Thursday, June 19, 2014

Color Fusion Merino Comes to Wind Rose

I actually wanted to call this post Color Fusion Merino by Ashland Bay comes to Wind Rose Fiber Sutdio and What I've Been Up To Lately, but even I know that's long winded.  I guess I'll lead with the good stuff, the Merino top.  

For a long time I've been perfectly happy with my ecru account at Ashland Bay.  I enjoy doing my own dyeing and dyeing for my customers, so I never really paid much attention to their dyed products, until recently.  What changed?  They introduced a new line of dyed Merino, and I fell in love.  I can't really explain it.  It was an "at first sight" kind of attraction.  They call it Color Fusion and what that means is that they've taken 3 harmonious shades and blended them together.  The one I have pictured in the upper right corner is called Orchid.  As you can see, the colors are all in the same family, but the depth and complexity achieved by the blending is so pretty.

It probably sounds like I've never seen dyed fiber before, but color was only half of the draw.  The other half was in the fiber itself.  This Merino is a luscious 19 micron, super soft, I mean like butter soft, like hugging a cloud soft, like puppy soft, well you get the idea.  Gorgeous color and cuddly feel, what's not to love?  So now I have ten colors in my shop.  They can all be found in the Dyed Merino Section in lots of 1, 2 and 4 ounces. I worked all day to take pictures that would do the colors justice, but there's nothing quite like seeing them in person.

Phew! (exhale) It's exhausting proclaiming your affections.  Still, let me muster just a little more energy and share a crochet pattern book I've been enjoying.  My free time has been limited lately, but when I am able to carve out time for myself, I spend it with Rustic Modern Crochet by Yumiko Alexander.  It came out in January I believe, so it's not brand new, but it's new to my library.  I like the design on the cover which I can tell you makes up quickly.  I gave this design to my sister for her birthday and she loved it.  She commented on how I always find the coolest things to make, so thank you Ms. Alexander!  The other design that I have completed and really like can be found on page 27.  It's called Bridges and it's a light mesh top which looks great over and tank and is perfect for the summer.  

Okay, that's all for me tonight.  I hope your summer is off to a great start.  Stay cool out there! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Abstract Flower Necklace - Oversized Tatting

Abstract Flower Oversized Needle Tatted Necklace
My obsession with oversized tatting continues and now I'm sharing this infatuation in the form of patterns.  I have spent much of the past winter and spring designing and the patterns are beginning to make their way into the shop at Wind Rose Fiber Studio.  I've even renamed my section on crochet patterns to include tatting as well. 

My brand new pattern is this Abstract Flower Necklace tatted from some of my own handspun and dyed yarn.  This design makes up so quickly, you can have a flower in every color in no time.  Quick patterns like this are nice to have in your cache for gift giving as well.  I had fun showcasing my own yarn, but in the pattern I also recommend Lion Brand's Wool Ease Thick and Quick which is readily available in great colors.   

Abstract Flower Necklace in Citron by Lion Brand
One of the fun things about blogging is that you can look back through your own archives.  I just did a search to find out when it was that I started this whole oversized tatting thing.  Here's the post, Oversized Tatting, from December 20, 2010.  I'm still using the same needles you see in that post and now I'm making them to share.  I don't expect that I'll be the inventor of the next big craze, but for anyone who's game to play along with me, you too can have an Oversized Tatting Needle.  Just what you always wanted, right?  

I just can't help myself.  I have three more designs waiting for me to write them up and a couple more that are still in the conceptual phase.  I guess this will be the year of oversized tatting pattern writing.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Caribbean Mountain Fiber Batts

A few days ago I received a request for 8 oz of Merino wool in a particular shade of beige.  I'm rather zealous when it comes to fiber, so without a second thought, I started an 8oz batch of Merino which I then dyed a not quite right shade of beige.  I chalked it up to being out of practice.  I have spent the last couple months pattern designing rather than dyeing, so I went for it again.  After I failed to match the desired color with this second batch, I finally wisened up and started to do small test pieces until I matched the elusive beige.

As a result of my zeal, I find myself with a nice collection of earth tones and so this morning I designed this wool batt which I am calling Caribbean Mountain.  I considered "A River Runs Through It", but that name was already in use.  It's approximately 75% Merino wool incorporating three beautiful earth tones, and a 25% mix of soy silk, cultivated silk, mixed Bluefaced Leicester, mohair locks and sparkling Firestar. The Caribbean Blue soy silk adds just the right touch of cool color to the earthy "mountain" mixture.   

