At Long Last Interrupted! – Knit it! Crochet it!

People can be a bit surprised at how long it can take for a design to become a pattern, even when you are self-publishing. In some cases it can take up to a year; there is the design process that has you working out all the bugs, then writing the pattern and stitching the item (or maybe you stitch it first then write up the pattern), then you send it for review with a Technical editor to make sure that everything makes sense and can be understood (not everyone does this step, but it definitively makes a difference). Then it is into the world of photography, and lay out…then it is ready to upload and announce its introduction into the world. Did I mention that this happens while you are juggling any other contracts you may have in place? Or juggle the needs of your family? Or still attempting to create new ideas? Yes, it can take time.

Interrupted Shawl, knit version wwww.lindadeancrochet.com

Knit version of Interrupted

That is a bit of the history of Interrupted. The name may be a bit foretelling in its journey to being born into the world.  This design is another of my “Two in One”, meaning you get both a knit and a crochet version in the same pattern almost like a little bit of “something for everyone”. It actually got its name from the drop stitches that break the solid fabric pattern to create an airy feel. Both patterns are worked from the small point of a triangle outward, this makes for a great pattern that you can just use along with your yarn and end it when you think the size if correct for you.

Interrupted Shawl, crochet version www.lindadeancrochet.com

Crochet version of Interrupted

The solid fabric has a bit of texture, and that is the first thing people comment about them. The texture looks much more difficult than it is to execute, but when paired with dropped stitches it has a contrast that really highlights the textural differences. Check this design out for your self at either Craftsy or Ravelry.

Once again this design is pair with a Lickin Flames shawl pin, and Lisa Souza Yarn (Baby Alpaca Silk Petite…1 skein)…I love coming up with these one skein projects, and working with these two companies is always a joy. It really helps that they are such nice people, if you haven’t checked out their work, I really recommend it.

Knit It! Crochet It! The Converse Shawl

My latest design, or should I say designs, once again grew out of the challenge of a one skein project worked in both knit and crochet. Unlike some of my other knit/crochet designs, this one does not as closely resemble each other.

Converse Shawl by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Converse Shawl Crochet version

The visual effect of this design is really more about how the color moves around and comes together. Not really like color pooling, but more like paint on an artist canvas. So Converse Shawl is the latest addition to my design collection. (1 pattern and you get both the knit and the crochet version).

The crochet version of Converse is worked from one side to the other, or otherwise known as vertically, while the knit version is worked basically bottom to top or horizontally. Yet they both have a line of color that then runs a vertically creating this artist affect. I feel like it is this slight line, or visual break that really makes everything come together.

Converse Shawl by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Converse Shawl knit version

The skills for working either of these shawls is not advanced. The crochet version utilizes post stitches, and works what is known to many as a basket weave pattern. It features tall stiches to give an airy feel that can mimic a woven inspiration. The knit version features drop stitches that are carried over a couple of simple rows allowing the color to “drip” down.

I cannot take full credit for this design. I worked with Lisa Souza, of Lisa Souza Dyeworks to create the knit effect as a compliment to the crochet. Often I work a crochet design from the perspective of recreating a knit, this time I created the crochet and the structural technique I had for the knit would not come together properly. Lisa helped me to create a knit version that was structurally sound while still sharing the same vision of the crochet version.

I have to admit thought, that this design looks great with the featured shawl pin from Lickin Flames. It could be that hand created items, like the hand dyed yarns of Lisa Souza (of which this design is 1 skein of Baby Alpaca Silk Petite in color way Jacob’s Coat), and the hand created shawl pins by Jim Atchinson of Lickin Flames just happen to enhance each other. If that is the case, great! It makes designing so much easier when the materials really work together.

Knit It! Crochet It! The Dialog Shawl

Creating a design that is both knit and crochet has its own set of challenges, one mainly being that I am not an expert knitter. However I have created a design with the help of a couple of friends that I think is pretty impressive.

Dialog Crochet Shawl by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Dialog Shawl, Crochet version

The Dialog Shawl is created with short rows with alternating panels of a solid and lace fabric. It is a fun pattern to work up as it uses basic stitches but still keeps you mentally engaged, but not so much as to cause stress. The only difference between the knit and crochet version is that the panels of the crochet version are bigger and thus there are only 4 triangles instead of the 6 that are found in the knit version.

