Holidaze

I’m so grateful for the gorgeous autumn we’ve had here this year, and the abundant opportunities to go play outside before the weather got truly chilling.

Now unfortunately my toes are icicles when I go out to exercise in the morning and the slush season appears imminent, but why bemoan that when I have a huge yarn stash to disappear under for the winter? 😉

Yep, my busiest time of the year for Morale Fiber has passed and now I have the busiest time of the year for family upcoming, with all the coziest home bakes and warm blankets. This fall has been especially hectic because I’ve operated everything having to do with the digital side of running Morale Fiber from my phone, having lost my laptop to a hardware crash this past summer.

Combined with a bunch of other fun personal life happenings, I’ve really had a juggling act on my hands. Thats why I’ve decided to take a little digital vacation this season!

Pictured above: playing with my Yearling Headband in the studio last year

Beginning November 25, I’ll be taking a digital vacation from posting on the Morale Fiber blog & social media. Don’t worry, I’ll still be answering all my emails & messages – so as always don’t hesitate to contact me with pattern questions 🙂 But I’ll be using the extra time to focus on family, friends, and being present in the moment instead of on my phone âĪ I’ll be back on my social media game (and hopefully on a new laptop) in the New Year!

Pictured above: Flower Child Pullover

But of course, it’s just a *digital* vacation – I have lots of real life projects heaped on my desk. Wanna see?

First up is what I’ve been working on the past few days – a batch run of my Flower Child Pullover design, linked above. This is to get my brain reacquainted with this crochet pattern so I can record some video tutorials for it:)

I gathered a pile of colors inspired by succulent plants ðŸŠī for this batch! In #4 weight acrylics, this design is really great as a scrapbuster and color therapy project 🌈

I’ve gotten a bunch of questions on this design recently so I thought it was time for a good overview! My dearest ambition is to get this pattern expanded for larger sizes, but I need to actually figure out how how do that first! Haha 😉

I’ve also got a fistful of BIG new designs in the works, but most of then are a good while from being completed – I only just finished the main draft of the shawl design I mention in my latest business video, after a significant stay in the Misbehaving Project Time-Out Corner…

I haven’t been doing any custom crochet work for a while now, because the digital side of Morale Fiber takes so much time these days, but it’s definitely Gift Crafting season and it’s got me thinking about all the quick, easy and FREE patterns I have available on this blog – so I’d like to end this little journal entry with a collection of crochet patterns for gift ideas! 🎁 follow the links below to go to the free pattern 🧚‍♀ïļ

Amanita Muscaria secret pouch
Big Dumb Cowl
Basic Armwarmers Tutorial
Post Stitch Pixie Bonnet
Simple Market Bag

That’s just my personal gift project faves this year, there are plenty more FREE crochet patterns listed on my Free Patterns Page – if you enjoy all the free content please consider becoming a Patreon supporter for Morale Fiber! 💟🙌

Thanks and please have yourself a happy, safe, healthy holiday season! 😊

-MF

October Reflecting

I’ve stayed pretty busy since the last big pattern release, so when 2/3rds of October sped by in a blink, I wasn’t surprised.

I’m so grateful for all the support my latest design the Yggdrasil Poncho received! I love creating and it’s just so fun to share my love of crochet with others who know that same joy.

Of course, I also am seeing lots of fun costume projects this time of year made from my free patterns like the Hedge Witch Hat, the Classic Witch Hat, and the Krampus Hat… Thank you all for tagging me 🙂

I also reminisce this time of year on some of my other favorites from my designs, like the versatile Pixie Pocket Belt tutorial (I’m working on one of these right now actually) and the one of a kind Costume Mega Tail tutorial.

Autumn is really an amazing time, so happy and sad all at once. I’ve been tending to the living spaces, cleaning and buckling down for winter. The weather has been quite fine so I took some hiking time in my favorite source of inspiration, nature!

I usually like slow-burn projects to come to the fore this time of year, like spinning (so cozy) and my long term knitting voyage…

I just recently completed my 100th hexipuff for this project above: here’s Mister 100!

