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.

Ideas for the Crocheter on your Gift Giving List

ScannedImageSo this is the time of giving. I often feel a little overwhelmed with feeling obligated to purchase gifts. Often the people in my life really do not need anything, and choosing a “special”, “you probably wouldn’t buy it for yourself, but you will love it gifts” are feel daunting to find. So I thought I would offer a little help in purchasing for that favorite crocheter.

I know the people in my life feel that they cannot purchase anything for my craft as they don’t know as much about as I do, and they think I probably already have everything I want or need, but I have been surprised over the last year from friends that have given me crochet gifts that I find really impressive. So here is what as impressed me, and hopefully will help you shop for that favorite crocheter, even if that is yourself.

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My beautiful set of Tulip hooks. Everything I need all in one place .

An actual set of hooks. This sounds a little odd, since I have been crocheting for over years, I should have hooks…and I do, but receiving them in a case where they all match and are coordinated, that is something special. I received a set of Tulip hooks, I had never really used Tulip hooks before, but I will admit I was pleasantly surprised. The set included 10 hooks ranging from 2mm- 6mm (they did not have the standard US letters, but as most every pattern now lists that millimeters of the hook within the pattern, it does not really affect the usage). The handles on each were ergonomically correct with cushioned handles, which are pleasant, and there is absolutely no weird plastic smell that I have noticed with some other plastic handles (there is nothing worse than having your hands smell odd after you have been crocheting). The set also came in a nice case, which also had yarn needles and small scissors, so it included everything I need to take a project on the go. The hooks are not going anywhere and it looks a lot better than the zip lock bag I use to carry things in. The price can look a little overwhelming at a first glance, but there are other size kits and sets, so prices can vary, but when you figure that a good -crochet hook alone can cost between $7-12 US dollars, purchasing a full set can give a price break on the overall cost of the hooks, and then give some added bonuses. (You can check out some Tulip sets, including the one I have here)

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My “paint it yourself” Yarn Bowl gift. Fun, practical, and keeps memories alive.

Another gift I received this year was a yarn bowl. I had never had one before, and then I received two as gifts this year. I find that I use them all the time now. One was actually part of an additional gift from a “paint it yourself” Ceramic store, where the gift included me getting the opportunity to paint it and have it fired. This was a fun gift that brings extra memories to heart when I use it. The second is a ceramic bowl that is handmade and fired with a beautiful lustered sheen. Now, I know that it might sound odd that I use two yarn bowls now, but it is an easy way to keep multiple projected contained and organized, and looks beautiful. (Find your own handmade and fired yarn bowl here) 

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Yarn is always a great gift for crochet lovers, especially if it is something that they do not usually purchase for themselves.

Other lovely gifts can easily include good yarn. I know that it can seem difficult to purchase yarn, especially if you do not usually use it yourself, but if you visit a local yarn store the staff can usually address any questions you have and steer you to something in your price range and give you an idea about quantities needed. You should not really worry about how much yarn you purchase for a gift, as there are websites that can easily assist the recipient to patterns and ideas for the yarn. One such website is Ravelry.com. The recipient can simply do a search for patterns using the yarn and the quantity, so any yarn, in any amount is a great thing! (You can not find either of these in your local yarn store, but find some beautiful natural fiber, hand dyed yarn with Lisa Souza here, or if you like some beautiful cottons or Jelly Yarn check out Designing Vashti here)

Speaking of Ravelry, you can actually purchase patterns as a gift and have them downloaded to the receipts account or email. Selecting a pattern for someone can also seem like a challenge, but if you have seen that things that they currently create, be it afghans, hats, scarves, toys, garments, etc. you have a point to start from. You can search patterns and books similar to what they currently work and choose things that you feel fits their style. I guarantee that none of these go to waste. Even if the recipient never actually works that pattern you gave them, it does give them a new level of inspiration, a new idea, which you have shared with them. (Check out my pattern store on Ravelry here)

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Crocheting with beads is a nice addition to a crochet project that many stitchers do not think about, thus making beads a nice gift.

Some gifts that are completely unexpected are beads. I know this can sound a little off base since I am discussing crochet gifts, but beads can bring a new challenge and help the recipient undertake a new approach to their skill. There are several ways to incorporate beads into crochet projects, and it offers a little something extra, and many crocheters never take the time to go bead hunting for themselves, so it make a great gift. (Here is a link to great online provided)

I would be remised if I did not mention that you could give the gift of membership with the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). This organization promotes all things crochet and the recipient would receive a subscription to Crochet! Magazine with the membership, as well as discounts to conferences, opportunities educational programs such as the Master’s Program, as well as explore the various ways that they can utilize crochet as a possible career, it really can be a gift that keeps on giving. (See what CGOA has to offer here)

So, if you have a crocheter in your life (they use one hook with yarn, not two needles, in case you were not sure which craft you were dealing with), I hope this gives you a couple of ideas for things that your crocheter really will use, and enjoy, even if they never realized for themselves.