The great thing about fiber is that you can always find a way to use what you have.  The result can be pretty satisfying!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oversized Tatted Wall Flowers Pattern

Flowers, flowers everywhere!  My studio walls are in full bloom as I have spent the last two weeks designing and tatting flowers.  Now I am happy to announce the next oversized tatting pattern.  Introducing the Oversized Tatted Wall Flowers Pattern.  There are 7 designs in all ranging in size from 3 to 6 inches.  I've used a few new techniques in making these flowers, so I have also created a companion video for anyone who may be a little new to tatting.  

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Make Your Own Packaging Tube

Today I was looking for some long skinny tubes to package my Oversized Tatting Needles. I basically just want something to protect them in a bubble mailer and make them a bit more resistant to being bent by reckless mail handling.  I actually found some nice Kraft crimp tubes, but to have them sent to my house was more than the cost of the tubes themselves.  This is how I came to be sitting on the floor of my studio making tubes today.  They turned out much cuter than a plain old brown tube and they are strong enough to offer some protection in the mail.  Here's what I did...

I gathered the following materials: 
pretty wrapping paper (nothing too flimsy), scissors, tape, cover stock, paper cutter, a dowel or something the size you want your finished tube to be, and a stapler which I forgot to put in the photo.  

I'm making tubes to hold 12" by 3/16" needles, so in other words, long and skinny.  I'm using 8 1/2" by 11" cover stock, but you might need larger paper for a larger tube.  


 I cut my paper in half lengthwise.  Have enough paper so that when you roll it up, it will be two or three layers thick.  The thicker the tube, the stronger the tube, so consider what you want and need in a finished product.  I'm rolling mine up around a half inch dowel, so 4 inches is plenty.



Then I tape the edge of my cover stock to the edge of my decorative wrapping paper.  I've cut the wrapping paper with a two inch allowance on either end  to give me the extra room I need for my needles (they're 12" and my paper is 11 1/2") and for closing up the tube. 



 I cut the wrapping paper half an inch to an inch beyond the opposite edge of my cover stock.  If you are making a thick tube and do not wish to waste wrapping paper, you may want to wait until after you have rolled your tube and then over it with the wrap.  Since I'm making a small tube,  I'm rolling the papers together.  I'm also happy for the extra bit of thickness that the wrapping paper provides.  



Now you can roll up your tube starting at the taped edge.  Do your best to avoid rolling at an angle so that all of your edges are straight.  It's nice to have a little piece of tape affixed to the opposite edge.  Then you can roll right over it and have your tube held in place while you finish taping. 




Tape down the rest of your long edge.  You may need a pencil  or something skinnier than your tube to push out what ever you have used to gauge the size of your tube.  





Flatten your tube about 1" from one end and fold over about half an inch.






Staple the end closed and leave the other end open for now.  When it comes time to use your tube, you can fill it and then close the other end in the same way.

  

 


There you have it; tubular packaging.

It's pretty and it gets the job done!

Oversized Tatting Needles - A Closer Look

Hi to all.  Today I thought I'd share a little more about the Oversized Tatting Needles I'm making.  By now you may or may not have seen my Oversized Tatted Necklace Pattern.  I knew when I was writing it, that in addition to the pattern, I would need to provide the Oversized Tatting Needle.  

I must also share, that my special ability to come up with ideas which only a handful of people might find interesting, is not lost on me.  Even as I'm putting in hours of work writing and woodworking, I am laughing at myself for thinking anyone might like what I'm doing.  Then, because the world is a wonderful place where even the obscure can gain a foothold, a kindred spirit or two will come along and give my offering a try.  And, much to the chagrin of my husband, who has hopefully excepted by now that his wife will never earn riches, that's all I need.  If just a couple of people find something I have designed enjoyable, I'm content.

Okay, that was a long side note, but it would just kill me if you thought I took myself too seriously. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to write this post, is simply to share that the Oversized Needle is quite sturdy.  When I sold my first one and I was showing it to my husband (who actually is very supportive) he wondered if it would hold up to much use.  It is a relatively large hole I am drilling into a fairly thin dowel.  You can see in this close-up that there is not a lot of wood left on either side of the hole.  This same needle is the one I made for myself over three years ago.  It has done countless projects for me and seems capable of countless more.  It has come through the test of performing the task for which it was designed with flying colors. 

I'm using a good hardwood dowel which I think makes all the difference.  What I have noticed is that it feels even better with time.  Although I sand the wood smooth from the start, with use it becomes even more smooth and the natural oil it receives just from being handled regularly gives it almost a polished look. 

