I’ll be telling you a lot more about this book and my inspiration and processes creating these designs over the next couple of months. You might recall this teaser shot of swatches from last Autumn. That was the beginning of this book.
For now, I’ll just leave you with some eye-candy of the designs so beautifully photographed by the folks at Annie’s.
My friend Val and I get together most Tuesday mornings to crochet and visit. This Tuesday she was determined to finish up some small projects that she had in her basket. One of those projects was a headband she was making from my “Springtime Headband” pattern.
She wanted the headband to be adjustable, so I came up with a modification to add a button band and buttons to it. We were both pleased with how the finished headband looked and Val was really happy to have one of her projects completed.
I thought some of my readers might enjoy using this modification as well. I’m posting the changes we made. The original pattern can be found on my “Crochet and Springtime” post from March 2015. The post also includes a photo tutorial on making cluster and puff stitches.
SPRINGTIME HEADBAND w/BUTTONS
modifications and design by Andee Graves
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
Headband is approximately 3.25”/8.125cm wide x 23”/55cm long.
Worsted weight yarn – approximately 35g or 82 yards
Val was using Lion Brand Yarns, Vanna’s Choice, I used Lion Brand Yarns, Wool-ease for my original project.
Size US 7 / (4.5mm)
2 – buttons 3/4 inch diameter
6 rows & 9 sts in hdc = 2”
3 DC Cluster Stitch (Cl): (Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, yo, pull thru 4 loops remaining on hook.
Puff Stitch (Puff): (Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo, pull up a loop to desired height) 5 times, 11 loops on hook, yo, pull thru 10 loops on hook, 2 loops left on hook, yo, pull thru remaining 2 loops on hook.
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog): Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo pull up a loop, insert hook in next st, yo pull up a loop, yo pull thru all 4 loops on hook.
V-Stitch (V-st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.
The Cluster stitches and Puff stitches in this project have more texture because they are “squished” between 2 shorter stitches. The texture is created on the back of the rows. The finished project will have the textured side as the right side of the fabric.
Once the first 65 rows of the headband are crocheted button band row is added and edging is worked all the way around with the right side of fabric facing you.
For the buttoned version of this headband work Rows 1 – 65 in original pattern.
Row 66: Turn, DO NOT CHAIN, sc in first st, ch 2 (counts as first dc), *sk 1 st, V-st next st, sk 1 st, dc next st, Repeat from * once. [3 dc, 2 V-st]
Ch 1, with RS facing turn band to work along first long edge, *work sc spaced evenly along edge in ends of rows (3 sc in the ends of the every 2 rows), ch 2, turn to work along end of headband, sc in next 9 sts, ch 2*, turn to work along second long edge, Repeat from * to *, sl st to first sc in round.
Weave in ends. Block lightly, if desired. Sew buttons to right side (textured side) to align with openings in V-sts.
With the colder weather we are beginning to have up here on the mountain it is time to have some extra layers of warmth handy when I’m walking the dog or taking the boys to school. I may be putting an ear warming headband in the glovebox of my car, just in case.
They are also great quick gift projects for those of you thinking about your holiday gift-giving lists.
A foundation that I have been playing with a lot lately uses a “stack” of alternating single and double crochet rows. I don’t really have a name for it other than Stacked Foundation.
Update May 16, 2017: I’ve decided to refer to this foundation as the Stacked Rows Foundation. I now have a video on my YouTube Channel demonstrating both the single crochet rows version and the scalloped version that alternates single crochet and double crochet rows.
As I’ve said before, I love “small start” crochet projects. You can’t get much smaller than this start, typically I start with chaining 2, then working in the second chain from the hook. The fun part is I can use it for a long foundation, like the long top edge of a shawl or wrap, it could even work for an afghan. The stitch spacing of the first row in the project is the deciding factor for using this foundation.
A few of my testers have had a hard time understanding the foundation. So I thought it would be helpful to do a blog post especially about this foundation.
If you have crocheted my design “Right Angle Wrap”, that first appeared in the “Crochet! Magazine” July 2011 issue, you may see some similarity to that foundation. For that design I used stacked rows of single crochet stitches. I came up with this foundation because so many folks had complained to me about the foundation single crochet (fsc) that I liked to use. I found that working rows of 1 stitch could create a flexible foundation that was rather prettier along the “raw” edge than the typical fsc.
For this latest foundation I am using stacked rows that alternate single and double crochet stitches. Again these are just very short rows of 1 stitch. Because you need a chain 3 to get to the correct height of your double crochet stitch, there is a lovely subtle scalloped look to one side of the foundation.
