Stitch Order Can Make All the Difference

Simple stitch switches can create a very different appearance. Sometimes these “switches” happen by mistake…I speak from experience, and sometimes they are thoroughly thought out.

Often my students look at me with a bit of “sure, that is true” look whenever I explain that crochet essentially has only 3 stitches, everything else is just variations. They think I am even crazier when I explain, it is all about stitch location that causes all the different looks.

I happened to reinforce this for myself just the other day. I was working up a pattern, and looking at my notes it stated “sc, dc” stitches. Pretty straight forward and I thought I knew what I meant, however when working up my fabric is was not looking like the sample swatch.

I had to go back and study my sample swatch…I was working my stitches in the single crochet on both fabrics so why were they so different in appearance? I finally found my answer….I worked the stitches in the opposite order. I was working a single crochet then a double crochet in the next single crochet stitch in the swatch sample, but in the fabric I was working a double crochet then a single crochet in the next single crochet stitch. Wow, I was surprised by the difference it caused.

One swatch looks like little blocks turned slightly aside, while the other looks a bit lacy, and almost like a stacked “v”. They are both worked with the same hook, the same yarn, the same number of stitches, yet the simple error of working the stitches in the opposite order caused a very different look.

I plan on playing around more with “switching” my stitches, you never know where I new idea can be generated and maybe by intentionally changing the stitch order I might find something truly fabulous…I will have to keep you posted.

 

More Than One Alpaca- Suri Yarn

Several years ago I learned to spin yarn, indirectly this lead to my now working in crochet. However I digress, during my time spinning I visited a local alpaca farm that sold fibers for spinning. The farm was filled with those cute little teddy bear like animals that I learned were a breed called Huacaya. I only thought that these were the standard alpaca, until the farm owner showed me a fleece of another breed of alpaca, one known as Suri.

The Suri fleece was smooth and silky and in ringlets like a young Shirley Temple. It only resembled the Huacaya in size and shape…the same body but very different fleeces. I was mesmerized by the Suri, probably because it is not commonly found in the United States, and I definitely get drawn to something a bit out of the ordinary.

Researching a bit about these different breeds I learned that almost all alpaca yarns found are created from Huacaya fleece. Huacaya is a much more common breed in the US, and the yarn is warm and soft, really an affordable luxury. The Suri is much less common, and until recently I had not found a commercially available yarn made of this fleece.

At a trade show this summer I found Salt River Mills, Simply Suri yarn. I admit it drew me in. I was fascinated to find a Suri yarn, it is produced by the North American Suri Company that purchases fleeces from breeders across North America and is helping to create a market for this fiber.

I have been playing with a skein lately and have enjoyed how it works up in the hand. I have been using Simply Suri, an 85% Suri, 15% wool yarn. It is very common for all alpaca yarns to have a blend with wool, as wool adds a bit of structural integrity to the yarn that alpaca by itself does not have.

I have found the yarn soft and smooth, with a nice sheen that makes me think of a silk blend. It is light and airy, but it is easy to feel that it is warm as well. It has nice drape and stitch definition. It is a three ply yarn with a soft twist, that lends itself to standard stitches, however I would not personally try to much textual stitches, like cables or popcorns as the yarn does not seem strong enough to give it a bold definition. I am currently envisioning a shawl….I hope to have the pattern available soon….but this yarn will definitely have me playing with it more in the future.

 

A Memorable Name for A Memorable Yarn-Twizzlefoot

A funny name that you definitely remember, but when the yarn is beautiful and great to worth it, it is just an added bonus. I am referring to Twizzlefoot by Mountain Colors, a lovely fine weight yarn that works up really nice.

I don’t know where the name comes from but your find a couple of “foot” named yarns in Mountain Colors collection, and as you might imagine, it is yarn designed for socks. The fiber content is 53% Superwash Merino (fine soft wool from the Merino sheep that has been treated so that it does not felt), 17% Domestic wool (unknown, or unspecified breed of sheep wool, is warm and has all the properties of wool), 17% silk (added for strength, will also help with warmth and adds a nice sheen), and 13% nylon (added for strength). Basically this yarn is strong and can take a beating, if necessary, and still keep it shape.

