Excursion Wrap! This Is A Show Stopper!

I love when a design comes out like I was hoping! Excursion Wrap came out just as I envisioned, okay, better than I could have hoped. I saw this design in my mind as soon as I laid hands on the yarn, it just came to me and I had to find a way to get it worked up in the stitches.

Excursion Wrap

That is not to say that it came out perfectly in just one try, I ripped things back several times. I played with some different combinations of stitches and color sequins before finally landing on the perfection, and the difficulty of using multiple color rows and designing like this is when ripping back I end up with many more ends to weave in….some right in the middle of rows, as I ensure the use of all the yarn.

The wrap is worked in 2 contrasting colors, which offer a bold definition of the design. The yarn is Silk Baby Camel by Lisa Souza Dyeworks, and is lusciously yummy! It is soft, but with nice structure, making it a dream to work with. Being that the pattern only takes 2 skeins, it is manageable in both crocheting and in cost.

The lacy ripple pattern is worked as a 3 row repeat, so it is simple to memorize yet keeps the pattern engaging. So you can work the stitch pattern successfully without getting bored with it.

The color sequencing is what really brings this design to life, it demands the eye to transverse the entire piece and then to look again. The altering of the stitch pattern and the colors offers a cascading effect of interest that will definitely have you garnering praise.

This wrap is a show stopper, one that makes people stop and admire your handiwork. I already have plans to work up this design a couple of more times….once is just not enough!

Get your pattern here!

 

Gotta Love that Shawl- Free Pattern

Since I have been playing around with some stitches, and attempting to finish some yarn in my stash, I have a free pattern to share. Gotta Love that Wrap is worked entirely of Love Knots! If you are not familiar with the stitch I have a tutorial here.

I love how you can use this pattern really with any yarn, although I prefer it with lighter weight yarns. The Wrap in phots here was actually worked up in Plymouth Yarns Linaza, which is 50% alpaca, 25% linen and 25% Tencel, so it really hold the shape of the knot.

The benefit of this yarn is that it really allows the yarn to go along way, the yarn I used was 100g/440yards, and as you can see it made for a wide and long wrap. So feel free to pull something out of your stash and give it a try, or purchase that one skein in a color you love.

This design is actually only a 2 row repeat, so it is pretty simple and relaxing to work. I would recommend that you place a stitch marker somewhere along row 1, to note it as the bottom edge. As the fabric is worked along and becomes squarer, it can be difficult to discern which way the rows are being worked.

The pattern is essentially creating the points of triangles in each even row, the closing it off to a straight edge every odd row, and when the pattern states to slip stitch in the knot, the knot is recognized as the most closed point of the stitch (where is was finished).

Gotta Love that Shawl

Materials:

  • One skein of any yarn, light weight preferred. The longer the yardage the longer the wrap
  • Hook size compatible for yarn weight

Gauge: Gauge is not critical for this project.

Special Stitches

Love Knot: See here

Abbreviations:

Rep=repeat

Sl st= slip stitch

Row 1: 18 Love knots, turn.

Row 2: Skip first knot, sl st in 2nd knot, [2 love knots, sl st in next knot] rep 15 times, turn.

Row 3: 2 love knots, sl st in next knot, [1 love knot, sl st in next knot] rep 15 times, turn.

Row 4: 2 love knots, sl st in next knot, [2 love knots, sl st in next knot} rep 15 times, turn.

Rep Rows 3 & 4 until desired length.

Last Row: Rep Row 3, fasten off. Weave in ends, block as desired.

The Quest Shawl- A Stunning Design

Check out my fun new design, the Quest Shawl!

This asymmetrical shawl, is one that I envisioned after meeting the yarn creator Sabrina of Anzula Yarns. Sabrina exudes a great energy, and that really comes out in all the fabulous colors of her yarn. It really is an inspiration for me, and I have a couple more designs in the works as I speak (I hope to share them soon).

Quest Shawl

So, Quest Shawl is worked from a point with subtle increases working outward to form a triangle, in a pattern of lace stitches and textural stitches. This stitch difference is played with a contrasting color change and you have some very dramatic effects. It has a simple stitch pattern repeat, yet enough focus to keep the pattern entertaining.

The long dimensions of this shawl, a staggering 77”x45” (196×114 cm), it can lend itself to multiple ways to wear it, as well as offer a balanced feel. It was pointed out to me that this shawl actually manages to have enough length that when wearing it that the narrow point drapes evenly with a point on the opposite side. This may not seem like much, but I have noticed that smaller shawls of this type, almost feel like the narrow point can be a bit of a tail.

