Saturday, March 31, 2012

NaCroMo Day 31: Crochet Loves Knitting*

knit stitches picked up along a crocheted lace cuff

in the same garment together...equally

knit stitches picked up from another kind of crochet cuff

together again

as tidy edging, as on the knitted Lauren

and as embellishment, as on my Wanda Nell

However you slice it (or rather, stitch it), knitting and crochet can get along beautifully.
Go now and live together in peace.

(But watch out tomorrow--don't get fooled!)

*with apologies to Candi Jensen, but also with love for her Knitting Loves Crochet!

Friday, March 30, 2012

NaCroMo Day 30: Masonry Cowl

The NaCroMo 2012 Train is pulling in to the station, but we're not getting off just yet.
I wanted to give you a peek of another new Mirth pattern coming soon.
It has a sweet little scalloped edge...
...and a fun bricklayerish stitch pattern.

Can you see why I call it the Masonry Cowl?

Lighter yarn is Sanguine Gryphon Traveller in Terabithia (which can be found at Cephalopod Yarns now--House of Strangers would be comparable to Terabithia)
Darker yarn is MacKintosh Yeti Yak

This a great little project that would be a good follow-up after doing the Learn to Crochet Cowl. You get to build on the skills from that project and add a couple more stitches to your repertoire. Fun!

See you tomorrow for NaCroMo wrap-up!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

NaCroMo Day 29: Arcadia Cap

I started working on this little pattern about four years ago and got sidetracked. 
It's about time to get 'er done!
It has a nice roundy top--no pointiness, even without blocking!

It has just enough peekaboo quality.

And a nice neat edge.

Best thing--it takes about two hours!
Hold on. We're testing and editing. I'll let you know just as soon as it's ready.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Yarn shown: Sublime Organic Merino Wool dk in #0190

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NaCroMo Day 28: Group Shot

Squish in everybody! Hey, you there on the right, stop making faces!

I wanted to go ahead and start wrapping up this month of crochet by looking back at all the fun I've had!
Everything in the picture (with the exception of most of the brown cotton bag) was done during this month.
I knew it felt like I'd been swatching like mad, but getting it all in one shot affirms it.
I've been swatching like mad!
This challenge was mostly for selfish reasons. For the past couple of years I have been really bemoaning the fact that I had so little time to crochet, so I made myself commit to this post-a-day crochet challenge. There's nothing like saying it on my blog to make sure it gets done. I rarely let my blog down.

What did I accomplish?
I learned several new stitches (extended stitches, for instance), brought back some old skills, found new use for yarns languishing in my stash, thought up a few new designs, and best of all, I think I have developed a new habit. It only takes 21 days to make a habit, they say.

I will, from this day on, crochet as much as I knit!
There. I said it on my blog. It shall be done.

Oh, and I hope a few of you have enjoyed it as well. 
Thanks to all you commenters, especially Pumpkin, who was the champion and no contest!

I'll be back tomorrow and the next day with a peek at a couple of new designs coming. Then Saturday we will wrap this all up in a pretty package and get back to normal blog life. 
See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NaCroMo Day 27: Framed Flower Revisited

Day Three I showed you this peek at some Framed Flower motifs I was making.
What's happened to them since?
Well, I had really set up an almost impossible challenge for myself by trying to join motifs made with different weights of yarn in the same piece. Nix. Better to branch them off into separate projects. It was also good to let these swatches rest a while because throughout the course of this month I let myself do squares of more than one color. So adventurous! I think I was frightened by all the ends, but it really isn't a problem if you weave in as you go.

I made these motifs with Quince & Co Osprey in Clay and Cascade 128 Chunky in #8686. They work together weight-wise and the Quince color loves the rich brown of the 128 with its reddish undertones. I've already admitted to you my love for rusts, coppers, and peachy hues. This is what this experiment was all about! I think this pairing will need more experimentation once I get more of each of these yarns. I had very little of each because they were leftovers from other projects.

