Monday, August 29, 2011

The Regensburg Scarf ~ Now on Sale!

This summer I spent a fair amount of time designing the Regensburg Scarf Pattern. In doing so, I became obsessed with making them. I wanted to have the scarf made up in different colors and yarns to photograph for the pattern. Now that the pattern is complete, I have listed the scarves at Wind Rose Fiber Studio. If you happen to be more of the shopping type than the crocheting type, you're all set! Just click on the pictures to see their listings.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Falkland & BFL ~ By the Pound!

I'm making some changes around Wind Rose Fiber Studio this week. Every so often I like to add new products and mix things up a bit. It keeps life interesting!

Beginning this week, Bluefaced Leicester Wool Top and Falkland Wool Top are now available by the pound. I'm starting off with a limited quantity, but if it catches on, I'll make it a staple.

If these wools are among your favorites to work with, you can now buy 16oz or more at a time!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Wool Additions ~ Mixed BFL & Polwarth

There are two newcomers to Wind Rose Fiber Studio, Mixed Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) and Polwarth Wool Top. The Mixed BFL is gorgeous! It's all of the natural shades of the breed combed together. It's mixed just enough to be nicely blended, but all of those colors come through in a pretty swirl. I can't wait to spin some of this myself!

The pretty, snowy wool on the right is Polwarth. I've been reading about the gaining popularity of this breed and so I decided it was time to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised when I handled it for the first time. It's nice and soft. It reminds me a little of Falkland, but it's more closely related to Merino. In fact, it's 75% Merino and 25% Lincoln. This breed was developed in Australia in the 1890's and I have a feeling it's here to stay!

I have a limited quantity of each. If they turn out to be a shop favorites, I'll add them to my regular inventory. Right now they are listed in three quanitites each:

Mixed BFL: 1oz, 2oz, 4oz
Polwarth: 1oz, 2oz, 4oz

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Tunisian Crochet Project

On August 19th, I shared the beginning of my Tunisian crochet project. Since then, I have changed yarns twice. This picture is of the second yarn choice. This yarn is a little heavier than the sock weight suggested by the pattern and I was also using a larger hook. I like the look of this, because you can really see the pattern in this yarn. I guess I'm being fickle with this project though, because I have changed back to a sock weight.As much as I like this yarn, I think that the finished piece would be too warm for where I live (the outskirts of Phoenix) and it would also be kind of pricey. This is Boboli yarn by Berroco in color 5305 which runs about $15 a hank. I'm guessing this project would take at least 6 hanks. Ouch!

My new, and I hope final yarn choice is Serenity Sock Weight in navy. I picked this up at Joann's yesterday and while it sort of freaks me out that there is a picture of Deborah Norville on the package (I try to avoid "collections"), I like the color. For a navy, it has a lot of grey in it and I think it will look nice with black, white and blue which are kind of wardrobe staples. Plus, it's $4 a pop, so even if I still need about six skeins, it's a nicer price. I should also mention that fiber content is pretty important to me and sock yarns are usually better that way than most craft store yarns. This one is 50% superwash merino, 25% bamboo and 25% nylon. It feels good, I think it will have a nice drape and it will be easy care.

So I'm starting over for the third time. This is no way to get a project done! On the other hand, now that I've had all of this practice, the pattern has become second
nature. I've avoided telling the name of this pattern because I find it kind of embarrassing. Okay, here goes. The project I'm making is called "Mystifying Embrace". For some reason this name bothers me like an overly syrupy love song or something. Couldn't they have called it... um... well, anything else? I shouldn't talk. I'm sure I've come up with some goofy names for my stuff too and it's a very pretty Möbius ring wrap. Hey, there's a good name. How about Pretty Möbius Ring Wrap?

Where can you find this "Mystifying Embrace"? It's part of Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet and it's on the cover too. See? Very pretty. Hopefully, next time I chat about this project, I'll be much farther along!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaching Crochet ~ Flowers & Leaves

I'm back to share this week's adventures in teaching crochet. My crochet class meets on Tuesday mornings, so I am writing this after the fact. Of course blog posts are sort of frozen in time, so I guess it doesn't matter all that much whether I talk about the class before or after it happens. I just like the idea of bringing you along for the ride.

