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.

A Throw of Garden Tendrils, the Ivy on the Fence

ScannedImageThere is something about taking a simple skill, like making a crochet chain, and using it in a way that you hadn’t conceived of in the past to make you smile. That is how I feel about my latest design Tendrils Throw, in the Summer 2016 issue of Love of Crochet magazine.

Tendrils-Throw-Crochet-Pattern

Tendril Throw Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet/ Julia Vandenoever

The throw is worked with large open, airy, and join-as-you-go motifs, which look delicate, but really hold its structure together quite well.

This motif was a resulting of playing. It was a while back, but I was working with chain loops, and I was experimenting with the effect that was made by twisting these loops to work the stitches. It might not seem like this simple concept should actually do much, and if it is worked without subsequent rounds it can just make things feel, well twisted. However it creates neat negative spaces, and actually makes the open work feel a little heartier without adding bulk.

Tendrils-Throw-Afghan-All

Tendrils Throw Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet/ Julia Vandenoever

Overall the inspiration was taken from ivy that was climbing on a wrought-iron fence, I think that the shells and picots that make up the solid spaces of this resemble leaves, while the chain loops form the iron work of support.

The pattern creates a throw that is large enough to cover a twin size bed, and if placed over a solid bed cover can be reminiscent of the heritage thread bedspreads, it can also add a bit of whimsy and feminine touch to a garden space.

I like how it ultimately came together, I hope you enjoy it too.

Love & Leche Give Away!

ScannedImageI have tended to notice in recent years, just how much my hands dry out over the course of a day. Granted it may not actually be anything new, but having your hands in yarn all day and dry skin can become a little obvious.

To begin with those fuzzy yarns, like mohair and the like, tend to find areas to snag upon. There is something a little telling about moving your hand and having your yarn follow you when you were not expecting it to. DSCF1109

At a recent trade show I had an opportunity to check out a lovely lotion bar, Love & Leche (formerly as Milk & Honey). Now I will admit, lotion in a bar is not something that I grew up with. I am completely use to lotion in a tube, lotion in a pump, bars that was for soap. However the combination of placing lotion in a bar provides something unique. With traditional lotions I am always attempting to find one that does not feel greasy, that absorbed quickly, and actually felt like it was doing something. This is a tall order, but as a bar this lotion seems to do everything.

The lotion comes in a nice little tin, and comes in a wide selection of scents that offer aromas from soothing to refreshing. The primary ingredient is beeswax, followed with coconut oil, almond oil and essential oils. These elements of nature come together to make a very nice, soothing, product that I recommend for soft feeling skin.

I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity for one lucky individual to try it for themselves. I have a Limited Edition Citrus-Rose Valentine’s Lotion Bar, with a generous size of 2.5oz, a heart emblem, in a tin. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post about some of your favorite things to use on your skin by midnight PST on February 9, 2016. One comment will be chosen at random the following day.

Check out Love & Leche for yourself, they are offering the Limited Edition Valentine’s Bar until the end of February, so you might find something for that special someone.

 

 

Unexpected Journeys- A Little Like Life

ScannedImageThe interesting thing about ideas is that you never know when they are needed, or used. My latest released design, Holiday Sequins Sweater, reminds me of that, its journey was an awkward one, but now it sits on the cover of the Winter 2015 issue of Love of Crochet. I may not have even known that it graced the pages, let alone the cover had it not been brought to my attention by a very compassionate and supportive designer, Marly Bird. She had noticed it, took a picture of the cover and tag me in a Facebook post.

IMG_20151201_172418778The idea for this sweater came to me nearly four years ago as I was swatching with a yarn, which I believe has been since discontinued. I was inspired by a top that my sister had given me that had this cowl type neck, but I was never happy with how it only came to my waist line, it felt to short. I created a sketch to accompany the swatch of a simple texture, and sent it to various publishers, none of which were interested. As the seasons changed I would send it to a couple of other publishers, but it never found the right fit, until I answered a call for designs for a new book that Lorna Miser was putting together.

At the time, I had never met Lorna, yet I had heard about her as a local legend. She is the original founder of Lorna’s Lace Yarn, and actually began the business just a couple of miles from me as I was growing up. Of course I had no knowledge of this at the time, or frankly the interest, but as I grew older and even began working in the crochet/yarn industry, people would notice my street address and ask if I knew Lorna. That is just how small the world can be, she began the business and grew it for several years literally just down the street from me.

She has since sold the business and is focused on designing, and was putting together a new crochet book, one in which this sweater made to cut for, so the sample was made and the pattern written. The book never made it to fruition, but the design found its way to Love of Crochet, where unbeknown to me it landed on the cover. When the design was conceived I really thought that it was great, but then it was constantly rejected, then I thought it had found its way into an actual hard copy book, to learn that things had shifted once again. It was then possible that it may make it to the light of day, only to then dance upon the cover.

This seemingly long journey, which had a couple of twists and turns, just to have a pattern for a sweater, reminds me a little of how things ultimately go in life. You think you are on one path then all of the sudden you are on another and you end up in places that you may not have expected. So as I begin the time of year that has me usually reflecting on the past, looking at where things were a year or two earlier this design will remind me that you never know where the journey might take you.

A Thankful Pledge

ScannedImageI know that this is the time of year that many reflect on what they are thankful for, yet it is something that I try and remember every day. It is easy to sit down and make a list of things that you are grateful for, a time to not overlook the things we take for granted. However once a year doesn’t seem to truly make a difference in my life, I try to take stock a little more often.

Now I will not say that I have a gratitude book that I write in daily or anything, but I do focus on the simple things in life, I do not necessarily remember to tell those that make a difference in my life how much I appreciate them, but I reflect upon it…often. I think that this may be caused by my early realization of my morality. I remember growing up attending a funeral annually, sometimes more than that, and the deceased were always a variety of ages with deaths for a variety of reasons. I guess it set a foundation in me not to completely overlook the daily interactions.

I never part ways with my family without saying “I love you”, even if it is a quick run to the convenience store. I apologize when I lose my temper, even when I think I am right. I do my best to listen to all they have to say, even when my mind is racing with my “to do list”. I try and remind them that they are important to me with the simple actions in life.

With this season where everyone is listing that they are thankful for health, home, and comfort, I am thankful for these now and the everyday, and I pledge to keep the thankfulness alive daily. I only wish I could find a way to express my gratitude to those that I do not interact with daily…so maybe this is a good time to say thank you for your support in my crochet journey, it keeps me going, it inspires me, and it is so very appreciated. My wish for you is that you recognize your blessings and understand their value in your life daily.