Free Pattern- Tapper Cowl

It started a couple of years ago, I took a trip with Lisa Souza Dyeworks to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, known to many simply as Rhinebeck. I teamed up with Lisa and began offering a free pattern to go along with her limited edition yarn for the show. This next weekend, Rhinebeck is occurring again, just as it does every October, and I have another new pattern for you featured yarn (this year it is in Deluxe Sock!).

Instead of making it only available to those that attend the show, this year I decided to share it with you, my followers as well. I hope you enjoy this quick and relatively simple one skein project. If you want to try it in the same yarn you can order it here (www.lisaknit.com), I don’t know if the same color will be available as it is a limited edition, but there are many other beautiful ones to choose from.

If you decide you want to change the yarn, it is pretty forgiving for substitutions, but I would recommend a yarn that is no larger then a 3 weight (sport), with the best being a 2 weight (fingering).

If you would like a printer friendly version, I have one available on Ravelry for $2.

Tapper Cowl

Stunningly simple, yet the effect is confident and enjoyable. This simple stitch pattern allows the yarn to be the star; it has great drape and fabulous flow. Long enough to double up, and wide enough to act as a hood, a cowl that is versatile.   

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner    Finished Size Approximately: 52”x 17”

Materials List:

  • I/9/5.50mm size crochet hook
  • Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! light weight 80% Superwash Merino,10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere (4oz/495yds): 1 skein color: Rhinebeck 2017 (www.lisaknit.com)
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: 4 ½ (sc, ch 3) groups/13 rows= 4”

Pattern Note /Special Stitches

This pattern is worked in the round, without turning.

Pattern

Rnd 1: Ch 233, sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 3, sk 3, [sc in next ch, ch 3, sk 3] 57 times, sk last 3 sts, sl st to beg sc. -58 sc, (58) ch-3 sps

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, ch 3, [sc in next sc, ch 3] around, sl st to beg sc.

Row 3-55: Rep Rnd 2.

Finishing- Weave in ends, attaching beg of original chain to the bottom of the first sc st, block as desired.

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

Don’t Under Estimate What You Don’t Understand- Pom-Poms

There are many ways to embellish with yarn, such as tassels and fringe, and then there is pom-poms. In my years of crocheting pom-poms have probably been my least liked of the three noted above. This is because I found they were a bit labor intensive and yarn consuming, and I could never replicate one…each looked very individual.

As a kid I understood pom-poms as short strands of yarn that were all tied together in the middle. There are supposed to be enough strands to push outward and create a sphere. I would wrap yarn around a ruler, or small book; much in the same manner I would create fringe only smaller. I attempted to tie these together to create the sphere. I found that that had a lot of trimming to do to make this item look like a ball, and this left yarn scraps everywhere. With my hand trimming no two balls ever looked alike.

I had found some other directions in books, about making cardboard rings, two that matched, and wrapping the yarn around the ring to create a pom-pom. Honestly, I never completely tried it. The cardboard I had access to was pretty light weight, as from a cereal box, and this did not lend itself well to having yarn wrapped around it. Also, I did not fully understand what the directions were asking me to do. I thought that maybe this was just one of those novelty things. As a result, I rarely made or worked with these little balls of fluff.

Recently I had a student that had purchased a pom-pom maker, and was attempting to put it to use. I was skeptical. I thought “another novelty idea”, but then we played with it and all the concepts I didn’t understand before came into clarity. By working over these two pieces of plastic, shaped in a ring like the cardboard directions had suggested, I understood that the two pieces were to help you cut and tie the pom-pom. The reason for the circular shape was that the yarn was evenly placed in the tie, unlike my wrap of a ruler where the yarn was more focused at a point. This rounding at the tie helped form the sphere shape, and also used a lot less yarn! By using a template, use as this tool, it is much easier to make more than one and have them come out the same size.

Having helped my student understand this tool, I gained a filling in my knowledge void, and started to think of ways I could use these balls; maybe some garland, tops of hats, edges of scarves. I must remember, never dismiss anything as a novelty until I actually understand it.

Stitch Order Can Make All the Difference

Simple stitch switches can create a very different appearance. Sometimes these “switches” happen by mistake…I speak from experience, and sometimes they are thoroughly thought out.

Often my students look at me with a bit of “sure, that is true” look whenever I explain that crochet essentially has only 3 stitches, everything else is just variations. They think I am even crazier when I explain, it is all about stitch location that causes all the different looks.

