Serene Spring Long Cardigan- The Name Says It All

It seems like a cardigan season! I say that as I have created quite a few cardigans as of late, and the latest one to be released, Serene Spring Long Cardigan found in the April 2018 issue of I Like Crochet, is one of my favorites.

I think that long cardigans offer a great shape, as well as keeping that draft off of my waist as a bend over. I enjoy them most with a length about mid-thigh, or at very least just below my hip bone. Yet when it is created with a simple stitch, which looks fabulous, it is fun to create too. Serene Spring fits this bill.

It is worked from the bottom up, and seamed at the sides, and if you feel that the length is a bit long for your liking, simply reduce the number of rows worked before reaching the underarm. The corner pockets are attached as you seam the sides, and then fully encased when you work the edging.

The shaping in minimal, making it easy for a beginner to feel successful.

The yarn, Knit One Crochet Too Batiste is a delight to work with as well. It is a blend of wool, linen and silk in a sport weight. It is light and airy, while just being heavy enough to take off the chill. I actually did a review of this yarn, I share more insights about it here.

I still remember when I made my first sweater, it took me several years to work up the courage to make one as I had done afghans for years, but when I realized it was all just fabric it was groundbreaking for me. If you have this same dilemma, don’t let it stop you. The best tip I can provide is to check your gauge so you know that you are coming up with the same fabric as what you see in the photo. Here are some tips to working with gauge. 

 

Award Winning Design! Book Club Afghan

There are somethings that really take me by surprise. A really pleasant surprise is finding out that one of your designs has been chosen as one of the Top 50 Patterns of 2017 by I Like Crochet Magazine! That is one of the Best of 2017!

Of the thousands of patterns and designs that come out every year, I Like Crochet Magazine felt that my Book Club Afghan was among the cream of the crop.  It takes me back a bit.

Honestly, I am never sure how to assess my designs. I just make the idea that comes to me.

I have found over the years that the more I over think an idea, the less I really like it. So I try and keep things simple, and focus on the approach of what it takes to make the design. Maybe it is the fundamental crocheter in me, but my end thought really falls to if I enjoy making it.

This is the practice that went into making the Book Club Afghan, just enough stitch change to keep things interesting, just enough repeat to keep the design something that you can relax doing. This is how the lacy panels are worked, in a lengthwise direction with solid stitches between them. The three styles of lace make just enough visual interest, and are just different enough from one another that it is a joy to work.

The fringe on this design I fell really helps it stand out, as it offers just a bit of a classic flair. Overall this design has always reminded me of a classic fisherman’s afghan with a modern update, something classic made more current.

I know that there are many fabulous designs accepted every year by the publication, and I am honored that one of mine was selected. I guess a truer statement might be that I am humbled.

 

The Regal Touch- Royal Blooms Shawl

Sometimes a design takes month to develop, multiple practice attempts and hours of thought and planning…others come together like magic. The Royal Blooms Shawl in the October 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine is the latter.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

This shawl is really great to work up, a relatively simple pattern of V stitches and Shells that yields stunning results. The stacking of these stitches creates an almost jewel shape effect, that lends itself to royalty. While the negative space created shares a bit if a peek-a-boo quality. This is a great quick gift for a friend or loved one, or a special treat for yourself. It can take you from dress to casual fairly easily and thus is an excellent addition to any wardrobe.

One of the things I really loved about this shawl is in the yarn. It is worked up in Ancient Arts Reinvent Too.  This Wool/Mohair/Silk blend yarn is one that adds enough warmth to utilize this shawl for the crisp evenings of autumn, yet comfortable enough to wear in the mid-day sun.  This yarn is listed as a worsted or medium weight yarn, but in the hand I think it works up more like a light or DK weight, so this is not a shawl that is as light or wispy as a feather, but has a bit of substance to it. There are several color ways available, so it can please just about everyone.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

I wish I had a better story to tell as to how this shawl came into being, but honestly it just fell right off the hook without my even thinking. Part of me thinks that I cannot even claim ownership of this design as it came too easily, so I hope you will enjoy creating your own and making it a new staple in your life.

 

Time for Fall- the Homey Fireplace Hat

I might take hats a bit for granted. When I was learning to crochet I never ventured into hats, after all my grandmother had crocheted several…everyone in my house had more than they needed.  But in honesty, my biggest hang up with hats was working in the round.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

The hats my grandmother created were all worked in a back and forth manner, from top to bottom as a rectangle, seamed at a side and gathered at the top. I never saw a hat worked in the round. It intimidated me.

I remember a friend of my college roommate was crocheting hats in the round and I was secretly mesmerized.

So the Homey Fireplace Hat seems pretty straight forward to me. It is worked vertically with a single crochet ribbing, but then has two cables worked in the center, all the way around. It is the same overall style that I am use to. It has a lot of stretch so it can fit just about anybody, kids to adults. This design can be found in the latest issue, October 2017, of I Like Crochet. This is an on-line magazine that offers a nice variety, but not on newsstands but your inbox instead.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

The cable is a relatively simple two by one type cable, meaning that there are two stitches that are crossed over by one, and this is done twice. By working the 2 cables right next to each other it helps really set off the texture.

I sometimes like to see this design worked up in a variegated color, as it lends itself well to some color striping and the cables help “bleed” the color to the stripes below. The yarn in this design is called Targhee by Lisa Souza, it is available in so many different color ways that the possibilities really seem endless.

Targhee is a sheep breed, one that is growing in popularity within the United States, especially for locally produced wools. It has a nice spring to it and holds the warmth ideal for a nice hat.

Swirls That Will Brighten Your Day

Sometimes while crocheting my mind can completely wonder and I have no idea what I am stitching. This is actually a really therapeutic approach at times, it allows me to be productive and keep my hands busy while allowing my mind to day dream or work things out. My latest design Swirling Valley Circular Throw, in the August issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, actually was created this way.

Photo courtesy of I Like Crochet Magazine

I began working on a spiral motif, but then I began thinking of other things and before I knew it I had an entire throw. The stitch pattern is essentially that needed to create a flat circle, but you have to work more than one color, and thus more than one strand of yarn, in each round. This can be a bit daunting as you need to keep the strands from tangling, but I have found that by twisting the yarn in the same direction each time I switch colors that I can at least create a uniform tangle that I can easily untwist every few rounds. I know others that have easier techniques, using holders that keep the skeins apart so they cannot wrap around each other, or little finger rings that hold each color independently ready for use. However I have never really gotten the hang of these and simply just untangle as needed…this at least changes my task at various times.

Photo courtesy I Like Crochet Magazine

Swirling Valley Circular Throw is made up of only three colors but utilizes six colors per round, so if you wanted something to have a real spiral effect you could simply use six different colors in this throw instead of each color twice.

I like this design for kids, I can easily see it in bright vibrant colors to adorn a play room, or even in soft pastels to create a dazzling throw for baby.

I have an additional confession, when I started working the final rounds I was getting a bit exhausted, thinking that they would never end. This is typical of large circles, but the color changes at least kept it more interesting and manageable, so this did not become an un-finished project (UFO) in my work bag.