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.

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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.

 

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