The yarn is Haiku, a light weight 70% Superwash Merino/20% Bamboo/10 % nylon yarn, which is really soft and luscious. I really love how it drapes, and the feel in the hand.

I have found that when I wear this shawl, that I get stopped with compliments. I usually pair it over a black dress, but even over a pair of jeans and simple top this shawl offers a look that is hard to forget.

Get your show stopper and have fun creating your own stunning look (find the pattern here).

 

 

Creating Love Knots

As summer approaches my design mind begins to drift toward stitches that are light and airy. With the change of season coming upon my region I have found myself playing with a classic crochet stitch referred to as a Love Knot (it is also recognized as a Solomon Knot).

This is a really airy stitch that highlights yarn in a very unique way. Yarn really has an opportunity to show its true nature be it springy or limp, squishy or firm, heavy or light. One of the things I really love about this stitch is how it really allows you to “stretch” the usage of the yarn, it is really easy to create an entire wrap (of a substantial size) with a mere 400 yards of light weight yarn. It feels like the yarn could go on forever.

Working the stitch might at first seem a bit cumbersome, but really you are essentially securing loose chain stitches.

To create a Love or Solomon’s Knot you simply pull a loop through the stitch you have just completed, pull it up to a height you feel comfortable with repeating, I find I usually pull up a loop of about 1” (2.5cm) in height. Now yarn over and pull through the loop, just as if creating a chain stitch, I try to pinch the base of the “pull through” so that I can distinguish the yarn being pulled through the loop.

You then insert your hook between the “loop” and the “Pull Through”, yarn over and pull through a loop, you now have 2 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull through both loops. This process is essentially creating a single crochet (a double crochet in UK) in the space between the “loop” and “pull through” of the long chain. This completes the stitch.

You repeat the process of these long chains with single crochets worked between the loop and pull through for as long as you want to work this stitch. This process creates a long chain, so create a fabric you have to work these stitches over themselves.

To work into a second row of the Love or Solomon Knot, after a knot is created, a stitch (a single (UK double) crochet is most common, but any stitch can really be worked) is then worked into the closing “single crochet” of another knot. Various patterns offer different approaches of when and what stitch to work into, but this is the basic process.

I find myself playing with technique lately, hoping to share something with you soon.

 

Life’s Journey- A Crochet Job

As I attend several graduations I ponder my days of completing high school and where I thought my life would go, and if someone told me that I would be designing and teaching crochet I seriously would have laughed at them. I even remember telling a friend my senior year of high school, after he was in awe of an afghan I had created that I should make and sell them for a living, that there was no money in such an endeavor.

Granted all these years later, I will not say that the money in crochet is great, but it is now my profession, even if it took an odd journey to get there.

Like most students graduating high school, or even college, I was never able to answer the question “where do you see yourself in five years?”. A great question, but one that always felt like I could not adequately answer.

I worked the food industry, I worked retail, I worked for startup companies and local government before finding myself currently in crochet. In reality I would probably still be working local government if there was not a change in the direction of the management that no longer wanted to employ part time workers. I had been working part time for a few years juggling the typical family demands of running a household and raising kids, and the costs that I would incur in the additional child care did not justify working full time.

When these management decision were made, I was fortunate to have already had an opportunity to sell my first crochet design. It began just a couple of years earlier, when I was attending an event with a silent auction and I won lessons on using a drop spindle.

I had already been crocheting for decades, but due to the speed of completing my projects I was wanting to find a way to enjoy the process longer, so learning how to make yarn on a drop spindle was an exciting adventure. During the lessons my instructor was telling me all about her local guild, and invited me to attend a meeting.

I admit I was a bit apprehensive, but after finally taking her up on her invitation, I met so many interesting people that fostered a new desire to learn and grow in all crafts related to fiber.

I then learned of the Crochet Guild of America, and that it had a Masters program. I decided to test my skills in this program, of which I graduated. I was then invited to attend the annual conference of this organization, with the encouragement of my family I attended. I met so many people and gained so much insight. With a determined new friend’s guidance I sold my first design, it was published the same week I left my job in government.

You never really know when life can completely change, you never know when a skill you used as a child will now become your income source. I do not know “where I will be in five years”, but I will continue to support the twists on turns of life’s journey.