I always tell my kids to have their assignments done at least 24 hours early so they have time to tweak them or possibly to remember any details they may have missed. Do I take my own advice? No, I'm afraid not. When did I prepare for my Tuesday crochet class? Monday! So rather than leisurely getting things together, I celebrate mad Monday where I run around like a crazy woman, shopping for supplies, working through patterns, filming tutorials and writing up designs. As a matter of fact, as I came out of Joann's with two bags full of yarn and other various supplies, I had the strongest sense of deja vu. I wondered to myself if this feeling would become a weekly occurrence.

So let's talk about the actual lesson plan. Last week my fellow teacher and I introduced crocheted flowers to the class. They were such a big hit that it was decided that we would focus on flowers as a theme for the time being. Our first project was the Deco Rose whose pattern I now have listed here at Wind Rose. The Deco Rose was a very good starting pattern. This week we tackled a Zinnia Flower.

Years ago I found a Zinnia pattern on Crochet Pattern Central that I really liked. When I went back to find it, I had no luck. If it's still there, it's hiding from me. I remembered the basic premise, so I just wrote my own pattern. I knew that the Zinnia Flower Pattern would be more of a challenge for our students, so I made a video tutorial for it as well. Actually, since I was filming anyway, I made videos for the Deco Rose, Zinnia and also a Veined Leaf. I think the video tutorials really help. The class can watch the project from beginning to end and then feel more confident as they follow the directions and make the pattern themselves.

In preparation for teaching class, I also worked through a traditional rose pattern that one of the students saw in my book Crochet Bouquet. I wanted to be ready to help her through the pattern if she wanted to give it a try. In a nutshell, I wrote up patterns for the Deco Rose, the Zinnia and the Veined Leaf. I made samples of each including the traditional Rose, and I filmed and edited three video tutorials. That was a lot to do in one day!

On the upside, I shouldn't have as much to do for next week. I'll probably add one more flower to the collection and write up a couple more patterns, but whether I'm preparing like crazy or not, it's all worth it. The class had a great time today visiting and crocheting. Flowers were made and newer members were inspired to learn. I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend this this great group of people. Also, from one crocheter to another, I like passing on my lesson plans. I hope you enjoy the patterns and if you happen to teach a class of your own, maybe your class will have fun with these flowers too. Until next time...

Veined Leaf ~ Free Crochet Pattern

Here's a simple pattern for creating a pretty Veined Leaf. You can also follow along with a complete YouTube tutorial. That video can be found here: How to Crochet a Veined Leaf

Veined Leaf Pattern

chain 10 leaving 8” beg tail
Side 1: working in back loops of beginning chain, 3 dc in fourth st from hook, dc in next 3 sts, hdc in next st, sc in next st, sl st in last st, ch 1, sl st in ch just made (leaf point made)
Side 2: working down the other side of the beginning chain in the front loops, sl st in next st, sc in next st, hdc in next st, dc in next 3 sts, work 3 dc in next st, join with sl st to top of beg ch 3

Stem: chain 4, sl st in second st from hook and in next two sts. sl st to next dc, finish off weaving in all loose ends

Deco Rose ~ Free Crochet Pattern

I posted the pattern for this flower just recently, but I'm sharing it again because now you can also follow along with a complete YouTube tutorial. You can find the video by clicking this link: How to Crochet a Deco Rose

Deco Rose Pattern

chain 21 leaving 12” beg tail
Row 1: work 2 sc in second st from hook and in each stitch across, ch 3 turn (40 sc)
Row 2: dc in 1st st, work 2 dc in each st across (80 dc incl. beg ch 3)
cut off pulling yarn through final st to create a knot. Leave 12” ending tail

Curl flower into the desired shape. Thread large eye needle with one tail end. Use this yarn to weave in and out of the end rows in the center of the flower back. Leave yarn off to one side

Thread the remaining tail end. Repeat sewing above to secure the shape of the flower. Leave yarn off the the opposite side of the first tail end. Use ends to affix flower to pin back or other projects.