Yes, I’ve been happy and sad this season, as it is the time of year for remembrance of those we’ve lost. I lost friends this time two years ago, and this year have lost some older relatives, also. Time passes and we do the best we can to mark it as there is only so much to be had – and that’s why fiber arts directly represent love to me. We spend time spinning the threads or drawing the loops, precious time, dedicating it to another or perhaps just to ourselves. We leave our love in those fibers in the form of moments of thought, weaving a spell.

Wizard Hat design

I hope this season has brought the best memories to you and of course lots and lots of hours of happy stitching âĪ

-MF

Patreon & Ko-Fi


Happy September! One of the best months of the year (IMHO) and it’s bringing lots of reorganization and preparation for yours truly 😉

I’m here today to bring you a vlog that talks a little bit about how I run my business and make money publishing crochet patterns online. This overview introduces two new platforms for Morale Fiber, Patreon and Ko-Fi, which will allow me to take subscriptions from the kind followers who want to support what I do!

Patreon and Ko-Fi are social media channels designed to help artists get paid for their work. If you like to see my work and want to make a huge difference in my ability to produce content, please subscribe, donate or follow me on either of these platforms! 🙂 If those channels are too much commitment, you can drop a safe, one-time payment in my Tip Jar on this page (or read more there about how I manage MF and provide free content).

In my YouTube Channel video I go over why I am opening these new revenue options, what I do in the day to day running of Morale Fiber, and how I juggle all the tasks of a one-woman independent art business.

There’s also some sneak peeks of upcoming designs currently in development and examples of some of the great FREE content I offer 🙂 All projects mentioned in the video are linked below 😀

One more thing – I apologize for the choppiness of this video! I mentioned recently that I was having issues with my laptop (main computer) being really slow 🙃 and shortly after I filmed this video on my phone, my computer crashed and is now totally dead. So I had to video edit on my phone. One more great reason to subscribe, donate and tip if you like my art! Mama needs a new laptop 😉

View the video on my YouTube Channel

Link List

Patreon

Ko-Fi

Lotus Mandala Duster

Everything You Need to Know to start Recycling Sweater Yarn

Forest Girl Beret

Twisted Fringe Tutorial Video

Tree of Life Mandala

Mandala Top

All Free Patterns

If you want to get caught up on all the Morale Fiber social media, check out my handy LinkTree!

Thanks for visiting with me! âĪ

– MF

Lion Brand Yarn Unboxing

Hi fiber fans! This blog post is just a quick one featuring my newest YouTube video, which is a long and ramble-y unboxing of my latest yarn order from one of my absolute favorite supply companies, Lion Brand. As usual, the opinions and products featured in this review are 100% my own – I didn’t receive any money, affiliations, or products in return for this feature, I just really like their yarn 🙂

With this review I’ve continued my search for soft, comfortable #4 weight cotton yarn for use in my halter top and bikini top patterns and I finally find my coveted substitute for I Love This Cotton…

I also re-supply myself on Ferris Wheel, an excellent colorful acrylic cake yarn with a lightweight one-ply structure. This yarn is somewhat melancholy as I’m using it to finish the Sundogs Throw blanket my friend was making right before she passed away.

So here’s the video – come hang with me as I laugh, cry, and ogle totes in my little woodland corner (and check below the video for links to all the patterns I mention)…

Lion Brand Unboxing & Yarn Review

Thanks for joining me! Here are the links to the patterns I mention in the video:

The Sundogs Throw Blanket – FREE on my blog âĪ

The Shaman Coat pattern – click the link for the blog post with all the info and links to the pattern in my shops!

Novella Shawl – FREE pattern on my blog, also available in portable, printable, ad-free PDF format in my stores!

The Yearling Headband – FREE design in video tutorial format! click the link for the post 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this little review and round-up 🙂 If you like my newer videos, please leave me some feedback and let me know what you’d like to see more of âĪ Thanks for tuning in!

-MF

Fur Hats & Summer Stats

This summer is flying by, fueled by the need to commune and see my loved ones after the isolation and uncertainty of 2020. I keep in mind I’m lucky enough to have access to the vaccine, as there are many places that struggled to get their populations vaccinated and still so many people in danger of getting Covid 19 or the variant strains. As usual, gratitude is the name of the game.

