Celebrating Circles

This coming Monday is March 14th, and you know what that means? Pi Day!

Okay, for those of you that somehow have managed to be reading this blog and have missed it…

I’m a Geek!

I love math and science, plus all the other wonderfully related things. There have been rumors that I am a nerd, but I’m not paying them any notice. My favorite math, and one that I use frequently in my design work, is Geometry. That takes us back to Pi.

Pi = 3.14 and that makes March 14, a date that can be written 3.14, Pi Day. See, you knew I’d get to the point eventually.

Pi in lay terms is the number that allows us to compute the circumference of a circle. Actually it is much more than that, but that gets you in the general vicinity. It is a handy concept to understand, especially if you are making hats.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat
Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat

I’ve talked a lot about using Pi in sizing hats, in fact my “Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat” pattern/lesson has a lot of information about using Pi to determine the size of hat you can make. The sizing in that pattern is very flexible because once you master the method, you can use any size yarn with the appropriately matching hook to create a hat that fits perfectly.

Spiraling Xs Hat 3 Andee Graves

Of course, since I’m in a mood for celebrating Pi, it seems only appropriate to introduce you all to my latest hat pattern: “Spiraling Crosses Hat”. I designed it in Tahki Stacy Charles “Mesa” yarn, a lovely squishy thick/thin aran-weight superwash wool that is dyed in long gradual color changes. This hat design is perfect for spring-time transitional weather. The stitch pattern has a bit of laciness to it and lots of stretch. The warmth of the wool is there to chase off a chill and the laciness allows your scalp to breathe.

As part of my celebration of Pi-Day this hat pattern is available to you dear readers at a 10% discount until almost Midnight (11:59 p.m. Mountain Time) Monday, March 14, 2016. Just use the coupon code PiDayHat16 when purchasing it in my Ravelry Shop.

Speaking of Ravelry, have you joined the fun at the month long party for crochet? Check out the forum for celebrating NatCroMo. You can even join in the Hat CAL with any hat pattern you so desire. Like maybe a Perfect Fit or Spiraling Crosses Hat?

 

The Name is…

Thank you to all my readers that voted on the name for my newest Shawl. The name that got the most votes was…

Mountain Whisper Shawl

Mtn Whisper Shawl - M2H Designs

I didn’t want to make you wait to find out the name, but due to having a few unexpected complications this week with family and work schedules the pattern won’t be available on Ravelry until tomorrow at Noon (USA Mountain Time). I’ll put the link in this post once it is available.

For those of you that voted on the name, you can use your coupon code starting at Noon Saturday, September 26 to get 15% off if you purchase the pattern before 10 p.m. Sunday, October 18. That’s midnight Eastern time.

The pattern for the Mountain Whisper Shawl will be available in my Ravelry shop for $5.99. Here is the link to add it to your shopping cart on Ravelry.

This pattern includes written instructions in U.S. crochet terminology, a photo tutorial on aggressively blocking the shawl, stitch diagrams for the body of the shawl and for the lace border, and instructions on how to make the shawl larger.

Edited: September 26, 2015  – The pattern is now available on Ravelry and the link above should work. Please let me know if you run into difficulty with purchasing or with the pattern.

What’s in a Name?

Scotts Bluff National Monument 4web
Scotts Bluff National Monument

Last weekend was lots of fun. I was teaching at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. I hope to be teaching there again in 2016 and will let you all know as those dates and classes are decided on. Hopefully more of you can join me there.

Brown Sheep Sign on Building

One of the major sponsors for the event was the Brown Sheep Company. I have used Brown Sheep yarns for years in my felting projects. My favorite thing about their “Lambspride” yarn is the color doesn’t fade away with heat felting, which means I can depend on my finished project having the same colors as the yarns I picked out. And I love that they are a “Made in the USA” product.

Andrew Wells
Andrew Wells

At the fair this weekend attendees could sign up for a tour of the Mill where the lovely yarns are created. Brown Sheep is a family owned business and our tour guide, Andrew, is the most recent generation working there. You can learn more about their company history by visiting their website here: BrownSheep.com.

“Bumps” of clean wool fiber ready to start thier journey to being made into yarn.
Fluffy wool fiber ready to be spun.
Fluffy wool fiber ready to be spun.

