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

 

 

Art Yarn Overload

Thanks to a pro tip from a fellow Instagram spinner, I bought a jumbo bobbin and flyer kit for my Ashford Traveler wheel a few months ago and I have been loving it! Rather than get a whole new wheel for spinning bulky yarns, the jumbo bobbin kit allows me to spin all kinds of yarns on my regular wheel without taking up extra space.

That doesn’t mean I have quit drooling over the Country Spinner or the Majacraft Aura, but it does mean I have been experimenting a lot with art yarns. My most recent foray was with some BFL that I dyed and corespun in a gradient.

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First, I had to split and fluff the roving (factory processing in addition to the dyeing process compacts the fibers – easily fixed by whipping the roving around a bit)..

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Then I separated my colors so that I could spin them into a loooooong, bright gradient.

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Corespinning, or spinning fiber onto a core of pre-spun commercial yarn or thread, is one of my favorite techniques, because the resulting yarn has the smoothness and color-centric-ness (word? I don’t think so) of one-ply yarns, but you can still achieve soft, cushy yarns without worrying about your fibers pulling apart easily. This one is called “Fire in the Mountain” and is available in my Etsy shop, along with a bunch of other art yarns I’ve been hoarding!

Fire In the Mountain was spun from roving dyed in my most recent dye batch a couple of weeks ago, in which these three Merino Bamboo blends also got some color:

The rovings are also for sale in the shop! Basically this post is just a glorified shop update. But I’m okay with that if you are. To compensate, here’s more pictures of yarn I spun (this time from my personal use stash):

The jumbo bobbin also helps with spinning regular sized yarns, as I can fill two bobbins to the brim with singles and then ply them together uninterrupted (like I did with that 4 oz of lovely emerald green pictured above). I think these two yarns are about to find a home in another Lotus Duster

Happy spinning!

-MF

 

 

Roving Color Bomb

There’s been a color explosion over at my Etsy Shop recently as I listed some beautiful rovings that I dyed over Spring Break – along with some other new summer goodies!

This was the largest dye session I’ve managed yet, and I’m happy to say that my process has come a long way since my first foray into fiber dyeing. Here’s a peek at the madness I unleashed on my poor kitchen! It all starts with coffee, of course.

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And here’s the results!

I dyed 4 braids of that earthy multicolored green and brown; it’s a generic wool blend from Dharma Trading Co. – no wool breed listed, but it spins up super nicely. The other three or so braids became faux dreadlocks using a combination of spinning and felting.

I also split the “Mango Punch” colorway BFL braid into thirds and spun one of the thirds for quality control purposes and also because I couldn’t help but play with some of that luscious color after all that work! It spun really beautifully paired with a deep emerald BFL roving from my stash into a bright art yarn I call “Jungle Juice.”

The other 2/3rds of that braid is listed in my shop at a discount since it’s already split!

As much as I am enjoying classes, I’m antsy and anxious as hell for the freedom to keep dyeing and spinning and stitching without other obligations. But I need to buckle down and finish the semester.

Well, maybe just one more row.

-MF

Just One Picture of Yarn

Well, I’ve reached the annoying point in the semester where pretty much all my time is going to be consumed by schoolwork until the welcome relief of semester break (only a few days away thank goodness).

Fortunately I’ve been doing a lot of hush-hush work on a new pattern over the past couple of weeks and I should be able to release it shortly after break starts. UN-fortunately this means I have almost zero interesting stuff to show you on this blog. How about a nice picture of yarn?

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Check out how sweet that shot is! It’s because I finally invested in a lightbox, and let me tell you, the results were WELL worth it. It’s kind of a cheapie from Ebay, and the directions are written in Chinese, but it definitely does the job – clarity is great and the texture and colors really pop.

Speaking of texture, that’s a 2-ply merino spun from roving from my LYS. I just love the warm beige speckled in with the slate blue!

That’s it, really. Soon I will have crochet projects here out the wazoo, but for now it’s the books for me. Meanwhile, you could check out my Pinterest crochet board, which now has 1,000 awesome pins on it!

-MF

First Anniversary Blog Sale

Hey, it’s been a year for Morale Fiber Blog! I will definitely get to the part where I talk about how much I’ve learned and how grateful I am, but first – the sale info!

To celebrate this blog existing for a whole year, I am offering 15% off ANYTHING in my Etsy shop, patterns included! This sale is exclusively for you blog readers as a thank you for all the kind comments and support I’ve received – just use the code MFBLOG1 to get 15% off until January 30th!

