Modifying a Pattern

daisies-in-vals-garden
Daisies in Val’s Garden

My friend Val and I get together most Tuesday mornings to crochet and visit. This Tuesday she was determined to finish up some small projects that she had in her basket. One of those projects was a headband she was making from my “Springtime Headband” pattern.

headband-open

She wanted the headband to be adjustable, so I came up with a modification to add a button band and buttons to it. We were both pleased with how the finished headband looked and Val was really happy to have one of her projects completed.

Blog Headband alone

 

I thought some of my readers might enjoy using this modification as well. I’m posting the changes we made. The original pattern can be found on my “Crochet and Springtime” post from March 2015. The post also includes a photo tutorial on making cluster and puff stitches.

buttoned-up

SPRINGTIME HEADBAND w/BUTTONS

modifications and design by Andee Graves 

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Headband is approximately 3.25”/8.125cm wide x 23”/55cm long.

YARN

Worsted weight yarn – approximately 35g or 82 yards

Val was using Lion Brand Yarns, Vanna’s Choice, I used Lion Brand Yarns, Wool-ease for my original project.

CROCHET HOOKS

Size US 7 / (4.5mm)

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

2 – buttons 3/4 inch diameter

Stitch markers

Yarn needle

GAUGE

6 rows & 9 sts in hdc = 2” 

SPECIAL STITCHES

3 DC Cluster Stitch (Cl): (Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, yo, pull thru 4 loops remaining on hook.

Puff Stitch (Puff): (Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo, pull up a loop to desired height) 5 times, 11 loops on hook, yo, pull thru 10 loops on hook, 2 loops left on hook, yo, pull thru remaining 2 loops on hook.

Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog): Yo, insert hook into indicated st or sp, yo pull up a loop, insert hook in next st, yo pull up a loop, yo pull thru all 4 loops on hook.

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

NOTES

The Cluster stitches and Puff stitches in this project have more texture because they are “squished” between 2 shorter stitches. The texture is created on the back of the rows. The finished project will have the textured side as the right side of the fabric.

Once the first 65 rows of the headband are crocheted button band row is added and edging is worked all the way around with the right side of fabric facing you.

INSTRUCTIONS

For the buttoned version of this headband work Rows 1 – 65 in original pattern.

 

 

Button Band:

buttonband-reading-sts

Row 66: Turn, DO NOT CHAIN, sc in first st, ch 2 (counts as first dc), *sk 1 st, V-st next st, sk 1 st, dc next st, Repeat from * once. [3 dc, 2 V-st]

buttonband-st-diagram

EDGING 

Ch 1, with RS facing turn band to work along first long edge, *work sc spaced evenly along edge in ends of rows (3 sc in the ends of the every 2 rows), ch 2, turn to work along end of headband, sc in next 9 sts, ch 2*, turn to work along second long edge, Repeat from * to *, sl st to first sc in round.

FINISHING

Weave in ends. Block lightly, if desired.  Sew buttons to right side (textured side) to align with openings in V-sts.

With the colder weather we are beginning to have up here on the mountain it is time to have some extra layers of warmth handy when I’m walking the dog or taking the boys to school. I may be putting an ear warming headband in the glovebox of my car, just in case.

They are also great quick gift projects for those of you thinking about your holiday gift-giving lists.

 

Pretty and Easy Foundation

length-of-fndtn

A foundation that I have been playing with a lot lately uses a “stack” of alternating single and double crochet rows. I don’t really have a name for it other than Stacked Foundation.

Update May 16, 2017: I’ve decided to refer to this foundation as the Stacked Rows Foundation. I now have a video on my YouTube Channel demonstrating both the single crochet rows version and the scalloped version that alternates single crochet and double crochet rows.

chain-2

As I’ve said before, I love “small start” crochet projects. You can’t get much smaller than this start, typically I start with chaining 2, then working in the second chain from the hook. The fun part is I can use it for a long foundation, like the long top edge of a shawl or wrap, it could even work for an afghan. The stitch spacing of the first row in the project is the deciding factor for using this foundation.

A few of my testers have had a hard time understanding the foundation. So I thought it would be helpful to do a blog post especially about this foundation.

Right Angle Wrap Photo courtesy of Annie's Publishing/Crochet! Magazine
Right Angle Wrap
Photo courtesy of Annie’s Publishing/Crochet! Magazine

If you have crocheted my design “Right Angle Wrap”, that first appeared in the “Crochet! Magazine” July 2011 issue, you may see some similarity to that foundation. For that design I used stacked rows of single crochet stitches. I came up with this foundation because so many folks had complained to me about the foundation single crochet (fsc) that I liked to use. I found that working rows of 1 stitch could create a flexible foundation that was rather prettier along the “raw” edge than the typical fsc.

length-of-fndtn-scallops

For this latest foundation I am using stacked rows that alternate single and double crochet stitches. Again these are just very short rows of 1 stitch. Because you need a chain 3 to get to the correct height of your double crochet stitch, there is a lovely subtle scalloped look to one side of the foundation.

length-of-fndtn-row-1-wrk-pts

The first row of the project is worked off the opposite side from the chain 3s, into the single crochets. The bright blue dots indicate where your hook is inserted to work the first row of the project once the foundation is finished.

