Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fiber Arts for the Front Door!


I was excited to finish my tatted mandala yesterday.  It meant that I was free to do the next big tatted project that I had in my head.  I've been wanting to making decorations for my front doors.  It seems only right that the house of a fiber lover should be somehow be adorned in yarn.

The thought to make front door decor first came to me in December.  I had a design for Christmas wreaths all worked out, but I just couldn't find the time to devote to them.   Since spring in on the way, I changed my plan and decided to make giant flowers.  I have a little tatted flower that I like to make as a charm.  It's cute with an over-sized bloom and little curved stem.  It's the kind of flower you would expect to find on a visit to Wonderland with Alice.  Yesterday, I set out to make a big version of this friendly flower.

After lunch today, I finished my giant flowers.  I made two because I have double front doors.  I tied them right onto the doors even though I do own those metal wreath hanging things.  I thought the hangers were too distracting.  Flowers don't hang, they grow, right?  I guess these are sort of floating in space which is strange, but maybe not stranger than having tatted flowers on your door in the first place.  Projects like these make me happy.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tatted Mandala Wall Art


Every once in a while, I actually finish one of my projects.  Crazy huh?  Today I'm happy to share one such project.  Actually, I haven't blocked it yet, but it's finished enough!

It was last fall when I had the idea to tat a mandala inspired piece of wall art.  I began by working out the design in size 3 crochet thread.  It took quite a few tries to create the shape I had in mind.  Finally, on December 7th, I posted my small tatted mandala.  Here's a little excerpt from that post,

"In the center of the mandala is a circle surrounded by four arched chains.  These arches represent the four gates that you see on traditional mandalas.  On my final row, I have repeated the gates with the four large rings that point north, south, east and west.  They line up with the four arches in the center.  As a matter of fact, I decided that I would use the number four as the core of my design, so every chain and ring on the entire mandala has either four stitches or a multiple of four."

The mandala prototype measured 4.5 by 4.5 inches.  The one I completed today is four times that size measuring in at 18 by 18 inches.  It was an unruly mammoth.  There I sat carrying two strands of extra bulky yarn with my homemade, 12" wooden tatting needle.  My arm would start to tire from pulling the yarn through my stitches.  I very often had yards worth of yarn threaded.

This is also the largest tatting I have completed to date.  It's hanging from one screw that happens to be on my wall.  One of the things that motivates me to create these large tatted pieces is that I think it's cool to have wall art made from yarn that holds its shape.  I'm not using any stiffeners or special hanging materials, the pieces are able to lie flat against the wall and maintain their form.  I totally dig that!

The New & Improved Wind Rose Website


Wind Rose Fiber Studio has a new home.  While I must admit that I spend most of my time here on my blog and in my Etsy shop, I like to keep a website for Wind Rose too.  It's nice to have a home base that links to all of your sites and who doesn't want to be the queen of her own domain? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The 2012 Ornament Project ~ March Preview


I was cruising along with my day when I realized I hadn't blogged about anything.  There's almost always something hanging out in my studio, so today I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at the ornament I've designed for March. 

I was not planning on making a star when I sat down with my handspun and hook, but it just kind of happened.  I guess a star would make a good July ornament.  When I started this whole project, I wasn't necessarily planning on having the ornaments represent their months in some way.  Still, it makes a certain amount of sense.  I think when the year is complete, I'll sit down and compile all twelve patterns into a small book.  At that point perhaps I can organize them to better represent each month. 

It's hard to believe that March is just a week away.  Whether it comes in like a lion or a lamb, it will also be greeted by a new free ornament pattern! 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Playful Stripes Girl's Hat ~ A New Crochet Pattern!


I crocheted the Playful Stripes Girl's Hat just a few weeks ago.  It turned out even cuter than I imagined, so I decided to write up the pattern.  It took me all afternoon, but it's finally ready!

The back of the brim folds up so it is comfortable to wear lying down.  This means it would also make a nice gift if you like to crochet hats for cancer charities.  Actually, the hat pictured here is on it's way to Craft Hope and will hopefully put a smile on the face of its new owner.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Block Printing Sheep


I've been block printing sheep among other things today.  My son Wes and I are working together to make tote bags for the current Craft Hope Project.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you.  That's actually an 11-year-old boy at a sewing machine!  How about that?  First, we made our tote bags using plain black t-shirts for fabric.  We used the body of the shirts to make our 12 x 15 inch bags.  There was enough extra fabric on the sides to create our handles.  I also thought it would be really cute to use the ribbed neckline to make a pocket, but I decided against it for this project.  This was my son's first time at the sewing machine, so I wanted to keep things pretty basic.  

