I’m excited to announce that my Lace Hat pattern is now available on the Coats and Clark website.
I designed this Hat to go with the Crochet Lace Fingerless Mitts. The great thing is that 2 balls of the Heart & Sole yarn are just the right amount to make both patterns. You can work the mitts first doing 2 at a time using 1 ball for each mitt, then use the left over amounts to stitch up a matching hat.
The pattern is for a deep hat that can be worn slouchy or pulled down “Cloche” style with the ribbed band providing a bit of extra warmth over your ears. The open work of the stitch pattern in the crown means that this is a great hat for transitional seasons. Like Colorado’s unpredictable mountain spring time.
Do you ever get annoyed with that pesky bump that comes from joining the last round of a motif when you are crocheting? Even if you are the only one that sees it, you know it’s there.
I’ve always loved working in the round. But I went thru all kinds of hoops trying to find a way to join the last stitch of a round to the first without it looking unsightly. I wanted a join that would hold up to use and yet would not be too obvious.
In fact, what I was really searching for was something invisible. I happily found some great solutions in Edie Eckman’s book “Beyond the Square; Crochet Motifs” and Suzann Thompson’s book “Crochet Bouquet.” Like many of the tips you learn in crochet, it was so obvious once I’d learned it.
In Edie’s book she talks about Tidy Joins on page 17 and has lovely clear instructions and illustrations for a couple of different joins that are invisible. This is also a fabulous book to learn many refining techniques for getting the most out of your crochet, as well as lots of clearly illustrated and charted designs for more motifs than you can imagine.
Later on I acquired Suzann’s book. On page 14 she shows step-by-step the instructions for doing a Needle Join that has become my favorite join to use, particularly on hats as it is nearly impossible to spot. This is also a book that will have you itching to make all kinds of crocheted flowers to embellish anything and everything. My only complaint with this book is it does not have any stitch charts, all the patterns are only text.
If you are looking for an invisible join for ending your crochet work, take a look at either of these books. Both are great additions to your crochet library.
I love little crocheted toys, popularly referred to as “amigurumis.” I have 2 small boys in my household and there are numerous neices, nephews and little friends that need toys too. But, I hate, hate, hate, to crochet super tightly like lots of amigurumis require.
My first solution to this problem was to crochet my amis in feltable yarns. I use a bigger hook than is usually stated in the pattern, stuff the little bits and sew it all together. Then give the toy a really hot bath in the kitchen sink.
The little bear pictured above was my first experiment with this. I thought it would work best if I also stuffed him with wool roving. Unfortunately, the roving felted more than the bear did! I ended up taking some stitches thru his neck to snug things up. His pretty pink bow hid the plastic surgery very nicely though.
The lesson I learned from this was to pre-felt the roving I was going to use for stuffing. My next attempt was a baby turtle for my oldest son. This time I partly felted the roving and stuffed the turtle very full. The turtle came out almost too firm, though quite cute.
I have made a number of balls that are felted too. Experimentation has taught me that using a fiber fill stuffing at the center with layers of roving around it works best. My other trick for amis is to use fun fur or a fluffy yarn so I don’t need to stitch as tight, yet the fiber fill won’t work it’s way out. Some examples are my Pocket Monsters.
So if you’ve avoided trying to make amigurumis because the tight stitching hurts your hands some of these approaches might help you. Just be sure you have enough yarn for all the “kids” in your life. Everyone will want one. ;o)
March is National Crochet Month and I’ve been giving some thought to why I love crochet so much?
Is it the enjoyment of the action of crocheting itself? Or is the attraction having a lovely item to wear or use? Do I crochet for it’s own sake or to create an object? Basically it comes down to a question of Process or Product.
For me there is added to the concept of process the allure of designing. Much of my design work is process. Swatching and experimenting with various yarns, hook sizes and stitch patterns just to see what I get. I may have absolutely nothing in mind when I start this process, my only goal is exploration. Often times these experiments add to my knowledge, but that may be the only gain.
Does that make the process a waste of time? Personally I don’t view knowledge or entertainment as a waste, so for me the process stage of design work is very rewarding. As I like to tell my students in the various art and craft classes I’ve taught, “There is no such thing as Failure, there is only Discovery.”
The process of crocheting is one that I have always enjoyed as well.
My return to Crochet as my main hobby came about 12 years ago when I hurt my ankle and was forced to spend a great deal of time off my feet. I found crocheting and it’s rhythm to be very soothing.