work-sc-in-2nd-ch-from-hook

To start, make a regular slip knot and chain 2. Insert hook under the top leg and back bump of the second chain from the hook.

completed-1st-sc

Make a single crochet stitch.

ch-3-4th-v-from-hook

Chain 3, turn to work a double crochet stitch into the top of the previous single crochet. If you are having a difficult time locating the top of the single crochet stitch, count to the 4th V from your hook, that is the top of your stitch.

insert-hook-front-to-back

The Vs should be pointing away from your hook before you insert the hook. You always want to insert the hook from front to back (or right to left when looking at the Vs pointing downward) for your stitches in this foundation. Finish your double crochet stitch.

ch-1-for-next-sc-row

Next you’ll chain 1 for your single crochet row. Again look at the Vs to locate the top of your double crochet stitch on the previous row. You will work into the second V.

I’ll continue alternating single and double crochet rows until I reach the length I want for my foundation. Typically I begin and end this foundation with a single crochet row.

swatch-of-v-sts-on-stacked-fndtn

This is a great foundation to use for my favorite stitch pattern: V-stitches. I skip the double crochets and work a V-stitch in each of the single crochets. This sample is a simple swatch of rows, usually when I incorporate this foundation I am working an increase at each end, but it works this way as well.

I’ll be re-visiting this foundation in a number of my patterns over the next year. Hopefully this will help everyone understand how to crochet it.

Loopy De Loop Necklace

Loopy de Loop Necklace

Right before I left for the CGOA conference in Charleston I posted about this necklace and said I would get the pattern up soon. It didn’t happen as soon as I had hoped, but here it is. This post contains the written pattern and I have a new video on my YouTube channel that walks you thru the pattern and the techniques you need to complete this fun necklace. It also has some animated stitch charts for those of you that like charts (like me).  Click here to watch the video: “Loopy de Loop Necklace”.

I used Classic Elite’s “Santorini” yarn for this project because of the mixture of textures and colors in each ball. You can use other yarns, just remember to adjust your hook size if you need to. I choose a size F (3.75mm) hook for my necklace because I wanted the “knot” part of my love knots to be snug, since they provide the structure of this piece.

Loopy de Loop Necklace blocked - Andee Graves M2H Designs

One thing to note, my love knots collapsed in the heat and humidity of Charleston, basically it was “blocked”. The necklace is still pretty but looks different now from my original photos.

This is a simple project, but I am using some techniques in slightly different ways. Hopefully between the pattern below and the video you will be crocheting along without any hiccups.

Loopy De Loop Necklace

designed by Andee Graves

Finished size: Approximately 32″ around

designed by Andee Graves

Finished size: Approximately 30 inches around

Materials list

Yarn: Classic Elite “Santorini” (58% Vicose/42% Cotton), 50g /125 yards.

Hook: F (3.75mm)

Gauge:

1 Love Knot = 1″ in length

Foundation Motif Rnd 1 = 1″ in diameter

Pattern Notes:

This necklace is worked by crocheting long Love Knot strands off a foundation motif. Each strand is attached at its beginning and end as it is worked.

Instructions

Foundation Motif (dc yo-yo with chain loops)

Rnd 1: Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 4 (counts as a dc and center), 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beginning ch-4. [12 dc]

Rnd 2: (Ch 4, sk 1 dc, sl st next dc) 5 times, ch 1, sl st next st, ch 1, sl st in first ch-4 sp, sl st above ch-4 space.

Do not Fasten Off

Note: You may find it helpful to weave in the beginning tail at this point to get it out of your way. I show my favorite way of weaving in the beginning tail in my “Loopy de Loop” video.

Love Knot Strands

LdL Attaching Strands - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Note: Ends of strands are connected to the Foundation Motif in the ch-4 loops created in Rnd 2.

Strand 1: Chain extending the loop on your hook to approximately 1 inch in length, sc in back loop of ch just made, first Love Knot created, continue making love knots until strand is 27 inches long (unstretched) or 32 inches long (stretched), sl st in center of third ch-4 space along motif.

Note: My love knots are consistently an inch long, so it takes 27 of them to reach the length of strand that I used. If your love knots are consistent in size you can count  how many you have in your first strand, then crochet that number of love knots for the rest of your strands instead of measuring.

Strand 2: Sl st tightly above ch-sp to lock end of previous strand, work love knots until strand is desired length, sl st in first ch-4 space to right of previous strand starting point.

Loopy de Loop - joining to motif

Strands 3 – 28: Work similar to Strand 2, slip stitching into ch-4 spaces along the foundation motif working back and forth to fill in the ch-4 spaces.

Fasten off and weave in all ends.

I hope you have fun with this project. You can vary the length and number of your strands to make a longer necklace or even a bracelet. Add beads, play with yarn, most of all…have fun crocheting.

 

 

Getting the Most from a Pattern

As a designer and particularly as an indie-designer, I spend a lot of time thinking about what information a pattern needs to include. Clarity is vital for a pattern to be easy to follow and for stitchers to be able to replicate the original design.  After all, that is the main purpose of a pattern. To provide all the information that a crafter will need to get the same result that the designer did.

Interestingly enough, a lot of folks have a hard time being able to follow a pattern. So today’s post is all about the anatomy of a pattern and how changes can make or break your final project.

