Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spruce & Happy Green BFL

Blue Faced Leicester has long been one of my personal favorites. This week I'm working on getting some colorful batches of BFL into the shops. Here are the first two: Spruce and Happy Green.

So why do I like this fiber? For starters, I like the feel of it. Some fibers just feel nice passing through your fingers as you spin. BFL is soft, but with just enough texture to make it interesting. It also has a 5" staple length. This makes it a great choice for beginning spinners. It's actually the fiber I normally recommend when people ask me what they should buy if they are just getting started. Of course experienced spinners like it too. It also loves to take color so I am looking forward to filling the shops with a rainbow of Blue Faced Leicester!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Bright Shades of Falkland Top!

Most of my Falkland top has been dyed into very earthy shades per customer request, but I couldn't resist making a few bright colors. Thus I give you: Russet, Burnt Orange and Violet. I know there are many fans of color out there and I think the spinning crowd is really going to like this fiber. If you have never tried Falkland Top before, it has a very nice feel to it. It's soft, but not like merino. It has more crimp and a more porous feel that gives it a nice handle for spinning. The long staple length makes it ideal for anyone learning how to work with a drop spindle.

Also, you just have to love the story behind this fiber. It comes direct from the Falkland Islands. The temperatures there make the environment very free of bugs and disease for the sheep. The flocks are highly valued and treated with excellent care. The processing is like a fairytale. This lucky wool takes a trip to Italy where it is washed using plant based solvents in natural snow melt from the Alpine Mountains. Amazing!

Click on the name links to see these listings on Etsy and on the photographs to head over to ArtFire.

Sandy Beach ~ The Perfect Light Skin Tone

For some time now, I have been developing colors that represent different skin tones. My goal has been to supply the felting community with great, very natural looking shades for their lifelike projects. The colors have been very popular and have even found a home among those who felt animals and the spinners too. I think that many of us who work with wool are drawn to colors that can actually be found in nature.

Sandy Beach, the wool pictured here, is not a part of the original eight skin tones I designed, but it may just be the perfect choice if you are trying to create a light skin color. It's not a porcelain, but a very natural looking shade with just the right combination of browns and incredibly subtle peach to make it look quite true to life.

You can find Sandy Beach sold in 1oz lots at Wind Rose on Etsy and also in My ArtFire Shop.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Four Colors of Falkland Top

Four colors of Falkland Top are now in Wind Rose Fiber Studio Stores!

Wind Rose on Etsy:

Chestnut Brown
, Sun Touched, Silver and Charcoal

And in Wind Rose on ArtFire

Chestnut Brown
, Sun Touched, Silver and Charcoal

Firestar Samplers ~ They're Back!!!

I've been back in the dye kitchen and I've made a big batch of Firestar Samplers. These have become so popular. Everytime I make these samplers I increase the batch size and they still sell out on me before I know it!

Firestar Samplers on Etsy

Firestar Samplers on ArtFire

This listing gives you 3oz of Sparkling Firestar. You'll receive .25oz of 12 different colors. I've included all of the colors in the rainbow and a few in-between!

The colors include: Violet, Gold, Green, Burnt Orange, Fire Red, Ecru, Sapphire Blue, Silver, Bronze, Spruce, Pink and Gypsy Wine

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!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Roving Grab Bag 8oz

Please help me clean out my studio! I'm selling these 8oz Roving Grab Bags for $4. That's only .50 an ounce, but I'm desperate to clean house. I couldn't believe that when I was organizing my destash into bags, I came up with 12 bags stuffed full. Incredible! If I had more time, I'd felt it or spin it myself, but it's just not happening. I have made some pretty skeins of yarn from this collection, but now I am passing it on.

I've listed 2 of the bags at Wind Rose on Etsy and the rest in my ArtFire shop. Have fun!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hand Dyed Falkland Top ~ It's coming!

A couple weeks ago, one of my regular customers asked me about carrying Falkland Wool Roving. She is a needle felter and creates lifelike miniature animals. "...Falkland seems so much faster for covering projects and no fuzzies." she explained.

Quite a few felt artists shop at Wind Rose Fiber Studio, so if Falkland wool works well for their art, why not add it to my inventory? So that's just what I'm doing.

This luxurious fiber comes from the Falkland Islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The 5" staple length makes this fiber very strong, yet it remains incredibly soft and dyes like a dream. This wool is processed in Italy using snow melt from the Alps enhancing it's whiteness.

I'm starting out with natural, earthy colors, but I'll be adding some brighter shades as well. I know the spinning crowd is going to want to try this fiber out. The generous staple length makes it a terrific choice for beginning spinners. It would also lend itself well to projects like rugs, bask
ets or handbags where strength is a consideration. Plus, it feels incredibly soft next to the skin making it a nice choice for wearables too. It's just so versatile!

