A Dragonfly for Change in the New Year

ScannedImageBeing the end of the year, I usually find it as a time of reflection. This year is no different, however as I was taking a count of the number of designs I created in 2015 I realize I have been busy…and I am not done yet. In 2015 I completed 32 designs (you can see some of them here), some for magazines, some for yarn companies, and some for my personal pattern store, but I want to add one more.

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Dragonfly Shawl

I am happy to release my latest pattern, available in my pattern stores on-line, The Dragonfly Shawl. So, I gave it the name of Dragonfly, as to me I see the edge panels as rows of dragonflies flying outward. Now I have not always thought of this little ancient insect, but since my wedding, several years ago, it has become a bit a totem representing that day for me.

I had an outdoor wedding, having the ceremony next to a pond in an apple orchard, and as I walked down the aisle I was surrounded by dragonflies. They beautifully danced me down the lawn to my husband. At the time I had guest comment on the dragonflies as bringing luck and magic to my life, yet looking up a simple search I see that many believe the dragonfly means change. What a great symbol for a new chapter in my life, as well as a New Year, so I feel it is fitting for this new design.

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My wedding

This shawl was worked with only one skein of Blue Heron Cotton Rayon Twist Lace Yarn in the color of Bluegrass, and I actually had some left over. I love when a design works up this way, as it means that there is no extra ends to work in, no joining to worry about, I can just begin and finish in one complete clean piece. It is worked from the center of the top edge outward, ending with an airy scallop fans. The size is very generous, and the drape is fabulous.

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Dragonfly Shawl

If you are so inclined, please check out the pattern, or pass it along to friend (you can find it on Ravelry & Craftsy), and I will keep busy throughout 2016 creating more…now 33 complete means I was working up a new design every 11 days, and amazingly I did not feel that busy…guess I have room to complete even more next year.

 

Welcome the Designs for Fall

ScannedImageMy secret confession….time has completely gotten away from me. Okay, that is probably not a secret, and I am sure that I am not alone. However in the drought stricken California it has brought fall on a little earlier then expected; I am already harvesting peaches from my little trees, my neighbors are already harvesting grapes to begin the “crush” and create wine, none of this usually ever happens before September, so I am probably thinking it is later in the year then it is.

Autumn Leaves Placemat_CW2015OctI am pulling out the dehydrator and beginning to get my canning supplies together to put up fruit from this early season. My little farm is awaiting new arrivals as I have a broody chicken, a hen that is sitting on eggs, and I should soon be seeing new little chicks. However, even with all this rural lifestyle events I have some fun things happening in crochet.

Since autumn us so prevalent on my mind lately I am happy to share the release one of my latest designs in Crochet World Magazine. The October 2015 issue features my Autumn Leaves Place Mat. This place mat is created in utilizing 5 join as you go motifs, which are shaped to resemble leaves, created in Cotton Classic Lite from Tahki Yarns. I find that I use place mats in my home more then I would have thought; this is mostly due to the fact that I actually picked out and purchased my dining room table, but the wood is a little softer than I realized and is can scratch and mar without much effort. So this place mat is just big enough to fit a plate and silverware while adding a fun and festive feel to my meal table. Even though the design is worked in fall colors, I think a nice gold or orange would be nice, even a striking brown, but I could also reinvent this design for spring and work some up in beautiful shade of green.

Crochet World_Oct2015I hope that winter does not delve in to quickly (although I wouldn’t mind some rain), so that I can savor a little of this time of change.

New Designs for the Beach!

ScannedImageIt seems like it has been a while….but I have a couple of new patterns released! These have a “beachy” theme and were inspired from a conversation.

By friend Vashti Braha, of Designing Vashti, was pulling together everything it takes to do a booth at the annual conference for the Crochet Guild of America, the Knit & Crochet Show, in San Diego, California. She began her own yarn line Designing Vashti Lotus Yarn just about a year ago, and was eager to take on this new challenge.(If you want my thoughts on this yarn, you can find it here.) While we were chatting about the booth Vashti expressed how she would love to have some beach like items available in the booth, it sparked some ideas and now here they are!

