Friday, January 16, 2015

Design Decisions

Yesterday I was making a few more of my Folk Art Hearts when I became agitated by one of my own design choices.  "Why did I do that?" I asked myself, and "Wouldn't it look better this way or this other way?"

The "that" I was referring to is these four stitches that I've circled in white.  Why did I make them yellow and not green?  Or better yet, why didn't I keep carrying on with the spiral design in which case they would be red?

All of the sudden, this pattern that I had been perfectly happy with, became a source of anxiety.  I could not move on until I explored the other obvious design options.  In the moment, it seemed that making each section an obvious and separate field of color would look more striking.  

I stopped what I was doing and made a heart in which the four stitches in question were green.  That didn't look right to me as it seemed to be too much a break in the spiral pattern.  I ripped it out and carried on with the spiral.  While this was a bit better, it still felt off.  I missed having the spiral shape completely framed in green.  

In the end, after spending at least an hour going back and forth and back again, I decided that the original design was in fact the most appealing.  It was more interesting to have the colors sort of bleeding into one another as opposed to three separate parts.  

The reason I'm sharing this minor freak-out is because I think it's interesting how many decisions go into even the smallest design.  A lot of time and effort can go into something as simple as a heart.  I confess that I am guilty of looking at a finished product and thinking that I could make that in a cinch.  Of course it's easy to think that when you are looking at the completed effort and all of the design decisions have already been made.  Next time I find myself thinking such prideful thoughts, I will remember this humbling little heart.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pieces and Thoughts

Hello. I have pieces and thoughts on my mind today.  How's that for a strange theme?  By pieces I mean the little bits of tatting and crochet that I tend to carry from room to room these days.  They are components for my Fiberpunk™ Jewelry which I find oddly satisfying to make.  I say oddly because individually, they are such tiny, little projects.  I think that's what I like about them.  I can take little rest stops in my day and make a piece or two and feel a sense of accomplishment.  It has become how I transition from one activity to another.  I am currently planning to amass a huge assortment in every color and shape and then I'll have endless possibilities with which to design and play, like raking up a big pile of autumn leaves and then jumping in!

As for thoughts, well, that's less specific.  I guess I've just been thinking about how I miss blogging regularly.  I like the mental exercise of putting words together and seeing how they sound.  There are times when I talk myself out of writing because I'm certain I have nothing to offer and the reality of that is halting.  I have decided to not let that stop me anymore.  Poignant or pathetic, I think I'll go back to sharing the bits and pieces that comprise the day to day life of this fiber loving person that I am.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Folk Art Heart Coaster & Appliqué Crochet Pattern
Last weekend, as I was putting away holiday decorations and replacing them with our everyday things, I noticed that my crocheted coasters were looking a little shabby.  I began to think about a heart coaster design as Valentine's Day is coming.  I didn't want to make an ordinary heart, so I began to play with something less symmetrical and more whimsical.  The result is my latest crochet pattern, the Folk Art Heart.

The finished heart measures 4.5" by 5", the perfect size for a coaster or mug rug. It can also be used as an appliqué to add some homemade goodness to your favorite jeans, t-shirt or tote. The size can be adjusted simply by increasing or decreasing the weight of the yarn and using an appropriately sized hook.  Although I made mine in a cotton/linen blend, it could be fun to add some texture.  Can't you picture a fur trim?

Anyway, I just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and share this new little pattern.  I hope 2015 brings everyone happy and healthy days filled with love!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fiberpunk™ All The Way!
Fiberpunk™ has taken over here at Wind Rose!  Every free moment I can find, I'm either collecting materials, imagining new designs or actually making them.  The line has grown quite a bit since my last post.  I began with extra long necklaces that could be worn a myriad of ways.  Then I started long necklaces with focal points that still offered movement and the same eclectic style.  Then I figured out how to translate Fiberpunk™ into bracelet form which was a lot of fun.  Now I'm working on a ring design.  So I wasn't kidding when I said "all the way".  Oh, and I forgot to mention earrings.  They are on the horizon as well.  Let me share some pictures and everything that's ready for sale can be found in the Fiberpunk™ Jewelry Section at Wind Rose Fiber Studio!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Fiberpunk™ Jewelry

A brand new design has given me a renewed sense of excitement about my beloved fiber.  A picture formed in my mind one morning and I just had to act on it.  "I need a studio day," I said, putting my family on notice.  Once on my own, I foraged for supplies.  Drawers opened and closed, bags of yarn were dug through and tools assembled.  Hours later I emerged with the first piece in a new line of jewelry that I call Fiberpunk™.

I have enjoyed jewelry making for years and have always played around with blending yarn and jewelry, but never has a style presented itself to me with such clarity.  This is my love of tatting, crochet, beads and metal, come to life!  

So, what is Fiberpunk™?  It's a mixture of metal chains in different finishes and sizes that have been punked out with fiber.  It's texture and contrast, color and movement.   It's important to me that Fiberpunk™ Jewelry be versatile. When I complete a piece, I put it on a mannequin and if I can't create at least 5 cool and unique looks, I tweak the design until I can. Jewelry moves with us throughout the day and it's a lot of fun to wear a design that keeps reinventing itself with each move. 

I mentioned color before, so let's bring on the color!

Fiberpunk™ Jewelry is bold.  It's fun and funky.  It's colorful and textual.  It's Fiberpunk™!

You can hang with me as I create more Fiberpunk™ pieces at my dedicated Fiberpunk™ Twitter address @FiberpunkJewels.  I'm just getting started.  There is so much more to come!

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.