest efforts. I couldn't resist painting a roving using every one of the most popular earth and skin tone colors that I have developed for my shop. There are 8 shades in all. In one four ounce piece of roving, you'll find ecru, yellow and red based browns and olive tones.

I think it's really interesting how it all turned out and I would love to see how it looks spun up. It may be the felting community who really likes this one though. Anyone who felts nature items, animals or even dolls should be able to find colors that will work for them.

If this colorway finds fans, I'll keep it in the inventory. Otherwise, I'm thinking about splitting things up. I'm going to design a naturally light colorway and then a naturally darker one. So often I have crafters looking for doggie colors or skin tones and what they really want is a little bit of each color. It would be too difficult as a one woman show to break my inventory into bits and pieces, but perhaps I can give them what they need in one painted piece. That's my plan and what I'm currently working on.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Creekwood Ranch ~ That's More Like It!

Say hey! Here we go! This is just what I wanted. This, my friends, is my neighborhood in painted Merino roving. This is Creekwood Ranch!

I have to say it. I am THRILLED with how this turned out. I changed the colorway so that the orange works into the yellow and then back into the orange again. This is representational of our sunny Mexican Bird of Paradise. The pink is a little darker which I like because not only do we have bushes with little pale pink flowers, but we also have these amazing and vibrant Bougainvilleas.

It's really fun for me to see all of these colors come together. I'm sharing something I love, in essence, my home. This will be my third Christmas here in Arizona. The thing that surprised and pleased me the most upon moving here was all of the amazing colors of this landscape. It's simply radiant!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Creekwood Ranch ~ Almost, but Not Quite

Here is another roving I painted yesterday. This is almost, but not quite what I was going for. My idea was to paint a roving to look like my neighborhood. I live in Arizona outside of Phoenix in a subdivision called Creekwood Ranch.

This roving is really close to what I wanted, but I need to tweak it a little before I post it in my shop. You might picture all earth tones when you think about Arizona, and they definitely are part of the color palette, but we have a lot of flowers too. Arizona is also obsessed with water. The parks and landscaped areas are almost ridiculously green.

So this is my neighborhood, Creekwood Ranch. It's reddish brown with shocks of bright green. We enjoy the brilliant orange of the Mexican Bird of Paradise, bushes covered in soft pink and periwinkle flowers and the yellow bloom of the Palo Verde in the Spring.

When you put all of the colors of my 'hood together, they're quite pretty. Color is one of the things I love about this place. There's so much of it; unexpected, unusual and uninhibited. I want to change my Creekwood Ranch Roving just a little. It needs more yellow and the purple isn't quite right. In the meantime, I'll have fun spinning these four ounces into a vibrant yarn.

Sweetheart - Hand Painted Merino Roving

Dyeing, dyeing and more dyeing. Today I have this pretty new hand painted roving. I wanted to make something totally girly. I happen to be the lone female in a house of males, so I had to concentrate. I channeled baby girl blankets, dollies, valentines day and posies.

The image that finally appeared to me, no doubt thanks to my love of sugar, was that of the little pink sweetheart candies. You know, the ones that say things like "kiss me" and "cutie pie". They come in different colors, but the pink ones stood out in my mind and became my inspiration.

So here is my new hand painted roving design. What am I calling it? Well, Sweetheart, of course! As a matter of fact, 4oz of Sweetheart are already available at Wind Rose. Let the girly spinning commence!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mystic Meadow - Hand Painted Merino Roving

Here's my latest hand painted roving. I'm calling this one Mystic Meadow.

I'm having fun playing around with color ideas in my head. I think I like this painting roving thing. Not only do I love seeing how the fiber turns out, it rocks that there is less mess than when I kettle dye. No pots to scrub. Yeah! Also, if I plan ahead, it doesn't take too much time. I'm trying to slip one batch in a day while I find the color combinations I like the best.

Treasure Chest (3oz/56 handspun yards)

Last night I found myself in the mood to spin so into my studio went I. My studio becomes a completely unique space when I enter as a spinner. More often I'm a dyer going in to secure some ecru fiber. After a sale, I simply enter to gather the purchased ounces from the bins and bins of prepared fiber. But, when I enter as a spinner, it's the most fun.