For those of you interested in spinning, this is a great opportunity to snag one of my hand-dyed rovings, including my two new braids, Bramble and Nebula:

I’ve also got my brand new pattern, the Boho Fringe Poncho, available for UNDER 5 BUCKS using the coupon code…

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… or save $12 on the finished product!

I couldn’t be more grateful for all the great feedback and support I’ve received through this blog, including but not limited to those who have followed me almost from the very beginning, everyone who has clicked and commented on the patterns and tutorials I’ve entered into the link parties, and all the crafty individuals who have purchased patterns & supplies from me – providing me with the monetary resources to continue funding my little business.

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Not to mention my staunchest supporter, the man who regularly begs me to buy more yarn.

Back in 2011, when I set up my first vendor stand at a local festival, I knew making and selling my art was going to be my passion – because I saw the things I sold that festival made people happy. Through the next 4 years I continued crafting and crocheting, occasionally selling my pieces within my friend group and festival family who went out of their way to share their kindness and enthusiasm with me.

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A picture of me during my first photoshoot in 2011…. back when all of my stock fit in one tiny vintage suitcase.

I’ve come a long way in developing Morale Fiber this year – in writing, photo editing, and promotion as well as my actual fiber art skills! Selling my designs as patterns had been my goal for years, and I will never forget the excitement I felt when I sold my first pattern. I guess the point of all this schmaltzy rambling is that everyone involved – friends, family, readers, customers – has made me keep believing in myself.

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Morale Fiber, 2011

Truly it is my morale that has been lifted. But fear not! The crocheting will continue.

-MF

 

 

Fiber Review: Targhee

Thanks to a combination of schoolwork and holiday traveling, I haven’t written very many substantial posts for the past few weeks – but don’t let that fool you. I’ve been busy. 3 new designs, 14 oz of handspun yarn, 11 oz of handpainted roving in two weeks kinda busy. Plus the Etsy Shop updates!

But I’ve been eagerly awaiting a chance to sit and write some fiber reviews. A while back I became very interested in spinning Targhee wool: Targhee is a breed of sheep developed in the U.S in the 20th century, with Rambouillet, Corriedale, and Lincoln ancestors. I had spun a sample earlier in my spinning career and loved the cushy quality this wool has.

So of course I ordered more from Corgi Hill Farm. I split the roving into quarters and spun two batches of end-to-end 2-ply. (Each quarter of the split roving spun as a single length of ply, then each pair plied together… mostly. But we’ll get to that)

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Here’s what I learned:

First, I was WAAAAY off when I split one half of this roving into two strips. My bobbins came out so uneven that I had to do some frantic fiber rearranging in order to make the two batches come out with similar color progression once plied and stitched. That doesn’t have anything to do with the specific fiber, but it’s good advice – if color length and progression matters to you, weigh your roving fractions so you can pair the most similar weights together to get the most closely matching lengths of singles for plying.

The fiber itself was just as soft and squishy as I remember. With a 21-25 micron count, Targhee wool has the friction and grabby nature that makes pure wool rovings fun to spin, but the Targhee I worked with was exceptionally dense and springy. One might say marshmallow-esque.

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In fact, it was so dense and marshmallowy that I had trouble spinning at first, even though I split and fluffed (i.e- jerked it around like a whip to make the factory-and-storage compacted fibers open up and loosen). I don’t always predraft, but predrafting was a must with this fiber.

Knitty, my primary source for amazing spinning advice, has a good article about treating roving before spinning.

Once I predrafted, spinning this yarn was pretty easy. Not as easy as Merino, but easy enough that I sat through a shameful amount of Vikings episodes continuously spinning. Like you seriously don’t want to know how many episodes I watched in one go while doing this. Don’t ask.

As I mentioned the first time I spun Targhee, much of the pillowy nature of this fiber is lost in a one-ply (though I haven’t truly tried to spin a low-twist single ply yarn from it) so plying was had, on a drop spindle for my larger skein and on the wheel for my two smaller skeins. Once plied, the Targhee’s true nature was revealed to me – soft, warm, with enough resistance to shout “I’m Wool!” but also fine enough for hats, gloves, and other next-to-skin garments.

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I think this will be a lovely pair of woodland style armwarmers, my all-time favorite (so far) thing to make with handspun yarns!

~*Mf*~