Celebrate a Month of Crochet! The Spokes Tam

Welcome to my post for the annual National Crochet Month Blog Tour hosted by Crochetville.com! I am honored to have been participated in the last 5 years of this tour event, and this year theme is “Glamping”…or Glamorous Camping, every day in the month of March Crochetville.com has visited designers, yarn stores, and had various giveaways…don’t miss a stop of the tour.

I cannot say that I have done much crocheting while camping…honestly, I have not been camping in years. I live a rural life, and have lost count of the days I spent camping as a kid, so I vacation now in a bit more of a “modern” style…someplace that offers room service.

To celebrate National Crochet Month I have a free pattern to share with you as well as a discount at my Ravelry.com store (use coupon code NatCroMo2017 and receive 25% off any and all patterns).  The Spokes Tam is a simple beret hat dresses up your Glamping adventure with a bit of style. You can really use any weight yarn with an appropriate crochet hook, but I have listed what I have used below.

Spokes Tam (For a printable version, this pattern is available at Ravelry.com for $2.00)

Spokes Tam by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Spokes Tam

Special note: All Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc) after Round 2, are worked around fpdc the row below.

Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc): Yarn over, insert hook from front to back and then to front again around post of stitch, yarn over and draw up loop, [yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] twice.

Front Post Single Crochet (fpsc): Insert hook from front to back and then to front again around post of stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops.

Double Crochet 2 Together (dc2tog): [Yarn over, insert hook in next st and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] twice, yarn over and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

Materials:

*1 skein Lisa Souza Dyeworks Cashmere Sport (www.lisaknit.com)

*Size J/10 ½/6.00mm crochet hook

Gauge: Gauge is not critical for this design

Rnd 1: Ch 4, 15 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to join. (16 dc)

Rnd 2: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, 2 dc in next st, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, 2 dc in next st] repeat around, sl st to join. (24 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 3: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next st, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, dc in next st] around, sl st to join. (40 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 4: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] around, sl st to join. (56 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 5: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] around, sl st to join. (72 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 6: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 4sts, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts] around, sl st to join. (88 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 7: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts] around, sl st to join. (104 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 8: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 sts, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 sts] around, sl st to join. (102 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 9: Ch 3, fpdc in same st, dc in next 7 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 7 sts, [(dc, fpdc) in next st, dc in next 7 sts, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 7 sts] around, sl st to join. (136 dc, 8 fpdc)

Rnd 10: Ch 1, turn, fpsc around same st, fpsc around each st, sl st st join. (144 fpsc)

Rnd 11: Ch 3, turn, dc in next 6 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts, [dc in next 7 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts] around, sl st to join.

Rnd 12: Ch 3, dc in next 5 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts, [dc in next 6 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts] around, sl st to join.

Rnd 13: Ch 3, dc in next 4 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts, [dc in next 5 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts] around, sl st to join.

Rnd 14: Ch 3, dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts, [dc in next 4 sts, dc2tog over next 2 sts] around, sl st to join.

Rnd 15: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st around, sl st to join.

Rnd 16: Ch 1, turn, sc in each st around, sl st to join. Fasten off.

Spokes Tam by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Spokes Tam

Enjoy a Celebration of Crochet! Don’t forget to use coupon code NatCroMo2017 and receive 25% off any and all patterns at my Ravelry.com store until April 15, 2017.

Check out all the stops on the Crochetville.com tour for more free patterns, discounts and fabulous ideas!

Crochet Month Celebration- Free Pattern & Discounts!

ScannedImageI can hardly believe that a month long celebration of crochet is really almost over. Crochetville put together quite the blog tour this year and I am grateful that they have invited me to attend again this year, (if you have missed any stops, make sure and check them out here).

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I will admit that I have found it fun to see the focus on various social media outlets about Crochet Month, but in my personal reality nothing changed too much as crochet is my everyday celebration. I find a little something that fascinates me with this craft nearly daily. It may be the fact that there are so many different locations to place a stitch and get such a different effect that it is almost too numerous to count. It may be that the same pattern worked in a different yarn or with a different fiber can create a completely different look. It might also be that if you just change your hook everything can change. It might seem like small details, but these small details can make all the difference.

I know I probably sound like an artist that is explaining different shades of red, because the most important thing about crochet is the way it makes you feel to create. My personal soap box is that there is never “wrong” crochet, because if you enjoy it, that is all that matters. A statement that I students always enjoy is “If your friends point out your crochet mistakes, they are not your friends”.

