Crochet More Alike

For some reason I am finding it difficult to write this post.

The last couple of weeks has reminded me of something quite fundamental within the fiber arts. When you find those that share your hobby, you find your tribe. I have witnessed several examples of how this tribe is a force of good in the world.

The first example was while I was at the DFW Fiber Fest. Just as the vendor market was about to open the rumor had spread that one vendor had not been able to set up. Apparently, the trailer that carried all of their yarns, their samples, their entire booth set up was stolen from a hotel parking lot.

Most vendors are small businesses, the entire family participates in the entire experience. This is the livelihood, and obviously a loss like this is huge set back.

So, what happened next was a true feeling of the tribe. All the other vendors donated items for a raffle drawing, while attendees began taking up donations. After 24 hours all organization came together for one central raffle drawing fundraising event. In just two and a half short days over $12,000 was raised to help offset the losses to this family.

To add to the story, apparently the thieves took approximately a third of the yarn they had stolen and donated it to a Habitat for Humanity store. A crochet loving volunteer thought that this donation looked odd, did a bit of research and was able to return some of the vendors stock to them. The vendor was able to have a small booth to sell these found yarns, in which they had a steady show of support.

This was occurring as a fellow crochet was losing her battle with cancer. By now in life I have been down this path before, it does not become any easier. However there was a bit of a difference with this passing. I know this crocheter from the Crochet Guild of America, I have spent time with her at the annual conference, and followed her life on-line via Facebook.

After her passing, her only living relative, her brother, reached out to her crochet community to inform them of just how much we all meant to her. This tribe was her family, and the simple act of sharing our love for crochet had created an environment in her life that was the world to her. Her tribe was important to her enough that they become a part of her everyday life. There is a void in the crochet community.

There are other instances that have come together this week to remind me that there is so much more we have in common than we have different. Crochet just happens to be one of those tribes that we can easily recognize, we know that if someone plays with yarn we can find a common ground.

I still do not understand why I have had such difficulty putting any of this to words, maybe it is because my tribe is too close to my heart.

A Crochet Celebration- Free Quiet Night Wrap Pattern and Discount

What a great month long celebration of crochet! Today I am the last visit of the month long blog tour by Underground Crafter, filled with free patterns, great discounts, and giveaways…if you have missed any of the fun, make sure and check it out here.

I met Underground Crafter through the Crochet Guild of America, actually I have my career in crochet because of CGOA. I never thought that crochet could take me to the places it has.

I will admit that when I first learned about CGOA I didn’t really know what to expect. I found an ad for it in a magazine, and figured I would give membership a try.

I soon learned of the Masters program, then completed the Advanced Stitches &Techniques Program, which consists of 48 swatches and 13 question. Some of the swatches were things I had never heard of before, like foundation single crochet, so I learned some new skills and have my work reviewed. I remember that I was nervous, excited and a bit terrified to have my work reviewed. Fortunately, and eventually, I passed the program.

Later that year I was invited to the CGOA annual conference to be recognized for my accomplishment. I was a bit reluctant….after all it was a crochet conference….so people just sat around and crocheted?…But with encouragement from family and friends I went, and I was hooked!

I met so many incredible people from so many walks of life. It was an experience that changed my life, seriously. It was at this conference that I sold my first design, and began my career as a crochet designer, that lead to more teaching, that lead to volunteer work in crochet…that lead to being a reviewer and a writer for the Masters Program, that lead to a seat on the Board of Directors, and finally my title as President. It is hard to believe that my career started only 7 years ago, from a membership that I took a chance on a decade ago.

Even if I never took the chance at conference and started a new path in my life, I was hooked as a supporter of CGOA for the simple fact that it is the only organization that solely supports crochet. It is a unified voice of crocheters in the craft industry, a central point for the history of all things crochet, a source that encourages and expands the skills and knowledge of crochet. It does all of this numerous volunteers coordinating over twenty committees. I am constantly impressed with the ideas and energy of those that love crochet.

I would continue to support CGOA simply because it supports crochet.

If you would be in checking out CGOA for yourself….you will find it here.

Gee Circular Wrap

I would also like to help you to celebrate crochet, so I am providing a 25% off discount on my popular Gee Circle Shawl pattern available until April 15, 2019.

In addition, please enjoy my free pattern, Quiet Night Wrap. I designed this pattern by candle light during the winter storms and my journey back to the 1800’s just a few weeks ago (find that story here). I hope you have enjoyed a month long celebration of crochet, personally I think I will try and celebrate it every day.

Quiet Nights Wrap   by: Linda Dean

Created in the dark during a winter storm, this simple 2 row repeat worked from the center back outward, will be a go to favorite for a triangle shawl. The ending edge really makes it a show stopper. This will be the wrap that everyone wants you to make for them.