My studio is a veritable wonderland of roving and locks. There are at least half a dozen breeds of sheep not to mention angora, camel and yak. There's soy silk, cultivated silk, tussah silk, bamboo and hemp. It's impossible not to feel like a kid in a candy store. What flavor am I in the mood for today?

I wanted to spin a bulky weight 2ply, so I was looking for some fiber that would make it interesting. I decided it was finally time to break into one of my goodie bags from my last trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. There is a vendor there who always has a couple bags full of crazy fiber. To be honest, I think it's her destash. She sorts her bits and pieces of leftover fiber into a couple color families that work and then just teases them out and mixes them up. The result is a grab bag full of mixed wool and Firestar and even some sari silk. Perhaps some spinners walk straight past these bags and go for the nice combed top, but not me. I love those wacky sacks of fiber. When I reach my hand in and draw out a fist full of color and sparkle, I feel like a pirate who just found treasure!

So that is the story behind my latest skein of handspun yarn, Treasure Chest. I'm sad that I only had three ounces to spin, but I love how it turned out. It's 56 yards of bulky weight treasure! I wish it could be more, but I know someone will find a great use for this yarn, maybe by combining it with another bulky weight skein. Maybe it will trim a scarf or become a quick and easy baby beanie. Who knows? That's for you to decide!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spirited Chalice - Hand Painted Merino

Spirited Chalice, 4oz of hand painted Merino wool, is now listed for sale at Wind Rose. I was seriously tempted to take a couple ounces of this first batch and spin it up. I think it would be nice to have an example for people to see, but the truth is, I'm just not sure I have the time right now, so why break up the batch?

Also, I'm kind of torn about whether to spin samples or not. This roving and others like it could take on more than one look depending on how it's spun. Perhaps it's better to leave it up to the buyer's imagination. What do you think? Do you like to see spun samples when you buy roving?

Westen Learns to Crochet ~ Step 3: The Single Crochet

Westen, boy genius, has mastered the single crochet! I mean seriously folks. Check it out. That's his first row ever of single crochet stitches! Look at how nice and loose and even they are. I can hardly believe how great he's doing. I'm such a proud teacher!

By the way, as my son is left handed, I've been teaching myself to crochet left handed so that I can teach him properly. It felt pretty awkward at first, but I figured if he was doing something new and hard, I could too. I may just come out of this class an ambidextrous crochet lady!


I just need to let out a quick, happy WOOT! Today Wind Rose Fiber Studio has had it's 2,000th sale! Hooray! Yay! Yippee!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Spirited Chalice ~ It's almost dry!

I'm a little over eager today. I couldn't even give my painted roving a chance to dry all the way before I was making it pose for a picture.

I think this will spin up very pretty. I'm pleased with how nice and soft the roving came out and the color saturation is very good too.

For some reason when I'm painting roving, I often picture a scarf. I'm not sure why. I guess it's because a scarf is one of the most popular and basic things people tend to make. I think to myself, "This would look great with a jean jacket or a black coat." Stuff like that.

Other times I think about people; different hair colors and skin tones. "This would look nice on a woman with silver hair," I'll muse. Of course it doesn't really matter what I think. What I hope for is that someone will see some roving I've dyed and say to themselves, "This will look so nice on me!"

Westen Learns to Crochet ~ Step 2: The Chain

Westen is continuing on his crochet journey. Now he has learned to chain. The first day I showed him, he was having a hard time with it and was consequently not too happy. The next day I was kind of dreading our lesson, but when you are trying to teach your hands how to do something like crochet, it helps if you practice at least a little every day. It really helps with the muscle memory.

So on the second day, I started off slowly, having him watch me. "OK, OK, I get it!" he snapped impatiently. He took the hook and yarn from my hands and just started chaining. Then, we just sat and chained for a while.

Today we started working on single crochets. Now he's a little frustrated again, but I'm sure tomorrow he'll just grab it out of my hands and go!

Spirited Chalice ~ Painted Roving in the Works!

Ah, its Monday afternoon on the other side of a December weekend full of holiday shopping, baking and wrapping. I found myself with a free hour and it felt so good to reconnect with my roving and dye friends. Of course I'm speaking of actual jars of dye and wool roving and not people, but they are friends to me!

I'm starting to dream up some colorways for a line of painted roving which I plan to add to my inventory at Wind Rose. I'm going to document them here so I can easily keep track of what I've done. I suppose you could make up an almost endless amount of designs, but I will be happy if I come up with say seven or so that people really like.

