Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mountain Top Spats

My Mountain Top Spats are now available as a Ravelry download.

You can wear these for all to see or discreetly tucked under your pant legs. Either way, they’ll keep your ankles toasty warm. The buttons down the side are both functional and a stylish design detail.

Yarn: Any light worsted yarn, approximately 260 yards. Model shown in Mountain Colors Twizzle, 85% Merino, 15% Silk, (100 gms/250 yards); color: Hummingbird, 2 skeins.
Supplies: Size F-5 (3.75mm) crochet hook, yarn needle, 16 buttons that are 1/2” (1.25cm) in diameter, sewing needle and matching thread.
Finished Dimensions: Approximately 8.5” (21.5cm) wide and 9.5” (24cm) long when unbuttoned and laid flat.

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Banana Leaf Shawl

My Banana Leaf Shawl is now available as a Ravelry download.

Inspired by sun-dapples banana leaves, this shawl is a little bit of Aloha spirit to take home. Worked tip to tip in both Tunisian and regular crochet, it's just right for cool island breezes or an early fall walk on the mainland.

Yarn: Any fingering-weight yarn, approximately 800 yards. Model shown in Hanalei Strings Hand-dyed Bamboo Merino Fingering, 50% bamboo, 50% merino (100g/435yds), color Banana Patch, 2 skeins.
Supplies: Size F-5 (3.75mm) Tunisian crochet hook with an 11" cord and yarn needle.
Finished Dimensions: Approximately 12.75" (32.25cm) deep at center and 62.5" (158.75cm) wide across top edge.

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Learning to Crochet with Lace Weight Yarn: Part Three

This is the third part of my series on crocheting with lace weight yarn. The first part was about getting comfortable using smaller and smaller hooks and the second part was about managing your tension and gauge.

This post is about rhythm and tall stitches.

Developing a good working rhythm helps make more even stitches.
• Uneven stitches will ruin the look of a piece of lacework. Working to a rhythm can help make the stitches more even.
I always tell my students that developing a good working rhythm will help them make a better crocheted fabric. In order to do that you need to be able to work with few interruptions until you can establish your own natural rhythm. Working to music that is at the right pace for you might help. Counting a rhythm out loud can help, too.

You've probably got your single, half double, and double crochet stitches down pat. Now you need to start practicing your treble and double treble crochet stitches.
• In making lace you will find that being comfortable with these stitches will be critical. Designers will often use taller stitches in order to get lacier results.

This lace sample is worked in chains, single crochet, double crochet, double treble crochet, and double double treble crochet.

The taller the stitches the harder it is to keep them nice and even. They tend to get loopy and loose toward the top. This is where managing the tension on your yarn (part two) is really important. I've found that keeping the yarn that is wrapped around the hook as snug as possible really helps. 

In the top photo you can see the uniformity and compactness of the stitch, especially in the very top of the stitch. The bottom photo shows a less uniform stitch, especially in the loopyness at the top of the stitch.

I've found that the Knitter's Pride aluminum crochet hooks work well. In the smaller sizes the shaft is a little smaller than the head and this helps in keeping the stitches from getting too loopy.

See the hook in the middle? The silver one? That's the Knitter's Pride one. See how the shaft is a little narrower than the head. These are all size B/1 2.25mm. All three work, but I've found the middle one is far superior for doing those double trebles and double double trebles.

Stay tuned for part four and an edging pattern to get started with.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Learning to Crochet with Lace Weight Yarn: Part Two

This is the second part of my series on crocheting with lace weight yarn. Ultimately, the goal is to for you to be able to create those wonderful, gossamer creations for yourself. Since too many are easily intimidated, they never try.

The first part was about getting comfortable using smaller and smaller hooks. Here are the next steps.

Making lace requires the ability to manage your tension appropriately. This is where a lot of you get stuck since many of you are either all or mostly self taught.
• Lace weight yarn is a little harder to hang onto, so being able to figure out how to keep your yarn tension just right will help give you the right gauge.
• Lace doesn't require tight stitches when you use yarn rather than thread. But you don't want them too loose either.
• While your stitches don't need to be tight, you do want them to be regular. You want each stitch to look as much like the others as possible.

A lot of people struggle with tension, even with regular crochet projects, because they were never taught how to manage gauge with their hands. They only adjust it by changing the size of the hook. Here's what you can work on to help with that.

Look at how you hold your yarn while working. There is no correct way, only correct results. You should hold your yarn in a way that you are in total control of it and you can easily let the yarn slide through or stop it to create tension between your hand and the hook. If you're always too tight, you're going to have to figure out how to loosen up that yarn hand. Maybe fewer wraps, or just learning to relax and let it happen. If you're too loose, you need to learn how to lessen the slippage in your yarn hand. Maybe add a wrap of it around a finger.

Now take a look at how you use your hook. Yes, this is the other side of managing tension and your gauge. How much are you pulling on your working loop(s) to loosen them...or not pulling on them? With lace the key is to pull a little bit, just enough to let the hook through, but not so much to make a sloppy looking stitch.

Work on that for awhile and in my next post I'll talk about rhythm and tall stitches.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Learning to Crochet with Lace Weight Yarn: Part One

I know a lot of you out there get a look of terror in your eyes when someone suggests that you should try crocheting lace with lace weight yarn. It's this sort of mystical achievement that seems unattainable.

If you secretly wish you could make those splendid lace confections, keep reading. This is part one of a four part series of posts. I'm giving it to you in small bites so you don't get overwhelmed.

Making lace requires a small hook and this is where some of you get hung up.

• Making lace doesn't have to be done with crochet thread and a steel hook, although that's the most well known because of the doilies your great-grandma made. It can be a B, C, or even a D hook, and that's not so bad.
Lace weight yarn handles more like yarn than crochet thread. An exception is the gossamer weight mohair/silk blends that sing a siren's song to you from the shelf in your yarn shop. Avoid those for now.

So, ask yourself "what is the smallest hook I've ever used on a crochet project?" If it's an E, find some yarn that will work with a D hook and try it out. If you're fine, keep going down in size of hook and yarn until it starts getting a little difficult. That's where you need to stop and practice. Work on that size until it's comfortable then begin sizing yourself down again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Treasure Bags

My Treasure Bags are now available as a Ravelry download.

These little bags are quick to make and perfect for using up the left-over nuggets in your yarn stash. They can be used to hold small treasures you keep or give away.

Yarn: Any worsted-weight yarn, approximately 40 yards of each in 2 contrasting colors for each bag. Models shows in Knit One Crochet Too Camelino, 90% merino, 10% Camel (50g/109yds), colors Pine and Rust.
Supplies: Size G-6 (4mm) crochet hook, yarn needle, and locking stitch marker.
Finished Dimensions: Approximately 3-4" (7.5-10cm) wide and 4-6" (10-15.5cm) tall depending on your yarn.

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.

Midwinter Blues Cowl

My Midwinter Blues Cowl is now available as a Ravelry download.

When you start feeling as low as the temperatures, make this cowl to boost your morale. It will keep you cozy warm, and the cable texture will make sure you look good, too.

Yarn: Any worsted-weight yarn, approximately 200 yards. Model show in Plymouth Yarn Monte Donegal Hand Dyed, 40% Alpaca, 40% Merino, 14% Acrylic, 6% Rayon, (50gms/~109 yds); color: Aqua, 2 skeins.
Supplies: Size I-9 (5.5mm) crochet hook, yarn needle, locking stitch marker, and 3-4 buttons, 3/4" diameter.
Finished Dimensions: Approximately 6" (15.25cm) wide and 22" (55.75cm) long.

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.