Sunday, May 31, 2009

Swimming in Firestar!

I know I just blogged a couple minutes ago about the Firestar I'm dyeing, but I just had to show you these pictures! Normally, I lay my roving out on towels in nice even rows for drying. It's a good method and usually very efficient here in Arizona. Every so often, however, we have very windy days. Once the roving is about half dry, it's light enough for the wind to blow around. If you've ever been to Arizona, you know it's just too hot to sit out in the sun and guard roving. Today I had a new idea.

I had this swimming pool in the garage that I purchased a couple years ago for the toddler crowd attending one of our gatherings. It actually has a hole in the bottom now and I've been meaning to dispose of it. Today however, I found a brand to purpose for my wounded pool. Now it's a roving drying wind guard! It works beautifully and filled with sparkling Firestar, I almost want to jump in!

Firestar Preview

Here's a preview of some of the Firestar colors that are coming your way this week at Wind Rose.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
Olive, Purple, Raspberry
Bronze, Sky Blue, Bottle Green
Plum, and Pewter

In another couple days, I'll have listings up and ready. You'll be able to purchase these colors and more in sampler packs (both small and super samplers) and individually by the half ounce.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sparkling Firestar Samplers! They're Coming!

I just wanted to let all of the Firestar lovers out there know that I'll be dyeing nothing but Firestar for the next four days. Lots of colors and if you'd like to make a color request, please do so.

This means that by the middle of next week, you'll be able to find some great Firestar Samplers in the shop at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. The Samplers tend to disappear pretty quickly so I wanted to give my readers advance notice.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Next Happy Flower

The light is starting to fade here in the desert, but I'm in the mood to blog, so I took a picture of my latest Happy Flower. She's looking pretty cute, is she not? Of course she needs her stem and leaves yet, but they are already crocheted and waiting.

This is only my second Happy Flower and my first Amigurumi design. It takes a little more patience to work with small shapes. You also have to have a certain amount of faith. I start with the head and then embroider the face. Before I make the petals, it just looks like a funny little ball. The petals seem to be what brings Happy Flower to life and give her some personality.

This time I dove into my nice yarn stash and found a high end furry yarn left over from a past project. With a white face, I thought she might need a little more interest and texture to set her off. I love the result. So I guess I'm just a silly, flower crocheting woman today! LOL! Something about this little design just puts a smile on my face!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vote for Spirit Jump!

Spirit Jump needs your vote!

The Fiber is Coming!

Well I did it. I just placed a huge order! In a week or so I'll be rolling in fiber here at Wind Rose. Some fiber I bought to dye. Others, I purchased to experience them for myself and to offer them to my customers. In the last 18 months of being in business at Etsy, my customers have really shown me that they want to experience everything! I love that about them! So here are some of the new fibers I'll be offering. When they come in, I'll take their pictures so you can see what they look like.

Fine Alpaca Top in Dark Chocolate, Black and Cream
Merino/Angora 80/20
Baby Camel Top (so soft!)
Merino/Yak Top (I just had to try some Yak!)

And of course all the regular friends:

Soy Silk
Hemp and Bamboo
and all the rest!

Summer is my time to build my inventory. I'll be dyeing pounds of fiber so that you'll be able to find all of your favorite colors!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thrumming ~ With Links to Tutorials and Video

I learned something new today and I can't wait to share it with you. It's called Thrumming. The noun thrum means a loose end, fringe, or tuft of fiber. Though I just stumbled onto this word today, I have seen thrumming before, I just didn't know what it was called. And it's hardly a new craft. It's been around for hundreds of years, but it seems to be cycling back to the forefront in popularity.

In my research I came across a lot of thrummed mittens. It does seem like a perfect application. If you live somewhere with cold winters, nothing would feel better than diving your hand into soft tufts of warm wool. Slippers would probably be awfully nice too, but if you allow your imagination to happily wander, I'm sure you'll come up with many fun ideas for working with thrums. To get you started, I've found some wonderful sites for you to explore!