It was really fun to see all the stages the fiber goes thru from clean fiber in “bumps” to the almost rope like fluffy roving that goes into the spinning machines. A lot of us on the tour found the rope like look of the fiber ready to be fed into the machines very beautiful.

Now, of course there was yarn, and being I was at a Fiber Arts  event some yarn had to come home with me.

ShelleyLyn Designs Handspun

While at the fairgrounds I met one of the vendors that is actually from my neck of the woods. ShelleyLyn Designs. She hails from the Longmont area and had some lovely knit products as well as patterns. Of course I was drawn to her beautiful hand-spun yarn and had to adopt 2 hanks of this gorgeous pink and black yarn. I’m thinking I’ll be coming up with a lovely hat or headband to wear this winter when the cold-weather “blahs” are making me wish for summer again.

At the end of the tour at the Brown Sheep Company there were mill-ends of yarn and fiber that could be purchased. A few balls of yarn needed to come home with me again.

Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Superwash Sport - Green Envy

When I initially spotted this ball I thought the color was a gray. Then I got a closer look and realized it had a wonderful combination of lavender and 2 different greens called “Green Envy”.

Lambs Pride Superwash Sport - Finches

I got these 3 balls with something pretty for the Fall season in mind. I’m often drawn to the warm fall colors, though I don’t wear them as frequently as I used to.

Navy Brown Sheep LanaLoft Sport

These 2 balls of Navy yarn are either going to be a hat or slippers for my youngest son this Christmas. He isn’t quite as avid about hats as his Dad and older brother, so I am waffling on what I’ll pick for his Christmas gift.

Shawl as neck wrap

Meanwhile, one of the projects I was working away on before leaving for the fair, is this lovely new Shawl design. I made this shawl with Brown Sheep’s  “Wildfoote” luxury sock yarn. It was a perfect choice for a lace construction that I wanted to aggressively block.

Shawl from Back

Peggy of Brown Sheep was delighted to see the shawl when we got together at the fair on Friday. She was threatening to take it away with her, but I did persuade her to let me hold on to it so I can get the pattern published first. This pattern is going to be available the 25th of September.  But it needs a name and I am stuck on 3 different ones.

Fleur de Lis Shawl

Royal Veil Shawl

Mountain Whisper Shawl

I thought it would be fun for all my readers to help choose which one of the 3 I will use. So I’ve set up a little survey for you to vote on. Everyone that votes will get a coupon code to use for 15% off the pattern the first 3 weeks it is available. Voting will start today at Noon thru 10 p.m. September 22nd.

Update: Well the survey site I chose isn’t working properly.  So change of plans, vote in the comments below: Tell me which name you like best (can only pick one) and I’ll send you the coupon code thru your email (codes will be sent next week after the voting ends). Please don’t share the coupon code with others.

I’ll post the winning shawl name and the link to the pattern in my Ravelry shop on Friday, September 25th.  No matter which name wins, all who vote will be a winner. Just be sure you go to the survey site to vote to get the coupon code.

I’ll leave you with a bit of poetry from William Shakespeare, who had Juliet speak some thoughts about names in “Romeo and Juliet”:

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, retain that dear perfection for which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee take all myself.”

Granny Fans Redux

Photo of Granny Fans Scarf

This design is one of my favorites. Originally I created it for Michele Mak’s online subscription site, MainlyCrochet.com, back in October 2012 and it was published on there in the Fall of 2013.

Of course, after I send in a pattern and the sample, my brain keeps coming up with new ideas to expand on the original.

Granny Fans Redux - M2H Designs

When the rights for this pattern came back to me I knew I needed to re-visit those notes. Which is why this pattern in my Ravelry Shop: M2H Designs is called “Redux”.  I’ve re-done the design added in and sometimes subtracting things.

The new pattern is really more like getting 4 patterns in one.  There are lots of stitch diagrams for those (like me) that prefer those, as well as clear text instructions to help you make a Neck Cozy, Scarf, Tube Cowl or Moebius Cowl.

