Good morning! I’m mostly recovered from my whirlwind trip to The Farm for their annual Farm School Holiday Bazaar ❤ I had an amazing time vending and sharing my love of all things fiber art with the other vendors and shoppers, plus some bonus friend fun with my darling hosts ❤
This little blog blurb is mostly an update on what’s occupying my design radar at the moment. Having finished up the Tree of Life and Embla designs, I’m ready to work on the handful of half-finished new projects I have lying around. And maybe hack away at some of the ones that have been on the back burner for like, um, years.
It’s a hard life, creating every day! Just kidding, it’s awesome 😉
The next big thing on the map is completing the video tutorial for the Lotus Mandala Duster. Parts 1 and 2 were released a month or two ago, so I’d like to get the rest finished up as soon as possible since many people have asked for the next installment! With the holidays approaching, it might be slow going, but it’s on my list for sure 🙂
I’m also in the midst of working on a design that is inspired by the popularity of the Krampus Hat free crochet pattern. The unique and over-the-top nature of that hat really captured people’s imaginations and I’d love to create something else that’s similarly “out there”, using techniques that I developed working on a custom hat in 2018.
That bespoke piece was made to mimic the client’s custom-designed video game character, and it was quite a journey to develop and I really loved pushing myself to get it as accurate as possible. It gave me SO many new ideas 😉 You can find the project page for this custom hat on Ravelry.
The new crazy hat design looks nothing like the custom made one pictured above, but I will still be using the Krampus Hat format for the base of the new Creature ❤ Here’s a very unhelpful sneak peek:
And speaking of Ravelry, I’ve been doing some major updating on my Projects page, uploading lost projects from years of crocheting. My goal was to thoroughly update everything in my portfolios from 2015-2018 before 2019 ended, and I’m just about done. Check out my Ravelry Projects page for 130+ creations by yours truly ❤
I guess this counts as my end-of-the-year wrap up post, so I’ll go ahead and say this:
Fiber art is my passion, and teaching it and talking about it is my dream job. To everyone who has liked, commented, shared, bought, supported, or even just smiled because of what I do, I thank you. My gratitude is without limit.
It used to be my practice to write a summer wrap-up post for Morale Fiber Blog, and though I haven’t always done so, I fall back into my old habit today! I won’t be going over summer projects so much as talking a bit about my life situation, my business, and where I hope to go in the future. It’s a bit more of an intimate look into how I, as a person, manage Morale Fiber.
That’s me, un-wigged and un-filtered and un-photoshopped. But with great lighting, of course. 😉
I have loved fiber arts since the minute I was handed my first sewing kit as a child – when my mom taught me my first crochet stitches when I was 10 years old, that interest was cemented into a lifelong habit. In time I expanded into knitting, spinning, dyeing, and any other fiber craft I could get my hands on as well as my first love, crochet.
Fast forward A LOT – last December I finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Humanities. In addition to working full-time at the co-op grocery, since January I have been concentrating almost solely on completing and releasing all three adult sizes of the Elf Coat crochet pattern for free on my blog and as a purchasable PDF pattern. I poured so much energy and love into this design, and over TWO YEARS worth of experimenting and tweaking the pattern. Now the Elf Coat is currently competing for top popularity on my blog with my Lotus Mandala Duster. 🙂
I’ve said it so many times : the BEST part about designing is connecting with other fiber artists and seeing what all the amazing, clever, resourceful people create with my patterns. I love seeing everyone’s projects and sharing them for inspiration, and this spurred me to accomplish another goal this summer – to start a Facebook group for my business based around boho, magical, and fantasy crochet designs, the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier.
The response has been, yes, fantastic 🙂 I hope if you have your own designs to share that you will join us too! I love having this group as a way to connect more personally with those who follow my page and love the same craft that I do ❤
I’ve been amazed at the level of support my art has received, because really I’m just a silly fantasy nerd who decided years ago that I needed to put my stuff on the internet for some reason. When I look at where I am now, I know the Regina of eight years ago would not believe it. It’s a gratifying feeling 😀
Fast forward again – to just a few days ago, when a number of people contacted me to let me know a sham clothing company, using multiple web fronts, was using my Elf Coat images to sell what they claimed were my designs.
