Swirls That Will Brighten Your Day

Sometimes while crocheting my mind can completely wonder and I have no idea what I am stitching. This is actually a really therapeutic approach at times, it allows me to be productive and keep my hands busy while allowing my mind to day dream or work things out. My latest design Swirling Valley Circular Throw, in the August issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, actually was created this way.

Photo courtesy of I Like Crochet Magazine

I began working on a spiral motif, but then I began thinking of other things and before I knew it I had an entire throw. The stitch pattern is essentially that needed to create a flat circle, but you have to work more than one color, and thus more than one strand of yarn, in each round. This can be a bit daunting as you need to keep the strands from tangling, but I have found that by twisting the yarn in the same direction each time I switch colors that I can at least create a uniform tangle that I can easily untwist every few rounds. I know others that have easier techniques, using holders that keep the skeins apart so they cannot wrap around each other, or little finger rings that hold each color independently ready for use. However I have never really gotten the hang of these and simply just untangle as needed…this at least changes my task at various times.

Photo courtesy I Like Crochet Magazine

Swirling Valley Circular Throw is made up of only three colors but utilizes six colors per round, so if you wanted something to have a real spiral effect you could simply use six different colors in this throw instead of each color twice.

I like this design for kids, I can easily see it in bright vibrant colors to adorn a play room, or even in soft pastels to create a dazzling throw for baby.

I have an additional confession, when I started working the final rounds I was getting a bit exhausted, thinking that they would never end. This is typical of large circles, but the color changes at least kept it more interesting and manageable, so this did not become an un-finished project (UFO) in my work bag.

 

Parisian Champagne Throw-A Nice Little Piece

It is always a fun morning when I learn  that I have a new design out and published that I can share with the world. Today the Parisian Champagne Throw is available in the August 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine is out and alive in the world.

This throw actually started out in a smaller format. The motifs that I have designed, I originally considered for a thread table cloth. I have fun working up the little round motifs and thought they fit together a bit like clockwork. However after creating a square contaminating 4 of them I felt that they would be a really busy looking pattern for a table cloth. Thus they became a 4 square motif in themselves, and then joined with others. As is usual I have worked these motifs as “join as you go”, so there is no sewing or seaming needed.

My decision to alter the original design from a thread table cloth, really was one of complete practicality. This design really works best with two colors and weaving in all the ends necessary for a table cloth…in thread…was a bit too daunting for me to consider.

The design is worked up in a heavier weight yarn then you might usually consider, but this helps give it a practical picnic use for these warm months, while still giving a practical warmth factor for cooler months. It is pretty easy to find two colors that you enjoy together, and this throw works great with any of them. Personally I really like how the soft cream really allows the coral to pop, giving a comfortable and subtle contrast.

This throw can also be taken down a bit, attempt it in a baby yarn and create a memorable baby blanket, without having to worry about meeting the gauge, as the smaller yarn and hook will automatically adjust the motifs to a correct size.

I hope that you give this throw a try, and share your progress with me. I still haven’t got a table cloth, but maybe the next design.

A Subtle Pattern Hit, the Subtle Diamonds Throw

There are times that I undertake a project and later wonder what I was thinking. Sometimes this is because I have bitten off more than I can chew, maybe I hadn’t thought my plan through enough, or maybe my timetable really will not allow for what I think it would. Yet with some perseverance it all comes out in the end. So when I took on the challenge of the Subtle Diamonds Throw I should have already been aware of my own pitfalls, but I jumped in anyway.

The challenge of Subtle Diamonds was really of my own creating, as it was designed as a challenge, could I create an afghan from a few skeins of hand dyed yarns. Some may think this really isn’t a challenge, yarn is yarn, and you are making a blanket…that seems pretty straight forward. However using hand dyed yarns can create a bit more thought in the designing.

Subtle Diamonds Throw Photo courtesy Ancient Arts Yarn

Some may not realize it but one of the thoughts that goes into a design for a pattern is if it would be cost prohibitive. By this I mean, if I designed a pattern that took 25 skeins of a $10 per skein yarn, would anyone realistically spend $250 in materials to make it? Probably not, especially if it was something pretty basic. This thought comes into play not only with the designer but with publishers and yarn manufactures. So working with hand dyed keeps this price pointing in your mind to find the most cost effective way to create.

