Simple Bars are a Great Texture- Crochet for a Difference

Sometimes it is just the simple alteration of stitches that can create a texture that can have a purpose. Simple Bars, as I am calling it, has a great textural appeal, with little work. The texture has a nice visual appear but in some applications can have a very practical purpose as well.

Essentially this is just alternating front and back post double crochet stiches, to begin you create an even number of chains. Double crochet in the fourth chain from the hook and in each stitch across. Chain 3 and turn your work, in the next stitch work a front post double crochet, and in the next stitch work a back post double crochet. Repeat alternating front and back post double crochets across the row, work a double crochet in the last stitch Then chain 3, turn and repeat the same stitch pattern. It really is that easy.

Simple Bars www.lindadeancrochet.com

Simple Bars

Here is the traditionally written method:

Chain an even number

Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, *fpdc in next st, bpdc in next st; rep from * across, dc in last st, turn.

Row 3-desired length: Repeat Row 2

This Simple Bars creates enough texture that when worked up in cotton can make great dish clothes. I would use a heavier weight cotton, not a thread, something like a light or medium weight yarn. The reason cotton is a choice it that it will not melt under high heats like acrylic, and holds water really well.

Not everywhere that crochet can make a difference is readily apparent. The simple kitchen in our community can easily be overlooked, but really make a small difference. Everyday throughout every community there is a hot meal being made and served to people in need. In some cases these are traditional soup kitchens with volunteers serving food donations to people in need, in others they are community halls that host community pot lucks, where everyone in attendance brings a dish to share. Some communities find these in churches, some in schools, but crochet can be donated here in the way of pot holders and dish clothes. Consider making a few for your community kitchens, sometimes it is the little things that can make all the difference.

Crochet -Creating Opportunities and Communities

ScannedImageI enjoy March. How can you not, it is a month long celebration of crochet! This is the third year that Crochetville has put this fabulous blog tour together, highlighting a least 2 different crochet designers each day (if you missed any make sure and spend some time catching up with them from the interviews at Crochetville) and Thank you Amy & Donna for once again putting this together.

halosofhopeFor me I always realize something about the world through crochet, and one of the reoccurring themes is community. This blog tour also brings attention to great service organizations, like Halos of Hope, that use crochet items to better society. Crochetville is taking up a collection for Halos of Hope, please consider contributing.

Crochetville_Designer_Blog_Tour_Promo-e1427303900438Community can be large like the Crochet Guild of America, many crocheters from around the world coming together in one organization, or small like your own local guild (mine is the Hangtown Fibers Guild, you can find one near you here), or crochet group, or coffee chat. But community can be quite unique and sometime taken for granted. So I wanted to share the store of how my Empress Wide Scarf (my free pattern as a gift to you for National Crochet Month), came into being. It is an interesting network that was connected and brought together by crochet.

IMG_6799.1My rural life has me in an area that is great for growing wine grapes, I should preface this by informing you that I have very little knowledge of wine; I know there is red & white, but much more than that and I am lost. With that said I believe the majority of the wine varieties in my area are more reminiscent of Italy then France as it is a region with a Tuscany climate, as a result there are many award winning wineries nearby. So my children go to school with, and are friends with, the children of winery owners and workers. One day I was approached by the mother of one of my daughter’s friends, she has admired my crochet work and was hoping I could create something for her daughter’s birthday. She had some rough idea that she might like a scarf or something that she could wrap around her head in a dramatic fashion like a Hepburn. She would love it to have the feel of a particular shawl I wear often (the Five Peaks Shawl by Vashti Braha), created in a fingering weight hand painted bamboo.

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Empress Wide Scarf – Free Pattern (click link below)

Now this mother knows about as much about crochet and yarn as I know about wine. I know that I cannot find a comparable yarn in the local box store; my local yarn store did not even carry such a fiber, so I began playing with various fibers to see if I could get a similar feel and drape. Then I happened to run into a fiber friend, she is an independent dyer that I have done some other crochet designs for in the past. I did not think to use her yarn at first, but after looking over the stock I found something that would fit perfectly. As it happens the dyer, Lisa Souza, loves that wine that the mother creates, Holly’s Hill Vineyards, so trades were able to be arranged so that everyone benefited. As a result I have been able to take this birthday present and share it with you.

My larger take away from this is how small the world can really be. By not hiding my work, I was able to bring others together in a completely different way, and I am reminded that I have a skill that I can share. Crochet can create a community that may not have been created otherwise, as it creates “ice breaker” opportunities; people are brought to fond memories when they see the fiber arts. (I discussed this more in the blog post Thankful Crochet…Not What You Might Expect)

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Empress Scarf- Free Pattern (click link below)

So the Empress Wide Scarf is created using Tunisian Simple Stitch, but what makes this pattern stand out is that it changes color on the Forward & Return Pass. The effects are very nice. So that the colors do not get too muted together in the Tunisian work, it is edged with standard crochet in defining bands of color.

