Whispering Wind Cowl

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.

Collette’s first modeling gig

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.

Freedom!

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 purchase the pattern in my Ravelry Shop for $4.99.

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.

 

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Vivianne Shawl

vivianne-shawl-andee-graves-m2h-designs-a2

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.

yarn-for-new-pwt-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.

Vivianne Shawl 3 - Andee Graves/M2H Designs

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.

“Wraps for All Seasons” Blog Tour – Stop #3

Hi everyone. My book “Wraps for All Seasons” is going on a blog tour. We will be making 6 stops for this tour. Each of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to visit them to see what they have to share with you about my book.

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Stop #3 is with the brilliant, kind and talented Karen Whooley. As many of my long-time readers know, Karen is not only an incredible designer of both Crochet and Knit patterns, she was my CGOA mentor when I first began the journey of becoming a crochet designer myself.

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This photo is the two of us in 2010 at the Manchester CGOA conference. We’ve both changed a lot in our appearance, but our friendship is still strong. She is one of the people I can really depend on in my life to tell me when an idea or design is utter garbage, so I know when she has good things to say I’ve earned it. It’s good to have folks that keep you on your toes.

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Karen is a marvelous teacher and many of the books she has written over the years reflect that. She is the rock star of crocheted socks, she has all styles of sock patterns available in her shop on her website. I had a hard time picking a favorite, but I do love her “Mix and Match Toe-Up Socks” as the best pattern to purchase for the beginning of learning to crochet socks.

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Check out her beautiful pattern for the “Spring Leaf Shawlette”. This shawl is worked from side to side including the lace border, so once you reach the end of the rows you are finished. Definitely a good pattern to add to your shawl pattern collection. You can purchase it over on her website.

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The next stop for the “Wraps for All Seasons” blog tour will be next Tuesday, November 8th.

You can purchase my book at the Annie’s Craft Store or on Amazon.com.

“Uncle!”

Sometimes getting back into the routine of school days is a rough transition. That would definitely be the case this week. This is the first full week my boys are back in school and to add to the fun (not): my husband is out of town for work and there are major construction delays on the 2  shortest routes down the mountain to school.

I am really glad that we are getting our roads back to better-than-before. If you all remember back in September 2013 there was a nasty flood here and we had extreme damage to numerous roadways in Colorado, especially in the mountains. The construction has been on-going for the past 3 years, with the big job starting last year about this time.

What all this means for me though, is less time in my office at home. Being on the go isn’t too bad when I’m crocheting away on a pattern, but it gets a bit tricky when I need to do photography and video work.

I had planned to have an awesome Tuesday post for all my dear readers. Unfortunately, I finally had to accept reality since it is now Wednesday evening and I still don’t have the awesome post completed. I’m crying “Uncle” this time. Awesome post is being moved to my Saturday post instead.

But I won’t leave you with a completely empty plate. No starving children in Mama Andee’s house!

One of the good things about being trapped down in town this week, I had the opportunity to get lots of shopping errands out of the way. Seems like there are always little errands that get pushed off the day’s list when I come down during summer break.

This past Tuesday I took care of all my grocery errands, but I also made some time for errands that were a bit more fun. Like stopping by JoAnn’s and Michaels.

RH WaterLily

I needed some foam cushions for a project and knew that JoAnn’s would have the ones I wanted. I spent a few minutes having a wistful browse of all the lovely Ott-Lites they have in stock. I did resist that temptation, but a skein of yarn said it needed to come home with me.

RH Friends

I really like crocheting with Red Heart’s “With Love” yarn (very aptly named as well). It is nice and soft with a lofty springy twist to it. Great for making home décor or even wearables. I picked the Water Lily color because I thought it would play well with some purple that I had in my stash. Don’t they look nice together? Will be coming back to them later this winter.

There has been a lot of posting in social media about Caron Yarn’s newest product “Caron Cakes”. They are only in Michaels stores from what I understand. They did have them online at the Michaels website, but as of this writing they are out-of-stock. You can take a look at the various colors online though and see if there is a store near you that carries them.

Caron Cakes at Michaels

I wanted to see if I could find them in my local Michaels. The store I go to is located in Superior, Colorado in the same shopping area as my nearest Costco.  I decided I had time for a stop in Michaels before heading to Costco for groceries. I was pleased to see the yarn there, though they had already sold quite a bit of it.

My Caron Cakes

I had to adopt a few balls for myself. I decided on 2 balls of the purple toned “Bumbleberry” and 1 ball of the “Blueberry Cheesecake”. The yardage in each ball is very generous at 383 yards. It is a yarn that requires a bit more care, the instructions on the label say “Hand Wash. Lay flat to dry.” A little surprising as the fiber content is 80% Acrylic/20% Wool. The yarn is very soft in the ball and doesn’t have that slight scratchiness you sometimes get with wool blends.

