Excursion Wrap! This Is A Show Stopper!

I love when a design comes out like I was hoping! Excursion Wrap came out just as I envisioned, okay, better than I could have hoped. I saw this design in my mind as soon as I laid hands on the yarn, it just came to me and I had to find a way to get it worked up in the stitches.

Excursion Wrap

That is not to say that it came out perfectly in just one try, I ripped things back several times. I played with some different combinations of stitches and color sequins before finally landing on the perfection, and the difficulty of using multiple color rows and designing like this is when ripping back I end up with many more ends to weave in….some right in the middle of rows, as I ensure the use of all the yarn.

The wrap is worked in 2 contrasting colors, which offer a bold definition of the design. The yarn is Silk Baby Camel by Lisa Souza Dyeworks, and is lusciously yummy! It is soft, but with nice structure, making it a dream to work with. Being that the pattern only takes 2 skeins, it is manageable in both crocheting and in cost.

The lacy ripple pattern is worked as a 3 row repeat, so it is simple to memorize yet keeps the pattern engaging. So you can work the stitch pattern successfully without getting bored with it.

The color sequencing is what really brings this design to life, it demands the eye to transverse the entire piece and then to look again. The altering of the stitch pattern and the colors offers a cascading effect of interest that will definitely have you garnering praise.

This wrap is a show stopper, one that makes people stop and admire your handiwork. I already have plans to work up this design a couple of more times….once is just not enough!

Get your pattern here!

 

The Quest Shawl- A Stunning Design

Check out my fun new design, the Quest Shawl!

This asymmetrical shawl, is one that I envisioned after meeting the yarn creator Sabrina of Anzula Yarns. Sabrina exudes a great energy, and that really comes out in all the fabulous colors of her yarn. It really is an inspiration for me, and I have a couple more designs in the works as I speak (I hope to share them soon).

Quest Shawl

So, Quest Shawl is worked from a point with subtle increases working outward to form a triangle, in a pattern of lace stitches and textural stitches. This stitch difference is played with a contrasting color change and you have some very dramatic effects. It has a simple stitch pattern repeat, yet enough focus to keep the pattern entertaining.

The long dimensions of this shawl, a staggering 77”x45” (196×114 cm), it can lend itself to multiple ways to wear it, as well as offer a balanced feel. It was pointed out to me that this shawl actually manages to have enough length that when wearing it that the narrow point drapes evenly with a point on the opposite side. This may not seem like much, but I have noticed that smaller shawls of this type, almost feel like the narrow point can be a bit of a tail.

The yarn is Haiku, a light weight 70% Superwash Merino/20% Bamboo/10 % nylon yarn, which is really soft and luscious. I really love how it drapes, and the feel in the hand.

I have found that when I wear this shawl, that I get stopped with compliments. I usually pair it over a black dress, but even over a pair of jeans and simple top this shawl offers a look that is hard to forget.

Get your show stopper and have fun creating your own stunning look (find the pattern here).

 

 

Rip Back Crochet, Maybe Applies to Life

I hate it when I can see the design, but it wants to fight me into existence. That is the plight I am on currently with one project. This is not always my design style, seeing the vision and needing to create it, but it occurs periodically, and when it does it can be a bit of a head ache.

Often times it is because the final vision does not always offer hints how to create it, there is a stumbling point or a chasm that needs to be addressed. No, my vision does not share the “how”, so things may end up in time out more than expected. I may rip back the entire piece several times….I am currently on the third full draft of “over half way” rip back…I lost count on the ones smaller than that.

I guess I should say “current” project, as I know of another that has been haunting me for more months that I care to admit, as my mind is still figuring out the last piece before it can be considered finished.

Looking at my words as I type them, I realize really this is just life, at least for me. If I don’t know all the steps it can be harder for me to begin. I am able to work from one step to the next, but if the next step is not in clear focus, well, I hedge and stall and may not get to the finished goal.

Sometimes I see this as a sign that I should take another direction, or look for another goal in life…yes, I do it in designing too, but maybe I should rip back a bit more and take the step from another direction. Just as I will finish this design that showed up in my head, maybe I need to remember to take the same approach in life.

Sorry didn’t mean to get philosophical, but crochet can do that to me sometimes.

Decrease Stitches Like a Pro

Decreasing basic stitches in crochet is easier than you might expect.