Zinnia Flower ~ Free Crochet Pattern

I just wrote up this pattern for my crochet class, so I'm happily sharing it with you as well. The Veined Leaf Pattern is also coming.

In addition to the written instructions below, you can view a complete video tutorial on my youtube channel. How to Crochet a Zinnia Flower

Zinnia Pattern

chain 2 leaving 12” beg tail
pattern is worked in the round
Row 1: 6 sc in second st from hook
Row 2: working in back loops only, 2 sc in each st around (12 sc)
Row 3: working in back loops of Row 2, sl st in next st, ch 10, sl st in same st, repeat around until you have 12 large petals
Row 4: Working in front loops of Row 2, sl st in next st, ch 8, sl st in same st, repeat around until you have 12 medium petals
Row 5: Working in front loops of Row 1, sl st in next st, ch 6, sl st in same st, repeat around until you have 6 small petals
Finish off weaving in all loose ends on the back side of the flower or use to affix flower to pin back or other projects.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Yesterday I was working on my Tunisian crochet project when I got to thinking. I really like making things, but my handmade items tend to get lost among all the roving in my shop. The truth is, I do focus on selling fibers in my Etsy store and that's my intention. Still, I have a studio full of designs that need a good home.

Then it occurred to me that I already link to the patterns I sell here on my blog. You can go to the Crochet Patterns page and not only find free patterns, but the ones for sale as well, so why not have a shopping page?

I already have my handmade accessories available for purchase in my Etsy and ArtFire stores, so I've created a new page that is simply called Shop. It's a gallery of pictures so you can browse through a selection of my favorites. If you see something that interests you, like this cute Autumn Baby Beanie for instance, you can just click on that photo. That click will take you directly to the product listing where you can view more images and all of the important details.

So far I have 21 handmade accessories available on my Shop page. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be working to add to that list. If you love handmade and giving handmade gifts, or even if you just like to window shop, I hope you will enjoy this new feature here on the Wind Rose Fiber Studio blog.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Suggestions For You ~ Tunisian Crochet

If you shop on Amazon, you're probably familiar with the phrase "suggestions for you". These are the listings that pop up as you're shopping and are based on past purchases, so they are generally things about which you have some interest.

Two days ago I was looking on Amazon for a book of idioms after my son's teacher informed me that he just doesn't seem to understand them. I can't argue with her on this point. My son is so literal, that if you tell him he's just scratched the surface of something, he will look for the actual scratch.

If his teacher feels he needs a better grasp of idioms, then I'm the kind of mom who will buy the Scholastic Book of Idioms and read them at the dinner table. I'll talk in idioms, joke in idioms, until there isn't an idiom left that my son hasn't heard. (You're feeling sorry for my kids right now, aren't you?)

As I was buying over 700 sayings and expressions, I received my "suggestions for you". On this particular day they found a weak spot, Tunsian crochet. I can ignore a lot of things, but I find Tunisian crochet cool and interesting. I've done some basic Tunisian crochet, but nothing fancy. I was sucked in by the picture on the cover of a beautiful woman wearing a Möbius strip shawl. Darn you August Ferdinand Möbius and your clever mathematics!

Powerless against their suggestions, Amazon triumphantly sold me a copy of Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet by Sheryl Thies. I find it ridiculous that every other crochet book has "get hooked on" in the title like it's a command we crocheters just can't resist, but my personal library is a hopeless testament to the success of this particular marketing campaign.

Now that I have made it sound like I was practically forced to buy this book, I'll share my project with you. After looking through all thirteen options, I chose the Möbius style shawl on the cover. I happened to have a couple skeins of Patons black lace in my stash, so that's the yarn I'm using. I know it's a little hard to see the pattern in black and that's too bad because it's pretty cool.

