Seasons Change and So Do I

Avocado Dream Catcher, made from handspun wool and alpaca fiber hand-dyed with avocado skins. I created the natural dye with vegetable waste from my job at the co-op grocery!

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜€

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 ❀ ❀

Friends and beautiful models Arika Harris and Daisey Denson wearing my Feather & Scale Halter Top design

I’m tearing up, over here πŸ˜‰

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.

The Hooded Lotus Duster, for which the full written patterns are available on Morale Fiber Blog.

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). πŸ˜‰

The Ida Shawl takes the win for most maddening amount of drafts.

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!

Donation

Patronage Donation for Morale Fiber Designs

$1.00

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 ❀

-MF

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Valkyrie Top Crochet Pattern

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It seems to be a running theme with me that sometimes (or often?) projects and designs have a long history of development – way longer than I had intended! With things like the Elf Coat, it’s just a matter of the time it takes to create something technically, stitch by stitch.

With things like the Lotus DusterΒ and the new halter top design, it’s more about idea development and waiting until I’ve mustered the required inspiration and skill to pull something off.

Either way, the process of creation over relatively long periods of time causes me to ruminate on the nature of life, and growth. The other side of this of course is the more serious, and scary, concept of death and the hope of rebirth. I had already decided to name this new crochet piece the Valkyrie Top, after those female warrior spirits in viking myth who rode down from the skies to take the slain to their eternal hall.

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Just before I was ready to release this pattern, the theme of death was brought very close to home for me. I can’t say more than this: I hope this new piece makes you and your loved ones feel like the badass female warriors you are – because you all are.

Please look at yourself with love today. Because you are living being on this earth, and that’s magical.

 

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Find the new design now on Ravelry and Etsy ❀

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Manifest your inner amazon with the Valkyrie Top, named after those mythical viking women who rode across the sky to retrieve the souls of warriors and take them to their eternal halls.

This cotton halter top crochet pattern is designed for beauty, comfort, and versatility. The subtle shaping in the cups creates a contour on the bust that prevents slippage, while the criss-cross ties on the back keep your halter top in place without adding pressure on the neck.

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The netted design and accent motif at the top looks great layered under light summer clothing or all by itself, and the simple shell bottom border is easy to extend for more coverage. Includes sizes Small (Cup sizes A/B), Medium (Cup sizes B/C) and Large (Cup sizes D/DD)!

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This digital PDF crochet pattern provides stitch-by-stitch written instructions that include references to 50+ full-color tutorial photos as well as links to the technique tutorials needed for this design that are provided for free on my blog. Create a unique piece that is both flattering and fun to wear – the Valkyrie Top is your perfect summer accessory to slay in!

Materials:
3.50 mm hook
I Love This Cotton! (#4 weight, 3.5 oz / 100 g, 180 yds) 1,1,2 skeins.
Accent color in #4 weight cotton, about 100-80 yds
Scissors and tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Sizes (approximate):

Small: 21” length, 10” height, Cup sizes A/B
Medium: 21” length, 10” height, Cup sizes B/C
Large: 26” Length, 13” height, Cup size D/DD

~*I offer troubleshooting and pattern help for all of my patterns. All of my paid patterns always come with the right of individual artisans to sell the finished product*~

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That awesome matching macrame pendant and bracelet set is by Selinofos Art – check out their shop on Etsy!

The belt I’m wearing in this shoot is a variation on my Cecilia Skirt Belt pattern using old crochet lace and upcycled leather scraps. I have more pixie skirt style belt ideas and free tutorials in my Pixie Pocket Belt blog series.

I had fun doing this photo shoot, despite the 90 degree weather and the 1 billion per cent humidity! The scenery was epic and I got to incorporate more balance poses which I’ve recently been practicing.

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Damn that wig was making me sweat though πŸ˜€

-MF