Hello Yarn has a super tutorial with fabulous pictures. If you are a knitter, I definitely recommend a visit there. Also for knitters, I found a Free Pattern for Thrummed MittensDesigned by Corinne Morrison-Morton) by Knitting on the Net which I must also credit with this picture. Knitting Daily also offers a great article How To Insert Thrums In Your Knitting.

OK, but what if you crochet? I couldn't leave the crocheters out because I'm one of them. Guess what? I found a great YouTube tutorial just for us!

Now if you're wondering where you can find some nice, soft roving.... ahem.... Do I really have to say it? I can't help myself! Wind Rose Fiber Studio!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Flower ~ My Sweet Amigurumi

Please allow me to introduce Happy Flower. Happy Flower is a character that began on paper. There was a time when my youngest didn't like to read very much. Being a young boy with impressive tenacity, he had determined that reading just was not for him. On the other hand, he was all about art and creativity. Always drawing and constructing, one day he made a life size mail box and taped it to the wall outside of his room. This gave his mother a great idea. This was the day Happy Flower was born.

Happy flower began writing letters to the young man. Her letters were always exploding with feeling and fun. Happy Flower loved to laugh and play and was curious about so many things. She wanted to be the little boy's best friend and know everything about him.

This is how my son grew to love reading every day and writing too. Of course he had to answer all of Happy Flower's questions! In addition to her colorful writing, Happy Flower signed all of her letters with her name and a drawing of herself. She became a special character in our lives.

Recently I was organizing some of my son's art and there were the letters to and from Happy Flower. I have loved Amigurumi for a while now and have wanted to make one of my own. I decided Happy Flower would make a very cute Amigurumi.

I spent all day designing Happy Flower. So I am pleased as I can be to share pictures.

She really looks like my drawing come to life. I plan to make a couple for Wind Rose Boutique and I think she would make an awesome Spirit Jump, but this first one goes to my son.

She's a little self conscious about being bald in back, but I assured her that you are all very nice! Happy Flower has beans in her stem so she can stand all by herself. I also made the flower petals with some curl so that you can position them in different ways.

Oops, there's a gust of wind! Hold on Happy Flower!

Thank you for letting me share Happy Flower with you today and her story. Maybe she will inspire some other young readers and their moms. Sometimes a little creativity goes a long way!

What fibers are you looking for?

Good Morning! I'm about to make my next big fiber order. Any suggestions or requests? Anything special you'd like to see at Wind Rose Fiber Studio? Cashmere? Yak?

If I'm not currently dyeing a fiber that you'd like to see, let me know. Now is your chance to make inventory recommendations.

What is your favorite fiber to felt or spin?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Handspun Yarn for my next Spirit Jump!

I've been blogging this week about Spirit Jump. It's a wonderful organization of which I am proud to be a member. Spirit Jumpers are volunteers who send cards or gifts to people fighting serious and often life threatening illness. The gifts are symbols of love sent to lift the spirits of people during a frightening time. Imagine going through chemo and having a really bad day when a package or letter comes to your door. Something out of the blue from a complete stranger letting you know they care. Comfort, hope or just a smile on a down day. That's it. A Spirit Jump.

I can't wait to get the kids involved this summer. I have set a personal goal of Spirit Jumping at least once a week. This week, one of the people in need of a jump mentioned several times how much she likes yarn. I spent last night and this morning making this handspun just for her. It's about 60% Merino, 30% Jacob, with another 10% of Angora, Angelina and Firestar. It's soft with a little sparkle and all of the fiber was dyed and carded right here at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. I hope she likes it and more importantly, I hope it lifts her spirit.

For Mom

While everyone is out there grilling and enjoying this holiday weekend, I've been finishing up my Mother's Day gift. I'm a little late this year, but the first two things I made with her in mind, just didn't seem right for my mom when they were done. My mom is soft and pretty and likes pastels, so I think I am happy at last. This one is for mom!

The multi-colored bracelet from my last post laid the mental groundwork for this one. I like adding another layer to my work and giving it more depth. The hard part for me was picking out the right materials and colors. Personally, I tend to stay away from pastels favoring more jewel tones. My mother has always gravitated towards softer hues and they do look nice on her. After leafing through page after page of my Fire Mountain Catalog (the big one), I finally decided on Swarovski Crystal Pearls with tiny pink glass seed beads. The crystal pearls are in rose, purple and green. They have a nice lustor and the seed beads add an air of delicacy that I think my mom will like.