I was also re-intrigued with the idea of “weaving” with a hook, using a single tool to create fabrics in a variety of dimensions and shaping. All these years later that fascination is still fresh for me. To suspend expectation and just revel in what comes off my hook.
Maybe this is one of the reason’s I love to play with FreeForm crochet. Gathering up a variety of harmonious colored yarns of various textures and weights and then creating “fragments or scrumbles” is very relaxing to me.
Often I am asked what I am making, or what will those become. Most of the time I have no idea. Seems I may be deeply entrenched in the process side of crochet. Eventually I do make a product with my hours of stitching, but the joy in the process is why I continue to crochet.
If you are curious about FreeForm crochet and have never tried it there is a great CAL/Game going on in the NatCroMo Party group on Ravelry. It’s not too late to give it a try, and it’s a wonderful introduction to freeforming.
Or check out some of the beautiful and inspiring books out there. I recommend, Jenny Dowde, Myra Wood, Prudence Mapstone and Renate Kirkpatrick as great authors to start with.
I already have a stash that is, shall we say, a bit out of hand. This problem is not helped when I go down once a month for PJ Jam at the LambShoppe in Denver.
Playing for hours in the shop with my stitching pals surrounded by glorious yarn enticingly displayed. Let’s just say….Resistance is Futile.
Somehow these 6 had to come home with me.
Berroco won the most attention. 2 hanks of the luxurious Ultra Aplaca, a wonderfully affordable Aplaca/wool blend. Also the gorgeous glowing blue hank is Berroco’s Lustra, a wool/tencel blend that has a beautiful sheen.
Still in an Alpaca mood I found a beautiful hank of Misti Alpaca Chunky in a light lavender color. This is 100% baby alpaca and so soft that I just want to use it for a pillow.
Next I was attracted to the display of sparkly mohair blends (remember we discussed this novelty yarn addiction of mine in a recent post). So Trendsetter’s Dune was added to the pile.
Now a bit of green was needed to balance the purple alpacas and the sparklies. So I added the ball of Frog Tree sport weight 100% Alpaca.
Amazingly enough there are valid reasons they all needed to be added to my stash (well, maybe not the Lustra). Currently the destiny of the 4 hanks above is a secret, but I hope to give you some clues soon.
I’ve been having fun playing with crocheting hearts.
There is a bake sale fundraiser for my oldest son’s after-school care program every February. I’m really not all that talented in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking at altitude. I decided this time to use up some of my worsted cotton and make heart shaped facial scrubbies for the sale.
I played around with various patterns I found online and made 10 hearts. I wasn’t 100% happy with how they were coming out and kept tweaking the patterns. Then today decided to try a completely different approach and since it is a quick fun little pattern thought I would share it with all of you.
Here is the little Heart I came up with.
Sample in photo is worked in Crème de la Crème (Coats and Clark) 100% cotton with a size H-8 (5.0 mm) hook and came out 3 x 3 inches. You can use any yarn or thread you want to get various size hearts. Use the appropriate size hook for the gauge of your yarn.
Little Heart Instructions
Row 1: Chain 7, work a single crochet in the back bump of 2nd chain from the hook. Single crochet in back bumps of each chain to end. (6 sc)
Row 2: Chain 1, turn, work a single crochet in each stitch across (6 sc)
Row 3-6: Repeat Row 2 four times.
Row 7: Turn square to work on one side of square, work 5 Double crochet(Shell) in the end of the 3rd row. Loosely slip stitch in end of 6th row. Turn square to work on next side, loose slip stitch in first stitch, work Shell in 4th stitch of side, slip stitch in next corner, ch 1.
Round 8: Work 6 sc evenly spaced on next side, ch 3, work 6 sc evenly down side. Work 2 sc in first dc, 2 hdc in next dc, 3 dc in next dc, hdc in next dc, slip st loosely in 5th dc of shell, tight slip st in corner of original square, loose slip st in next dc, hdc in next dc, 3 dc in next dc, 2 hdc in next st, 2 sc in last dc of 2nd shell.
Finishing: Can end Round 8 with slip st into first sc of round…or use a needle join for an invisible joining of the round.
This is the first question many of my crochet and knitting pals ask when they find out that I’m a designer. Funny thing is…ideas are rarely the problem for me. Just looking at yarn and hooks in my stash or flipping thru stitch dictionaries can start up my creative engine.
But–keeping the focus to make those ideas grow into designs is a whole nuther story for me.
