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.

An Afghan First for Me- Hand Dyed

ScannedImageThis is actually a first for me. Now I have made what seems like a gazillion afghans, I have designed several, but Transmute Square really is a first for me; It was designed specifically with hand dyed yarns.

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Transmute Square Throw

Why does that make it so different, well for starters most people feel like hand dyed yarns are out of the price range, and thus an afghan is really not affordable. So I managed to create Transmute with only 6 skeins of yarn.

The unique thing about this yarn, Lisa Souza Targhee, is that is 100% Targhee wool. Targhee wool is an American breed, please note America is not known as a very large producer of wool, most of the world’s wool comes from New Zealand and Australia. Yet Targhee is a new heritage breed in the United States, so for me, it is local. Granted being 100% wool it may felt, so it care for it I use the delicate setting on the washing machine and I hang it on the clothes line to dry (or you could use the dryer with an “air only” setting, or little or no heat). This yarn will create a throw that is warmer than its acrylic counterpart, even with open work.

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Transmute Square Throw

So aside from the yarn characteristics, the fact that it is hand dyed creates a different effect in designing, the color repeats of this colorway, Deep Sea, is subtle, but as with most of these yarns the color repeats are not exceptionally long. I broke up these little sections of color with open work, to allow the eye to continually find visual interest.

Created with miter squares, this throw is completely join as you go, so you do not have to sew any squares together. This allows for a carefree kind of project, in a design that can easily be used in a masculine or feminine setting. By varying the square size this throw has a dynamic impact on its surroundings while having a very modern flair.

So consider opening your experiences to some yarns that you may not have thought of, you never know what gem you might find, and check out my Transmute Square pattern to put them to use.

Chrysanthemums Keeping It Warm

 

ScannedImageIt is beginning to feel like autumn in my little corner of the world. We had our season’s first measureable rain fall, the leaves are beginning to turn to yellows and oranges and reds and purples. The evenings are cooling off, and I even find myself setting a nightly fire. This is just perfect conditions for my latest design found in the October 2016 issue of I Like Crochet magazine, the Chrysanthemum Throw.

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Chrysanthamum Throw Photo courtesy I Like Crochet

The squares of Chrysanthemums definitely make me think of the decorations during Thanksgiving meals. The construction is a little unique for a crochet motif as there is a round that you turn your work and fan the petals. It is like shells folded over on itself to form almost a cone type petal. Also by turning the work, you get a different look of the stitch, as the reverse side of stitches as a little more bumpy appearance then the front side. This causes a little more texture, and really brings the feeling of flowers to the work.

This throw is worked as a join-as-you-go, so there is no sewing. Instead you have a quick working motif, which becomes a quicker throw. The look is structured, simple and clean as a single flower is bordered by a solid band. It is worked up in colors that highlight the fall season, yet just chancing colors to greens, whites and yellows, can make this a dreamy spring feeling throw.

This design came into being in the same manner as the Astral Flowers Throw, as can be recognized with the same color palette. They both grew out of a physical expression of thought and caring for a friend that lost her daughter. One mutual friend organized many to create 6” squares that she volunteered to assemble into an afghan. The outpouring was so great she made 4 afghans. Flowers can always say so much, without even saying a word.