Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ready for my Cloche Up!

Sorry, couldn't resist a bad pun. I've been under the weather this week, but needed to leave the house for supplies, and since the temperature has dipped, I was looking for things to keep me warm, but wouldn't be difficult. I settled on this green & purple cloche I made last year, and a ruana that was a gift from my sister.

Took a selfie, and after I returned home from errands, posted the pic on Facebook and G+. Got a few likes/+1's, and then did a double take, because one of my favorite knit/crochet designers liked the photo, and we had a brief exchange on Facebook. Fangirl squee!

Anyway, here's the cloche!

I'm happy to make you one in colors of your choice, for $35 + shipping, and stay tuned, because other designs will be joining it soon! This is made from a wool/acrylic blend yarn. Super soft and squishy - you can fold it up, stuff it in a satchel or pocket, and then shake it out when you're ready to wear it again - it's stylish and cozy on these blustery days!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free Cloche crochet pattern

I freehanded a cloche from Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick a few years ago. After getting some requests for a pattern, I made a second, writing the steps as I went (and referring often to the original). It was before I'd started this blog, so hop over to my WordPress blog to see the pattern:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Momentum Challenge, Day 1

I recently joined the Momentum Challenge (, after hearing about it from one of my frientors (friend/mentor),  , the vivacious owner of +Threeravens Art Yarns and Fibers . Because the creators of MC encouraged people who join the challenge to find a friend to share the challenge with, Christiane posted to one of her Facebook groups, inviting people to join. I've been thinking I wanted to give this another shot anyway, and the challenge seemed like a great opportunity to do some soul searching, and figure out what I want to get out of DreamSpun Fiber Arts.

The first day's challenge:

Imagine you'll die in a year, what's one gift you'd like to leave behind to the world when you're gone?

Go big or go home, right? 

For most of my life, I've felt that there are two sides of me, and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, I've attempted to find a balance between my creative side and my scientific side. I'm passionate about wildlife and natural resource conservation, and love creating things, in particular fiber arts. 

The best example of the melding of these two interests happened a few years ago, when a friend invited me to a crochet workshop, to learn how to make hyperbolic shapes, specifically coral, with a crochet hook and yarn. I don't think she was expecting me to gush excitedly that I'd been reading about the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef traveling exhibit for years, and it was coming to the Smithsonian! Previously, when I'd read about the exhibit, it was in far off places, and when I'd first heard about it, I was living in Indiana. But I'd moved to the DC area, and the exhibit was coming to DC! I attended the workshop, finishing my first piece before I left: 
first hyperbolic crochet coral, by Kristin Moran

Jennifer Lindsay, who led the workshop, encouraged us to make large projects, so that we would be able to find them in the completed exhibit (excellent advice, as I never did find the yellow coral piece). So I pondered what sort of coral I wanted to make, and after looking through my yarn stash, decided on a sweater that I'd purchased at a thrift store, intending to unravel it and make it into something else. The something else became a multi-colored brain coral that ended up larger than my head: 
second, much larger, crochet coral piece, by Kristin Moran

You can read more about the process (and see more photos) here, or view my album of the Smithsonian Community Reef.

It was difficult to explain why this exhibit meant so much to me, but it was very emotional, and I was thrilled that my parents came out to see it with me.

So, if I were to leave behind one thing, I would like to encourage others to find ways to combine their passions - for me, it was a way to use fiber arts to educate about the loss of coral reefs in our oceans, and I've been thinking about how to use fiber arts to save the cheetahs (as I'm currently an intern with the Cheetah Conservation Fund). But those are my passions, what are yours?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life's been in upheaval of late, so I've been neglecting this space. I'm still active on Google Plus, both on my own profile and I've been a bit better recently, posting fiber arts related stuff to my page.

Will try to update soon, when I know where I'm moving.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New hat, as posted on G+

Friday, January 18, 2013

A trio of toppers!

I made some hats for my shop! They are crocheted from acrylic/wool blend yarns, for ease in wearing and cleaning. I love using chunky yarn for hats, because it gives them more structure than finer yarns.

Grass grows greener on the figgy side is asymmetrical, a grassy main body with a purple trim that spirals up on one side. It is reminiscent of hats with feathers in the band, except you don't have to worry about replacing a bedraggled feather if you get caught in a downpour!

The second hat, Brown Sugar, is simple - a golden brown color with a navy blue trim. I'd considered making a flower or ribbon to dress it up, but decided to leave it for the wearer to decide. If you have any suggestions on an embellishment, please comment below!

