Stacked Ladders Cowl- Free Pattern

I find that there are times when designs just fly off my hook, while the other times I cannot even bring myself to pick up that hook. Fortunately I have been living in the world of the former and not the latter as of late. As a result I have a new free pattern available for you!

Stacked Ladders Cowl grew out of my playing with a skein of Anzula Croquet yarn. The yarn is light weight and a 50/50 blend of Superwash Merino and Tussah Silk. It honestly is a luxurious yarn to work with, it is so soft and even what I would call billowy or lofty, while still being quite structurally strong.

This Cowl takes only 1 skein, and is a quick project, so it is perfect to check out a “new to you” yarn while creating a gift for yourself or someone special.

It is a light, airy design that is a great transition piece for fall or spring. If you are not a cowl fan, it is simple enough to just work it as a scarf.

This design is worked up with a large hook, but if you do not have anything quite this large, use the largest hook you feel comfortable with, you will be happy with the results.

Stacked Ladders Cowl

Materials:

  • Anzula Croquet light weight 50% superwash merino, 50% tussah silk yarn, (230yrds/210m/114g) sample colorway Madam
  • L/8mm crochet hook

Ch 34

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sk 3 chs, (ch 3, sc in next ch) 8 times, turn.

Rows 2 and 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, (ch 3, sc in next sc) 8 times, turn.

Row 4: Ch 6, dc in next sc, (ch 3, dc in next sc) 7 times, turn.

Row 5: Ch 1, sc in same st, (ch 3, sc in next dc) 7 times, ch 3, sk 3 chs, sc in next ch, turn.

Rows 6 and 7: Rep Rows 2 and 3.

Row 8: Rep Row 4.

Rows 9-100: Rep rows 5-8. Fasten off. Seam Row 1 to Row 100 while weaving in ends.

 

Camac- My New Favorite Design

Crochet and time have interesting effects for me. I have spoken before about how crochet traps memories and such (you can read that here), but designing can also be a bit of a time travel. I can be commissioned to create a design for a yarn company or magazine and after it is finished I have to wait months to see how everything finally comes out.

After waiting what seems like forever, I am finally able to share the Camac! This is a long cardigan or coat, depending on your leaning, that really lends itself to style and comfort. It is mid-thigh length and worked in as seamless as possible, needing only seam the shoulders and sleeves, the body is worked as one piece.

The simple stitch pattern really allows the yarn to make some dazzling affects as it shines as the hero. This design is created in Manos del Uruguay Gloria, a soft superwash Merino medium weight yarn, which is a dream to work with. It has nice stitch definition and has a great variety of colors (my sample is in colorway Malaquita)

There is a simple turned edge boarding this entire coat that is actually the same stitch pattern as the rest of the fabric but uses a much larger hook to create a contrast in the fabric. The change in the hook size causes a tension between the two fabrics and this causes the edge to curl. I think it adds a simple yet endearing quality to this design.

Honestly I love the mid-thigh length, it offers a wrap yourself up in it kind of feel, that warms my heart has well as keeps me warm. I tend to find that sweaters designed to hit the waist area makes me look a bit shorter while a longer length helps elongate my appearance, so I tend to lean this way a bit in my designing. If for some reason you want to make this design shorter for your liking, simply finish the row rep for the Body section a few rows early.

It is nice to finally see the end product of your work, it is usually always worth the wait (you can check it out here).

Photos courtesy of Fairmount Fibers.

A Crochet High- Returning from Conference

Last week I was teaching at the Crochet Guild of America annual Chainlink conference in Portland, Oregon, and you know it had to be a good time when it takes you 4 days to finally unpack. Okay 4 days may not seem like long to some, but I am usually unpacked the same day I arrive home with the laundry in the washer….however this time I just didn’t have the energy, I left it in Portland.

I taught a variety of classes, interestingly enough, I taught 4 classes at a crochet conference and none of them were actually crochet. Well one was, but it was about understanding patterns and how to read them better, the other 3 were not nearly as crochet focused.

I taught how to use beads in your work in my Beads 3 Ways class. It was a room full and everyone put their own style and twist on the necklace we were creating. There were definitely some talented and creative people in that room. They took silk, and threads (from Kreinik threads), and beads (from Bead Biz) and learned different applications to add them to their crochet (or knitting) projects.

Then I spent the entire day teaching people how to actually make yarn in my Drop Spindle class. Everyone made yarn, which is an exciting prospect just in itself. We worked with some different fibers (from Weaver Creek Fibers), and got the hang of drafting, spinning, and parking. We then plied our works and got to experience how to card wool. I haven’t taught that class in a while, and I have to say I was so impressed with what the students created.

