Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crochet Covered Storage Tin

It's my birthday and what am I doing?  I'm yarn bombing a 6oz tin just for the fun of it.  I might be getting one step closer to a tea cozy crocheting stereotype, but I love making things out of yarn enough that I don't even care. 

I finished off a 6oz tin of almonds the other day and couldn't bring my self to throw it away.  There are so many bits and pieces in the crafting that I do, so why not hold onto a perfectly good storage item?  

Flashback to my father saving baby food jars for his workshop.  He would screw the metal tops to the bottom of a shelf and then screw on the little glass jars.  This way he could see and keep organized his smaller hardware pieces.  Genius!

The thing is, how can I allow something so plain as a tin to enter Wind Rose Fiber Studio?  Somehow, always, fiber must get involved!  So I grabbed a bit of leftover yarn, I think this is a Noro silk and wool blend, and started making a cover.  The wonderfully colorful Noro was definitely an improvement, but I thought it still needed a little something.  That's when I got the idea to make a classic storage container label slot.  Three sides are sewn onto my cover and the top is open so I can label the contents of my tin. 

Now it's a proper yarn lovers storage container and pretty cute if I do say so myself. Wouldn't a little grouping be fun together?  It could also be cute to decorate a gift tin of cookies.  

I don't think you need instructions for this one.  I've hardly invented the cozy here.  In the way of guidance, I started with a basic 6 stitch circle (working in the round with H hook and in sc) which I increased in circumference until it matched the bottom of the tin (42 sts).  Then I did a round in the back loops only without increasing to form the bottom rim.  I continued on with the same number of stitches in the round until it reached the height of my tin.  I slip stitched one final row around to give it a nice edge.  I covered the bottom of my tin in Weldbond to keep the cover in place.  I don't really think the sides need glueing.  

For my label cover, I chained 17, I single crocheted in 2nd ch from hook and in the next 4 sts, 3 in next st for 1st corner, sc in next st and then 3 sc in next for 2nd corner, sc in next 5 stitches, then 3 sc, sc, 3 sc over the last three sts to create 3rd and 4th corners, join with sl st to first sc, finish off sewing the edges together as you weave in those ends.  I whip stitched it onto my cover with needle and thread and there you have it. 

I guess I basically just wrote a pattern after all.  Of course you can keep the top that came with the tin.  That could also be yarn bombed if you too abide by the notion that everything is better when covered in yarn. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Regensburg Scarf Revisited

Last night I was in the mood to crochet a little something as I wound down for the day. I wanted something familiar, so I chose one of my own designs.  I'm always promising myself that I'll revisit my patterns to see if I think they are holding up over time.  The more pattern writing you do, the better you get, so it makes sense to go back to earlier patterns and do a little editing.  

The pattern I picked is called The Regensburg Scarf.  I wrote it back in 2011 after a trip to Germany including the town of, you guessed it, Regensburg.  It wasn't any scarf in particular that inspired me.  It was the fact that people were wearing scarves all the time and everywhere.  The scarves were almost always the wrap around style where you bring the ends forward and they seemed to become part of an outfit, more like a necklace than a utility.
The reason why I wanted to share this pattern here again today, is because it's pretty unique.  I was reading over it last night and even found myself watching the companion video I made four years ago.  I had a strange moment of wondering how I came up with this because it's different than anything else I've designed and it's just kind of fun to do something a little different.  

Slowly my thought process came back to me.  I know I liked the idea of working the fringe in as you crochet.  I've always liked the idea of one uninterrupted thread creating an entire piece.  I also made up a ruffle.  I saw a lot of ruffles in Germany as well, so I wanted to make a crocheted scarf with ruffles.  I wanted more than the texture from a popcorn stitch or something similar.  I wanted an actual ruffle. 

So if you find yourself in the mood to crochet something with a couple of unique elements, The Regensburg Scarf is a fun and relatively quick project.  I think you'll enjoy the process, and if you're like me, you'll start thinking about what other designs you can make with a built in ruffle or fringe. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Drop Spindle Earrings

In my last post I shared a doll-sized drop spindle.  Today I'm going from small to smaller with my new Drop Spindle Earrings.  My thought process was not terribly involved.  I think it went something like, "If small is cute, than smaller would be even more cute." 