I haven't been weaving beads for all that long, so I am feeling pretty proud of myself right now. LOL! I can't help it! I feel like I've gotten past some of those beginner hurdles and I really like how I'm finishing them off now. I also like the pattern I came up with for this bracelet. It's not easy when you live in a house of boys and there is no female feedback. I hold up works in progress and ask in vain for opinions. My husband and sons barely glance and then placate me with "It looks nice." Big help! Thank goodness for the internet!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Woven Crystal and Glass Beaded Bracelet - Now Listed!

My new beaded bracelet is now listed at Wind Rose Boutique. So maybe you can help me come up with a catchy name. Right now its just listed as Woven Crystal and Glass Beaded Bracelet. That is what it is, but kind of dry, don't you think? The jewelry market is so competitive that I should come up with a name that has a little more punch. Help!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I just joined MixxMade. You can now find me under my username "windrose" and my little sheep avatar at this new social network.

Here's a quote from their Grand Opening:

"MixxMade is the next generation social networking site where members connect and keep in touch with friends. While on MixxMade, members can communicate with others, share photos, videos, blogs, create groups, and much more! MixxMade is fun, entertaining, and free!"

I know there are a ton of social networking sites out there and it would be easy to overwhelm oneself, but I found this one particularly appealing. It's gorgeous visually and is very easy to navigate. They really seem to have it together. I like that you can post videos and blogs too. Anyway, it seems like a fun place. Come check it out. Be my friend. I need some friends over there! LOL!

Now it's time for me to get off the computer and get to work! Have a great night everybody! :D

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My First Spirit Jump

Here's my first Spirit Jump gift. This one is going to Destiny along with a little note I've written.

You can find the pattern for this necklace right here on my blog. When I shared the pattern, I called it The Felted Lantern Necklace. This name comes from the shape in the design. It's original name however, was The Hopes and Dreams Necklace. I designed it for my crochet students and inside each little pouch, we placed a colored glass stone. All of the kids got to make a secret wish on their stone before it was felted.

I hope Destiny likes her gift and enjoys making her own secret wish!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Woven Crystal and Glass Beaded Bracelet

I finally finished! I've been working on this bracelet off and on for a couple weeks now. One morning I got this picture in my head of a collage style bracelet using all different colors and shapes. I could even imagine how to execute it which doesn't always happen for me. Sometimes I get ideas and I'm not really sure about how to make them happen. This time I had a pretty clear vision.

So I set out to create the picture in my head. This bracelet has been to the park, sat next to the pool and watched TV on the couch. In short we've been hanging out together for I'd guess about six hours. If you've ever made a tile or glass mosaic, then you'll appreciate that this piece was very much like solving a puzzle.

I'd work on it for a few minutes, then hold it up to inspect it from different angles. Then I'd work on it some more. I had a couple days where I wondered if I would ever be able to call it complete, but deep down I knew. When the bracelet was done, it would tell me.

So today was the day. Today after one final examination, the bracelet just felt complete. I still had the finishing work to do, loose ends to weave and a closure to fasten. It all went smoothly and the bracelet feels very solid. It weighs just short of 2 ounces and I didn't count, but it's safe to say that there are hundreds of crystal and glass beads woven together. It's ideal for a 5 1/2 inch wrist, but I would put the range at 5 to 6 inches. Any larger and it would be tight. The bracelet is 1" wide and 7" from end to end. I haven't listed it yet. I wanted to come here first and share it with my blog readers. I'll be back to share links once I have it posted at Wind Rose Boutique.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Jump!

You can be a Spirit Jumper!

There are days when you are just doing your normal activities, for me that's tweeting, plurking, blogging, etc., and you stumble onto something extraordinary. Today was one of those days. I was just checking in with my Plurk friends and one of them had blogged about Spirit Jump. It's an incredible endeavor founded by two young cancer survivors which links gift givers with people who are fighting the disease so that they can lift their spirit. A simple gift or a card is all it takes to let someone know that you care about what they are going through.