I happened to reinforce this for myself just the other day. I was working up a pattern, and looking at my notes it stated “sc, dc” stitches. Pretty straight forward and I thought I knew what I meant, however when working up my fabric is was not looking like the sample swatch.

I had to go back and study my sample swatch…I was working my stitches in the single crochet on both fabrics so why were they so different in appearance? I finally found my answer….I worked the stitches in the opposite order. I was working a single crochet then a double crochet in the next single crochet stitch in the swatch sample, but in the fabric I was working a double crochet then a single crochet in the next single crochet stitch. Wow, I was surprised by the difference it caused.

One swatch looks like little blocks turned slightly aside, while the other looks a bit lacy, and almost like a stacked “v”. They are both worked with the same hook, the same yarn, the same number of stitches, yet the simple error of working the stitches in the opposite order caused a very different look.

I plan on playing around more with “switching” my stitches, you never know where I new idea can be generated and maybe by intentionally changing the stitch order I might find something truly fabulous…I will have to keep you posted.

 

More Than One Alpaca- Suri Yarn

Several years ago I learned to spin yarn, indirectly this lead to my now working in crochet. However I digress, during my time spinning I visited a local alpaca farm that sold fibers for spinning. The farm was filled with those cute little teddy bear like animals that I learned were a breed called Huacaya. I only thought that these were the standard alpaca, until the farm owner showed me a fleece of another breed of alpaca, one known as Suri.

The Suri fleece was smooth and silky and in ringlets like a young Shirley Temple. It only resembled the Huacaya in size and shape…the same body but very different fleeces. I was mesmerized by the Suri, probably because it is not commonly found in the United States, and I definitely get drawn to something a bit out of the ordinary.

Researching a bit about these different breeds I learned that almost all alpaca yarns found are created from Huacaya fleece. Huacaya is a much more common breed in the US, and the yarn is warm and soft, really an affordable luxury. The Suri is much less common, and until recently I had not found a commercially available yarn made of this fleece.

At a trade show this summer I found Salt River Mills, Simply Suri yarn. I admit it drew me in. I was fascinated to find a Suri yarn, it is produced by the North American Suri Company that purchases fleeces from breeders across North America and is helping to create a market for this fiber.

I have been playing with a skein lately and have enjoyed how it works up in the hand. I have been using Simply Suri, an 85% Suri, 15% wool yarn. It is very common for all alpaca yarns to have a blend with wool, as wool adds a bit of structural integrity to the yarn that alpaca by itself does not have.

I have found the yarn soft and smooth, with a nice sheen that makes me think of a silk blend. It is light and airy, but it is easy to feel that it is warm as well. It has nice drape and stitch definition. It is a three ply yarn with a soft twist, that lends itself to standard stitches, however I would not personally try to much textual stitches, like cables or popcorns as the yarn does not seem strong enough to give it a bold definition. I am currently envisioning a shawl….I hope to have the pattern available soon….but this yarn will definitely have me playing with it more in the future.

 

The Regal Touch- Royal Blooms Shawl

Sometimes a design takes month to develop, multiple practice attempts and hours of thought and planning…others come together like magic. The Royal Blooms Shawl in the October 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine is the latter.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

This shawl is really great to work up, a relatively simple pattern of V stitches and Shells that yields stunning results. The stacking of these stitches creates an almost jewel shape effect, that lends itself to royalty. While the negative space created shares a bit if a peek-a-boo quality. This is a great quick gift for a friend or loved one, or a special treat for yourself. It can take you from dress to casual fairly easily and thus is an excellent addition to any wardrobe.

One of the things I really loved about this shawl is in the yarn. It is worked up in Ancient Arts Reinvent Too.  This Wool/Mohair/Silk blend yarn is one that adds enough warmth to utilize this shawl for the crisp evenings of autumn, yet comfortable enough to wear in the mid-day sun.  This yarn is listed as a worsted or medium weight yarn, but in the hand I think it works up more like a light or DK weight, so this is not a shawl that is as light or wispy as a feather, but has a bit of substance to it. There are several color ways available, so it can please just about everyone.

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

I wish I had a better story to tell as to how this shawl came into being, but honestly it just fell right off the hook without my even thinking. Part of me thinks that I cannot even claim ownership of this design as it came too easily, so I hope you will enjoy creating your own and making it a new staple in your life.