Crochet Hanging Vase- Perfect for Spring

It is almost time to admire the spring flowers, almost time to see the final thawing of the ice and snow for the season, a time when the days begin to warm and that restless spirit to be in the sun stirs in us. My home has seen a hint of spring this week. The weather has warmed and the daffodils have begun to bloom.

I tend to really enjoy seeing the daffodils, I never think of them as my favorite flowers, but they add such a nice harkening of s seasonal change with a bright yellow (or white) splash in the green hill side out my kitchen window.

Hanging crochet vase www.lindadeancrochet.com

Daffodils from a hanging “crochet”vase at my door.

So I found some scrap of yarn and crocheted an open mesh, for lack of a better term, “bag” that I slipped a mason jar into. This is the perfect for hanging a jar of flowers. My latest jar is hung at the entrance to my screened porch, it is a simple project that adds a definite bright spot in my day.

If you would like to attempt this hanging vase yourself, you can begin with a chain circle (creating a loop), then work a double crochet, chain nine and double crochet in the loop again. Work a few of these chain spaces, then begin working in the chain spaces created, making a mesh, until it is as tall as you would like it. Fasten off the yarn, and then create a length of chain about 12-18” (30-46cm) long. Weave this chain through the last round of chain spaces created and slip in your jar. Tie the chain tightly just under the brim. With the remaining length of chain tie a loop for hanging. It is as simple as that.

You could probably create this with just a simple long chain tied under the brim of the jar, however it always makes we a little fearful as I am concerned about the lack of support at the base, so I make this “bag” effect. Either way, I think this is a fun way to bring about spring.

Springy Superwash Yarn!

ScannedImageYarn with a little spring can keep things interesting; Mountain Colors Crazyfoot is just such a yarn.

Crazyfoot is a 90% superwash merino, 10% nylon, light weight, 4 ply yarn that offers a bit of bounce in the stitches, while having a surprisingly round yarn that gives good stitch definition.

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Mountain Colors Crazyfoot yarn

The superwash indicates that the wool has been chemically treated so that it will not felt. In this processes essentially what happens is that the “scales” on each individual fiber are smoothed or relaxed so that they do not catch on the “scales” of the adjacent individual fibers. It is these “scales” (much like the pictures that hair conditioner commercials have used as a before photo) that join together and attract to each other that causes felting.

The process does not change the other properties of wool, as it is still fire resistant, still warm when wet, still takes dye well, still resists odor absorption, still has great stretch, and still able to wick moisture from the body keeping the body at a neutral body temperature.

When paired with a nylon this becomes a very stable and resilient yarn, that can offer a yarn that will stretch and readily spring back into its original shape. It is great for socks, gloves, hats, any garment with a negative fitting ease (where is stretches over the body and hugs the skin), it could even serve as a good outer garment, yet the weight of the yarn may limit its use in this area.

The yarn has a nice twist that does not readily split and holds its shape nicely. This allows for nice stitch definition, creating stand out for texture stitches. The only deterrent is the dependent upon the color way selected. Some of the short color repeats may cause distractions to more complicated stitch work, but overall it is a yarn that I go back to time and again.

Imagical Seasons- A Success! A Giveaway!

ScannedImageI always find it fun, the way that crochet can be worked in so many different ways and still come together to create something that makes you say “WOW!”

The designs in Alla Koval’s latest books, Imagical Seasons- Spring & Imagical Seasons- Summer are no exception. Alla has won awards for her designs in the Crochet Guild of America annual Design contest, and having seen her work in person I can tell you that photos just don’t do them justice. She uses creative construction techniques and fun stitch placement to make her designs shine. Summer Tropicale Cover01

If you want to check out Alla’s designs for yourself, I am fortunate enough to be able to give away both of her new books, 1 to each of 2 lucky winners! The Imagical Seasons- Spring will go to the first, and the Imagical Seasons- Summer will go to the second. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day, Wednesday, August 26, 2015 and the winners will be randomly selected the following day and announced on Twitter and my Facebook page. Spring Parfait Bolero03

Swirling Into Spring- My First Design In Interweave Crochet

ScannedImageThe calendar says that it is almost the season or renewal and rebirth; spring. I just wish I could have seen a winter first, I think it skipped California again this year, however it still is a perfect time to welcome the bright colors, fresh ideas and clean lines. The Spring 2015 issue of Interweave Crochet highlights these; Okay I am a little biased, I have a design in this current issue. This is the first time I have had a design grace the pages of this publication, and it is a design I am a little amazed at how great it is. Spring15%20Cover%20resize

I used some different techniques in the Swirl Skirt, and they came together in a wondrous harmony. For one thing it utilizes an invisible increase, created by increases that seem almost random, but the locations are actually strategically placed to ensure a great curve over the hips while still ensuring a smooth drape to the fabric. The increases are not worked in the same stitch as ones worked in the pattern repeat, but in other parts of the stitch so that it does not create a large gather of stitches.

