December! Time to enjoy my Craftvent CAL

So if you have been fortunate enough to receive a limited edition crochet Jimmy Beans Wool Craftvent for 2018, I thought I would share some tips and insight behind the design. Note: This kit sold out and is no longer available on their website, but it doesn’t hurt to call and see if one may be hiding in the back. (If you were unsuccessful obtaining one, read to the end and I will share some insights to making your own).

To begin with the shawl starts at a point and increase on one side until it becomes a large triangle. The first couple of rows might be the most challenging, especially since it is small and there is not much to hang on to.

The first row, essentially becomes a “V”, ensuring that all odd number rows will be worked in a “V st” pattern. The even number rows are simply double crochet stitches worked into all the stitches and spaces across.

To help you keep an accurate row count, the number of “V”’s will increase by 1 every time you work this row, while the double crochet row will always increase by 3 stitches. So if you had 3 “V” stitches in row 5, you will have 6 “V” stitches in Row 7, while if you had 10 double crochets in Row 6, then you will have 13 double crochet stitches in Row 8.

Also the increase are worked on the same side as the color changes, keeping all the pattern differences on one side of the work.

While this “V” stitch/double crochet row repeat makes up a vast portion of the design, the smaller rows of back loop single crochet stitches are always worked in pairs, and there are no increase worked in these rows. This little stitch pattern adds a great contrast in the fabric, not only visually but texturally too.

This entire kit is based upon the redesign of my Quest Shawl pattern, so if you were not able to get a Craftvent the closet to offer is the Quest Shawl pattern. The main difference in these designs is actually the color blocking. Quest has only 2 colors, while Craftvent features 8. If you want to purchase these yarns and thus make your own color blocking from the Quest Shawl, here are the yarns:

You can order a skein of each from Jimmy Beans Wool and create your own color blocking effect.

I will admit, I was so excited about this project that I purchased a kit myself, and am reworking the shawl again day by day in the calendar! You can follow along with my progress at my Facebook Page or Instagram.

Hope you enjoy this process as much as I am!

Change the Yarn- Tips for Yarn Substitutions

We have all done it, and sometimes it goes well, others it does not. I am talking about yarn substitution.

Honestly, I never really thought about the yarn I was substituting. I would find a yarn I loved then pick out a pattern I liked and just begin working up my stitches. I never looked at gauge, I never paid attention the fiber or even the weight of the yarn.

In some cases things worked out fine, in others I found myself with items smaller, or firmer, or just plain awkward looking. So I have learned, and it is time to share some insights.

First realize that the pattern you find was designed in a specific yarn. The way it looks in the photo is because of this specific yarn. Changing the yarn will change the effect, maybe the drape, maybe even the size.

Now what to compare to make the change.

Check the weight of the yarn. The weight is in essence the diameter of the strand of yarn, it can be assigned a number (from 0 lace-7 super chunky) or given a name such as lace, thread, sock, fingering, baby, sport, DK, worsted, Aran, chunky, craft, bulky, roving.  These numbers or names are assigned by the manufacture and finding matching yarns at least get you in the ball park that the yarns are similar.

However there are times that you pick up a yarn and it doesn’t have a weight listing by number of name, but it does have a knitting gauge listed. This gauge can help you make the weight comparison too. Yarns that have the same gauge, using the same size needles, will be also be compatible in weight. If the yarns are using the same size needles in the gauge but the stitch and row counts are not the same, the yarn with the higher number of stitches in the gauge will be thinner than the other.

Another way many compare the weight, is to compare the yard/meters and the ounces/grams of the skein. If a skein states that it is 400yrd/366m and 1.75oz/50g it would be compatible with a yarn of 425rds/388m and 1.75oz/50g, but not compatible with a yarn that was listed as 600yd/549m and 1.75oz/50g, as the latter yarn is much thinner. It is a comparison of yards/meters and comparison if ounces/grams that help you see if things are in the same ball park.

The next thing to consider when comparing yarns if the fiber content. In some cases it may not make much of a difference, but a few fibers act completely different from one another. For instance if you are substituting a wool yarn with a lot of bounce or springiness, with a 100% silk you fabric will not even resemble each other. The silk tends to have a lot of drape, it flows, and in comparison to the wool will be limper. Whereas the wool will have some stretch and spring back into place.

Yarns with similar fiber content will behave similarly, so use caution if the labels vary greatly.

Now that you have found a yarn to substitute, if you want to ensure that you will be happy with the outcome of your project, make a gauge swatch. If you make gauge and are happy with how the fabric feels and looks, make your project.

 

Woven Kisses Wrap- Free Pattern

For the last few years I have released new patterns featuring yarn from Lisa Souza Dyeworks to highlight the New York Sheep in Wool show, affectionately known to many simple by the town that hosts it, Rhinebeck. This year is no different.

With Rhinebeck occurring this next weekend, October 20 & 21, 2018 at the Duchess County Fairgrounds, I have designed a new shawl; Woven Kisses.

Woven Kisses is essentially a mesh, but not created with your most common stitches. It is worked with tall stitches and Love Knots (aka Solomon Knots). It works up quickly, and adds a great airiness while giving beauty. If you need to learn how to create these lofty stitches, I share how here.

This wrap is airy and have a beautiful drape. One of the things that I always find interesting is that even with the openness, it is quite warm, making for a delightful project. In addition, this entire wrap is created with only one skein of yarn, everyone loves that. It helps keep things cost effective, while also only having 2 ends to weave in, my favorite kind of project.