Patterns can be broken into 4 parts: Materials, Metrics, Pre-Instructions, Instructions. Changes in any of these areas can change the resulting finished project significantly from the sample the designer created for photography. Which can be exactly the result you want, it’s just good to be aware of how your changes will affect the finished object.

Materials

Materials

This is where the pattern lists the yarn, hook size and any other materials or tools that you will need to have on hand to complete the project.

If you decide at this point in the pattern to use a different yarn than was used in the design this is where things can change a great deal. Yarn substitution is tricky. Sometimes the listed yarn is no longer available or difficult for you to get hold of. So when looking at substitution it is a good idea to look at not only the weight, but fiber content and even the amount of twist in the yarn originally used as well as in the yarn you wish to substitute.

Metrics

Metrics

This is where the pattern tells you the sizes the pattern can be used to make as well as the gauge measurements.

If you change the hook size that was listed in the Materials you will very likely have some changes in this area. Gauge swatches can be your friend if you have made changes. Working that swatch will give you an idea of how close you will be to the measurements given.

If your pattern is for something like an afghan or scarf, where gauge isn’t that critical, you still want to have an idea of what the size of your finished project is going to be. If nothing else, to be sure you have enough yarn.

Pre-Instructions

This area is one of the most often skipped areas in pattern reading and can lead to the biggest tangles when working a pattern. It generally includes things like the “Special Stitches” and “Pattern Notes”.

This area of a pattern often gets ignored by stitchers until they run into a snag while working the pattern. This is often very important information for working the pattern smoothly.  Special Stitches will explain non-standard abbreviations for stitches. Pattern Notes will give you a heads up about things in the pattern to pay particular attention to.

Instructions

This is the “meat” of the pattern. In the instructions you will get the exact directions on the order and placement of stitches to create the finished object. Sometimes the instructions will include stitch charts, schematics and photo tutorials.

If the pattern is for a complex project, like a garment made from multiple pieces, it will often have the instructions broken out for the various pieces. Sleeves, collars, ribbing, etc.

With longer or more complex patterns it can also be helpful to use post-it notes or some other movable marker to help you keep track of your place in the pattern as you are working. If you miss a repeat or line of the pattern the result can be a bit frustrating.

For crochet patterns that have written text using standard abbreviations you need to be sure if they are using US or UK terminology. If the pattern also includes a stitch chart that can often help you decipher whether the pattern is written in US or UK terms.

Another way to spot if a pattern is US or UK terminology is if it uses the half double crochet stitch (and calls it that). US terminology says Half Double Crochet where UK terminology says Half Treble Crochet. UK doesn’t have any stitches called the Half Double Crochet stitch and US doesn’t have any stitches called Half Treble Crochet.

Now it’s time to grab one of those patterns that have been intimidating you and make a try at it. Hopefully some of the tips in this post will help you triumph.

Playing with Corner to Corner

Last Wednesday was the “Causal Crochet” meet-up at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The 3rd Wednesday of every month crocheters can get together from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to crochet and learn new crochet tips and tricks.

C2C projects M2H Designs

At last week’s meeting we started our CAL. We are making a corner to corner scarf to practice the corner-to-corner (C2C) technique.  If you have never tried making corner-to-corner project this is a good starting project that works up fairly quickly. All the crochet skills you need are Chain, Slip Stitch, and Double Crochet.

Corner to corner projects are about the direction the stitches are worked. Projects begin with a single square, following rows of squares are worked on the diagonal with increases until the desired width is reached. Then rows of squares are worked along the diagonal with an increase at one end and decrease at the opposite end until the desired length is reached. Once the desired length is obtained, decreases are worked to square off the final corner.

The C2C Basics Scarf uses 3 different squares made with a ch-3 and 3 dc. Increase, Regular and Decrease Squares.

The first square of the C2C project is basically an Increase square.

Beginning Chain 6
Beginning Chain 6

You start by chaining 6, you will want to keep all your chain stitches relaxed as you will be working back into the actual chains.

First Square completed
First Square completed

The first square is counted as your Row 1 for this pattern.

Beginning Row 2
Beginning Row 2, Ch 6 work in 4th, 5th, & 6th chain stitches from hook.

To begin Row 2 you start with an Increase Square again.

Finished 1st block of Row 2, flip up Row 1 block
Finished 1st square of Row 2, flip up Row 1 square

Once you have made that square, you flip up the first square to work in it’s begining chain 3. Marked in the photo above with yellow dots.

Row 2, Regular Square completed.
Row 2, Regular Square completed.

The second square for Row 2 is a Regular Square. This involves working a slip stitch, ch 3, dc all in the first chain stitch (first yellow dot on the right), then working a dc in each of the next 2 chains of that same square.

I prefer to crochet all my C2C squares by working into the chains. You can also work the Regular and Decrease squares by working into the space below the Ch-3, but this does give you a very different look to the overall fabric and the edges.

Once you have worked the number of increase rows you want for the size of your project, you will need to start decreasing along one side to keep your rows the same length (working “even”). Sometimes you will create your increase by working on top of the last square in the row and your decrease by not working on top of the last square in the row.

