Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bright and Beautiful Orange and Yellow Firestar!

I had a returning customer who couldn't find her Firestar colors. That would never do! So today I dyed these pretty shades for her with some extra for you too. There's Soft Yellow, Orange and Burnt Orange.

I dye Firestar all the time, but it's so well loved that I have trouble keeping up. If you ever need a color and don't see it in my shop at Wind Rose, please don't hesitate to contact me. I can usually get them dyed and ready to ship in less than 48 hours.

Sandy Beach Merino Roving

Sometimes I have happy accidents when I'm dyeing. In this case, I absentmindedly added a little too much brown for the color I had originally planned. The result was this really pretty tan that reminded me of the beach. I think this would also make a very nice skin tone for the felting community. It's light and has a little peachy undertone. You can find Sandy Beach Merino in my Etsy shop and if everyone likes it, I'll add it to my regulars list.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Felted Wool Soaps ~ I'll link you to a great tutorial!

A good friend of mine gave me this bar of felted wool soap. It was made by Felted Frenzy in Sperryville, VA. I already blogged about this once, but I'm bringing it back up today because I have a great tutorial for you.

A customer just asked me about my merino roving because she wanted to do this project. She shared the link with me and now I can't wait to share it with you. Little Birdie Secrets has written a wonderful tutorial on how to make your own felted wool soaps. The instructions are easy to follow even if you've never felted before. Helpful pictures take you through the entire process.

I'm thinking I may just have to make a few with my kids. They would make super fun stocking stuffers. Just think how you could personalize them. Animals would be great for pet lovers, sailboats and sea shells for the nautical minded, or just pretty little flowers and other shapes. So many possibilities!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Merino in Three Greens

Green was the color of the day here at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. When I received an inquiry from Paradise Felt for leaf colors, I got to work. I know her expert hands will turn these shades of Happy Green, Spruce and Bottle Green into lifelike foliage.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Red Rock Soy Silk ~ Check out this great new color!

Here is the last new listing of the day. This one is a great new color for Wind Rose. I'm calling it Red Rock in honor of the SW and the beautiful rocky mountains we have here. This is an orange/red that is very intense and striking. I think it will be great for fall projects to add warmth and color.

So let me leave you today with a couple teasers for what's coming. It's not all just new fiber listings. I'm putting together Drop Spindle Kits for beginners that will come with a drop spindle, instructions, and two kinds of fiber. I want to give beginners some straight ecru wool and then I plan to make a designer wool batt and predraft it into pencil roving that is ready to spin. I think beginners will have much more fun getting started if they get to work with some sparkling, colorful fiber. I may even make a video for my YouTube Channel to lend a visual aid. It should take me a couple weeks to get this together and up in the shops.

One more new offering on the horizon, I'll be selling Landscapes Dyes in Sampler Sizes. Each sampler will come with easy directions and will dye up to 4oz of wool. This is perfect for anyone who works will smaller quantities or who likes to focus on one project at a time. I've been using Landscapes for years and they are wonderful dyes for wool, silk and nylon. If you are a fan of the Jacquard Dyes that I already sell, not to worry, they are here to stay.

Turquoise Soy Silk Roving

Just listed in the shops today, soft and luxurious Turquoise Soy Silk. In most cases I work with natural Soy Silk rather than bleached. I just think it's nicer to have less processed fiber. Using the natural, honey colored soy, gives all of the colors some warmth that they would normally not have. This really shows in the Turquoise. Even thought it is still a cool color. It has more depth.

Once again, name link for Etsy and pic link for ArtFire. Thanks!

Ice Blue Firestar!

I know you are going to get tired of my just posting new product after new product. I can't help it, I'm desperately trying to fill up my shops before I go back to my teaching job in a week. It's a part time thing, but it still makes it a little harder for me to get things done. There really are not enough hours in a day!

So here's some pretty Ice Blue Firestar. I used to call this one Turqoise because that it the main dye I use, but nylon takes color so differently than protein fibers. This makes me think of blue ice. It's in both shops, Wind Rose at Etsy and Artfire!

