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

 

I Love Paris

 

Tour de Effiel

Paris, France is one of my favorite cities. I dreamt of visiting it for many years before I finally got to see it for real. When I went there for the very first time it was April.

Garden in Paris

The gardens were just beginning to show color, but the weather was occasionally rainy and gray. The colors of the gardens would be muted by the subdued light yet it was magical and wonderful for me.

Place de Concorde

It’s been years since I last visited, that is a very young me at the fountain in the Place de Concorde. This scarf design was inspired by the gardens of Paris and reminds of my happy visit there.

Paris Garden Scarf2 - M2H Designs

Paris Garden Scarf.  My sample is worked using one ball of Classic Elite’s lovely Alpaca Sox. This is a 60% Alpaca/20% Wool/ 20% Nylon yarn that works up as a light fingering weight. The Nylon will help this scarf hold up to a lot of wear. I designed this to be crocheted with a larger than usual hook size to show off the soft halo of the yarn.

Paris Garden Scarf3 - M2H Designs

This pattern is available in my Ravelry Shop for $3.99. Click here to buy it now.

Paris Garden Scarf - M2H Designs

My original proto-type was made working with 2 strands of yarn at the same time. I used 1 ball of Classic Elite’s Silky Alpaca Lace (70% Alpaca/30% Silk) and 2 balls of Pirouette (67% Mohair/25% Bamboo/8% Nylon). Unfortunately the Pirouette yarn was discontinued. But I’m still very happy to wear my original scarf.

This is a great take-along project for more experienced crocheters, the stitches aren’t complicated, but they are interesting enough to keep you entertained.  I found the second scarf took me only about 8 hours to work up.

If you are looking for a lovely lacy and warm scarf for a gift this one would be a good match. All 5 of my patterns released the past month were designed with gift-giving in mind. This is a great time of year to get started on those holiday gifts.

The Next Best Thing to a Hug

Eleonora Shawlette
Eleonora Shawlette

Sometimes we can’t be with those we love, but we can send our love to them. My favorite way of sending a package of love is in the form of a crocheted goodie. Usually it’s a shawl. They are marvelously useful and the closest to a warm hug that I can give when I can’t actually put my arms around a loved one.

Back View sample

My Eleonora Shawlette is a quick wrap project to crochet up. The shawlette size is made using just one ball of Berroco Boboli Lace yarn, but you can make it larger by using more yarn. The simple stitch pattern is easy to catch on to and makes a snuggly drapey fabric.

Eleonora Shawl

The pattern comes with instructions and charts for both the body of the shawlette and the lovely lace border. You can find the pattern in my Ravelry shop here.

I also wanted to share some links to wonderful shawl patterns that are available free from the blogs of my crochet designer friends. These lovely designs are available as free patterns because these designers have ads on their websites to help them make ends meet. I hope you enjoy checking out what they have available.

Branching-Out-Shawlette-1

Branching-Out-Shawlette-front

Tamara Kelly’s “Branching Out Shawlette” This is a terrific shawlette pattern that is interesting for experienced crocheters, yet simple enough that intrepid beginners can tackle it. If you want something different take a look at the other wrap patterns that Tamara has on offer at “Mooglyblog.com”.

 

16586498017_ec5142b21d

Jessie Rayot’s “Juliette Shawl“. I think this design is so clever. I love that it is actually a sort of “poncho” that won’t go slipping off your shoulders and getting lost.  Jessie made her sample in a variety of lovely colors. If this particular shawl doesn’t catch your fancy, take a cruise around her blog “JessieAtHome.com” where she has lots of other lovely shawls and fun designs.

 

butterfly-fling

Kim Guzman’s “Butterfly Fling Wrap“. This beautiful wrap is an intermediate pattern and with the open stitch pattern is a perfect layer for warmer weather. I can totally see wearing this all scrunched up around my neck in the Fall and winter season as well, especially if made with an animal fiber blend like wool/silk. If this pattern isn’t quite the one for you, don’t worry, Kim has got loads of other beautiful wraps as well as garments to share with visitors to her blog, “CrochetKim.com”.

I hope everyone finds a shawl that is just right for making a “hug” for their loved ones.  It may be too late this year to make a shawl for mother’s day, but you can put it on your “To-Do list” for next year. I’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day this year with my boys at the Colorado Chocolate Festival on Saturday. I’ll have lots of photos and news about that for you this weekend.

The Annetta Square Re-visited

I’m a designer. Which means I am always fiddling with design ideas. A few weeks ago I posted a pattern for a little square motif that I created rather quickly one evening at a party.

My 2 squares today

I’ve been re-thinking that design since then. There were a few things I wasn’t completely satisfied with. I liked the openness of the round center, but the center circles in the original inspiration photo were a bit more solid and there was a hint of texture. My pattern was also making the center more hexagonal than circular.