10 - Dec Sq part 1

When you need an actual Decrease square will be when your last square in the previous row ends next to the completed fabric. You will use a ch-3 to get your hook back to the right spot. The solitary yellow dot in the photo above is where you work the connecting slip stitch at the end of the previous row.

Sl st & Ch 3 in first ch of next ch-3.
Sl st & Ch 3 in first ch of next ch-3.

Your ch-3 will be connected to the first chain of the next ch-3 (marked with 3 yellow dots) with a slip stitch followed by a chain 3.

12 - Dec Sq part 3

You then work the same as you would for a Regular Square. Continue working regular squares in the chain-3s marked with yellow dots.

Your next “even” row will begin like Row 2, with an Increase square, but will end with a square worked into the ch-3 of the next to last square of the previous row.

Beginning Decreases for 2nd Corner
Beginning Decreases for 2nd Corner

Once you’ve crocheted the “even” rows to the length you want your project you need to make your second corner by decreasing at both ends of  each row. The red square in the above photo is where the last square is worked for that row.

14- Corner Dec R2

Next to last row of corner decrease.

15 - Corner Dec Final Sq

Final square for corner decrease, the last sl st is worked into the chain indicated with a blue dot in the above photo.

Now you are ready to make your own C2C project. Be sure to read thru the pattern thoroughly before starting, and refer to the tutorial above if you get stuck.

C2C Basics Scarf

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Easy

Finished Size:

Approximately 6”wide x 48” long

Materials:

Yarn

Ella Rae Seasons (76% Acrylic, 14% Wool, 10% Polymide; 3.52 oz/100g, 219 yds/200m) 1 ball

Hook

J-10 / 6mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Gauge

5 squares = 4 inches

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

Increase Square: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs

Decrease Square: Ch 3, (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3.

Regular Square: (Sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3.

Pattern Notes:

When working into chain stitches go under 2 strands of yarn.

Your beginning tail will help you identify the bottom right hand (or left hand) corner of your scarf when you begin working even rows. It is also helpful to mark the bottom (first) end of your scarf with a stitch marker.

Instructions

INCREASING FOR FIRST CORNER

Row 1/First Square: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs. [1 ch-3, 3 dc]

Row 2: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, flip work up to (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of 1st square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3. [2 ch-3, 6 dc {2 squares}]

Row 3: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, flip work up to* (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * once. [3 ch-3, 9 dc {3 squares}]

Row 4: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, flip work up to* (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 sp of last square in previous row. [4 ch-3, 12 dc {4 squares}]

Rows 5-7: Repeat Row 4. Count at end of Row 7  [7 ch-3 sp, 21 dc {7 squares}]

WORKING EVEN ROWS

Row 8: Ch 3, flip work up, *(sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of first square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 of last square in previous row.

Row 9: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in next 2 chs, turn work to* (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of next square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 of next to last square in previous row, sl st in top of ch-3 of last square in previous row. [7 ch-3 sp, 21 dc {7 squares}]

Rows 10 – 60: Alternate repeating Row 8 and Row 9.

DECREASING FOR SECOND CORNER

Row 61: Ch 3, turn, (sl st, ch 3, dc) in top of ch-3 of first square, dc in next 2 chs of same ch-3*; Repeat from * to * until work in ch-3 of next to last square in previous row, sl st in top of ch-3 of last square in previous row. [7 ch-3 sp, 18 dc {6 squares}]

Rows 62 – 66: Repeat Row 61.

Finishing

Fasten off, Weave in tails and block if desired.

Spirals and Squares

Fire Pit

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October 29, 2015: Hello dear readers and new visitors just a little update to this post.

My Whirlwind Afghan Square is block #22 in the 2015 Moogly Afghan CAL.

If you hadn’t heard about the Moogly Afghan CAL it’s not too late to join the fun. You can hop on over to Mooglyblog.com to get all the details and see Tamara’s interpretation of my Whirlwind.

Thank you so much to Elke Wellens for providing a Dutch Translation of this pattern on her blog you can find her blog here.

Het Nederlandse patroon, vertaald door HET HAAKBEEST, kun je hier vinden. 

Check back on the blog next Tuesday, November 3, 2015. I’ll have the link to my YouTube video that will demonstrate how to crochet the first 12 rounds of this square.

************

Yesterday was my 52nd birthday and I celebrated by spending most of my day goofing off, especially in the evening with my boys.  We built a fire in our outdoor fire pit and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows like we were camping out. Then I opened my cards and presents by firelight.

Today I’m continuing the celebration by sharing a new design here on the blog for all my lovely readers. This one is a little more complex than I usually share. In fact, one might call it a skill building pattern.

After all, we are celebrating my birthday so this pattern is going to be about many of the things I love in crochet. It uses a center-out construction, one of my favorite styles of design as the outside edges are all the tops of your stitches. It is also constructed round-to-square, which I find visually interesting. And of course, Spirals.

2 hands logo small

I love Spirals. You might be able to tell that just looking at my logo. I find them fun and intriguing. When I was in massage school I was very happy when I learnt that spirals are an common symbol for healing. Which is why I choose to use them in my logo.

Back in 2008, when I first became interested in free form crochet, I started exploring creating spirals in my crochet. Suddenly I was seeing spirals in so many of the crochet designs being published at that time.