The first row of the project is worked off the opposite side from the chain 3s, into the single crochets. The bright blue dots indicate where your hook is inserted to work the first row of the project once the foundation is finished.
To start, make a regular slip knot and chain 2. Insert hook under the top leg and back bump of the second chain from the hook.
Make a single crochet stitch.
Chain 3, turn to work a double crochet stitch into the top of the previous single crochet. If you are having a difficult time locating the top of the single crochet stitch, count to the 4th V from your hook, that is the top of your stitch.
The Vs should be pointing away from your hook before you insert the hook. You always want to insert the hook from front to back (or right to left when looking at the Vs pointing downward) for your stitches in this foundation. Finish your double crochet stitch.
Next you’ll chain 1 for your single crochet row. Again look at the Vs to locate the top of your double crochet stitch on the previous row. You will work into the second V.
I’ll continue alternating single and double crochet rows until I reach the length I want for my foundation. Typically I begin and end this foundation with a single crochet row.
This is a great foundation to use for my favorite stitch pattern: V-stitches. I skip the double crochets and work a V-stitch in each of the single crochets. This sample is a simple swatch of rows, usually when I incorporate this foundation I am working an increase at each end, but it works this way as well.
I’ll be re-visiting this foundation in a number of my patterns over the next year. Hopefully this will help everyone understand how to crochet it.
Today is the official last day of summer on the calendar, though summer has been gone up here on my mountain for quite a while.
We have lots of fall color happening, this year we seem to be missing red. Many of our alpine plants that display red foliage in the fall are instead various shades of orange or brick. With all my love of science you would think that I would know why the colors of autumn are different from year to year. Not a chance.
Even without red I am enjoying the changing colors. Our fall color display is very meager compared to what happens in the northeast. Mostly the color change is subtle with the evergreens becoming a darker green and the old needles adding a tinge of rust color before dropping.
The aspen trees are gold again, though some of the trees on our property skipped the gold stage and went straight to brown. Others were speckled heavily with dark brown spots. Fortunately for my photography attempts there were a few making a pretty display against the blue sky the other afternoon.
In hopes of improving some of my photographs I bought this set of lens to use with the camera on my phone. The set has 3 different lens, a Fish-eye, wide-angle and macro. The macro lens is actually part of the wide-angle lens. In fact, that has been the only issue I have with the set so far, it’s a bit tricky getting the wide-angle lens attached to the macro lens.
They all fix very compactly inside the handy carrying pouch, and it is all small enough that I can put them in my pocket when I am taking photos.
I decided to try some of them out yesterday on my way home from “Casual Crochet Wednesday” at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I’ve been wanting to get a good photo of a particular section of the mountainside along the road up to my house. These scrubby bushes have been showing some beautiful orange leaves the past week and I knew they would be gone very soon. It was a little over-cast this afternoon, but I had a lot of fun clambering around and taking photos.
I used the fish-eye for this shot.
This is a similar shot using the wide-angle. You can see how the Fish-eye lens distorted the trees. I don’t have any macro shots for you right now. The macro lens is for really close-up shots, like less than 2cm from the object.
This is a shot of the same scene without any additional lens. In many ways I thought the regular lens captured the color of the foliage better.
Once I was back home I got to admire my new yarn purchases. I needed a couple more colors of Berroco “Vintage” for my project I’ve been working away on. I’ll be able to share more about that in a couple of weeks.
I also got this lovely ball of Ella Rae “Seasons”, this is a fun color changing yarn that you may recognize from my Corner-to-Corner Scarf projects last fall. I worked a couple of samples with it. This ball is destined for a little experiment that is related to the project I’m using the “Vintage” for. Are you curious now? Don’t worry all will be revealed.
Of course, just to give myself a bit of a carrot, I purchased this awesome tube of colorful fiber from Frabjous Fibers out of Vermont. I’ll be using it for needle-felting. Now I have to stay focused on the other projects before I can play with it.
That might not have been my best plan though. I really want to play with this gorgeous fiber. Each color has lovely tonal changes in it and is going to be perfect worked into some fun sculptural pieces. I’ll be combining this fiber with some of the fiber that I got on my trip to the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair.
Before too long I’ll likely be posting photos of our first snowfall, though I’m really hoping it will wait until October. I hope those of you that have been tormented with extremely hot summers are experiencing some cooler temperatures now. Enjoy the autumn colors, I know I am.
As I have said before, trying to think up names for my designs can be one of the most challenging aspects of my work. It’s not just me though it turns out. Thursday this week I was facing the naming struggle once again and decided to tweet about it.