I love Spirit Jump and all it stands for. It's a wonderful thing to reach out to people and show you care. One of my first thoughts was that this is a program in which my children can also participate. Together we can make things and send them to people in the hopes of putting a smile on their face. I am always looking for ways to involve my kids in giving. It's so important to me that they grow up realizing that they are part of a whole and that they can make a difference in this world.

To learn more, read on or hop a link to Spirit Jump. From now on, Wind Rose Boutique will give a 20% discount to anyone shopping for a Spirit Jump gift. Just type "Spirit Jump" in the message to seller box at your time of purchase or contact me through the shop.

The Mission of Spirit Jump
If you have a shop, artistic abilities or even an extra card in your drawer and you want to give it to a person in need, send us an email that you want to be a Spirit Jumper at We will then connect you directly with a person in need, or we can give you a list of names, a brief description of what their particular cancer battle is and you can choose. When the match is made, We’ll give you that persons mailing address and then it’s up to you to send the gift. It’s a simple.

If you decide to be a Spirit Jumper you will be overwhelmed with the joy and warmth you feel when giving a gift. Additionally, every Spirit Jumper is welcome to write a post on our website and tell our many readers about your shop, blog or website. You may include links, photos and any information you want to be featured on the site. We encourage you to also include why you decided to donate, who you donated to and maybe even a photo of what you donated. This will be wonderful exposure for your shop, blog, website and you will be lifting someone’s spirit, WIN, WIN!

Want to be a Spirit Jumper just email:
Need a spirit jump or know someone who does just email:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Green Car Washing

Hello all. This is one of my non-fiber posts. I was washing my car yesterday, and it occurred to me that other people might find my method interesting. At the very least, it saves a lot of water. I have to admit that I developed this technique as much to save myself as to save H2O.

In June of 2007, I moved to the suburbs of Phoenix, AZ. That summer was particularly hot, setting records for the most days above 110º. As newcomers, we felt like we were being initiated into the desert club. Another new thing for this VA girl, was accepting the layer of desert dust that settles on every surface. I drive a black Honda Element and it wasn't long before my car, even garaged, needed a bath.

So I set about the task just like I would have back in VA. I gathered my materials, a bucket of water, soap, sponge and towel. (If you don't dry a black car, it really shows the water spots.) I extended the hose and started washing. It wasn't long before I found myself struggling against a few things. First the concrete drive (black top back in VA) became treacherously slick. The heat was not only dehydrating me, but the car would dry before I could clean it properly and it was just too plain hot to even think about the interior. I did the best I could, but it wasn't much fun.

Time went by and before long, my car was needing another washing. I just couldn't face going through the same bad experience twice, so I tried something new. I kept the car in the garage. I had one hand towel for washing and a larger towel for drying, I still had a bucket of water, but very little soap. I wet the small towel and squeezed out all of the excess water. Then I just scrubbed a section of my car, dried it off, and then moved on to the next one. It was fast, easy with no mess. Not a drop of water went to waste and there was no fussing with a hose. Both my car and I were sheltered from the direct heat of the sun which made us both happy.

Afterwards, I was thinking about what I had just done and realized that not only was it fast and easy, but I had used less than a gallon of water to wash my entire car. It gave me yet another reason to feel good about my new method. So now it's just what I do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wensleydale Top

I know I said I was done for the day, but I was in my studio contemplating organizational possibilities, when I found this Wensleydale Top. It was safely tucked away, waiting for me to list it. How could I forget my Wensleydale Top?!

So yes, now you can find lovely ecru Wensleydale for your dyeing, spinning and felting pleasure at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. I have it listed in 1oz and 2oz quantities. :D

Charcoal, Silver and Night Blue Soy Silk

One last quick post today and then I'll be all caught up. I just don't want you to miss out on any of the new fiber goodies at Wind Rose.

A year ago I was trying to decide what fibers I should dye. I really wasn't sure about Soy Silk. Now I can't imagine the shop without it. It has become as popular as Merino among both the spinners and the felters. It's not a fiber that will felt wet, but it needle felts very nicely. It's loved for its soft feel and luster.

