Winter Project Updates

Hi there! It’s not necessarily been crickets around here, but I do feel its time for some project updates of things I’ve recently completed. I haven’t had a whole lot of new things to show in the crochet category since many of the things I’ve had on the hook have been larger, longer projects that I’ve toiled at slowly in my spare time over the course of last semester. After the New Year I made it a priority to finish some of these things up so that I could MOVE. ON. FINALLY.

And so today I present two new project variations on two of my personal favorite original patterns, plus a skirt that I’d been hacking away at (literally). Prepare for photogenic twirling. There will be twirling.

Eyeball Sweater

I bought the yarn for this pattern, Yarn Bee Soft and Sleek in six different multi colorways, with some legwarmer project vaguely in mind. Well, that project was just not exciting enough to me, and so I started a chaotically rainbow version of my Spiral Sweater pattern.

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I worked it in size Small, but decreased every other stitch across the armholes to tighten up the front collar of the sweater (and also conserve yarn, which turns out was very necessary). I also skipped the Linked Double Crochet reinforcement across the back of the collar. Because I forgot. πŸ˜›

eyeball4Because I started with a central circle of solid navy leftovers that I had from a different Spiral Sweater, the middle part of the back started to look like the pupil of an eye, so I ran with that. After finishing everything on the sweater, I took some more spare yarn and slip stitched some crazy squiggles into the “iris” of the eye.

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I’ve always loved the nazar, a Middle Eastern charm symbol representing an eye, which used to ward off the evil eye.Β  This sweater is watching your back! Har har har.

You can find the project page, which also links to my original pattern in the righthand sidebar, here on Ravelry.Β  That bitchin’ tree man necklace I am wearing is from my friend Wendy’s polymer clay art shop, Dark Pony Arts – check her out, she is amazing!

 

Fairy Shawl

Though the Ida Shawl was originally designed to be multicolored, I’ve found that I really love doing them in monochromatic yarns, especially neutrals. This one is done with a DK weight acrylic yarn, Premier Everyday Baby in White, which used up all of three skeins once the fringe was finished. I really had fun plotting an outfit to go with this one.

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That’s really the only reason I do this. Excuse to dress up! Just kidding. Kind of.

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The Ida Shawl, as finicky as it was to get right during the designing process, is all the more worth it for the struggle. I still love that central design, which represents the seeds that form a star when you cut an apple in half horizontally.

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You can see this project on Ravelry too, with all of the pictures and a link to the original pattern. The leafy headwrap I am wearing is also a pattern of mine, the FREE Ivy Crown tutorial.

 

Jewel Skirt

This is the 5th skirt I’ve produced using Wendy Kay’s No-Gathers Gypsy Skirt pattern that I bought from her shop on Etsy, and this pattern has been WELL worth my money. Just chop out blocks and sew them together, no measuring (well, not much measuring) and you’ve got a beautiful dancing skirt to twirl in. Easy.. and fun!!

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I made this one from mostly upcycled fabrics, including some curtains from Goodwill and several yards of fabric I had had tucked away for YEARS that I got from a thrift market outside of the Portland Indiana Tractor and Engine show. It’s funny sometimes, when your craft supplies remind you of the places you’ve been and the other lives that you’ve lived.

I think sometimes that’s part of the appeal, for people who handmake things. It certainly is for me.

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The other skirts I’ve made I’ve given away or sold, but I think I’m keeping this one for myself. The jewel tones and floral print match nearly everything in my closet πŸ˜€

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I don’t put ALL of my sewing and refashion projects here on Morale Fiber blog, since I want the main focus here to be on crochet techniques, patterns and designs – but I do run a more personal side blog on Tumblr which I use for sewing and fashion stuff. Check me out there: Howling Mouse on Tumblr.

 

I do have more projects from over the winter that remain unfinished, plus some exciting new things budding! So I’m gonna go hustle that. As always, thank you for visiting!

-MF

P.S – I’ve gotten a lot of photo submissions of people’s projects that they have made from my designs lately – please keep that up! I love that so much! ❀ ❀ ❀ I hope you all have loved it too!

 

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Alpacalypse Now

Guys, I’m really sorry about that pun. Sort of.

You see, last Saturday I turned in my final assignment for my Bachelor’s degree, so I’ve been bursting forth with renewed energy on all the ongoing craft projects laying around my home. And exuberant art energy requires puns.

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So that’s my segue into my post today, talking about one of the things I love to do when I have a little extra time – spinning! Well, it’s also just an excuse for shameless yarn porn.

