Deborah’s Diamond Square

Thank you for joining me for my Moogly CAL Square! As a time of year of giving thanks, I am very thankful to be invited to participate in the project, and I hope you enjoy my contribution as the last square for the year.

If you are unfamiliar with The Moogly Yearly Afghan CAL, you can learn more about this project, learning a new 12″ square every 2 weeks, here at Mooglyblog.com.

I tend to like a little different angle in my squares, hence to rotation to create a diamond in the center. This square changes colors every round, but you can create it in many different color configurations. As for the name of this square, Deborah is a long time student, and supporter of my crochet career. She makes a point of sharing her love of baking with all the other students at the weekly crochet classes I teach at my local yarn store, and is always encouraging to everyone. So the name is another sign of thanks.

Deborah’s Diamond Square   by: Linda Dean

Small Shells create a center diamond that is framed in color, having a modern feel with classic charm.

Finished Size: 12”x 12”

Materials List:

  • J/10/6.00mm size crochet hook
  • Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice medium weight 100% Acrylic yarn (3.5oz/100g/170yds): 1 skein each color: (A) #123 Beige, (B) #134 Terracotta, (C) #133 Brick, (D) #172 Kelly Green
  • Tapestry needle

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

dc: double crochet

hdc: half double crochet

sk: skip

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

YO: yarn over

Rnd 1: With color A, ch 4, sl st to first ch forming a ring, ch 2 (counts as hdc), 2 dc in ring, hdc in ring, [hdc, 2 dc, hdc] in ring three times, sl st to join, fasten off. -8 hdc, 8 dc

Rnd 2: With color B join to last st of Round 1, ch 3 (counts as dc) 5 dc in same st as join, sk 1 st, sc in next dc, sk 1 st, [6 dc in next hdc, sk 1 st, sc in next dc] three times, sl st to join, fasten off. – 4 sc, 24 dc

Rnd 3: With color C, join to any sc, ch 3 (counts as dc), 10 dc in the same st, sk 2 dc, sc in next 2 dc sts, sk next 2 dc, [11 dc in next sc, sk 2 dc, sc in next 2 dc, sk next 2 dc] three times, sl st to join, fasten off. -8 sc, 44 dc

Rnd 4: With color D, join to last st of Round 3, ch 3 (counts as dc), 5 dc in same st as ch, 6 dc in next sc, sk 4 sts, sc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st, sc in next st, [6 dc in next 2 sc, sk 4 sts, sc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st, sc in next st] three times, sl st to second to the last st join, fasten off. -8sc, 48 dc

Rnd 5: With color A join in any ch-1 sp, ch 1, sc in same sp, sc in next 6 sts, [hdc in next st, ch 1, hdc in next st, sc in next 13 sts] three times, hdc in next st, ch 1, hdc in next st, sc in remaining 6 sts, sl st to join, fasten off. – 52 sc, 8 hdc

Rnd 6: With color B, join in any ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1), hdc in same sp, sc in each st across to ch-1 sp, [(hdc, ch 1, hdc) in next ch-1 sp, sc in each st across] three times, sl st to join, fasten off. –60 sc, 8 hdc

Rnd 7: With color C, join in any ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1), hdc in same sp, sc in each st across to ch-1 sp, [(hdc, ch 1, hdc) in next ch-1 sp, sc in each st across] three times, sl st to join, fasten off. –68 sc, 8 hdc

Rnd 8: With color D, join in any ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1), hdc in same sp, sc in each st across to ch-1 sp, [(hdc, ch 1, hdc) in next ch-1 sp, sc in each st across] three times, sl st to join, fasten off. –76 sc, 8 hdc

Rnd 9: With color A, join to any ch-1 sp, (sc, ch 1, sc) in same sp, sk hdc, [sk 1 st, 3 dc in next st, sk 1 st, sc in next st] five times, *(sc, ch 1, sc) in ch-1 sp, sk hdc, [sk 1 st, 3 dc in next st, sk 1 st, sc in next st] five times; rep from * around, sl st to join, fasten off. – 28 sc, 60 dc

Rnd 10: With color B, join to any ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1), hdc in same sp, sk sc and 1 dc, sc in next dc, 3 dc in next sc, [sk 1 dc, sc in next dc, 3 dc in next sc] across to ch-1 sp, *(hdc, ch 1, hdc) in ch-1 sp, sk sc and 1 dc, sc in next dc, 3 dc in next sc, [ sk 1 dc, sc in next dc, 3 dc in next sc] across to ch-1 sp; rep from * around, sl st to join, fasten off. -8 hdc, 28 sc, 60 dc

