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.

img_7543-2

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.

img_7494-2

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.

5H9A1979-300x300

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.

Astral Flowers Throw with Humble Beginnings

ScannedImageI fell in love with the Astral Flowers Square the moment it came from my hook, and still enjoy It as a throw in the October 2016 issue of Crochet World MagazineAs with much of my design style I happened upon this by playing and a little bit of a challenge, however the story of its beginning is not a happy one.

M01232_15_medium

Astral Flowers Throw Photo courtesy of Annie’s

A friend and fellow designer lost her daughter last year, and as a way of letting her know that she was the hearts and minds of vast community a fellow friend organized a formation of a friendship afghan. She asked for six inch squares in various colors that had significance to members of the suffering family. She selected a certain type of yarn, so that everything would work together nicely, and agreed to sew all the squares together. When all was said and done enough squares were created by various crochet designers, and others in the industry, that in the end there were at least 3 afghans created, the Astral Flower Square is among them.

I originally sat down with the three colors and just began putting them together without thinking of the stitches themselves, but the difficult time my friend was going through. I created a total of 6 squares, no sense in having partially used skeins when more squares could be created. In this methodical challenge of working squares I worked one with post stitches, this grew into this square.

133005_small2I will admit that I was a bit taken aback by the way the color can be so deceptive and making the square appear to have more going on than it really does. At one moment I can see a star in another I can see a flower, there seems to be depth and volume in the work, yet it really is just a couple of rounds. The only magic that happens is that the post stitches create an illusion of the color being worked in other ways.

The other thing that I find striking with this square is that the sides are not actually straight. The corners are slightly higher then than the center of each side, creating a little “key hole” type effect. I really like how this shape works at bringing a little something extra to the throw overall, and seaming the squares in the back loops only of the stitches creates a simple framed edge. The one drawback to the square, used in the fashion that I have, is that it really does need to be hand sewn together, no join as you go…but maybe if I play with a different edging…no, I think I like it the way it is.

The Wine Country Throw Comes Alive

ScannedImageI love simple stitch patterns that really look much more difficult than they are. My latest design the Wine Country Throw in the October 2016 issue of Crochet World Magazine fits this description.

M01232_19_medium

Wine Country Throw Photo courtesy of Annie’s

When I originally came up with this design I referred to it as “Titter Tat” because the stitches had such a back and forth feel to it that was like seesaw, but the current name of Wine Country is pretty fitting since I am surrounded vineyards. Even as I type this the harvest known as the “crush” is happening as the wine making process is beginning. Sitting back on my screened porch wrapped in this throw is now a great way to end the fall day.

The way the stitches come together, almost has you believing that they are working in opposite direction yet it is simply where the stitches are worked. This also causes the fabric to have an incredible amount stretch.  The edging is what ultimately creates a bit of drama to this piece, as it adds a lace quality and feminine charm, by changing the border to something more solid, such as a couple of rounds of double crochets and this throw has a completely different feel, something a little more masculine, a little more modern.

133005_small2I have to admit that this project works up pretty fast, as it is a worsted weight yarn with a relatively large hook. I know this first hand as I had to rework the pattern a couple of time to ensure the correct size of the finished sample. The stretch of the fabric was misleading my gauge, and thus had me creating throws that were a bit too small. I tore it back and reworked it at least three times before it became what I had envisioned, but in doing so it helped me understand the stitches more, and I am think the end result is definitely a good one.

A Throw of Garden Tendrils, the Ivy on the Fence

ScannedImageThere is something about taking a simple skill, like making a crochet chain, and using it in a way that you hadn’t conceived of in the past to make you smile. That is how I feel about my latest design Tendrils Throw, in the Summer 2016 issue of Love of Crochet magazine.

Tendrils-Throw-Crochet-Pattern

Tendril Throw Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet/ Julia Vandenoever

The throw is worked with large open, airy, and join-as-you-go motifs, which look delicate, but really hold its structure together quite well.

This motif was a resulting of playing. It was a while back, but I was working with chain loops, and I was experimenting with the effect that was made by twisting these loops to work the stitches. It might not seem like this simple concept should actually do much, and if it is worked without subsequent rounds it can just make things feel, well twisted. However it creates neat negative spaces, and actually makes the open work feel a little heartier without adding bulk.

Tendrils-Throw-Afghan-All

Tendrils Throw Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet/ Julia Vandenoever

Overall the inspiration was taken from ivy that was climbing on a wrought-iron fence, I think that the shells and picots that make up the solid spaces of this resemble leaves, while the chain loops form the iron work of support.

The pattern creates a throw that is large enough to cover a twin size bed, and if placed over a solid bed cover can be reminiscent of the heritage thread bedspreads, it can also add a bit of whimsy and feminine touch to a garden space.

I like how it ultimately came together, I hope you enjoy it too.