Soy Silks ~ Vermillion and Emerald

I'm keeping the fiber coming this week with two new shades of Soy Silk. One the left is Vermillion and Emerald is on the right. Click on the name links to go to Etsy and the pics to head on over to ArtFire.

I even have a tip for you today. I don't generally add vinegar to my presoaks. I find that my wool dyes more evenly if I add the vinegar to the dye pot later in the process. Yesterday, however, I tried adding vinegar to the soy silk as it was soaking in preparation for the dyeing process. This really seemed to make a difference. I think it made the soy silk much more receptive to the dye. The process moved more quickly and the fiber took the dye more evenly and with less stirring. This is a great discovery because soy silk does like to cling to itself when it is wet. this can make it hard to get the dye to work all the way through the roving for an even dye.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Asheville Grove (3.4oz/136 handspun yards)

Here's my newest yarn. I named this skein Asheville Grove. Normally I tend to let the color of a yarn guide me in my name choice, but this time I was inspired the the town where I purchased the roving, Asheville. On a visit to North Carolina, I stopped in at a store named Homecrafts in the Grove Arcade. The Arcade is a collection of fine arts and crafts shops in the heart of downtown Asheville. It is there that I found this gorgeous Merino roving. You can read more about this trip here.

I always like to try something a little different each time I spin. This time I made one ply thick, about worsted weight, and the other ply thin. When twisted together they create a light texture and a very subtle thick and thin. I like the effect because it's novel without being too eccentric. The color graduates in depth from one end to the other in a beautiful cascade of pink, gray and purple. There are 136 yards to create something truly one of a kind!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gypsy Wine Firestar

This is a brand new color of Firestar for Wind Rose Fiber Studio. I designed Gypsy Wine months ago and I've been dyeing Merino and Silk this color, but for some reason, I didn't think to dye the Firestar.

So today I corrected that oversight and I'm so pleased I did! I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite colors and I think it look just stunning on this sparkling fiber. I can't wait to use this myself. You can find Gypsy Wine Firestar in both .5oz and 1oz lots in both of my stores!

Chestnut Merino Roving

There is something about this color that makes be think of Fall. Even the word Chestnut conjures up images of changing leaves for me.

Even though I'm sitting here in Arizona where the heat today has risen to 113ยบ, I know fall is just around the corner. For those of us who create for a living, it not too early to start those Autumn treasure.

With all of that in mind, I dyed this lovely Chesnut Merino Roving. Enjoy!

Cherry Merino Roving

I've been back in the kitchen and dyeing up more pretty colors. This is beautifully soft Merino Roving dyed a bright Cherry.

Remember, click on the name link to go to my Etsy Shop and click on the picture to head over to my ArtFire store. :D

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Listing Like Crazy!

It's not easy getting back into the swing of things after two back to back trips. I'm doing my best to keep my inventory stocked. I've also been working hard on my new ArtFire shop. It is a lot of work getting everything organized and listing all of my handmade items.

Today I listed these two vibrant shades of Merino, Turquoise and Chartreuse. Now that Wind Rose Fiber Studio is both at ArtFire and Etsy, I'm more motivated than ever to have both shops be full of roving in a wide variety of colors and fibers. I think in the end my customers will benefit. If I'm out of something at one store, chances are you may find it at the other. I'm always happy to transfer listings from one shop to the other. I know people get attached to their favorite venues. You don't have to go to the products, I'll bring them to you.

I also listed a bunch of Firestar today. Once again, they are available at either location. There's Amethyst, Twilight, Silver, Slate, Yellow Gold and Antique Gold. To keep things organized, the name links will take you to my Etsy Shop and if you click on the pictures, they will take you to the ArtFire Store.

If you want to see some of the other things I make, keep an eye on Wind Rose at Artfire. Starting now and into the future, this will be the home for all of my handmade as well as my handspun yarn. I actually have many things in my studio that are just waiting to be listed. Everyday there will be new things to see!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Featuring ~ All Things Belle!