In short, even though I am new to the needle making business, I feel good about these quirky Oversized Tatting Needles.  What I really love about them is the length.  12" might seem crazy, but as you get into making long chains, you find those inches very necessessary.  Well, I have a few needles laying in a felt hat, waiting to be sanded.  Off I go until next time. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Oversized Needle Tatting Basics on Video

I just finished one more video on Oversized Needle Tatting.  This one covers a few more of the basics.  If you are brand new to tatting, this video will get you started.  Even though I am using a very large tatting needle and super bulky yarn, the same techniques apply for thread and small needles.  Whether you're tatting on a traditional scale or giving my Oversized Needle Tatting a try, this video takes you carefully through how to make a double stitch, how to deal with a knot in your yarn and more.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oversized Tatting - Are You Ready to Try Something New?


The Oversized Tatted Necklace pattern is here!  This one is for the lovers of all things fiber.  Have you ever been curious about tatting?  Well, I was and a couple of years ago, I sat down with some shuttles and thread and taught myself how.  I went from shuttles to needle tatting which felt more natural to me as a crocheter.  Then one day I thought about tatting with yarn.  

It's not hard to find larger tatting needles for yarn, but I had this idea in my head that I wanted to go bigger.  I wanted to tat on a grand scale, so I made myself a really big tatting needle and started to play.  The Oversized Tatted Necklace isn't the only thing I've designed, but it's a nice place to start.  

https://www.etsy.com/listing/178987629/oversized-tatting-needle-5mm-12-inches?ref=shop_home_active_2
I wanted to write a tatting pattern for people who love to tat and for people who have never tatted before.  I liked the idea of presenting people with something new to try.  I know I'm keen to try just about anything involving yarn, so I wanted to make a pattern for people who feel the same way.  This idea felt like a puzzle to me at first.  How to you write a tatting pattern for people who don't tat?  Imagine writing a crochet or knit pattern for people who have never crocheted or knitted.  Daunting.

Adding to my disconcertion was the fact that I had never written a tatting pattern before.  In my study I quickly found that there are quite a few was to express the same thing in the world of tatting.  That made me feel more comfortable taking a few liberties of my own.  My tatting pattern is written in a less traditional way, but can still be easily followed by a seasoned tatter.  My goal was to respect the craft while making it appeal to the newcomer. 

That is my hope.  I hope that the next time you are shopping for that knitter/crocheter in your life and you want to surprise them with something different, you'll find my Oversized Needle Tatting and think, "Why not?"

I have more designs I want to share.  Each time I write a new pattern, I want to introduce a few new techniques.  The Oversized Tatted Necklace pattern is a great foundation on which to build, so build I must!  I've also started making Oversized Tatting Needles just like the one I made for myself.  I plan to make sure you have plenty of projects to entertain that needle and I hope you will be entertained as well! 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Abstract or Incomplete - What do you see?

Lately, my focus has been on tatting and specifically on writing up a tatting pattern.  In December, I receive a nice note about my Oversized Tatted Necklaces.  The writer remarked on their uniqueness and expressed an interest in making one herself.  This presented me with a challenge.  First, writing a tatting pattern which is something I have never done and second, writing a pattern that could be followed by a non-tatter.  I'm assuming this is the case as an experienced tatter could probably look at my necklaces and replicate them.  Still, I love the spirit of seeing something you like and wanting to make it even if you're not sure how.  It is the fuel of creativity.

Yesterday afternoon, with this on my mind, I spread a blanket in the sunny grass and spent two hours working on what I hope will soon become a fun tatting project for the non-tatter.  Whenever I find time to focus like this, something else always happens.  Another design or idea will emerge and become an irresistible distraction.  This necklace was yesterday's mental space invader.  

This will sound odd, but I think it was also inspired by an article I read this week called A Toast Story.  It had me thinking of connections, how important they are and how even a seemingly insignificant one can change a person's path.  This abstraction became an abstract shape, one with it's symmetry broken and it's connections off-kilter.  

When you look at it, do you see an abstract shape?  Do you see something that looks incomplete?  I put the necklace on this morning and walked into our loft where my son is usually waiting to greet me.  After our good mornings I asked, "How do you like my new necklace?"  "It's nice," he said and then paused to consider, "but you need to continue the humps to go all the way around."  I love that it gained enough of his attention for a closer look. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Longstitch Express - A High-Speed Crochet Pattern

I'm supposed to be working on a tatting pattern.  That's what I said I was going to do, but instead I took a little detour on The Longstitch Express!