The process may have always been relatively easy, but it has not always been written in a manner that was universal in understanding in patterns. The current term I see most is the type of stitch (single or double crochet) followed by a number, then followed by “tog”, and it is all just one little abbreviation; such as sc4tog.

Breaking it down a bit helps you to better understand it, so sc4tog, is essentially “single crochet 4 stitches together”. Patterns will usually list this process in its special stitches section, but with some further understanding you will not have to find this “Special Stitch” description. 

This stitch decrease process is one that I describe as a “monster with 1 head and multiple legs”, meaning when you are finished there will only be 1 stitch (the classic “V” top and back loop section of a stitch at the top) while working over multiple stitches. It makes a solid fabric, without any holes that can be created in other decrease methods that have you simply skip the next stitch.

If you keep in mind this simple rule, than you will be able to work this technique no matter what the notations. You work the indicated type of stitch until you are only 1 yarn over and pull through away from completing, then you start the next stitch.

So if you were working the sc4tog, you would insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over, pull through a loop-STOP. You now have 2 loops on the hook, and one more yarn over and pull through will finish the stitch, so this is when you begin the next stitch. So you insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull through a loop- STOP. To finish a single crochet you would perform one more yarn over and pull through, but you are still decreasing. You currently have 3 loops on you hook (1 more than the number of stitch “parts” you have worked). Repeat the process of inserting your hook, yarning over, pulling through a loop until you have 1 more loop on your hook then the number indicated in the abbreviation, in this case, until you have 5 loops.

Now, you yarn over and pull through all 5 loops on your hook.

Basically you are working 4 stitches part way, and then completing them all together.

This same principal applies in you are working a decrease in double crochet, such as dc3tog. You would begin a double crochet in the next stitch, stopping when you only have one more yarn over and pull through to finish the stitch. You then begin the next stitch, and repeat the process.

By understanding the basic concept, it has helped me be more independent in work a pattern, I don’t feel like I need to work the explicit directions of the special stitch section, I am more free to enjoy the process. Other tips that help, are understanding and recognizing your stitches….find more information here.

Tips for the Mundane

There are some truths about crochet that no one ever seems to share, we all hit a period where we are bored. This could be a stitch pattern, the act of moving the hook, the feel of the yarn. Everyone I have ever met does put things down from time to time, but they never really admit it.

It does not matter if you crochet for a living or just as a hobby, sometimes we find a mundane point. However, I have found a couple of ways through this period.

Ask yourself why. Is it that the stitch is not exciting? Is pattern is taking too long to finish? Is my attention being pulled in another direction?

We have all been there, and there is no shame in it. I have found a couple of approaches to get through it and still actually end up loving crochet again.

First, take a break. This is not a bad word and it does not mean that you are done with the craft, it simply means that you need a point of rejuvenation. Usually when I put my hook down, I find that I still need something to keep my hands busy and fidgety in the evenings when sitting with the family in front of the television. For me I then pick up work puzzles, maybe some Sudoku or word searches, I don’t quite have the disposition for crosswords but there are plenty of different puzzles to keep me entertained.

However, sometimes you need to get a project finished, there is a deadline…maybe you need that gift for the baby shower in 3 days. In this case, I have to set small goals. It can be as simple as completing a set number of rows of the pattern every time I sit down with it in my hand. This really depends upon that stitch pattern, but maybe it is as simple as getting through one of the row pattern repeats. Maybe it is getting to the next color change, or the next color change in the yarn. I set myself a visual point and work toward it. I find that this helps even more if I have a small reward for myself at the end, maybe I get a cookie or such, maybe then I get a nice stretch. It does not have to be anything big, it just has to be something to break up the monotony.

Sometimes it is as simple as changing projects and putting one in “time out”. I find this happens most on projects that I was first intrigued by, but then quickly discovered that the design was a really rather simple stitch repeat, like an entire afghan worked in only double crochet rows. There is nothing wrong with it, it just is not very exciting, and frankly if I do not have a reason or deadline to actually complete it, I might not get it finished. In this case I just have to be honest with myself. There is no harm in using the yarn in another project.

I wish I could say that I never put down my hook, that I have endless creative energy, but alas that is not what works for me. There are times I need to find another focus to help but my love of crochet back in focus.