You can now also buy dye free Falkland Wool at Wind Rose. Enjoy the natural white color or have fun dyeing it your favorite shades. Right now I have it available in 1oz and 2oz lots. Please contact me through the shop if you need more!

Falkland Wool is also in stock in my ArtFire shop: 1oz, 2oz.

In the picture above you see Sun Touched and Chestnut Brown Falkland Top drying in the sun. They'll be in the shop by tomorrow with more colors soon to follow!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And It Is Still That Way

Every once in a while, something strikes me, and even though it has little to do with fiber, I just have to share. This is one of those times.

The title of this post is also the title of the book I'm reading to my son. And It Is Still That Way is a compilation of "Legends told by Arizona Indian Children with notes by Byrd Baylor." What I love about this book is that they are legends that have been passed down to the children and then the children have written them down in their own words. Often the stories are much shorter than the original legend. They are the parts that the children remember and the parts that were meaningful to them. This makes them very easy to read and for other children to understand.

Another thing I love about this book is that Byrd Baylor has written an introduction telling about how the book came together as well as a little history of how legends are shared in the different cultures. "Here in Arizona, Indians don't tell their stories in summer. The old people say snakes don't like to hear them and sometimes it makes them angry and they come and bite the storyteller. So stories are saved for the winter when the snakes are sleeping." Personally, I think I may be taking a risk reading this book to my son at the end of September. I am watching out for snakes.

Here is my favorite piece of wisdom. "Indians say no one is supposed to fall asleep while a storyteller is speaking. In the old days even the littlest children had to pay attention to every word or the storyteller would stop. So it used to be that whenever he would pause every person would quickly make some sign that he was listening. The Papagos always repeated the last word they had heard. The Hopis answered with a soft Hopi sound, barely louder than a breath. Each tribe had its own way of saying to the storyteller, 'I am listening. Go on.'" I absolutely love this! What a wonderful way to encourage active listening. I have adopted the Papago way. Every so often I pause while reading and look at my son. He immediately repeats the last word I said. He has come to enjoy this so much that he reminds me if I don't pause frequently enough.

I checked out my copy of this book from the library, but I was happy to see that it is still in print and available at Amazon. Byrd Baylor has many other books as well. I would also like to thank the Howard Terpning Gallery for the use of this picture.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Day of Fall ~ Special Discount

It's the first day of Fall! I'm in such a happy mood today that I'm offering a discount. Fall is the perfect time to stock up on wool roving and all of your fiber needs. Today only, get 10% off of your order from Wind Rose Fiber Studio!

Just write the Special Discount code FALL in the the message box and you you will receive a refund for 10% of your product order.

Happy Fall Everyone!

(Offer good on orders placed from noon 9/21 to midnight 9/22. Refunds will be issued through PayPal.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spinning and Dyeing ~ My Facebook Group

Spinning and Dyeing is a Facebook group that I started some time ago. For quite a while it was a group of 1 (LOL!), but over time it has grown and now has 75 members. Please feel welcome to come and join us. Share your links and your photographs. We are all just getting to know each other. :D

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spindelnät Scarf #3 ~ Watch the project from start to finish!

Today I started work on the Spindelnät Scarf project. I changed my mind about using the largest setting for my loom. I have it set at the longest width which is 85 inches. The length (from shoulder to waist) is set at the second longest which is 25 inches. The proportions just looked better to me.

Today I made a base crochet chain to go around the perimeter of the frame. A base crochet is a stitch that creates your beginning chain and your first row of single crochet all at once. I then slipped the single crochet edge, with the right side facing me, onto the nails.

The picture on the left shows that I began slipping the chain onto the loom at the top and middle or what will be at the nape of the neck. I don't think anyone will be able to identify a start or finish point when I'm done, but I chose to start in the middle because I like working from a center point. The photo on the right shows how I just easily slipped the base chain onto the loom.

When I got back up to the top, I joined with a slip stitch to the beginning stitch and did not cut or finish off the yarn in any way. After framing my scarf, I sat down for a long while with paper and a pencil. I did a couple elaborate sketches trying to figure out how to best execute the next phase. I even started work on it, but I'll have to come back with pictures tomorrow because I ran out of natural light.

So I am at a stage in this project where I am kind of looking at my loom and thinking, this is totally going to fall apart on me. The truth of it is, it just might. I feel really good about certain things and then there is the utter not knowing if it will all come together. There's nothing to do at this point, but to keep going forward and work out the problems as they show themselves. Isn't there a saying, something like... "If you are going to fail, fail big?"

I'll be back with more hopefully tomorrow and some companion video as well. Night all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spindelnät Scarf #2~ Watch the project from start to finish!

Hello everyone! Usually my projects do not involve a demolition phase, but this uninspired weaving is occupying my frame loom and it is in the way.