So with Subtle Diamonds I was limited on the amount of yarn, using only 2 skeins of each color this throw can easily be made into a 48”x48” (122x122cm) throw, adding 1 more skein of 2 colors and it can become a 54”x48” (137x122cm). Then I wanted to ensure that the fabric was appropriate and would keep you warm, as well as the stitch pattern being interesting. Utilizing post stitches a staggered diamond pattern is created while helping the colors visually blend and harmonize together. This design as a result took a bit more planning and I am pretty happy with the way it finally came out.

Subtle Diamonds Throw Photo courtesy Ancient Arts Yarn

I teamed up with Ancient Arts Yarn to bring this design to you, they loved the idea of the challenge and added a bit of a twist to the process by requesting that the design have a modern, contemporary feel. I will in no way claim to be an expert in meeting, understanding, or designing to specific “type” or “style”, but apparently I came close since they liked it.

This challenge did help me grow as a designer, as all challenges do in general. It sharpens your senses and helps you to focus.

Hourglass Waves- A Stunning Stitch

I really enjoy putting some classic stitches together in ways that you may not have considered. My latest design does just that. The Hourglass Waves Baby Afghan uses the Catherine Wheel Stitch to create a ripple and an hourglass appearance.

It is really the color work that makes this design come to life, and believe it or not, the color really do have an order to their repeating pattern. However the various stitches can through off this simple pattern creating a great visual interest. It is obvious that this is not your everyday baby throw.

Hourglass Waves Baby Afghan by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Hourglass Waves Baby Afghan Photo courtesy Crochet Now Magazine

Featured as a design in the latest issue of Crochet Now Magazine, issue 13, this blanket is one that does not just mark itself as something for a baby, it can easily grow for a toddler, a child, and created larger a great design for a teen or adult. The next opportunity I get I think I may make enlarge my own and make a version for my son. I really think he would love it in primary colors.

Sometimes people can hear the stitch pattern Catherine’s Wheel and instantly get a bit fearful, but this stitch pattern is not as difficult as you may think. Essentially it is a row of large shells, or fans, basically a large number of double crochets (treble crochets if you happen to be in the UK), worked min the same location. This is worked across a row and the following row is essentially a large decrease, worked in between the shells, pulling up loops in each of these stitches, making the fabric edge straight again. This blanket utilizes this very technique, but then highlights the shapes it can create with rows of single crochet (double crochet in the UK).

Hourglass Waves Baby Afghan by Linda Dean www.lindadeancrochet.com

Hourglass Waves Baby Afghan Photo courtesy Crochet Now Magazine

I love how the pattern is not something that you see every day, it has dimension and character.  I hope you find this design inspiring too.

V Stitch- Crochet for a Difference

ScannedImageCrocheting for a Difference, to me is a way to use my skills to benefit others. One of the drawbacks to being a Freelance Crochet Designer is that I do not get the direct feedback that I use to receive when I worked in the field of Social Work. It can be a bit isolating working from home, and not sure if you are making a positive impact on the world around you. So I crochet to help benefit others.

I have made countless scrap afghans and throws for a multitude of outlets and charities over the years. Even when I was staying at a city for only a short time I found places that could benefit from the hand skills of crochet. I have decided that I want to help encourage others to find a way to make a difference locally, so I am planning to share some stitch patterns and some ideas about places in your local community that might benefit from your crochet skills. I am calling it Crocheting for a Difference.

V Stitch Pattern for Crochet for a Difference

V Stitch

Today, I am sharing a basic V stitch pattern that I enjoy using to create a fast fabric. After establishing the first row, it really becomes pretty mindless, as you work the V stitches in the chain space created in the V stitch the row below. I usually work the entire length of the scrap yarn, and then change to the new color or skein, regardless of where I am in the fabric. This does cause color changes in the middle of a row, but I think it adds a nice rustic feel, but it can easily be a solid color, or stripes.

To begin you create a chain as long as you like (if you want Row 1 to work up without any extra chains, then crochet a chain that has a number of chains that is a multiple of 3, then add one more chain). Please note I am writing this stitch pattern in US standard format.

V stitch: (Double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the indicated location

Row 1: V stitch in the 5th chain from the hook, *skip two chains, V stitch in next chain; repeat from * across, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, V stitch in each chain-1 space across, double crochet in top of turning chain the row below, turn,

Repeat Row 2 until it is a desired length.

After creating an afghan in the stitch pattern consider donation to a Crisis Center, in some places known as a Women’s Center. Aiding those leaving domestic violence situations. Often when someone is leaving a volatile situation they leave with almost nothing, or nothing at all. A throw, an afghan, a scarf, a hat…all can help to begin a life anew.