“Sometimes the hardest thing about being a #crochet designer is coming up with a name for my designs.”
My tweets show up on my Facebook page and I had a chuckle today when I finally looked at my page today and read the many responses from loads of my yarnie friends.
Some of my designer friends had funny stories about how they came up with a name. My friend, Bonnie Barker, had some help from family recently.
“Yep. I get that! That’s why when I was out of ideas (while working on my latest book), I spoke out loud wondering and my son replied with a silly (but catchy) name, and I ran with it! That’s how the Fergus Shrug got its name.”
My friend Kathryn White shared her solution, that sometimes creates it’s own problems. Turns out the talented Vashti Braha has this same solution and problem.
“Oh I know that problem. Whenever I see or hear a possible name I try and jot it down. But then I have to remember where I put the note….”
There were a number of designer friends who had some very helpful advice that I will be taking note of.
My good friend April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio says,
“Lately if I can’t think of one easily I use city names in Oklahoma. There is a list of all of them on Wikipedia. Maybe choose a theme: flowers, birds. I also once used part of a scientific name. The color of the scarf reminded me of purple cabbage, so I looked up the scientific name for the plant. That became Brassica Scarf.”
The talented designer and editor of “Crochet! Magazine” for Annie’s Publishing, Ellen Gormley had this helpful advice,
“Street names, city names, flower names, rock/gems, color names, simple words in other languages… I look at all of these to help.“
My dear friend, Brenda Bourg shared her favorite resource,
“I have a site with over 20,000 names in all different languages. It makes it pretty easy to find names. If I can pronounce it, and I like the meaning, I run with it.“
I think the suggestion that made me smile the most was from Elfie, one of my good crocheting buddies from Kansas City,
“Name then after your friends… for instance a hooded oversize sweater made with dark and sparkley with hints of green yarn would be an Elfie in the woods ..lol…or a purple butterfly shawl Erin about town..”
I still need to come up with a name for this latest design, in fact I’m working on 6 designs right now that are in need of a name. I tend to like “geeky” names or names that have a pun to them.
Last fall when I was stumped for a name for this light and lacy shawl, I asked visitors to the blog to vote on a name. “Mountain Whisper Shawl” was the name that won. I tend to stick “mountain” into names as a nod to where I live.
One thing is clear, naming my designs may not get easier. Fortunately that won’t stop me from dreaming up new ones all the time. Have a great weekend dear readers. I’m off to see a special exhibit at the Denver Art Museum tomorrow and then I’ll be teaching crochet to knitters on Sunday at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe.
Today I was at my crochet group in Longmont at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe, “Causal Crochet”. We had been getting together on the third Wednesday of each month for 2 hours starting at 10:30 a.m. This was our first meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, and we will be having 2 meetings a month from now on.
If you are in the area you can join us at “Causal Crochet” for at least the next 8 months on the 2nd and 3rd Wednesday of the month. We will see if the schedule still works for everyone once summer rolls around.
Our group today discussed what our fall “Crochet-A-Long” project is going to be. Looks like we will be working on a blanket square. I’ll be putting the pattern up here on my blog and my YouTube Channel during the first week of October. That’s just 3 weeks away!
I was teaching a private crochet lesson today after the group met. This weekend I am teaching a “Learn to Crochet for Knitters” class, but one of the knitters that wanted to take it wasn’t going to be able to make the class. Instead we made arrangements to have a one hour lesson together at the shop. I think it went very well and she is well on her way to being able to add crochet to her knitting projects.
It’s always so fun to see a crafter get the hang of a new skill. This was my little practice piece for demonstrating the stitches to my student. I was working with Berroco “Vintage” yarn. I have 3 hanks of the green color in my stash, left-over from another project and I decided I needed to add some new colors for a project percolating in my brain.
Fall is definitely in the air up here on the mountain, even though it is late summer most days down in town. I’ve been seeing lots of sunflowers blooming everywhere. They are one of my favorite flowers, maybe that’s because I grew up in Kansas (The Sunflower State).
I picked the 2 yellows and the brown to go with the green I already have. They really put me in mind of sunflowers. Will have to see what they grow up to be. Berroco’s “Vintage” is a great machine washable work-horse yarn that is a blend of 52% Acrylic, 40% Wool, and 8% nylon. The nylon makes it very durable, which is really nice for afghans, blankets and hard working hats or scarves for the family.
If you are feeling too impatient to wait for my new afghan square, you can check out some of them I’ve already published here on the blog.
I hope all my US readers are enjoying some cooler temperatures and enjoying the last bits of summer. Soon we will have snow up here on the mountain. I’ll be digging out my warmer clothing in the next couple of weeks. The good news is, I will have lots of opportunities to wear some of my favorite scarves, shawls and hats again.
