Monday, March 26, 2012

Pattern Release! Appreciation Cowl

It's new pattern time !!!  The Appreciation Cowl is now for sale, after testing from some friendly Ravelers.  Buy it HERE!

This versatile pattern looks great with a variety of yarns.  I love the way the Manos Wool Classica in Wildflower looks paired with MadTosh's Tosh DK in Tern.  It really shows off the multi-colored Manos (I used almost the entire skein, with only a couple yards left).  Sometimes I have a hard time finding patterns that really show off hand-painted or variegated yarns.
This simple stripe pattern shows off the colors while the accent stripes keep everything cohesive.  It's an easy pattern with a few maybe-new-to-you techniques.  I use foundation single crochet to start, and there is a tutorial here on this blog.  Otherwise, you just need to know single and half-double crochet, chains and slip stitches, and how to crochet into the back loop only.

I made the first Appreciation Cowl (left) for a friend who very generously helped out my family during my bedrest.  This cowl used 10 yard lengths for the pink and khaki stripes.  The accent stripes were made with one row of gold an one row of cream.  The result was a pseudo-fair-isle pattern.

One of my testers used recycled Sari yarn.  She noted that it is really difficult to find patterns that work with this yarn, and she loved the results.  If you choose to use a single color of yarn, the cowl has plenty of differentiation in texture and will be perfect for a male recipient.

I can't wait to see how you choose to mix up your yarns with this pattern!  Be sure to post pictures on Ravelery :)

Tutorial--FSC--Foundation Single Crochet

FSC (foundation single crochet) is a great technique to know.  You use this instead of a beginning chain, to create a more stretchy base for your piece.  This is especially helpful in garments, for top-down construction.  You can use the FSC for the collar or the top of a shawl, to keep it as stretchy as the rest of the garment.
I used the FSC in my Appreciation Cowl, to create a uniform edge on both sides of the cowl. If I had used a plain chain when I started the cowl, I would have ended up with the cowl having less give on one side.  Below is my tutorial on FSC.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Red Skies at Night

I've just finished a super-cute cardigan!  Designer Linda Permann has written a fabulous pattern called Starry Night (you can find it here on Rav).  I rate her pattern 5 stars.  It is EXTREMELY well-written.  She gives you diagrams, and explains everything really well.  She also gives great instructions on modifying the fit of the garment.

I made the XL, but had to make additional motifs because I was using a thinner-than-recommended yarn.  I ended up using a fingering weight yarn, from Claudia's Hand-Painted Yarns, in the Rubies Playing colorway.  I used all 10 skeins, (175 yds each....1750 yds total) and had just a little left over.  With Linda's diagrams and measurements in the pattern, I was able to estimate my totals, and then pinned and tried on the pieces before I sewed it all together.  The fronts were 5 motifs across and 6 high, and the back is 9 motifs wide and 6 tall.  I added two motifs under the arm to accommodate my beezooms.  One motif wide by two motifs tall.  I added length in the skirt and the sleeves as well, because I am so tall.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wild Rose Group

I have finished my second group of motifs for the museum project, and have shipped them off to England!  This group (the Wild Rose from the Priscilla Book 1 of Irish Crochet, page 12) took about a week to finish.  The main rose is about 2.75 inches in diameter, to give you some perspective.  I used size 80 thread over doubled size 10 PC, with a .06mm hook.  It was helpful to use painter's masking tape over my middle finger as protection against that pointy hook!  I now have a nice callous.  The smallest rings on the main flower were the most difficult to do.  I wrapped the PC around the base of a steel hook about 6 times (doubled) and then went to work with the 80 thread.  My eyes crossed!  I could only do two at a time, and then would take a break.
I am so excited to be contributing to this project!  I just love the idea of so many hands, all over the world, working together to create a beautiful exhibit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Irish Crochet Project

I'm so lucky to be involved in an international Irish Crochet project for an upcoming museum exhibit.  I can't share all the details but I can let you know that we have people contributing from France, Moscow, England, Northern Ireland, Australia and three states in the US.  I can also show you part of my contribution.  These little motifs are 2.5 inches wide and tall, and are made with No. 80 DMC Cordonnet Thread and a .6mm hook.  TINY stuff to work with!  I end up doing a lot by feel and instinct, rather than actual counting of the itty-bitty stitches.  The motifs are from the Priscilla Book 1, motif number 36.