Crafting Withdrawal

Well, all of my everything is now moved to the new place! But not, unfortunately, unpacked or organized in any logical fashion. In addition to the continued chaos of me having way too much stuff, I’ve also got the last month of the semester to wrangle with still – all of this has resulted in me not really crafting a damn thing since spring break. I’ve practically got the DT’s from this, I’m serious.

On the bright side, I happen to have had a big mindless knit project laying around, on which I could squeak in a few rows here and there in between moving and cleaning and class to relieve stress. So that no one got mysteriously disemboweled with craft scissors. Somehow.

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Full story on this thing is still to come, once I (finally) finish it. I’ve had it laying around for over a year, gradually consuming and assimilating various scrap yarns. However, it came out YUGE. Like, thrice as big as I meant it to – used up the scrap yarn thrice as fast of course, which is good, because I have this whole bag full of it:

DSCN7891Still, I need to adjust it somewhat before presenting it in all its massive glory.

But first, writing papers and unpacking. Cringe.

-MF

 

(Not Really) Spring (Not Really) Break

The title says it all, really – my spring break from school was heralded by extremely cold temperatures and snowstorms since it’s Indiana and a mess of personal life responsibilities since, as it turns out, I will be moving at the end of the month.

So I’m scrambling to get all my ducks in a pile, which includes the horrifying prospect of organizing and packing my craft supplies and cleaning out my work area desk in which I have been deeply entrenched for three years.

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WHY AM I LIKE THIS

Part of this process included finishing, photographing, and listing the pile of crocheted pieces I’ve been slowly completing this semester, so I managed to do an Etsy Shop update with some new and new-ish handmade stuff! The end, see you later.

No, just kidding, I’m totally going to list them all and comment on them. I love lists!

Flower Child Pullovers

From left to right : A large, two mediums, and a small in the Flower Child Pullover design, which happens to be my latest pattern, which is why I have a bunch of them lying around (from pattern testing, you see). All of these are available in my shop along with the originals from the pattern model photos.

Sol Halters

The left is a size medium with beaded chain fringe added, the right is a Plus size with a super sweet OM embellishment! Both are in my Etsy shop, as well as both patterns (but you can get all sizes in one pattern bundle and save $2)

Foxglove Pixie Belt

Every time I make another one of these crocheted utility belts, it’s my new favorite. This one features a super soft and silky Fox tail that is also a secret pouch! Also a simple floral circular pouch and a ruffled blossom shaped drawstring bag – and fits waist sizes up to around 50″ and is adjustable with button and tie closures – you can get it here. I’ve also got two other pixie utility belts still available in shop.

Lotus Mandala Vests

Two different Lotus Mandala Vests for which you can find the free pattern here – both made with Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, which is absolutely awesome for this piece and I can’t decide if I like it better with this or with the original 24/7 cotton – but with Shawl in a Ball all the color changing is done for you, which is a bonus!

That vest on the left has added sleeves, so it’s sort of a mixture of the Lotus Vest and the Lotus Duster, except the sleeves are a more toned down cardigan style instead of the crazy mega-bell duster sleeves, and they are made to fit on the Vest shoulder yoke, not the duster one. A pattern-slash-tutorial for how I did those on the vest will definitely be forthcoming, but with all the moving and school and crazyness I can’t say exactly when.

Joni Mandala Duster

Oh SPEAKING of the Lotus Duster, I made another, this time with some pretty slate blue handspun merino, gray cotton blend commercial yarn, and deep navy recycled sweater cotton yarn. I LOVE IT. I did this for revamping the Lotus Duster pattern, but unfortunately I still have some tweaking to do. When it’s all done it will get the same treatment as the Lotus Vest, which is an official rewrite on the blog and availability in PDF format.

Granny Vest

I’ve been loving some granny square vests on Pinterest lately (have you followed my crochet board? You should). This was my first attempt at designing one and I am TOTALLY addicted now and want to do one in every color. SO CUTE. Should I do a pattern? I think I should.

The End.

For real this time, because I need to go eat real food. I’ve been running on Doritos and fruit snacks for hours now.

-MF

Batty Kitty Sweater (Rar!)