I love that this is a one skein project. It is featured in Baby Alpaca Silk Petite Yarn from Lisa Souza Dyeworks, and I definitely draw to the color of Peacock, but I think this design can easily worked up in various colors, and may look distinctly different and fabulous in a variegated yarn. This yarn is really awesome, and I have used it for several projects over the years. It is a light/fine weight yarn that has a beautiful hand and is a pleasure to work. I also feature a shawl pin with this design, it was after all part of the inspiration for the design, and it is actually a Shawl Button from Lickin Flames. Each Shawl Button is handmade, beautiful, and completely unique. The one that inspired me was a Raku button in Bronze with a shiny black accent.

Dialog Knit Shawl by Linda Dean wwww.lindadeancrochet.com

Dialog Shawl, Knit version

I cannot say that I have ever been particularly inspired to create a design from a pin or button before, usually I attempt to create a design that can be worn independently of such items. However, recently I have come to see how this piece of art can really had to the overall effect of my crochet (or in part of this design, knit). It is like a subtle accent point that helps add to the overall effect, bringing everything to a new level.

Overall I am completely thrilled with this design, and I hope you enjoy it too. As is the case with all of my knit/crochet designs one pattern contains both versions, so if you are bi-stitchual you can work both versions, and if you prefer one craft over the other you have it right before you.

Where Arts Can Learn from Each Other

ScannedImageThis last week I had the opportunity to spend some tie at a knitting workshop. The Hangtown Fibers Guild, my local non-denominational Fiber Guild that has to be given credit for all the encouragement and support of my entering the Crochet Industry, was hosting Lucy Neatby for a day long workshop on a variety of knitting techniques. I helped arrange the workshop, and in handling the support I was able to glean some information from the beginning of the day.

The technique that made me smile was the knitters Provisional Cast On. Casting on is how a knit project begins, it is how to add loops to the needle, and there are various ways to do this. The traditional Provisional Cast On, begins with a crochet chain, and then loops are pulled through the chains, much like the beginning of Tunisian Crochet. During this workshop a variation of this technique was taught, essentially it is crocheting over the knitting needle.

I had an ever widening grin, as this is a skill the crocheters use in all sorts of ways. This is a technique that has been used to cover clothes hangers, to create bracelets, to make rugs. It is a simple part of a crocheters skills, and here it has another use in the world of knitting.

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Pull the yarn overs around the item you want to crochet over.

The basic of this skill is to simply have a loop on your hook, and with the object you want to crochet over in front of the working yarn, you move your hook to yarn over and pull a loop over the item. At this point you can pull through the loop on your hook (a chain stitch) or yarn over and pull through both loops (a single crochet US, or double crochet UK).

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Crocheting over a canning jar ring, I have created a wreath ornament.

Recently I have used this technique to crochet over mason canning rings with green yarn, to create wreath ornaments for the holiday season.

Every skill we learn is an additional tool we have, to grow in all the arts.

Knitted Yarn that Allows Crochet Stitches to Shine!

ScannedImageLooking for something different to crochet with? Want something with a little stretch and great stitch definition? Well Red Heart Strata comes to mind.

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Single and Double Crochet in Red Heart Strata yarn, every part of the stitch is highlighted.

This 76% acrylic, 24% nylon…well for lack of a better term….yarn, can fit the build. Strata is actually a more like a knit fabric, but it is not any cut strips like some T-Shirt yarns, it is a knit tube around a soft fill. This tube filled with fluff, creates a “yarn” that has some body and does not lay flat on itself when used. As the encasing is knit in what appears to be the fashion of an I-cord, there is no seam, no fray edges, just a smooth round pliable material.

The stitch definition with Strata is very impressive. The unique structure of this “yarn” with the soft roundness of the strand allows parts of your stitches to become more visible in a sense, causing a different appearance with even every day stitches. By this I mean that even a fabric of just simple or double crochet will look like there is great texture. It allows every yarn over and every pull through an opportunity to stand out on their own, and almost seem separate from the overall body of the stitch. I think this gives crochet a fun opportunity, as with minimal effort you can get a fabric that has a textured feel.

This is definitely a “yarn” to be worked on large hooks and needles, as even through it feels like a more medium weight, it works up as a bulky. This allows for fast projects, however with the small yardage per ball, just 95yrds/86m, you may require more skeins that first imagined to complete a desired project.

I can easily envision household items with is “yarn”, like towels or trivets, potholders or mats, maybe even a nice bath robe or pool side cover up. With the overall tendency of this “yarn” to seem heavy, and stretch, I would caution garment construction in most cases.

Overall though an interesting “yarn” that can offer a lot to the imagination.