This weekend I was at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair. Yes, that is a mouthful.
Friday morning I was a busy bee getting the car loaded up and double checking that I had everything I for the 2 classes I was teaching on Saturday. I left a little bit later than I had wanted to, and I got to experience lovely stop-and-go commuter traffic on the I-25 highway. I just kept singing along with my radio and driving carefully. Once I passed Ft. Collins it was much better. Note to self, when driving up to Nebraska, be sure to be past Ft. Collins before 4 p.m.
Good news was I made it to Scotts Bluff before sunset, though barely. The best part was I did most of the drive in good daylight and the got to enjoy the scenery. My photos can’t really do it justice and some of the most stunning views there wasn’t a good spot to pull over and take a photo. The twilight sun really made the bluffs extra dramatic looking.
The next day was all about teaching, though I did get a little shopping time in with my friends at the Brown Sheep Wool Company booth. I brought home another 4 pounds of loose fiber and some beautiful hanks of their Hand Paints in various weights. The yarn was “seconds” and they were selling it by the weight, so I got a little carried away.
Most of this yarn I’ll be using for gifts I’m making for other folks. Though once again I’m realizing that I left planning gifts for Christmas a bit late. I know you are thinking Christmas is months away, but I know it will get here way too quickly when it comes to making and finishing gifts in time. That is 104 days for those of you that like exact numbers. I’m not counting today or Christmas day. For some of my gifts I need to ship them, so really I have more like 94 days. Eep!
After all the teaching and shopping I was ready for a quiet evening in my hotel room. I made myself some dinner and watched a movie while I crocheted. The next day was going to be a much more relaxed pace and I was looking forward to it. As much as I love my family, sometimes it is nice to have some all alone time.
I sleep in until 8 a.m. then ate some breakfast, took a leisurely shower and packed up my last bits and bobs. I did have something interesting happen that could have been a bit frightening. While I was in the shower I thought I heard a knock on my door, then a thump. But I decided I must have been mistaken and even if I wasn’t I didn’t see any need to hop out of the shower wet and soapy to answer my door.
When I finally emerged from the bathroom I realized that someone had tried to come thru the door. Fortunately I had used the safety latch and they were not able to enter. I’m sure it was a mistake by house-keeping, since they were the only folks with a key that could unlock my room. I did call the front desk to let them know what happened. It was a little unnerving, so sort of interrupted my relaxation momentum of the morning. Lesson to anyone traveling alone, always use the safety latch when you are in your room.
I shook it off and gathered up all my luggage, I took 2 trips to my car because I wanted to get extra steps in. I knew most of my day was going to involve sitting in a car driving and there would not be a lot of opportunities to walk. When I went to check out the front desk manager added 1000 points to my rewards account and apologized again for the snafu with house keeping.
One of the reasons I had stayed an extra night was I really wanted to explore the Scotts Bluff National Monument a little. That was where I was headed after I stopped for some petro for the car. My little Google GPS gal (also known as Gina) said that it was only a 15 minute drive from my hotel, and I could see it from the hotel parking lot.
GPS Gina was a bit insistent on this trip. Coming up on Friday she really wanted me to drive up thru Wyoming instead of sticking to the interstate highways. On Friday I over-rode her wishes. Though she did try to get sneaky when I stopped for my traditional Wendy’s French Fries in Cheyenne, my next exit on I-25 is the one to take, she told me to continue north on I-25 for 16 miles. Gina was determined that I was going to take that other route.
Sunday when I used my Google Maps for directions to go home Gina once again told me to take the other route. It was the middle of the day and clear sunny weather so I told her okay, this time we would go the way she wanted. First we went to visit the Scotts Bluff National Monument.
I picked the best photos I took, but as before they really don’t capture how beautiful it is there. I’m actually just grateful that the pictures came out relatively clear. It was extremely windy and I was challenged to keep my body steady when taking photos. I attempted to get a good photo of the angle of the bluff as seen from my hotel parking lot, but couldn’t get close enough without it being obscured by trees and houses. Next time.
I hope you all had a really good weekend. I’m still a bit tired, but I really enjoyed my visit to Nebraska. I hope some of you get a chance to see the Scotts Bluff Valley for yourselves in the near future. It’s a beautiful area with lots of history, and of course, the Brown Sheep Wool Company.
Last Autumn I facilitated a Crochet-A-Long at my local yarn shop: Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I introduced our Causal Crochet group to the “Corner to Corner” crochet technique. Each crocheter picked a yarn in the shop that they wanted to try, and we each made a scarf.