Rnd 11: With color C, join to any ch-1 sp, ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1), dc in same sp, hdc in next hdc, [3 dc in next sc, sk 1 dc, sc in next dc] across, hdc in hdc *(dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, hdc in next hdc, [3 dc in next sc, sk 1 dc, sc in next dc] across, hdc in hdc; rep from * around, sl st to join, fasten off. -8 hdc, 20 sc, 68 dc

Rnd 12: With color D, join to any ch-1 sp,  ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1) dc in same sp, hdc in next dc, hdc in next hdc, [sk 1 dc, sc in next dc, 3 dc in next sc] across, hdc in next hdc, hdc in next dc, *(dc, ch 1, dc) in ch-1 sp, hdc in next dc, hdc in next hdc, [sk 1 dc, sc in next dc, 3 dc in next sc] across, hdc in next hdc, hdc in next dc; rep from * around, sl st to join, fasten off. – 16 hdc, 20 sc, 68 dc

Rnd 13: With Color A, join to any ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1), hdc in same sp, sc in each st across, *(hdc, ch 1, hdc) in ch-1 sp, sc in each st across; rep from * around, sl st to join, fasten off. – 8 hdc, 104 sc

Rnd 14: With Color B, join ot any ch-1 sp, ch 3 (counts as hdc and ch 1) sc in each st across, *(hdc, ch 1, hdc) in ch-1 sp, sc in each st across; rep from * around, sl st to join, fasten off. -8 hdc, 112 sc

Weave in ends, block if desired.

Corded Edges-A Great Finish

Often times it is the small details that can really cause your crochet work to shine. One of those details can be found in the edging.

There are many times that I finish off a piece of fabric with a Reverse Single Crochet stitch, also known by the name “Crab Stitch”, but in my time teaching I have found that this stitch can be a bit to trying for some students. It requires a good sense of adjusting your yarns tension and working in the opposite direction (I discuss how to work the stitch here). However there is another stitch, The Corded Edge stitch.

The Corded Edge stitch looks very similar to the Reverse Single Crochet, but is easier to work. It is not quite a stitch as much as a technique that creates a braided or cabled look. It is worked in the last row of the fabric and is worked by rotating the two loops on the hook 360 degrees, and then finish the stitch.

Unlike a Reverse Single crochet, this technique can be used with any stitch. Below I have demonstrated this technique with a Corded Single Crochet and a Corded Double Crochet stitch.

To work a Corded Single crochet, you begin a single crochet just as you always do: Insert hook in indicated stitch, Yarn over and pull through a loop. Now with 2 loops on your hook, you rotate your hook 360 degrees. It is not crucial as to which direction you make this turn as long as you are consistent with each stitch. There is a slight difference in the appearance depending which way you rotate, so sample each and see which you prefer. I typically rotate in the direction it feels most comfortable for my hand to work.

Now you yarn over and pull through the 2 twisted loops on your hook. This completes the stitch, and you repeat it in the next stitch.

To work this technique as a Corded Double Crochet, you begin the Double crochet as normal: Yarn over, insert hook into indicated stitch, Yarn over, pull through a loop, Yarn over, pull through 2 loops. Now with the last 2 loops on the hook you rotate your hook 360 degrees, yarn over and pull through the 2 twisted loops.

It is pretty simple, yet results in an edge that is very finished.

Brittany Hooks-My New Go-To

I learned something new and realized I was wrong. Yes, I can admit when I am wrong…even if I have friends and family that may not believe that statement…For years I have believed that for me there has been a difference between in-line and taper hooks. Some people refer to this as the debate between Susan Bates and Boye hooks, as they are the most popular brands.

left to right: Boye, Susan Bates, Brittany; all size K, 10 1/2, 6.5mm

To simplify the arguments, the inline hooks are like simple tubes with slits at the throat of the hook, while tapers taper down at the throat and enlarge at the head. I thought that it was this that made the difference in how I crocheted, but testing out some Brittany Crochet hooks, as showed me I have been wrong all these years.