Hello! I'm finally back from vacation and ready to settle into my fiber life! I can't think of a better way to return to my blogging than to introduce you this wonderful artist and her fantastic shop!

All Things Belle is an acquaintance of mine from Twitter. It's hard not to start to identify with her sweet avatar of a baby in one of her signature baby cocoons. One day she happened to throw out a tweet looking for a 100 yards of bulky weight yarn. I threw up a link to one of my handspun skeins and the rest is in the picture!

It is such a treat for me to get to see what my yarn was made into. Normally I just send fiber out into the world and hope people enjoy working with it. I want to thank All Things Belle for her generosity in sharing these beautiful pictures and giving me the permission to share them with you!

If you want to see more adorable babies looking ever so cute and content, All Things Belle is just waiting for your visit. You'll discover pinks and blues and lovely earth tones too! What a great gift idea for anyone who is expecting!

They must be comfortable. Just look at that yawn! These little bundlers are perfect for taking those first precious pictures of your new little one.

You are getting to see these photographs before they are even posted on the listing, but this CoZy wrap is available and waiting for a home.

While I'm at it, let me give a shout out to the incredible photographer behind these amazing pictures. You can see more of her work at Fairy tale Fotos By Shantel.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Handspun Gift With Purchase While I'm On Vacation!

I'm heading out of town one last time this summer. As a special thank you to my customers who shop even while I'm away, I'm spinning up this lovely rainbow roving. This is 50/50 Merino/Soy Silk and I'm giving away 20 handspun yards to the first 7 customers who shop at Wind Rose Fiber Studio between July 10-15. It's my way of showing my deep appreciation for the wonderful artisans who support Wind Rose!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What I Like About ArtFire So Far

I received a comment on yesterday's post form florcita. She writes, "I haven't tried Artfire... any advantages on top of say...Etsy or Dawanda?
I should check it out.
Good luck with it!"

I started to write her back when I realized I had more to say than a typical comment. So thank you to florcita for inspiring today's post. Oh, and you can check out her blog and her art at florcita.

My Response:

Thanks for the well wishes. I guess I'll be better able to speak to any advantages or disadvantages after I've been with Artfire for a while. There are a few things I do like right away. One is unlimited sections for my shop. I can have everything in one place and still be organized. The sole reason I have three Etsy shops is because Etsy only allows 10 sections. It's hard enough to divide all of the different fiber I work with into 10 groups, but it's impossible to also include my handspun yarn and other crafts without being ridiculously crowded.

I love Artfire's market hub. It's just so smart to be able to link to your other sites like this blog, my YouTube station, my twitter and website, etc. When you are trying to brand yourself in the marketplace, those links become critical.

I think the rapid cart is a cool innovation. I have absolutely no idea if I'll ever sell anything off my rapid cart, but it's a free perk. I easily went to my new website and created an entire rapid cart page which allows people to shop without even leaving my site. That's pretty awesome.

Although I'm still sad about giving up my $7 account, you can't beat $12 a month with no extra fees. With a new shop, I know it will take time for buyers to find me, but I'm really not going to miss $12 in the grand scheme of things. I guess it depends on how many products you have. If you list less than 60 items a month at Etsy for example, than Etsy might be less expensive, but Etsy does take a small % of your sales too. Selling fiber by the ounce, I turn products pretty quickly, so I spend $30+ a month.

I don't want to sound like I'm Etsy bashing, because I'm wouldn't dream of it. What Etsy has given me is a great customer base. An inexpensive venue isn't worth much if you never sell anything. With ArtFire, only time will tell if there is a niche for me. Etsy has already proven to be able to bring people in. In addition to that, I have made some amazing friends there.

I guess I'll have to report back in a few months and let you know how it's going. I have absolutely no plans to close my fiber studio at Etsy, but I may let the other two shops go as items expire. Four Shops are a lot to handle. That's as far into the future as I have considered for now. I do like the idea of being in more than one place. Once I get all set up, I think things will run smoothly. I hope!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I joined back up at ArtFire!

