Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ack! Pattern Writing! Ack!

Tall Muk Luk shell waiting for a sole and top trim.
Sometimes it's nice to have a blog so you can share the sheer "ack" of it all!  Writing my Tall Muk Luks pattern was making me crazy.  I always knew that it would be challenging to write this design  in a concise and approachable way.  Well, I was right.  

As you know, legs and feet come in all shapes and sizes.  Attempting to accommodate as many as possible has really added to the ack factor.  A little over a week ago, I got so frustrated that I just walked away.  I told myself that it was because I had to pay my taxes and take a road trip to my son's college.  Both were true, but not really the reason I was avoiding my crochet hooks. 

I can only write about this now because I seem to have overcome my stumbling blocks.  Everything is falling neatly into place and all I really have left to do is to make a test pair of each size.  I also need to take some pictures which means finally bonding with my new Nikon 3300.  This will certainly lead to another vent-tastic blog post.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Tall Muk Luk Pattern - Progress Report

This is what my work space looked like at ten o'clock last night.  You'd never know by this pic that I'm kind of a neat-nick, but when I'm in the midst of working on a design, things can get pretty messy.  In the case of these muk luks, I've got more yarn on hand than usual because I'm writing the pattern to fit multiple sizes.  This means experimenting with yarn weights plus various hooks which equals more stuff.

The good news is that I'm making some real progress.  I'm writing this blog post to propel myself forward as much as anything else.  When you are all alone in a studio you have to be your own cheerleader.  Go! Jenn Go! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Tall Muk Luk Pattern - It's Really Happening!

It's a sunny afternoon and I'm on my back porch (my happy place) working on the tall muk luk pattern.  It occurred to me that I should take a picture lest you think I've forgotten or that I'm flaking out.  Never!  In fact, in the past week, I've had two more people comment on older posts asking for this pattern.  The requests keep coming and frankly, they are keeping me motivated. 

I'd love to tell you I'm halfway there, but the truth is, I'm off to a slow start.  It has been several years since I've even made a muk luk so I can't help but play around a little and see if I want to change anything.  For instance, on the crochet along that I published back in 2010, I used a size K crochet hook.  That's a pretty big hook and so I've been experimenting with smaller ones.  Here I have a sole crocheted in a size I (gray) and in the original K (red).  I like the look of the gray sole.  The stitches are smaller and less airy which means warmer too.  On the other hand, the K hook makes up quicker and the soles will eventually be covered with suede or some sort of fabric and will thus be plenty warm.  I think what tilts the table in red's favor, or size K, is that the fabric has more stretch and will be more comfortable I think.  The stretch factor also helps when designing multiple sizes for all of those unique footsies out there.  

So this is me, checking in to let you know that I am following through on the long awaited tall muk luk pattern.  I'll keep you updated with my progress.  Hope your day is sunny too!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oh Those Muk Luks!

Hi there and happy almost Valentine's Day.  I've been thinking about my muk luks today.  I began sharing muk luk stories the very first year of this blog.  That was 2008.  I actually blogged about them twice that year including an Ode To Muk Luks.  Then in 2010, I decided to share the shorter muk luk pattern in a photo tutorial crochet-along. A handful of people joined me and it was fun to make them in real time with others sharing their feedback and finished muk luks. I put more time into that tutorial than just about anything I've done here on the Wind Rose blog, and when it was done, I felt satisfied and moved on to others projects.  

Since that time, I have felt surprised and grateful to have more and more visitors come for the muk luk pattern.  It led to the making of several YouTube support videos for people who wanted even more of a visual aid.  In addition, I have had quite a few people ask for the tall muk luk pattern.  I have been hesitant and have said as much in comments.  It's not that I don't want to share the pattern, it's that I know how involved this pattern is and how much time it will take to create.  

I'm writing about these dear old muk luks again today, because when I put something in writing, I am sure to follow through.  I have decided to commit to writing the ultimate muk muk pattern.  I'm using the word ultimate because I plan to include both the pattern for the short and the tall muk luks.  In addition, I'll be writing the patterns in small, medium and large sizes and I'll do my best to address all of the questions I've received over the years.  When complete, this pattern will be available as an instant download pdf through my shop.  I will be sure to make announcements here when the time comes.  I will continue to offer the existing tutorial for free, but the complete pattern will be sold for a reasonable price.  I know, free is awesome, but this one is going to be a big project for me, so I hope you understand.  

So this is it!  This is my commitment to finally write the tall muk luk pattern and to revamp the short pattern.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long, but I hope it will be worth the wait!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ducky Appliqué Crochet Pattern - It's New!

This is starting to look like the year of the appliqué.  First there was the Folk Art Heart and now there's a Ducky.  Have I gone mad?  Or worse, have I gone cutie patootie?

I guess there's nothing else to do but own it.  Yes, I designed this little yellow ducky.  I didn't actually wake up one morning with the burning desire to design a duck.  During a recent visit, my mom asked me if I could make one.  She was working on a baby blanket that called for a row of ducks.  The way in which the ducks were to be knitted into the fabric was difficult and so my mother decided to hire a duck woman.  That's me.

 I've never been one to reinvent the wheel, so the first thing I did was jump on Pinterest.  I figured that there were probably some crocheted duckies out there, and though there were, none were quite right.  I was going for more of that classic rubber ducky shape.  After a few false starts, I put down my crochet hook and picked up a pencil.  Once I had a drawing I liked, the rest came easily.  Basically, if I can draw it, I can crochet it.  I guess that's my process.

If you find yourself in need of a Ducky Appliqué pattern, I am adding this one to the mix.  The yellow ducky was made using some of my own handspun, hand dyed yarn.  Then I mused that a brushed mohair ducky would be fairly adorable.  See, I have gone cutie patootie!  I will call him Fluffy.

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.