5 Rnds of Annetta Sq

The round of stitches that I used to go from circle to square, were not squaring up as nicely as I wanted. Once the final round of single crochets were added it was fairly square but, being the recovering perfectionist I am, I knew I could make them better. Plus I had an idea in mind of a join-as-you go approach for the center circles using the squaring round. More about that later though.

This part of design work requires a lot of tearing out at times. I made 5 different attempts before I was happy with this approach. I hope you will like it too.

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

 

With this design the center circle is a little bit bigger and it can be stiffer. So you may want to try a few using different sized hooks with your yarn of choice to get the amount of movement and drape you want in your fabric. I’ve noticed that the fabric with the smaller hook will be especially stiffer with 100% acrylic yarns, you may want to go up as large as a size L (8mm) hook with those yarns.

Hot Spot Square (Annetta Square #2)

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size:

Approximately 3.75” square

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Heartland)

Yardage amounts allow for 6 inch beginning and ending tails

Center Circle (Rnds 1-4): 10 yards

Squaring Rnd (Rnd 5): 6 yards

Hook

K / 6.5mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Gauge:

First 4 rounds of pattern = 3.25” in diameter

Special Stitches:

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining 3 loops on hook. (If you are having difficulty with the cluster stitches you can find a photo-tutorial on my post: Crochet & Springtime)  

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining 3 loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Start square with an adjustable slip knot. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in same st as join, 2 sc in next 5 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [12 sc]

Rnd 3: Beg Cl in same st as join, (ch 1, Cl in next st) 11 times, ch 1, sl st to top of Beg Cl. [12 ch-1 sp, 12 Cl]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, (3 sc in next ch-1 sp) 12 times, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Change color here to get circle in square look

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc next st,(*hdc next 2 sts, (hdc, dc) next st, (dc, ch 2, dc) next st, (dc, hdc) next st, hdc next 2 sts,* sc next 2 sts) 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next st, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [8 sc, 24 hdc, 16 dc, 4 ch-2 spcs]

Fasten off. Weave in ends being sure to tighten beginning tail to close center of circle.

Connecting with Crochet

Yesterday was quite the crochet day for me. I taught the “Learn to Crochet” class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I always have a great time teaching and love it when my students have that light bulb moment when things begin to work for them.  It’s also a great reminder of what it’s like to be at the beginning of the crochet journey.

Then I ran a few quick errands in town and headed back home. At home it was a flurry getting my boys herded up so we could head over to a friend’s house for a 50th birthday party. There were lots of kids there and our hosts have a nice trampoline that my boys headed straight for.

Meanwhile there were only a few people I knew, so I said “hi” then found a well-lit spot outside to sit with my crochet and keep an eye on my boys. After awhile I got a bit chilly so I came back inside.

One of the other women at the party asked me about a someone in Jamestown and if I knew them. Turned out we had a mutual acquaintance. We introduced ourselves and had a chuckle when it turned out her name is Annette, though pronounced the German way, the “e” at the end sounds like an “a”. We chatted about living in the mountains and wildlife visiting my home.

While we were talking I was crocheting on my project and she asked me about my crochet. She is from Germany originally and both knits and crochets, though she said she was a bit out of practice. She told me that she had started a crocheted blanket project about 2 years ago, but had gotten a bit stuck when she went back to work on it.

Her husband had to run their teen-age daughter home about then and Annette asked him to bring her project bag back with him. When he returned the 2 of us dug thru the bag. There were a number of completed squares, but they were very tightly crocheted and we talked about how they would work in a blanket.

Annette with her inspiration photo and squares

She had been inspired by a photo of a crocheted blanket in a catalog. She had the original inspiration photo in the bag. So we took a look at it together. Her squares were pretty different from the squares in the blanket so I asked her if she would be interested in trying something different.

Close up of Square

I grabbed a ball of the yarn she had and began designing a different square there on the spot. I was having a great time playing with yarn, and we talked about crochet and our families as the square took shape. She liked what I came up with and thought it would be a nicer blanket than the tight squares she had done. Since she had made so many of those I suggested she use them for a pillow that would carry the same colors as her blanket.

My 2 squares today

Today I experimented a bit more with the square pattern I had come up with last night and made these 2 versions. The difference between the 2 is in where I decided to make the color change. Instructions for the squares are below and, in honor of my new crochet friend, it is named the Annetta Square.

ANNETTA SQUARE

designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:   Intermediate

Materials:

Worsted Weight yarn

I-9/5.5mm hook

Finished Size:

Approximately 3 7/8” square

Gauge:

First 3 Rounds = 2.25”

Special Stitches:

3 double crochet cluster st (Cl): (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook. If you are having trouble with this stitch check out my blog post “Crochet and Springtime” for a tutorial on it.