Well I did it. I've been going back and forth for months about whether or not to go back to ArtFire. I decided the only way to stop thinking about it is to just do it. I gave up my initial $7 account back in January. My life was in a little bit of chaos. I had just lost a loved one and just taken on a new job. It just seemed time to lighten the load. Of course not long after I left, ArtFire really started to gain popularity and many of the kinks that made listing and navigating difficult were worked out. Figures. :P

The stubborn side of me didn't want to go back and pay $12 a month instead of $7, but let's face it, $12 a month is nothing for a global venue. We've all done those craft shows where you buy in for $100 bucks, sit around all day and walk away with maybe $300 or $400. I just need to look at it more from that perspective.

So now the job begins of building another shop. I have a tendency to want to make things happen overnight, so I am trying very hard to chill. I'm pretty mellow when it comes to most things in my life, but I'm just so passionate about my business, I tend to obsess. If you catch me getting a little crazy here on my blog, please remind me to relax. LOL!

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

So to all of my ArtFire friends, start looking for my little sheepy face around the neighborhood. I'm sure I'll have a question or two along the way. And to all the Etsians, I'm not going away, I'm just spreading my wings a little.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Brand New Website for Wind Rose!

I feel like I've come full circle. Three years ago when I wanted to reinvent my business, I started working on a website. It was such a headache and I felt so limited by the software for Macs. Then I found Etsy and decided that it was just what I needed! I love Etsy and the other selling venues out there that have come along and supported the arts and crafts movement.

Still, I hate is when something gets the best of me, so I never stopped thinking about a website. Just yesterday, my friend told me about the site she was creating. She was excited and when I checked out her new digs, I was impressed. She told me she was using Office Live which is a Microsoft product. I wasn't sure how well it would work on my Mac, but I'm pleased to say that it does supply a version for Mac users. You can store up to 5GB for free. All you need to do is buy a domain, but it walks you through that process as well.

So here it is! Sound the Trumpets! It's funny really. I don't actually need a website anymore, but it just feels so good to finally conquer the beast that is web design! I decided not to make a major selling site, but rather I linked to my existing shops. It's nice to have a place in addition to this blog where the spinning, crafting and dyeing sides of me can come together.

I did, however, make a Quick Shop page. This little shop is where you will find special deals for my website customers only! I'm taking some of my favorite creations and offering them at a discount just for you. You can make your purchase with the press of a button. A PayPal account is all you need!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Merino/Soy Silk 50/50 (dye free)

I'm introducing another brand new fiber to Wind Rose Fiber Studio. This is 50/50 Merino/Soy Silk available in 2oz or 1oz amounts. (You can always contact me if you need more.) I'm excited about this roving, not just because it's soft, but because I think it's going to dye up really pretty. Soy Silk is a plant fiber and Merino is a protein, but they both dye well using acid reactive dyes. What I think will be interesting is that soy silk always takes color just a little differently than wool. I think this will lend a lot of interest to the finished roving. I can't wait to give it a try and you know I'll be back to show you the results!

Merino/Silk ~ It's just Sooo Nice!

Merino/Silk is a wonderful way to enjoy the softness of fine Merino wool with the luster and luxury of silk. On the left is a picture of 50/50 Merino and Cultivated Silk and on the right is 80/20 Merino and Tussah Silk. Next time you are in the mood for a fiber treat, they'll be waiting for you at Wind Rose Fiber Studio! :D

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm Taking Custom Dye Requests!

I'm back from five days in CA! It's hard to be away from the shop for so long. Thank you so much to everyone who visited while I was away!!!

I have one week before another five day trip to visit family and friends in VA. My plan is to dye my heart out for the next few days. My inventory really needs the boost.

This is the perfect time to request colors and fibers. Just let me know if you have anything in particular you'd like to have me dye. I'll be posting new listings here as I go or visit Wind Rose Fiber Studio. Cheers!