Summer Crochet My Salvation

Often people think that the most productive time of year for crocheting is during the cool months of autumn and winter, however I have always found that I create more crochet in summer than any other season.

I thought that in my youth this was due to school being out and my having the extra hours of boredom that what seemed like then, a long summer break. However it continued through high school when I had a summer job and still found time to hang out with friends, so boredom did not seem the likely cause of the warm weather crochet.

Summer Crochet www.lindadeancrochet.comLooking back over project I have created, the majority have been completed when the sun created temperatures that did not require being bundled up. Granted living in California means that I have more days of shine then rain, but still November through February tend to be fairly quiet on my hook. Maybe it is the holidays and being busy with other commitments, or the fact that hearty foods are needing cooking, and those are always my favorite to make.

One of the more practical explanation actually comes from the weather itself. Maybe I crochet more in summer to actually keep cool. I have only lived in a home with air conditioning for a few years of my life, mostly apartments in my early twenties, other than that I have used the old fashion method of cooling your home, windows. Windows are opened every night, and closed every morning, I still do this today, so during the day I do not really want to run around in the hot sun I prefer to stay seated by the fan. So maybe it is my lack of activity that lends to the movement of the hook.

Or maybe it is simply that the new life of the season stirs a creative spark in me. Maybe I need more daylight to get my ideas flowing and my craft progressing. Whatever the reason, it helps me to remember that I get this bit of crochet flurry especially around January when I feel like I have no energy and ideas. Maybe the warmth stirs me, and that is odd since summer really is not my favorite season, I could do with less heat.

 

Cotton & Linen Perfect Zooey for Summer

When the temperature climbs to numbers that have more than two places in them, yarn does not sound like the leisure activity that it usually is. Fortunately there are nice plant based yarns that do not trap the heat like wool or even acrylic does. Juniper Moon Farm creates one such yarn in Zooey.

Zooey is a 60% cotton, 40% linen yarn that feels cool and is durable. I have to admit, I am not always drawn to linen, but the blend with cotton in this yarn makes it softer and less stiff than I have experienced in other yarns. It can take a hardy blocking, and I recommend that you plan on blocking this yarn, it brings an entirely new quality to it. Once it takes water, which it generously absorbs, it blossoms and becomes softer. It then can really open up stitch work and make some beautiful lace work with relatively little effort.

The yarn is listed as a fine weight, also referred to as a 2 weight, but easily works up with larger than expected hooks, even if the yarn is rated for a 3.5-4.5mm (F-G) I like it on a 6mm (J) for a more open effect.

The hank has some decent yardage at 284 yards (260 meters) for a 3.5 ounces (100 gram) ball. Even has a 4 ply yarn, plied with 3 strands of linen and 1 strand of cotton, it does not seem to have a really round nature. It seems a little flat, but that is something to be expected form the fibers. The ply is not real tight, however this did not seem to cause any splitting.

I think this yarn would do well as a market bag, maybe even a cover up for the beach. That also lends me to think that it could pull off a sun hat. It really does make me think of summer projects, this might limit my creative sense, but overall I think it can have some great uses.

 

Cotton Classic- a Little Different than “Traditional”

Some yarns always inspire me, some always tell me what they want to be, others, well maybe not so much. Cotton Classic by Tahki Stacy Charles is one of the former, it can always find a design in my mind.

Cotton Classic is 100& Mercerised Cotton and this sometimes causes people to pause. The term cotton is generally understood, it had a great marketing campaign throughout the 1980’s about how it is a naturally grown product that lets the fabric breath. Cotton also is stronger when wet, has limited stretch, and many think of it shrinking when first washed. This first wash shrinking, is not like felting of wool, this is essentially because cotton, being a short in length fiber, has more “twist” worked into the yarn in order to hold the fibers together (if a strand is long it does not need to be twisted together as much to hold, while something short needs to have more twists to ensure the hold) this puts a lot of tension on the fiber. When the yarn (of cotton shirt) finally gets fully submerged in water it actually allows the fiber to relax, this allows it to release the tension, and this caused the fiber to contract. So cotton will only shrink in the first washing whereas wool will continue to shrink with washings.

Cotton Classic by Tahki www.lindadeancrochet.com

Cotton Classic by Tahki Stacey Charles

The term that confounds many is Mercerised. Mercerised is a process that removes the slight halo effect that can accompany a cotton fiber, this is essentially the tiny ends of the fiber protruding from the yarn. To Mercerise the yarn, or thread is brought over an open flame to burn off the fibers. This creates a yarn that has a nice smooth finish that has great stitch definition. Another side effect of this process is that it does not allow the cotton to absorb water as is normally considered. Thus Mercerised Cotton is not recommended for dish clothes, where regular cotton will work wonderfully.

I find Cotton Classic is wonderful for warm weather projects, dressy scarves, home décor items, a great market bag. I even love it for tank tops and cover ups. This yarn has a wide arrange of colors available, and it shows of lace work stitches and textural stitches fabulously. It comes in small hanks of 1.75oz/50g with 108 yds/100m. It is a light weight and has nice drape on larger hooks.

Consider it for your next summer weather project, and don’t worry about this cotton reminding you of a dish rag.

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

New Designs for the Beach!

ScannedImageIt seems like it has been a while….but I have a couple of new patterns released! These have a “beachy” theme and were inspired from a conversation.

By friend Vashti Braha, of Designing Vashti, was pulling together everything it takes to do a booth at the annual conference for the Crochet Guild of America, the Knit & Crochet Show, in San Diego, California. She began her own yarn line Designing Vashti Lotus Yarn just about a year ago, and was eager to take on this new challenge.(If you want my thoughts on this yarn, you can find it here.) While we were chatting about the booth Vashti expressed how she would love to have some beach like items available in the booth, it sparked some ideas and now here they are!

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Sun Twirl Cover Up

The Sun Twirl Cover Up is worked up as a simple square of filet crochet and has minimal seaming, creating a fast and fun cover up for a day at the beach or time beside the pool. It is written for sizes S-2XL, and the Lotus yarn is great with it. The color is bold and the yarn has just the right amount of cotton to make it comfortable, while the rayon adds some drape and shine. The swirl pattern is one that I have played with for a long time. This top has actually been in my mind, finding a way to be created, and fortunately the opportunity was presented. I like the swish of the lines as it helps to flatter many body types and shapes. This pattern is currently available on Ravelry for $3.00.

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Quick Outing Bag

What beach ware is complete without a bag? This Quick Outing Bag is another fast work up that has nice stretch, but not too much. It has a slight color play with some spike stitches, and it really lightweight. It can squish down to a small ball, yet can hold a couple of beach towels. So, in other words, it stores away well when not in use. It is also available on Ravelry for $3.00. 

So while summer still has a grip on the weather, whip up one for yourself.