Quiet Night Wrap Free Pattern
Quiet Night Wrap

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner  

Finished Size Approximately: 65” x34”

Gauge: 20 dc, 4 ch-1sp sts /9 rows=4”

Materials List:

  • H/8/5.00mm size crochet hook
  • Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot lightweight 53% Superwash Merino Wool, 17% Domestic Wool, 17% Silk, 13% Nylon (450yds/412m/100g): 2 skeins Joliet (mountaincolors.com)
  • Tapestry needle

Abbreviations:

ch(s): chain(s)

dc: double crochet

rem: remaining

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

tr: treble crochet

yo: yarn over

Pattern Notes

Treble Crochet Two Together (tr2tog): YO twice, insert hook into stitch, YO, pull up a loop, (YO, pull through 2 loops) twice, YO twice, insert hook into stitch, YO, pull up a loop, (YO, pull through 2 loops) twice, YO, pull through 3 loops.

Row 1: Ch 2, (sc, [ch 3, sc] 3 times) all in 2nd ch from hook, turn. -4 sc, (3) ch-3 sps

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as dc + 1 ch now and throughout), 3 dc in next ch-3 sp, ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc) in next ch-3 sp (insert removable stitch marker in ch-1 sp to mark center of shawl), ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp, ch 1, dc in last sc, turn.  14 dc

Row 3: Ch 1,(sc, ch 3, sc) in same st, ch 3, sk ch-1 sp, sk 3dc, sc in next ch-1 sp, [ch 3, sk 3 dc, sc in ch-1 sp] across to center of shawl, ch 3, (sc, ch 3, sc) in center ch-1 sp, [ch 3, sk 3 dc, sc in next ch-1 sp] across to last ch- 1 sp, ch 3, sk 3 dc, sk ch-1 sp, (sc, ch 3, sc) in last dc, turn. -7 ch-3 sps

Row 4: Ch 4, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp, [ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp] rep across to center of shawl, ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc) in center ch-3 sp, [ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-3 sp] across, ch 1, dc in last sc, turn. -26 dc

Rows 5-50: Rep Rows 3 and 4 twenty-three times. -302 dc, 101 ch-1 sps

Row 51: Ch 4, dc in same sp, [ch 1, sk 1, dc in next st] across to center of shawl, ch 1, (dc, ch 1, dc) in center of shawl, ch 1, dc in next st, [ch 1, sk 1, dc in next st] across to ast st, ch 1, (dc, ch 1, dc) in last st, turn.

Row 52: Ch 3, dc in next 4 sts, [ch 5, sk 2 ch-1 sps, tr in next ch-1 sp, ch 5, sk next 2 dc, dc in next dc, dc in next 6 sts]
12 times, ch 5, sk 2 ch-1 sps, tr in next ch-1 sp, ch 5, sk next 2 ch-1 sps, 3 dc in next ch-1sp (center of shawl), [ch 5, sk next 2 ch-1 sps, tr in next ch-1 sp, ch 5, sk next 2 dc, dc in next dc, dc in next 6 sts ] 12 times, ch 5, sk next 2 ch-1 sps, tr in next ch-1 sps, ch 5, sk next 2 dc, dc in next dc, dc in last 4 sts, turn.

Row 53: Ch 3, dc in next 3 sts, [ch 7, sc in tr, ch 7, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts]
12 times, ch 7, sc in tr, ch 7, dc in next dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next dc, dc in next dc, [ch 7, sc in tr, ch 7, sk next ch-sp and dc, dc in next dc, dc in next 4 sts] 12 times, ch 7, sc in tr, ch 7, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in next dc, dc in last 3 sts, turn.

Row 54: Ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, [ch 7 (sc, ch 5, sc) in sc, ch 7, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in next 3 sts]
12 times, ch 7, (sc, ch 5, sc) in sc, ch 7, sk ch-sp, dc in next 2 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next 2 sts, [ch 7, (sc, ch 5, sc) in sc, ch 7, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in next 3 dc sts] 12 times, ch 7, (sc, ch 5, sc) in sc, ch 7, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in last 3 sts, turn.

Row 55: Ch 3, dc in next st, [ch 3 (tr2tog, ch 3) 4 times in ch-5 sp, tr2tog in same sp, ch 3, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in next st] 12 times, ch 3 (tr2tog, ch 3) 4 times in ch-5 sp, tr2tog in same sp, ch 3, sk ch-sp, dc in next 3 dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next 3 dc, [ch 3, ch 3 (tr2tog, ch 3) 4 times in ch-5 sp, tr2tog in same sp, ch 3, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in next st] 12 times, ch 3 (tr2tog, ch 3) 4 times in ch-5 sp, tr2tog in same sp, ch 3, sk ch-sp and next dc, dc in last 2 sts, turn.

Row 56: Ch 1, sc in same st, ch 3, sc in next st, {[ch 5, sc in next ch-3 sp] 5 times, sc in next ch-3 sp} 12 times, [ch5, sc in next ch-3 sp] 5 times, ch 5, (sc, ch 5, sc) in ch-1 sp, ch 5, sc in ch-5 sp, {[ch 5, sc in next ch-3 sp] 5 times, sc in next ch-3 sp} 12 times, [ch 5, sc in next ch-3 sp] 5 times, ch 5, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc. Fasten off.

Weave in ends, block.

