Thursday, January 1, 2009

When Moose can't get Loose


This is going to be a very long post with a lot of horrible pictures featuring my best impression of Cindy Crawford in her lost bon bon years.

Note the circles under my eyes from lack of sleep and the fact I'm looking a bit crosseyed in an attempt to not flip out on my husband and toddler who were "assisting" me with what I've deemed the "Chipmunk Couture" photo session.

Though the pictures aren't great, I wanted to at least show everyone what I'd been working on during our wonderful snowed-in adventure.

It had been a long time since I've really felt inspired to dig through my stash and let the yarn "speak" to me per se.

I'd started putting everyone and everything else first the past few months that I'd stop creating.

Lack of Moose Threads sales this winter season had not only hurt my wallet, but my heart. I really contemplated just giving it all up.
I was tired of people assuming I'd let them pay either nothing or next to nothing for my designs.
Or saying they wanted to order something (every time they saw me) only for it to never happen.
Or my favorite - being told my items would best be suited for the consignment/thrift store - just because they were crocheted.

Yeah, my creative side has really taken some hits the past few months.

But then a conversation with my Sicilian, tell-it-like-it is grandma - one of the women who taught me to crochet - helped me recover.

"You need to start making things for yourself again," she said.
"You've been so caught up in making things for other people or with the hope that other people will like or buy them, that you've stopped putting yourself into them. You've forgotten why you started making things in the first place."

That was it.
I was forgot how fun crochet can be.
I forgot how exciting it is to put odd colors together or to manipulate the yarn to make an impossible shape.
I forgot to just be me.

So on with the fashion show

This first picture is one of two scarf and hat sets that I created by taking two completely different colorways of Noro Sock Yarn and doubling them up. I used an offset shell pattern to add texture to the yarn, which I found self-striped in very unexpected and exciting way.

Each skein of yarn held about 400 yards and cost around $22 each. They had been sitting in my closet for nearly a year.

Next is the second set I made. This set I've opted to keep for myself and have had many a stranger walk up to me, grab it and marvel over the colors and pattern. Some were even shocked to find out it was crocheted.

This scarf is made of just basic acrylic yarn that I had been hoarding for YEARS. Though not the biggest fan of acrylic I've found it's can often yeild unexpected and wonderful surprises if the right pattern is used.

I first started with the varigated skein featuring colors of a fall harvest. I rooted around in my stash until I found a bright orange left over from another project, a random skein of white and lastly I chose the brick red to help bring out some of the deeper colors of the variagted yarn.

At first I wasn't sure how well they'd play out when looking at the skeins all lined up.
I grew even more frustrated with my choices after trying everything from a basic striped pattern to a complicated checkered pattern.

Somehow they just didn't work.

Then I remembered this diamond stitch I had used for an afgan over a year ago.
I made up a swatch and loved it. The colors popped to me and even my husband said it was great.

It's hard to tell from these pictures, but I guarantee that once you see a photo of this scarf taken in natural light you'll love it.

This next scarf was my first attempt at felting.
I had done an interview for a freelance assignment with a local spinner and yarn maker Heidi Parra. She had these wonderful skeins of yarn all dyed by a friend of hers.

They were a bit scratchy but was assured they'd felt up nice and soft.

The turquoise and green were a fingering weight while the grey and purple were worsted.

I made a basic stripe pattern, deciding to leave the ends out to provide a wacky all-over fringe.

The result was better than I could have imagined.

Upon felting, the turquoise and green yarns pulled in tight,creating a wonderful wavy pattern. The ends I thought added a fun texture and overall the scarf was nice and soft.

I still haven't decided if I want to keep this one for myself or not. I have enough yarn left over to make a second one.

During my snowy confinement I decided to create something for my adorable nephew Xavier. He is in love with dinosaurs, so I wanted to make something special.

After rooting around in my stash again, I came up with some skeins of Red Heart Super Saver yarn a friend had given me a while back. Though not a fan of the Red Heart, I knew it at least would wash up well and hold up to most toddler escapades.

I wanted a stitch that would provide a bit of texture without being too bulky. I discovered a simple single crochet - chain one combination worked quite well.

I made the dino as an applique and sewed it onto the front of the sweater before assembling all the pieces. The result was something Xavier loved and refused to take off.

Finally, my last new design was this beanie.

Using the leftover brown from the dino sweater and discovering some Red Heart Super Saver in a light turquoise buried in the closet, I combined the two in such a way that would not only highlight the crossover stitch I had used, but also each color.

See I told you this would be long.

If you made this far I applaud you and thank you. I'd love to hear what you think. Good or bad.


MonsterBug Blankets said...

Goodness, Moose--I love them all! I think my favorite (though choosing is HARD) is the first hat/scarf set! Those are soooo my colors! :) You've done great--I'm glad you played around and found some fun things to work on!


Jessica said...

I love, love, LOVE them all!!!! We need to get you snowed in a little more often! :) Like you, I've kind of lost "myself" lately trying to think of different things to create for different people and different tastes. So, this will be the year of ME!! And one of the first things I'm going to work on is that dragonfly quilt! :)

Bubba & Rye said...

I adore the felting...definitely a fabulous thing I don't see as often. I adore the sweater as well. And most of all the beanie! I'm a huge fan of that color combo, and I love that cross stitch.
Most of all hooray for your Grandma for re-inspiring you! I would be heartbroken if you closed shop, or if you budged a bit on pricing.

Amy said...

WTG Moose. Everything looks great. Your grandma gives good advice.

Liz said...

wqy to go girl! everything looks so amazing and i am envious of the amazing stitched you know! the diamond pattern is beautiful and you used great colors and the stitch on the hat (which i LOVE by the way) is so cool! yay you for being inspired again!

Kandyce P said...

First I would like to say that you are so pretty! I love all the new pieces too! I really love turquoise, so that last hat might be my personal favorite. I hope that you continue to crochet just for you, and then if you are willing to part with one of your beautiful pieces, both you and the proud new owner will know that you left a piece of you in their beautiful new hat/scarf/whatever!