Strawberry Fields Shawlette

Well there has certainly been a lot keeping me busy the past 3 months. One of the things I have been spending a lot of time on has been writing up patterns for designs that I had created over the past year.

I finished crocheting this shawlette back in November, but never got around to blocking it until now. I used some gorgeous superwash merino that I purchased at my local yarn shop, Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The yarn is from Farmers Daughter Fibers, they create gorgeous hand dyed colors that make me drool. This yarn is called “Squish Worsted” and it truly is very squishy and snuggly.

My plan for this shawlette is for a warm layer to wrap around my neck with my burgundy winter coat. I love the dramatic border for those days that are warm enough to leave my coat open.

I used almost all of the skein of variegated yarn for the body of the shawl, then all but a quarter of the solid color for the border. The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop and includes stitch charts for both the simple mesh of the body and the lace border.

This shawlette works up fairly quickly, so if you are thinking about crafting for Christmas this would be a great gift for someone special on your gift list (or something special to spoil yourself with).

Spiraling Stripes Hat

I love spirals. You can probably tell that just by looking at my logo above. One of my happiest crochet moments was when I realized that I could crochet spirals, since then I have put them in many of my designs. My newest pattern is not only  a celebration of the beauty of spirals it is also a celebration of the functionality of spirals.

This is my Spiraling Stripes Hat. It is crocheted using 2 colors and a 2 – armed spiral. Spirals are another version of continuous rounds in crochet. This sort of construction makes a lovely elastic fabric for hats because you don’t have a seam of tight slip stitches joining each round.

The pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop. This pattern includes a step by step photo tutorial and detailed stitch chart to help you understand crocheting the spiral.

I used Round Mountain Fibers worsted weight Superwash Merino wool for this hat. These were 2 colors from their Ornithology Collection: Puffin Blue and California Quail. Their hank size is 174 yards in 100 grams, so this is a slightly heavier weight worsted.

The CGOA Mega CAL continues

We are still celebrating National Crochet Month, which means a new pattern is now available for the CGOA Mega CAL.

This week’s pattern is “Almost Spring Mitts” designed by Karen McKenna. Be sure your CGOA membership is current because you won’t want to miss this out on this pattern and the others being offered the rest of this month.

Shining Day Wrap as Scarf 800 - Andee Graves M2H Designs

If you missed out on my Shining Day Wrap pattern don’t worry. It is now available for purchase thru my Ravelry Shop.

It’s a Shawl, It’s a Scarf, That’s a Wrap

It’s the first of March and that means it is National Crochet Month. To celebrate crochet CGOA is having a Mega Crochet Along with 4 patterns. There will be a new pattern from a different designer every week free to CGOA members.

I’m happy to announce that the first pattern for this celebration is my “Shining Day Wrap”. This wrap is worked in 2 pieces off a center foundation to create a wide lacy rectangle that can be worn as a shawl or scarf. It looks very fancy and complicated, but it is actually an easy pattern to learn.

This pattern includes stitch charts, text instructions and a photo-tutorial on working picots. There is everything you need to successfully crochet your own wrap, even if you are new to crochet. The pattern will be available for free to both CGOA members and non-members on the CGOA website: crochet.org thru March 7th. You will be able to download the pattern PDF thru the CGOA store.

Starting March 8th my pattern will be available for purchase in my Ravelry shop and there will be a new pattern available to CGOA members each of the following 3 weeks.

 

 

Flatirons Shawl

The Flatirons Shawl is my latest independent published design. This was what I was working on during our Mount Rushmore/Eclipse road trip. It is made with Theodora’s Pearls “Auxanometer” hand-dyed yarn, dyed in Longmont. This is a lovely rayon yarn that has beautiful sheen and drape in the finished project. Each hank contains approximately 400 yards of fingering weight yarn.

It is constructed of 3 triangles crocheted continuously from one triangle to the next, creating an asymmetrical wrap that has only 4 tails to weave in at the finish. There are 2 different lace patterns used to create the triangles and 2 colors of yarn to add textural interest. The triangles inspired the name “Flatirons” because of the dramatic rock formations bordering the Boulder Valley.

Back view of Kerchief wrap

Between the yarn and the shape this is an extremely wearable shawl. I tried styling it a number of ways on Collette.

Pinned Ends Cowl style

For this wearing option I pinned the two tips of the shawl at the back of the neck and made a doubled circle across the shoulders to create a cowl look.

Fastened with Shawl Pin

Then there is always the useful shawl pin option. This style really shows off the drape of the fabric and gives great coverage of the shoulders.

The pattern is an advanced intermediate level, so a definite skill builder. It involves working 4 row repeating lace patterns, decreases, color work, and changing direction of stitches. The pattern contains stitch charts for the lace pattern in each triangle as well as a detailed schematic for the edging directions.