My Crochet Carrot- Crochet as Motivation

Usually crochet becomes a bit of my refuge from doing the dishes and cleaning the floor. However, with spring in the air I do get the urge to actually clean out some clutter and have a fresh home. I use crochet to help me to do this.

This spring, crochet is my carrot.

I know myself well enough to know that this desire to clean those dust bunnies from under the sofa will be short lived. I really only spurs during the seasonal changes of spring and fall, and have a very limited number of hours that I will be in this mood. This year I decided to nurture it a bit.

Using Crochet as my carrot to keep spring cleaning productive

I allow myself a set number of pattern row repeats on the project I am working on, then I can clean a shelf in the refrigerator. Once the shelf is clean I can return to another pattern row repeat of my project.

I really have found this to be productive, even if the back and forth nature seems a bit counterintuitive. While I am working my pattern repeats I am mentally planning my attack on my next small cleaning projects so that things go smoothly. In addition I do not get burnt out as fast in my cleaning undertaking.

If it were not for my carrot of getting to crochet after I finish a small cleaning, I am not sure if I would be as productive. In the past I would start in a corner to clean, give it my all and go full throttle into the project, I would have everything torn apart to give a through deep clean….then as everything needs to get put back into place I would lose all desire and energy, and if things went well everything would end up tossed in the corner again and I would pass out on the couch.  At least in this small step approach I find that the entire small project gets completed. Not to mention I am actually still making headway on my crochet.

A Bit of a Color Change Difference

Some color changes are a bit different than others. The way to change the color in a stitch is the same, I discuss that here. However, there times when a couple of other little tricks can make the color change smoother, and your fabric much more eye catching.

One of these times is when the color change may occur within the rows with a shift of the stitches, like a line of color moving diagonally. The color change is not exactly in the same location as the row below, so to have a really clean look you may have to start a new yarn each time or end up with a color strand laying awkwardly across different color stitches.

A diagonal color change, without ends to weave in, and a visually consistent look.

I for one really do not want to weave in as many ends as it would require to shift a color change every row, so there are a couple techniques I use to reduce the ends while keeping a smooth color edge.

For starters, when I change the color I toss the “old” color stand over the fabric, so that it is on top of the stitches. After completing the row of stitches and returning to the color change point, if I am changing the color before the last stitch of the color I change the color but leave a slightly loose tension in the new yarn. I then crochet over this yarn until I reach the same color, and crochet the next stitch over the loose tension strand in the same color stitch.

When the color change happens after the last time it was changed.
The loop brown strand, is the pulling up of the color a row below, then it is worked over until the color is changed.
The color change is completed, and the “old” yarn is then tossed to the opposite side of the fabric, over the fabric. This helps assure that the yarn is in the correct location for working on the returning row.

If the color change occurs after the last stitch of the color, I pull the yarn that will be changed up and crochet over it until the stitch it needs to be changed in.

When the color change happens before the last time it was changed.
Leave a little slack in the yarn when it changes color.
Crochet over this “slacked” yarn, until at least into the same color below.

Essentially I am working over the color change yarn until it is needed. This helps me keep a smoother look while actually being able to stay sane while working up and finishing the fabric.

Know your Ply Improve your Crochet

Yarn makes such a difference in your crochet. Often when we think of yarn color, or weight, maybe even fiber, but we often do not think about the ply. The ply however can really make a difference in our project.

So, what is ply? Well it helps to understand some basic yarn construction. Yarn is comprised of fibers that are spun together in one direction, this direction can be either clockwise or counterclockwise, the most import think is that all the fibers are spun in the same direction. These spun fibers are now what is referred to as a single, meaning a single strand of yarn.

Singles can be used as a yarn all by its self with no need for plying, but this yarn tends to be a little less stable, and honestly if you have to rip back your work it is not very forgiving. It also has a tendency to pill more in the final project, so something that is getting a lot of use may look aged quickly. However there is a benefit to this yarn, it is evenly round, its “tube” is an even circle.

The top yarn is a single, meaning it is not plied.
The bottom yarn is a 4 ply yarn, meaning that 4 singles are spun together in an opposite direction from the spin of the singles.

Plied yarns, take multiple singles and spin them together in the opposite direction from the original twist. Meaning that if the single was spun clockwise then the singles would be plied counterclockwise. This tension between the different directions of the spinning help create a stable yarn that holds up well.

So now how can your plies make a difference in your crochet if it is a stable yarn? Well it comes down to how “round” the “tube” is. If you ply two singles together you then have 2 round tubes spin together, the result is not a final “tube” that is really round, it is more flat of oval at best. There is nothing wrong with this, but the rounder the yarn the more stitch definition you have. This can be important when working textural stiches, as a cable stitch may not “pop” as much with a 2 ply yarn, verses a single.

Three swatches, using the same stitch, but the yarn changes the look.
The top swatch is a 6 ply yarn.
The middle swatch is a single.
The bottom swatch is a two ply yarn.

The more plies a yarn have typically the closer to “round” it becomes, while staying more stable. So yarns with a greater number of plies does allow textural stitches to shine more.

In some projects this may not be noticeable, but it is good to know, to ensure your project comes out the way you intend.