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I’ve been spinning periodically, although I haven’t really made a blog post about it recently. I did a silly thing a while back and ordered a massive amount of beautiful alpaca fiber from Alpaca Direct. I resolved to spin it all, and wrote a whole post about it –Β  which, now that I look at that post, was over two years ago. Slow art for the win!

Because, I totally did spin it all! Yep, all of it. Some of it even made it into projects for my friends along the way. This is me, plying together the last bit of the natural white alpaca fiber, on my trusty wheel.

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Her name is Mystic.

I made it through the pound of natural white, the 12 oz of dark brown, and SOME of the 8 oz of lighter brown (from Valentina) that I purchased at a later date. I eventually gave up on spinning it all consistently, and went in for the fast and wacky approach for the last half of the natural white. I love the variation in textures I got!

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For the white yarn, some skeins were consistent, some were chunky, and some were singles. The dark brown (being the first batch I did) was pretty even, and the light brown is a bulky, fluffy affair.

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I am really loving these natural tones, which is a good thing because my beautiful friends sometimes give me secondhand fiber.Β  Last summer I was gifted a big bag of RAW alpaca fiber in a beautiful pecan brown color; the catch is, this fiber is really unprocessed.

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Which is actually not a catch at all, since I finally had an excuse to purchase some carding equipment! Hand carders (still not enough resources to justify a drum carder πŸ˜› ) were acquired and now I am clumsily learning to use them.

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I’m not great at it yet, especially since I have to keep switching to my left hand so that my right arm doesn’t end up noticeably more beefy – this activity is a WORKOUT. But as you can see, I’m producing a few silly looking rolags from the raw material so I can spin them, bit by bit, on the drop spindle.

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Excuse my awkward fiber sausage

Its tempting to build a pile of rolags and then spin them all on the wheel for speed’s sake, but for now I am enjoying the process of drop spindling them, so that I can learn how the fibers act when they are hand carded like this. I’ve been favoring the spindle lately anyway, after a period of neglect. Its simplicity and portability is really attractive and valuable, even though wheel spinning is more efficient, so I’m glad I learned both.

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The real question is, what the hell am I going to make with 4 pounds of handspun alpaca fiber? Stay tuned, maybe I’ll know in another two years! πŸ˜‰

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Here’s a picture of my moon lamp, for no reason other than its pretty!

-MF

Ch-ch-ch-changes

You may have noticed it’s been a touch quiet on the blog lately, at least for the summer time when I am normally busy crocheting my heart out during the break from school. Well, I’m still crocheting my heart out, but due to some recent changes I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to create and photograph and post.

I seem to have acquired an actual day job, like a responsible adult type person, at the local co-op grocery (which I am loving). Also, I moved again! And we all know how much fun that is, what with the throwing of the possessions into garbage bags (is there a better way to do that?).

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What I really do.

I do still have many awesome things planned both as far as paid crochet patterns and free tutorials and projects, but the work pace on those has slowed down a bit. More info on what’s coming up after the first big announcement:

Paid Pattern Price Change

Beginning in August, all of my paid digital PDF crochet patterns will change from 5.50 USD to 5.95 USD. This is something I have been waffling about for a few months now, but a recent announcement by Etsy that they are raising their percentage fees from shop sales (from 3% to 5%) made the decision for me.

However, I do intend to help mitigate this price change by hosting a HUGE SALE! From now until my price change goes into effect August 1, I will be offering ALL of my paid patterns for 37% off (a little over $2 off) through my Ravelry Pattern StoreΒ and 30% off ($1.65 off) through my Etsy Shop. No coupon code necessary – snap them all up while they are at this awesome price!

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There are also two older patterns I will be offering soon for free on the blog (so you don’t have to bother buying them if you don’t want the PDF version). The Rhiannon Hooded Cowl and the Mini Mandala Slouchy Tam will be making an appearance, with upgraded photos, gratis – keep an eye out for these freebies here in the future πŸ™‚ And subscribe to the blog and follow me on Facebook for all the latest updates!