You can find the pattern in my shop on Ravelry by following this link: Granny Fans Redux

Tomorrow is “International Crochet Day” so I hope you get some crochet into your Saturday. I’ll be teaching at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair and touring the Brown Sheep Wool Company’s Mill. Going to be a day about fiber as well as crochet for me.

Hopefully I’ll have some photos of adorable fiber critters to share with you when I get back.

Great Minds

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while have heard me mention my good friend and mentor, Karen Ratto Whooley. Karen was my official CGOA mentor when I signed up to be an Associate Professional member of CGOA. Even though I officially graduated to Professional status some time back, we are still good friends and remain in regular contact.

Karen and I

I got to see Karen again, albeit briefly at the Knit & Crochet Show in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. We even managed to get a photo of the 2 of us.  We chuckled afterward because we were each wearing the other’s “colors” in this photo. Karen in her hot pink blouse and me with a blue-green scarf.

Ebb & Flow Scarf worn Jabot style
Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs

That scarf was actually part of our hilarity. Not because of the color but because it is one of my designs from my summer collection: “Ebb & Flow Scarf”.

The week before I left for the show I got Karen’s newsletter in my email and it was about her design, “Undulating Shells Shawl”.  I just about choked because I had used the same stitch pattern for my scarf. A definite case of great minds having the same idea or in this case, very similar ideas.

One of the wonderful things about being a designer is seeing all the different ways my fellow designers and I can interpret stitch patterns to create wearable and decorative objects in crochet. I thought it would be fun for you, my readers to get a glimpse into some of those differences.

Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs
Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs

I created this scarf from some lovely fingering weight yarn hand-dyed by the talented Riin of “Happy Fuzzy Yarns” (don’t you love the name). This is blend of merino and tencel making for super soft fabric with a gorgeous drape.

I created my scarf by working off a center foundation, with half the scarf growing from the “top” of the foundation coming to an end that is an exaggeration of the shell pattern in the length of the scarf. The second side of the scarf is a repeat of the first side worked off the “bottom” of the center foundation. The side edging is worked with each row of shells creating a simple scalloped appearance along the long sides of the scarf.

Undulating Shells Shawl / KRW Knitwear Studio
Undulating Shells Shawl / KRW Knitwear Studio

I took a closer look at Karen’s shawl on Ravelry. I determined that though the body of the fabric was made with the same stitch pattern, we had both taken very different approaches to how we designed our projects.

KRWs ending edging of shawlKaren’s shawl is worked in laceweight bamboo yarn off a foundation in one direction, ending with a row of stitches that match the foundation row then a lovely stacked shell ending edge. That same edging is also worked off the base of the foundation row. Her side edging is the simple line of the undulating shells.Back of KRWs Shawl

 

 

 

You can purchase both of these patterns on Ravelry:

Undulating Shells Shawl / KRW Knitwear Studio  $7.50

Ebb & Flow Scarf / M2H Designs   $4.99

 

Blocking with a Twist

Beauty shot wide 4web

My latest moebius pattern is available thru my Ravelry Shop “Infinite Grande Cowl”. This a super simple long cowl designed in a luscious baby alpaca chunky yarn, Plymouth Yarn’s Baby Alpaca Grande. The hardest aspect of this pattern is the Foundation Single Crochet length and being sure you get your moebius twist correct. The rest of the pattern is single crochet, chains and slip stitches. Pattern instructions are in text using U.S. crochet terminology and stitch diagrams.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry for $3.99.  Click here to buy it now.

Looking at the patterns I have available you can see that my favorite foundation to use for a cowl or “infinity” scarf is a moebius. But a moebius does present you with some interesting challenges when it comes to blocking your finished project.

Laying out Moebius

Because of the twist in the fabric a moebius doesn’t lay flat like most other projects. The best way to “flatten” a moebius is to lay it out in a triangular shape like above.

Fold and weave in first wire

I like to block using my blocking wires. So my next step in blocking a moebius is to fold the “top” of the triangle down to expose the top edge of the bottom strip in the triangle. I then wove in one of my long blocking wires along that edge.

Mark corner and weave 2nd wire

I then return the top of the triangle to the mat and flatten it out. The first wire sticks out of the corners on the bottom strip. I marked the top corner then weave my next wire along the inside edge of the next level of my moebius strip.