Brittany hooks are inline hooks, and I offered to test them out primarily because I realized that the world is small. In small I mean, that I met the owner of Brittany hooks at a trade show in the Midwest, only to realize in our discussions that we actually went to high school together, a couple of years apart, in my home town in Northern California; that he actually hung out with my cousin throughout school and that we had many mutual friends.

I offered to test out the hooks, as a feeling of this small world companionship, I didn’t realize that I would learn something new and find a great hook in the process. Brittany was happy to have my feedback on my experience with their product, as they want to ensure that they are offering the best hooks on the market.

What I learned was that for me it really is not the shaft of the throat that effects my crochet, it is the length of the hook.

I use a knife hold when holding my hook, meaning that I hold it the same as if I were holding a knife to chop. I hadn’t really realized it before but the Susan Bates hooks are shorter than the Boye hooks as a result they do not extend past my hand, but instead rest just at the edge of my little finger. When using the Brittany, they had more length than a Bates, and that made all the difference. I found no difficulty in creating the stitches, and I have put these hooks through some test, creating a couple of sweaters and shawls.

The Brittany hooks were very comfortable to use, not to mention very handsome. They are actually all created by wood sourced in the United States, ensuring that they wood is sustainably harvested. All the hooks are made by a single family, and in a small town along the northern coast of California. My understanding is that this company grew out of a bit of a challenge; that challenge being creating a knitting needle from a single piece of wood.  This should not really seem like a challenge, as we have all seen wooden knitting needles before, however these are typically constructed in two pieces; a turned shaft and a stopper at the top. Brittany is actually all turned as one piece. The turning of the shaft is then adjusted to turn a beautiful ending edge. For the crochet hooks there is one other step, which is cutting in the throat.

While a machine might turn the lathe, the human hand is evident throughout the hook. Each one is lovingly created and hand finished. The family is dedicated to making a quality product while working by their family values of supporting the environment and their community. It began with a father over 40 years ago and is continued with the son working to support his growing family today.

However that thing I find most amazing is how reasonably priced the hooks are. I have found them on-line and in some small local yarn stores for under $10. For a hand worked hook….that is crazy reasonable. Couple with that, that they have an amazing product guarantee…if your hook is damaged in 5 years of purchase, they will replace it, no questions asked. That is beyond reasonable.

This makes it a very practical gift to yourself or someone you care for that stitches. I definitely recommend Brittany hooks, and am glad that I decided to give this hook a chance….I learned something new about my stitching as well as found my new go-to hook.

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.

 

Crochet in the Groove

To find something in crochet that I have never seen before takes some doing, but I was fortunate enough to have one such product find me.

The Groove by Chetnanigans is a hand crafted tool designed to make the creation of broomstick lace quicker and easier. My understanding of its origins involves a woodworking husband fulfilling the dreams of his crocheting wife. This couple has created many creative products to fulfill the needs of crocheters including, but not limited to; hook and notion organizers, blocking boards, and hair pin lace looms. But the groove is something unlike anything else I have seen.

Sean and Holly of Chetnanigans reached out to me earlier this summer, after noticing that I was teaching a Broomstick Lace Technique class at the CGOA national Chainlink conference. They asked if I would give the Groove a try and give them some feedback. Well I found it unique enough to even share it with my students, many of which ordered their own.

Traditional broomstick lace has been done with a knitting needles. By working loops over a knitting needle and then working the loops back off to create a stitch that sometimes is noted as resembling the eye of a peacock tail. One of the biggest drawbacks to this techniques is that it is a bit awkward…it feels like you need a third hand to hold everything.

The Groove addresses this issue by putting a base on the “needle” so that it can actually stand upright on a table, so simple it becomes a “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of thing. However the Groove doesn’t just stop there, it then has…well…a groove at its tip. It is this groove that sets the Groove apart.

A crochet hook slips into this slit and under the loops that have been added to ease the removal and really make the process faster. When using a traditional knitting needle you move these loops to the tip and work your crochet hook between the loops and needle, it is not particularly difficult, but it is a slow process when compared to using the Groove.

The Groove is equivalent of a 25mm knitting needle, or in other terms has a 1” diameter shaft, so it is a perfect size for light to medium weight yarns. It has a nice weight, not feeling to light or flimsy or to heavy and clumsy. The only drawback I have found is that my kids think it would be a great spike to kill vampires or even club someone, so I have to keep an eye on its location to ensure that it is only used for its intended purpose. But if I find some vampires I guess I am prepared, and in the mean time I will have a great time crocheting up some broomstick lace.