I am A #HumansThatYarn

Humans that yarn. Sounds like an interesting caption, but to the Craft Yarn Council it is a bit more than that.

The Craft Yarn Council is a nonprofit organization that is designed to promote all things yarn that includes certifying knitting and crochet instructors….it is an interesting course that I completed of crochet in 2012, and really has helped me to teach crochet more effectively. (You can find information about the program here). The Humans that Yarn campaign is an effort by this organization to hear the voices of those that craft with yarn.

Often as crocheters it seems like we are defined by the fact that we are not knitters, and this campaign gives us an opportunity to talk about who we are and what yarn means to us, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

For me I really do not remember a time in my life without yarn somewhere around. As I have talked about in the past I taught myself to crochet at the age 10 from a book, but it wasn’t from a true desire to crochet as much as it was to learn and create. It just happened that I had access to yarn, hooks and the book.

Most of my yarn came from others. Other people would give me there left over scraps and partial skeins. There was a time when I finally committed to creating my first afghan that I convinced my mom to allow me to purchase some yarn. I remember spending time going over patterns finding the one that I wanted to create. I remember standing in the aisle of the store putting various combinations of yarn together to find the perfect colors. I remember asking my mom’s advice on the color selection, she after all as in many different art classes at the time.

Yet yarn is not just a memory for me. It is a way of moving my hands and keeping my mind flowing it is being productive in even the most likely of times.

It might be that I tend to want to do or experience things that no one would quite expect to look at me. No one in grade school would expect me to be crocheting, I had many friends in high school look at me like I was crazy when they found out…although many still have the afghan I made them. I guess I liked a bit of the awe factor. Not fitting into any particular mold…I still find it appealing.

People that know me are no longer surprised by the crocheting, but they tell me they are inspired by my designing, teaching and taking it on as a business. The title “Crochet Designers” does garner surprise from people I meet, as they never thought of any career like it.

So I guess, my easiest summation for Who am I? when considering Humans that Yarn, I am contrite wanting to be different and a bit surprising while utilizing a common craft.

Share your #HumasthatYarn story, Who are You?

Stacked Ladders Cowl- Free Pattern

I find that there are times when designs just fly off my hook, while the other times I cannot even bring myself to pick up that hook. Fortunately I have been living in the world of the former and not the latter as of late. As a result I have a new free pattern available for you!

Stacked Ladders Cowl grew out of my playing with a skein of Anzula Croquet yarn. The yarn is light weight and a 50/50 blend of Superwash Merino and Tussah Silk. It honestly is a luxurious yarn to work with, it is so soft and even what I would call billowy or lofty, while still being quite structurally strong.

This Cowl takes only 1 skein, and is a quick project, so it is perfect to check out a “new to you” yarn while creating a gift for yourself or someone special.

It is a light, airy design that is a great transition piece for fall or spring. If you are not a cowl fan, it is simple enough to just work it as a scarf.

This design is worked up with a large hook, but if you do not have anything quite this large, use the largest hook you feel comfortable with, you will be happy with the results.

Stacked Ladders Cowl

Materials:

  • Anzula Croquet light weight 50% superwash merino, 50% tussah silk yarn, (230yrds/210m/114g) sample colorway Madam
  • L/8mm crochet hook

Ch 34

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sk 3 chs, (ch 3, sc in next ch) 8 times, turn.

Rows 2 and 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, (ch 3, sc in next sc) 8 times, turn.

Row 4: Ch 6, dc in next sc, (ch 3, dc in next sc) 7 times, turn.

Row 5: Ch 1, sc in same st, (ch 3, sc in next dc) 7 times, ch 3, sk 3 chs, sc in next ch, turn.

Rows 6 and 7: Rep Rows 2 and 3.

Row 8: Rep Row 4.

Rows 9-100: Rep rows 5-8. Fasten off. Seam Row 1 to Row 100 while weaving in ends.

 

Camac- My New Favorite Design

Crochet and time have interesting effects for me. I have spoken before about how crochet traps memories and such (you can read that here), but designing can also be a bit of a time travel. I can be commissioned to create a design for a yarn company or magazine and after it is finished I have to wait months to see how everything finally comes out.

After waiting what seems like forever, I am finally able to share the Camac! This is a long cardigan or coat, depending on your leaning, that really lends itself to style and comfort. It is mid-thigh length and worked in as seamless as possible, needing only seam the shoulders and sleeves, the body is worked as one piece.