So please feel free to weigh in. Say to me "Jenn, that one's great!" or "Back to the drawing board, friend!" I know it's kind of hard to tell while its in a pan soaking wet, but I'll be back to post pictures when it's all fluffy and dry. So really, tell me what you want. It's your opportunity to shape what goes into Wind Rose Fiber Studio. If this one passes through, I may call it Spirited Chalice. Too weird? It has that pewter goblet color filled with blush and burgundy. Ok, now I'm thirsty.

Friday, December 11, 2009

StoryCorps ~ Honor and Celebrate Life Through Listening

Today is going to be one of my fairly rare non-fiber posts. I think it's a good post for this season when we shift our focus away from everyday thoughts and turn our attention outward towards the people we love. Perhaps we even find a way to connect with strangers through giving a gift or a donation. How about this for a gift idea? ~ Listening

Now we all know people who are good listeners and people who maybe could use a little practice. I personally feel that listening is a skill that requires practice. As a fiber artist and a long time crafter, I have also practiced the art of listening. Not everyone knows this about me, but over the last 20 years, I've only read maybe five books. On the other hand, I've listened to hundreds. I am an avid listener.

Listening is a very important part of my life. You see, I can't read a book and weave or spin at the same time, but I can listen to one. I love listening! One of the great things I have discovered about being a listener rather than a reader, is that I tend to expand my mind more into areas that I might be less likely to read. Detailed accounts of history or heady discussions of philosophy that would bore me on the written page, captivate me as I listen to the same words being spoken.

Today I received an email from a good friend of mine with a link to a story. It was the story of Debbie Watterson talking to her 10 year old son about being a big brother to a little sister who is deaf. It is a wonderful story and you can find it and thousands more on a site called StoryCorps.

"StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening." Inspired by the belief that listening is an act of love, they go on to say, "The heart of StoryCorps is the conversation between two people who are important to each other: a son asking his mother about her childhood, an immigrant telling his friend about coming to America, or a couple reminiscing on their 50th wedding anniversary. By helping people to connect, and to talk about the questions that matter, the StoryCorps experience is powerful and sometimes even life-changing. "

The stories are short and it's amazing how engaged you can feel in just a minute or two. Be prepared to have your heart touched and your mind expanded. Wouldn't it be wonderful to bookmark this site and listen to one story a day; to spend just a couple minutes thinking and connecting to the lives and experiences of the people with whom we share this planet? This is something you can share with your children too.

So maybe give the simple gift of listening this year. Give it to yourself and share it with the ones you love. StoryCorps has given us the incredible opportunity to honor one another and life itself by listening. You can listen to stories and you can even record your own. "StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are ..."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Westen Learns to Crochet ~ Step 1: The Slip Knot

Last night I attended a guild meeting and was inspired by a family sitting at my table. Theirs was a family just like mine, a mom, dad and two boys. Their kids are a little older, but they talked about all of the things they have done together, pottery classes, learning Latin and even fiber arts. Her sons learned to knit, crochet, spin and weave.

I left feeling motivated and with a renewed sense of purpose. You see, when I was a kid, my dad built wooden boats. He had a workshop with all of his power tools and projects. I used to love to spend time there; the smell of sawdust becoming one of my favorite bouquets. Deep down I really wanted to know how to work all of those noisy machines and how to make something beautiful out of wood. My dad didn't think his workshop was the best place for little girls and usually shewed me outside.

Now I'm the parent with a room full of mystery machines; spinning wheels, a drum carder, rotary comb, etc. Though my kids haven't really shown much interest, I have to admit that I haven't encouraged it either. It pains me to confess that I didn't really bring them into my craft because they are boys. You have no idea how hard it was for me to write that last sentence!

What's great is that it's not too late to change things. I don't know if my kids will embrace my world of fiber, but I do know that I can share something I love with them and that we can spend time together exploring something new. I also think that fiber arts offers some good lessons. You can learn color theory, design, all the math that goes with designing, coordination and patience. It encourages a harmony between oneself and nature. That's my favorite part.

So today I began by teaching my youngest the first thing you need to know when you learn to crochet ~ the slip knot. I've actually taught quite a few kids to crochet and this is how I teach them to make a slip knot:

First you make a "U" on your lap with your yarn. Then you cross the tail end over the skein end making a loop. Next, bring your pincher fingers up under the loop and grab the skein end of the yarn above the place where the yarns cross. Now hold the tail end in place while your pincher fingers bring the yarn through the loop and pull.