Pictured above: the Yearling Headband spotted in natural habitat

So it’s been a busy season, and in addition to the full dance card I’ve managed a number of new designs and projects. This will be one of my “wrap-up and reflect” posts sharing my latest patterns, some new spins on old designs, and anything else that comes to mind 🙂

Faux Fur Hats

Having stashed plenty of the Lion Brand Go for Faux Thick & Quick yarn last winter, I decided to make some room on my yarn shelf by busting out two new Ushanka hats from my totally free Ushanka Hat & Muff pattern. I’ve been getting ideas from the interestingly styled images on my vintage fashion & mori kei Pinterest board, in which mountain girls sport colorful accessorized layers paired with fur hats and boots. It was a bit hot out for that sort of thing, but I did get creative with my styling and layers in order to show off these two new Ushankas!

The first is a traditional Ushanka, with the earflaps attaching to the sides of the hat with buttons instead of ties on top as with the original one I made. The big Jumbo yarn and the huge hook make these hats doable in just a fraction of a day!

The second faux fur hat I made, I modified the original crochet pattern just a little by adding an extra round of stitches on top (following the formula of increases to continue with the flat circle). I wanted a slightly bigger profile on this one, and a more rigid “turn” from the top of the hat to the sides. To accomplish this sharp top edge, I worked the first non-increase round in Back Post Double Crochet instead of regular double crochet, which helped the stitches turn inward more sharply.

I also left the earflaps off of this one to give it a more “military” and less of a “trapper” look.

Of course, I had to include some more layered accessories so this outfit included my Cottage Vest design which was published this year and my Ramblers’ Mitts too! Those super neat bug tights are from MyTightsShop on Etsy.

Velvet Bralettes

As you can see with the Ramblers’ Mitts above, I’ve really been enjoying the variety of “velvet” or chenille type yarns this year, and I knew I had to make the Basic Bralette design in that ultra-cushy soft texture too. It came out as luxe as I imagined in Bernat Baby Velvet, the smaller (#4 weight) yarn version of their popular #5 weight yarn.

I got some more of the same Baby Velvet to make another! I also used the regular Bernat Velvet in black to make a super special Basic Bralette – I wanted to test the capacity of the Basic Bralette (and it’s modifier, the Curvey Bralette) design to go up to bigger cup sizes and it worked out beautifully! My friend wears an H cup size bra and with some modifications (which have now been added into the written portion of the main pattern) it was no problem to make the design fit.

Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned busy-ness, I haven’t gotten to take pictures of her in it yet. Hopefully those are coming soon. I am so pleased with how it looks, especially since I get questions about making the Basic Bralette in larger sizes a lot and now I can answer them more thoroughly, having done it myself 🙂

Shown with this bralette, of course, is the Snapdragon Pixie Belt, which you can read more about by following the link 🙂

Cottagecore Girlfriend Dress

I’ve loved taking short breaks with bits of sewing, particularly when it means I get to clean out some leftovers and fabric-stash bust a little. I made this light, floaty and sweet patchwork dress using my favorite patchwork skirt pattern, melded with a bodice that I freehanded. A criss-cross back tie and adjustable waistband made this really comfortable, and I also added eyelet lace cotton trim in gathered ruffles on the hem and a vintage embroidered tea towel pocket!

I called it my “Cottagecore Girlfriend” dress 🙂 I learned a lot making it and hopefully will be able to recreate the bodice part for later versions – meanwhile this one has been added to my costume closet and already made an appearance in my “Moth Wizard” photoshoot for the Wizard Hat crochet pattern, which was just released!

Elf Coat Updates

On of the most major projects I concluded this summer was getting the Elf Coat pattern expanded and updated. I created a major update for the regular sizes Small-Large which included some rewriting and some additional extras like belt and pockets, but the long awaited Plus Sizes option didn’t get released until recently in June! Good timing for that, as it gives people plenty of time to get started on their coats so that they can wear them this winter 🙂

You can find the directory to all the sizes and options for the Elf Coat through the page linked in the paragraph above – right now this includes sizes Small-2XL/3XL, corset back lacing, belt tie, and THREE types of pockets, all for FREE here on my blog (but you can also buy the full written patterns in my Etsy shop 😉 and there might be a sale if you read a little further! )

New Growth & Designs

Pictured here is as much as I’m willing to reveal about the new pattern I have in the works! I try not to give too much away usually, as I just like to keep things a surprise and also because I’m terrible at committing 😀 But after 4 total reworks to this piece, I’m confident to say it’s mostly finalized and so I’m moving into the fine-tuning stage of development.

