Berry for a Bit of Texture

Often it is just a subtle texture that can give a great effect on a fabric. This little stitch, which I refer to as a berry stitch, is quite effective in this regards.

This stitch is essentially a single crochet and a chain 3 loop. The chain 3 loop is worked between the stitches, then pushed to one side of the fabric. This enables the fabric to have a little more stretch, and a very gentle little “bump” of texture. The chain loops can also be worked between larger stitches, however the loose a bit of their “bump” effect as it basically squeezes the loop in the space between the tall stitches. The single crochet is a shorter stitch so the chain loop is pushed outward.

This chain loop can be worked between every stitch, as I did in my sample, it can be worked every few stitches. Working every stitch creates a row that reminds me of little pearls, but this stitch can be worked so that it would be a staggered bead of these little pearls instead of a row. These loops are typically worked in one row and the next row is worked without the loops. This results in a fabric that only has bumps on one side. There is nothing that forbids working this stitch on every row, I just find that in my purposes I prefer it only on one side.

I have used this stitch several times, often I use it in floor mats or the soles of slippers. I also find that I really like it in baby blankets. One of the things that I find nice with this stitch is that for slippers and mats, is that the extra stretch in the stitch gives it a very soft, fluffy, almost pillow like quality. That then is not only attractive to look at, but it is also very functional.

Learning More- Firelight Knit

Yes, sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. I have done this in many areas of life over the years, including designing, and my latest design is one such item.

The Firelight Knit Shawl was created upon request as a sister to the crochet version. Both utilize a yarn that has little stretch or body and adorned with beads. It seems pretty straight forward, I have translated Tunisian crochet to knit before fairly successfully, but I did not account for the beads.

Firelight Knit Shawl www.lindadeancrochet.com

Firelight Knit Shawl

I learned a lot, such as how much differently beads work in knitting. I thought it would be similar to crochet, in that you work a bead in a stitch and there it will stay. Crochet has a bit more securing properties in this manner, since it twists and turns in a stitch, whereas knitting is simply a loop. This loop can allow the beads to shift a bit more when being worked, or even when it is finished…so I had to learn some improvising skills and learn more about knitting then I had originally set out to do. However I am pleasantly surprised at how happy I am with the end result.

I had to change the stitch pattern a couple of times and adjust the needle size, but in the end I created a shawl with a spider webbing effect. The edges are not completely straight, as the beads near the edge tend to drag it down a bit, but I think that adds a bit of charm to it. I worked up the sample with 6/0 size beads, and this causes a bit more of the pulling out of shape. Worked with 8/0 beads the movement would be less.

Firelight Knit Shawl www.lindadeancrochet.com

Firelight Knit Shawl

What probably attracts me most is that it has a complete shimmer and a great drape. The flowing shape really highlights the wearer. It is subtle, not attention grabbing, but once it has your attention it keeps it.

Subtle Twist- Sets Lotus Apart

There are always subtleties that create a difference in yarn. One is something that is mostly taken for granted, the direction of the ply. This might seem like a moot point for a topic to discuss, as most all yarn is spun in a similar fashion, the individual strands are spun in a counter-clockwise direction, then plied together in a clockwise direction (this opposite direction of spinning creates the tension that makes a yarn stable). However, just because almost every yarn is spun in this manner does it make a difference if you spin in it reverse?

Essentially all yarn is spun in this method, sometimes referred to as “S” twist, I am not sure if there is any real particular reason for this except that it has been done that way. There are a couple of yarns available that are spun opposite of the “S twist”, meaning that the beginning strands are spun clockwise and then plied together counter clockwise, this is known as “Z” twist. Yarns spun this way will indicate this on their labels, as it is a subtlety that differentiates it from others.

