Two New Patterns for Autumn- Half Price!

Looking back it seems like I always find myself in this place every year…Autumn. The time of year that apparently has the calendar skipping weeks on me, as I really do not know where the time has gone, while making me feel like there is a ton of things I need to get done in a short span of time. I guess it leaves me overwhelmed, exhausted, and feeling like I have many unmet responsibilities.

So in all this I guess I should be really thankful that I have managed to release not just one, but two new patterns!

Lisa Souza Dyeworks is releasing a few new yarns, and being a designer means that I can sometimes get my hands on this yarn early to create some new ideas. As was the case with Nyam (a Superfine Merino and Cashmere fine weight yarn) and Pyrenees Bulky (a 100% Organic Merino yarn) I was able to create a 1 skein project that is perfect for the holidays.

Nyam lent itself particularly well to my new pattern, Contextual Shawl. This shawl is a simple one row repeat that can really flatter almost any yarn, of any weight, of any size, any fiber content. The size can easily be adjusted to make it larger or smaller, and yet to look at it the pattern is not readily apparent. It works up fast and can be used as a project on the go. I can see this in so many different colors and styles that the possibilities are endless.

Matrix Hooded Cowl worked up great in Pyrenees Bulky. I have not made a lot of cowls in the past, but I can see the appeal. This cowl is again a one skein project that is nice and wide, and the perfect size in my opinion to warm the neck and offer protection form the cold as a hood. The pattern actually has a mirroring quality to it, as halfway across the row you work the mirror image of the beginning. It is a 4 row repeat that has a bit of fun with stacked shapes. Don’t let the open spaces fool you, paired with this yarn it is quite warm, making it tighter might just make it unwearable.

As a special offer to you, as a reader, please enjoy 50% off either of these patterns at my Ravelry Store for the next month (They will be only $2.00 then on November 30 the price resets to its original $4.00). Enjoy your quick paced autumn season.

Links:

Ravelry Store

Contextual Shawl

Matrix Hooded Cowl

Some Stand Up Rayon

ScannedImageThere are many different fibers that can make up a yarn, and they all offer a different quality.  I find that some rayon yarns offer a really interesting texture and drape to my fabric.

I picked up a couple of skeins of Interlacements Rick Rack yarn a few years back. I originally made a skirt for myself, but the skeins have such great yardage that I still have enough yarn to create more.

0527161810

Interlacement Rick Rack yarn in color Irish Heather

The yarn is not smooth, but instead has reminds me of well rick rack, as it has a wavy characteristic. As a result the fabric it creates has an appearance that reminds me of chenille, as it is plush and the light seems to be absorbed. So I do not think I will utilize this yarn for heavily textured stitch work, such as popcorns or cables. The properties of the rayon content does cause this fabric to grow a bit, as I have discovered with skirt. I feel that working stitches on the diagonal help keep it in shape, but the rayon lends itself to great drape. Reflecting on it, the wavy rick rack of the yarn probably helps this yarn keep it shape better than most rayon yarns, yet keeping the cool to the touch, silky quality that rayon is known for.

I would caution against working this yarn in open and lacy stitches, as the color changes can tend to distract from the open work, but it seems to sing when worked in just simple stitch patterns. I offend want to over think designs and come up with something I have never tried before, but this yarn is not one that I afford this option, as it I prefer it as simple is better.

Overall I have been impressed with the way the yarn has held up over time. I made the skirt 5 years ago and it still looks good. It still drapes well, the color is good, and is still feels silky.

Simple Changes and What They Can Create

ScannedImageI always enjoy how a simple change can make quite an affect.

M22162_Refractions_300

Refractions Tunisian Wrap Photo courtesy of Annie’s

I find this to be true with one of my latest designs to be released, Refractions Tunisian Wrap, found in the Spring 2016 issue of Crochet! Magazine. This wrap only has 2 stitches and works short rows. That is it. Yet the effect it has is stunning. A definite eye catcher.

The difference in the stitch types really allows the yarn to shine. This is because of the way the yarn gets taken up in each stitch. So, even though I used the same yarn, the looks in the different triangles is very different, almost causing the yarn to work a double a duty in a way, by having a different “pooling” pattern.

Color pooling is when colors in a variegated yarn stack up upon one another in certain ways, and this wrap creates two very different appearances in this. One triangle has long color stripes, the other almost square blocks of color.

129037The other obvious difference in the triangles it that one seems solid, while the other is lacy. So not only do you have a differing color effect, you have a differing textural effect, without changing anything but the stitch!