The simple stitch pattern really allows the yarn to make some dazzling affects as it shines as the hero. This design is created in Manos del Uruguay Gloria, a soft superwash Merino medium weight yarn, which is a dream to work with. It has nice stitch definition and has a great variety of colors (my sample is in colorway Malaquita)

There is a simple turned edge boarding this entire coat that is actually the same stitch pattern as the rest of the fabric but uses a much larger hook to create a contrast in the fabric. The change in the hook size causes a tension between the two fabrics and this causes the edge to curl. I think it adds a simple yet endearing quality to this design.

Honestly I love the mid-thigh length, it offers a wrap yourself up in it kind of feel, that warms my heart has well as keeps me warm. I tend to find that sweaters designed to hit the waist area makes me look a bit shorter while a longer length helps elongate my appearance, so I tend to lean this way a bit in my designing. If for some reason you want to make this design shorter for your liking, simply finish the row rep for the Body section a few rows early.

It is nice to finally see the end product of your work, it is usually always worth the wait (you can check it out here).

Photos courtesy of Fairmount Fibers.

A Crochet High- Returning from Conference

Last week I was teaching at the Crochet Guild of America annual Chainlink conference in Portland, Oregon, and you know it had to be a good time when it takes you 4 days to finally unpack. Okay 4 days may not seem like long to some, but I am usually unpacked the same day I arrive home with the laundry in the washer….however this time I just didn’t have the energy, I left it in Portland.

I taught a variety of classes, interestingly enough, I taught 4 classes at a crochet conference and none of them were actually crochet. Well one was, but it was about understanding patterns and how to read them better, the other 3 were not nearly as crochet focused.

I taught how to use beads in your work in my Beads 3 Ways class. It was a room full and everyone put their own style and twist on the necklace we were creating. There were definitely some talented and creative people in that room. They took silk, and threads (from Kreinik threads), and beads (from Bead Biz) and learned different applications to add them to their crochet (or knitting) projects.

Then I spent the entire day teaching people how to actually make yarn in my Drop Spindle class. Everyone made yarn, which is an exciting prospect just in itself. We worked with some different fibers (from Weaver Creek Fibers), and got the hang of drafting, spinning, and parking. We then plied our works and got to experience how to card wool. I haven’t taught that class in a while, and I have to say I was so impressed with what the students created.

The next morning was the class that caused me to drive 12 hours to Portland…Home Dyeing…how to safely dye your own yarn. I am pretty sure everyone had fun in this class. I had to drive to ensure that all  the equipment needed was there for me, so it allowed us to set up dyeing stations and play with all kinds of fiber (from Lisa Souza Dyeworks), with a variety of dyes and techniques. The artistic expression of the students really came out when we just jumped right into all the colors and combinations. There may have been some trash talk, completely in jest, with the class next door as they were learning how to color pool yarn. I had to put forth a challenge that were we dyeing yarn that they could not pool, my fellow instructor and friend, Vashti Braha was up for the challenge. She and I really had brainstormed ways we could work our classes together, but that didn’t come together so this little challenge was a nice addition.

Then I blinked and just like that all my classes were taught. Granted there were plenty of other events that helped cause my days to fly by, there was the member meeting I lead, and the recognition of all the Master Program graduates and Design Competition winners, then the Fastest Fingers Competition where I judged the finals, and you can never forget the CGOA Banquet and Fashion Show. It really is a whirl wind, and I didn’t even join in the actives of the first day.

I have to admit, I have been hooked since I attended my first Chainlink conference in 2011, it just feels like home.

 

Christmas In July -Slight Trail Men’s Gloves- Free Pattern

As part of the Christmas in July Crochet Along, I am happy to share Slight Trail Men’s Gloves as a free pattern for you!


Check out more Christmas in July patterns as well as giveaways here

 

Slight Trail Men’s Gloves by: Linda Dean

Fingered gloves are a must during the cold months, and are easier then they look! This simple stitch pattern offers a unique texture that gives the gloves just enough stretch.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Finished Size: men’s size gloves-10” circumference

Materials List:

  • Size I/9/5.5mm hook or hook size needed to obtain gauge
  • 1 skein of Lisa Souza Baby Alpaca Sport, sport weight,  100% Baby Alpaca Yarn (330yds/3.4 oz)  (www.lisaknit.com)
  • Stitch Marker
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge:  8 st /10 rows =2”

Pattern Note/Special Stitches

Glove are worked in a continuous spiral, there is no joining. Use stitch marker to indicate end of round.