Some of the instructions I found for working spirals were a bit wishy washy, which is more than fine for freeform work, but not so great for writing a pattern that others would want to replicate and get the same result. Thus my mathematical brain decided to enter the party.

Spirals are related to circles and circular geometries are always fun for me. Fortunately for those of you that might be a little math-adverse, you don’t have to understand all the numbers behind this design in order to crochet it.

One of the things I wanted to do was come up with a way to make working spirals easy for anyone to do. Especially when you are working with multi-arm spirals. For this pattern I started with a 4 armed spiral in the center this creates that round-to-square progression that I also like. I used the half-double crochet (hdc) stitch for my spirals because it takes 8 hdc to create a flat full circle which helps me take the circular spiral to a 4 cornered square.

When working spirals you need to work in continuous rounds.  This is generally the method of construction used for amigurumi and hats because it allows for a seamless appearance. That does mean that it can be easy to lose track of which round you are working on and if you have reached the end of your round. The solution for this is to use stitch markers.

8 Stitch markers

For the construction of the first 8 rounds of this design I used 8 stitch markers. Having the 3 colors is really helpful. I love my Clover Locking Stitch Markers, but if you don’t happen to have any like that on hand you can use paper clips or coil less safety pins. Some folks like to use a spare bit of yarn for a stitch marker, but I find those tend to get pulled out of my work too easily.

First 5 rounds w Markers

This photo shows the first 5 rounds of my square completed and the placement of the stitch markers. The large yellow marker is marking the last stitch of the full round, as well as the last stitch of that section of color and the increase point. The other orange markers are marking the last stitch of that section of color and the increase point. The green markers are marking the first increase point in the various color sections. Whatever type of stitch markers you use you need ones that allow you to distinguish between the end of round/increase (1), end of color section/increase (3) and the first increase in each color section(4).

Whirlwind Square - M2H Designs

Whirlwind Afghan Square

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:     Intermediate

Finished Size:

12” square

Materials:

Yarn

Worsted wt (Sample uses Lion Brand Yarns “Heartland” 100% Acrylic (5 oz/142g, 251 yd/230 m)

I picked the colors of October up here on my mountain, but you can choose any 5 colors that you like together. Alternating light and dark will make the spiral in the center stand out more.

Color A: #169 Shenandoah (sample used approximately 8 yards)

Color B: #180 Kings Canyon (sample used approximately 12 yards)

Color C: #158 Yellowstone (sample used approximately 10 yards)

Color D: #173 Everglades (sample used approximately 10 yards)

Color E: #124 Big Bend (sample used approximately 9 yards)

Hook

I / 5.5mm

Notions

Yarn/tapestry needle

8 Stitch markers in 3 colors (1 in first color, 3 in next color, 4 in last color)

Gauge

First 5 rounds of pattern = 4” in diameter

Abbreviations/Special Stitches

PM – Place stitch marker

Standing Single Crochet – make slip knot in yarn and place loop snugly on shaft of hook, insert hook into indicated st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull thru both loops on hook.

Standing Double Crochet – make slip knot in yarn and place loop snugly on shaft of hook, yo and insert hook into indicated st, yo, pull up a loop, (yo, pull thru 2 loops on hook) twice.

Pattern Notes:

Start square with an adjustable slip knot. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook. If you don’t know how to do an adjustable slip knot you can see a tutorial on my blog here, or watch this video on my YouTube channel.

First 9 rounds use 4 colors. Each color is 1/4 of the total stitches in the round, you will need to insert your hook back into the dropped loop as you come to the new color, snug that loop up to the shaft of your hook and begin working the stitches as instructed in the new color. Follow instructions for using stitch markers so you don’t lose your place.

Color 1 of stitch markers is used to mark last stitch of entire round as well as last stitch/increase point of that color section.

Color 2 of stitch markers is used to mark the other 3 last stitch/increase point of color sections.

Color 3 of stitch markers is used to mark the first increase point in each color section.

When working the first 9 rounds move stitch markers up to 2nd stitch worked in each increase point.

When ending Round 9, the 2nd sl st is a tight one for final “step-down” of spirals, you will not be working into this stitch in Round 10.

For concentric rounds where changing colors attach yarn with a standing stitch.

If you have an easier time understanding a video then reading a pattern, visit my YouTube Channel to watch:

Whirlwind How-to Part 1 and Whirlwind How-to Part 2

Instructions

Rnd 1: Starting with color A make an adjustable slip knot, ch 2, (sc, hdc) in 2nd ch from hook, pull up a long loop and remove hook, with color B *insert hook in center/first ch of round, pull up a loop on hook, ch 1, (sc, hdc) in same center/ch, pull up a long loop and remove hook,* ; Repeat from * to * with Color C and D. PM in each hdc w/end of color/round markers (placing single color marker in hdc of Color D), PM in each sc with first increase markers. [4 sc, 4 hdc]

Rnd 2: *2 hdc in next 2 sts, move st marker to 2nd st worked in each st, pull up long loop and remove hook**, insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. [16 hdc]

Rnd 3: *(Hdc in next st, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st worked) 2 times, pull up long loop and remove hook, insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. [24 hdc]

