Reinvent Too- A Yarn to Make You Think

Sometimes you can stumble across a yarn that can just make you think a bit. It might have an interesting color, a different construction, an unusual ply or twist, or in the case of Ancient Arts Yarns Reinvent Too for me it was the fibers that it is comprised of.

Not that the fibers used are all that unusual, it is more that I do not know if I have seen them put together in this way before. It is comprised of 49% Wool, 34% Mohair, 11% Nylon, 4% Acrylic, 2% Silk, so at a glance I can tell that it is going to have some warmth, some strength, some softness, and some durability. I cannot recall seeing wool combined with mohair, and having an addition of silk. These are all natural fibers with varying qualities to provide nice yarns all on their own, so often I see them highlighted in a skein where they alone are the shining star and there might be some other small contributors of support.

I guess the part that threw me the most was the large amounts of wool and mohair. Wool I have seen everywhere, but mohair I usually see in yarns that allow its fine quality and natural halo be the defining quality of the yarn. This is not the case in Reinvent Too. The mohair is a work horse of sorts adding its softness and warmth to this blend.

This yarn offers a very nice stitch definition, and even though it is listed as a worsted weight, I feel it is on the lighter side of this definition and would personally treat it more as a light weight or DK. It is not quite as soft as I would have expected, but still pretty nice. It may soften up after a hand washing, I have not tested this theory however. I think that it would work up nicely as a shawl, or a cardigan or jacket. I don’t know how well I would enjoy it as a scarf as it seems a bit rough to the skin on my neck, but a hat would probably be fine. I could also easily see this creating a small throw, it would easily work up great for spring and fall temperatures.

The color selection for this yarn is beautiful, as is normal for Ancient Arts, so you could definitely find a color to inspire you. The hanks have 198 yds/180m per 3.5oz/100g skein, that may limit it to small yarn projects, but I think you may be pleasantly surprised with it.

Crochet Hats De-Mystified

It is interesting that you completely forget how you felt about something before it became common place. Okay, that sentence could apply to many things in today’s day and age, however I was personally thinking of my crochet. A conversation I had with a student juggled a little something free in my mind about hats.

I find crocheting hats a pretty relaxing past time at this point in my life, enough so that the yarn I post about on Fridays … that swatch usually becomes a hat…but I didn’t always feel that way. Hats were intimidating to me, probably because the only crochet hats I had seen as a kid growing up were usually worked vertically with short rows. I had never really seen a top down, or even bottom up worked crochet hat, until probably college.

Top down hats start as a flat circle

That does make my crochet life sound a bit sheltered, maybe it was. I did teach myself after all and I primarily crocheted with “hand-me-down” yarn form other people’s stashes. I made doll clothes and scarves, but if it was something to be adorned or admired, I made afghans …hundreds of them.

Anyway, when I would contemplate working a hat, I was always befuddled by the dome shape, and having it actually fit. Little did I realize how easy it was to make, so easy that since I learned it I have never looked back. Essentially a top down crochet hat begins with a flat circle. Yes, a flat circle. This seems a little counterintuitive, but it works. Creating a flat circle simply requires adding the number of stitches worked in round 1 to be added evenly throughout all other rounds. Meaning if I begin the first round with 12 double crochets, then I add 12 double crochets evenly in each following round, so round 2 would have 24 double crochets, and round 3 would have 36 double crochets.

After the circle is worked to a point where the outer edge, the circumference, measures the circumference of the head (usually somewhere between 20” and 22” (51-56 cm) for a typical adult), then you quit working any increasing stitches and continue working even (a single stitch in every stitch around), until you have the hat the desired length.

Here is a really basic pattern for a hat, nothing fancy…

Using any yarn and a corresponding hook,

Rnd 1: Ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beg ch. (12 dc)

Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around, sl st to join. (24 dc)

Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next st, [2 dc in next st, dc in next st] around, sl st to join. (36 dc)

Note: Depending on your yarn and hook only continue working Rnds until circumference of hat is met with circumference of the circle, then work Body of Hat.

Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 2 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] around, sl st to join. (48 dc)

Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] around, sl st to join. (60 dc)

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 4 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts] around, sl st to join. (72 dc)

Rnd 7: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 5 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts] around, sl st to join. (84 dc)

Body of Hat

Ch 3, dc in each st around, sl st to join. Repeat this Rnd until hat is desired length.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make a few hats, and considering helping your local community by donating a few to your local homeless shelter.

Taking the Hat to a Whole New Level

I am not much of an interior decorator. After I have chosen a paint for the walls, it will be that color forever; the furniture has found its placement, it will not move again; why change what took me forever to decide on? I guess this is either I a sign that I am completely set in my ways or too lazy to rework it, either way I am faced with times that I need a bit of different look. It is times like this that I find crochet beanies to be helpful.

I crochet many beanies throughout the year, many are given to various charities, so I have access to several colors and many textures to change the look and feel of my home décor on a very subtle way. The hats get used as pant cozies.

My “beanie” plant cozy

When I was younger I swore I would never create a cozy, after all I don’t mind looking at my toaster or my toilet paper rolls, but somehow I have managed to bring some of it to life in this small way. I have found that really a beanie type hat is essentially a basket turned up side town, so it easily fits the ceramic pots my house plants rest in.

I stumbled upon this out of necessity. I found that my pots were scratching my tables, being pottery the bottoms were always a bit rough and my furniture’s finish always seemed a bit soft, the pairing is not ideal. This means that I need something under my pots, perhaps a doily, a table runner, a coaster…yes, these all get utilized too. But for a little different affect, a hat. By placing a beaning over the pot I get to change to color and texture of the pot as well as saving my table surface. SO this is my subtle little visual difference in the house. It would be like putting new pillows on the couch, it gives a little new life.

As a side note, I can easily wear the hats again after a wash, so in a sense they just sever double duty now…so far, I don’t think anyone has noticed.

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.

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!