It took me several tries to get the stitch down actually. The pattern reads "YO, Tks 3 (5 loops on hook), pass YO over 3 loops just made". I guess my mind was stuck in the world of regular crochet because I interpreted that to mean that I should YO and pass through the three loops just made on my hook. When I finally read the instructions more carefully, I realized that the 3 loops just made should be drawn under the previous YO thus carrying or passing that YO over those three loops.

Now that I think about it, it's kind of funny that I was struggling because I was not being literal enough!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teaching Crochet ~ Flower Class

I'm a little later than I said I'd be with this post. Sorry about that! Anyway, today I'm starting a series of posts about teaching crochet. Right now I'm partnered with another teacher and we are teaching a crochet class with the ultimate goal of designing products that the students will be able to sell for additional income. Our class has a unique dynamic in that the faces can change from week to week and the skill levels range from absolute beginner to some experience. We like to present a project that our students can make from start to finish in our two hour class time. With each new project, we hope to expand the skills of our students while having good, creative fun.

For this particular class, we decided to make a flower pin. This was my idea, so I began by exploring my personal library for basic flower patterns. I have a zinnia pattern that I make a lot, but I wasn't sure that it would be a good, first flower project.

There are so many great flowers out there, but our students, for the most part, are comfortable with chaining and single crochet. I wanted a flower that might introduce one new stitch, but not two or three. At least for our initial flower project, I wanted to avoid anything too complicated.

That's when I remembered a simple, deco style rosette that I made with a previous class. I searched my computer hard drive and was able to find my old pattern. In addition to that, I still had a scarf, embellished with these flowers in my studio. It's always nice to have a sample piece.

The moment I thought of these little spiral flowers, I knew they would be a good beginning project.

The next thing I did was grab a hook, skein of yarn and a yarn meter to work through the project. It's nice to have a yarn meter when you teach because you can determine exactly how much yardage a project requires. That way, you can cut off pieces of yarn in advance and make project kits, or if more than one person likes the same skein of yarn, you can cut off the right amount for each student and share.

Here's a little picture of my yarn meter. You just slip the yarn through and then there is a small lever you depress to keep the yarn is place. The yarn passes easily through the meter as you crochet. At the end of a project, you can see just how many feet of yarn you've gone through. It's very easy to then round up to the nearest yard. My little spiral flower used 35 feet of yarn so I know that 12 yards of yarn is plenty for making one flower. I bought this particular meter at The Woolery and it's been very dependable.

Now that I had zeroed in on a flower, I needed to be ready to teach the students how to make it. It's always best if you can find the time to work through your project. Even though this spiral flower is something I designed myself, it had been a long time since I'd made one. Also, my old design notes had instructions for making the flower in three different sizes, so I needed to settle in on a size.

In and ideal world, I would have written down a nice, succinct pattern for the class. As life would have it, I ran out of time and decided to just talk the class through the pattern. Only a couple of our students are comfortable following patterns, so I figured that this would be okay. Of course, I would like to get to the point where everyone can read a pattern, so next week, I'll be ready with a written version.

So in case you kind of like this little flower, here's how it's made:

Chain 21 leaving a 12 inch tail
Row 1: work 2 single crochets into the second chain from the hook and in each st across = 40 sc
(the piece will begin to curl into a corkscrew shape)
Row 2: Chain 3 turn, double crochet in first stitch then work two double crochets in each stitch across = 80 dc (beginning chain 3 counts as first dc)
Finish off leaving a 12 inch tail.

Now, starting from one end, wrap the curly piece around until you form a rosette. you can control how tight or loose you would like your rosette to be. Then using a large eyed needle, thread the yarn in the center of the rosette and pass it through to the back of the flower, tacking the center in place. Next, weave or whip stitch the tail in and out of the end rows in the center of the back of the flower to hold the shape of the rosette. Finish with this tail piece being just off to one side of the center of your flower.

Now thread the other tail end. Tack this end of your flower in place with a couple of stitches to the back of the flower. Then you can weave this tail through the end rows just as you did before to make sure the shape of the flower is secure. Finish with this tail piece being to the opposite side of the first one. The two tail pieces should be about an inch apart. Then you can thread them through a pin back and use a good square knot to tie the pin back in place.