To aide your enjoyment of the crochet celebration, I am sharing a free pattern. This pattern, The Small Empress Jeweled Egg, may be a little late for the Easter holiday, but as you may have the plastic eggs around, and these are cute additions that you can use for spring decorations. In addition I am giving a free pattern coupon for my Ravelry store. Buy any patterns totaling at least $9 and receive your choice of any pattern FREE by using code NatCroMo2016 until April 6, 2016.

Also, I am excited to share that I am teaching at the annual Crochet Guild of America conference, known as Chainlink in some crowds and the Knit & Crochet Show in others, this July in Charleston, SC. If you plan on attending, please consider my classes. I would love to meet you there!

Don’t forget to check out all the other stops today on this ride along the blog tour, places like my friend Vashti Braha, I always love reading what she has to say.

If you need some help or ideas for using beads, check out some of my tips here.

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Small Empress Jeweled Egg I do not know why the photo wants to be on its side….

Skill level: Advanced Beginner       Measures to fit plastic egg, with no ease

Material List:

  • Size F/5/3.75mm hook
  • Lincatex Gold Rush super fine weight 80% Rayon, 20% Metallised Polyester yarn (100m/25g per cone)
  • #6 size Czech glass beads 60 grams (beadbiz.org)
  • Small plastic egg, 1 1/4”wide x 1 7/8” long
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: is not critical for this project

Pattern Note /Special Stitches

Bead Crochet (bc): Slip 1 bead to hook, YO, pull through loop on hook.

Double Crochet 2 together (dc2tog): YO, insert hook into indicated stitch, YO and pull through, YO pull through 2 loops, YO insert hook into next indicated stitch, YO pull through, YO pull through 2 loops, YO pull through last 3 loops.

Small Empress Ornament       Thread 60 beads

Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as foundation ch plus dc), bc, [dc, bc] all in 5th ch from hook 7 times, sl st to top of beg ch 4. (8 dc, 8 bc)

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc here and throughout), dc in same st, bc, [2 dc in next dc, bc] 7 times, sl st to top of beg ch 3. (16 dc, 8 bc)

Rounds 3-7: Ch 3, dc in next dc, bc, [dc in next 2 dc, bc] 7 times, sl st to top of beg ch 3. (16 dc, 8 bc)

Insert small egg and work subsequent rounds.

Round 8: Ch 2 (counts as first dc2tog here and throughout), sk next dc, bc, [dc2tog in next 2 dc, bc] 7 times, sl st to to of beg ch 2. (8 dc2tog, 8 bc)

Round 9: Ch 1, sc8tog  in all dc sts, finish off.

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

dc: double crochet

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sl st: slip stitch

st(s): stitch(es)

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.

A Month of Crochet- A Focus on Color

ScannedImageWow, a whole month focused on crochet! It has been fun following all the blogs featured on the Crochetville blog tour, and thank you Amy & Donna for all your hard work in pulling this together.National Crochet Month 2014

 

This year the blog tour is featuring the charitable organization of Halos of Hope. Please consider making a hat for the cause or make a financial contribution to this organization that helps many with cancer. Find more information at Halos of Hope. Halos of Hope

 

So spring is in the air, it always brings about the thoughts of color for me, which is always an inspiration. Granted I have not been living in a world of winter white, but seeing all the flowers open up and the trees beginning to bloom looks like a painters palette to me. So I grab some yarn and begin to play, but not all yarns are created equal.

 

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Notice the difference between the lines of color in the bottom of the swatch, double crochet clusters, and the band toward the top worked as single crochet. Different stitches, different color pooling.

Lately I have pulled toward variegated yarns, ones that have a mixture and change of color within the skein. However the length of each color run can make a real difference in how my finished fabric looks, so I have to take it into consideration.  I pulled some variegated yarn off the shelf the other day, with the inspiration of spring, but found that my fabric just looked like a bunch of speckled dots, and there was no “color pooling” that happens when colors stack up upon themselves.

 

Why did my work look like little specks? The stitches I was using. Most yarns are not created with crocheters as the primary user in mind, so as a result the color repeats are usually shorter then would best highlight the art of crochet stitches. Often each stitch will include more than one color resulting in speckling. However, with a little playing, stitches can be found that act a little differently. A good example of this is Tunisian crochet, that gives pooling more like that of knitting, but even changing from double crochet to single crochet can create a difference in the appearance of the fabric, and one that might be more what I am looking for.