As you can see, this next one will be based on my Tree of Life motif, which has proved to be a great little free design – I have just enjoyed it SO MUCH, seeing people’s little happy trees pop up on my Instagram feed! You can get the free pattern for the Tree of Life Mandala wall hanging by following the link above. This motif also appears in my Embla Vest, a premium pattern in sizes XS-XL âĪ

10K Sale!

Last but not least, my Etsy shop is ALMOST to 10,000 sales! Holy wow, I can’t believe it! We’ve got a few more to go though, so to incentivize I’ve created my “10K or Bust” sale which is running now through the end of next month – get ANY crochet pattern from my Etsy Shop 20% off, no coupon code needed!

I’m really excited to see that number roll over – I can still remember 10K sales on Etsy being some crazy, far-away dream of mine 😉 The sale is schedule to last until August 28, 2021 – although I may extend it depending on how close to 10K we get!

As always, thank you for all your likes, comments, purchases, reviews, and encouragement!

-MF

Mermaid Mitts & Sandals Update

I have some good news and some bad news! Let’s start with the good news:

The Mermaid Mitts & Sandals crochet pattern has been given a major update, which includes fixing some errors in the written pattern but also adding a bunch of bright, fresh new tutorial photography 🙂 As a pattern designer, I’m constantly backtracking to check that my paid patterns are up to my current standard – I started publishing my designs in 2015 and I’m always learning as I go, so sometimes the older patterns just look flimsy compared to what I can do now. The Mermaid Mitts & Sandals pattern is the latest PDF crochet pattern to get a nice makeover.

Keep reading for all the details on this design or go directly to my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store to purchase this premium crochet pattern (But you might want to keep reading because I’m offering a SALE on Ravelry, discussed below)!

So that’s the good news, here’s the bad news: This design was supposed to debut today as both a paid PDF pattern file update AND a FREE pattern re-release including a new video tutorial. Another thing I like to do with my older paid patterns as I update them is consider whether they would be good choices for offering a free version here on my blog – just like I did with the Rhiannon Cowl, the Mandala Tam, the Winter Poncho, and the Mandala Top. Free versions of patterns help both me and you, since I get more site traffic which leads to more sales, and people who can’t afford a ton of paid patterns get access to quality content they can enjoy and recommend to others 🙂

But this is the bad news part, because I can’t offer the pattern on the blog or as a video today. For about two weeks now, my laptop computer has been inexplicably slow. It took me days to format the pattern update, and my computer has been so laggy and malfunctioning that it’s been very difficult to get any work done at all. I had scheduled the re-release of the Mermaid Mitts in updated PDF form, free blog pattern form, and free YouTube tutorial video form… but I’m nowhere near completing those last two items because my computer is SO FREAKING SLOW right now. ðŸ˜Ķ

SOOOOO here’s my temporary solution – A SALE! Buy any other crochet pattern from my Ravelry Store, get the Mermaid Mitts & Sandals PDF pattern file for free! You don’t need a coupon code, just drop the Mermaid pattern in your cart with any other pattern and go to checkout where the discount will be taken 🙂 I’ll still be uploading this pattern for free and with a video tutorial in the future, once I fix whatever ailment is afflicting my technology. In the meantime, PDF pattern purchases are my main source of income and it would really help me out with the new technology costs if you took advantage of this deal – or, if you don’t need any more PDF patterns but still want to support my business, consider leaving a Tip in the Tip Jar! You can enter any amount of $1 increments to leave a tip in my secure, WordPress-backed payment system there. Any amount will be extra appreciated right now as technology is expensive but I can’t provide patterns without it âĪ

Anyway, here’s all the details about the Mermaid Mitts & Sandals pattern, which is one I’m very proud of and I think you’ll love! âĪ

Mermaid Mitts & Sandals

This fanciful beaded crochet accessory set is suitable for any mermaids, undines, or sirens that might journey onto land in search of a mortal to ensnare.
This is a two-in-one pattern that makes one pair of scaly armwarmers (wrist OR elbow length) and one pair of beaded barefoot sandals!