So you know that feeling when you live in the Midwest in January and you don’t see the sun for like three weeks? And the sky just sort of spits rain on you constantly and everything is soggy and gray everywhere you look every day? Okay, maybe you don’t know that feeling, but I definitely do.

For me it’s a feeling of being morose and unmotivated and (apparently) listening to a lot of The Smiths while huddled in bed freezing because it’s really expensive to heat my cheaply constructed apartment. Clearly the only answer is a big, cocoon-like sweater, decked out with a hood and a front pocket so as much of you can disappear into it as possible!

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The Patient Photographer got me a home photo studio and a set of funky backdrops as a gift! And of course, one of them was a big fat moon because he knows me.

This started out as a project to test the waters for a design I had in mind, but it kind of grew up to be its own thing as it went along – and it grew cat ears, too! Probably as a result of loving on so many people’s pink kitty hats recently. I also wanted to try out the trendy batwing / dolman sleeve / box sweater style, so I guess it could be a bat sweater too if spooky-cute animals are your thing (I freaking love bats).

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No pattern for this baby, but I AM working on a new pattern design even though I am WAY behind schedule on it, because this semester is already killing me.

I CAN tell you that I did use 10 skeins of Jo-Ann Fabric’s brand Buttercream in Angel Hair, and it’s THE. SOFTEST. Combined with a 9.00 mm hook, this project was fast enough to do off the cuff in between homework, and since I was winging (ha) it, I no have to use me brain much. Which is good because it not work right.

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Rar?

-MF

Stuff I Made

This blog has been dead air lately, which is in my humble opinion INCREDIBLY LAME. The spirit is willing but the time allotment is pretty weak, what with school and final projects and such. I have still been stitching away however, mostly on custom pieces and gifts, so at least I have some pictures to throw down!

So in lieu of an actual blog post, here’s some stuff I made. I’ve got new patterns and freebies brewing away of course, but they have to wait their turn.

I made this Unicorn hat on a whim, but it was quickly claimed as a Christmas gift and led to a request for a similarly styled giraffe hat for a different young lady. Which I didn’t get a picture of because I totally forgot. Because my brain has been running on fumes. Anyway, both animal hats were made using my Deer Hat pattern as a base!

I did, to my own astonishment, actually make it through spinning the giant pile of alpaca fiber I wrote about in my Pounds of ‘Paca blog post. I’d like to photograph the entirety of the cushy, luxurious pile of yarn I produced, but since I BOUGHT EVEN MORE alpaca fiber to add to this madness, I’ll wait. Alpaca mountain, here I come.

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It’s Coraline! This was a special commission for my friends’ little girl, who loves all things creepy. I used Carmen Rent’s Coraline Doll pattern as a template (it was great!) and freestyled the rest. Couldn’t be happier with the way she came out!

The big piece I just completed was this lovely bright lotus duster, made custom for an Etsy order. I used my best sweater-hunting skills to create the color scheme she requested and I just love how bright yet soft the colors came out! Handspun Merino/Silk blend creates the central mandala, then brushed alpaca / silk (the fuschia) and pure silk yarn (the lime green). The main body is several recycled cotton sweater yarns, one that I plied myself on the wheel in order the get the correct weight.

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The pattern for the Lotus Duster can be found on my blog for free, although I admit the instructions remain a little rough and I’ve been wanting to fix them for like forever. It’s one my To Do list. Which is about a mile long right now, ha! Still, keep an eye out because I’m (pretty) sure I’ll actually do that one.

-MF

 

Shop Small – Indie Artists and Holiday Deals

My prime directive this Thanksgiving break was to get a new batch of handpainted wool dyed, dried, and stocked in my Etsy shop, which I totally did, check it out! This batch features a lot of muted earthy tones, I guess I was sort of in a wintry mindset.

There’s a variety of fibers there, including a heavenly Polworth / Tussah silk blend that gorgeously translated my featured colorway this round, Celtic Teatime (the emerald, heathered silver, and russet gradients at the top). Please buy it before I spin it myself! Oh, and here’s some incentive:

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Get some holiday shopping done! This 15% off deal applies to EVERYTHING in my shop, including crochet patterns and handmade items!