One of the participants was Margie C. She enters the Boulder County Fair each year, submitting a number of crochet projects and this year she decided to enter the scarf she made. Last month when we all got together she shared the following photo with the group.
Her scarf had garnered 3 ribbons! Yay Margie!
If you would like to try your hand at the corner-to-corner technique you can find my tutorial and pattern on my blog post: Playing with Corner to Corner.
Corner to Corner is a really fun crochet technique. My favorite aspect of it is that you have that “small start” that I love to use. When you use a yarn with long gradual color changes you can get a truly impressive looking piece of fabric with minimal ends to weave in.
I’m heading off this weekend to Scotts Bluff, Nebraska for the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair. I’ll be teaching 2 classes on Saturday, my “Playing with Triangles Shawl” in the morning and my “Don’t Let Your Hobby Hurt” in the afternoon.
I’m really excited about teaching the shawl class, I’ve added some fun variations to the basic shawl pattern and I’m hoping to inspire my students creativity. If you are in the area you can still enroll for the Saturday classes, just visit the website for more information on how and where to register.
If Scotts Bluff is too far away for you, you can find the pattern for the shawl here on my blog in my post: Playing with Triangles (the post also includes a link to an animated tutorial version of the pattern).
Hopefully I can get some pictures of the beautiful landscape around Scotts Bluff to share with you all next week. And some cute fiber critters as well.
The past couple of months have been rushing here and there in preparation for and then dealing with back-to-school for my boys. I’m getting back into the school routine but it hasn’t been easy. I’ve also been busy with lots of crochet work that I can’t quite share yet.
Fortunately I got to take a little break this week.
My friend Sharon lives in California and she is having an adventure with her friend Carol. The two of them are driving across the country and back on a 3 month road trip. They are stopping to visit friends and family along the way and having a great time.
They had just spent a couple of days up in the mountains of Colorado around Grand Lake. They got to drive one of my favorite adventure roads, Fall River Road on their way to their friend’s cabin in Grand Lake. On their way back down to the plains we arranged to meet in Estes Park. There is a wonderful shop in Estes Park called “The Stitchin’ Den” that has lots of lovely yarns and embroidery supplies, and I suggested we meet there.
I live about 40 minutes drive away from Estes Park, Colorado. My drive over was a little longer as I encountered road construction delays. Seems like this has been the summer for serious road construction repairing damage from the 2013 floods in a lot of Colorado. I really enjoyed my drive though, the scenery along the way is breath-taking everywhere you look, and it was a beautiful day.
The timing worked out quite well. I parked in the big lot at the library in Estes and had just texted Sharon I was there. I asked her to text me when they got to town. A few moments later she texted me they were in the parking lot. I went looking for them and when I found them I got my first big hug of the day. Sharon gives great hugs.
There was Sharon, Carol and the friends they had been staying with, Linda and Larry. It was around noon and they were all very hungry and we decided to find somewhere to have lunch. “Claire’s” was open and I had always heard good things about it, we walked across the town square park to take a look at the menu.
The menu met with everyone’s approval and we were seated in just a few minutes. Everyone enjoyed their lunch and we had a lovely visit. Sharon had funny stories about driving Fall River Road, she wanted a “I survived the Fall River Road” sticker. After lunch they decided not to join me at the yarn shop since Sharon is on a yarn diet. She and Carol have a limited amount of space in their car for cargo on the trip.
We had to get a photo of Sharon and I together. Carol was our photographer, since neither Sharon or I are very good at the “selfie” thing. After a final hug the 4 of them headed off and I walked over to the yarn shop.
It is a really fun shop with various levels and nooks and crannies full of lovely fiber and yarn. I decided I really needed to adopt some purple yarn. This is more of the wonderful Ella Rae Lace Merino, but in a lighter weight than I had made my Mountain Top Beanie from. I was also interested in working with it because it was a tonal colorway instead of the busy variegated style.
I am thinking these 2 hanks will become something open and lacy to be worn close to my skin. The texture of this yarn is so soft and comfy. There is over 900 yards all together, so I should be able to make something very nice.
On the way to Estes Park I had seen my favorite historic landmark and told myself if it wasn’t raining on the way home I would stop to take a photograph. This is “The Chapel on the Rock” at the St. Malo Retreat Center. I had a nice little walk taking photos and still managed to make it home before my boys were back from school.
I hope all my U.S. readers have a lovely Labor Day weekend. It’s the weekend that marks the end of summer for many of us. I hope you all get a little time for a “sanity break” of your own.