Once our tote bags were complete, it was time to decorate.  We decided to block print designs on the fabric.  Using foam board and adhesive backed felt, we cut our shapes.  We wanted things that would appeal to both boys and girls.  My son supplied the Pok├ęball and the Clamperl as well as the tulip.  I had to make a sheep because who doesn't like sheep?

Happy with our block collection, we set out to make our prints.  We painted our blocks with Soft Scrub with Bleach.  (It wouldn't be a bad idea to wear a face mask for this part.)  This cleanser is thick and makes for easy painting.  When we had our felt evenly covered with the Soft Scrub, we pressed it onto the fabric.  The sheep pictured here is what it looks like before washing out the excess bleach.

After letting the bleach prints sit on the fabric for 3 to five minutes, we rinsed them well with water and set them out in the sun to dry.  (I used bleach stop on our first few prints, but soon decided that it wasn't really necessary.)  Ours turned a warm rust color, but you never know with black fabric.  Sometimes you'll see more reds and other times you see blues and greens.  That's part of the fun.   

We hope the kids will like their block printed tote bags.  Wes and I enjoyed making them!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crocheted Tunic ~ New Project!


I haven't told you about my latest project yet.  I know I've been working on my Solomon's Knot lace vest and actually, I finished it.   I haven't taken pictures because I really want to make a second one now that I have the pattern completely worked out.  Since this was a first effort, I had to add a couple rows here and remove a couple there.  I'm kind of a perfectionist and it looks like a first draft effort to me.  I do like the design so I will make another, but I'm taking a little break.  

Here's what I'm making now.  I referred to this tunic as new, but I've been working on it behind the scenes for a little while.  If I just took a picture of the fabric, it would be hard to tell where I'm going with this project, so I drew a little sketch.  I'm working the design in four pieces, two squares and two long polygons.  The inspiration for this tunic came from my own closet.  I have a cool top that was made in Japan.  I really like the clean lines and construction of the piece, only there is one aspect of it I would change if I could.  Then I started thinking, why couldn't I? 

Baby Chick & Grass Green


Is it spring down on the farm?  No, actually Baby Chick and Grass Green are the names of the two shades of Merino wool roving I dyed yesterday.  It might not feel like spring yet, but I wanted to have these colors ready in plenty of time to felt baby chicks and other springtime themes. 

Sapphire, Silver, Light Blue & Violet Merino!


I didn't quite make it to the computer to blog yesterday, but I'm still busy dyeing this week.  Normally I arrange my freshly dyed roving in some sort of design.  Today when I plopped down this pound of fluffy goodness, I thought it looked inviting all cuddled up together, so I took a candid shot.

So as you can see, I now have Sapphire, Silver, Light Blue and Violet Merino roving back in the shop!  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Khaki Merino


It's dyeing week here at Wind Rose Fiber Studio.  That means I'll be showing off lots of fiber.  Yesterday I dyed one extra color, this pretty Khaki Brown.  Sometimes I get caught up in the process and like to play with my colors.  This is a very earthy shade with undertones of olive mixed in with a warm light brown.

Also swimming in the dye pots yesterday were Golden Brown and Mediterranean.  Today I'm shifting to cool tones with silver, violet and shades of blue.   


Monday, February 13, 2012

Dyeing This Week...


I haven't dyed any wool for a while now, so this week I have given myself a goal.  I plan to dye two colors a day for the next five days.  This will replenish my Merino inventory and free me up to dye some samplers hopefully in the near future.  I got a head start yesterday with a batch of Porcelain Fair Merino and Sun Touched Merino.  Since I'll be in dyeing mode, this is a good week to hit me up for any specific color you may need.  You may want to check my Dyed Merino section first because it has a pretty nice variety.   

Doll Mohair Top


I just added 3 listings of Doll Mohair Top to the shop.  This fiber seems pretty popular lately, so I thought I would share it with you.  It's an ecru or natural mohair with an 8" staple length.  It has a nice luster and makes ideal hair for handmade dolls.  It's also easy to dye so you can customize your project. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Mermaid is Here! ~ From Snowfall Studio


My Mermaid just arrived from Snowfall Studio and she's gorgeous!