Westen liked learning how to make a slip knot. He's not so sure about crocheting yet, but he kind of likes the idea of being famous here on my blog. I'll be back to share our progress and I'll be getting big brother Jens in on the action too! First crocheting, then maybe dyeing, spinning, the world!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Loom In A Tube!

This is so cool! Really, you can buy a loom in a tube! I am so excited to share this with you!

A couple days ago I as looking at the Fibers Through Time 2010 conference information. I'm not going to be able to attend so I was basically checking out what I'll be missing. As I was scrolling down the list of vendors, one caught my eye. That one was Loom In A Tube.

After my last TelaraƱa Weavers and Spinners Guild meeting, I've been seriously considering making a loom just like this one. A couple of renown weavers gave presentations, one of which did her work on a loom like this. I had even gone so far as to find some instructions online for building my own.

That was before I discovered the wonderful Loom in a Tube. I just like saying "Loom in a Tube!" They have done all of the work for me. They've measured and cut the pipes. They've assembled all of the hardware. They have even included ruled ends to help me measure my warp. I love that!

OK, so they didn't make it just for me. *giggle* They made it for everyone! In their own words,

"The Loom in a Tube is constructed of extremely lightweight aluminum, with a non-tarnishing gold anodized finish. The loom features a shedding device to create 2 sheds when weaving with yarn. It can also be used for weaving with beads by simply leaving off the shedding device. A tension control device keeps the warp tight throughout the weaving process.

Each Loom in a Tube comes with an illustrated manual giving step-by-step instructions to help you assemble the loom and put on the warp. Also included are a tapestry bobbin, heddle-maker and string for making heddles."

The dimensions of the loom are as follows:
12" wide by 20" long
Maximum weaving size: 10" wide by 30" long

I just had to share this discovery with you. How sublime to have a lightweight loom that you can take anywhere and store easily. I've already ordered mine. I cant' wait to get my Loom in a Tube in the mail and put it together. I'm looking forward to many happy hours of weaving!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's My Etsy~versary! Celebrating Two Years!

Happy Anniversary to my own Wind Rose Fiber Studio! Two years ago today I began my exploration into the world of selling online. I am so grateful to Etsy for providing a venue for myself and thousands of talented artisans. Not only did they create a user friendly site on which to build our businesses, they brought together a global community of like-minded people. I haven't just made sales, I've made true friends!

I want to especially thank everyone who has shopped at Wind Rose and even returned for more. I am so thankful for each and every one of you! To show my appreciation, I am giving 20% off on all orders today using the promo: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. Just type HAPPY ANNIVERSARY in the message to seller or send it in a convo, and today I'll refund 20% off the cost of your products through PayPal.

Thank you all so much for supporting Wind Rose Fiber Studio!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lollipop Hand Painted BFL 2oz

Just a quick note today to let you know that I did list my other two ounces of Lollipop Hand Painted BFL in my shop. Here it is pictured along side of the Lollipop Thick and Thin Yarn I spun from the same dye lot. I think this roving would look great in a lot of different yarn styles.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Muk Luks and Me

I think I wrote a post about muk luks last year, but I just can't help myself. This morning I was sitting having coffee with my husband and my feet were freezing. I had them curled up under me, that's right, I was sitting on my feet, and they were still cold! That's when I remembered that the best cure for cold feet was sitting up in my closet. My muk luks!

The first time I put my muk luks on each year, my feet just say ahhh! It's like greeting an old friend. The muk luks are happy to be out in the world and my feet are not just toasty, but completely comf! Yes, it is ridiculous how much I love my muk luks.

I'm actually sort of delusional about these slipper socks. Several years ago I went through no small amount of effort to design a crocheted pattern for what is more traditionally knitted footwear. In the end I designed an ankle boot like the one in this picture and a taller version that goes up to the knee. I was so proud of myself to get the shaping and the patterns just right and I even sewed on leather soles so they would not be slippery. They are the perfect crocheted version of the knit muk luks that you find at kiosks and bohemian shops usually in college towns or in cities.

