Free Pattern- Tapper Cowl

It started a couple of years ago, I took a trip with Lisa Souza Dyeworks to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, known to many simply as Rhinebeck. I teamed up with Lisa and began offering a free pattern to go along with her limited edition yarn for the show. This next weekend, Rhinebeck is occurring again, just as it does every October, and I have another new pattern for you featured yarn (this year it is in Deluxe Sock!).

Instead of making it only available to those that attend the show, this year I decided to share it with you, my followers as well. I hope you enjoy this quick and relatively simple one skein project. If you want to try it in the same yarn you can order it here (www.lisaknit.com), I don’t know if the same color will be available as it is a limited edition, but there are many other beautiful ones to choose from.

If you decide you want to change the yarn, it is pretty forgiving for substitutions, but I would recommend a yarn that is no larger then a 3 weight (sport), with the best being a 2 weight (fingering).

If you would like a printer friendly version, I have one available on Ravelry for $2.

Tapper Cowl

Stunningly simple, yet the effect is confident and enjoyable. This simple stitch pattern allows the yarn to be the star; it has great drape and fabulous flow. Long enough to double up, and wide enough to act as a hood, a cowl that is versatile.   

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner    Finished Size Approximately: 52”x 17”

Materials List:

  • I/9/5.50mm size crochet hook
  • Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! light weight 80% Superwash Merino,10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere (4oz/495yds): 1 skein color: Rhinebeck 2017 (www.lisaknit.com)
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: 4 ½ (sc, ch 3) groups/13 rows= 4”

Pattern Note /Special Stitches

This pattern is worked in the round, without turning.

Pattern

Rnd 1: Ch 233, sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 3, sk 3, [sc in next ch, ch 3, sk 3] 57 times, sk last 3 sts, sl st to beg sc. -58 sc, (58) ch-3 sps

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, ch 3, [sc in next sc, ch 3] around, sl st to beg sc.

Row 3-55: Rep Rnd 2.

Finishing- Weave in ends, attaching beg of original chain to the bottom of the first sc st, block as desired.

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

Don’t Under Estimate What You Don’t Understand- Pom-Poms

There are many ways to embellish with yarn, such as tassels and fringe, and then there is pom-poms. In my years of crocheting pom-poms have probably been my least liked of the three noted above. This is because I found they were a bit labor intensive and yarn consuming, and I could never replicate one…each looked very individual.

As a kid I understood pom-poms as short strands of yarn that were all tied together in the middle. There are supposed to be enough strands to push outward and create a sphere. I would wrap yarn around a ruler, or small book; much in the same manner I would create fringe only smaller. I attempted to tie these together to create the sphere. I found that that had a lot of trimming to do to make this item look like a ball, and this left yarn scraps everywhere. With my hand trimming no two balls ever looked alike.

I had found some other directions in books, about making cardboard rings, two that matched, and wrapping the yarn around the ring to create a pom-pom. Honestly, I never completely tried it. The cardboard I had access to was pretty light weight, as from a cereal box, and this did not lend itself well to having yarn wrapped around it. Also, I did not fully understand what the directions were asking me to do. I thought that maybe this was just one of those novelty things. As a result, I rarely made or worked with these little balls of fluff.

Recently I had a student that had purchased a pom-pom maker, and was attempting to put it to use. I was skeptical. I thought “another novelty idea”, but then we played with it and all the concepts I didn’t understand before came into clarity. By working over these two pieces of plastic, shaped in a ring like the cardboard directions had suggested, I understood that the two pieces were to help you cut and tie the pom-pom. The reason for the circular shape was that the yarn was evenly placed in the tie, unlike my wrap of a ruler where the yarn was more focused at a point. This rounding at the tie helped form the sphere shape, and also used a lot less yarn! By using a template, use as this tool, it is much easier to make more than one and have them come out the same size.

Having helped my student understand this tool, I gained a filling in my knowledge void, and started to think of ways I could use these balls; maybe some garland, tops of hats, edges of scarves. I must remember, never dismiss anything as a novelty until I actually understand it.

More Than One Alpaca- Suri Yarn

Several years ago I learned to spin yarn, indirectly this lead to my now working in crochet. However I digress, during my time spinning I visited a local alpaca farm that sold fibers for spinning. The farm was filled with those cute little teddy bear like animals that I learned were a breed called Huacaya. I only thought that these were the standard alpaca, until the farm owner showed me a fleece of another breed of alpaca, one known as Suri.