Rnds 4 – 8: *(1 hdc in each unmarked st, 2 hdc in marked st, move st marker to 2nd st worked in marked st) 2 times, pull up long loop and remove hook,** insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. Stitch count for end of Rnd 8 [64 hdc]

Rnd 9: *hdc in next 7 sts, 2 hdc in next marked st, move st marker to 2nd st worked in marked st, hdc next 6 sts, sc next st, sl st next st, ** insert hook in next color*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once. Make 1 additional sl st in next st for each color, fasten off yarn, remove end of round markers. [8 sl st, 4 sc, 60 hdc]

End of Rnd 9

Rnd 10: Attach color E with a standing sc along any side in same st as the second slip st of any color section from Rnd 9, sc next st, *Hdc next 3 sts, dc next 2 sts, 2 dc next st, (Tr, ch 1, Tr) in marked st, 2 dc next st, dc next 2 sts, hdc next 3 sts**, sc next 4 sts*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once, sc next 2 sts, sl st to first sc of round. Fasten off current color. Move increase st markers to ch-1 sp. [16 sc, 24 hdc, 32 dc, 8 tr, 4 ch-1 sps]

Rnd 11: Attach new color along any side in 11th st from marked ch-1 sp in direction of work, with a standing sc, sc next 2 sts,*hdc next 3 sts, dc next 3 sts, 2 dc next st, (Tr, ch 2, Tr) in marked ch-1 sp, 2 dc next st, dc next 3 sts, hdc next 3 sts**, sc next 6 sts*; Repeat from * to * 2 times; Repeat from * to ** once, sc next 3 sts, sl st to first sc of round. Fasten off current color. Move up increase st markers to ch-2 sps at corners. [24 sc, 24 hdc, 40 dc, 8 tr, 4 ch-2 sps]

Rnd 12: Attach new color along any side in 11th st from marked ch-2 sp in direction of work, with a standing dc, *dc in each st until reach next marked ch-2 sp, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in marked ch-2 sp*; Repeat from * to * 3 times, dc in each st until reach beginning of Round, sl st to first dc. Fasten off current color. Move increase st markers to ch-2 sps at corners. [112 dc, 4 ch-2 sps]

Rnds 13 – 16: Repeat instructions from Rnd 12. Fasten off. Stitch count at end of Rnd 16 [176 dc, 4 ch-2 sps]

Finishing

Weave in tails and block.

A big Thank You to the folks at Lion Brand Yarn for supplying the yarn for this design. I really love the colors that their Heartland yarn comes in. Hop on over to their website to check it our for yourself.

Getting the Twist Right

Anna Moebius Cowl - Andee Graves M2H Designs

Hopefully most of you reading this post got to participate in the “Hop” I was part of last Tuesday, and now you are the proud owner of my pattern for the “Anna Moebius Cowl”.  The moebius is one of my favorite shapes to use in designs as you can see below, all 3 of these designs (as well as the Anna Moebius Cowl) start the same.

 

Infinite Grande Cowl - M2H Designs
Infinite Grande Cowl – M2H Designs

 

Twisted Garden Cowl - M2H Designs
Twisted Garden Cowl – M2H Designs

 

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

Today I’ve created a little photo tutorial with tips on creating your foundation to begin any of these cowls. I use this same foundation in almost all of my moebius designs, so once you get the hang of it you’ll be set to try my other patterns.

FSC toplast btm1st 4web

When you finish the length of foundation single crochet that the pattern specifies lay it out flat. The stitches have a top and bottom. The green stitch marker is in the bottom of the first stitch and the orange marker shows the top of the last stitch.

Fold ends together 4web

Fold the foundation to bring the 2 ends together.

Circle to match top to btm 4web

To get the moebius twist you only want to add 180 degrees of twist. Which means you join the top of the stitch where your hook is, to the bottom of the first stitch you made.

Slip St Closure 4web

I use a very tight slip stitch.

Beg Crchtg Rnd1 4web

I usually let the beginning tail hang and then later use it to tidy up the join between the ends of the foundation. Meanwhile I just start crocheting my moebius.

Rchd Opp side 4web

When you get to the join you will be on the opposite side of the foundation from your beginning.

Rchd Opp side2 4web

You are working into the bottoms of your foundation stitches and then into the tops of those same stitches as you crochet your first round. You will have doubled the number of stitches in your first round from the number you made for your foundation.

Little Mini Moebius
Little Mini Moebius

Paper Moebius Strip

If you want to learn more about moebius strips and my geeky fascination with them take a look at my post: The Twists and Turns of a Moebius.

Water, Pins and Magic

I really enjoy making lace work in crochet.  Open stitches are lovely for imparting drape and a more economical usage of yarn for the amount of fabric created.

One of the things that really made me fall completely in love with lace work though was when I learnt about blocking my work.  I had used a version of blocking in the past without knowing it.  All those wonderful hard-wearing 100% acrylic afghans and scarves I had made were blocked in the simpliest way possible.  Machine washing and drying.

A lot of blocking is about the combination of water and heat. When you wash and dry acrylic yarn you are using a version of steam blocking. You can be more deliberate with it by using an actual garment steamer.

Until a couple years ago I had never used wires to block.  Since getting some wires and using them I’ve become a true believer. Wire blocking is most effective when working with natural fibers like wool, silk or cotton. But you can wire block synthetic fibers too, you may need a bit of steam or heat to “set” the blocking though.