I love the unique design of the mitts, which feature the crocodile stitches only on the back of the hand, not surrounding the palm, for more practical wear. The barefoot sandals are a mystical twist on traditional crochet foot accessories! Includes tutorial photography to accompany the written instructions and separate tutorials for crocodile stitches and the beading technique used in this pattern.

Suitable not only for mermaids, undines, and naiads, but also dryads, nymphs, sylphs, and all other manner of fae and little folk!

Materials:
3.50 hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)
Lion Brand Coboo (#3 weight, 100 g / 232 yd, 50% cotton 50% Bamboo rayon) – about Â― skein (this is the recommended yarn but this pattern looks GREAT with lots of different yarns, including many #4 weight and #3 weight substitutes such as Lion Brand Mandala or Red Heart Unforgettable)
32 6/0 seed beads (optional)
beading needle (optional)
tapestry needle
Gauge: 1 croc stitch scale = 1.5” measured across top

Pattern written in US crochet terminology.
Language: ENGLISH

I drew inspiration from a lot of places for this design but one that always stuck with me was a faerie-like croc stitch barefoot sandal that had bells at the tip of each croc scale – I adored them and I still plan on doing a bell version of the sandals soon âĪ

As always, and despite the sometimes struggle-y nature of being a one-woman art business, I’m so full of gratitude. The online crochet community has been my home for over a decade now and it just gets better and better. It takes all of us to make it that way, sharing our creativity, ideas, inspiration, and encouragement to keep the passion of our tradition alive âĪ Thank you!

-MF

The Only Constant

One of my favorite sayings goes “The only constant is change.”

It reminds me that the live happily in life, you always need to acknowledge the shifting nature of it. If you go along expecting everything to be the same, always resisting when forced to take paths that you didn’t intend, life and it’s transformative progress will seem to be a battle.

One of my other favorite sayings goes “Man plans, god laughs” 😉

I’ll be reflecting in this post about what I’ve been doing with Morale Fiber over the past year – it’s more of a diary entry really, collecting my thoughts and tipping you off for what’s on the horizon for my designs!

2020 – Plague Year

It’s obviously been a weird one. In addition to switching my business from part-time to full-time in 2020, just a few months into the year Corona Virus struck and my proximity to at-risk loved ones made self-employment more imperative than usual. Still luckily things are going well, and I created & maintained my schedule for the year which included 6 written patterns, 4 tutorials, 2 brand new free hat patterns, 3 remodeled patterns, and lots more crochet morale boosting!

I’ve got a couple projects/designs in the works to finish off the year’s production list, and I’m now into my normal “holidays” phase of the year, despite the lack of holiday events upcoming (stupid plague).

YouTube Channel (& SALE!!)

One of the biggest efforts I made this year was reaching my goal of monetizing my YouTube Channel, which I’ve been developing as quickly as my creaky, video-hating old bones can manage. But I did make that goal also, thanks to all the watchers & subscribers, so I’m holding a special pattern sale as a thank-you!

All PDF versions of the full-length patterns available on my YouTube Channel (and a few that are all written PDF but have video component tutorials) are ON SALE for 50% off now through November 15 on Ravelry âĪ âĪ Here’s a list of the patterns on sale, linked to Ravelry – use the code “YOUTUBE” at checkout to get the discount!

Patterns on Sale:
Lotus Duster
Gnome Toboggan
Kismet Poncho
Tree of Life
Forest Guide Hat
Feather & Scale Halter
Cobweb Wrap
Elf Coat

Monetizing my YouTube channel will help me continue to bring out free content available to everyone while also giving me the financial support to keep publishing great quality, full-scale written PDF crochet patterns. Another great way to support my art: The Tip Jar!

20th Pixie Belt: Lotus

I realized at some point that the next Pixie Pocket Belt I made would be my 20th, and so I determined to make a really special one. I have been making these unique crocheted utility belts freehand, doing them completely different each time, for a few years now.