The Suri fleece was smooth and silky and in ringlets like a young Shirley Temple. It only resembled the Huacaya in size and shape…the same body but very different fleeces. I was mesmerized by the Suri, probably because it is not commonly found in the United States, and I definitely get drawn to something a bit out of the ordinary.

Researching a bit about these different breeds I learned that almost all alpaca yarns found are created from Huacaya fleece. Huacaya is a much more common breed in the US, and the yarn is warm and soft, really an affordable luxury. The Suri is much less common, and until recently I had not found a commercially available yarn made of this fleece.

At a trade show this summer I found Salt River Mills, Simply Suri yarn. I admit it drew me in. I was fascinated to find a Suri yarn, it is produced by the North American Suri Company that purchases fleeces from breeders across North America and is helping to create a market for this fiber.

I have been playing with a skein lately and have enjoyed how it works up in the hand. I have been using Simply Suri, an 85% Suri, 15% wool yarn. It is very common for all alpaca yarns to have a blend with wool, as wool adds a bit of structural integrity to the yarn that alpaca by itself does not have.

I have found the yarn soft and smooth, with a nice sheen that makes me think of a silk blend. It is light and airy, but it is easy to feel that it is warm as well. It has nice drape and stitch definition. It is a three ply yarn with a soft twist, that lends itself to standard stitches, however I would not personally try to much textual stitches, like cables or popcorns as the yarn does not seem strong enough to give it a bold definition. I am currently envisioning a shawl….I hope to have the pattern available soon….but this yarn will definitely have me playing with it more in the future.

 

One Skein, One Loop

I love the challenge of creating a single skein project, sometimes it lends itself to a fantastic idea, and sometimes it is just a practice of futility. However, I think this latest design is the former.

Scarf in a Loop is a simple attempt at Bruges Lace. Bruges Lace is a classic technique that essentially crochets a ribbon of narrow crochet stitches with chain loops on its edges. These chain loops allow the ribbon to be bent and twisted, while joining these loops together. So basically if you can draw the line of a ribbon you can create the design in crochet. This scarf pattern is drawn as a ribbon in a simple oval.

Scarf in a Loop, Crochet World October 2017 Photo courtesy Annie’s

The one drawback to Bruges Lace patterns is the number of rows involved. Often a pattern can seem intimidating when it lists hundreds, if not thousands of rows. So keep in mind that these rows are often only a couple of stitches wide.

One of the things I really enjoy with Scarf in a Loop is the way the color moves. The yarn, Lion Brand Unique, has some nice color changes and this design really highlights this. It is a bulky size yarn so it works up fairly fast, and has a nice weight.

Crochet World, October 2017, decided to feature this design and I think it is great as a gift for the upcoming holiday season, or simply for a quick accessory to keep warm during this ever cooling season.

Patons Decore -Has Memory

There are times when I try to make a yarn do something it is not in the mood for. I had this experience with Patons Décor.

Décor is a fairly standard type of yarn, it is 75% acrylic and 25% wool, it typically does not felt, or shrink and the skeins are a typical 208 yard/190 meters of 3.5 ounces/ 100 grams, medium weight, set up in a ready to use pull skein. But what surprised me with this yarn is its ability to spring back into shape.

I really should not have been surprised in this, I guess I really wasn’t paying attention. Acrylic typically has a very strong memory, so strong that it is sometimes pointless to even attempt blocking. Some minor draw backs to acrylic is that it cannot take high heat well, so this should only be used in a low heat dryer and never be pressed or ironed. High heat caused acrylic to break down and it will lose its “life” or “body”. It is often referred to as “killing acrylic” or “the acrylic was killed”, and it does appeared to be killed and limp.

I have worked this yarn in an open lace approach and because of this strong memory of the acrylic yarn, it does not block to open up the stitches as well as I would have liked, or experienced with a yarn that has a higher wool content.

Even with that in mind, this is a good everyday yarn. It is pretty soft, and feels really nice

in the hand. It does a nice job of fluffing up and filling the stitch gaps, hence why it did not agree with me in lace work. I can easily use this yarn for afghans, blankets and throws. It would do well for pillows, and outerwear, like sweaters or cardigans. It has a nice array of colors and a nice durability, a nice go-to yarn.