Before I can even begin my Spindelnät Scarf, I must first destroy this shawl that has remained unfinished for about a year now. Think I'm a little crazy? This shawl is just a couple hours from completion, but if I really loved it, it would be done by now. Off it goes!

You may be wondering... "Where does one find such a large frame loom?" Well, I first discovered this gem at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I now live in Arizona, but I come from Virgina. Driving up to the Howard County Fairgrounds became my annual, first weekend of May jaunt. If you can ever make it to this event, you won't regret the effort. So far I have never been to its equal.

But I digress. Back to the frame loom. So I think about five years ago is when I noticed this loom at the festival. I kind of just stood there and drooled as they demonstrated. Somehow I kept talking myself out of it. Then, right after moving to Arizona, I ordered one. I think I was homesick. *laugh* It is officially called The Sprigg's Adjustable Rectangle Frame Loom. You can find one of your own at Carol Leigh's Hillcreek Fiber Studio. They come in different shapes and sizes and I bought my big tripod stand from them as well. If you are not familiar with Hillcreek Fiber, you are going to have a great time browsing their studio!

OK, a couple last pictures for posterity:

And in just a couple minutes and with very little effort:

So the only thing left to do today, is to adjust my loom to the largest setting. When I was naming this project, I liked the sound of the word scarf with the word spindelnät. Spindelnät Shawl just didn't sound as nice to me even though I am planning to make this scarf very generous in size. I'm just taking a little creative liberty.

That's it for today. A companion video is on it's way. Have a great night!

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Drop Spindle Kit!

I just sold my first Drop Spindle Kit which means I got to design some new fiber for the next one. All of my kits come with 1oz of Superwash Merino and to make them really special, 2oz of custom roving made by yours truly. This roving is dyed, carded and then I take the time to pull the wool batt into even pencil roving. It's completely predrafted and ready to spin. This means one less thing to worry about when you are just getting started. It also means that one of your first skeins of yarn will be made from designer roving. Thick or thin, even or not, it will be soft and pretty and that's a promise!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Spindelnät Scarf #1~ Watch the project from start to finish!

A couple weeks ago, a picture wandered into my head. This is how personal projects tend to start for me. I see the finished project in my mind and then it is up to my hands and my brain to figure out how to execute the task.

So since I've just begun, I've decided to take you on my creative journey. I'm calling this piece The Spindelnät Scarf. Spindelnät means spider web in Swedish. I'm giving a nod to my mom on that one. She is born of two Swedes.

I'm going to be constructing this scarf, which actually will be the size of a shawl and meant to be worn about the shoulders, on my 7' frame loom. The loom was designed for traditional weaving, but my plan is to go off road on this one. The truth is, I have no idea if the concept in my head will even work. That is part of the creative process though and I guess what makes it enticing to some of us. The idea that I could utterly fail at achieving my goal is very appealing to me. It's the drama of it all. Of course I've been mentally thinking this through in the hopes of success.

Right now I'm still spinning and thinking. My base yarn is done and now I'm working on a flashier trim color which will also be worked into the design. I'm just spinning and thinking. As I make progress, I'll post pictures and describe what I'm doing. If you are interested in following this project, look for posts on this blog entitled Spindelnät Scarf. Watch me succeed or crash and burn, but please wish me well!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Charcoal Soy Silk Roving

Brand new and only in my Artfire shop, this beautiful, and lightly variegated Charcoal Soy Silk has just been listed. This is a pretty one and I have 8oz available!

Havest Firestar ~ So warm and sparkly!

Today has been one of those days when I totally had enough to do and I did something extra anyway. I don't know what gets into me sometimes, but the result of today's little energy burst is this warm, sparkling new color of Firestar.

Harvest is the name I've given this color because the combination of yellows, browns and oranges within, make me think of harvest time. I think this shade is going to be great for adding a little glitz to your fall projects. Just picture it with any of the classic autumn colors. Perfect!

(Click on the word link to go to my Etsy shop and the picture to visit my ArtFire store.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mediterranean Merino ~ Back in Stock!

Mediterranean Merino Roving is part of my Skin Tone line at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. Ever since I developed this line of 8 different skin tones, it's all I can do to keep them in stock. The little baby fiber next to it is a sample of Firestar dyed in the same pot. If you are a regular at Wind Rose, you know that all of my hand dyed Merino comes with a free matching sample of sparkling Firestar.

Mediterranean is a nice soft beige with just a suggestion of olive undertones. It's impossible to represent all of the beautiful colors that the human skin comes in, but I try to at least represent a broad spectrum with my eight colors. There's Porcelain Fair, Peach Glow, Sun Touched, South Pacific, Mediterranean, Golden Brown, Chestnut Brown and Deeper Brown.

