Meet the Supplier

I’d like you to meet a new supplier who just happens to be located in Montana where I live. The post today is about Karen Straight from Big Sky Fiber Arts.

Fibre 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?

  1. Merino – I share in common with many felters a love for merino. I especially love extra fine merino (19 microns) as it felts so easily, takes dye beautifully, and it is perfect for wet and nuno felting. It is so much fun to hand dye and card merino into art batts. Carded art batts make terrific skies, rivers, and oceans. Hand dyed merino is terrific for capturing the variations in color found in nature. Photos: 19 micron solid merinos and sugar candies, (Last 3 photos) hand dyed merino, yak and silk

     

  2. Ramie – I adore this bast fiber. It has the sheen of silk, and it comes in a variety of terrific colors. It adds wonderful spark and interest to fiber arts projects. I card it into my art batts. I find it to be especially lovely to work with when working on sky or water in a wet felted landscape painting.
  3. Finn – Finn is a fabulously versatile fiber. It is good for wet felting and needle felting. I enjoy making felted vessels and needle felting 2D and 3 D animals. Finn comes in lovely natural shades that are perfect for animals. It is a durable fiber that has the necessary strength for beautiful vessels.

Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?

  1. Ashford wild carder – Carding is so much fun! The Ashford Wild Carder takes just about anything. In one batt, I will combine merino, mohair, mulberry silk, ramie, sari silk fibers, and more. It comes out beautifully.
  2. Sewing Machine – I love the creative process of free motion stitching my felted landscapes. I also create quilted backgrounds for needle felted creatures.Flowers Inspired by Moy Makay by Karen Straight

Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?

  1. I love 2-D needle felting on linen using an embroidery hoop. I find this technique to be a wonderful way to needle felt animals. I draw the on the linen, and then utilize natural rovings. Sometimes I make the picture quite flat. Other times, I build up the fiber so that the animal appears to come out of the picture. I enjoy cutting the felted animal out of the linen, and integrating the needle felted creature into an “art” quilt.

General Questions
What is your business? My business is Big Sky Fiber Arts.

What kind of items do you sell?  We sell fiber arts supplies for felters and spinners. Our goal is to encourage fiber artists to grow by experimenting with a wide range of fiber types and effect fibers. Our inventory includes a large variety of extra fine 19 micron merino roving in solid colors and sugar candies, natural wool roving, hand dyed roving (various fiber types), bast fibers including hemp, ramie, and bamboo, silk fibers, 5 mm habotai silk scarves, prefelt, silk yarns and ribbons, and more.

What do you think makes your business different from similar ones? 

Quality and Competitive Price – Our products are of the highest quality at a highly competitive price. I carefully researched companies in the US providing a similar level of product quality. I marked each product I sell lower than my competitors. To beat the prices I am offering, you would need to buy in bulk.

Variety of Wools Offered – We encourage our customers to break out of their comfort zone and try a variety of types of fibers. Many fiber artists will use only merino. But, for certain projects, using a wider range of fibers will increase the excitement in the final project. We carry a wide range of hand dyed fibers, natural fibers, merino, bast fibers, silk, and yarns. We provide examples of how each product might be used so that our customers feel encouraged to explore. My email, phone number, and Facebook address are readily available so customers can chat with me about their ideas and questions. We love to see the art our customers create from our products!

Owl Detail by Karen StraightCommitment to the environment – A desire to protect the environment and support communities are central to our mission. The majority of our textiles are certified by the International Oeko-Tex Association. Hand painted fibers are created by a trained biologist who takes great care in each step of the process. Our bamboo is naturally processed, and we feature lovely plant-based effect fibers that are renewable.

Bunny by Karen StraightCommitment to community – We recognize that where we purchase our products impacts communities. Through the careful selection of artistic supplies, we can support communities. Our yarns and several of our banana and silk effect fibers support women’s co-ops in Nepal and India. Your purchase of these products helps to improve the lives of these disadvantaged women. We also feature made in Montana products, and we look to expand our listings of rovings produced by local farmers.