I quickly made up several pairs in both sizes, but in all of my time at craft shows and on Etsy, I think I've only sold one pair. I can't be the only one who loves these can I? The public seems to be trying to tell me something. I still have a few pairs. I've given some away as gifts. I guess I'll get around to listing them back into my shop at ArtFire where I list my non-roving items. I don't really expect them to sell anymore. It's one of those times when you think people will just love something and they don't. Oh well.

I'm thinking I may give away the pattern here on my blog. It would be a fair amount of work to write it up so let me know if you want it. Does anyone out there want to crochet their own muk luks? I guess I'll wait and see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lollipop (2oz/116 handspun yards)

Hello and Happy Friday to all. Just playing show and tell today. I spun my Lollipop Roving into Lollipop Thick and Thin Yarn.

I thought my hand painted roving was a little over the top in the color department, but now that it has been spun up, I'm loving the colors. The green looks so nice next to the purple and the cherry and it's so soft!

I think I'm becoming addicted to spinning thick and thin yarns. It' very fun and I just love how light and lofty they turn out. Lollipop anyone?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lollipop Hand Painted Roving

Here's a couple ounces of hand painted Blue Faced Leicester. I just made this yesterday afternoon. It's along the lines of what I may start to offer next year in my shop. I do think I went a little wacky on the colors with this batch. I don't know what gets into me sometimes!

So I named this fiber Lollipop because it kind of reminds me of candy. I think I'm going to spin at least a couple ounces of it up in a thick and thin. I dyed 4oz so if anyone sees this post and really loves it, I'd be happy to make a listing at Wind Rose for the other two. I'm planning on selling my painted roving at $4 per oz for BFL and Merino.

Now I just have to design a few colorways that are less wacky. That should be fun though; play time in the dye kitchen!

Oh, One more thing. If I have any felters reading this post, I need your opinion. I was wondering if you would like a variegated roving like this one only in a variety of skin and earth tones. It would mean buying 4oz of roving all in one piece with probably five different useful colors. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stuck At My Desk Post

I'm just kind of stuck at my desk right now, but I have been giving some thought as to what I might explore for next year. As each year comes to an end, I start to think about how I might make the next one even better. What new products can I add to Wind Rose Fiber Studio? What are the fiber artists looking for?

Right now I'm thinking about making a line of naturally dyed roving. There would be more cost involved, but I think people like having the option of buying a product that has been dyed with ingredients from nature. I'm also contemplating offering hand painted roving in larger lots, say 3 or 4oz. I may play around with different dye methods. Lastly, I really want to do more spinning. I love spinning yarn and sometimes it takes a back seat to my other work. I want to move it back up as a priority. I think spinning is good for my health. Nothing makes me happier and more at peace.

Just sharing my thoughts...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spin, Park, Pinch, Draft, Repinch, Climb

Yesterday I taught my mom how to spin with a Top Whorl Drop Spindle. First of all, it's just fun when someone you love is interested in something you love. It's just a big love fest!

My mom was actually pretty easy to teach. She doesn't think of herself as a fiber artist, but for as long as I can remember, she has sewn, done needlepoint and I don't think there is a pattern she can't knit. Last year alone she knitted upwards of 20 hats for charity; a project she started in the summer and finished by Christmas.

In short, my mom knows more about fiber than she thinks she does. It's very easy to talk to her about weights of yarn and twist and that sort of thing. And spinning, like a lot of crafts, isn't really hard to understand, the challenge to to convince your hands to do what your brain commands. It's all about training those muscles to do something new and unfamiliar.

Every so often my mom would have to stop and think about what to do next. "Should I spin? Draft?" I realized that the easiest way to get her hands to accept these new motions would be to create a rhythm. A simple list of actions she could repeat to herself as she spun to help her remember and to get the muscles in her hands performing in time.

Spin ~ Park ~ Pinch ~ Draft ~ Repinch ~ Climb

Spin ~ Well this one is obvious. Spin the spindle of course. We discovered that my mom is a natural counterclockwise kind of girl.
Park ~ Hold the spindle in place by resting it between your knees or under your arm. Whatever is comfortable. It's just to keep it from back spinning while you work with the fiber.
Pinch ~ Now the hand you used to spin the spindle trades places with your drafting hand pinching the fiber to keep the twist from traveling.
Draft ~ Now your drafting or fiber hand is free to draw back on the unspun roving, creating that perfect drafting triangle.
Repinch ~ I think I may have invented a word here, but basically you are just switching your hands back to their old positions. Your drafting hand now pinches at the same place that your other hand was pinching to keep the twist from traveling.
Climb ~ Now you can slide the pinch of the drafting hand back over the fiber that you just prepared and allow the twist to climb or travel up the drafted roving.