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Swirl Skirt Photo courtesy of Interweave Crochet/ Harper Point Photography

The most noticeable element of this skirt is the doodle on the thigh. When taking notes or writing I often make scrolling doodles on a paper, and the inspiration for this skirt is no different. It actually was a sketch I was doodling while on the telephone and my hand simplified other scrolls down to this simple swirl. I feel it adds a little something extra while also lengthening the appearance of the leg. It is created by crocheting into chain spaces that are placed in the pattern of the skirt, making an easy to locate stitch location, as well as not having to crochet around parts of a stitch, but directly into a chain space.

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Dual Button Closure Photo courtesy of Interweave Crochet/Harper Point Photography

I was really please with how the closure worked for this skirt. The waistband has a dual button closure located on the inside of the band, resulting in a clean finish appearance. It also makes it rather easy to custom fit, as you can move the button location to receive the best fit. I also feel that the two-tone color contrast of the band brings a highlight to a slimming waist appearance.

Now I just have to create one for myself, and I’ll be all set for a night off my mountain and on the town.

Designs that Will Ring in Spring

ScannedImageSpring is in the air; the ground is beginning to warm and release the blooms of daffodils. The days are getting longer and spending time outside is a greater joy. So it has made it a nice time to release 2 of my latest designs, they help take a little chill out of the air and dress up a casual look.

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Summer Rays Drop Stitch Wrap

The first is the Summer Rays Drop Stitch Wrap; it is created with a simple 3 row repeat, and 1 skein of Lisa Souza Sylvie 100% Bombyx Silk yarn. The highlight of this wrap is a unique stitch that is created free hand, of long loops, a technique that was originally featured in my article in the Summer 2012 issue of Crochet! Magazine, with the Drop Stitch Short Scarf. I really enjoy this technique as it gives the appearance of hairpin lace without the loom, or the joining of strips. It is worked as one continuous piece, and when you finish, you only have 2 ends to weave in.

This pattern includes the details on how to complete this technique, and I have to say that the silk gives it such a great drape that it adds IMG_6150 - Copyelegance to the work.

What inspired me to put this design together was actually the yarn. I had a skein, and I made it a personal challenge to see what I could create with it, and the Drop Stitch lends itself to this non-stretch yarn very well. The openness of the stitch with the smooth surface of the yarn, allows both to be featured in a positive way with this design, creating a classic style.

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Fiji Flowers on Flowers Shrug/Wrap

The second design I am releasing is the Honorable Mention Winner of the 2013 Crochet Guild of America Design Contest, Accessories category; the Fiji Flowers on Flowers Shrug/Wrap. This is a uniquely constructed piece that is comprised of 3 large pentagon motifs created with Tunisian Crochet. These motifs create a negative space design that is enhanced with additional motifs, thus creating flowers inside of flowers. All motifs are joined as you go, requiring no sewing.

One of the original features of this design is the “floral buttons” these are added embellishments that allow the fabric to be secured together to create air sleeves of a shrug, or left unsecured for an interesting wrap. This versatile piece is also worked in Lisa Souza Sylvie 100% Bombyx Silk yarn, which has beautiful color and gives great drape to this piece. This is a fun shrug that can be paired with jeans or a simple black dress, can be a nice compliment for a day at the beach, or a night on the town. It fills a very unique niche in any wardrobe, and trust me, it is fun.

#My inspiration for this design was born out of a watermark I saw in a magazine advertisement. It was a flower that was actually featured in a negative space (the space that is not the color, but the blank background), and I began daydreaming of how to create this in crochet, thus the large motifs were created. However they lacked structure and did not allow for a stable fabric, until the addition of contrasting motifs within them. This the negative space flower grow to have an addition of flowers within its petals. 

Both of these designs are available for sale on Ravelry.com or Crochetville.com for the simple price of $5. Check them out and let me know what you think of them.

Summer Rays Drop Stitch Wrap (RavelryCrochetville)

Fiji Flowers on Flowers Shrug/Wrap (RavelryCrochetville)