Gone Vending

It’s time once again for my biannual camping/vending trip! I’ve been super busy making a ton of cute stuff to stock my booth, which is why these pictures are all crummy Instagram phone photos instead of nice camera ones.

This camping trip is always low-tech, which means I will be unavailable to respond to questions or comments until the 30th! Thanks in advance for your patience πŸ™‚

See you soon! ❀

-MF

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Lotus Mandala Vest PDF Pattern is Here!

Thanks everyone who waited so patiently for me to produce the Lotus Mandala Vest pattern in PDF form: it’s finally out! I got a lot of very sweet comments from people about this pattern lately, and some questions included in this little FAQ page. Many wanted a version of the pattern they could print or view offline, and since I was planning to clean up this pattern’s writing anyway I decided to wait to release a PDF until I could make it nice and pretty and (most importantly) easier to understand.

So here it is! This PDF is available throughΒ Ravelry, for FREE with the code PLOTUS until Feb. 28, 2017. After that it will be the same price as all of my other paid PDF patterns, 5.50 USD. The pattern on the blog, however, will remain FREE, FOREVER – and has also been updated to the cleaned-up version.

Although I have also added this pattern to my Etsy Shop, unfortunately the nature of Etsy promos does not allow me to add the free pattern code 😦

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My Lotus Mandala Vest pattern now in swanky PDF format! This new option includes extra tutorial photos, tips on adjusting size, and a print-friendly text-only version! Please note that the pattern will remain free on my blog, this option is just for those who want the portability and extra tutorial photos featured in the PDF version (or if you just love me and want to give me yarn money).

This bright crochet mandala vest is both visually appealing and simple to work with tons of tutorial photos and a detailed, written pattern. This vest is written in Free Size, which easily fits up to a 42″ bust, and tons of tips for customizing the size are included. This circular lace shawl has a smooth drape and swing-y ruffle to accent movement and looks right at home in any free-spirited outfit.

Yarn: Worked in Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton, but also looks fabulous in Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball!
Hook Size: 5.5 mm
All instructions are in US terms

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It’s nice to be reminded of things when they were warm and green!

Thank you again to everyone who has posted their comments and tips and shared their beautiful projects for this design! You really make doing this so rewarding!

-MF

Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial

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My free Lotus Mandala Vest pattern was getting some attention on Facebook recently and so for convenience I put together a little FAQ page for that pattern a few days ago to try to answer some of the most common questions. One of them is “Is there a video tutorial available?” Well, now there is!

A very great big THANK YOU to fellow blogger Cynthialoowho, who volunteered to create a video tutorial for this pattern! It is now available on her Youtube channel here.Β I am really excited about this new video option because I know a lot of crocheters work exclusively from patterns and tutorials that are heavy on visuals or exclusively visual.
*** EDIT: I have been told that the video directions differ from my written directions at certain points – which is fine and many people have used the video successfully – however PLEASE be aware that if you work from the video pattern, you need to direct your questions to Cynthia as I may not be able to answer them for this reason***

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For the written pattern crocheters, I’m working on making this pattern available for download as a PDF file so it can be viewed offline or printed out. Since I was planning on cleaning up the written instructions anyway, I started another Lotus Vest using Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, and oh my goooodnessss!

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The colors are way too pretty! This colorway is “Calming Desert”. And did you know they have Shawl in a Ball Metallics now? Moonstone is my favorite. Agh, I feel a large yarn purchase coming on.

I’m also cleaning up and formatting the Lotus Duster pattern for PDF availability, which I had been working on before the Lotus Vest went briefly viral.

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BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! I’m also working (slowly) on finishing up a brand new mandala-based crochet pattern. Basically my desk is just one big heap of colorful yarn mandalas right now. Which makes me happy πŸ™‚

-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 patternΒ 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

 

Shaman Coat Pattern

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It was a pretty long haul – and many many hours worth of stitching – to get from conception of this pattern to the premier of the pattern itself.Β Thankfully my new fall design, the Shaman Coat Tunisian crochet pattern, combines some of my favorite attributes:

a.) fairly long stretches of simple stitching so I can zone out to a Netflix binge,

b.) magical design tweaks that look fancy but are simply executed, and

c.) yarn that keeps things interesting and surprising even when you’re doing the same thing over and over again.

You can get the pattern for the Shaman Coat here in my Etsy Shop or through my Ravelry Pattern Store for 5.50 USD!

UPDATE 10/18: Thank you so much everyone for the clicks on Moogly’s HOHD Link Party!

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A warm, practical outerwear garment with a touch of magic! The Shaman Coat uses the unique structure of Tunisian crochet to create a gorgeous woven look that is eye-catching with any variegated yarn. Featuring a deep, draping hood and cropped kimono-style sleeves, the Shaman Coat includes the pattern for sizes Small, Medium, and Large.

The entire main body of the garment is worked flat and completed with only two easy seams while the hood is picked up and worked flat with decrease shaping and then closed with a partial seam at the top.

Never worked Tunisian crochet before? The Shaman Coat pattern includes a Tunisian Primer, with photo and written tutorials for every single Tunisian technique needed to complete the pattern – including basic Tunisian crocheting itself. Learn something new AND look amazing!

