The Regal Touch- Royal Blooms Shawl

Sometimes a design takes month to develop, multiple practice attempts and hours of thought and planning…others come together like magic. The Royal Blooms Shawl in the October 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine is the latter.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

This shawl is really great to work up, a relatively simple pattern of V stitches and Shells that yields stunning results. The stacking of these stitches creates an almost jewel shape effect, that lends itself to royalty. While the negative space created shares a bit if a peek-a-boo quality. This is a great quick gift for a friend or loved one, or a special treat for yourself. It can take you from dress to casual fairly easily and thus is an excellent addition to any wardrobe.

One of the things I really loved about this shawl is in the yarn. It is worked up in Ancient Arts Reinvent Too.  This Wool/Mohair/Silk blend yarn is one that adds enough warmth to utilize this shawl for the crisp evenings of autumn, yet comfortable enough to wear in the mid-day sun.  This yarn is listed as a worsted or medium weight yarn, but in the hand I think it works up more like a light or DK weight, so this is not a shawl that is as light or wispy as a feather, but has a bit of substance to it. There are several color ways available, so it can please just about everyone.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

I wish I had a better story to tell as to how this shawl came into being, but honestly it just fell right off the hook without my even thinking. Part of me thinks that I cannot even claim ownership of this design as it came too easily, so I hope you will enjoy creating your own and making it a new staple in your life.


Crochet in Autumn

ScannedImageAutumn is always a busy time of year in my home. There is the gathering of fruits and finding ways to preserve them, usually in the form jams and jellies, as well as dehydrated, but sometimes it is cakes and cookies and pies. With the United States celebrating Thanksgiving, it also becomes a time when family memories are created around food.


Jams & Jellies

However in my life, it not only revolves around food, but yarns and crochet. This is the time of year for last minute holiday gifts, the time of year to reinvigorate hobbies that you work sitting next to a fire, the time of year to think warm thoughts and use that to envision warm items.

I find that I have many people looking for lessons, either private or in my standing classes, to hone their crochet skills, while an increase of requests for mended heirlooms, and custom gifts. So really autumn becomes a time when crochet seems to fill more minds.

For me this is juggled with the other responsibilities of life, birthday parties, holiday dinners, all those special events that always seem to save themselves for the very end of the calendar year. Every year I am surprised at how fast the last 8 weeks of the year just appear to fly by in a blink.

Items tend to come off my hook faster as well, it might be the added self-imposed pressure of getting everything done by a created deadline, or it could be that cold, wet, weather that keeps me moving my hook instead of enjoying the great outdoors. Either that might be the cause, it does help with productivity.

Even if this time of year seems to have time dissolving away, I still find it Thankful. My hands are busy, and my heart is full. What better way to enjoy the time of autumn.

When Crochet is Not My Friend

ScannedImageIt almost never fails, this time of year brings out the anxiety in me. It feels like all the deadlines of life accumulate at this junction, and unfortunately crochet can lead to more problems than solutions.

This might sound odd. How can crochet be any kind of problem? Well for me it boils down to multi-tasking. Crochet is not a very multi-tasking friendly medium, it helps to relax and express creativity, and it even helps me not to reach for every piece of chocolate at every moment of the day (as my hands are busy working and cannot readily reach them). Yet when it comes to dealing with autumn crochet can be too much of my distraction.

DSCF0561A prime example of this occurred yesterday. I was planning on having a blog post sharing some of my fall happenings, like making quince and grape jelly, apple butter, and maybe even fresh homemade apple pie. I was excited about getting things done yesterday, and eagerly got into my juggle of everything that I could attempt to accomplish. I should mention here that I do live on a small farm, and this time of year is when the majority of my fruits need to be harvested, and after they are harvested I need to do something with them. Over the years I have realized that my harvest is completely different from year to year; some years I have a bounty of pears, others it maybe figs or walnuts, this year it is apples and zinfandel grapes.  That does not mean that I do not receive any of the other fruits, it just means that the crop of those mentioned was greater in size then the rest and larger than normal.

MP900384696So, as I began juicing the grapes for jelly, I also began cutting and cooking quince to create its jelly. As I was waiting for the quince to simmer and slowly break down and release their flavor and pectin to the water, I would work on a crochet project; getting up from my hook to check my cooking pot. This went on for a while. Then it happens, as it all too frequently does, time gets away from me. The fruit began to burn on the bottom of the pot, and add a not so very nice flavor to my jelly, all while I am creating.

My hook can sometimes be my downfall, it can be all to consuming and allow me to become lost in thought all too easily. So now that I have thrown out one batch of quince jelly, and need to work myself up into making a second, and then find a way to work up my stitches without having then completely distracting me.

Welcome the Designs for Fall

ScannedImageMy secret confession….time has completely gotten away from me. Okay, that is probably not a secret, and I am sure that I am not alone. However in the drought stricken California it has brought fall on a little earlier then expected; I am already harvesting peaches from my little trees, my neighbors are already harvesting grapes to begin the “crush” and create wine, none of this usually ever happens before September, so I am probably thinking it is later in the year then it is.

Autumn Leaves Placemat_CW2015OctI am pulling out the dehydrator and beginning to get my canning supplies together to put up fruit from this early season. My little farm is awaiting new arrivals as I have a broody chicken, a hen that is sitting on eggs, and I should soon be seeing new little chicks. However, even with all this rural lifestyle events I have some fun things happening in crochet.

Since autumn us so prevalent on my mind lately I am happy to share the release one of my latest designs in Crochet World Magazine. The October 2015 issue features my Autumn Leaves Place Mat. This place mat is created in utilizing 5 join as you go motifs, which are shaped to resemble leaves, created in Cotton Classic Lite from Tahki Yarns. I find that I use place mats in my home more then I would have thought; this is mostly due to the fact that I actually picked out and purchased my dining room table, but the wood is a little softer than I realized and is can scratch and mar without much effort. So this place mat is just big enough to fit a plate and silverware while adding a fun and festive feel to my meal table. Even though the design is worked in fall colors, I think a nice gold or orange would be nice, even a striking brown, but I could also reinvent this design for spring and work some up in beautiful shade of green.

Crochet World_Oct2015I hope that winter does not delve in to quickly (although I wouldn’t mind some rain), so that I can savor a little of this time of change.

My Hooks of Fall

ScannedImageThe calendar and the weather finally are coming into sync; it is fall. The leaves are changing color, the evenings have a chill, the final harvest is being collected, and the kids do not need to be told to wear shoes. Some find this to be “crochet weather”, but to me it is quite the opposite. I have a harder time picking up my hooks and getting my craft completed.

Maybe it is because my fingers don’t want to move, but I think it is more likely that I look around and realize the year is almost over, and I did not get accomplished everything I was hoping to over the warm months of summer. Once again I took that time for granted. I did not get that patio put in that I have had planned for a couple of years now, I haven’t gotten all the closets cleaned out, I haven’t even gotten the boxes of holiday decorations from last year put away yet (but, at least I am ahead of the season this year for having them out!). So instead of playing with yarn, I finish painting windows, I pick walnuts, grapes, and apples, I make jams and jelly, I am finding recipes for squash, I am lighting fires, and pulling out the jackets.MP900384696

My mind races with ideas of what to create with my hooks, but my hands are busy elsewhere. These last 8 weeks of the year tend to just go by in a blink, and there is so much to pack into them. Not just because of the gift giving and holiday meals, but because for me this is my time of reflection. Where have I been this year and where do I want to go in the next. I do have some crazy ideas (I will keep you posted), and hopefully I don’t take the warm months ahead for granted and I put my ideas into motion.