If completely awesome knit and yarn – themed jewelry is your style, you should check out Malojos, run by the same awesome lady who taught me how to spin correctly and thus re-launched my obsession with it. She’s running a 15% off sale too (check out the blog post in the previous link for details), and recently has pledged to donate a portion of her profits to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Shop small, do good, feel good! My favorite is her beautiful kitchener stitch instruction cuff.

Perhaps you are a fan of pretty rocks? I know I am. Take a look at Cherry Bones Arts, who does beautiful wire wrapping around a variety of stones. I own several of her pieces and get compliments every time I wear one!

No matter where you shop, stay safe out there and spread the love this season ❤

-MF

 

 

Time and Tied

My ideas have seemed a bit dammed up lately, to be honest. Not for lack of inspiration, and not even for lack of time  – okay, maybe a little bit for lack of time. Even though I have tons of time to work on crochet et cetera, it never seems to be enough for the amount of things I want to do and create. And, as many creative types know, the more you create the more inspiration you get, and so you are doomed because you cannot possibly ever keep up because the harder you work the more ideas you’ll have.

At least, that’s what it’s like for me.

But I don’t mind things feeling a little tied up, because my experience has been that in matters of creativity it’s best to let things come to you when the time is right.

For instance, my giant bag of orphan yarn has contained, for several years now, balls of recycled yarn from scads of thrift store sweaters. I used a bit here and there, but no project seemed to be eager to fit the bill for the sheer quantity of recycled yarn in this particular weight (usually the sweater yarn I get is somewhere between lace weight and sport weight).

That is, until I just accidentally decided to use some of it in the free pattern for the  Mandala Duster I made recently based off of my original Lotus mandala motif. Suddenly a whole new world of possibility opened up for these former sweaters! In between the actual pattern writing for my paid patterns and working on my stash of art yarns and hand dyed wool roving, I busted hook to do as the yarn commanded.

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And so out came the “Emmy Lou” duster jacket, made primarily out of recycled sweater yarn but also featuring a good bit of yarn that I spun myself (see this post for more info on that handspun).

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I haven’t gotten pictures of it on an actual person yet because I couldn’t wait 😉

In addition to the pattern being free (see the link at the beginning of the post), I also wrote an extensive, somewhat insanely detailed tutorial last year on how to reclaim yarn from thrift store sweaters, which can be found in three parts:

Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn:

Recycling Sweater Yarn cover

Getting Started and Breaking In V. 1

Breaking In V.2

Unraveling & Finishing

Naturally, before I have even made much of a dent in my stash of previously reclaimed sweater yarns, I ran out and picked up these misty-hued beauties from the thrift store for a future recycled sweater lace duster. I didn’t mean to, I swear. I was looking for summer clothes at the time.

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Of course, I have to wait until some of the dam of ideas I have sifting around in my head find their proper place in new patterns and tutorials before I can wail away on more recycled sweaters. I guess the moral of the story (not to be confused with the morale of the story) is that everything has to come in its own good time. So, if you are like me and experience the pangs of creative blockage from time to time, don’t stress. Someday you may find your patience amply paid for when your ideas find the right vehicle and you realize that’s what you were waiting for all along ❤

-MF

P.S – here’s some more stuff I’ve done that’s made out of recycled sweater yarn. Just for fun.

After Another Week in the Woods

Holy moly! The good vibes were abound in my latest festival adventure – it’s been a few years since I truly vended (as in I had my own fully stocked booth and manned it). Months of dedicated stitching really paid off as I got to make new friends, trade for treasures, and talk about art with so many beautiful people. I am so thankful for all the appreciation of my work and grateful that I came away with the capital to keep growing my business and spreading yarny love.

Even with the time it took to work the booth I still was able to catch up with friends old and new, enjoy the tunes of the circling musical caravan and other impromptu jam sessions, see one of my favorite bands the always-amazing Keshvar Project

… and stay up late dancing in my hand-dyed wool faux-dreads which stuck on my head like champs until the morning light!

As usual after a gathering with so many talented and amazing folks, I am bursting with ideas for new projects and designs! I guess it’s a blessing that after camping for a week I am more than ready to get my fingers around some fiber again.

Hope all you America-types also had a fun and sunny Memorial Day weekend!

-MF