So I set out to made tiny drop spindles which turned out to be pretty fun.  One night I sat in front of the TV just sanding the ends of at least 50 little spindles.  It was almost meditative. During that time, I took one of my favorite pictures.  Here they are, my little spindles.  They seem to be floating or falling through space. 

Now that I had all of these cuties, I had to figure out how to turn them into earrings. They are much too small for any cup hook to be attached. I'm using fine wire to simulate the yarn.  The wire allows me to create a centered loop at the top so that the earrings hang in a straight and balanced way.  You can see that I have wrapped the wire at the top as though it is hitched into place above the cone of "spun" fiber.  

They can be challenging to make because they are small and call for precise work.  The spindles are only one inch long.  The end result is a nice little dangle earring.  Maybe people will recognize it for what it is, maybe not.  The spinners will know and that's what counts!

I have a few pairs made in my Gift Section at Wind Rose and more colors on the way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Doll Sized Drop Spindle

At the start of September, I found my way back into the studio.  My first project was to replenish my supply of Oversized Tatting Needles.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the interest in these 12" needles.  I have loved the one I made for myself, but you just never know how other people will feel about your ideas.

While these needles are not complex in their design, they can be a challenge to drill.  Needle tatting needles should not exceed the diameter of the yarn or else your tatting will be loose and less stable.  The idea is to have a needle whose diameter matches most bulky yarns, which is actually a rather small diameter.  However, the needle hole needs to be big enough to thread the yarn.  Basically, I'm trying to perfectly center a 3mm hole on a 5mm wooden needle.  

The reason I'm telling you all of this is because as I'm making these needles, there is some inevitable waste.  This got me to thinking and playing around with these bits of wood.  The result is a doll sized drop spindle.  Is there a market for such a thing?  I have no idea, but they are terribly cute.  I'm going to make a handful of them for the shop and sell them with a little ball of wool like my doll has here.  It's a way to use my wooden mishaps and share the spinning love with our 15 to 17 inch friends.  I'll post an update when I have a few made.

On a side note, I looked up the name of my doll, one of the few toys I have left from my childhood.  My mother tells me that my dad loved this doll when they were holiday shopping one year.  The left arm rotates and the doll changes expressions.  After a quick bit of internet research, I can tell you that this is Mattel's Saucy doll from 1972.  I have also discovered that she is featured in a few scary/creepy doll videos on YouTube.  I've always thought she was cute, but I guess it can be a fine line between cute and creepy in doll world. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Summer Hiatus

Gracious, I'm tired of seeing the same post at the top of my blog!  Especially one that begins with ack!  I must admit that I entered a purposeful dormant period over the summer.  I was feeling burnt out.  That along with a son graduating from high school, travel to Ireland and a tenth grade curriculum to write, I decided to take the summer off from fiber arts.  At the heart of this decision was not so much my busy life, but I wanted to miss fiber arts. 

It was not unlike fasting or other forms forms of deprivation.  At first it's not so bad, but then the cravings begin which soon turn to pangs.  Before too long, it's just painful.  Then there's that odd calm period and then the cravings begin all over again.  Of course I couldn't go all summer without food, but I did mange to go without fiber arts.  Towards the end, I came close to cheating several times.  I'd pick up a crochet hook and start thinking about crocheting something, anything, and then I'd force myself to walk away.

What I was hoping for actually came to pass.  By the end of the summer, not only was I itching to get back to fiber arts, but I was brimming with ideas.  So much of the time I spent denying myself, I also spent thinking about what I would make when I finally felt the time was right.  After four months celebrating life's big moments, exploring a bit more of this planet and preparing for the year ahead, I was ready to get my hands busy again and even better, it felt like an earned reward.  

I've been back at it since the beginning of September and the only reason I haven't written before now is because I was too consumed by my own deluge of creative activity.  So, no pictures today or links to products, just a promise that over the next few weeks I'll be sharing what I've been up to.  I have been posting at Wind Rose Fiber Studio on Facebook which I think of as the lazy writers' friend.  It is time to brush off that enabling friend and get my fingers typing!