Photo courtesy of Annie's Publishing/Crochet! Magazine
Photo courtesy of Annie’s Publishing/Crochet! Magazine

My “Right Angle Wrap” design in the Autumn 2010 issue of Crochet! Magazine is a great example of the magic of using wires to block lace. When my dear friend Jan came out for our Reno adventure, last September, I got a chance to introduce her to wire blocking.

Jan had crocheted up the “Right Angle Wrap” to wear at the conference, but it first needed to be blocked. She had never used wires and wanted to give it a try, so I told her to bring the wrap with her and we would block it before leaving for the conference.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the wrap before we started, so you don’t get the full drama of how the fabric changes.

shawl in bucket

First step in this process is to get the item wet, I gently soaked Jan’s shawl in a solution of luke warm water with a bit of Eucalan wash in it. Eucalan is a good product to use with hand wash only fibers especially as it doesn’t need to be rinsed out.

While the shawl was soaking Jan and I laid out the blocking pads on the floor in my design office. You can buy really nice blocking pads that interlock and are marked with a gird pattern to help with precise alignment.

Blocking Pad

My blocking pads are actually some interlocking foam flooring pads that are 18″x18″ and designed for use on concrete floors. I bought a set of them at our local Costco a number of years back and they have served very well. I cover the pads with towels to help absorb the moisture from the garment I am blocking.

We were ready to take the shawl out of the bucket and remove some of the excess moisture from it.  In Colorado, items you are wet-blocking tend to dry very quickly, but Jan lives in New Jersey which is a great deal more humid. So I wanted to show her an easy way to get most of the water out of the shawl.

Wet Shawl

I laid out a couple more towels that were folded in double layers. Then neatly laid the wet shawl on the towels.

Towel Roll

Once the shawl was in position I rolled the towels up and pressed on the resulting log to squeeze out the water. The shawl was damp enough now to block nicely, but not so soggy that handling it would stress the stitches. It also dries quicker.

Shawl laid out for wires

I helped Jan lay the shawl out on the blocking pad and we shaped it to roughly the layout we wanted. You can see here that the fabric is still not all that defined, but it gives you a feel for what the coming transformation accomplishes.

Jan Threading wires

Now began the somewhat tedious task of threading the wires to open the lace pattern. Jan and I took turns with this part of the project. The point of threading the wires into the fabric is to create an even amount of pressure along the fabric.

Top Edge Pinning

Once the wires are threaded in the real fun begins. I usually pin out the top edge of the shawl to act as an anchor.

Close up Top Edge

Then I gently pull the other wires to open the stitch work, pinning and re-pinning as necessary to create even pressure.

Shawl Drying on Wires

Once the shawl was fully stretched and pinned in place we left it to dry overnight.  If you live in a more humid climate than Colorado you might want to have a fan or such blowing on  the piece to help it dry faster.

I have occasionally used a blow-dryer to speed up the drying process, but you want to be careful not to melt your yarn if it contains any sort of rayon, polyester or acrylic fibers. Of course, a blow dryer or garment steamer is a great way to “set” the blocking if the yarn you used contains a dominate amount of synthetic fibers.

Finished blocking Wires out

The next morning we removed the wires and you can see how much the blocking has opened the stitches up and really allowed the lace to be shown to it’s best.

Jan modeling her shawl

And here is Jan modeling her beautiful finished shawl.

Zen and the art of Weaving in Tails

I used to hate weaving in tails when working on crochet projects. But over the years I’ve begun to regard this task as a nice break and meditative. I’m not sure what exactly changed my feelings toward this task that is dreaded by many of us yarny crafters.

I think part of my fondness came from teaching basic crochet to new hooksters.  Small flower and “yo-yo” projects are great for beginners, and it’s good practice weaving in the tails.

Afterall, the work we do on the finishing touches of our crochet can have a big impact on the final appearance of a project.

Weaving in ends doesn’t have to be that tedious. In fact it is a great way to change-up the tasks you are working on (different movements of the hands break up the repetition that leads to injury).

In 2010 I took a class at the Manchester Chain Link with Karen Ratto-Whooley where she showed us some neat tricks about end weaving. This was Karen’s Venetian Lace Class (which is well worth taking) and involved creating very open lacy motifs.  So the question became, how and where do you hide those darn tails.

Karen told us how her grandmother told her the “wrong side” of your work should look as nice as the “right side”. One of the tricks to making that happen is to hide your tail weaving so it blends with the stitches of your fabric.  Taking  your tail up and back along the tall stitches is a great way to disguise them.

Also weaving the tails so they go back over themselves helps to prevent them coming loose later.

A few months ago at the LambShoppe PJ Jam night my happiness with tail weaving was solidified.  I was very tired and didn’t have the brain cells for really crocheting anything ambitious. But I did have a pile of motifs that needed their ends woven in before I could start the next stage of the project. I sat there weaving in tails and focusing on visiting with my friends. By the end of the evening I had finished all the motifs in my bag and had enjoyed the company of my dear friends.

I recently sold a design that contained 52 3-colored motifs and an additional 36 1-color motifs. Trust me, that is a lot of tails to weave.  Fortunately my new found fondness for that task has served me well. I have found the Zen.