I was having one of those afternoons in which I felt like making something, but I didn't want to have to concentrate hard or spend all day.  Quick and easy is what my mind demanded and as a result, I started thinking about long stitches.  Before I knew it, a pattern was starting to form in my head and I grabbed a nice big hook and a skein of yarn.  Within a few minutes, The Longstitch Express pattern was born!

 I love having a high-speed pattern for those times when your hands just want something to do and this one is perfect for showcasing pretty yarns.  The top photograph is Fiesta Starburst La Boheme.  It's a sparkling blend of brushed mohair, wool, rayon and nylon.  It's soft and airy and the longstitch shows off the beautifully contrasting colors.  The second scarf pictured is made with some of my own handspun yarn.  This is a light worsted weight singles spun from mixed Blufaced Leicester and dyed in shades of crimson, cherry and green.  I think this pattern would also be fun in thick & thin or novelty yarn.  

Whether you like to crochet for charity, whip up quick gifts or just crochet for fun, I think you're going to love this pattern.  The long chains created by the lengthy stitches give it a laid-back, deconstructed look.  The pattern creates a scarf that is over six feet, but you can make it longer if you like to wrap your scarves around your neck two or three times.  It can easily go from being a light accessory to a cozy bundle of warmth.

The pattern is already listed on Etsy and Ravelry and available for instant download.  The next time you're in the mood for a fast and fun project, I highly recommend taking a ride on The Longstitch Express! 


Friday, January 3, 2014

Talkin' Revolution Circular Scarf

Happy New Year!  This is the beginning of the 7th year for the Wind Rose Fiber Studio Blog.  My very first post was on January 5th, 2008.  Back then blogging was new and strange, at least for me, but now it feels like part of my everyday life.  It's comforting like a journal sitting on a bedside table.  It's always here, waiting and available, just in case I have something to share.

I happy to be able to begin the new year with a new pattern.  The Talkin' Revolution Circular Scarf Pattern is complete and available for instant download either on Etsy or Ravelry.  I already blogged about it on December 19th, so today I'll just say how happy I am to have another pattern written and ready!

My next project takes me out of my comfort zone.  I had a follower on Etsy ask me about how to make my Oversized Tatted Necklaces.   I started to teach myself how to tat in 2010, and though I've made a fair number of projects, I have never written a tatting pattern.  Because tatting is less widespread than knitting and crochet, I'm considering writing it up in more of a longhand for people who have never tatted.  I am also studying up so I can write it up as a true tatting pattern, but that is also challenging as there is more than one way to say the same thing in tatting.  It's a knew language for me to learn and I am sure to make some novice mistakes.  

Well, that's what I'm up to in this new year.  I this post finds you happy and hopeful for a 2014 full of inspiration and creativity!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Crocheted a Cover for my African Basket!

 I love African baskets.  I discovered them years ago at a craft show in which I was one of the vendors.  Two booths down from mine was a man from Ghana selling hand woven baskets and I went home with two or three.  Since then, I see them more often.  I don't know if they have become more popular or if they are just on my personal radar, but they are beautiful and perfect for us yarn lovers.

In my home I have a studio which is a pet free zone, but when I dare to venture out into the rest of the house, I have two cats with whom to contend.  They would like nothing better than to find an unattended basket and it would take them seconds to shred the yarn therein.  As a result, every time I need to put a project down for a few minutes, I have to find a high perch or some place that is cat safe.  One day last week I was thinking how nice it would be if one of my African baskets had a lid.  That way I could easily take my projects anywhere and tuck them safely inside the basket when I needed to take a break.

Last night I set to work crocheting my new basket cover.  The crocheting took no time at all and then I devised a way to attach my cover.  I was pretty happy when I came up with my button and elastic joins.  There are six spaced evenly around the basket and it's easy to open a couple and fold back the cover to gain access inside.  When the cover is on, it can be used as a mini basket to hold other items you may need at hand.  The cover can also billow up to stuff the basket full if so desired.  












 I know I haven't given all the details, but I'm thinking of writing it up as a pattern.  It would be easy to adjust for any round basket and it's a fun little project.  Before I sign off for today, I just wanted to share a great online store for purchasing African baskets.  Their shipping is fast and the baskets come in great condition.  It's called Baskets of Africa and they have a gorgeous selection of styles available.  Wouldn't a basket stuffed with yarn and topped with a crocheted cover be a great gift idea?  Hmm... maybe next Christmas.