I found several yarns in my stash that either were these exact rusty/peachy colors or were ones that worked well with them. They are all also 100% wool and worsted weight. Trust me that these colors in the motifs above are more compatible than they look on your monitor. Those sections around the lighter flower centers probably appear way more red to you than they do in real life.
In the center is a square made with Claudia Hand Painted Worsted in Copper Pennies.
The lighter flower is from a special skein that my friend Kelli spun for me from fiber that I chose from Hanks in the Hood at OFFF. Keeping it as just the center in these motifs will make it stretch.
The seemingly too reddish sections are Cascade 220 #858 and the outer section is Cascade 220 Superwash #912. The square in the lower right corner is with the Copper Pennies as the center, Cascade 220 Superwash #868 next, and then the same outer layer as the ones with the Kelli's hand spun in the center. The lighter square in the lower left corner is made with Cascade 220 #862. That one is hanging around acting as our friendly neutral to help me decide on whether I need him to balance things out.

I haven't joined these as I make them like I did with the Willow Blanket, because I haven't figured out the configuration yet. That little ball of leftover Cascade 220 #9442 wants in the show somehow--maybe a few of the center flowers? 
I know it's a good idea to plan these things out in advance, but this time I'm playing fast and loose with these guys. We'll see what I happens! When I find out, you can be sure I'll show you.

Have fun your own way today!

Monday, March 26, 2012

NaCroMo Day 26: Progress Report #2

1. I worked more Willow Squares! I did this one on the left (compared with the one in Panda Wool for a Willow Hat) with some bright-colored Silky Wool I had. I inadvertently left out the double crochet round just after the flower, but it was a happy accident. With these colors, I think it makes the flower "float" better. I'm gonna do this on purpose with the rest of them in this yarn.

2. The Willow Blanket is a nine-square now!
Still wish I could show the green more in its true color.

Does this help? It's coming out so grey on the monitor. How about yours?

3. It's not just about the Willow Square around here. I also figured out some little squares to fill the holes between the octagons on my little cotton bag. It requires a bunch of triangles (half squares) as well along the top and bottom. Got those figured out, too. I should be done with this soon. 
I like these little squares so much they may get to be the star of the show in another project. 


Sunday, March 25, 2012

NaCroMo Day 25: Crochet Fabric

I hope you're having a lovely Sunday!
I thought I would just show some of the beauty and variety of crocheted fabric today.

Top to bottom:
Cascade Pima Tencel, color #4084
Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, color 550
Alpaca Company Classic Alpaca
Sanguine Gryphon Traveller in Terabithia
Cascade Ultra Pima, color 3726

We're going into our last week of NaCroMo and I have so much more to share with you! 
See you tomorrow for more crochet goodness.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

NaCroMo Day 24: More Broomstick!

Get a load of this!
Knowing how much I love hand-dyed yarn, you know I had to try some Broomstick Lace with it. 
on size D hook and size 17 needle

This is considered the right side of the fabric...

...but I like what's considered the wrong side even better.
It's reversible and I love how the colors are working out in this fabric.

It's a keeper!

*If you are swooning over this colorway, I found some for you at Eat, Sleep, Knit
Just follow the link above under the top picture!

Friday, March 23, 2012

NaCroMo Day 23: Broomstick Lace

This little crochet challenge has been very heavy on the motifs lately, so I thought it would be fun to throw in something completely different...
Broomstick Lace!
Folks, this is the first time I've done this stitch since 1979. So called because it was originally worked with a broomstick (how surprising!), this stitch begins with a row of chain stitches. Then loops are pulled up one at a time onto a big stick. These days we use a big knitting needle. See--knitting and crochet need one another! The next step is to work off a certain number of loops (whatever is your stitch multiple--here it is four), twist the loops in the same direction* and apply single crochet stitches to the tops of the loops to hold them together, moving off the same number of loops each time. This way the loop groups are held together at the top by a neat line of single crochet stitches. Next row, you pull up another set of loops through the tops of the single crochet stitches, and so on from there.

The top swatch is done with worsted weight wool, size H hook, and a size 50 knitting needle (the same one I used all those years ago). The bottom swatch is sport weight cotton with size D hook and size 17 knitting needle. You could change up the yarn weights, needle size, stitch multiples, etc., to produce a different effect.

Now let's zoom in for a closeup. Can you see my mistake?

This was fun, although a little of a juggle. I found that it works best if your knitting needle is long enough to hold under your left arm when working off the loops. If the needle is too short, hold it between your knees.