The final piece today, Blue is the color of my true love's hat, has a nice wide brim, that allows you to pin it up in the front, on one side, or you could even pin it to make a tricorn!

I made myself a similar hat a few years ago, for my pirate-themed birthday party!

If you are interested in a custom hat - different colors, a specific embellishment, please let me know, and I will do my best to make it just for you!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Foxtails Entwined, in process photos

I purchased this wool on eBay, without having a project in mind. They didn't specify the types of wool used (the two colors feel a bit different, so it might be different breeds). I could have separated the colors for spinning, but I decided not to, because I enjoyed the barber pole effect as I spun.

Although I now have an electric yarn winder, I didn't for many years, and learned to hand wind a ball on a nostepinde. I still enjoy using my nosties sometimes. Here's one that was marketed as a bulb planter at a small shop in Bloomington, IN. The saleswoman was confused when I said I was going to use it to wind yarn, even though she was knitting as I browsed the shop.

I forgot about the tendency of yarn to fluff up when plying (I tend to overspin my yarn a bit, so the singles look a lot different from the finished yarn), and I had to handwind the last few yards onto my bobbin:
And here's the yarn wound onto my PVC niddy-noddy, before washing it:
Tomorrow I hope to get a good shot of the finished yarn. I hope you enjoyed seeing the stages of this handspun yarn. It's available for sale in my shop!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Open for Business!

I have set up a storefront on this site - so far there is only one skein of yarn, but I will be adding more shortly.

I am using Google Checkout for transactions, and I would love to hear your feedback about Google, PayPal, Square, or other merchant accounts.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

While you wait...

If you want to see some of my older fiber arts projects, you can find me on Ravelry, or take a peek at my WordPress blog.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Second Glance

Okay, so I purchased the domain name, made one post, and then started second-guessing myself. I've still been active on Google+, mostly as +Kristin Moran , though I sometimes remember to post on my +DreamSpun Fiber Arts page.

A little about me. I've been spinning since 1999. I learned at a medieval reenactment event (the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA for short). It was the spring event for the Barony of Rivenstar (Lafayette, IN), my first group in the SCA, and it was held at the National Guard armory.

I'd seen people spin before, but this was the first time that I'd had a chance to watch someone for some time, because she was spinning for a competition (iirc, the challenge for experienced spinners was to spin the most yarn in the time allotted). After a few minutes, she told me to go to the Arts & Sciences (A&S) area & sign up as a new spinner, and she would show me how to spin. I've dabbled in all sorts of A&S in my years in the SCA (I started participating in 2005 or 2006), most times I've taken a single class, it satisfies my curiosity for how a thing is made, and I go on to the next thing.

So I signed in, got a toy wheel & dowel spindle and a handful of carded wool (medium grade natural white), and went back, sitting on the floor next to the spinning woman. I learned to thigh roll the beginning of my strand, wrap it on the low whorl spindle... and then I dropped it several times. It's called a drop spindle because it's suspended, rather than supported in your hand or a bowl, but spinners often joke that it's because you drop it (breaking the yarn) so often. It was frustrating at first, but my teacher was encouraging, as were a few friends who stopped by to see what I was doing.

And eventually, it clicked. I was able to draft the wool, and then twirl the spindle, and I loved watching the twist travel up the strand when I released my hold on it. I was making yarn! I spun and spun until I was out of wool. I think I took the yarn back still wound onto the spindle (it's been a few years, and I've forgotten some of the details). And I filed that information away in the back of my mind, because I had to get ready to serve at feast.

During court, the officers of the various activities got up and announced the results of any competitions they'd held. There had been heavy weapons fighting (sword and shield), fencing, and  Arts & Sciences. The Minister of A&S announced that the lady who had taught me to spin won the advanced spinning competition, for spinning the most wool during the hours of the competition (she had gotten up a few times to get more wool while teaching me), and they showed off her skeins of yarn. And then she explained that they'd also held a competition for anyone who had just learned to spin, to spin the longest yarn out of a specified amount of wool. And then she called my name.

One of my friends nearly had to shove me up toward court (as I was in the back, with the other servers). The Minister handed me my yarn, neatly wound into a skein, and a handmade brass ring with a double spiral design. It was the first time I'd been called up into court, the first competition I'd ever won. It was a simple ring, I don't know who made it, but it has always been dear to me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Test post

This post was written at my new Blog. And it was crossposted to my G+ page, DreamSpun Fiber Arts.