Just listed today are Night Blue, Silver and Charcoal Soy Silk.

Sage Green Merino/Silk

Here's another treat from last week's dye work. This is 50/50 Merino/Silk dyed a cool Sage Green. I love this color. It's such a pretty shade of green and it looks even more alluring in this blend of wool and silk. You get that extra luster from the Tussah and it's so incredibly soft!

Night Blue Fine Mohair

Last weekend I caught up on my work, so now I'm working on catching up my blog. I mentioned earlier today about doing some custom work last week. Well that order entailed a lot of dyeing. Whenever I'm at the dye pot, I always try to cook up a couple extra ounces for the shop at Wind Rose.

So, thanks to a couple custom requests, I've got some nice new fibers on the way. Here's a fine example, Fine Mohair that is. It's been dyed a lovely Night Blue. Night Blue is a color created by Landscape Dyes that everyone seems to love. I've had so many requests for it lately!

Avocado Hemp

I got a little thrown off of my blog cycle last week. Between the excitement of our neighborhood fire and a couple custom orders, my time seemed to be more in demand. On top of that, there was Mother's Day to think about. Even when I have trouble getting over here to blog, rest assured that this fiber girl is always at work and cooking up something.

Today I just listed a new skein of Avocado Hemp. I'm excited because I found a hemp jewelry maker who is going to sample my handspun hemp and give me some feedback. I know hemp crafts people have resources where they can buy hemp in bulk, but it seems like it would be appealing to them to be able to request a certain thickness or ply. You can do many of the same things with hemp that you can do with wool, It can be plied with other colors or fibers or made to be self striping. I think if I were a hemp artist, I would find that appealing. We'll see what happens.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hot Sun Lock Yarn

I named this new lock yarn "Hot Sun" after the sun that will be shining at 100º+ all this week. This was my weekend to play catch up and I managed to complete almost all of my pending projects. What a great feeling!

You may remember that I started this project on April 28 when I dyed my Coopsworth locks. I still plan on taking some video of core spinning with locks for you, but I wanted to play around a bit first.

I think this skein turned out pretty fun. I found the perfect shade of Merino wool in my stash to compliment the locks and and spun it onto a spool to exaggerate the twist so it would grab my locks. Then I separated out my locks and laid them in a row, ready to be picked up and fed onto the core Merino. This assembly line method worked well although when you spin lock by lock, it does take time. It's also hard to tell how many yards you have on the spool because of the tufts of wool splaying out all over. I really thought I had more than I actually did when I decided to call this skein done. I'm going to have to make a couple more to give my customers more yardage. I also couldn't resist allowing the core yarn to show through now and then. I am just a sucker for that spiral effect it creates which seems so fitting on a novelty yarn.

I think what I realized while doing this project is the range lock spinning offers. You can make anything from a wild and crazy novelty yarn to a beautiful and controlled boucle. I'm sure you'll see some more locks from this spinner in the near future!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This is a picture of my kids from at least six years ago. Art has always been a part of my parenting not just because I love it, but because the kids do too!

On this day I let them paint an entire tablecloth. I felt like I was watching performance art. By the end, their clothes and feet and even their hair were covered in paint. They had a great time.

After the cloth dried, I chose my favorite section of it and framed it in a large 2' x 3' frame. It became the major focal point at the top of our stairs in our home. I never tired of walking by and admiring that painting!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Palm Tree Farm Fire, Chandler Arizona

So here was my distraction for the week. Talk about unexpected surprises! I went out to get the mail yesterday and saw ash floating through the air. I looked up to see palm trees engulfed in flames not a block away from my home. Once I was confident that the fire fighters were on the scene, I took a little video. There were some anxious minutes, but before long, I and the rest of my neighbors were comforted by the quick and skillful response of the local fire fighters. More than anything, I was relieved that the animal farm next to the grove of palms was spared. No homes were damaged and no people were injured, but some 70 palm trees burned and we are all still smelling the smoke today. It's the closest I've ever been to a big fire and the closest I ever want to be.