Pattern worked in round has single crochet stitches stacked upon single crochet stitches in the back loop, and single crochet in the back loop stitches stacked upon single crochet stitches.

Magic Loop: Create a loop with yarn, inset hook, yarn over and pull through a loop, work indicated stitches in loop, pull the “tail” end of the loop to tighten.

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

rem: remaining

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sl st: slip stitch

sk: skip

sp: space

st(s): stitch(es)

Gloves (Make 2)

Cuff

Row 1 : Ch 10, working in back bump only, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each back bump across, ch 1, turn. (9 sc)

Rows 2-39: Sc in each back loop across, ch 1, turn.

Hand

Rnd 1: Turn cuff so that ends of fabric (Rows 1 and 39) are touching forming a tube, crocheting in the ends of the rows, sc in the end of each round. 39 sc

Rnd 2: *Sc in next 3 sts, sc in back loop of next 3 sts; rep from * 6 times, sc in next 3 sts.

Rnd 3: *Sc in back loop of next 3 sts, sc in next 3 sts; rep from * 6 times, sc in back loop of next 3 sts.

Rnds 4-16: Rep Rnds 2 & 3, ending with a repeat of Rnd 2.

Rnd 17: Ch 9, sk next 6 sts, *sc in back loop of next 3 sts, sc in next 3 sts; rep from * around. 33 sc and 1 ch-9 sp

Rnd 18: 9 sc in ch-10 sp, *sc in next 3 sts, sc in back loop of next 3 sts; rep from * around. 42 sc

Rnd 19: *Sc in back loop of next 3 sts, sc in next 3 sts; rep from * around.

Rnd 20: *Sc in next 3 sts, sc in back loop of next 3 sts; rep from * around.

Rnds 21-28: Rep Rnds 19 & 20

Index Finger

Rnd 1: Sc in back loop of next 6 sts, turn glove over, working in 7th stitch from end, sc in back loop, sc in back loop of next 6 sts. 13 sc

Rnd 2: Sc in back loop of each st around.

Rnd 3-16: Rep Rnd 2. Finish off, using yarn needle weave end through each stitch in last round and pull tight, sewing end closed.  

The rest of the fingers, with the exception of the thumb, start by working into Rnd 28 of the hand. Start with the glove positioned so that the index finger is to the right. (For left handed crocheters the index finger should be to the left).

Middle Finger

Rnd 1: Join yarn with sc in same st as last st for index finger on same side, sc in back loop of next 7 sts, sk next 19 sts, sc in back loop of next 5 sts, sc in next st (that was used in previous finger).  13 sc

Rnd 2: Sc in back loop of each st around.

Rnd 3-18: Rep Rnd 2. Finish off, using yarn needle weave end through each stitch in last round and pull tight, sewing end closed.  

Ring Finger

Rnd 1: Join yarn with sc in same st as last st for middle finger on same side, sc in back loop of next 7 sts, sk next 8 sts, sc in next st, sc in back loop of next 4 sts, sc in next st (that was used in previous finger).  13 sc

Rnd 2: Sc in back loop of each st around.

Rnd 3-16: Rep Rnd 2. Finish off, using yarn needle weave end through each stitch in last round and pull tight, sewing end closed.  

Pinkie Finger

Rnd 1: Join yarn with sc in same st as last st for middle finger on same side, (sc in back loop of next 7 sts, sc in next st (that was used in previous finger).  10 sc

Rnd 2: Sc in back loop of each st around.

Rnd 3-12: Rep Rnd 2. Finish off, using yarn needle weave end through each stitch in last round and pull tight, sewing end closed.  

Thumb:

Rnd 1: Working in sk sts of Rnd 17 of Hand, sc in back loop of each st, evenly work 9 sc in bottom side of ch-9. (15 sts)

Rnd 2: *Sc in back loop of each st around.

Rnd 3-14: Rep Rond 2. Finish off, using yarn needle weave end through each stitch in last round and pull tight, sewing end closed.  (note optional for texting thumbs, simply weave in end, not closing top of thumb)