Hopefully all my dear readers will be able to approach this task with a bit less distaste in the future as well.

Playing with Yarn

When I design a project I think about the yarn a lot. All yarns are not created equal. By that I don’t mean that some are inferior to others, but some definitely work better for certain projects or effects than others.

An example:Worsted weight kitchen cotton rarely makes a nice garment, it tends to bag and sag with wear and can be very heavy.  It’s ideal though for dish cloths, bath scrubbies or even a sturdy market or beach bag.

The things I look at when choosing a yarn for a design often happen long before the design is even conceived.

Yarn for Design Swatching

I frequently purchase a single skein/ball/hank of yarn to try it out. I’ll play with different stitches and stitch patterns with various hooks to see how the yarn behaves and how the fabric looks. If I like any of those swatches, or if I think I might like them, I’ll wash and block the swatch to see what happens next. How much does it grow or shrink? Does it look better or worse?

Lately this experimenting occurs as part of my search for a yarn to use in a design I want to publish or that I want to propose to a magazine or yarn company. I know what I want the yarn to do in the design, so I search for a yarn that will do that.  OR I know what a yarn will do and I come up with a design that I know will showcase that yarn well.

The road from this creative process to a published design can often be rocky.  Sometimes I will sell a proposed design, but the publisher wants to change the yarn I will use. That can lead to some interesting juggling if the preferred yarn responds differently to the stitch work of the proposed design than the original yarn.

Often it requires some re-calculations of the math to make the design come together.  Since this all happens at the beginning of the creative road it doesn’t distort how the finished design looks to the pattern using public.

What happens though when the pattern using public decides to substitute a different yarn than the one used for the original design?

Almost everyone decides to substitute yarns at one point or another.  It’s quite understandable. For some of us it may be that we have yarn in our stash that we feel would work nicely or we like the color of. For others the specified yarn may not be easy to obtain where they live, or may be outside the reach of their budget. But substituting yarn can be quite tricky.

Sometimes the resulting project is even nicer than the original sample that was pictured with the pattern. Unfortunately the opposite can happen to varying degrees.  I’ve seen instances where stitchers have substituted a different yarn that changed the gauge significantly, they then adjusted the math of the pattern…but are unhappy with the finished object.

All this is understandable, and it can even be entertaining as a stitcher to play with a pattern in that way.  But what yarn will you choose?

Four points to keep in mind when you want to substitute a yarn:

1) Pick something that has a similar fiber content.

If you are horribly allergic to animal fibers like wool and have fallen completely in lust with a pattern that was originally designed in a wool or wool blend yarn you may have some difficulties. You might be able to find a yarn that looks somewhat similar, but your finished object is going to block and wear quite differently from the original. If you are okay with that result, go for it.

2) Stay with the same size yarn.

Meaning if the pattern calls for DK weight yarn and you substitute a Bulky yarn you are going to have some BIG changes in your finished object (no pun intended). I’ve seen some stitchers decide to work a pattern in a heavier yarn without changing the size hook or needles they are using. Then they are unhappy because their project doesn’t have the drape or flow of the original.

If you are going bigger or smaller than the recommended yarn you need to change hook or needle size accordingly, and you need to figure out how your gauge will change to adjust the pattern.

3) Try to match the twist and elasticity of the original yarn.

This is a bit harder to do, because you need to be able to observe both the original yarn and the yarn you wish to substitute. Yarns using the same fiber content and of the same weight can still have a big difference in “give” due to the way they are created.

Take a close look and touch different yarns in your local yarn store and big box craft stores. You will see that some are much more elastic than others, even if they don’t have elastic thread added to them (there are a few sock yarns that do have elastic nylon added to create a very stretchy sock fabric).

If the original yarn in a pattern is very “cushy” or elastic and you substitute a tight non-elastic yarn the finished project will be much less stretchy and, in the case of garments, may not give you the fit you want.

One quick test for similarity in elasticity is to measure the yarn resting and stretched.  Best case scenario is if you can compare a couple of yarns you are considering to the original yarn.  Shopping at your LYS you may be able to use the knowledge of the shop employees to help you find a good substitute.

4) Swatch!

Yes, I know many of you hate to swatch. But when substituting yarn it really is critical.  It is far better to put in 20 minutes or less swatching, than to have worked days and weeks on a project to discover the gauge or yarn performance is completely off.

Once you finish a swatch let it rest before making any measurements or evaluating the fabric.  During the process of crocheting (or knitting) the warmth of your hands and the manipulation of the yarn can change the fabric.

I tend to lay my swatch out flat on my work table for at least an hour (sometimes overnight) before taking any measurements and evaluating the fabric.  If the finished piece will be blocked I block my swatch, this is particularly important if the yarn is natural fibers like cotton, silk or any animal hair/fur.

Another thing to consider is growth of the project. The weight of the yarn can change the fabric you create when the piece is large.  One way to evaluate that from the swatch is to hang it with weights on the bottom edge. I use clothes pins.

I hope these tips and this glimpse into my design process are helpful to you.  Play with your yarn choices and patterns to find the mix that gives you what you want. “Play” is the key word there, just have fun with it. Afterall, it’s all playing with yarn.