Even if you cannot attend Rhinebeck, you can enjoy this design, since I am sharing it as a free pattern. I hope you enjoy it and that it helps you get into the crochet season.

Woven Kisses Wrap

Materials

  • Hook size 1/9/5.5mm
  • Lisa Souza Yarns Delux Sock light weight 80% superwash merino, 10% nylon 10% cashmere (4oz/495yds): 1 skein color: Rhinebeck 2018 (www.lisaknit.com)

Gauge is not critical for this project

Finished Size approximately 24” x 84”

Row 1: Ch 2, sc in 2nd ch from hook, 50 LK, turn.

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as tr now and throughout), LK, tr in knot between 2 LK, [LK, tr between next 2 LK] rep 48 times, LK, tr in last knot, turn.

Row 3: Ch 4, [LK, tr in next tr] rep across, turn.

Row 4-26: Rep Row 3. Fasten off, block.

Stair Step Wrap- Free Pattern

I have always appreciated relatively simple repeat patterns that are successful with only 1 skein, so playing with this design I have actually created a few different variation. The Stair Step Wrap increases is worked side to side, with one edge being straight and the other having all the increasing and decreasing be worked.

It is simple enough to use any yarn in this pattern, simply choose a compatible hook for the yarn, and work the increase end of the pattern until you have used half of the yarn, then begin the decrease end of the pattern. To know if you have reached the “half way” point of a skein, you can use a kitchen scale to weigh the remaining yarn and subtract this from the total weight of the skein. This should be noted on the band wrapper for the yarn, if not simply weigh all the yarn, used and unused together and divide by 2 to find the halfway point.

Stair Step Wrap

Materials:

  • Mountain Colors Twizzle light weight 85% merino wool, 15% silk yarn (100g/240 yrds) colorway Lupine
  • L/8mm crochet hook

Special Stitches

BegV= (Ch 4, dc in same st) counts as dc + ch 1

V st= (dc, ch 1, dc) in same st

Increase End

Row 1: Ch 4, dc in first ch, turn.

Row 2: BegV, sk 1 ch, dc in next ch, turn.

Row 3: Ch 3, V st between 1st 2 sts, sk dc and 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 4: BegV, V st between next V sts, dc in turning ch, turn.

Row 5: Ch 3, V st between dc and V st, V st bet V sts, sk dc and 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 6: BegV, V st bet each V st across, dc in turning ch, turn.

Row 7: Ch 3, V st between dc and V st, V st bet each V sts across, sk dc and 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 8-31: Rep Rows 6 & 7

Row 32: Rep Row 6

Decrease End

Row 33: Ch 3, V st between dc and V st, V st bet each V sts across, sk dc and 1 ch, dc in next ch, turn.

Row 34: Ch 3, V st bet each V st across, dc in turning ch, turn.

Row 35-62: Rep Rows 33 & 34

Row 63: Ch 3, V st between dc and V st, sk dc and 1 ch, dc in next ch, turn.

Row 64: Ch 3, sk V st, dc in turning ch, fasten off. Weave in ends, block.

I have worked this up in a couple of different yarns, this one I like too. It was made with Plymouth Yarns Arya Ebruli 

 

I am A #HumansThatYarn

Humans that yarn. Sounds like an interesting caption, but to the Craft Yarn Council it is a bit more than that.

The Craft Yarn Council is a nonprofit organization that is designed to promote all things yarn that includes certifying knitting and crochet instructors….it is an interesting course that I completed of crochet in 2012, and really has helped me to teach crochet more effectively. (You can find information about the program here). The Humans that Yarn campaign is an effort by this organization to hear the voices of those that craft with yarn.

Often as crocheters it seems like we are defined by the fact that we are not knitters, and this campaign gives us an opportunity to talk about who we are and what yarn means to us, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

For me I really do not remember a time in my life without yarn somewhere around. As I have talked about in the past I taught myself to crochet at the age 10 from a book, but it wasn’t from a true desire to crochet as much as it was to learn and create. It just happened that I had access to yarn, hooks and the book.

Most of my yarn came from others. Other people would give me there left over scraps and partial skeins. There was a time when I finally committed to creating my first afghan that I convinced my mom to allow me to purchase some yarn. I remember spending time going over patterns finding the one that I wanted to create. I remember standing in the aisle of the store putting various combinations of yarn together to find the perfect colors. I remember asking my mom’s advice on the color selection, she after all as in many different art classes at the time.

Yet yarn is not just a memory for me. It is a way of moving my hands and keeping my mind flowing it is being productive in even the most likely of times.

It might be that I tend to want to do or experience things that no one would quite expect to look at me. No one in grade school would expect me to be crocheting, I had many friends in high school look at me like I was crazy when they found out…although many still have the afghan I made them. I guess I liked a bit of the awe factor. Not fitting into any particular mold…I still find it appealing.

People that know me are no longer surprised by the crocheting, but they tell me they are inspired by my designing, teaching and taking it on as a business. The title “Crochet Designers” does garner surprise from people I meet, as they never thought of any career like it.

So I guess, my easiest summation for Who am I? when considering Humans that Yarn, I am contrite wanting to be different and a bit surprising while utilizing a common craft.

Share your #HumasthatYarn story, Who are You?