Titter Tat a Stitch that Breaks the Rules

There are times when you can come across a crochet stitch that breaks all the rules, for me the stitch I refer to as Titter Tat does just that. This stitch creates an open stretchy pattern whose stitches appear to be sideways, and you do not chain at the beginning of a row, you simply begin working your stitches.

I have used this stitch in the Wine Country Throw that is found in the October 2016 issue of Crochet World, it does have a bit of stretch, which can be deceiving when attempting to get a desired size, but I really love the affect.

Titter Tat Stitch www.lindareancrochet.com

Titter Tat Stitch

Begin with a chain that is a multiple of 4, then add 2 more chains. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook, [chain 4, skip 3 chains, single crochet in next chain] repeat everything in the brackets across, then turn. Do not chain anything, and simply work (2 double crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in all chain 4 loops across, and then turn your work. This can be a little awkward with the first stitch as it seems a bit distorted as it is pulled over, this is the correct approach as it will set the first stitches up the match the rest. All subsequent rows are worked the same, no beginning chain, working (2 double crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in all chain 3 spaces across. You work this until you have the desired length. This stitch can really benefit from blocking, but the type of yarn can influence how well this works.

The more formal written pattern looks like this:

Ch a multiple of 4 +2

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, [ch 4, sk 3, sc in next ch] across, turn.

Row 2: [(2dc, ch 3, sc) in ch-4 sp] across, turn.

Row 3-desired length: [(2dc, ch 3, sc in each ch-3 sp] across, turn.

You may want to add a solid border to the stitch to limit the stretch, but that is a personal choice. If you are seeking to practice this stitch and create a throw for charity you may want to consider your local foster youth programs. Often foster kids in any community have limited personal belongings, and upon during 18 are now legal adults with in many cases nothing to begin their own households. Foster youth programs try an ease this transition.

How To Impress the Judge & Get the Blue Ribbon

I have recently been asked to consider being a judge for fiber arts at a county fair in a community nearby. This would entail giving all entries within divisions and categories placement of at least first through third, and highlighting the best in shows. I am not sure how this offer might play out and if I will actually participate or not, but it did get me thinking. It is nearing the season of fairs and country competitions, and there are a couple of things that help a piece really stand out and become the grand prize.

The biggest thing that sets one knit or crocheted item apart for the rest is the finish work. Each piece obviously has had hours of work placed in creating the stitches and putting the colors together; so the pieces that demonstrate the extra time worked in weaving in ends, in blocking, in finishing and edge creating take the edge.

A judge should leave personal opinions aside, the colors you choose or the pattern you decide upon should not be a determining factor. The judging should be comprised of the skill and execution of your work itself. That is why these final touches makes such a difference.

Another factor that curries favor in judging is taking the skill to another level. This could be adding bead work to your shawl, or adding buttons to your wrap. Taking a little extra to ensure that all your fine craft work does not just blend in, but stands out. Sometimes this is created in the yarn selection for your project. In just a simple shawl yarn choice can make a great difference, such as in the drape. A yarn with a lot of spring or bounce, such as a merino, will drape differently than a yarn that has no memory, like a silk or an alpaca. This can create a shawl that has a stand out personality, and possibly make it a winner.

Ultimately, I advise anyone and everyone to enter some type of competition if you ultimately want to improve your work. The best judges often provide feedback on your work, constructive criticism. If your competition allows for judging that is open to the public, attend. This is a tremendous opportunity to gain extra insight in your work and learn how you can take your work to the next level. Even hearing commentary on the work of others will help in the growth of knowledge of your own work.

Changing a “Go-To” for a New Addition- Lion Brand Baby Soft

I haven’t had reason to use any baby yarns in a while, but we are expecting a new addition in our extended family and I was inspired to create a baby blanket as a gift. I have made numerous baby blankets over the years, to many really to count. I usually have one “go-to” pattern that I use, when I think about the first time I worked the pattern, I realize that baby should be well over 20 years old now.

When I work this pattern I usually have a “go-to” baby yarn that I always use, Bernat Baby Coordinates, this isn’t so much because I love this one over all others, as much as some others have left me wanting. I always look for a yarn that is low maintenance for the parent, so that usually means a good acrylic. I like something soft, and not to thin or fine. I don’t like to feeling like I am working with a thread. I also want a yarn that is smooth in texture and doesn’t pill.