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I’d love to take this chance to thank the wonderful customers that have bought my patterns, especially those that have taken time from their day to leave reviews:

“Almost finished with this sweater and I am so happy with the outcome!! The pattern is so easy to follow. This is maybe my second or third purchase from moralefiber and her patterns are just so clear and neat. Not to mention how cute and practical the designs are. Thank you!! <3”
-Kristin H. (Spiral Sweater)

“It is easy to understand and comes with a great amount of pictures as well as written instructions. I am using the yarn suggested in the pattern (white cotton/acrylic blend) and it works up real fast. I love it! πŸ’– Can’t wait to finish it! Thanks for making this pattern!”
-Diana (Lotus Duster)

“What a lovely shop owner! Very patient with my questions. Super cute pattern!! <3”
-Robin (Krampus Hat)

“Pattern is clearly written, hence easy to follow. Love this design, so versatile. Highly recommended; Thanks very much ;-)”
-Alexandra H. (Flower Child Pullover)

Also, thank you so much to all the wonderful people that have commented and messaged me directly about my work. There have seriously been days when your amazing and kind words have truly brightened my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you! ❀

New PROJECTS and TUTORIALS:

Needless to say, with the addition of a day job, some of the things I had planned for this summer got re-arranged in priority. Here’s what’s definitely on the line right now!

New Halter Top Pattern:

I am so excited about this new design, which I have been fiddling with since January. I have made several of these beauties so far and am nearing the final stages of photographing and writing, and can’t wait to show you the final product! This design uses a fine gradient yarn and croc stitches to create a gorgeous scale top that is flattering on every figure, and includes FIVE sizes XS-XL, equivalent to cup sizes A-DD!

I just can’t resist a sneak peak featuring some of my lovely friends test-fitting some of the completed pieces:

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Daisey, wearing size XS

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Katy modeling size XL

P.S – the lovely pendant in the previous photo is the wire wrapping art of my friend Isaac from Twisted Forrest Jewelry – check out his page and give him a like!

PixieΒ  Belt Tutorial:

In response to many requests, I have begun working on creating a tutorial for my freeform ragtag crochet pixie belts! I hope to include a basic tutorial for the different shapes you can utilize, plus pictures on how I normally form the base belt, as well as inspiration on choosing colors and themes… It should be interesting – of course, these will be most fun if you cut loose and customize to your heart’s content, and my goal is to create a good guideline to springboard from!

Now, warning on this: it might take some time! So I’ve decided to come out with the tutorials in bits and pieces, beginning with the basics and working up from there.

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Lotus Duster Video Tutorial:

Yes, this is definitely in the works. I have wanted to do this for a long time, so I intend to jump in and do it! The Video tutorial will be free on my blog, probably presented in episodes, and I’ll try to include as many of my tips and tricks as I can! Forgive me in advance for what I know will be amateurish video editing skills, but I’m gonna try πŸ˜‰

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I’ve got even more in the works, but I’m running out of time today πŸ™‚ Back later, with more crochet goodness.<3

-MF

 

Just Some Housekeeping

Between the end of the semester and my big vending event in late May, I’ve barely had any time to write in the blog! So, what I’ve got today is just a few random announcements and sneak peek, and a couple of pretty pictures of course πŸ˜‰

Gone Vending

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Just a reminder I will be AWAY from my computer from May 22 through May 28! I’ll be vending at a low-tech festival away in the woods, and so any questions or issues will be answered when I get back.Β  All of the physical items (non-patterns) will be suspended from my Etsy shop during this time, but of course my digital pattern files will all still be available.

Commissions are Closed

I’m a bit sad to announce that I will not be taking commissions at all this summer. I’ve had a few people inquire about custom work from me over the course of the semester, which I couldn’t take due to lack of time – unfortunately this is also going to be true this summer, and probably just for the rest of 2018 in general. I have another full-time semester coming up in the fall (my last one – yay!) and a TON of stuff to get done before that starts. Since custom work takes a lot of time,Β  it’s getting the axe.

On the bright side, it does mean that I have many new things planned!

Upcoming Designs

Besides preparing for vending, this month I’ve been working on completing the long-overdue Plus Size version of the Mehndi Halter Top! Having done a plus size for the Sol Halter, I had always intended to do the same for the Mehndi, but life! It gets away from you! Anyway, it is getting very close to being done.

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Additionally, I have made a few of my tattered pixie pocket belts recently – I always get asked if I have a pattern available for these, and the answer is – not yet! These are sort of my chaos therapy projects, since I do every single one freeform and always do them differently. Not to mention that I use all kinds of random scrap yarn and fabrics and things! So, it’s challenging to figure out a way to capture instructions without making them uniform.

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This one is “Garden Rose” (I name them all after plants) with a ripped silk and muslin rag skirt, featuring a big booty floral pocket and strips of red velvet.

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Also, these things are what I do when I want to get away from pattern writing, so since I tend toward being a “temperamental artist” (read: whiny) I waited a good while before setting my mind to planning a tutorial guide for them. But now, I am finally excited about it! And have a ton of ideas! πŸ™‚

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“Wild Rose” – featuring silk silk and more silk! Commercial silk yarn for the rose pocket, handspun Tussah silk for the drawstring bag on the left, and a tattered fringe of upcycled silk from garment scraps. Are you sick of reading the word silk yet? I’m sick of typing it πŸ˜‰

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I did write a pattern for a similar design last summer, called the Cecilia Skirt Belt – it doesn’t have pockets, but it’s totally cute and has instructions for child size as well!

