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