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.

 

The Giveaways Continue!

ScannedImageIt is really amazing how much yarn and such is in the gift bags from the Marly Bird Designer Dinner that took place at TNNA Summer Trade Show in Columbus, OH at the end of May. I still have stuff to share with you!

DSCF0994

Book by Interweave, Boye small knitting loom, Lion Brand Yarn, Willow Yarn, & Valley Yarns

I was fortunate enough to attend this trade show that features the latest yarns and gadgets as the companies showcase their wares to local yarn store and needlecraft owners. I can honestly tell you, it can be completely overwhelming and that a few days are just not enough to take it all in. So as I am working through the varieties of yarn in my gift bag, I want to share the experience with others.

Lion Brand yarn has definitely come up with a textural winner with their new yarn Textures. It is a medium weight acrylic and nylon yarn that has a complete crinkle effect to it. It does not have much springiness so it holds its shape well and has many fun variegated colors. As it has the crimping in the yarn; pair it with a pattern that does not have a lot of intricate stitch detail, as it will be completely lost in the yarn. Work it as something simple and allow the yarn to do the work. It will give you lovely color play while adding a visual appeal.

Daily, a yarn from Willow Yarns, is a bulky weight superwash wool, that has some interesting and longer than normal color changes. Well that is not quite true, it actually changes from a long color repeat to a short repeat, like a solid to a variegated, and it really does add interest to your work. This yarn will definitely high light your stitches, helping make your work even that more impressive.

A little bit of spring and great stitch definition are true qualities of Valley Yarns Northfield. It is created with merino, baby alpaca, and silk, so it feels really nice in the hand while being a really stable and fun yarn. I can easily see this yarn as a highlight to a larger piece or a great solid piece in itself, which shows every stitch you work.

Now if you want to create a completely new texture try using the Boye Small Long Loom. I will admit that I did not sample this product myself; however my kids really enjoyed it though. They spent time creating and playing with yarn, my son actually gave it a little more attention than my daughter as she preferred her actual knitting needles. My son likes to dabble in weaving and found the process similar to his experiences yet simpler to warp and creating a knit fabric. I can definitely understand how a larger loom could be fun for him to create larger fabrics.

I really enjoy the publications from Interweave. They are known for great title and unique techniques and this book Best of Stitch Bags to Sew compiled by Tricia Waddell is no exception. It walks you through the construction of several really inspiring bags, of all types and styles. I may not sew often or all that well, but I have several great ideas sparked from items in this book. Simply having a better understanding of the construction styles already improves my work.

If you would like to experience these products for yourself, please leave a comment on this post by the end of the day on Monday, July 27, 2015 a winner will be randomly selected and announced via my Facebook page and Twitter.

Viewing the Tone, Matching Your Yarn to Your Pattern

ScannedImageIt has happened to many times; a marriage between a beautiful yarn and a wonderful pattern does end up as spectacular as expected. What could it be? Simply put not all patterns are designed the same. Sometimes you have a pattern that highlights the yarn, other times you have a yarn that highlights a pattern.

IMG_5669

Same stitches, different tones and colors, notice the difference throughout each swatch, can you see the basket weave? Can you see the small cables next to the filet?

This usually comes into play with multi-tonal yarns and textured or lace patterns. The yarn draws so much attention to itself that is can lead the eye away from all the skill and technique you have put into cables, and popcorns, and filet work.  The texture gets washed out and only the color remains.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot use multi-tonal yarns in intricate designs, but it is finding the correct match. Usually multi-tonal yarns need large designs, or large blocks of consistent stitches. By this I mean that they need solid spaces to let the color play do what it wants to, whereas a solid tone yarn can easily highlight more detailed textured stitches, such as posts and filets. Since the tone is consistent the eye is not lead away.

IMG_5669 - Copy

Review the same swatches with out the color and simply see the tone, do you notice a difference?

You are probably wondering why I’m using “tonal” instead of “color”; this is because more of the cause of effect is due to the tone not the color. The tone is what would be represented if the values were represented as black and white photographs. When looking at the tones of a color, green and red have the same value as a medium gray and yarns using these as a multi-tone will not be as eye distracting as a yarn using yellow and red. Since the yellow would generate a brighter value on the gray scale then red, it will draw the eye differently, and catch its attention. Give it a try with yarn in your stash, simply take a picture and convert it to black and white and see which yarn grabs your attention. Is it the same as the yarn when viewed in color?

The colors will also be varied in the grayscale values dependent upon the shade of the color, pastels are brighter then rich jewel tones for example, so that plays into the color play as well. The eye for color and value can be learned, it can be recognized. But it does take a conscience effort to find the match between the texture and the color. Keeping this concept in mind when matching your yarn to a project can really help to give you an end item that is the star of the show!