Anybody out there a broomstick lace aficionado? Tips?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

NaCroMo Day 22: Popcorn Octagons

The crochet fun just goes on and on around here!
I started working on this little configuration at the first of the month and just got back around to it. 
Looks kinda quilty, doesn't it?

I worked an octagon shape with popcorn stitches that I found in 201 Crochet Motifs by Melody Griffiths. Then I joined them with four surrounding the center one. Then I filled in the empty spots with a little square-round motif in Kertzer On Your Toes in a dark grey. As you can see, the group on the right is a bit smaller than the one on the left. That's because the light grey Universal Yarns Pace (color 08) is lighter weight than the corresponding O-Wool Classic 2-ply in #2012*, but I'm hoping it will block on out to be equal gauge (As you can tell, these are unblocked so far). 

The yarn in the center of both is the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Mineshaft ** that I featured in the post just before the Day One post of NaCroMo. 

This one's kinda manly. Maybe I can work it on out to a lightweight blanket for my resident dude.

*Sarah has this very color on sale!
**Angelika has some of this color--very hard to find!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

NaCroMo Day 21: Felting Crochet

A few years ago I worked up these swatches in LB Lion Wool for a book submission.

And that's as far as it went, because even though I meant for them to be a bag and in the case of the purple and green swatch, a hat. 

They turned out to be this and was published in this book. A little different, huh? Life holds all sorts of surprises.

In 2007, Interweave Crochet published my Overlay Felted Tote, a mix of felted and unfelted layers. I made one for myself with Cascade 220 and use it all the time. 

Maybe it's time for me to do some more felted crochet. 
Have you ever shrunk your crochet on purpose?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NaCroMo Day 20: Color Check

I thought I would bring two of the swatches from Day 17 up to equal footing and examine them more closely.
Still trying to pick which one to expand.
There are a couple of differences here--pattern and color. The left swatch has a random pattern while the right swatch has a deliberate one.
The left swatch has two yarns that are solids and two that are hand-dyed and mottled. The right swatch uses three hand-dyed yarns.

Maybe a close-up will help.

Left Swatch:
Cascade Heritage in #5611 &#5618
Pagewood Farm Yukon in Forest Camo
Pagewood Farm Aleyeska in Daffodils

Right Swatch:
Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in Shells on the Beach
Pagewood Farm Yukon in Forest Camo
Pagewood Farm Aleyeska in Daffodils


Monday, March 19, 2012

NaCroMo Day 19: Progress Report

Four Willow Squares done and joined--at least a dozen to go!

And a bunch more of these....

See ya! Gotta get busy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

NaCroMo Day 18: The Willow Square

I fell in love with the Willow Square from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks book many years ago.
That's one reason I chose it for the Willow Hat in Crochet Gifts by Kim Werker. I started one for myself a couple of years ago, but knew I didn't have enough of this Panda Wool in Basil Curry to make the whole hat, so the work stopped at that point. I recently acquired a second skein of this yarn from Little Knits, though in a different dye lot (which won't really matter for this project). I am back to work on it and plan to work the crown a bit differently to make it less inherently pointy.
Disclaimer: If you make this hat, please note the published errata that the chart and the written instruction disagree on round 4. Both methods work, but I must say I prefer the written way. It is the way Jan writes it in her book. I left off the last two rounds for the hat--the block below shows the entire block. Also, the pointy crown on the Willow Hat blocks out, but why not get ahead of things, right?
I'm using the Willow Square to finally do a tricolor square for an afghan. These colors, which do not begin to show up as true in this picture, just begged for me to put them together. 
(Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Worsted in Navy Olive and Cascade 220 in bright pink and orange)

I'll show you better pictures as I progress with this and as we get better light here. Today, it's grey and rainy. Just right for a Sunday, though!

I hope your Sunday is just what you want it to be. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NaCroMo Day 17: Leftovers Revisited

Remember these little hexes from day seven? I wanted to explore more color combos with this. You can also see that some swatches have a more deliberate layout, while others seem more random.
The lower left swatch is done with just the lighter colors and bringing in some off-white solid. The upper left swatch is with a more muted creamy hand painted yarn--less contrast. The swatch on the right is our friend from Day Seven (also the only one that's been blocked). You may not recognize this original swatch, but these colors are more true--my edit on the Day Seven picture changed the colors. The little baby swatch at the bottom is to pull out the darkest colors and pair them with a solid green and a hand-dyed brown. I've searched for a blue-green solid to put with this, but believe it or not, there's just none in my stash!