Visit my Ravelry Store and download your pattern for FREE. If you are so inclined, please feel free to use coupon code “natcromo15” to receive a 15% discount on any order of at least two patterns until April 15, 2015.

I hope you make your own communities, as often as possible.

My Ravelry Crochetalong- Join Me

ScannedImageGetting together with other fiber artists and sharing your work can be a very fun experience. However it is not always easy to find this group of people just down the street, fortunately there is a social media outlet dedicated to those that love to play with yarn, Ravelry.com.

Waves Hat

Waves Hat- Photo courtesy of Annie’s

Ravelry has been around for a while and has users from around the world, where people share their current projects, their stash of yarn, as well as check out or purchase patterns and are able to chat with other people about them. There are also forums, like chat rooms, on various topics that occur within different groups, which allow for a wide range of discussion topics.

Currently I have a Crochetalong within one of these forums, Crochet! Magazine. A Crochetalong is an event in which people are encouraged to work the same pattern and share their experiences within the group. They are able to ask questions, get feed back, and find new insight in the design of the pattern they are working. My Crochetalong is the Waves Hat that is in the current issue of Crochet! Magazine. So if you have never attempted such an event, or you want encouragement to finish up this hat for a holiday gift (or just for fun), please consider joining me. This is a new thing for me too and I would love get your feedback as well.

Tour Through Crochet Country

ScannedImageWow! A whole month of focusing on crochet blogs is almost to an end; but I might just have to follow along with some that I have visited over the past 30 days, and I hope you will consider doing the same. (here is a list of all the participants)

First I would like to thank Amy and Donna of Crochetville for putting this tour together. They are very supportive and encouraging of all things crochet, and help all of us with a hooking habit feel at home and welcome. I can’t wait to see what new ways to support crochet they have up the sleeves. Another supporting factor I have found in the world of crochet is the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). Becoming a member and taking the opportunities that it has presented has changed my life…and that is not just a figure of speech. I am a crochet instructor, but only started having students after I passed the Masters of Advanced Stitches and Technique. I am a new designer; I only sold my first design at the Summer CGOA conference in Minneapolis, July 2011, and now at this moment I have 7 designs in 3 magazines that are currently at your local news stand.  All of that is possible because I took the opportunities that CGOA offered, including meeting many supportive and encouraging people.

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Lisa Souza Glacier Yarn (100% Bombyx Silk) that will find a new home on April 2!

 

Unfortunately I do not have a local chapter of CGOA (there is one an hour drive away, and the meetings have never worked in my schedule), but I have found a local “non-denominational” fiber guild in my community, so I know the benefits belonging to a supportive group that enjoys the same things you do. If you have never considered visiting a guild (it took me a while, I thought that they were trade unions from the middle ages, at least that is what I remember from history class), the opportunity to make new friends, that actually understand crochet terms, is invaluable. Definitely finding a crochet community makes a difference. You can check here to see if there is a CGOA guild in your area. These groups help ensure that crochet is not just featured one month of the year, but throughout and open you to new ideas and approaches. They also usually help in the community (like this blog tour, helping Project Night Night, look here for more information), and make a difference in a variety of ways.

When writing this post, I had many thoughts of knowledge and tricks I have learned and would love to share with you, but the most important thing I can impart is to get involved, and find a supporting network of crochet lovers. (If you want to hear some of my knowledge and tricks, feel free to follow me on my crochet journey).

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Tunisian Mini Shawl- Free pattern download

One of the things I have learned from my local guild is the expanse of fibers available in yarn and how to use them, so I wanted to share an opportunity with you to enjoy some yarns you probably don’t have in your stash.( I find it amazing to me how different the same pattern can look with a different yarn or fiber) So, I am giving away a skein of Lisa Souza’s Glacier Yarn (100% Bombyx Silk) to 3 lucky winners (just simply leave me a comment on this post about what you enjoy about crochet or what it means to you, I will randomly select 3 comments on April 2, 2013 at 9:00am PST).

From the CGOA I have learned many new techniques and I would like to share my free Tunisian Mini Shawl pattern (created out of 1 skein of the yarn being given away) as a tribute to those that have encouraged me. Check out my free pattern download from either Crochetville’s Free Pattern Library or by using this  Free Tunisian Mini Shawl Download

Don’t forget to check out the other featured blog today…Kristin Dragos and don’t forget tomorrows the last day of March, where has the time gone?

March 31 Karen C K Ballard Gwen Blakley-Kinsler