Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Website and a contest!

*big sigh*
Well, it's done! My new site has launched and my blog has officially moved.
Please check it out at
If you subscribe or "follow" or link to this blog, please change your links!

To celebrate the launch and to kick off the Month of Love, I'm having a contest, be sure to enter for your chance to win 50% off your next BCB purchase!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New New

Handdyed fiber

Welcome to 2009! I hope you're having a lovely, fiber-filled year so far.
I'm starting the new year with a new website...well, the shell of a new website. I still need to rearrange, organize and figure how the heck to get my pictures to look pretty. The main change will be that my main website and my blog will all be in one pretty place.

Another fun change is that I want to turn more of it over to you. I'd like to start a regular (weekly? monthly?) Ask Tara thing. You can ask me anything you like about spinning, dyeing, knitting, finding local farms, using Etsy, starting a business, or...uh, moving from Ohio to Tennessee or training a Bagle (Beagle/Basset rescue pup) or anything you can think of. I'll answer the questions in the blog or with a video tutorial. If it's something I don't know about (like vaccinating your sheep), I'll find an expert to ask and report back. To ask your question, leave it below this post in the comments or if you'd like to stay anonymous to other readers, you can email me.
I've gotten a few questions on YouTube about dyeing on the stovetop, so I'm going to start with that answer, with a video on the new website. I'll give you the link right here and after that, it'll all be in the new place.
So, stay tuned and in the meantime, please allow a little quietness here as I work to get the new place all cleaned up for a fun housewarming party, ok?
Thank you for all of your questions, encouragement and kindness in 2008. For this year I wish you beautiful fiber and plenitful time for your crafting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick note to remind you that it's not too late for gift certificates! You can get them until noon tomorrow, December 23rd! Once you purchase it, I'll email you (within 6 hours) a personalized, printable gift certificate (it's no extra cost if you'd like me to mail it, but obviously it won't get to the recipient before Christmas!)

(an example of a gift certificate)

Even though I'll be away from a lot of usual internet-y places (like the blog and flickr), the Boutique will continue as usual. In fact, I'll be adding a bunch of new yarns, including a new color of Bananiere on Friday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Introducing: LocalSpun Fiber and Yarn Club

You know that I love local fiber, right? And that I love sharing it with you?
Inspired by the awesome response to the LocalSpun line (I didn't get to announce the yarn, it sold before I got the chance to tell you about it!), I've decided to
make it a monthly event.

The LocalSpun Club is all about sharing my local fiber with you, in both fiber and yarn form. You can subscribe to either the Yarn Club or the Fiber Club.
Here's how it'll work:
  • Each month I'll visit a local farm, get a fleece (always a different breed!), take lots of pictures and get some info from the farmer.
  • Each month you'll receive 4 oz of fiber or yarn by the 20th. 1, 2 or 3 month subscriptions are available and you can tailor your subscription by telling me your favorite color and by choosing between batts or locks (for the fiber club).
Along with your subscription, you'll also receive information about the sheep that produced the fiber, the farm where it was raised and access to pictures and videos of the farm visit!

Know a spinner or knitter who might love this as a gift? It's not too late for the holidays!
Within 12 hours of your purchase, I'll email you a personalized, pretty, printable gift certificate for you to give to the recipient! They'll receive their package with everyone else, by the 20th of the month!
That's right - you can buy a subscription to the LocalSpun club right at the last minute, until midnight on December 23rd!

Yesterday, I announced this to my newsletter (if you're not on the list, your missing out on finding stuff out first! Sign up here!) and they've pounced on it! There is only 1 spot still open for the Yarn Club and 2 for the Fiber Club.
This is my first time offering a subscription service and I'd like to know what you think! What would you like to see in a club? If you subscribed, what would you like to recieve?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reentry and Recap - Seattle and Urban Craft Uprising

I'm a homebody. A real, honest-to-goodness, I-could-stay-inside-for-weeks type of homebody. I've built a home-friendly business (spinning and dyeing requires that I remain near my kitchen and couch!) and if it weren't for the dayjob, I might never venture forth.
Which is exactly why I insist on applying to crazy-huge, far-away craft shows.

They challenge me and stretch me and, yeah, force me out of the house. The last two weeks, nay, the last two months have been consumed with preparing for Urban Craft Uprising. I made more yarn than I ever thought possible, created a new "mini-series" (yarn with jingle bells! yarn with pompoms! Holiday Happiness!) and packed it all up and lugged it across the country. Once in Seattle, I met customers, vendors, authors! I explored, I rode busses and ferries and planes, I consumed hundreds of cups of coffee (if you'd like a coffee review, I kept embarrassingly detailed notes, which I'd be happy to share here).