This yarn is hand dyed so that really no two skeins are the same, and the available colors are gorgeous. It comes in a good size hank of 450 yards and 100 grams, if your happen to knit you can easily make up a great pair of socks. I however see this as shawl yarn. It could probably be a nice light weight sweater or camisole, but I enjoy the stretch and color pooling, but admire them in an accessory way.

It feels nice in the hand, like something that you actually want to create with. The fact that the fibers take the color differently adds a subtle shade to the overall effect, but to my surprise it does not quite present the way I would think it would in the stitch. When looking at the ball of yarn I would have thought that the little color differences in the twist would show in the work, but when I begin crocheting it completely blends in my eye.

This is a fun yarn, with an unforgettable name….

 

Cotton & Linen Perfect Zooey for Summer

When the temperature climbs to numbers that have more than two places in them, yarn does not sound like the leisure activity that it usually is. Fortunately there are nice plant based yarns that do not trap the heat like wool or even acrylic does. Juniper Moon Farm creates one such yarn in Zooey.

Zooey is a 60% cotton, 40% linen yarn that feels cool and is durable. I have to admit, I am not always drawn to linen, but the blend with cotton in this yarn makes it softer and less stiff than I have experienced in other yarns. It can take a hardy blocking, and I recommend that you plan on blocking this yarn, it brings an entirely new quality to it. Once it takes water, which it generously absorbs, it blossoms and becomes softer. It then can really open up stitch work and make some beautiful lace work with relatively little effort.

The yarn is listed as a fine weight, also referred to as a 2 weight, but easily works up with larger than expected hooks, even if the yarn is rated for a 3.5-4.5mm (F-G) I like it on a 6mm (J) for a more open effect.

The hank has some decent yardage at 284 yards (260 meters) for a 3.5 ounces (100 gram) ball. Even has a 4 ply yarn, plied with 3 strands of linen and 1 strand of cotton, it does not seem to have a really round nature. It seems a little flat, but that is something to be expected form the fibers. The ply is not real tight, however this did not seem to cause any splitting.

I think this yarn would do well as a market bag, maybe even a cover up for the beach. That also lends me to think that it could pull off a sun hat. It really does make me think of summer projects, this might limit my creative sense, but overall I think it can have some great uses.

 

Batiste- Some Nice Texture and Color

What some may not realize about my yarn reviews…they are really just for me. Yes, I am a bit selfish. However I have found that by reviewing a yarn weekly, it helps me hone my skills. Don’t get me wrong I hope you, the reader, gets some insight too, but I helps me focus on a fiber that I have in my working stash and imagine its possibilities. So you will see me discuss the fiber content, as this can really effect the drape and performance of the yarn, I also will remind myself of how it feels and if it works up well. I note the weight and length of the skein so that I can keep a mental note of how many skeins it would take to work up a desired project.

www.lindadeancrochet.comI recently travels to a yarn trade show. There are many various companies and different yarns to touch hold and get inspired by. Honestly, it can be a bit overwhelming, but it has provided me with some new yarns to critique and make notes about, such as Batiste from Knit One Crochet Too.

I cannot say that I have ever worked with yarn from this company before, I have seen it and heard the name, but never had the pleasure of crossing paths with a skein before. Batiste is made up of 50% fine merino wool 30% linen and 20% silk. The soft nature of the merino really shines through, while the linen offers a bit of a heather appearance in the color. The linen also offers the yarn a bit more structure and can allow the fabric to appear wrinkled or creased if put under pressure.

Even with the heathering it still has nice stitch definition, showing texture a bit more subtly than some yarns, but still very nice. It is listed as a Fine weight yarn, but I felt really comfortable using a 5.00mm hook (size H/8) so it didn’t feel at all too fine.

I can easily see this worked up as a garment or accessory close to the skin. The hank has a decent size with 208 yards/190 meters at 50 gram/1.75oz, so a small light shawl might take only 2 hanks, but I would prefer to use at least 3 to get a nice size.

Overall, a nice yarn that spurs some ideas. If you want to check out more of my yarn thoughts select the “Yarn Play” under the website categories.