Titter Tat a Stitch that Breaks the Rules

There are times when you can come across a crochet stitch that breaks all the rules, for me the stitch I refer to as Titter Tat does just that. This stitch creates an open stretchy pattern whose stitches appear to be sideways, and you do not chain at the beginning of a row, you simply begin working your stitches.

I have used this stitch in the Wine Country Throw that is found in the October 2016 issue of Crochet World, it does have a bit of stretch, which can be deceiving when attempting to get a desired size, but I really love the affect.

Titter Tat Stitch www.lindareancrochet.com

Titter Tat Stitch

Begin with a chain that is a multiple of 4, then add 2 more chains. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook, [chain 4, skip 3 chains, single crochet in next chain] repeat everything in the brackets across, then turn. Do not chain anything, and simply work (2 double crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in all chain 4 loops across, and then turn your work. This can be a little awkward with the first stitch as it seems a bit distorted as it is pulled over, this is the correct approach as it will set the first stitches up the match the rest. All subsequent rows are worked the same, no beginning chain, working (2 double crochet, chain 3, single crochet) in all chain 3 spaces across. You work this until you have the desired length. This stitch can really benefit from blocking, but the type of yarn can influence how well this works.

The more formal written pattern looks like this:

Ch a multiple of 4 +2

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, [ch 4, sk 3, sc in next ch] across, turn.

Row 2: [(2dc, ch 3, sc) in ch-4 sp] across, turn.

Row 3-desired length: [(2dc, ch 3, sc in each ch-3 sp] across, turn.

You may want to add a solid border to the stitch to limit the stretch, but that is a personal choice. If you are seeking to practice this stitch and create a throw for charity you may want to consider your local foster youth programs. Often foster kids in any community have limited personal belongings, and upon during 18 are now legal adults with in many cases nothing to begin their own households. Foster youth programs try an ease this transition.

How To Impress the Judge & Get the Blue Ribbon

I have recently been asked to consider being a judge for fiber arts at a county fair in a community nearby. This would entail giving all entries within divisions and categories placement of at least first through third, and highlighting the best in shows. I am not sure how this offer might play out and if I will actually participate or not, but it did get me thinking. It is nearing the season of fairs and country competitions, and there are a couple of things that help a piece really stand out and become the grand prize.

The biggest thing that sets one knit or crocheted item apart for the rest is the finish work. Each piece obviously has had hours of work placed in creating the stitches and putting the colors together; so the pieces that demonstrate the extra time worked in weaving in ends, in blocking, in finishing and edge creating take the edge.

A judge should leave personal opinions aside, the colors you choose or the pattern you decide upon should not be a determining factor. The judging should be comprised of the skill and execution of your work itself. That is why these final touches makes such a difference.

Another factor that curries favor in judging is taking the skill to another level. This could be adding bead work to your shawl, or adding buttons to your wrap. Taking a little extra to ensure that all your fine craft work does not just blend in, but stands out. Sometimes this is created in the yarn selection for your project. In just a simple shawl yarn choice can make a great difference, such as in the drape. A yarn with a lot of spring or bounce, such as a merino, will drape differently than a yarn that has no memory, like a silk or an alpaca. This can create a shawl that has a stand out personality, and possibly make it a winner.

Ultimately, I advise anyone and everyone to enter some type of competition if you ultimately want to improve your work. The best judges often provide feedback on your work, constructive criticism. If your competition allows for judging that is open to the public, attend. This is a tremendous opportunity to gain extra insight in your work and learn how you can take your work to the next level. Even hearing commentary on the work of others will help in the growth of knowledge of your own work.

A Subtle Pattern Hit, the Subtle Diamonds Throw

There are times that I undertake a project and later wonder what I was thinking. Sometimes this is because I have bitten off more than I can chew, maybe I hadn’t thought my plan through enough, or maybe my timetable really will not allow for what I think it would. Yet with some perseverance it all comes out in the end. So when I took on the challenge of the Subtle Diamonds Throw I should have already been aware of my own pitfalls, but I jumped in anyway.

The challenge of Subtle Diamonds was really of my own creating, as it was designed as a challenge, could I create an afghan from a few skeins of hand dyed yarns. Some may think this really isn’t a challenge, yarn is yarn, and you are making a blanket…that seems pretty straight forward. However using hand dyed yarns can create a bit more thought in the designing.

Subtle Diamonds Throw Photo courtesy Ancient Arts Yarn

Some may not realize it but one of the thoughts that goes into a design for a pattern is if it would be cost prohibitive. By this I mean, if I designed a pattern that took 25 skeins of a $10 per skein yarn, would anyone realistically spend $250 in materials to make it? Probably not, especially if it was something pretty basic. This thought comes into play not only with the designer but with publishers and yarn manufactures. So working with hand dyed keeps this price pointing in your mind to find the most cost effective way to create.

So with Subtle Diamonds I was limited on the amount of yarn, using only 2 skeins of each color this throw can easily be made into a 48”x48” (122x122cm) throw, adding 1 more skein of 2 colors and it can become a 54”x48” (137x122cm). Then I wanted to ensure that the fabric was appropriate and would keep you warm, as well as the stitch pattern being interesting. Utilizing post stitches a staggered diamond pattern is created while helping the colors visually blend and harmonize together. This design as a result took a bit more planning and I am pretty happy with the way it finally came out.

Subtle Diamonds Throw Photo courtesy Ancient Arts Yarn

I teamed up with Ancient Arts Yarn to bring this design to you, they loved the idea of the challenge and added a bit of a twist to the process by requesting that the design have a modern, contemporary feel. I will in no way claim to be an expert in meeting, understanding, or designing to specific “type” or “style”, but apparently I came close since they liked it.

This challenge did help me grow as a designer, as all challenges do in general. It sharpens your senses and helps you to focus.

Simple Bars are a Great Texture- Crochet for a Difference

Sometimes it is just the simple alteration of stitches that can create a texture that can have a purpose. Simple Bars, as I am calling it, has a great textural appeal, with little work. The texture has a nice visual appear but in some applications can have a very practical purpose as well.

Essentially this is just alternating front and back post double crochet stiches, to begin you create an even number of chains. Double crochet in the fourth chain from the hook and in each stitch across. Chain 3 and turn your work, in the next stitch work a front post double crochet, and in the next stitch work a back post double crochet. Repeat alternating front and back post double crochets across the row, work a double crochet in the last stitch Then chain 3, turn and repeat the same stitch pattern. It really is that easy.

Simple Bars www.lindadeancrochet.com

Simple Bars

Here is the traditionally written method:

Chain an even number

Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, *fpdc in next st, bpdc in next st; rep from * across, dc in last st, turn.

Row 3-desired length: Repeat Row 2

This Simple Bars creates enough texture that when worked up in cotton can make great dish clothes. I would use a heavier weight cotton, not a thread, something like a light or medium weight yarn. The reason cotton is a choice it that it will not melt under high heats like acrylic, and holds water really well.

Not everywhere that crochet can make a difference is readily apparent. The simple kitchen in our community can easily be overlooked, but really make a small difference. Everyday throughout every community there is a hot meal being made and served to people in need. In some cases these are traditional soup kitchens with volunteers serving food donations to people in need, in others they are community halls that host community pot lucks, where everyone in attendance brings a dish to share. Some communities find these in churches, some in schools, but crochet can be donated here in the way of pot holders and dish clothes. Consider making a few for your community kitchens, sometimes it is the little things that can make all the difference.

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.