December! Time to enjoy my Craftvent CAL

So if you have been fortunate enough to receive a limited edition crochet Jimmy Beans Wool Craftvent for 2018, I thought I would share some tips and insight behind the design. Note: This kit sold out and is no longer available on their website, but it doesn’t hurt to call and see if one may be hiding in the back. (If you were unsuccessful obtaining one, read to the end and I will share some insights to making your own).

To begin with the shawl starts at a point and increase on one side until it becomes a large triangle. The first couple of rows might be the most challenging, especially since it is small and there is not much to hang on to.

The first row, essentially becomes a “V”, ensuring that all odd number rows will be worked in a “V st” pattern. The even number rows are simply double crochet stitches worked into all the stitches and spaces across.

To help you keep an accurate row count, the number of “V”’s will increase by 1 every time you work this row, while the double crochet row will always increase by 3 stitches. So if you had 3 “V” stitches in row 5, you will have 6 “V” stitches in Row 7, while if you had 10 double crochets in Row 6, then you will have 13 double crochet stitches in Row 8.

Also the increase are worked on the same side as the color changes, keeping all the pattern differences on one side of the work.

While this “V” stitch/double crochet row repeat makes up a vast portion of the design, the smaller rows of back loop single crochet stitches are always worked in pairs, and there are no increase worked in these rows. This little stitch pattern adds a great contrast in the fabric, not only visually but texturally too.

This entire kit is based upon the redesign of my Quest Shawl pattern, so if you were not able to get a Craftvent the closet to offer is the Quest Shawl pattern. The main difference in these designs is actually the color blocking. Quest has only 2 colors, while Craftvent features 8. If you want to purchase these yarns and thus make your own color blocking from the Quest Shawl, here are the yarns:

You can order a skein of each from Jimmy Beans Wool and create your own color blocking effect.

I will admit, I was so excited about this project that I purchased a kit myself, and am reworking the shawl again day by day in the calendar! You can follow along with my progress at my Facebook Page or Instagram.

Hope you enjoy this process as much as I am!

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.

Pechin is a New Classic- A Great Shawl

There are a couple of stitches that always seem to make their way into my work. I find that I create multiple projects using them, and still I never tire of working them. My latest design from Manos del Uruguay and Fairmount Fibers, Pechin, falls into this category.

This shawl is worked from the center of the neck outward, utilizing a simple chain and single crochet combination. I find that this stitch allows that yarn to really be the feature. It creates a light, airy fabric that embodies the yarn to go as far as it can. By this I mean that you can go a long way with just one skein. As an example, Pechin is only a 2 skein shawl (using Manos del Uruguay Milo), and a really good sized shawl at that.

For Pechin, I broke up the chain stitch pattern with bands of shells. This creates a visual break as well as a bit of dimension. The bands gradually space further apart in this design to help keep the flow balanced, and I feel it helps give a really classic look.

I have to admit, I could work this shawl over and over again. The stitch pattern has a nice rhythm, and just enough details, at just the right time, to keep it from getting boring. I also feel that it really has a beautiful balance between the design and the yarn, they feel at harmony with one another as neither over powers the other.

Okay, that might seem a bit wordy or dramatic, but what I mean is that it is a pattern/design in which you can appreciate both the yarn and the design at the same time. I have spoken in the past about how you select a yarn or pattern to bet let one or the other be a highlight, like not using a variegated yarn in a design that is heavily textured, as the yarn will win over the design (read more here). Pechin however, has a balance that allows the yarn to shine as well as the design, and this is true even if the yarn is variegated.

 

Perfect for the Chill- Shurs!

As winter is gripping part of North America and the arctic chill is setting in Manos del Uruguay released my latest pattern, which is perfect to keep warm! Shurs is a cowl that is just the right size, long enough to be wrapped twice for extra warmth and coverage, yet still short enough that wearing it unwrapped has a perfect amount of drape for a classic look.

It is worked in what I refer to as a “cross-hatch” pattern. So, cross-hatch is actually an artist term the is comprised of short strokes made usually by pencil or charcoal that then has short strokes crossing in the opposite direction to create the shading and depth of the drawing. Almost like little “x”s that create an image.

I have worked this cowl similarly, with each row crossing the opposite direction of the last. It allows for an interesting visual effect, as you can catch glimpses of the stitches behind each other, but it also adds in a nice amount of stretch.

In addition to the “crossed” appearance, the stitches begin to stack up and give a very diagonal look, without having any increasing or decreasing stitches being worked. Instead this is a simple 2 row repeat, so it is a design that you can work rather quickly and easily, even for a crocheter that may not be completely confident in their work.

It is worked in Manos del Uruguay Clara, a yarn that is 100% superwash merino (meaning that it is a wool that is treated so that it does not felt, or shrink, but has all the great properties of wool like warmth and durability). It is a hand dyed sport weight yarn, that has a nice amount of spring to it while still having a nice stable yarn.

So, consider a quick project to keep warm this cold season, Shurs I feel is a good choice for this project.

Photos courtesy Fairmount Fibers, Ltd.

Silk Blend- It Is My Weak Spot

I have to admit I have a weak spot for silk. This weak spot could have grown as a child, with the thought that silk was an ultimate luxury, something to glamorous and out of reach. Regardless, it still has a special place for me.

Manos del Uruguay has a nice yarn, Silk Blend, that the name alone attracts my attention. It is a single ply yarn that is made up of 70% merino extra fine and 30% silk. So merino extra fine, is essentially wool from the sheep breed Merino, and the extra fine notation indicated that the micron count is very high (micron count is the measurement of the diameter of individual fiber, the higher the number the smaller the micron count, the soft the fiber). This yarn does live up to the label, it is soft, a real joy to use.

Silk Blend www.lindadeancrochet.com

Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend yarn

The silk offers strength and a subtle sheen to the yarn. Silk is one of the strongest fibers available and like wool it holds warmth. Silk shares a lustrous quality that adds a warm radiance in the overall appearance, while using its strength to add integrity to this single ply. Even with the fibers being warm this yarn seems very breathable and I would be happy to work a light weight sweater in it.

The single ply of this yarn does give me a bit of a pause. Even though it has great stitch definition, really allowing the stitches to shine, it has a bit of a halo. It does not readily pill, but I think that after continuous use, or multiple times being ripped back, that it may become a bit unruly and not nearly as fun to use. So keep the project simple, and one that you feel comfortable with the stitches, and you will only notice the fine qualities of this yarn.

Each hank is 1.75oz/50grams, with a substantial 150yrd/135meters, easily making a beanie or fingerless mitts. I would feel comfortable with a few hanks to make up a nice scarf or wrap.