One of the secretly great things about the way the triangles come together is that it just easily wraps around the neck, and hugs the shoulders. There is no slipping or falling off, it stays in place.

Okay, in case you may not have realized it, I enjoyed working this pattern. I hope you do too.

 

Sometimes It Is the Basics That Make All the Difference

ScannedImageIt is interesting how sometimes you overlook the simple. I always think of it as a challenge to see if there is a new way I can use a crochet hook; create a new approach to an old technique or combine pieces of several different techniques to create something different. However, sometimes it is just a simple chain stitch that can make the difference.

IMG_7297.1

Crossroad Leaves Shawl

Everyone that has used a hook has created a chain. It is the foundation to the beginning of almost every piece of fabric that a crocheter creates, but can it create a fabric its self? Of course it can.

In my latest design, I basically stumbled upon using the chain in this manner. I was using a lovely yarn, which had a very pretty, yet short color repeat. I wanted to get an effect of color pooling, or at least spans of the same color. Most crochet stitches were unable to aid me in creating this effect, as each stitch would use enough yarn to have more than one color in a stitch. Tunisian crochet allows for the color to work this way more, but I wanted a fabric that was a little more fluid. So I began to play.

Sometimes when I am attending an event of one of my children, I bring along a yarn that has no particular project and play with various stitches as a visit with other parents or cheer my child on. This was the case with this design. My fingers almost mindlessly began creating chains stacked upon chains, and I was really drawn to the result, from it Crossroad Leaves Shawl was born.

IMG_7280.1This shawl is worked from the center outward with a simple stitch repeat for the main fabric, and has two bands of my rendition of leaves, and edged with smaller “leaves”. Overall it has a beautiful drape, and feels great in the hand. It is actually a one skein project, using Lisa Souza Dyeworks Baby Alpaca Silk Petite, the color way is a limited edition (Rhinebeck 2015), but the color way of Deep Fall, Fall Leaves, or Leaf Pile easily can fit the bill for an almost exact replica. However there are so many beautiful colors available and this pattern would easily highlight any colors that may have a short repeat.

IMG_7300 - Copy.1

Crossroad Leaves Shawl

The creation of this design does have me reviewing some stitches I may have overlooked (this particular stitch is already destined for another design), and opening my thoughts to some of the simple structure that is the back bone of crochet.

If you would like to add this pattern to your collection, you can find it on Ravelry & Craftsy.

Realizing I Have Something, That Has Probably Always Been There

ScannedImageThis time of year has always been a time of reflection and re-connection, almost a little melancholy for me, and this year is no different.

I had an epiphany recently about my designing. In the past I would have probably laughed if you would have considered me a “designer”. I would never consider myself as “fashion forward” or anything like that. My personal style is pretty simple and definitely reflective of northern California, meaning my wardrobe primarily consists of jeans, T-shirts and flip flops. However undertaking another home improvement project really helped me to focus and realize that I do have a style, I may not have a word to define it, but it is there.

Paintbrush with Blue PaintFor the last decade, my husband and I have taken on various projects of home improvement on our 1920’s farm house. Last week, I tore everything out of the kitchen (yes, a little ambitious just before having people over for the holidays, no one ever accused me of being sane). While getting my “kitchen vision” on track I realized that I approach my crochet designs in much the same way…I need a starting point. I need something to expand from, my ideas do not come from a void, and they need to grow around an inspiration. In the case of my kitchen it is my new sink. I was unable to refinish the sink that I already had, and after some hunting found a great deal on a copper one, and everything else has expanded from that…the counters, the colors, the style, everything from the sink. In past projects the most difficult undertaking I had was re-installing a bathroom, it was a blank slate and I remember how I felt completely overwhelmed with the project, until I finally found a small piece of tile that became my “jumping off point”.

In comparison to my crochet designs, the same thing is true. I need a point of inspiration. Some of those are as simple as a challenge. Such as “What can I create with just this single skein?” or randomly reaching into a bag of yarn and then having to create something with what I pull out. Some inspirations come from architectural designs (believe it or not, I find a lot of ideas from The Old House), or even hotel carpets. The common point that they all have is a point to begin.

I guess I have been designing for much longer then I might have realized, it is just my style seems so everyday to me that I just take it for granted. It is simple, and clean, I attempt for balanced visually not necessarily symmetrically. It is, I hope, a little classic, and not trendy and date-able. It is warm and not afraid of color. I may not have a name for it, but one thing at a time, I only just realized I had one.