Foothills Sunrise

Chautauqua Moonlight

Boulder Canyon

St. Vrain Trail

Today is the launch of this project at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe.  As part of their 5th year anniversary celebration the shop is doing kits of the above 4 different color combinations for $62 each. The pre-order of the kits starts today, September 5th thru September 17th. If you pre-order the yarn during this time the shop will provide a complimentary copy of the pattern. The yarn will be delivered to customers the week of the 25th.

Then I’ll be hosting the CAL starter party Saturday, September 30th from 2p – 4p at the shop. We will also have a thread in the Longmont Yarn Shoppe Ravelry group. So even if you live far from Longmont, Colorado you will be able to participate in the CAL and the pre-order of the yarn. Just call the shop to order your kit at 303-678-8242.

The color kits will still be available after the 17th, but will not include the complimentary pattern.  You will be able to purchase the pattern thru my Ravelry shop at any time.

 

 

Whispering Wind Cowl

I enjoy creating moebius style cowls but decided to challenge myself with designing a simple tube style cowl with this design. I wanted to create a crocheted cowl that would have a very graceful drape and would be a lovely accent piece to wear indoors, but could also serve nicely as a warm layer under a coat or jacket.

First order of business was chosing a yarn, I picked Berroco’s “Folio” yarn. This luxurious yarn is an Alpaca/Rayon blend that feels like cashmere, with marvelous drape and warmth. I paired the yarn with a simple mesh stitch pattern to allow the yarn to really shine.

Collette’s first modeling gig

Next I gave some serious thought to how I wanted to work the foundation and how to finish the opposite end of the tube to compliment the foundation. I usually like everything to be very precisely matched. It’s probably the math part of my brain dictating terms. I decided to give myself permission to have the finishing edge be different from the foundation.

Freedom!

Funnily enough, the 2 edges don’t look all that different. But never fear, I will be playing with this some more and there will be some very different edges in the future. I just wanted to get my toe wet this time around.  I have definitely found a new fascination. Throwing out the idea of precise matching has stirred up all sorts of creativity in my brain.

I used my stacked row foundation to start this cowl, then the rounds of mesh stitch are worked off one side to the desired length. In this pattern I have written the instructions, and worked the sample to be 31 inches around and 13 inches wide from foundation to finished edging. I’ve also included instructions on how to modify the pattern to make a wider cowl (deep enough to be pulled up as a hood), or a longer cowl that makes it more like an infinity scarf.

You can purchase the pattern in my Ravelry Shop for $4.99.

You can use a different yarn than I chose for the sample, but I would strongly recommend a yarn with a large percentage of fine alpaca fiber or rayon. You want the yarn to be very fluid to get the fantastic drape you see in the photos.

 

Vivianne Shawl

vivianne-shawl-andee-graves-m2h-designs-a2

This is my newest M2H Designs pattern the Vivianne Shawl. The name Vivianne means “full of life” and the colorful striping and sparkly beads make this a very lively shawl.

yarn-for-new-pwt-shawl

I used only 3 hanks of Berocco’s “Vintage” worsted weight yarn in different colors to create the uneven color changes. Originally I thought I would use 2 hanks of the dark blue, but I decided I wanted to have approximately the same amount of yarn in each color. Because the shawl is worked top down the rows get longer and the sections of color play out in pleasing proportions. I also mixed things up a little by working a stripe of the next color before ending the preceding color. This stripe has beads added using the “hoist-on” method for a bit more bling and liveliness.

Vivianne Shawl 3 - Andee Graves/M2H Designs

The final 2 border rows are continued in the last color and feature beads added to the stitches to create sparkly drape along the bottom edge of the shawl.

This pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop for $4.99. In addition to concise text instructions, the pattern contains stitch charts for the body of the shawl and the border, plus photo tutorials for adding the beads.

The Dilemma of Naming Designs

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.

Playing with Triangles Shawl
Playing with Triangles Shawl

Recently I named this series of blog posts and the resulting shawl pattern “Playing with Triangles” which is a bit of a geeky inside joke.

Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace - Andee Graves/M2H Designs 2

And there was my alliterative and contradictory “Sophisticated Simplicity Necklace”.

Mountain Whisper Shawl
Mountain Whisper Shawl

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.

 

 

 

Is it too Hot to Crochet?

Summer is truly here now. Even up on my mountain we are feeling the heat. Of course what seems “hot” to us is nothing compared to what friends and family all over the country are dealing with. This past week temperatures have been over 100F in lots of places. Making me very grateful for our easy days of 87-90F days at my house.

When I go down to town to do errands it can be significantly warmer. But at least in Colorado humidity isn’t the factor that it is for many others. I’m looking forward to seeing all my yarnie friends at the conference in a few weeks, but it will be in Charleston, South Carolina. I suspect that I may be melting in the heat and humidity that they are experiencing.

In heat like that how does one keep crocheting? My choice for travel and for hot weather crochet is to work with small projects.

If afghans are your favorite type of project this is the time of year to tackle a motif afghan that requires lots of smaller pieces to be completed before being all sewn or crocheted together. The motifs are great projects to carry along with you to the beach and outings thru the summer. Then when the cooler weather finally rolls around you can do the joining work to make them into an afghan.

