behind the scenes

Malachos Process

When creating Malachos, I start with my inspiration - the fleece of a freshly sheared sheep - then decide colors and materials for each piece. Most of the time, my materials are from Purl Soho because, really, who doesn't want an excuse to pop in to that shop? I use various all natural fibers for the yarns, but mostly find myself using wools and cottons. 

My latest trip to Purl Soho left me with these lovely skeins.

So then I take those yarns and crochet what I call little "hats." I get asked all the time what I am making when I'm crocheting in public and I normally just lie and say that I'm making baby hats. It's easier on everyone that way. 

Malachos crocheted pieces in progress.

When I feel like I've crocheted enough "hats," I arrange them - on my dining room table, of course - into the placements for the final piece. 

Malachos piece in progress

Then I flip each "hat" over in preparation for them to be sewn together and stuffed.

Malachos piece in progress

Once everything is sewn together into what I lovingly call the "hide," I stuff each hat with 100% virgin wool. 

Malachos piece in progress

As soon as each one is stuffed, I can lay down the 100% cotton backing fabric, flip the whole piece back over, and cut the backing edges around the shapes of the outlying "hats." I then use a blanket stitch to stitch around the edge to secure the piece. 

Malachos piece in progress.

The final - and probably most difficult - part of Malachos production is to stitch between each "hat" so that the wool stuffing and entire piece is super secure. Thanks to this step, you are now able to flop, fold, and move this Malachos as much as you want and everything will stay perfectly intact and in its original shape. Not pictured: tags to hang the piece.

Finished Malachos back.

And, now, you're able to place this Malachos anywhere you'd like! I love how it looks hanging over the edge of our new crib for our nursery. 

Malachos in nursery.

And that's that! This particular Malachos will be up in the Shop by the end of this week. Stay tuned! 

Malachos Inspiration

I'm currently finishing up all the small details on a new Malachos : Medium and this time, instead of a monochromatic color scheme like I've done recently (see here and here), I'm going back to the Malachos roots and have chosen an all-white color scheme. Why all white? Well, my inspiration for Malachos has always been sheep. Sheep sheep and more sheep. I can't get enough of them! I have a whole board on Pinterest solely for images of these fluffy, sweet animals, and quite a few images of sheep hanging throughout our home. And when I think about a lamb, I think of a white one (but that's not to say a gray or a brown Malachos isn't in the near future). I mean, how can you not love them? 

Top to bottom: Sheep in Patagonia from  Ann Street Studio ;  Leaping Lamb ; Lamb and its mother via  NBC ; closeup of a sheep at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center, photo by me.

Top to bottom: Sheep in Patagonia from Ann Street Studio; Leaping Lamb; Lamb and its mother via NBC; closeup of a sheep at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center, photo by me.

Malachos, derived from the Greek word for "soft," are handmade with all natural materials - stuffed with 100% wool, backed with 100% cotton, and crocheted with various natural yarns, mostly woollen. The organic form of the Malachos is inspired by what a sheep's fleece looks like when laid out right after shearing. Imperfect, varied in color, and has depth. Plus, wool is such a wonderful fiber. It can be spun, woven, knit, and felted. It's naturally water repellent and can keep us warm efficiently and effectively. The oil that is found within the fiber, lanolin, is excellent for our skin and keeps the fiber strong. It is durable and has a great elasticity, making it the perfect fill for Malachos pieces.

Our world today is detached from the sources of our food, clothing, and the objects we touch every day. Malachos are intended to bring people back to the beginning, back to the source, back to the beauty of it all. And, the sheep motif has come from my faith in Jesus, the ultimate...you guessed it, Lamb, as well as all the perfect imagery seen throughout the Bible for sheep and the human condition. 

Know the Lord, he is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way ... Isaiah 53:6

When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheepJohn 10:15

...Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19