In fact, I’m currently working on finishing the sample and pattern for a design I have already sold, while constantly fighting the distraction of new ideas. For me, handling the material is often the medium for growing new ideas (sort of my own version of a petri dish).
Back when I was doing lots of art work with polymer clay, I’d approach the studio with dread, thinking I had no ideas to work up. Then I would start conditioning some clay. Just running it thru the pasta machine and mooshing it around with my fingers would often start an avalanche of creativity that lasted for hours.
The same goes for yarn inspiration. Simply working with the yarn is almost guaranteed to get my strange geeky brain throwing off all kinds of sparks.
Fortunately I do have some self-control these days, although I do have to grab one of my sketch pads and jot down some quick notes before promising myself I can revisit them as soon as I finish what I am supposed to be doing!
Now if I could just come up with such will-power regarding chocolate….
My favorite foundation to use in my designs is the Foundation Single Crochet (FSC). And it’s all Doris Chan’s fault–since I first discovered this technique in her books “Amazing Crochet Lace” and “Everyday Crochet.”
I had a deuce of a time getting the hang of the FSC, as I had never worked a foundation the way Doris described. But I persisted because I REALLY wanted to make some of Doris’s gorgeous garments.
Doris’s All-Shawl pattern was to be my “ah ha!” moment. I figured I could manage the eight foundation single crochet stitches necessary to make my own All-Shawl. Although I have to admit I first tried working SC into the back bump of the chains as a substitute– it didn’t work.
The real beauty of starting your projects with the foundation single crochet is that it produces a wonderfully elastic edge. In contrast, a chained foundation gives you a rigid and constricted edge. While that might work for some projects, an elastic foundation is critical for garments like a skirt or gloves, which need to be able to stretch over various body parts.
I’ll be the first to admit that the FSC is not the easiest technique to learn. But once you figure it out it is FanTasTic!
If written instructions are best for you, Doris’s books have wonderful illustrations and instructions in them, or the glossary pages in the back of the “Interweave Crochet” magazine has both the FSC and FDC instructions and illustrations.
If you are on Ravelry.com visit the Everyday Crochet Group where this thread has awesome advice from Doris Chan herself as well as helpful suggestions from other folks on how they have gotten the hang of the FSC.
I am a geek. I freely admit this. So it is fitting that the first design I ever sold would reflect my geekery.
I had thought a lot about making a Crocheted Moebius as a sort of Poncho/wrap. I had seen many patterns, but most were having you make a rectangle then add the twist and seam the ends together.
One of the lovely things about crocheting a moebius is that you can make a “true” moebius. Taking a flat foundation, you twist it 180 degrees before joining in a ring. That twist is the trick.
In case you aren’t certain what a moebius is, here is a photo of one made from a strip of paper.
In Geometrical language a Moebius is an object with only one side and one edge. Though, as you can see from the photo, it appears to have 2 sides and 2 edges.
If you make a moebius yourself with a strip of paper you can test this. Cut a strip about 1 inch wide and 10 or 12 inches long. Twist the strip once and staple the ends together. You can use a pencil to draw a continuous line that will meet up with the beginning point.
That line is drawn on the one side of the moebius. When I made my moebius for these photos I used pinking shears on one edge so you can see how the edge becomes continuous.
That continuous edge works to your advantage when crocheting a moebius . Each crocheted round creates what appears as a row on either side of your foundation round. So it gives the look of 2 sides. It’s a bit mind-boggling at times (one of the reasons I like geometry) and looking at the finished garment you would be certain there are 2 separately worked sides.
One trick with working rounds this way is to turn each round, otherwise you end up with one side of the foundation that is the “Right side” and the other the “Wrong side”. By turning at the end of each round and working back the way you came you avoid that problem and the finished garment will appear more balanced.
Being the geek that I am, crocheting a moebius is a great deal of fun. I find it lovely to work 1 round and end up with double the fabric length. I know that technically I am not really doing less stitches for the accomplishment…but it is still a fun illusion. For “Lace With A Twist Wrap” after 13 rounds from foundation to finishing it’s a wrap.
Addendum January 3, 2013: I’ve had requests for this pattern from a number of folks. I don’t own the pattern, it belongs to Crochet! Magazine/Annie’s Publishing. You may be able to acquire a back issue of the March 2010 magazine or if you get a digital subscription. Or contact Crochet! Magazine thru their website www.crochetmagazine.com. Hope that helps those of you on the search for this pattern.