These little flowers also look great felted and can be used to accent hats, scarves, you name it! To make the rosette bigger or smaller, jut make your beginning chain longer or shorter. A cluster of 3 or 5 flowers in different sizes can look really cute.

These flowers look pretty made out of multicolored or textured yarn. You can embellish your flower with a bead in the middle. Just let your imagination run wild!

...Yesterday was our crochet class and the flower pattern turned out to be a lot of fun. Our students were able to successfully complete the project and left with pretty rosette brooches pined to their shirts. As a matter of fact, the flowers were such a hit that we are going to continue with this theme and work on a few different kinds of flowers and maybe some leaves too.

If you are learning to crochet or teaching a class of your own, give this pattern a try. It's fun to be able to wear your finished project and be able to say, "I made it!"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blogger's Block

Yup, I've been blocked! There's no other explanation for the lack of writing from August 4th until today. Countless times I've come into my office, pulled up my blog, sat down to write and had my mind go blank. "Nothing", I think to myself, "I have nothing interesting to say."

The silly thing is that it's not as if life has come to a screeching halt over the last two weeks. I'm still teaching my crochet class, my head is still full of project ideas and I've even dyed 16 batches of Merino wool in an effort to keep my inventory at Wind Rose complete.

Maybe I needed to get away. I just spent a weekend with my family back in Virginia and enjoyed a rare afternoon with first, second and even third cousins, some of whom I was meeting for the first time. Among the crowd of jolly visitors was my cousin Mike. Not only is he a first, but he's truly a one of a kind. You may be blessed with a similar character among your people. He is the story teller with the free spirit and contagious laugh, but there is only one Mike.

Somehow Mike has become a reader of my little fiber blog and his interest and encouragement have finally broken my block! So thank you Mike for inspiring me to think creatively again and to enjoy my writing, interesting or not! Fascinatingly enough, the moment you "get over yourself" so to speak, the words start flowing again.

This leads me to the introduction I would like to present today. I've been sharing about my volunteer work this summer, but in essence, what it really is, is a crochet class. I thought it might be interesting for anyone learning to crochet or for others who already crochet and are thinking about teaching the craft, to following along on the process of putting a crochet class together. So coming up, starting later today as I have a lesson I need to prepare for tomorrow, I'll take you with me from picking a project to gathering materials and finally figuring out how to present it.

So I'll see you soon!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Border Leicester Locks ~ Now at Wind Rose!

Hi. I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I listed a few ounces of the Border Leicester locks from the last post. I have 4oz of them available at Wind Rose, but if you wish for more, just drop me a convo through the shop.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Border Leicester Locks

I'm so excited about my latest fiber purchase. The box arrived today and I've already scoured the enclosed 3.75 pounds of Border Leicester Locks. Here they are drying in the sun. These are far and away the prettiest locks I've ever come across. They are from a flock that has won Supreme Grand Champion ribbons for their fleece quality and the condition of the animals.

These locks have a wonderful curl and have obviously been expertly shorn. They have about a 4" staple length and range between 30 and 38 microns. The shepherd had spinners in mind when she triple picked these locks. Not only are they the most gorgeous locks, but they're the cleanest as well. I scoured them very gently so as not to break up those stunning locks.

Once the locks are dry, I'll be selling some in the shop at Wind Rose. Also, when I get a chance, I dye some too. With over three pounds, there's plenty to share!

The Regensburg Scarf ~ The Pattern is Ready!

I'm happy to share that I have finally completed my pattern for The Regensburg Scarf. This pattern took me a little longer than some in part because I created a companion video for the project.

It's not that this scarf is terribly difficult, but it contains a couple of things you don't see every day. For instance, the fringe in worked as you crochet and not after the project is complete. Also, the ruffles require a good comfort level with stitch placement. I want less experienced crocheters to feel comfortable making this pattern and a great way of doing that is by making a video.

As always, I like to share things first, here on my blog. You can see more pictures of The Regensburg Scarf on the listing. I love the versatility and all of the great looks you can create!