Reading the Pattern

Sierra Swoncho – I Like Crochet – February 2019

This past week I seem to be getting a few messages about my “Sierra Swoncho” pattern that was published in the February 2019 issue of “I Like Crochet”. It is marked as an intermediate skill level pattern, and uses a simple stitch pattern and increases for the majority of the garment.

One thing that is really key in working this pattern (and any pattern for that matter) is reading carefully thru the information at the beginning of the pattern like abbreviations, special stitches, and pattern notes before jumping into the pattern instructions.

For this design in particular, I used stitch marker placement to simplify the pattern instructions. So reading carefully for where you place the stitch markers is very important.

I also designed it with the option of changing the bust sizing. Often in garment patterns it is assumed that a small sized garment is for a small bust, and that a large size garment is for the largest size bust. As my readers know women’s bodies come in an endless variety of sizes, including large busted small women and small busted large women. I wanted this design to reflect that variety.

The other thing that seems to be confusing some folks is my stacked rows foundation that creates the neckline. For those of you that are struggling with that my blog post: “2 by 2 Cowl pattern” may be of some help. I also have a video on my YouTube Channel that demonstrates working a stacked rows foundation.

I hope these tips will help those of you that may be struggling with this pattern.

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The Joy of Stitch Charts

Many of us that love to crochet are very visual people. It’s the reason I love stitch diagrams also know as stitch charts. I find them easy to understand and I can get a feel for what a stitch pattern will look like just from looking at the stitch diagram.

When I design I often draw rough stitch charts for my notes. I find it easier to make changes as needed without having to worry that I missed changing something in the text directions. Once I have it all figured out between swatching and stitch charts I am ready to write the text directions for the pattern.

Even before I knew about stitch charts I drew my design notes, using images and brief notes about the stitch order. So the first time I saw a stitch chart I was enthralled. They were exactly what I had been looking for all along.

Before I started designing professionally I was always on the hunt for patterns that included stitch charts. My favorite patterns use both text and charts for the instructions. Now that I am designing, most of the crochet books I purchase are stitch dictionaries, and my favorites are the Japanese published books.

Some Japanese Pattern books I bought in 2014.

Another reason I love stitch charts, they can be understood by everyone, no matter what languages you speak or read. I can’t read the Japanese writing, but the stitch charts and swatch photos overcome the language barrier. There is an element of educated guessing when working this way.

This coming Saturday I will be teaching a class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe called “Stitch Chart Boot Camp”. In the class students will be working from stitch charts only, learning tips and tricks in how to make decisions about the final project. In this class students will work from a stitch chart to create a lovely motif. You’ll learn what the all the symbols in the chart mean and how they can vary depending on the country of origin.

If you are in the greater Denver area, please come join me for this class. You can enroll online at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website.

Did You Miss These?

Wow! 2019 is already zipping along with February nearly half over. I hope all my readers are prepared for Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

I have been so busy the past year that I realized I may have not shared all the new crochet designs I have out there. Seems like today is a good day to catch up with that.

Ring Around the Posies Skirt – “I Like Crochet” April 2018 issue

This is a fitted zippered pencil skirt with an intricate flower motif hemline. This is for the more advanced or the intrepid crocheters out there. A true skill builder project that is worked in Designing Vashti’s “Lotus” bamboo/cotton yarn.

Pronto Poncho – “I Like Crochet” August 2018 issue

This lovely poncho was on the front cover of the August 2018 issue. I designed it in a Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic and mesh stitch for a perfect summer layer. Throw it on over your favorite tank top when the evening cools down, or you are headed into air-conditioning.

Barb’s Shawl – M2H Designs (available in my Ravelry Shop)

This design was the testing pool shawl with the Longmont Yarn Shoppe Casual Crochet group last summer. Some folks worked the shawl in a multiple color yarn like my sample and a few worked it in a solid color. Anne K. worked her shawl in a beautiful aqua color and added beads in the final 3 rows.

Tied & True Cardigan – “I Like Crochet” October 2018 issue. This design you may have remembered seeing here on the blog in October.

One Skein Joy Slippers – “I Like Crochet” December 2018 issue.

Slippers are a great quick gift project and these slippers were not only in the December 2018 issue of “I Like Crochet”, but they were picked for the Best Crochet Patterns of 2018. Worked without cutting your yarn, you start at the toe in the round, switching to working in rows for the foot opening and heel shaping, then working in rounds for the ribbed cuff. One little seam to close up the back of the heel and you are finished.

Sierra Swoncho – “I Like Crochet” February 2019 issue

This is my most recent design and currently one of my favorites. A relaxed fit makes this an easy layering piece. I designed it so that it is easy to get the bust size that is best for your body. I’ve always disliked when ponchos and sweaters hike up in the front because there isn’t enough room for the wearer’s bust, or the front hem droops because the wearer has a small bust, with this pattern you can the perfect fit.

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For the Love of Crafting

Valentine’s Day is only 9 days away. So it is time for some quick crafting projects to show the special folks in our lives how much we love them.

Today I’m going to be sharing ideas for crafting a bit of love for your family and friends. First off, I have a new coloring page for everyone. You can download this PDF to print and color-in however you want.

20190205 Valentines Coloring Pg – Andee Graves M2H Designs

I have been enjoying coloring books and pages for some time and have decided that I really love having the option to print out the pages I want to color. I have to confess many of my physical coloring books remain uncolored because I didn’t want to “ruin” the images.

Having the option of printing out the pages I am going to color means I can color without worry that I’ll be unhappy with the outcome. It also gives me the chance to play with different coloring styles and mediums. One time I might use only color pencils, the next I’ll get out my Chameleon color-tones markers, or maybe I’ll use both.

When printing out the page from a PDF you can also play with the size of the page. For this Valentines design you can print it out smaller to make the image fit on a regular size greeting card base, or color the page and then cut out the individual elements to use on a smaller card.

The two little cards in the photograph were made using that technique, I used 3 Glue Dots to adhere each heart to a plain card that I had added color to with a marker. I really like using the Glue Dots, no mess on my table and super quick to craft with. The package in the photo was one that I got on my recent trip to the AFCI Creativation show in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. 

For those of you that may not be as much into coloring as crocheting, today’s coloring page includes a stitch chart for the heart motifs that are drawn on the page. This heart may be familiar to those of you that have been visiting my blog for awhile.

It is an update of my “Crocheted Love” heart from 2013 that I revisited last year in my pattern “A Pocket Full of Love”. If you need help with the picot stitch that forms the point at the bottom of the heart you can find a tutorial on my post “The Greatest of these is Love”.

The third craft I am looking at for making fun gifts for Valentine’s Day is needle felting. I’ll be teaching a quick class this Sunday from Noon – 1:30p at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe on how to make these adorable little heart pins.

Students will be provided with a kit of materials that will include a crocheted heart and the fiber to felt a 3-D heart in a contrasting color. The handout for the class will also include the pattern to crochet your own little hearts to needle felt onto.  You can visit the Longmont Yarn Shoppe’s website to enroll in the class.

Update February 8, 2019: My crochet heart coloring page is featured on FaveCrafts. If you are in search of more coloring pages check out their site, but be prepared to get lost on there in the fun of looking at everything.