Some Subtel or Not So Subtel Changes

ScannedImageOne thing that I enjoy experimenting with is visual effects in crochet. There are many different ways that this can be accomplished, textural stitches, various stitch locations, colors, but this time I was actually working with a carry a long thread.


Swatch using a Carry Along thread

I challenged myself to play with something that is relatively simple yet has interest. So I was working with a Tunisian Simple Stitch, changing color on every forward and return pass. I find that I really enjoy this with 3 colors as each row sets up really nicely for the next, and eventually you do not even have to think about what color you are on the strand you need is already there. (If you would like to give it a try for yourself, I have a free pattern using the stitch technique here.)

I was working with some vibrant colors, and wanted to tone it down a bit and even tie the colors together better, so I picked up some Twist Carry Along Yarn from Kreinik Threads and it did the trick. Many would find a complimentary color and add similar color thread to the work, I instead decided to go big, and I pared a color that would stand out, gold. This allows for the colors to actually find more harmony together. The eye begins to tone down the brightness of the vibrant yarns as they have a constant that is running through all of them. One of the reasons I chose the gold as the carry a long color was that if I am going to put in this extra work, I want it to be seen. I want someone to recognize my effort, if you have a hard time telling that there was something different done then it almost seems like there is no payoff for my extra work. I decided to be bold.


Swatch without a thread

Using a carry a long thread is actually pretty easy, you just work 2 strands together, one being your main yarn and the other being your thread. The only difficulty comes in changing the color of the main yarn, you want to make sure that you do not get everything too tangled, so remember to overlap your yarns in a consistent direction and keep the thread out of the twist.

So if you want to challenge yourself, reach into your stash of yarn and pull out a couple of yarns are random, now use them together, if the colors seem like they won’t work try using a thread, either the same as I tried, or even a metallic sewing thread or a beautiful embroidery type. See how it can change the effect. Play, you might find a pleasant surprise.

Flower Trellis Afghan, Where You Place the Stitches Makes the Difference

ScannedImageThe unique thing about crochet is that it all depends upon where you place your hook. Basically there are only a couple of stitches, but a very look happens when the stitches are placed in different places.0001830918_small2


One side of Flower Trellis Afghan “Flowers” Photo courtesy of Annie’s


Opposite side of Flower Trellis Afghan, “Snowflake” Photo courtesy of Annie’s

My Flower Trellis Afghan, on the cover of the current special issue of Crochet! Magazine From Scraps to Sensational, really shows how stitch placement can create a completely different effect, allowing this afghan to have two different but equally beautiful sides.

This afghan is comprised of motifs, which are only 3 round each. The first 2 rounds are the pops of color! Only a little yarn is needed for these rounds, so it really puts the scraps in your stash to work, the more interesting the color, or variegation, or hue of the yarn, the more interest to the overall effect.


Flower Trellis Afghan Photo courtesy of Annie’s


Flower Trellis Afghan Photo courtesy of Annie’s

The really magic occurs in the third round. The stitch placement of working in round 1 behind round 2, allows for the petals of the “flowers” to become distinguished, while creating the “snowflake” appearances on the opposite side. Or at least that is what I envision when I see them.

The other great feature about this afghan is that it is joining as you go; all is worked in the third round. So working the color of the motifs can be completely portable, and then join them all together when working the last round. This is a rewarding project, as it really helps clean up the left over bits of yarn you have been holding onto for the “special” project, and by placing your stitches in a different location you find that you have a project that has a personality, and differing effect on either side

Inspiration is a Time Not a Thing

ScannedImageInspiration, it does come from where you think and often comes to you when you least expect it. I had an acquaintance tell me that I was an inspiration the other day. I accepted it as a compliment, but I have to admit it really got me thinking.  What makes an inspiration? Where does inspiration come from? Do I take it for granted at times?

The context of the compliment I received was in discussing what I do for a living, I am a freelance crochet designer. But I haven’t always been. Much of my life has been in public service; assisting caregivers and older adults in locating resources to help stay at home and meet their wishes for aging gracefully. (If you are needing assistance please contact your local Area Agency on Aging office, they cover the entire US, and are amazing almost hidden gems) But things changed at my local government office and circumstances changed in my life, there was no longer a match that was positive for both of us, so the little design hobby that I began a year earlier was now my full time passion.

When explaining this story, probably with a little more gusto and some extra details that don’t really add to the basic premise, I had inspired this acquaintance. When I asked how, they told me because I had the courage to step out of what I had already known and believed in myself. That is a powerful statement.

I never really thought of my life in that manner before, believing in myself and taking a risk, it was just the option available to me at the time. But I guess in a sense they are right. In the last 2 years that I have been doing this work, it has changed how I look at things, but that is a discussion for another day.

Usually when I think of inspiration it is something “out there” somewhere in the universe, but really we are all inspirations to each other. The simple decisions, which each of us makes, reflect to others and encourage them to find more in themselves.  Our growth is unseen to us, but noticed by others, making a difference that we cannot even recognize.  It is kind of like kids growing over summer, they haven’t realized that they grew an extra two inches in three months, the parents may not have directly noticed it either, but when they put the school close back on of the first day, or grandma comes to visit, you find the pants that are well above the ankles and that grandma is not bending down to give hugs; growth has happened.MP900070786

So I guess inspiration is that point in time when you see or hear something that you really need to, in order to help point you in a new direction, and open up possibilities in your mind of where you want life to take you. Inspiration isn’t a thing, it’s a time. Even artistically this can apply, one day a sunset can inspire a new stitch pattern or color way for a design, other days it is just a sunset.