Thick and Thin Ecru Yarn

I am having a low energy, mush brain day, but in an attempt to bring myself back, I am going to at least try for a useful blog post. I recently started offering a selection of Ashland Bay Ecru Yarns at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. Here is a picture of the Thick and Thin taken with a standard size pencil and a #11 or 8mm knitting needle. The picture is taken along side a thick portion of the yarn. A customer asked me for this shot to help her gauge how bulky this thick and thin yarn is and what size needles she would want to use. I decided to pass it on. To see more pictures of this soft, Thick and Thin Ecru Yarn made from 100% Highland Peruvian Merino, just click on the link.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beginning Bead Weaver

Sometimes I wish I could leave well enough alone. I'm good with wool. My hands just seem to know what to do. It feels natural. Even so, I've embarked on this new territory of bead weaving. I love beads and I've done some tapestry weaving, so it seemed like a good fit.

Actually, I am enjoying what I'm doing and it's not going that badly. It's just hard to be a beginner. I have these ideas that are great in theory, but then I struggle with the execution. Making matters more challenging is my stubborn habit of figuring things out for myself. There are tons of books and magazines on the subject, but I don't want to learn someone else's process. I want to figure out my own.

So here's my latest work. I'm not very happy with it, but I like to "keep it real" here on my blog. I thought the lighter thread would be a good choice, but now I wish I had gone darker. There are a couple other issues with it too. I was making this as a mother's day gift, but there is no way I'm gifting this to anybody. Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I usually do my blogging in the morning, but I just stumbled onto this and it really caught me by surprise! Has anyone else heard of this? Yarnbombing. Really. I'm not kidding!

So I guess this is a new way to take fiber arts to the streets. For some, it seems, the world is their gallery. So how did I find out about it? I was tweeting and one of my friends was complaining about SQUIDOO. So I popped over to squidoo to see what it was all about. While I was looking, I typed fiber arts (of course) into a search box. One of the top articles was about Yarnbombing.

Here's one of the articles from that search:

"When it comes to crazy counter-culture, there's one bit of fluffy one that's taking countries by storm these days, and its called "yarnbombing".

Billed as a form of "guerilla granny grafitti", it can be found in the streets of London, Mexico City, and Vancouver, B.C. to name a few far flung places where wicked wool-gathers hang out.

So exactly what is yarnbombing?

Well, according to one the world's most creative and prolific yarn bombers, Magda Sayeg, (a 35-year-old lass from Texas and founder of Knitta Please), "It's about making people smile and bringing art out of the galleries so everyone can appreciate it". And she should know, she's been all around the globe embelleshing the built environment as she goes. Her thrilling threads can be found hanging from the Great Wall of China, blowing in the breeze at several Paris landmarks, and even on the Welcome sign to the Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge."


Image Credit: Perri Lewis, The Guardian, UK -- Magda Sayeg in action

This just made me more curious so I looked around a bit and found this CNN video and also one from YouTube. So what do you think? I'm still processing to tell you the truth. I can't help but find it appealing, but i guess it is grafitti. Is grafitti OK if it's cute? What about in a couple months after it's gotten rained on and mud splashed? Does the same artist come back and clean up? Will this spread the love of fiber arts or give it a bad name? Hmm....

Image credit:

Fountain Hills, AZ

This is not a very fiber oriented post, but today I visited Fountain Hills, AZ and their beautiful park. Fountain Hills is a community NE of Phoenix and surrounded by mountains. "The fountain is located in the middle of a man-made 28-acre lake in the heart of Fountain Hills. One of the world's highest fountains, the 560-foot tall plume of water, shoots to the sky and is visible for many miles."

Seeing this has been on my list of things to do since I moved to AZ almost two years ago. It lived up to all of my expectations!

Friday, May 1, 2009

One May Flower...and a Pig!

I was looking through my collection of photos for a flower picture. What I discovered is that I don't have many flower pictures! LOL! Yes, I've crocheted and felted my fair floral share, but I was hoping to find something a little different.

After some digging, I found my old piggy painting. Once upon a time, my youngest son's room was covered in farm animals pictures. He had a whole collection of farm books he loved like Big Red Barn. You remember that one? So I took some of his favorite animal friends and painted them on his walls. I had a great time and he loved his room!