I think she likes her new home.  What do you think?

I don't want to start a stampede or anything, but Kristen has a new mermaid in her shop with sweet little heart embellishments.  For Valentine's Day or any day, it would make a wonderful gift!

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Lace Vest ~ Now I'm Really Scaring Myself!


A couple days ago I talked about frogging my Lapis Wrap for a Solomon's Knot lace vest that I'm designing on the fly.  (frog/fly... too much?)  Well, today I went to a scary place.  I cut off a piece of my fabric from the beginning rows.  


I guess I need to explain that better.  I'm working my drape front style vest in one piece beginning from the left front, continuing across the back and then the right front.  I have already crocheted the second armhole so I'm nearing the finish line.  


I tried it on to make sure that I liked the width of the back and that is when I decided that the left front was a little longer than I wanted.  The proportions just looked a little off.  At this point I had three choices.  I could live with it, start all over again, or I could cut a few rows off from the beginning.  I knew I couldn't live with it and I didn't want to start over, so I went for the scissors. 


I don't think I've ever cut into a project before unless I was using part of it for something else.  In this case, I want to shorten the length without changing the look.  Since I care about appearances here, I was pretty nervous.  I say was because now that it's all said and done, I think I'm going to be okay.  

I was able to place a safety pin through the loops of the stitches that I'll be working into when I re-create the first row.  *Deep sigh*  I tried it back on and now the length looks much more in proportion, so I feel like my project is back on track.  I guess life is good if scary is cutting my crochet!  
 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Direct Checkout is Coming to Etsy


I was just on Facebook seeing what my peeps are up to, when I saw an interesting update from Dank Artistry.  Etsy is rolling out Direct Checkout.  This means that before long, you can shop on Etsy without a PayPal account.  That's right, you can buy something from Wind Rose Fiber Studio with just a regular old credit card.  


I've added my shop to the queue and just as soon as my turn comes up, I'll be accepting major credit cards at Wind Rose.  I think it's a nice improvement to give buyers a choice.  You will still have the option of paying with PayPal if you prefer.  Personally, I'm a fan of PayPal, but it's always nice to have options!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lapis Wrap Update


I haven't talked about my Lapis Wrap in a while. Here's the thing, I'm about 8 rows from being finished and I've decided to frog the whole thing.  I'm cringing as I type this because I'm afraid you'll think I'm crazy.  Maybe I am.  The sizing has worked out just fine even though I completely played around with the gauge.  The only reason I can offer is that I can't get the idea out of my mind that I would rather it be more lacy and light. 

I went browsing through one of my crochet stitch dictionaries to find a pretty lace.  I found myself drawn to the Solomon's Knot lace.  This has happened before.  I have made one other project using Solomon's Knot lace and that one turned out pretty, so I think I'm going for project #2.


This means I'm going rogue and making up my pattern as I crochet.  This is always a little risky, but it makes it kind of fun too.  I've crocheted around 10 inches worth so far and I love how light and airy the fabric feels.  It also has a nice drape and a stretchy quality that appeals. 


I still like the Lapis Wrap pattern and maybe next fall I'll go for it again and use a lighter yarn and the proper gauge.  With the temperatures already warming here in my part of the country, lace seems like the way to go!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Swedish Woven Paper Hearts - With Some Great Links


This afternoon I sat down with my son and we made these woven paper hearts.  He's doing a school project on Sweden and these popped into my head.  It seemed like good timing to mix a Swedish paper craft with Valentine's Day. 


I know I have a template for these in my house somewhere, but my quick search this morning came up dry.  So onto the internet I jumped and I found some pretty nice links if you would like to make these with your kids.  


If you are wondering about age range, my son is 12 and he made the red and purple one completely on his own.  These things always depend on the individual, but I'd say maybe 8 and up unless you just have a super handy little person in the house. 


On to the links!  Family Fun has a tutorial complete with video.  That's always nice.  Their template is cute too.  It's the green and blue one in my photo.  It creates little hearts within the big heart.  I found that this template prints better with a horizontal paper orientation.


I also stumbled upon the Daughters of Norway Nordic Paper Crafts page.  How's that for a mouthful?  As a Scandinavian, I found this whole website pretty awesome, but looking specifically for our woven hearts, they have some seriously cool templates.  The pink and purple heart I made up above came from the third link.  It's the one in the upper left hand corner on the template page.  I found out quickly that this can go from a simple craft to a challenging one very fast!  I should also note that I altered the template by cutting all of the lines up to the same height.  How you would weave it otherwise, I have no idea!


