Featured Artist: Morine’s Shop

Hello hello! While we may occasionally have some blog posts about general craftiness, the main focus of this blog is to encourage people to patronize all of the wonderful BIPOC makers in the fiber arts community. You can read more about the background behind the project on our About page.

Today’s featured artist is Morine, of Morine’s Shop. Morine makes adorable amigurumi bears and dolls, and she has also designed a few hat patterns for preemie babies. We’re excited to have her as our first maker from Kenya!

Morine, a Kenyan woman, smiles into the camera. Her hair is short and she is wearing long beaded earrings and a white knit cowl.
Meet Morine!

What’s your backstory? How did you become a maker?

Crochet has always been part of my life. My Mama taught me when I was around 8 years old. I did dishclothes for use in washing utensils for years. All those years of doing the same stitches over and over perfected my stitching, speed and my ability to pick new ones up fast. After high school, my sisters encouraged me to try bigger projects (the first being a blanket that took me a year to finish). I also experimented with baby booties and sweaters, and that’s where my love for making kids stuff began.

The BMP is all about financially supporting makers. How can people support you?

Come over and say hi on my Instagram: @morines_shop. I love meeting other people and getting to know them!

I also have a couple of patterns up on my Ravelry and will be adding more, both free and for sale, so you can check those out. Or, buy me a coffee at http://ko-fi.com/morinesshop.

Morine is also on Twitter and Facebook if you want to follow her on those platforms! She’s currently saving for a sewing machine to be able to make clothes for her dolls; you can donate to her Ko.fi if you’d like to help!

What’s your favorite thing to make? What are your favorite colors to use?

Now, I make all sorts of crochet items but my main focus is on baby items and amigurumi/stuffies. I love making toys and other stuffies in all colours! They’re my favourite. The brighter the better. I can never get enough of how unique and cute all the patterns are.

You’re taking part in something called #100daysofcrochetkenya. What is that, and why did you decide to participate in it?

#100daysofcrochetkenya is the project I chose to do for The 100 Day Project; where you chose an artistic project to do everyday for 100 days. 100 days of Crochet Kenya is me making items for Crochet Kenya, a community-based organization (CBO) that I’m a member of, that will be donated (the toys and hats) or, like the pompoms and flowers, used to spruce up crochet items made by other members. I had been struggling with making items for donation and this project was the boost I needed.

Crochet Kenya was founded by Elizabeth Muema. She started with a couple of friends and it’s grown over the years. I joined last year in March. I’d been trying to find ways that I could give back using my talent so when I went through a low season with getting orders I sent a message to Liz about joining. It was a good fit and and I’ve gotten more confident in my work and grown spiritually. When it was founded they only did hats and donated them to cancer wards in various hospitals but we’ve grown in members (currently 38) and are able to do hats, scarves, blankets, baby clothes and toys to hospitals, hospices, retirement homes, children’s homes and the Red Cross.

You can learn more about Crochet Kenya on their Facebook page.

Your feed lately is a lot of flowers and bears – do you have a plan for what you will be making next, or do you just kind of see what you feel like doing?

This is a tough one. I’m not the best at planning ahead and when I do I end up deviating or taking a detour. I love making toys and I’ll definitely be making more of those. I’d also love to make a blanket or two. And best of all is to finally get to add some kitenge fabric to my crochet items.

Five pieces of multicolored kitenge fabric on a cream background.
Kitenge fabric

I want to use the fabric to make clothes and/or appliques for the dolls I make (similar to @nyuzzi_kenya). I want some of my dolls to have a more African/Kenyan feel to them so kids could be proud of their culture. Since Kenyans really identify with the kitenge fabric, that’s what I’ve decided to use. Kitenge is what we call Ankara fabric.

(Kitenge, or Ankara, is a wax-printed fabric that is popular in Central, West, and East Africa.)

Make sure to follow Morine on Instagram @Morines_shop, and donate to her Ko.fi if you would like to support her goal of getting a sewing machine! We’ll be back next week with an interview with Rebecca, the designer behind A Raging Purlwind.

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