Where are you located? We are an online business only located in beautiful Kalispell, Montana. Our family lives here with the Swan Mountains in the background on five acres with our six rescued horses, two dogs, and a cat.

Big Sky Fiber Arts, Karen Straight

Where can we find you on the internet? 

http://bigskyfiberarts.com

Readers are welcome to use code 52015 to receive 10% of their first purchase! Code valid on all products purchased until the end of June. The discount does not include shipment charges.

Big Sky Fiber Arts

 

Thanks Karen! I hope you enjoyed learning about Karen’s business and do check out her site to look at all the yummy fibers she has available.  

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20 Responses to Meet the Supplier

  1. Lyn says:

    What a lovely way to start the day by looking at all the scrummy fibres in your shop Karen. I haven’t tried Ramie but I will now! Your needle felted owls are so good and the Montana sky is spectacular.

    • Hi Lyn,
      Thank you for your kind comments! There is something about needle felting animals that makes me smile. You will love Ramie! It is silky to the touch. It adds such a nice sparkle. You can easily card it into fibers.

  2. zedster66 says:

    Good to meet you, Karen 🙂
    I like Ramie too, and it has an interesting smell! I love your blends.

  3. luvswool says:

    Great products, Karen! Best of luck with your new on-line business.

  4. Jill says:

    Just a comment for newer felters, bast means it’s a plant fiber. I haven’t ever heard of Finn, what is it made from and what are it’s qualities? All bast fibers must be used with an animal fiber as they will not felt by themselves (except for needle felting of course). I enjoy learning about and using different fibers. Thank you for the interesting article.

    • Hi Jill,
      Yes, isn’t it wonderful to try out new fibers? It is amazing how a little variety can change the entire look of a piece! My Finn roving is made from 100% Finnish Sheep wool. It is combed top with a 29 micron count. In comparison with the 19 micron merino wool I sell, it is significantly more coarse. This is great for vessels or needle felting. It has a staple length of 3-4 inches. It felts in a dense fashion with a smooth finish (again, great for vessels or purses). It is softer to the touch than many other medium wools with the same micron count. It also has a nice shine. I like natural colors when I felt animals. If you try it, you will have to let me know what you think!

  5. ruthlane says:

    Thanks for the great post Karen – good luck with your new business 🙂

  6. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Karen you have a lovely collection of fibers and your felt work is wonderful. Good luck with your new online shop!

  7. Your felted pieces are lovely. Your shop should do very well, you have a nice collection of fibers.

    • Thanks so much! Happily, I have even more supplies for the store on their way. It feels a little bit like Christmas around here with the supplies arriving.
      =)

  8. Pingback: Goodies and Sketchbook Designs | Permutations in Fiber

  9. Leonor says:

    Hello, Karen 🙂 I’m happy to see there are other like-minded business owners who enjoy beautiful fibres and also think of the impact their choices have. Your braids just made me want to pick up my wheel and start spinning! I wish you were closer to me, some of those colours were calling me…

    • Hi Leonor,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments! The braids are lovely. The woman who hand paints them is a true artist, and she takes such care in how she handles them during the process. While I live near Ruth, the store is actually an online retail store. I happily ship everywhere. If you decide the products are calling you, just pop into Bigskyfiberarts.com. Again, thanks so much for your nice feedback. It is appreciated! Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks, Karen! I love how online shops are just so close to everyone nowadays 😊 The problem here would be shipment, I ordered some fibre from the U.S. a while ago and shipment was almost the same price as the fibre… I wish postage companies would be nicer to us. But next time I feel like being a posh international buyer I’ll definitely pop by 😉

    • Lol! Yes, international shipping charges can be quite impressive! Your comments made me laugh. We will hope for break in those international shipping charges.

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