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Left and Right same yarn, different stitch. Left in Tunisian, Right in single crochet cluster.

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I was playing with some hanks (the twisted up rounds of yarn that need to be unwound into a ball for easier using), that were dyed by an Independent dyer , these are businesses that are usually small in size and create beautifully colored yarns in small batches, some even painted by hand. I found the color runs of each hank to have been about a foot long, and created just a couple of stitches in each color. I asked the dyer about this, and was enlightened to learn about the process she used. She explained that to create longer color runs she would have to have a way to work with the hank either in a much longer format, or have it unwound then rewound into the hanks standard size, to be dyed/painted. Both approaches are more labor intensive and cost prohibitive. Since the yarn is so beautiful though, I think I can find a stitch that will work in complimenting it.

 

Basically, if you find a yarn that you love, be mindful that it may not be the best match for every pattern you find. So do a little of that dreaded word….swatching, and see how the color comes together. It really can help you find some beauty. Your crochet is your therapy, your art, your history, so help your vision come to life, use the yarns you love and work the patterns you enjoy. Do not be limited by want the photo shows or the materials listed, make each crochet moment your own.

 

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Free Garden Flower Head Band

Now if you have any scarps left give my newest free pattern a try! It is a head band, which has an attached flower (worked as you go, no sewing!), so check it out Garden Flower Head Band, and find my self-published designs at Crochetville, Ravelry and Craftsy.

Designs that Will Ring in Spring

ScannedImageSpring is in the air; the ground is beginning to warm and release the blooms of daffodils. The days are getting longer and spending time outside is a greater joy. So it has made it a nice time to release 2 of my latest designs, they help take a little chill out of the air and dress up a casual look.

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Summer Rays Drop Stitch Wrap

The first is the Summer Rays Drop Stitch Wrap; it is created with a simple 3 row repeat, and 1 skein of Lisa Souza Sylvie 100% Bombyx Silk yarn. The highlight of this wrap is a unique stitch that is created free hand, of long loops, a technique that was originally featured in my article in the Summer 2012 issue of Crochet! Magazine, with the Drop Stitch Short Scarf. I really enjoy this technique as it gives the appearance of hairpin lace without the loom, or the joining of strips. It is worked as one continuous piece, and when you finish, you only have 2 ends to weave in.

This pattern includes the details on how to complete this technique, and I have to say that the silk gives it such a great drape that it adds IMG_6150 - Copyelegance to the work.

What inspired me to put this design together was actually the yarn. I had a skein, and I made it a personal challenge to see what I could create with it, and the Drop Stitch lends itself to this non-stretch yarn very well. The openness of the stitch with the smooth surface of the yarn, allows both to be featured in a positive way with this design, creating a classic style.

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Fiji Flowers on Flowers Shrug/Wrap

The second design I am releasing is the Honorable Mention Winner of the 2013 Crochet Guild of America Design Contest, Accessories category; the Fiji Flowers on Flowers Shrug/Wrap. This is a uniquely constructed piece that is comprised of 3 large pentagon motifs created with Tunisian Crochet. These motifs create a negative space design that is enhanced with additional motifs, thus creating flowers inside of flowers. All motifs are joined as you go, requiring no sewing.

One of the original features of this design is the “floral buttons” these are added embellishments that allow the fabric to be secured together to create air sleeves of a shrug, or left unsecured for an interesting wrap. This versatile piece is also worked in Lisa Souza Sylvie 100% Bombyx Silk yarn, which has beautiful color and gives great drape to this piece. This is a fun shrug that can be paired with jeans or a simple black dress, can be a nice compliment for a day at the beach, or a night on the town. It fills a very unique niche in any wardrobe, and trust me, it is fun.

#My inspiration for this design was born out of a watermark I saw in a magazine advertisement. It was a flower that was actually featured in a negative space (the space that is not the color, but the blank background), and I began daydreaming of how to create this in crochet, thus the large motifs were created. However they lacked structure and did not allow for a stable fabric, until the addition of contrasting motifs within them. This the negative space flower grow to have an addition of flowers within its petals. 

Both of these designs are available for sale on Ravelry.com or Crochetville.com for the simple price of $5. Check them out and let me know what you think of them.

Summer Rays Drop Stitch Wrap (RavelryCrochetville)

Fiji Flowers on Flowers Shrug/Wrap (RavelryCrochetville)