I used hand-dyed yarn to create a partial, semi-circular Lotus Mandala – don’t ask me how I did that specifically because I won’t be posting a pattern, sorry! These guys are FrEeFoRm, but I did create a series of tutorial guides for helping people get started making Pixie Pocket Belts of their own, check it out if you like 🙂

After that, I got out my special hand-dyed upcycled fabric given to me by my friend Kate, who had it left over from a studio art project – and it happened to match so well! What I ended up with is a watery, soft, draping train of prismatic lace and tatters, topped with a shimmery white lotus flower circular pocket and soft drawstring bag and toadstool pouch accents.

I put it over another hand-dyed upcycled project of mine, an in-progress rag gown, fit for a water sprite dredged from the bottom of a flowery pond. No mud, no lotus âĪ

Elf Coat Expansion

Pretty much as soon as I put down the last touches on the Elf Coat design, I knew I was going to have to pick it up again eventually! One part of the sleeve design always nagged at me, and I did intend to give it pockets eventually – and lo, the flood of requests for Plus Sizes âĪ âĪ

As much as I wanted to fulfill these fixes, I needed a break from the Elf Coat, so I took a couple years off to think about things 😉 And now I’m back, tackling the first part of the Elf Coat redesign and expansion! The first task is to fix the sleeve bit and to get a pocket option figured out, then update those changes to the already-existing sizes (S-M-L).

Afterward, I design & test the plus sizes! This is exciting and if you’d like to be a part of any of the testing for the new updates, join the Morale Fiber Facebook Group – The MFCA – and keep an eye out for the testing call!

Other Projects & Updates

I’ve got a number of bigger new designs on the horizon, which I’m also going to need help testing 😉 None are solid enough yet to list here, but I’ve got a hoard of updatable old patterns and things to occupy myself until things coalesce, of course.

I’m also thinking that this website, moralefiber.blog, really needs a few changes – it’s remained virtually the exact same since I opened it five years ago. Which makes sense, because I’m much more concerned with producing crochet content than updating the way the site looks – but eventually one must try to stay efficient. Hopefully I don’t wreck the way it works in the process!

Meanwhile…

Until Morale Improves, the Crocheting Will Continue âĪ

-MF

Alpaca Handspun Wrap

Forgive me, fiber darlings, as the golden falling walnut leaves and the true approach of autumn sends me into paroxysms of nostalgia – you see, I’ve completed a very long personal fiber art project, and will not hesitate to use it as an excuse to wax sentimental 😉

Translation: This is a long personal reflection post and a project with no patterns. 😉

It was almost 4 years ago exactly that I decided to give my still new (to me) Ashford Traveler Double Drive spinning wheel a good workout by ordering several pounds (!!) of Alpaca fiber that I got on sale.

I had already been working with drop spindles at this point, but I was excited to take advantage of the larger, faster batches one could produce with the wheel. I dug into the first pound with vigor, producing a tight and even dark brown set of yarns… but like lots of large projects, the initial momentum got lost and it took me several years to finish spinning the rest of the fiber.

In the mean time I learned and experimented with lots of other things, and even added more alpaca fiber to the hoard, including a raw fleece gifted to me by a friend (not much of that one went into the final product – hand carding is a workout!!)

The fleeces followed me, like a little herd of alpacas themselves, though many phases of life in the past four years. I spun and played with them, dreamed with them. They reminded me all the time of the farms and ranches I worked at when I was younger and traveling the United States, work-trading as a farm hand at communes and eco-villages. Every fiber of them passed through my hands eventually, to twist together on the wheel or spindle – how many thoughts are in these fibers? How many dreams?

At once point I got exuberantly experimental about natural dyeing again (my first forays consisted of tea, coffee, turmeric, and a failed pokeberry batch way back in 2009-10 or so), so I started collecting the vegetable waste from my day job in the produce department and brewing up a big batch of avocado dye from the pits and skins. Raw material, collected and transmuted again. How many hands picked the fruit? How many dreams did they dream?

When I dive, I deep dive. I want to know the parts of a process like I know the breathing of my lungs, intrinsically, so that my fingers can read the dreams. To me, that is the way to respect – respect what, I don’t know. The energies it took to create everything around me? Maybe. It is gratitude, definitely.