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Sun Twirl Cover Up

The Sun Twirl Cover Up is worked up as a simple square of filet crochet and has minimal seaming, creating a fast and fun cover up for a day at the beach or time beside the pool. It is written for sizes S-2XL, and the Lotus yarn is great with it. The color is bold and the yarn has just the right amount of cotton to make it comfortable, while the rayon adds some drape and shine. The swirl pattern is one that I have played with for a long time. This top has actually been in my mind, finding a way to be created, and fortunately the opportunity was presented. I like the swish of the lines as it helps to flatter many body types and shapes. This pattern is currently available on Ravelry for $3.00.

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Quick Outing Bag

What beach ware is complete without a bag? This Quick Outing Bag is another fast work up that has nice stretch, but not too much. It has a slight color play with some spike stitches, and it really lightweight. It can squish down to a small ball, yet can hold a couple of beach towels. So, in other words, it stores away well when not in use. It is also available on Ravelry for $3.00. 

So while summer still has a grip on the weather, whip up one for yourself.

Sharing a Secret…Lotus Yarn, It is Fantastic!

ScannedImageSo I have been keeping a secret, not really intentionally, but because I have been caught up in the use of a really great yarn.
The yarn fits my climate, it is a cotton rayon blend, so it is great for warm weather, the biggest problem I have with it is figuring out what project to work next with it. I have even worked on projects at knitting and crochet gatherings and had several people go out of their way to ask me what yarn I am using. The yarn you ask, well it is Lotus by Designing Vashti.
I should mention that the yarn was developed and created especially for crocheters by my friends Vashti Braha and Doris Chan, but that has not influenced by words about the yarn. They did not ask me to give a review of the yarn, they do not even know that I am writing this, but I felt that I should let the cat out of the bag about this little secret.

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Swatches I worked up in Lotus, as I was playing with circles. The colors, white, teal and grenadine are beautiful!

The yarn is created with a “Z” twist, this means that the yarn is plied in the opposite direction as most yarns that have an “S twist” (basically it is the direction that the threads are spun together). This may not seem like much of a difference, but as a long time crocheter, I can tell you that there have been many yarns that always seem to slip when I use them. I never really thought about it, I just accepted this has the norm. So why did the yarn split? I never really investigated it before, but when you really pay attention to the way the yarn works, I am right handed, and by working yarn overs it actually works the yarn in the opposite it is plied for traditional yarns, removing twist. But Lotus holds up very well, as working a yarn over actually is in the same direction as the twist and firms up the yarn instead of twisting it a part. So that is a bonus, but not my favorite part of the yarn.
This is also the only yarn I can think of that I actually prefer after it is blocked, or washed. It seems to actually get softer and the strand feels like it fluffy up without distorting the stitch, it is quite a perk. It also has a nice gleam to it. It is not so shiny that it feels limited, but it is definitely not dull. It reminds me of an expensive fabric, but a fabric that carries the heavy lifting of everyday wear and is not so delicate that it hides in the closet.
This yarn is only available on-line, but it seems quit to ship and is in my hands impressively fast. There is a vast array of colors that will inspire many ideas. Classic jewel tones and flattering pastels are easily accented with the nice selection of neutrals, including white, grey, pearl, and black. I will admit, the hardest part of ordering for me it choosing which color, so I often left the family make a vote and I have never been disappointed with their choices.
The combination of cotton and rayon, seem to perfectly complement each other and create a fabric that has really nice drape, yet is very breathable in my California weather. It is a fine weight yarn, listed as #2, which is another thing I actually like. Finding a cotton yarn that is smaller than a medium weight or #4, and greater then thread can sometimes be difficult. I find that hand of this yarn very versatile. It has a recommended hook size of F/5-3.75mm or G/7-4.5mm, but I found that I enjoy working it with an H/8-5mm and even at time a J/10-6mm.
If you are feeling like trying something new, check out Lotus yarn, I am sure you will find it as noteworthy as I have.
(If you happen to attending the Knit & Crochet Show, Saturday, July 26, 2014 at Manchester, NH stop by the show floor at 12:30 and try out Lotus at the “Cented Flower” Make & Take demonstration I will be giving).