Recommended yarn: 11-15 skeins of Lion Brand Amazing (#4, 147 yd/50 g, 53% wool, 47% acrylic)

Finished Measurements: Small (19″ w. 33″ h.) Medium (21″ w. 33″ h.) Large (25″ w. 33″ h.)

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Size shown in photos is medium. Model – Regina Weiss (me) Photographer – Chaston Starling

Another big bonus for this pattern is the super-luscious array of colorways the pattern yarn comes in – I recommend checking out the Lion Brand webpage to see the full range. I kinda want to make one in every single color. They’re not even paying me to say that.

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Yarn colorways from left to right – Constellation (small), Arcadia (medium), Vineyard (large)

This one is dedicated to the motley group of trashpandas that I call my circle of best friends. You know who you are. ❀

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-MF

Pounds of ‘paca

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I recently took advantage of a VERY good deal through Alpaca Direct and ordered myself up some beautiful 100% alpaca fiber, 12 oz of dark brown (Sarah) and one pound of soft white (Victoria). Oh, and a pound each of Merino / Bamboo blend and Polworth / Tussah blend, ya know, for good measure. The blends will be dyed eventually and put up for sale in my shop, but the pure Alpaca fiber I plan on spinning as is.

This is by far the largest amount of one type of wool I have ever set my mind to spinning. I hope to produce a pretty hefty amount of yardage from them, but since I’ve never spun more than about 8 oz of wool into one set of yarns, there’s a lot to be thinking about.

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One is that my drive band was in a truly deplorable state and I had to change it for the first time since I got my wheel about a year ago. I should have changed it before now. I have shameful upkeep habits.

Another is that I’m sure my hyperactive brain will get bored very quickly and I’ll have to take a large amount of breaks from the project. And the longer you spend in between spinning sessions, the more your muscle memory fades and the harder it is to find the sweet spot where you are spinning consistently NOT ONLY within your current ply, but from skein to skein as well.

I found that out first hand with my most recently finished set of handspuns, where there was about a month-long gap between the last skein and the first two. The last, though appreciably close in size and look, just doesn’t FEEL exactly the same. Since this is a novelty set that includes size differences on purpose anyway, that’s not a problem.

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The fluffiness differential isn’t obvious. But I know it lurks.

Overall, exacting consistency is really not tantamount to handspinning success. If you wanted perfection in a yarn, you’d buy expensive commercially produced yarns. I like my handspun, even when consistency is the goal, to LOOK like it was the loving work of someone’s hands and heart. It’s the little imperfections that make it unique and beautiful. But because I have spun little else besides art yarns since I got my jumbo bobbin and flyer kit, I have to adjust a little so that I’m at least not spinning all wacky on purpose.

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The alpaca fiber itself is lovely combed top, thinner than the commercial roving I typically get and less densely packed as well, which makes it just perfect for what I’m doing with it. And HOO BOY is it soft, and fairly heavy! Normally I draft on the wheel with something close to short backward draw. With this roving, I find my motions trending a lot heavier toward simple long draw, only using short drafting if I get to a clumpy patch.

For the record, long draw is a method of drafting that uses the twist of the fiber and the tension of the wheel to pull out the fibers into a strand. Your active hand holds the fibers, and pulls the wool backward away from the wheel as you treadle, so that the twist and the tension draw out a yarn. Craftsy has a good overview of this techniqueΒ here. And here’s a good video, since explaining it in words is basically useless if you’re not familiar already.

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It’s really high time I got a niddy noddy that is more photogenic.

Long draw isn’t the most consistent method of drafting, but it works well for this fiber and I’ve been producing something that is sort of consistently inconsistent, which mostly evens out when plied. Plus, it’s FASTER. Which I will take considering the amount of fiber I’m trying to get spun for this batch.

One of my favorite spinning bloggers, Ask the Bellwether, has some tips for spinning consistent yarn.

One other thing that I would like to note is that this would be an ideal time for me to already have hand carders (or preferably a drum carder, but I am sooooo close to running out of space for my hobby equipment as it is!). The 100% alpaca is lovely, but the density of the fiber make it a good candidate for spinning from rolags or batts rather than from the commercially carded roving – ya know, because carding again would fluff the fiber more and more air would get trapped inside during spinning making the final product loftier. *sigh* Oh well. Someday I will have an actual studio, in which all the wonders of the fiber world will easily and comfortably fit.

Haha, just kidding. I would find a way to fill that, too.

-MF

Pre-Camping PSA

I’ve been busy busy busy around here doing homework (bleh) and housework (meh) but also hook work (yay)! The start of the fall semester takes me a few weeks to get into some sort of stride, but I’m almost there. Of course, the regularly scheduled program is getting interrupted so I can hike my happy ass out to the woods for fall festival.

Fresh Air! Campfire Food! Vending! Potentially Getting Lyme Disease!

All this, and more. So, if you have questions or comments please be patient with me as I may not be able to answer them until after 9/19. Β Hope the weather is lovely for you wherever you hail from, and enjoy your weekend!

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-MF