Lotus from Designing Vashti www.lindadeancrochet.com

Lotus from Designing Vashti

So why consider a “Z twist”, there are those that find it reduces yarn splitting  for right handed crocheters, as the traditional method of crocheting the yarn overs can either add or subtract the twist in a yarn. As traditional yarn is spun with a clockwise finish, and right handed crochet yarn overs in a counterclockwise direction, twist can be taken out of a yarn causing it to split. So with “Z twist” being the opposite the right handed crocheter will add twist to the yarn.

Honestly, I have not noticed too much difference in my work between the twist directions, with the exception of yarns that are loosely plied together and thus unply, or split quite easily. However I do notice a bit of a visual difference in the way my stitches look, it is subtle, and if I wasn’t really paying attention I may not completely understand why it looks different. This difference is because of the lines that I see in the yarn due to the ply. The “Z twist” lines are in the opposite direction.

Now that I have told you more then you hoped to know about the direction of twist within yarn, there is a yarn that I find I quite enjoy that is a “Z twist”. Lotus by Designing Vashti is a 52% cotton, 48% rayon, fine weight yarn that is perfect for summer. I find that I create garments, wraps, shawls, and even hand backs out of this yarn. It has a nice drape, and I love the slight shimmer that the rayon gives it. For me it is this rayon that really allows me to see the “Z twist”. I have used this yarn several times and have found that it really “blooms” after being washing, meaning that it fluffs up and fills in the space between stitches.

The combination of cotton and rayon make it perfect for warm weather, that is probably I always tend to pick it up in Spring as I am getting ready for the warm weather of summer.

Crochet Hats De-Mystified

It is interesting that you completely forget how you felt about something before it became common place. Okay, that sentence could apply to many things in today’s day and age, however I was personally thinking of my crochet. A conversation I had with a student juggled a little something free in my mind about hats.

I find crocheting hats a pretty relaxing past time at this point in my life, enough so that the yarn I post about on Fridays … that swatch usually becomes a hat…but I didn’t always feel that way. Hats were intimidating to me, probably because the only crochet hats I had seen as a kid growing up were usually worked vertically with short rows. I had never really seen a top down, or even bottom up worked crochet hat, until probably college.

Top down hats start as a flat circle

That does make my crochet life sound a bit sheltered, maybe it was. I did teach myself after all and I primarily crocheted with “hand-me-down” yarn form other people’s stashes. I made doll clothes and scarves, but if it was something to be adorned or admired, I made afghans …hundreds of them.

Anyway, when I would contemplate working a hat, I was always befuddled by the dome shape, and having it actually fit. Little did I realize how easy it was to make, so easy that since I learned it I have never looked back. Essentially a top down crochet hat begins with a flat circle. Yes, a flat circle. This seems a little counterintuitive, but it works. Creating a flat circle simply requires adding the number of stitches worked in round 1 to be added evenly throughout all other rounds. Meaning if I begin the first round with 12 double crochets, then I add 12 double crochets evenly in each following round, so round 2 would have 24 double crochets, and round 3 would have 36 double crochets.

After the circle is worked to a point where the outer edge, the circumference, measures the circumference of the head (usually somewhere between 20” and 22” (51-56 cm) for a typical adult), then you quit working any increasing stitches and continue working even (a single stitch in every stitch around), until you have the hat the desired length.

Here is a really basic pattern for a hat, nothing fancy…

Using any yarn and a corresponding hook,

Rnd 1: Ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beg ch. (12 dc)

Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around, sl st to join. (24 dc)

Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next st, [2 dc in next st, dc in next st] around, sl st to join. (36 dc)

Note: Depending on your yarn and hook only continue working Rnds until circumference of hat is met with circumference of the circle, then work Body of Hat.

Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 2 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] around, sl st to join. (48 dc)

Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] around, sl st to join. (60 dc)

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 4 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts] around, sl st to join. (72 dc)

Rnd 7: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 5 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts] around, sl st to join. (84 dc)

Body of Hat

Ch 3, dc in each st around, sl st to join. Repeat this Rnd until hat is desired length.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make a few hats, and considering helping your local community by donating a few to your local homeless shelter.

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.