Baby Soft by Lion Brand

For this latest blanket I decided to try something other than my “go-to” and I found that Lion Brand Baby Soft was an excellent choice. It is actually only 60% acrylic with 40% nylon, the nylon giving it extra strength, so it is still a low maintenance yarn that the parents can easily throw in the washing machine and not worry about how it is going to come out. There was a nice selection of colors (I used Circus Print), as I get tired of the same simple pastels. It is a light weight yarn, but does not feel to “thin”, it has a bit of loft to it. The yardage is fairly generous at 367yd/335m for a 4oz skein. I found that I could make a decent size blanket with just 3 skeins, but decided to make a larger option with 4.

Baby Soft was pleasant to work with, and even when I had to rip back mistakes it flowed easily, and did not pill or snag with other fibers. I might have to add this yarn to a new “go-to” listing.

At Long Last Interrupted! – Knit it! Crochet it!

People can be a bit surprised at how long it can take for a design to become a pattern, even when you are self-publishing. In some cases it can take up to a year; there is the design process that has you working out all the bugs, then writing the pattern and stitching the item (or maybe you stitch it first then write up the pattern), then you send it for review with a Technical editor to make sure that everything makes sense and can be understood (not everyone does this step, but it definitively makes a difference). Then it is into the world of photography, and lay out…then it is ready to upload and announce its introduction into the world. Did I mention that this happens while you are juggling any other contracts you may have in place? Or juggle the needs of your family? Or still attempting to create new ideas? Yes, it can take time.

Interrupted Shawl, knit version wwww.lindadeancrochet.com

Knit version of Interrupted

That is a bit of the history of Interrupted. The name may be a bit foretelling in its journey to being born into the world.  This design is another of my “Two in One”, meaning you get both a knit and a crochet version in the same pattern almost like a little bit of “something for everyone”. It actually got its name from the drop stitches that break the solid fabric pattern to create an airy feel. Both patterns are worked from the small point of a triangle outward, this makes for a great pattern that you can just use along with your yarn and end it when you think the size if correct for you.

Interrupted Shawl, crochet version www.lindadeancrochet.com

Crochet version of Interrupted

The solid fabric has a bit of texture, and that is the first thing people comment about them. The texture looks much more difficult than it is to execute, but when paired with dropped stitches it has a contrast that really highlights the textural differences. Check this design out for your self at either Craftsy or Ravelry.

Once again this design is pair with a Lickin Flames shawl pin, and Lisa Souza Yarn (Baby Alpaca Silk Petite…1 skein)…I love coming up with these one skein projects, and working with these two companies is always a joy. It really helps that they are such nice people, if you haven’t checked out their work, I really recommend it.

Love Me Some Cashmere- A Luxury Yarn

Cashmere has been a term that signifies luxury for a long time. I remember watching some 1980’s movies where the character wearing the fuzzy cashmere sweater was the rich either miss understood teen or self-centered antagonist. I always see it in my mind with the big hair of the decade, and thus have felt that it was a wealthy fiber well out of my realm.

Learning more about yarn and fibers I have found cashmere a bit of a misnomer, it is a fiber from the underbelly of a goat. What makes cashmere, well cashmere, is the micron count of the fiber has to be 19 or finer, with less than 3 percent by weight of fibers exceeding 30 microns. Basically it is very thin in diameter. The length of the fiber also must be at least 1.25 inches (3 centimeters) and meet a specific crimp structure (have a certain wavy pattern).

Lisa Souza Dyeworks Cashmere Sport

Some of qualities of this fiber are readily seen in Lisa Souza’s Cashmere Sport yarn. Cashmere holds its shape well yet is springy. It is very light weight, with a lovely drape, and is incredibly warm. One of the most noticeable feature is that light does not reflect from this yarn, it appears more like a velvet and absorbs the light. This may be one of the factors that gives it a luxury quality.

As the fibers are so fine it is extremely soft. This is definitely a yarn that I want to snuggle with. The Sport weight skein provided from Lisa Souza Dyeworks is available in a 2oz/200yrd put up, just enough for a set of fingerless mitts, a hat, or a scarf. (I have a free pattern featuring this yarn in a Tam here). This yarn has a soft stitch definition and thus any really heavily textured stitches might have a soft edge then you may be have with. It can easily support a lace design, and does not demand too much attention to itself, allowing your handwork to shine.

I still consider this fiber a bit of a luxury, even if you can find some wools with a finer quality fiber, and thus being softer then cashmere, cashmere has a certain halo about it that when added to the light absorption, just has a look and feel of something that is unlike anything else.