When the fibers were carded and dyed and spun and plied and washed and dried, I took them to my fatter knitting needles: the 9.00 mm circulars from my interchangeable set. (I remember the super long knitted scarf from a decade ago, and how I tried to cram so many stitches of recycled cotton onto a cheap plastic yard sale needle and snapped it into oblivion, losing hundreds of tiny knit stitches to my cold-sweating terror…)

Good thing my tools have evolved with me.
I knit and knit and knit, practicing my speed-purling, practicing my yarn overs, dropping stitches and switching to garter occasionally. I never got the bug for delicate knit patterns, I like my knits huge and stupid and chunky and easy.

I knew it was going to be a big folded rectangle essentially, with two arm holes. Simple. A large serape-like shell could be worn over other winter layers, since not all of the yarn I used is next-to-skin soft – but holy heck is it warm! Alpaca fiber is also naturally water-resistant, enhancing this wrap’s qualities as outerwear.

I played up the textural aspects of this piece, letting my big dumb rectangle be the blank canvas for every nuanced lump in the fiber. It was handspun; it was messy, chunky, uneven, perfectly imperfect. I did not want it to look sleek, cosmopolitan, curated. It was my glorious mess. So I did what I learned to do best in the grueling hours of the windowless rooms in studio art at Indiana University – turn imperfections into advantages.

(Mostly) planned dropped stitches provided visual breaks vertically, and lines of garter stitches complemented and accented the color changes horizontally, creating a weathered and distressed texture that plays up the lumpy, bumpy, mismatched yarnscape. The large needles allowed plenty of looseness in the stitches to give the otherwise square shell garment a flattering bit of drape. The rough visual style belies the incredibly squishy loft of the bulky alpaca yarns.

I can’t believe I spun 100% of this garment – it is my first large project to be entirely handspun. Some parts are a little scratchy, I’ll admit, and it certainly needs a second wash (it’s fragrant in a strongly camelid sort of way at the moment) – but this piece will warm me now in a special way, because so much of my story is now shared with it.

I get really excited when I finish a piece that’s taken me years, to me they feel like a victory! Previously, the Stump had been my longest-held project (3 years), but now the Alpaca Wrap (4 years) is the record holder 😉

And here’s my advice to every artist who may have had the tough moments, like me, that make dreams feel like impossibilities: Patience, patience, patience.

-MF

Henbit and Housekeeping

The month of May is usually a busy one for me, and this one has not been an exception so far, even despite local shutdown regulations! Read on for a bit about the projects I’m doing now and what I’ve got coming up âĪ

Henbit Pixie Belt

With the weather warming I’m working outside and hiking around even more, enjoying nature in isolation and keeping an eye on the new plants springing up everywhere.

One particularly pretty little spring plant is Henbit, a bright fuschia-flowered plant that grows in scrubby areas and fields, which is an edible weed for humans as well as tasty for wildlife like hummingbirds. This plant was the inspiration for my latest Pixie Pocket Belt piece, for which it is named.

The mitts I’m wearing above are from my free Rambler’s Mitts pattern.

The Pixie Pocket Belts are projects I’ve been drawn to for years, and though I never make two the same, I did create a comprehensive tutorial guide for making your own unique creation – that’s available for free on my blog or in PDF format for a small fee.

These cute & useful costume pieces are a chance for me to flex my freestyle muscles. I love the multimedia aspect too, using beads and upcycled fabrics and metal details to create something really magical.

Freeform Shawl

The Pixie Belts I’ve made over the years have been technically “freeform” (meaning crocheted without a pattern or overall plan), though they are a bit different from the classic freeform style made popular by such incredible crochet artists as Prudence Mapstone and Hannah Martin of Of Mars.

Pixie Belt “Kelp” pictured above featured a bullion stitch pouch & a freeform seashell pouch

I’ve wanted to tackle a more recognizably freeform crochet piece and recently began practicing the various motifs that are common in this style, such as spirals, bullions, and crab stitch.

Some of the videos I’ve been watching have been both useful for the freeform project and useful to help me hone my video tutorial skills 🙂 I’ve saved some of my favorites to my Channel playlists and I’ll keep adding more – find those collected here on Youtube and like & subscribe to my channel to get more updates!