So fun and so worth it, but also a little too much. I was only gone for one week but
for the two months preceding I allowed my entire life to be focused on preparing for the show, keeping the Boutique stocked and fulfilling custom orders. I love being that busy, feeling the crush, buzz, but the truth is, it's not healthy. I promised myself that when I was done with the show, I would take a step back. But being away from what I love the most (you, the fiber, the color) isn't healthy either.

When I returned, I eased myself back into it. I've been away from my dyepots and my wheel and the whole business for one FULL week. I thought it would be restful but I feel all at odds. So odd, I've actually done a lot of *gasp* cleaning. Like, my whole house. Obviously, I'm not well.

I need to work on balance: yarn time and personal time. Accomplishment and relaxation.
I'm going forward with that intention.

That said, I can't leave Seattle behind without a second glance!
A quick sum up: Urban Craft Uprising was magically delicious. I brought NONE of my own display units, everything I could possibly need was donated by the wondrous Kayce, of World of Whimm.
Carissa at UCU

My friends helped me at the booth (that's Carissa above) and I met the most fabulous customers.

Yarn Hair - on a customer  31/365
Like this one, who bought the yarn on Saturday and returned on Sunday, with it as her hair. Weird. and Wonderful.

The girls (3 of my college roomates) managed to show me every good thing in West Seattle.
Bakery Neaveau 29/365

I showed myself a bit of Pike Place Market:
Pike Place

On Tuesday, while they worked, I took the ferry to Bainbridge Island
View from the ferry - downtown Seattle 33/365
(view from the ferry)

It was here that I experienced the best yarn store of my life, Churchmouse Yarn & Teas.

Churbmouse Yarns & Teas

All in all, a really smashingly wonderful trip.

It certainly consumed my life there for a while, so I don't intend to do any more shows until next summer. But I AM on the lookout for more big shows like this one (I need to get out of the house, remember?) Big enough to sink my teeth into and to push me into adventuring places I never thought I would.
With that in mind, as I sneak back into my regular routine of dyeing, spinning and blogging, can you share your favorite craft (or yarn or knitting) show?
Do you have adventures in your town that I simply can't miss?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Attention Seattle Knitters: Urban Craft Uprising

Are you a crafty soul in Seattle? If so, you simply must come to Urban Craft Uprising this weekend! I'm at booth 56 with loads of BCB yarn and Cloudlover's roving!

Here's some more info:

Over 100 vendors under one roof for one stop holiday shopping that will make you feel good about the holidays.

Date: Saturday, December 6th and Sunday, December 7th
Time: 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Admission: Free!

What is Urban Craft Uprising?
- A craft sale by indie designers and crafters throughout the day beginning at 11 a.m.
- Swag bags will be handed out to the first 100 visitors each day with samplings from vendors and sponsors - so be sure to arrive early! Last year a line started before our vendors arrived!
- DIY wrapping station- recycled materials to make your wrapping unique and green
- Free giveaways every hour

For a preview of who else is vending, along with the EXCELLENT author singings (I most excited about meeting Alicia) visit

After the show, I'll be in Seattle until the 11th. After that, I'll return to the blog with the rest of the Eco-Friendly Yarn series and lots of Seattle pictures! While I'm gone, the Boutique will run as normal, but with all orders placed after December 1st, shipping on December 12th. I'll still be checking my email, so don't hesitate to contact me!

Now, I ask you: what should I see in Seattle? Where's the best coffee? chocolate? yarn?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving I'm so very grateful to you and to the entire fiber community. Last November, I sold a skein of handspun for the first time in the Boutique. That sale and the more than 200 that follow, pursuade me daily to pull out the dye pots or sit down at the wheel.
This blog, the Boutique, but most of all, YOU have stretched me. I've been challenged, inspired and encouraged. You, darling reader, have pushed me to try things I never imagined or to step into a role I hadn't dreamed of. Because of you, I've started making small videos, to visit fiber farms and to try carding my own fiber.
For that, I am eternally grateful. A simple Thank You doesn't seem like quite enough, so I hope you'll enjoy the Thanksgiving Day Sale - 10% everything in the Boutique (even Gift Certificates!) from today through December 1st.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving and a yarn-filled weekend!