Jessies Cakes Round-Up

I’m looking forward to working with this yarn and seeing what new designs it inspires for me. Meanwhile my good friend and fellow yarnie blogger Jessie has put together a Round-up of pattern suggestions for folks that are wondering what they can crochet with this yarn.

C2C Scarf 1

You can find Jessie’s suggestions and the links to the patterns on her blog: Jessie At Home. I was flattered that she included my C2C Basics Scarf in there.  Some of my other patterns that could work up nicely in this yarn are:

Granny Fans Redux - Andee Graves/M2H Designs

Granny Fans Redux, this is one of my paid patterns that has detailed charts and the instructions for 3 different styles of neck wear. The long runs of color in the Caron Cakes would likely give you fans in each color.

2nd PWT

Playing with Triangles Shawl, this pattern is available here on my blog and I have a “how-to” video on my YouTube Channel.

3rd PWT attempt

You can see in the above photo how fun the color changes were using Red Heart’s Treasure. With the Caron Cakes the color stripes would be even more dramatic. The squishy loft of the Cakes yarn would make a very snuggly shawl, perfect for a gift for a dear friend or family member this coming holiday season.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and be sure to stop by on Saturday for another fun pattern and video.

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.

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.

 

Less than 3 weeks til Christmas!

So much to be done and time is getting short. All those grand plans you had for crocheting up the perfect gift for family and friends are now down to the wire.  For those of you looking for a quick crochet gift project, I and a few of my fellow designer/blogger friends have some suggestions for you.

Hurry Up Holiday Cowl by Tamara Kelly/Moogly
Hurry Up Holiday Cowl
by Tamara Kelly/Moogly

From the lovely Tamara Kelly over at Moogly the first pattern of her 2015 Moogly Holiday Mini CAL is available. Make this chunky cowl with one skein of Lion Brand Yarn Hometown USA… in less than an hour! Video tutorials included!

Sparkly Jar Cover
Sparkly Jar Cover

Tamara also pulled together a gift giving guide on the Lion Brand Blog (including my Sparkly Jar Cover).

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Coraline in Morocco Cowl by Simply Collectible Crochet

From Celina of Simply Collectible Crochet here is a list of some quick crochet projects that would make great gifts. I especially love her “Coraline in Morocco Cowl”. Make it in festive colors or a sparkly yarn and you have a lovely quick gift to brighten someone’s holiday. This would be a really great project for one of those lone balls of beautiful yarn that has been sitting in your stash for a couple of years un-loved.

Lorraine-Free-Crochet-Ear-Warmer-Pattern-Blue-Green
Lorraine-Free-Crochet-Ear-Warmer-Pattern-Blue-Green

From Jessie of Jessie-At-Home is her Last Minute Gift pattern Round-up from 2014. My favorite in this Round-up is the pattern for the “Lorraine” a wonderful wide ear warmer that buttons in the back. I especially like the version Jessie made with a big bold crocheted flower on it.

Peppermint Kisses Beanie - Kathy Lashley/ELK Studio
Peppermint Kisses Beanie – Kathy Lashley/ELK Studio

From Kathy of ELK Studio is the gorgeous “Peppermint Kisses” beanie. This pattern gives you 2 different band styles to choose from as well.  I could see this hat worked in any combination of colors. You could even work it in your giftee’s school colors.

Smidgen Cozy - M2H Designs
Smidgen Cozy – M2H Designs

One of my favorite recent designs for a quick crochet gift is my “Smidgen Cozy”. This project is quick to make because you are working with a large hook and very bulky yarn. All you need is yarn, hook, a pretty button and an evening to crochet up this cozy gift.

A lot of my patterns available for purchase thru my Ravelry Shop also work up quickly for gift giving.

Little Christmas Wreath - M2H Designs
Little Christmas Wreath – M2H Designs

One of my favorites to use as a Christmas brooch is my “Little Christmas Wreath”.  You can work it up in any yarns you have available, just use the appropriate size hook to fit your yarn. The little wreaths can also be embellished with beads to make them even more festive.

Twisted Vs Cowl - M2H Designs
Twisted Vs Cowl – M2H Designs

Another quick project is my “Twisted Vs Cowl”. This project again takes advantage of bulky yarn and a big hook, as well as an open stitch pattern, to speed you to completion of another gift.

Anna Moebius Cowl - M2H Designs
Anna Moebius Cowl – M2H Designs

My all-time favorite crochet gift project for my female friends and relatives though is my “Anna Moebius Cowl”.  I can complete one of these cowls in approximately 3 hours.  I especially like to use yarns with long color changes as the stitch pattern shows them off spectacularly.

Hopefully one or more of the patterns you can find thru these links will be just what you need for your gift-making projects. Remember to be gentle with yourself and take lots of breaks while you are stitching away on those last-minute gifts.