There's still time to make homemade valentines and this is a pretty fun project.  I guess I should also mention that they open up like little baskets.  You can cut a strip of paper and tape or staple it into place.  You could slip a sweet note into the basket or even a little treat.  Once again, if you look at the Family Fun page, they have a picture of one with a handle and some red stuffing.  Gee, I just realized that our hearts our sideways instead of right side up.  I guess we'll have to make some more!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cultivated Silk Hankies ~ Back in Stock!

 
Hi,  I just wanted to swing by and let you know that I have Cultivated Silk Hankies back in stock.  I also have Tussah Silk, Cultivated Silk, Fawn Alpaca and Baby Camel.  Just check out the Undyed Fibers or the Alpaca and Rare Breeds sections of the shop.  It's so nice to have these luxurious fibers in the studio!

Hat Sizing

I've been talking about hats a lot lately, so I thought I'd share this handy hat sizing list.  Even for those of us with kids, sometimes it's hard to remember the average head circumference of a 3 year old.  


This list leaves out adults.  21"-23" or 53.5 to 58.5cm is pretty typical.  21" is usually an adult small, 22" a medium, which leaves 23" as a large hat size.  This is the kind of information that's nice to keep around when hat making is the order of the day!

*Info for this post comes from Little Lids.

Baby Girl Beanie

I made another beanie for Craft Hope last night.  This one is sized for a baby girl.  I thought it might be nice to add a scalloped trim for an extra touch.  If you are making the Spiral Beanie, and you would like to add a trim like this one, all I did was alter the last row of the brim as follows:


(sl st, skip st, 3 dc in next st, skip st) around


This gives you a cute little scalloped edge.  I also wanted to make a flower for my brim.  I was using bulky yarn, so I knew I needed a very simple and flat flower or it would overwhelm the whole hat.  Here's how I made my


Six Petal Flower

ch 2
Row 1:  6 sc in second ch from hook, join with sl st to first sc
Row 2:  ch 2, dc, ch 2, sl st into same st, *sl st into next st, ch 2, dc, ch 2, sl st into same st* around, sl st into 1st sc and finish off.  Use tail ends to sew onto hat.

I hope you enjoy these little embellishments to The Spiral Beanie Pattern!  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Macrame Earrings by Amira Jewelry

I wore myself out writing a pattern yesterday, so today I'm having a little fun with show and tell.  A few weeks ago I made the mistake of clicking on an ad in the right margin of my Facebook profile.  Not only was I breaking one of my personal rules about ignoring such ads, but I also ended up stumbling upon a site that has become a major weakness.  That website is Fab.com and I think I'm addicted.   

Fab is like an ever changing, international bazaar of eclectic and fun stuff.  They feature items ranging from handmade to techy, from jewelry to housewares and even furniture.  I can't resist taking a daily peek at the sales and one day I just had to buy these amazing earrings by Amira Jewelry.  These are macrame, but as you can see from her website, Amira also creates canvas and assemblage jewelry.  You can find her work in her store on Etsy as well.  I'm particularly drawn to her macrame pieces.  I love the colors she chooses and the clean, yet interesting designs.  The quality of work in my earrings depicts an attention to detail that you only find when someone takes true pride in their craft. 


I know it's uncool to draw others into your addictions, so beware of me today!  I'll let you decide whether or not to explore the enticements at Fab.com.  On the other hand, I would encourage you to check out this wonderful artist, Amira Mednick.  I notice she sells her work at the Portland Saturday Market.  I love the Portland Market and it makes me wonder if I've seen her work before.  This is just the sort of thing that would typically catch my eye.  Of course the Saturday Market is huge, so I guess I could have missed Amira's jewelry.  I'm glad I've found it now!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 2012 Ornament Project ~ February


The Circle of Hearts

Materials:
your choice of yarn and an appropriately sized hook, scissors, and 5 stitch markers

Leave a 10" tail
Rows 1-5 are worked in the round


ch 2
Row 1:  work 6 sc in 2nd st from hook.  Place marker in front loop of first sc
Rows 2-5:  working in the round and in back loops only, sc around, place marker in front loop of first sc in each row

do not finish off 


Your work should look like a tube with the tail end coming up through the middle.  (you can use your hook to bring the beginning tail up through your tube)  The hearts (we'll make one half at a time) are worked in the unworked front loops from Rows 1-5 in a vertical fashion.  The first half will be worked from top (Row 5) to bottom (Row 1) in the stitches you have marked.  The second half of that heart will be worked from bottom to top in the unworked stitches directly to the left of the first half.  Please use the pictures as your guide.  I have marked the loops in which we will be placing our stitches with a dot.





