3 wires woven along inside edges

Last inside edge gets it’s wire next.

Wires woven along edge

Now I weave wires thru the outside edges. We are ready to begin stretching out the project for blocking.

Beginning to pin out

I tend to be pretty aggressive when I block and open the stitches as much as possible. I pin the bottom outside edge in place, then shift the inside wire upward to stretch open the fabric. I use nickel-plated T-pins to hold the wires in place. Nickel is important to use in blocking as it doesn’t rust and won’t mark your fabric when it is wet.

All stretched out

I work my way around the moebius pinning and stretching until I am happy with how much I’ve opened the stitches. Part way thru the stretching I realized I needed to place wires thru the “folds” at each corner of my triangle to keep the stretch from deforming the fabric. I just slipped the wires under the top layer of the strip at the corners.

Blocking paraphelia

Once everything is pinned out how I wanted I heated up my hand-held steamer and steamed the open fabric. I let it sit for about an hour to dry completely and then my cowl was ready to be photographed. Being this cowl is alpaca the stitch work didn’t open up tremendously, but the overall fabric was smoother and draped nicer afterward.

Now you know one of the ways to block a moebius. I hope you enjoy crocheting some in your projects. They are one of my favorite shapes to crochet.

Getting Ready for Cold Weather Again

I know many of you are experiencing record-breaking hot weather right now and colder temperatures seem a dream. Up here on the mountain though the temperatures are beginning to feel a bit nippy. We are getting emails reminding us that school is starting up again in one short month. Augh! Summer always zips by so quickly.

Of course for those of you that are super organized it’s time to think about projects for your holiday gift giving. I’ll be releasing 5 patterns over the next week that are wonderful gift items that don’t take a lot of yarn or time to work up.

AMC Beauty Shot 1 web

Anna Moebius Cowl

My crochet friend V was looking for quick projects for last-minute gifts for Christmas this past November. So I created this design.  The cowl is worked off a moebius strip foundation with one ball of chunky size yarn and a large hook so you can make one in an evening. I named this design after my friend’s grand-daughter because she really loved the cowl and liked to wear ones with a shorter foundation as an ear-warmer.

amc closeup 1 web

My sample is worked using one ball of Plymouth Yarns “Gina Chunky” with a size L /8mm hook. The 100% wool of this yarn means you get a wonderfully warm cowl (or with a shorter foundation, ear-warmer), and the color changes in “Gina” make the shells in the stitch pattern stand out individually. Or go with a solid color yarn for a subtle textured look to your cowl.

This pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop for $3.99  BUY NOW

I’m heading to San Diego for the Knit and Crochet Show this coming Tuesday, but I will have more patterns posting while I am on my trip. Be sure to check back.

 

Twisted Vs Cowl

Jennifer at Holiday Yarns

At the Knit and Crochet Show I saw one of my yarn company friends that I had just seen at the TNNA trade show in May. Jennifer from Holiday Yarns. Jennifer dyes yarn and her booth is always a visual feast for the eyes.

We have been talking about me creating some crochet designs using her lovely yarns and decided that there was no time like the present. After some conferring we settled on a simple cowl design worked up in a bulky yarn.

4 hanks of yarn and a lovely ball of sparkly pencil roving from Holiday Yarns.
4 hanks of yarn and a lovely ball of sparkly pencil roving from Holiday Yarns.

As you can see in the above photo, I bought a few hanks of her lovely yarns for my own enjoyment. She also sent me off with a hank of her Bea-Ewe-tiful Bulky to design the cowl from. Of course the big challenge would be to see if I could get the pattern written, tech-edited, the sample crocheted and sent off to her in time for her to have it in her booth at Stitches Midwest. Challenge Accepted!

Project modeled 2_edited-1

I spent most of my time on the flight home to Colorado swatching. I tried a couple of stitch patterns but finally found myself returning to an old favorite: The V-stitch. Of course I had to make this a moebius.

The pattern for this snuggly cowl is available now in my Ravelry Shop for $3.99, and you can order the perfect color of Bea-ewe-tiful Bulky at the Holiday Yarns website or check with your own LYS, they might have some of it on their shelves.