The next morning was the class that caused me to drive 12 hours to Portland…Home Dyeing…how to safely dye your own yarn. I am pretty sure everyone had fun in this class. I had to drive to ensure that all  the equipment needed was there for me, so it allowed us to set up dyeing stations and play with all kinds of fiber (from Lisa Souza Dyeworks), with a variety of dyes and techniques. The artistic expression of the students really came out when we just jumped right into all the colors and combinations. There may have been some trash talk, completely in jest, with the class next door as they were learning how to color pool yarn. I had to put forth a challenge that were we dyeing yarn that they could not pool, my fellow instructor and friend, Vashti Braha was up for the challenge. She and I really had brainstormed ways we could work our classes together, but that didn’t come together so this little challenge was a nice addition.

Then I blinked and just like that all my classes were taught. Granted there were plenty of other events that helped cause my days to fly by, there was the member meeting I lead, and the recognition of all the Master Program graduates and Design Competition winners, then the Fastest Fingers Competition where I judged the finals, and you can never forget the CGOA Banquet and Fashion Show. It really is a whirl wind, and I didn’t even join in the actives of the first day.

I have to admit, I have been hooked since I attended my first Chainlink conference in 2011, it just feels like home.

 

Tissue Paper Yarn Dyeing

Dyeing yarn with tissue paper? Yeah, it sounds a bit unusual, however I have been busy playing with all kinds of dyeing approaches this last week as I get ready for a class I am teaching in two weeks at the Crochet Guild of America’s Chainlink Conference.

I have been working with food coloring and Easter egg dyes, while dabbling with Kool Aid. I have been playing with multiple protein based fibers (yarns that are made from animal fibers, like wool, alpaca, silk, mohair, etc.), but it was trying to find something in my closet that sparked me in a little different direction.

I tend to be a person that doesn’t really throw much out, if I can find another purpose for it I will hold on to it to use it in the future, so tissue paper from gifts gets saved. When digging through the closet I found a stack of this saved tissue paper and I began to wonder….Can I dye with this?

The answer…YES!

I began by soaking the yarn in a bath of water and citric acid (1 teaspoon citric acid to 4 cups of water), you can use white vinegar instead of citric acid if you like (1/4 cup white vinegar to 4 cups of water), then I wrapped various pieces of colored tissue around the yarn. After covering the yarn with paper I placed it in a microwavable bowl and added some of the water/acid solution. I placed it in the microwave for 2 minutes, took it out and waited.

I have to wait after removing it from the microwave, frankly because I do not like to burn myself. After it cooled down a bit I removed the tissue paper and rinsed out the yarn. I was impressed. Some colors bonded to the yarn better than others, but that could be because I had some different quality papers. There was some white space, and different colors in different patches. Offering a bit of a kaleidoscope of possibilities.

I am continuing to play with this technique, and currently find a vast amount of ideas just bubbling to the surface. I am sure that by the time my workshop comes around in a few weeks I will have a very contagious attitude to share with my students!

Free Hair Scarf Pattern- Perfect for Spring!

Spring weather has really descended upon my home, and with it the need for fun and whimsical attire and free patterns. In addition to wanting to spice up my wardrobe, I have a bit of the spring cleaning bug. In undertaking my cleaning projects I find myself being distracted by small piles of yarn, left over partials of skeins.

In order to kill two birds with one stone, I have some up with a simple project to help my daughter up her hair back, and have a retro vibe, a hair scarf.

The hair scarf is worked from the back point and worked with increases on both sides until it is the desired length.

The airy stitch offers a lot of potential that can easily change the drape by changing fiber types. My sample is made up of a blend of Suri Alpaca, Wool, and Nylon, but changing to a cotton blend or a silk and the drape will be even greater.

If you have a bit of partial skeins around, and want to create a change for spring, check out my free pattern below.

Retro Hair Scarf

Materials:

  • About 100 yards of light weight yarn
  • Size I/9/5.5mm size hook

Gauge is not import for this project

Special Stitches

Beginning V Stitch (Beg V st): Ch 4, dc in same stitch

V Stitch (V st): (dc, ch 1, dc) in same space

Abbreviations:

Bet = between

Ch = chain

Dc = double crochet

Rep = repeat

Sk = skip

Sp(s) = space(s)

Row 1: Ch 5, dc in first ch, turn.

Row 2: Beg V st, sk 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 3: Beg V st, V st bet Beg V and V st, sk 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 4: Beg V st, V st bet each V st across, sk 1 ch, V st in next ch, turn.

Row 5-23: Rep Row 4. Fasten off. Weave in ends, block.