Beginning Hearts

First Half - sc in front loop of 1st sc from Row 5 (remove marker), (dc, 5 tr) in same st, dc in front loop of 1st sc from Row 4 (inserting hook from bottom to top as in picture below), hdc in front loop of 1st sc from Row 3,  sc in front loop of 1st sc from Row 2,  sl st in front loop of 1st sc from Row1

Second Half - working in unworked front loops directly to the left of first half and from bottom to top (see picture below) sl st in front loop of 2nd sc from Row1, sc in front loop of 2nd sc from Row 2, hdc in front loop of 2nd sc from Row3, dc in front loop of 2nd sc from Row 4, (5 tr, dc, sc) in front loop of 2nd sc from Row 5

















Repeat First Half and Second Half respectively two more times.  Each time you will be working in the unworked front loops directly to the left of the last half.  Your completed Circle of Hearts will have 6 heart halves.  
















Finishing

After completing your 6th heart half, you should be at the top of your ornament.  Sl st in front loop of 1st sc of Row  5 and finish off leaving 8".  Use your hook to draw this ending tail piece through the middle of the tube as in the picture below.  Tie the beginning and ending tails together using an overhand knot making sure to allow 2 to 3 inches for hanging.















Your Circle of Hearts ornament is now complete!  I hope the instructions are easy to follow.  This one was a little tricky to write.  Please don't hesitate to ask questions in the "comments" below if you need me to clarify anything.  Until next time...

(If you need a stitch guide or help with the abbreviations, Crochet 'N' More is a great place to find all of the basics.)

The 2012 Ornament Project ~ February Preview


It's February which means it's time for a February Ornament.  I wasn't exactly planning to have my ornaments ready on the first day of each month, but I had a little inspiration this morning.  I also wasn't planning to have my ornaments be a reflection of their individual months, but my son insisted that I should make some sort of heart.  Inspiration plus insistence equals The Circle of Hearts Ornament.


I could have just crocheted a heart, but let's face it, there are already a lot of free crochet patterns for hearts.  It would be hard to come up with something original.  I've also never been a big "heart" person.  I'm all for love, but I don't tend to buy heart shaped jewelry, figurines and such.  So, how does one make a heart, that's not too hearty and a little different from every other heart out there? 


I started to think about going three dimensional which is when the ideas began to flow.  This six sided, circle of hearts is the result.  From the side it looks like a cute little scrunchie.  From the top you can see the six rounded tops of the hearts forming a star shape, but if you fold apart the sides, you have an undeniable heart.  See?  Hearts, but not too hearty. 


I'm kind of pleased with February's ornament.  I would never have come up with it if my son hadn't requested a heart shape.  Sometimes it pays to listen!  I have the pattern all worked out.  Now I just need a little time to write it down and take a few pictures.  Although the finished ornament looks simple enough, I don't know that I could give this ornament an easy rating.  You'll need to feel comfortable working in the round and identifying stitches for stitch placement.  I think a little previous crochet experience will be helpful with this design. 

Handspun Tunis


Here's my Tunis all spun into just over 100 yards of light weight yarn.  This isn't exactly an example of my best spinning or plying for that matter.  I was kind of playing around with my new wheel and I also wasn't trying very hard.  Sometimes, it's fun to just spin while watching tv or hanging out.

If I had been a bit more serious and committed to turning this fiber into a nice skein, I think it would have helped to run it through my carder.  This Tunis really did have a shorter staple and the length was a little inconsistent.  In retrospect, it would have been nice to blend it with another fiber.

Now I feel like I'm picking on this Tunis, but I don't mean to.  While this yarn might be a little on the rustic side, I think it will be very pretty made into ornaments.  Rustic and homey is what I'm going for with my 2012 Ornament Project, so I think this yarn will be perfect.  I think it would be interesting to find some Tunis with a longer staple just to compare the two.