I’ve completed most of the pieces I want to include in this freeform shawl, so I’m currently in the process of arranging and joining them. It feels great to challenge myself, and I’m learning and making lots of mistakes which is good âĪ

Out of Office May 20-24

At the end of every May for the last 9 years, I’ve attended the big spring festival Elf Fest with my local community of nature-celebrators. This May, of course, it has been canceled. It’s the responsible thing to do and I’m happy that my friends are all safe – still, it’s a wrench for me and the rest of the crew.

Despite not having the festival to attend, I am going to go ahead and take that time off anyway, to unplug a little more and slow down 🙂 So I’ll be Out of Office from May 20 through May 24, returning May 25 to answer any questions and comments you might have left during that time!

This stunning handmade moth clip from The Forest Fae is my constant companion these days…

I have a loooooooooong list of upcoming crochet designs – so many that I think I’ll need help soon! I’m looking into starting a little group – if you are interested in pattern testing for Morale Fiber be sure to follow me on Facebook, join my main crochet group the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier, or subscribe to my blog through e-mail! âĪ I’ll make the announcement across these channels when it comes time.

As always, I’m really grateful for everyone out there who purchases, supports, tags, shares, comments, likes, and recommends my work – I do it for you! I love you! Thank you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

-MF

Going the Distance

Happy Monday! I hope everyone out there is feeling well and healthy – I am, if just a touch stir crazy. But the weather is beautiful and I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities to hike out in the isolated woods recently 🙂

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post, so I thought I’d write up a little summary of what’s on my schedule right now – a couple new projects and previews, plus giveaways! I’m lucky to have already been working from home when the stay-at-home order was put in my place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in my state, so I have plenty in the works and more on the horizon for as long as my yarn stash holds out (even then, the emergency reserves are flush...)

So, cheers! Be sure to subscribe to my blog, and like & follow my Facebook Page for more fun crochet stuff!

Star & Moon Twirling Gown:

Another project made from the very well-appreciated Wendy Kay’s No-Sew Gypsy Skirt pattern, which I purchased from Etsy years ago and have used a LOT. I think this is my eighth skirt from that pattern.

Modeled by the lovely Sarina Newbold, this celestial piece is 100% cotton fabric donated by a friend, and I used the long-wedge version of the pattern to create a gown-length mega-skirt that adjusts from XS up to XXL at the waistband.

As you can see, it is just KILLER for twirling in. I am patiently building my sewing skills, because I have some really neat ideas for more crochet/fabric fusion clothing âĪ in the future!

Hedge Witch Hat PDF:

Sarina also modeled her new custom hat made from the free Hedge Witch Hat pattern on my blog:

Too. CUTE.

I plan to go over the pattern once more, then turn this popular design into a downloadable, ad-free PDF! I’m looking to expand my PDF offerings to include more available free patterns, for those that like to the portability and convenience – if there’s one you’d like to see, let me know 🙂

Fundraisers & Giveaways

I’ve recently began offering some of my premium, normally paid-only crochet patterns for FREE as special deals to help people stay safe & sane during this period of self-isolation (which I have begun to call Free Range Captivity). In return, I ask those who can do so to consider making a small donation to a worthy cause.

The first Free Pattern Fundraiser offered the Valkyrie Top gratis in support of The Trevor Project. The offer is ended now, thank you to everyone who supported this important service! Keep reading for the current free offering 🙂

The Valkyrie Top was also part of a recent Instagram Giveaway I participated in, hosted by the incredible Starlily Creations featuring some of my personal favorite crochet artists and heroes. Congratulations to Viv, winner of the deluxe halter top pattern pack!

My next Free Pattern Fundraiser is supporting the National Network to End Domestic Violence – use the code “ENDVIOLENCE” now through Wednesday, April 22 on the Ravelry checkout for the Mermaid Mitts and Sandals pattern and get it for FREE! And if you can, consider donating a small amount (they’ll take any amount, and you can use Paypal) to the worthy cause.

Mermaid Mitts & Sandals

Upcoming Designs

As I sometimes like to do in these rambling wrap-up posts, I have a couple sneak peeks on something that’s coming up soon! This design has been on my mind for years, though I lacked the persistence to do it until recently.

Mysterious, eh? Well, not really. It’s just crochet pineapples, that ubiquitous motif. Or is it?

I may have some tricks up my sleeve!

-MF