Sunday, February 20, 2011

Patterns Now Available on Patternfish

I've begun publishing my patterns on Patternfish, so don't hesitate to jump on over there to look me up.

Click on the Shop link in the menu bar and, in the search criteria, click on Designer and check the box next to my name OR click on Publisher and check the box next to Unyunga.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vail Scarf and Fingerless Gloves

I'm offering a new pattern for sale on Ravelry called Vail Scarf and Fingerless Gloves.

This versatile scarf wraps round your neck twice and buttons in front. Pull it up like a hood for Vail’s Winter Art Walk then wrap it around your shoulders as an elegant shawl for dinner. The fingerless gloves complement the scarf and keep your hands warm and with your fingers free.

Crochet Symbols Chart Included
Yarn: Any worsted-weight yarn, 
approximately 654 yards in MC and 437 yards in CC. 
Model shown in Aslan Trends/Artesanal, 40% Cotton, 30% Alpaca, 30% Polymide 3.5oz/218yds per skein), Gray- 19 (MC) and White-01 (CC).   
Supplies: Size G-6 (4mm) crochet hook, one 1” button, yarn needle, and a locking stitch marker
Finished Dimensions: Scarf is approximately 14” (35.5cm) wide and 59” (150cm) long.

It's also available on 

Craftsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yarn Snobbery

A writer friend was chatting with me today and said, "You're a yarn snob, aren't you?" I hadn't thought of it that way but had to admit that I guess I am.

So what makes me a yarn snob? I don't just love yarn. I love really good quality yarn. 

While I don't exclude synthestics with my snobbery, it has to be really good quality or fill a niche need for me to go there again and again. Synthetics are often used with natural fibers to strengthen the yarn or add a bit of pizzazz and that can be a good thing.

Most of the yarns I use are part or mostly made of natural fibers. And, being truly allergic to sheep wool, I tend to explore a lot of fibers such as cotton, bamboo, silk, alpaca, llama, cashmere, and mohair.

Being a crocheter adds an even deeper dimension to my yarn snobbery. A lot of beautiful, high quality yarns just don't work for crochet very well. Especially those very fluffy ones with barely a twist in the ply.

How did I turn into a yarn snob? I learned how to make my own.

I started learning to spin in 1989 and starting using my yarns to make projects about 1993. It's how I learned that I'm allergic to sheep wool and so discovered all the beautiful exotic fibers that are available. Many were readily available to spinners long before they were commonplace in commercially available yarns.

In learning to make my own yarn I learned about the different fibers, how they work, what their individual properties are, and what makes a good yarn versus a bad one. And so was born a yarn snob.

Are you a yarn snob? How did you become one?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Foundation Stitches

I was first introduced to the world of foundations stitches about four or five years ago when I ran across a pattern posted by Bonnie Pierce for a moebius shawl/scarf. First I was drawn in by the lacy effect as well as the moebius aspect. But what got me hooked enough to make this pattern again and again was the foundation double crochet (fdc) that you start it with.

Then I realized that you could also have a foundation single crochet (fsc), foundation half double crochet (fhdc), foundation treble crochet (ftc), and on and on.

The obvious benefits are:
• You can start right into your pattern without a foundation chain.
• Foundations stitches have the same stretch and flexibility as their more traditional applications. Foundation chains don't stretch and can create an edge that is at odds with the rest of your fabric.

There are also unique design possibilities:
• If you create an fdc row, then turn it completely around to work your next row on the base of the fdc you can get a nice hem stitch effect.

• If you work a extremely lacy fabric than wish to work some rows of single crochet or double crochet, you don't have to use a chain row to begin. If you start right in with a fsc or fdc, you retain the lacy flex and stretch of the fabric that would be compromised by the use of a chain row.

Since I prefer to add crochet symbol charts to my patterns whenever possible, I have put off completing a couple of them since I didn't know of a stitch symbol for foundation stitches. Then I got the chance to work with KnitCircus and create a stitch symbol chart for the Doris Chan pattern that is in the Spring 2011 issue. She is well known for using foundation stitches and this pattern is no exception. So I worked closely with the tech editor and came up with something that, hopefully, is not only unique but communicates the stitch as well as possible.

Doris' pattern starts with a row of fsc. So I came up with this symbol:

When placed in a row it looks like this:

KnitCircus chose to go with the X symbol for single crochet, but for some unknown reason I've always preferred the + symbol. So here is what it looks like with that:

An fdc looks like this:

These new stitch symbols have me excited. Foundation stitches are a wonderful tool and I hope that having a way to express them in symbol form helps many more crocheters discover their use.

If you've never used a foundation stitch and are wondering how to do it, take a look at the great photos and explanation that Bonnie Pierce has created for the fdc. There are videos on YouTube as well as some good explanations and illustrations on