My 2 squares today

If you want some fun motifs to play with try my “Annetta Square” here on the blog.

Hot Spot Square copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves
Hot Spot Square
copyright 2015 M2HDesigns/Andee Graves

Or my “Hot Spot Square”.

I often take advantage of the warm weather season to get ahead on my holiday gifts. I work on my cotton thread snowflakes. They are fun and relatively quick projects that don’t take up a lot of room in my project bag. I can get a nice stack of them finished up before the hot weather is over with. The stiffening stage goes faster too as they dry super fast in the warmer weather.

Light as Lace Snowflake - M2H Designs
Lacy Snowflake – M2H Designs

I’ll be making quite a few of my snowflake pattern “Lacy Snowflake” that I designed for last December. You can find the pattern here on the blog. Who knows, maybe you’ll feel cooler crocheting snowflakes.

My very favorite projects for gift-giving and small project crochet are Hats. All my boys (including Himself) love getting hats for Christmas. I made a hat for my Dad a couple of years ago for Christmas and it was well received too. I also like making hats for various charities.

I’ve taught classes on crocheting hats at my local LYS and will be teaching my “Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat” class at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair this September. I also have a couple of other hat patterns in my M2H Designs line.

Spiraling Xs Hat 3 Andee Graves

This is my “Spiraling Crosses Hat” and is made in a slightly mesh like stitch pattern that allows for a combination of breathability and warmth. You can purchase the pattern for this hat in my Ravelry shop here.

Mtn Top Beanie full view

My newest M2H Designs pattern is the “Mountain Top Beanie” in my Ravelry Shop. This hat is crocheted in a super stretchy all over stitch pattern that looks beautiful in variegated yarn or solid colors. I made this sample in Ella Rae Lace Merino Aran weight. This is a gorgeous yarn that was lovely to work with. I’m planning on taking my oldest son to the Longmont Yarn Shoppe to pick out the color he wants to make him a beanie to wear in the coming school year.

Crocheting at Reunion

This hat was one of the projects I was working on during our recent trip to Kansas for a big family reunion. The project fit entirely into one of my small project bags with room in the outside pocket for my phone. Worked great for a small crochet project to keep my hands busy while visiting with family. Most importantly it wasn’t too hot to work on as crocheting on a larger project could have been.

So to answer the question I posed in my title today. No, it isn’t too hot to crochet. You just need the right project. Air conditioning is a good idea too. Stay cool all my Northern Hemisphere friends. For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere heading into your cold season we may soon be jealous of you.

Budding Leaves and Lilacs

It’s beginning to look like springtime finally. Off the mountain in town a lot of the trees are showing leaves and the flowers are in bloom. Up top though it’s been a slower sense of the season. Yesterday I was at my friend and neighbor V’s house for our weekly crochet and crafting visit.

V's Garden last Friday
V’s Garden last Friday

V has a lovely garden and a number of her bulbs were showing off blooms. Best of all to me though was that her lilac bushes are getting leaves and buds. I didn’t get any photos though since the weather got wet and cold. Hopefully the weather will be kind and the lilacs won’t be frozen before blooming and sharing their lovely scent.

Meanwhile we are still getting some cold days and a bit of snow up here on my mountain. We are at 8,400 feet above sea level and V’s house is around 7,000 feet.  There is a fairly big difference in the seasons between our houses, and V is a much more talented and dedicated gardener than I am.

Lilacs at Denver Zoo Spring 2012
Lilacs at Denver Zoo Spring 2012

I need to make a trip to the Denver Zoo with my family soon as the lilacs there are generally in bloom long before the ones up here on the mountain. They have a lot of lilacs on the zoo grounds and I always try to make at least one visit there while they are in bloom.

M2H Designs: Tumbling Leaves Scarf
M2H Designs: Tumbling Leaves Scarf

I decided it’s time to crochet some transitional pieces to add to my wardrobe. It’s been over 4 years since I published my “Tumbling Leaves Scarf”. This is a fun project to crochet for experienced or intrepid intermediate stitchers.

Mochi Plus Scarf WIP

Originally I created this design with a bulky yarn worked with a P size hook, but I wanted to try it in a lighter weight yarn with a smaller hook for a skinny scarf to wear this spring. I picked a ball of Crystal Palace’s “Mochi Plus” that reminded me of my favorite colors of springtime and used an I (5.5mm) hook to crochet with.

Scarf SectionI love “Mochi Plus” because it comes in so many lovely color combinations. I enjoy working with and designing with yarns that have long runs of color that blend together and this yarn doesn’t disappoint. My original scarf was 6.5 inches wide and 75 inches long. Using the “Mochi Plus” and the smaller hook this scarf came out 3.5 inches wide and 41 inches long before blocking.

Because of the faux motif design of this scarf I am going to try a different blocking technique with it and will share my results with you later.

If you’d like to make a scarf like this you can purchase the pattern in my Ravelry shop by clicking here.

The pattern includes both US crochet terminology text and charted directions.