Unfortunately, as soon as I contacted one of the e-mail addresses provided for a website doing this, about 20 other false web fronts doing the exact same thing popped up, all under different names and all advertising to my followers on Facebook. Frustrating? Absolutely.
Getting ripped off sucks, and I’ve seen it happen to a number of my favorite indie artisans and designers. In fact, I’ve seen it happen to so many of my favorite designers, that being included in the same category as them is a tiny little bit gratifying actually, ha ha!
I am grateful that so many people rushed to my defense. I couldn’t ask to know better people through this business ❤ Yes, I had my image stolen, but ultimately the people who want to support me are those that want to make something for themselves, not buy cheap crap that may or may not be just a credit card number fishing scam.
That’s the real plus side to building my business on making patterns. Not only do I get to help create art all around the world, but I get to know and be supported by people who value the effort and time and satisfaction that goes into creating something with your own two hands. That’s love. That’s the love you wrap your family members and friends in when you make something for them. That’s the love you wrap yourself in when you enter the calming meditation of stitching. No one can mass manufacture that. No one can create that except for all of us, together ❤ ❤
I’m tearing up, over here 😉
So, that about concludes the ramble-y, emotional portion of this post. Now I’d like to talk for a minute about how I manage Morale Fiber. My revenue comes from two main sources: paid pattern sales and selling ad space on my blog.
As I mention on my Master List of Paid Patterns, selling pattern PDF files are my main source of business income. If you want to support me, buying my patterns through my Etsy Shop or Ravelry store is a great way to do so and get something awesome you can make in return!
Selling ad space on my blog also provide revenue, but it’s less than 5% of my overall take. And, let’s face it – it’s kind of ugly. I avoided doing it for a while because it was so ugly, but over several years of blogging I had too many images for my free blog plan to host and so I had to move to a paid plan. Ad space revenue helps me pay for the yearly subscription to keep my blog going so you can get all the latest updates and all those sweet freebies! Every time you view my blog page, I make a slight fraction of a penny.
A pretty good portion of my free time outside of my day job is spent managing Morale Fiber by making social media posts and responding to questions and e-mails for both my paid and my free patterns. I love to talk shop which is great because I end up doing it A LOT ❤
I also spend plenty of time designing. I fill my computer files and notebooks with jotted down ideas, test yarns and gauge, make drafts, make more drafts, make MORE DRAFTS, and hopefully finally come up with something I can write down as a pattern (but only after making this one more draft). 😉
It’s a labor of love, and I hope you love what I come up with. After the illegal theft of my images, I had the opportunity to see with new eyes that many people did love making my designs, and it helped me enormously. Today I wanted to humbly offer this third way to support my art – a donation button.
You don’t have to donate, and I am certainly grateful for the support no matter what amount of patronage you have or will give Morale Fiber. But if you do love my designs and want to show your support, as well as contribute to the creation of more patterns and designs by me, you now have this option!
Patronage Donation for Morale Fiber Designs
I’m very excited about what I have in the works right now, including the long-promised Lotus Duster video tutorial, a new circular vest design with a ton of customizing options, a new scrap knit garment tutorial.. and that’s just the beginning.
As always, thank you so very much for visiting and thank you for creating art with me ❤
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.
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.
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. 😛
Because 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.
I’ve always loved the nazar, a Middle Eastern charm symbol representing an eye, which used to ward off the evil eye. 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. 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!
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.
That’s really the only reason I do this. Excuse to dress up! Just kidding. Kind of.
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.
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!!
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.
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 😀
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 – 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.
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!
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.
I am really loving these natural tones, which is a good thing because my beautiful friends sometimes give me secondhand fiber. 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.
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 😛 ) were acquired and now I am clumsily learning to use them.
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.
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.
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! 😉
Here’s a picture of my moon lamp, for no reason other than its pretty!
This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit the Intro page.
When it comes to pouches, a square or rectangle pocket is about as easy as you can get. Squares and rectangles are just rows, back and forth, and if you can crochet you’re probably already familiar with them. Then of course there’s granny squares, which are a whole other business, but they can also be really fun in these belts. If you want a tutorial on making granny squares, check the “Part 2 Instructions” crochet portion of this free pattern on my blog.
Here I’m just going to crochet a rectangle, then fold it in half and seam it up the sides to make a square envelope pouch. I might add fancier stuff later, but for now concentrate on the rectangle.
