Perfect for the Chill- Shurs!

As winter is gripping part of North America and the arctic chill is setting in Manos del Uruguay released my latest pattern, which is perfect to keep warm! Shurs is a cowl that is just the right size, long enough to be wrapped twice for extra warmth and coverage, yet still short enough that wearing it unwrapped has a perfect amount of drape for a classic look.

It is worked in what I refer to as a “cross-hatch” pattern. So, cross-hatch is actually an artist term the is comprised of short strokes made usually by pencil or charcoal that then has short strokes crossing in the opposite direction to create the shading and depth of the drawing. Almost like little “x”s that create an image.

I have worked this cowl similarly, with each row crossing the opposite direction of the last. It allows for an interesting visual effect, as you can catch glimpses of the stitches behind each other, but it also adds in a nice amount of stretch.

In addition to the “crossed” appearance, the stitches begin to stack up and give a very diagonal look, without having any increasing or decreasing stitches being worked. Instead this is a simple 2 row repeat, so it is a design that you can work rather quickly and easily, even for a crocheter that may not be completely confident in their work.

It is worked in Manos del Uruguay Clara, a yarn that is 100% superwash merino (meaning that it is a wool that is treated so that it does not felt, or shrink, but has all the great properties of wool like warmth and durability). It is a hand dyed sport weight yarn, that has a nice amount of spring to it while still having a nice stable yarn.

So, consider a quick project to keep warm this cold season, Shurs I feel is a good choice for this project.

Photos courtesy Fairmount Fibers, Ltd.

Changing Weather Makes Me Think of Some Warm Designs

ScannedImageIt is finally beginning to feel like fall, and those designs that I made last spring are finally available to keep yourself or a loved one warm. The Winter 2015 issue of Crochet! Magazine is packed full of great designs, and I am fortunate enough to be included among them.Crochet! Winter2015

The Essential Fingerless Mitts are sized for both men and women, and have a nice stretch in the stitch work. Now I must admit, I use to wonder what the fascination with fingerless gloves was. Why only keep part of your hand warm? I hate it when my fingers are cold, and usually notice this before my palm; however I had some scrap yarn a few years ago, and was having the need to move a crochet hook. I had made plenty of hats, and was not in the mood to start another scrap afghan, so why not give this trend a try. I created a pair of fingerless gloves and immediately understood the benefits.

Essential Fingerless Mitts_Crochet! Winter2015

Essential Fingerless Mitts, Crochet! Winter 2015 Photo courtesy of Annie’s

They really do keep my hands warm, while actually keeping my hands fully functional. When I wear standard gloves I do not like to eat food, driving the car doesn’t feel as natural, I wouldn’t even think about crocheting while wherein gloves, but fingerless gloves are a completely different story. I have no problem doing almost anything while wearing them. I even would wear them while practicing at my dance class, as the room always seems to have a chill. It was a way of adding warmth to my hands while still being able to do just about anything. It is almost like having extra long sleeves. I am now a fan, and this pattern is a quick project so you can work them up as a gift for the holidays or simply as personal need to keep warm for this upcoming winter.

Brewer Jacket_Crochet! Winter2015

Brewer Jacket, Crochet! Winter 2015 photo courtesy of Annie’s

In addition to the fingerless gloves, I have the Brewer Jacket, designed with the men in my life, in mind. This hooded vest is created in the Thermal Stitch (want to learn how to work this stitch, check it out here). This stitch creates a fabric that is double layered and has an appearance that resembles being woven. I have found that if I create any fabric that you can see any light through that the men in my life consider it too feminine. This creates a fabric is dense, thus it is not the fastest project in the world, but it does have a nice even repeatable pattern that does not require a lot of attention. So you may not finish this jacket over night, but it is a relaxing pattern to follow, and ends up looking great.

I even found the button selection interesting when seeing the masculine perspective. I had pick out some wooden buttons originally, and the guys at my home felt they were to bold, they wanted something simpler, something that did not stand out against the fabric. I found some coconut buttons that almost matched perfectly the color of the yarn, but they felt that they were too textured. So after much trial and error the simple plastic button was the one. I do think that the final design looks great, and will get a lot of use.

In addition to the above mentioned designs, you can also find my article about wool in the magazine. I did some research and share my findings about how not all wool is created equal. There are so many breeds of sheep and the wool that they produce has properties that can make a difference in the yarn and thus your final project. Some yarn manufactures are beginning to highlight some of the breeds in yarn lines, so this article helps you to understand what they mean on you yarn label.

So, if you haven’t, already pick up the latest issue and give it a read. I think you will enjoy yourself…and while you’re at it if you happen to want to check out one of my designs, I think you will enjoy them too.

Thoughts on the Thermal Stitch…

ScannedImageWhen I started out to write this post, I was thinking of the cold weather I was seeing on the news, and it made me think of the thermal stitch. I have always been a little intrigued with this stitch; it makes a double layer fabric and has the resemblance to long johns, with the little indented squares. But as I started writing, I realized that there were questions about the properties of this technique that I couldn’t quite answer. So that is how I will preface this post, that it is a little beginning exploration for me with this technique.


Insert hook from the bottom of the loop, beginning with the back loop from the row below (now facing) and the front loop of the stitch of the current row


Yarn over and pull through 2 loops

The basic premise of this stitch is that you work single crochet stitches in the front loops of the row as well as the back loops of the row below. Working the stitch into the foundation chain can be a little daunting, so to give you an understanding of the stitch I will begin on the second row of a piece of single crochet. The rows of single crochet will be offset from one another, this creates the setback, while pulling up the lo op from a row below creates the edges to the “indented little square”.


Yarn over and pull through remaining 2 loops to finish stitch

One of the main things to remember with this stitch is to insert the hook in the loop of the row below from the bottom, then insert it into the front loop of the next working row from the bottom.  You then yarn over and pull through both loops (you might want to pull up a longer than usual loop), yarn over again and pull through the two loops remaining on the hook to finish the stitch.  This will create a dense fabric, and if you want to have a little fun, you can alternate colors every row and get a double sided fabric (although there would be many ends to weave of leave it fringed).


Using two colors, here is one side….


…here is the other.


Play swatch, showing same technique using sport weight yarn and an N size hook (in one color), look at the open effect…has some possibilities….

One of the areas I plan on playing with is large hooks with finer yarns. In the small sample I started working with I was impressed with the draping I received as well as the slight openness of the fabric (made me think of springtime). Amazing how attempting to explain a simple concept can yet lead to more questions, and hopefully better understanding…I will keep you posted.

Thoughts on Points of Diamonds


Crochet World Winter 2013- Photo courtesy of Annie’s

ScannedImageI usually like to find ways to avoid straight lines. I enjoy curves and blending of colors. That is one of the reasons I came to design Points of Diamond Beret, available in the Winter 2013 issue of Crochet! Magazine.

The colors of the yarn (Noro Silk Garden) lent itself so well to the blending of colors. The art has such a diverse array of colors in one skein that it looks like you were painting with a brush, it is really fun.

Points of Diamonds Beret

Photo courtesy of Annie’s

This Beret came into being, once again, from my daughter. She always enjoys asking me to create new things for her (even if she only wears them once and puts them aside). She wanted a circular hat, and I loved the thought of placing a straight line design within the circle, hence the diamond points were introduced.

Once I had it designed for a child, I loved it enough that I wanted one too, so it grew into an adult size as well. I hope you enjoy the ways the colors come together and the texture that the stitches create as much as I do.