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Also I couldn’t help but make things extra-fringey when photographing this so I added in a Blossom Vest too – it kind of looks like a scrap pile barfed on my mannequin, but in a cute way. Which is exactly how I like it.

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So far that’s only mentioning two of the upcoming designs and tutorials, whereas I have SIX planned in the “definitely” column and plenty more floating around in the ether that are just possibilities at this point.

So I guess it’s time I stop nattering and get to work! πŸ™‚

-MF

 

Winter Projects and Rambling

While I was pretty darn productive over my holiday break, most of my projects are long-term/unfinished pieces as of right now, or future patterns ineligible for viewing until the pattern is released. Therefore, I don’t have many things to share in this little update post – d’oh!

I’m not totally without content though, since I hadn’t mentioned my Ida Shawl project on here on the blog yet:

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I included an update on the Ida Shawl pattern during this project, so that there are specific instructions on working the piece in one color:Β  alternative starting/joining instructions are now given where different from the multicolored instructions.

I posted about this one a few weeks ago on my Facebook page hadn’t done it here. I don’t always post on the blog for every pattern update/sale/coupon code, so if you like my offerings you should definitely follow me on FacebookΒ to get the most up-to-date info πŸ™‚ Plus, silly memes sometimes!

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Don’t you love it with fringe? I sure as heck do. I wanted to do more of a witchy woman vibe with this one, or… as my sister put it… wiggy woman. ‘Cause I’m wearing a wig, get it? πŸ˜‰ We are a pun-loving people, the Weisses.

I’ve also been experimenting with darker colors on the Cecilia Skirt Belt, my little ragamuffin crochet accessory that I released last summer.

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While organizing my work space I needed to clear out some of my silk scraps, so I made a quick version of the Cecilia belt that skipped the bell loops and opted for a contrasting trim on the crocodile stitch scales instead. Ripping silk is extremely satisfying, ditto the cotton and gauze I use for my lighter colored belts. Using the more brightly colored silks makes these look more similar to my freeform pixie pocket belts.

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I’d like to do a few quick tutorials for pockets on the blog sometime in the future! Hopefully I can find time this semester πŸ™‚ Until then, the Cecilia Belt pdf pattern is a great start if you’re interested in doing something similar.

Ehhhh… lets see, what else? How about a sneak peek at my UPCOMING SWEATER PATTERN?

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That’s it! Just a hint. Nothing else to see here.

I’ve also done a lot of sewing over break, making more big dance-y patchwork hippie skirts from the no-gathers skirt pattern by Wendy Kay on Etsy.

There’s a fine cotton crochet top I made to coordinate in the middle photo. In all of the photos, there is a lady who is addicted to wigs.

-MF

 

Weekend Updates

Just a few quick FYI-type announcements today!

I have just released a couple pattern updates which you can read about below! These are things I’ve adjusted based on feedback from customers that I am excited to have finally gotten done. If you have already purchased these patterns you should be able to download the new version by accessing your purchase history and finding the download link.

Also, I will be taking a couple days off starting Friday the 23rd because I’ll be busy with family activities πŸ™‚ Hope you have a good one! I’ll be back to responding to questions and comments on Monday the 26th of June.

Pattern Updates:
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The pattern for the Plus Size Sol Halter TopΒ has gotten an extended photo tutorial section for working the motif join, edging, and straps! 20 new photos have been added to make navigating the finishing parts of this halter top easier πŸ™‚

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And for the Lotus Mandala Vest, I have added STITCH COUNTS for every round! Hooray, finally! This should help clear up some of the more common questions that people have had when working this pattern. Also, did you know that I recently released a tutorial for adding cardigan sleeves to this vest?

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That’s all for now! ❀

-MF

 

Sneak Peaks

Now that I’ve had a full week to catch up on various life-type things, I can post a few fun pictures from my vending adventures! I had a great time camping and drumming and dancing and wheeling and dealing, as usual – I didn’t manage to take any photos of myself, but I did get my best boo Danielle to strut her stuff in my Janis Duster in front of our little booth!

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There’s a few items hanging up in these photos that represent my next couple of designs – but I’m not telling! πŸ˜‰ Okay, maybe one more sneak peak, since I’ve been working intensely on finishing up this pattern all week:

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Just a few more days!

-MF