To start a row for a rectangle or square, chain the length you want, then chain a few extra depending on what size stitch you are making – chain 0 extra for sc (the last ch counts as your first st), chain 1 extra for hdc (the last 2 ch count as your first st), chain 2 extra for dc (the last 3 ch count as your first st) etc.
Then, work your rows back and forth, chaining as many as necessary for the turns (1 for sc, 2 for hdc, 3 for dc, etc) – until you have a square or rectangle. Easy! I made mine a little more textured and interesting by using rows of linked half-double crochet instead of regular hdc. You can find more info on linked stitches on my free Linked Double Crochet tutorial.
Linking stitches creates a subtle & pretty texture as well as a sturdier fabric than regular crochet.
Fold over the piece, then use crochet stitching to work through both layers at once to seam them together. Alternatively, you could thread a yarn needle with some yarn and whip stitch them together sewing-style, but I prefer the stitch method. Here I’m going to use single crochet to seam the pieces together, because I’ve decided I’m going to come back and add a funky edging later, and I’ll need something to work into easily.
The general rule for crocheting into the edges of rows is that you’ll want as many stitches per row edge as there are chains in the turning chain for your stitch height – so for single crochet, the turning chain is 1, and you’d make 1 stitch per row edge. For hdc, the turning chain is 2, so you’d want two stitches per row edge. Keep in mind this is a GENERAL rule and it’s going to depend on your gauge and other factors – for instance, I sometimes only make 2 stitches per row side on double crochet rows, if it works better for the specific situation.
Anyway, seam that puppy up whatever way you feel like. Weave in your ends, and you’re done! Easy pouch. Now to make it more interesting, see the next post.
Update 4/5/19: HOLD THE PRESS! This tutorial is now available in portable, printable, add-free PDF format through both my Ravelry and Etsy pattern shops! Get the downloadable version for $5.95 USD for easy reference AND help support my business at the same time ❤ ❤ ❤ Thanks for visiting!
In response to many requests, I will be starting a series of tutorial posts for the freeform pixie pocket skirt belts (is that enough words for that?) that I’ve been making for a few years now. These crocheted belts feature utility belt style pockets in whimsical colors and shapes and a tattered fabric fringe skirt – they are great scrapbusters and excellent practice at creating different shapes and textures. And one of my favorite things to make!
The one pictured on me here was the first one I ever made, and I was immediately addicted – mixed media, playing with color, using up spare material, cute AND useful.. sounds good right?
Once I had made a few more and started posting pictures of them here, I got requests for a pattern. The challenge is that I do these belts differently each time – so figuring out a pattern or a tutorial that doesn’t lock them down into sameness took some thought.
So I ruminated on it, and finally decided that a series of technique tutorials, based around the creation of an example belt, would be best. I aimed to explain these techniques well enough for even beginners to experiment with these fun shapes and textures, and for everyone to feel confident enough to let loose and have fun with it.
This tutorial series will cover material selection, basic shapes needed to create the pockets and the belt, some textural techniques, instructions on attaching the pockets, and how to make the fabric skirt fringe – and anything else I can think of! The links to the post series will appear in order below:
If you want to stay up to date on this series as it is posted, remember to follow my blog or like & follow my Facebook page!
UPDATE! This pattern is now listed on Ravelry, so if you are a Raveler you should link up your projects made from this tutorial – I’d love to see them 😀
In the next section, I’m going to go through choosing the materials for the belt. I use a theme for mine, as you may have noticed: plants and trees. I love being inspired by nature, and choosing a theme like this helps guide me when I’m not sure what sort of look I want to add to the piece. More on that later.
Whether you choose a theme or not, remember this is a freeform project. It’s an exercise in letting go of control, of not being married to an intended outcome. Let it be zen, spontaneous, and fun! I call these belts my “chaos therapy” projects.
That’s it for the Intro – I can’t wait to get started on this project and hopefully to see what you all make!
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?).
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 Store 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!
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 🙂 And subscribe to the blog and follow me on Facebook for all the latest updates!
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! 💖 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:
Daisey, wearing size XS
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!
Pixie 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.
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 😉
I’ve got even more in the works, but I’m running out of time today 🙂 Back later, with more crochet goodness.<3