Beginning 3 dc cluster st (Beg Cl): Ch 2, (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (ch 1, sc in next st) 5 times, ch 1, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [6 ch-1 sps, 6 sc]

Rnd 3: Sl st and Beg Cl in next ch-1 sp, (ch 3, Cl in next ch-1 sp) 5 times, ch 3, sl st to top of Beg Cl. [6 ch-3 sp, 6 Cl]

Change color here to get suspended flower look

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, (4 sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in next st) 5 times, 4 sc in next ch-3 sp, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [30 sc]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc next st, (2 sc next st, sc in next 4 sts) 5 times, 2 sc next st, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [36 sc]

Change color here to get circle in square look

Rnd 6: Ch 1, sc next 2 sts,(*hdc next st, (dc, tr) next st, (tr, ch 2, tr) next st, (tr, dc) next st, hdc next st,* sc next 4 sts) 3 times; Repeat from * to * once, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [16 sc, 8 hdc, 8 dc, 16 Tr, 4 ch-2 spcs]

Rnd 7: Ch 1, sc next 6 sts, *(sc, ch 2, sc) next ch-2 sp,** sc next 12 sts*; Repeat from * to * 2 times, then Repeat from * to ** once, sc in next 6 sts, sl st to first sc of Rnd. [56 sc, 4 ch-2 sps]

Fasten off

I really like how these little squares came out. I hope you enjoy making some to use in your projects this spring.

Another Happy Birthday

Maple Leaves

I can’t believe it, but another birthday has come and gone. Now it really feels like Fall.

It was a great birthday, I spent the day with my family. We went to a photo studio and had some really nice pictures taken of the 4 of us, as well as a couple of just the boys. Next we headed down to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We explored the new Whale Exhibit and saw the Imax movie “Journey to the South Pacific” which had some awesome under water footage. Afterward we headed home and stopped for dinner at a nice restaurant.

Barn and Pumpkins 3

Now Halloween is just around the corner with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays not far behind. That has me thinking about my gift list and sending off Christmas/New Years cards and letters.

If you are making gifts for folks this year you might find the following pattern helpful. I love getting homemade jams and jellies at Christmas time, and I’m always impressed with the various presentations. Got me thinking though about ways of creating a gift that would still serve a purpose after all the yummy stuff is eaten.

Crochet Chain Tie

I came up with a jar cover. Once all the jam or jelly is gone you still have a pretty jar that can be used to send out your own home-made goodies, or you can remove the little cover and use it as a bag.

Ribbon Tie

The tie for the cover can be crocheted or you can dress it up further by using a satin ribbon. In this example I used a 32 inch length of 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon.

SPARKLY JAR COVER

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Jar Cover is 9”/ 22.5cm around x 5 1/4“/13.125cm long.

Fits a Pint size Mason Jar

YARN

Lion Brand Yarns, Vanna’s Glamour (96% Acrylic, 4% Metallic Polyester), 1.75oz/50g, 202 yds/185m

Color used for sample is: #150 Platinum, approximately 12g/49 yards were used for sample

CROCHET HOOKS

Size US G=6 / (4mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

Stitch markers

Yarn needle

Pint Mason Jar

Optional:

GAUGE

First 3 rounds of pattern = 2.5” in diameter

SPECIAL STITCHES

V Stitch (V-st): (Dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.

INSTRUCTIONS

Rnd 1: Ch 4 (counts as 1st dc and center), 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beg ch-4. [12 dc]

Rnd 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc here and thru out), dc in same spot as join, 2 dc in next 11 sts, sl st to top of beg ch-3. [24 dc]

Rnd 3: Ch 3, 2 dc next st, (dc next st, 2 dc next st) 11 times, sl st to top of beg ch-3. [36 dc]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same spot as join, sc next 5 sts, 2 sc next st, (sc next 5 sts, 2 sc next st) 5 times, sl st to first sc of rnd. [42 sc]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in each stitch around, sl st to first sc of rnd. [42 sc]

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in next 41 sts, sl st to top of beg ch-3. [42 dc]

Rnd 7: Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch-1), dc in same st as join, (sk 2 sts, V-st in next st) 13 times, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. [14 V-sts]

Rnds 8 – 15: (Repeat Rnd 6 then Rnd 7) 4 times.

Tie (Make 1)

Ch 100 and fasten off

FINISHING

Weave in tails.

Weaving in ribbon

Thread the tie (or ribbon) thru the openings in the last round.  Slide the jar into the cover, tie a bow. Tie knots in the ends of the tie, cut off excess yarn.