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.

Small Town, Small World, Big Punch in Fiber Arts

The world has ways of reminding me that it is much smaller then I think, and I have had friends recently make me think of my home town a bit differently. I grew up, currently live, and have long roots in the California gold country; a friend made a comment about living in such a historic place, and I admit I think I probably have taken that for granted. However the craziest thing isn’t how much my area has history, it is how often I learn about companies in the fiber industry that have roots here too.

 

As I was getting into the profession of crochet I began to pay a bit more attention to my surrounding in regards to other professionals. My local Fibers Guild (a groups of members that love all things yarn) I learned that there was a yarn company just a short distance from my kids school, Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks. I have worked with Lisa over the years to help create crochet designs in her beautiful yarns, as well as help work her show booth and visit various cities throughout the United States.

 

If only having a well-established yarn company in my town was enough, I also learned that a nationally recognized fiber spinning instructor and author, Lexi Boeger of Pluckyfluff, grew up in my community as well. Heck she was only a year ahead of me in high school, but my high school was large enough that I can honestly say that we did not run in the same circles. Her family owns a well-known local winery, and she has a studio just near the tasting room, that I have had the pleasure of teaching workshops at.

 

Those two connections should be more than enough, then I got into a conversation with a long time member of my Fiber Guild and when she learned where I lived she immediately assumed that I must know Lorna Miser, the creator and founder of Lorna’s Laces yarn. I did not know her, but the connection was made that as I was growing up she was starting the yarn company literally about 2 miles from my childhood home. There is even a colorway within the yarn company that features my street name, Bucks Bar. I did meet Lorna a few years later, and long after she had sold the business that is now housed in the Chicago, Illinois area, I was when working on some designs for a book that she was working on, and learned that she knew several members of my extended family. Even though up until very recently she and I only lived about thirty minutes apart, while she was starting up her latest yarn adventure, Zombie Yarns,  we would only cross paths at trade shows thousands of miles from home; but that is how it works out at times isn’t it? Never have lunch with a friend when you are in the everyday routine of home, but definitely make time when out of the ordinary grind.

 

So looking back over the connections above to my community, I thought that maybe there was something in the water or maybe every community as secret fiber artists dwelling in plain sight. Then I was at a trade show earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio when a friend and colleague escorted me over to check out a hook supplier. Honestly, I was tagging along a bit, my mind was already taking in the days discussions with various yarn companies when the gentleman, Chris Barnes, mentioned something about California. I mentioned I was from Placerville, that got him to look up, as he started he grew up there. Now I should mention that when traveling it is exciting to find someone that can pronounce the name of the town correctly (it is a short a sound), let alone know where it is without me drawing a map. We began chatting back and forth to find that we knew several of the same people and he was only two years ahead of me in high school and hung out with my cousin during his high school years. Apparently he had just taken over the business his father had started in my hometown, Brittany Needles. The company moved several years back to a little down on the northern coast that I enjoy vacationing at, Mendocino, but it started right here in my little gold rush town.

 

I know I have taken the local gold rush history for granted, but I did not realize that there was such a rich fiber arts history in the professional sense surrounding me. Honestly, since this last connection I am beginning to think I need to question the ladies at the Hangtown Fibers Guild more, as when I excitedly mention these new to me connections, they have already know everyone involved.  I wonder if there are any other industry connections hidden away in my back yard.

A Perfect Flair for Summer- Dare to Flair Toddlers Dress

I really enjoy when I have a design that looks fashionable and creative, and more difficult than it actually is to construct. The Dare to Flair Toddlers Dress fits this description. It can be found in the June 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, and dependent upon the size you make, uses no more than 2 skeins of Lisa Souza Dyeworks Hardtwist yarn.

This girls dress worked in Tunisian Simple stitch is comprised of strips, so you make only rectangles and triangles, these are put together with Reverse Single Crochet, to add an almost rope like edging between all the panels and the edging. I love how this dress allows even a relative beginner complete a project that shines like an advanced piece.

Dare to Flair Toddler Dress www.lindadeancrochet.com

Dare to Flair Toddler Dress Photo courtesy Prime Pulishing

The pattern is sized for a 2T through a girl size 8, and can easily be customized. Add length by making the rectangles longer, add width by making rectangles wider. You may need to make some adjustments on the triangles, but this will depend upon where you want the flair to begin, at the waist, at the thigh, maybe at the hip.

I enjoy the versatility that this dress has, and how it really allows variegated yarn to color pool in a way more like knitting. This design would also be fun worked in color blocks, meaning working different panels different colors and joined together.

www.lindadeancrochet.com

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

Whenever I design clothes for kids, I always try to make it something that they can be successful getting dressed in themselves. So the piece has not really front of back, hence no way to put it on backwards. If it gets turned inside out, the fabric on the inside is just as pretty as the outside. Pair it with legging, or length it for a full dress effect. Ever little girl will want to wear this dress.

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.

Love Me Some Cashmere- A Luxury Yarn

Cashmere has been a term that signifies luxury for a long time. I remember watching some 1980’s movies where the character wearing the fuzzy cashmere sweater was the rich either miss understood teen or self-centered antagonist. I always see it in my mind with the big hair of the decade, and thus have felt that it was a wealthy fiber well out of my realm.

Learning more about yarn and fibers I have found cashmere a bit of a misnomer, it is a fiber from the underbelly of a goat. What makes cashmere, well cashmere, is the micron count of the fiber has to be 19 or finer, with less than 3 percent by weight of fibers exceeding 30 microns. Basically it is very thin in diameter. The length of the fiber also must be at least 1.25 inches (3 centimeters) and meet a specific crimp structure (have a certain wavy pattern).

Lisa Souza Dyeworks Cashmere Sport

Some of qualities of this fiber are readily seen in Lisa Souza’s Cashmere Sport yarn. Cashmere holds its shape well yet is springy. It is very light weight, with a lovely drape, and is incredibly warm. One of the most noticeable feature is that light does not reflect from this yarn, it appears more like a velvet and absorbs the light. This may be one of the factors that gives it a luxury quality.

As the fibers are so fine it is extremely soft. This is definitely a yarn that I want to snuggle with. The Sport weight skein provided from Lisa Souza Dyeworks is available in a 2oz/200yrd put up, just enough for a set of fingerless mitts, a hat, or a scarf. (I have a free pattern featuring this yarn in a Tam here). This yarn has a soft stitch definition and thus any really heavily textured stitches might have a soft edge then you may be have with. It can easily support a lace design, and does not demand too much attention to itself, allowing your handwork to shine.

I still consider this fiber a bit of a luxury, even if you can find some wools with a finer quality fiber, and thus being softer then cashmere, cashmere has a certain halo about it that when added to the light absorption, just has a look and feel of something that is unlike anything else.