What is surprising is that many of the customers who buy these colors are not trying to represent skin at all. They have been warmly received by the felting crowd for animal colors. The natural tones can also duplicate the colors found on so many breeds of dogs. Every so often a felt artist will send me a cute picture of a Terrier she's made. I will have to share some of this work in a future post. You'll be so impressed!

Crimson Purple Merino

Crimson Purple is a unique color that I recently dyed for a custom order. It's not a regular at Wind Rose Fiber Studio, so if you like it, it's time to snatch it up. I've got a couple ounces available at Wind Rose on Etsy and also in my ArtFire shop.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hemp Roving Drying in the Sun!

Laying out on my back patio, catching a few rays, these two shades of hemp turned out brilliantly. Nice even color in a gorgeous Marigold and Avocado Green; they should be in my shop by tomorrow.

I tend to drag my heels when it comes to dyeing cellulose fibers. I whine about the extra steps and dealing with the mordants and all. Then they come out of the dye pot looking so gorgeous and I think "Man, I should dye some more!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sari Silk Handbag

I'm getting a little listing done tonight. I have a whole collection of handbags in my studio that I either wove or crocheted and they have just been waiting to be placed in a shop.

This is one of my personal favorites. Sometimes you make something and you almost hope it won't sell because then you can adopt it for yourself. I just love the shaping and the colors in the sari silk are amazing. I also deviated from my standard magnetic closure and gave this a copper metal hook. It's just so full of personality.

So, before I change my mind, you can find this Sari Silk Handbag only in my ArtFire shop at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. There are more details and pictures waiting for you there!

Night Blue is Back!

Night Blue has become one of the most beloved colors at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. With all of my custom orders recently, I fell behind on my regular dyeing. I'm happy to report that Night Blue is back in stock in Merino (left) Soy Silk (middle) and Firestar (right). Click on the name links to visit Wind Rose on Etsy and the photographs to go to Wind Rose on ArtFire.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Casa Grande Ruins

This morning I took a trip out to the Casa Grande Ruins. From where I live in Chandler, AZ, it's only a short drive down Arizona 87 to the town of Coolidge. Much of this drive takes you through the Gila River Reservation. This being the end of a long, hot summer, the desert has lost most of its greenery leaving the tall saguaros as the preeminent sign of life. They and the lovely mountains surrounding the desert are all that keep you company on this lesser traveled road.

I've been studying the prehistoric people of the southwest lately and when my reading turned to the Hohokam, it was time to pay a visit to the centuries old ruins. Growing up in Virginia, I studied history of course, but I never really had a sense of the ancient. I didn't get a feel for history in a practical way until some traveling in my twenties. Now, living in the southwest, I feel much more connected to an ancient time. It's not hard to gaze out upon miles of desert and imagine a prehistoric world.

The first picture above is my favorite. It's not of the main structure, but rather of several smaller ones in the compound. I like the sense of depth and the contrast created by the blue sky. Walking carefully around the ruins, I made an effort not to disturb any remnant walls or foundations. I could not resist, however, just resting my hand on the side of the great house. I took in a breath and thought respectfully of the hands that built the wall over 700 years ago. I am in awe of the incredible life the Hohokam lived in this rugged part of the earth. One thing I learned today that also amazed me, is that the Hohokam positioned certain round windows in the great house to align perfectly with the sun. There are windows marking the Summer Solstice and both the Spring and Autumn Equinox. In this way, they were able to calendar time.

This is how I spent my Wednesday morning. It's revitalizing to take a moment to connect with the past and dream of the future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to Basics Wool Sampler

Back to Basics is a 2oz sampler offering 4 basic colors in 4 unique breeds of wool. You will receive .5oz each of Really Red Corriedale, Ecru Blue Faced Leicester, Fine Grey Shetland Top, and Jet Black Merino.

This convenient sampler of 4 must have colors is just perfect for those who felt. New spinners will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the different breeds of wool. Experienced spinners will like blending these basic colors with their other favorites to create their own works of art!

What a great way to keep those basic colors on hand. It makes a great gift too!

I've been selling fiber by the ounce for about 18 months now. I started doing so when I realized just how many people were enjoying felting as a craft/art form and I knew the smaller sizes would appeal to that community. Spinners go through fiber a little faster, but it's also fun to shop from a wide variety of colors and fibers and design your own yarn an ounce at a time.

It's a little more work breaking things down to ounces and packing them all up. I've gotten to the point where my little business keeps me pretty busy. Still, there are times when customers ask me if I'll ever consider selling by the half ounce. I so understand where they are coming from, but as a one woman operation, I don't think I could stay on top of that kind of volume. My studio is already exploding with fiber.

Samplers are my way of trying to give people the smaller sizes they want without stocking a whole store of mini sizes. They have really caught on with Firestar and if this Back to Basics Sampler does well, I'll look into maybe producing a few different wool samplers.

As always, thank you for your questions and your feedback!