This method of spinning is often referred to as the Inchworm Method. It's a great way to learn. My six word mantra (spin, park, pinch, draft, repinch, climb) is definitely simplifying things, but the goal is to create a cadence to which your hand muscles can learn to respond. As time passes, your hands will just naturally take over. The more you spin, the more your fingers will learn about the even feel of the draft and the natural tension and travel of the twist.

Right now my mom is on a plane flying back home to Virginia. I can just see her, with her drop spindle, and her lips mouthing the words; spin, park, pinch, draft, repinch, climb.

Related Post: How to Spin With a Top-Whorl Drop Spindle

It's December!

It's December 1st so I guess it's official ~

Happy Holidays
Wind Rose Fiber Studio!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dyeing with Cochineal, Indigo and Madder

If you are someone who loves fiber and is curious about dyeing and using natural ingredients, I have a couple wonderful links to share with you. They are new for me too and I have been enjoying reading and educating myself. I just thought I'd end the month by sharing these wonderful websites:

Weaving in Beauty
Posts of interest:
The Dyer’s Picnic: Cochineal, Indigo and Madder
Dyes that Madder: A Rainbow of Colors from Indigo, Cochineal, Madder and Osage Orange
John Marshall: Works in Fabric

(The picture here is actually of some ironwood that I recently used for dyeing.)

Top Whorl Drop Spindle Kit ~ Beautiful Roving!

Happy Cyber Monday to all! I just made a new Top Whorl Drop Spindle Kit. I like to come here and show my new kits as I make them so you can see the pretty roving that they come with.

With my newest kit, you'll receive 2oz of this pretty hand carded and pulled roving. It's a blend of Gypsy Wine BFL, Purple Merino/Cultivated Silk, Silver Grey Longwool/Mohair and Cabernet Firestar. It's so soft and sparkly!

Remember, you'll also get everything you need to begin your adventure into spinning and the world of fiber arts!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wonderful Knitting Patterns by ArizonaKnitter

Peacefully Knitting in Arizona is a lovely Etsy shop. I'm not the world's biggest shopper, so as I was making my second and third purchase from my friend ArizonaKnitter, I realized that I should probably blog about it.

I don't knit myself, but my mom does. A few months ago, I stumbled onto these unique designs and just knew my mom would love them. I started off with a hat pattern of which my mother has now made three.

This weekend Mom is here for Thanksgiving. We've been enjoying a little shopping time together and part of that time has been spent in Peacefully Knitting where we found two more patterns my mom liked. This Celtic Diamonds Neck Warmer is one of them. So pretty! The other one we bought was the Painted Cables Scarf Pattern.

So here's my cute mom in her hat that she made using ArizonaKnitter's Rolled Brim Cabled Crossed Hat pattern. We think we may go into my studio and pick out some roving that matches this hat. That way I can spin her a variegated, self-striping yarn that will match this hat. My mom loved the yarn in the Printed Cables Scarf Pattern so I will try to make something similar to that only in a different colorway.

So if you have a knitter in your life like I do, these patterns make wonderful gifts. It's so quick and easy to make a purchase and with patterns, you don't even have to wait several days for a package in the mail. Within 24 hours, you receive a PDF via email. My mom and I are having fun with our patterns and I know you will too. Just visit Peacefully Knitting in Arizona on Etsy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Firestar 2.25oz Sampler

I sold my last 3oz Firestar Sampler right before Thanksgiving, but I knew I needed to dye more. Everyone seems to love these samplers, so two days before Thanksgiving, I managed to dye 9 pots of Firestar so I could bring you this 2.25oz Sampler just in time for the holidays!

What is Firestar? It's a sparkling nylon fiber, created like roving with a generous (around 4") staple length. It can be spun on its own for a shimmering skein of yarn that would be stunning for warm weather garments. More commonly, it is used to add sparkle to projects. A little Firestar can go a long way. Simply tease loose the fibers and introduce them sparingly to your roving as you spin. The end result will be a skein of yarn full of lustrous shine. Firestar blends incredibly well with other fibers and will even needle felt!

(You can find this Sampler on ArtFire too!)