I'm going to choose one of these to work on out into a full-blown project. Which gets your vote?

(Oh, and Happy St. Paddy's!!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

NaCroMo Day 16: Favorite Crochet Books

Heading into the second half of National Crochet Month (NaCroMo), I thought I'd share my favorite crochet reference books. These are the ones I turn to again and again for inspiration, techniques, stitch patterns, motifs, etc., as you can probably tell from all the place markers (and yarn!) hanging from the insides. I recommend them all highly!

Encyclopedia of Crochet by Donna Kooler (Leisure Arts)
The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda P. Schapper (Lark)
201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects, and Ideas by Jan Eaton (Cico Books)
Crocheting School: A Complete Course (Sterling)
200 Crochet Tips, Techniques, & Trade Secrets by Jan Eaton (St. Martin's Press)
200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton (Interweave)
The Harmony Guides Crochet Stitch Motifs Erika Knight, ed (Interweave)
The Harmony Guides Basic Crochet Stitches Erika Knight, ed (Interweave)
150 Crochet Trims Susan Smith (St. Martin's)
Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman (Storey)
Super Stitches Crochet by Jennifer Campbell & Ann-Marie Bakewell (Watson-Guptill)
Crocheter's Companion by Nancy Brown (Interweave)
The Crochet Answer Book by Edie Eckman (Storey)

Try them yourself!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NaCroMo Day 15: Secret Lace Project

The project I am most focused on this week is this little chain of flower motifs with Sanguine Gryphon Mithril in Blue-Green Music, an eight-ply lace weight yarn. It's terrific!
Sadly, SG is no more, but you can still find Mithril with the new Verdant Gryphon. I have acquired some lovely yarn from the other result of this split, Cephalopod Yarns. I'll show you soon!
And yarn gods willing, I'll show you the result of the above pictured UFO soon as well!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NaCroMo Day 14: Octagon Bag

I recently got back to work on this little project--a bag made of joined octagon motifs and edged with some single crochet stitches. I am at the point of figuring out little in-between squares to close up the holes. 
Next up, lining and handles!
(Patons Grace in Taupe, Ginger, and Sky)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NaCroMo Day 13: Baby Blankets

 These are the blankets I made for twins Malcolm and Lucy a couple of years ago.
They are about to turn two, so very soon they will need new ones!
(made with Schaefer Lola)

Monday, March 12, 2012

NaCroMo Day 12: Clockwise

Natalie wearing the Clockwise Cap

Basically a motif that turned into a cap, it's an easy project!
(Speaking of clocks, did you Spring Forward yesterday?)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

NaCroMo Day 11: Wavy

While I'm working on some of those UFO's, let's look back at some FO's...

Me wearing my favorite version of the Wavy Mitts & Cap.
(photo taken by Natalie)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

NaCroMo Day Ten: LTC Cowl

For those of you who have yet to learn how to crochet...are you tempted yet?
If so, here's the perfect project: The Learn to Crochet Cowl 
(free pattern link is on page referenced)
...and it's great if you already know how, too!
This one is made with Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Blue Surf and so soft! 
I wear it quite a lot. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

NaCroMo Day Nine: Flashback

Some of you may remember how this little swatch got started.
Scalloped flower motifs joined and worked in 
Yarntini Merino Sock in Chocolate Cream

I think it wants to be something...I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

NaCroMo Day Eight: Lace

Arch Stitch
Alpaca Lace #409 from Cascade
(and the pretty bag was made for me by my sister)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

NaCroMo Day Seven: Leftovers

Using some leftover sock yarn for little medallion motifs and joining as I go...
not sure I like the striking contrasts...may try keeping things more muted be continued!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

NaCroMo Day Six: Doily Love #2

Magic Crochet Issue #4,  Table Center Light, #29
I made this about 30 years ago! It also has a twin.

Monday, March 05, 2012

NaCroMo Day Five: Man Scarf

My husband made this one. Only the second one ever and he totally stopped. Wince.
(Cascade 220)