Monday, November 29, 2010

Making a Crochet I-Cord and a Celtic Knot!

I am trying to learn something new every week, and this week I watched a wonderful video tutorial by the generous and talented designer, June Gilbank.  She demonstrates how to make a crocheted i-cord.  This is something that I have never seen anywhere else.  If that is not amazing enough, she shows how to do it if you are left-handed, as well!  It is such a revelation as it is a relatively easy technique, and there are so many uses for this type of cord.

After I had crocheted quite a length of cord without any particular project in mind,  I remembered that I had always wanted to try making the "Celtic Stonework Knot" from Nicky Epstein's amazing "Knitted Embellishments" book.  It takes some concentration to follow the diagram, but the book is very well illustrated which makes it easy to learn how to tie this knot as well as several others that are useful for making frog closures.  

All in all, it was a productive learning day.  Sometimes it is hard to take time out to learn new things, but I am trying to commit to doing so on a regular basis, as it can only make my design work more interesting!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Echelon Hat for Berroco

The Echelon hat is another design I have been waiting for Berroco to release.  I got a happy surprise this morning when it was one of this weeks free KnitBits newsletter patterns!  I had no idea that my patterns were going to be released back to back!  It is my first hat design and it was a lot of fun to create, since there was a lot of engineering involved in the construction.  There are 4 panels that all begin with a granny square.  Then, you work around all 4 sides of the square and make 2 with flat edged tops, and 2 with pointed tops.  When they are stitched together, they create an eye-catching ridged rectangle.  The hat reminds me of a beehive because of the ridges and the honeycomb center.  I orginally called the design the "Nahla" hat, because "Nahla" is the Arabic word for "bee".

The first sample (pictured below) was crocheted in Berroco's Ultra Alpaca yarn.  The color was discontinued shortly after they sent it to me, so they asked me to make another sample in their Vintage yarn.  "Pumpkin" is such a pretty color and perfect for this time of year!

Side of Hat

Close up of Hat Panel

Top of Hat

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beseme Scarf for Berroco

I am so excited that Berroco featured my Beseme Scarf design in their KnitBits newsletter this week, as the new free pattern!   It was lovely to wake up this morning and find it on my Ravelry designer page with several hearts already!  I made this sample in May, and have been patiently waiting for its release, not knowing exactly when it would be.

I love how Berroco described it: "This crochet scarf is a play on scale. Super bulky yarn becomes a flirty lace web; the whole project takes only a few hours to make, but the impact will last all winter long."

When the box of yarns arrived and I saw this bulky yarn, I wasn't sure how I should approach it.  I usually gravitate towards DK weight yarn, so this was a challenge for me.  I was asked to design a scarf, and was determined to make it somewhat delicate.  I put the yarn aside for a few days to mull it over.  The idea for the scarf came to me when I was going through some of my crocheted jewelry samples.  I decided that it would be an interesting experiment to replicate one of the fingering weight necklaces in the chunky "Sundae" yarn.  To my delight, it turned out even better than I had hoped!   

I did have to acquire a larger hook to make the final sample, as it was the first time I had ever had the need for a size 15 hook!  Unfortunately, Tulip doesn't make an Etimo hook that large, so I had to do some research as to which hook to buy.  I finally decided to get a set of Denise Interchangeable hooks, since the size range was so great and I could use the hooks for regular or Tunisian crochet.  I had heard nice things about the Denise set, and I wasn't disappointed when I got them.  It is a very useful thing to have, and the hooks are 100% made in the USA!

Below is a photo I took of the scarf before I sent it off.  It shows you some more detail and another way it could be worn.

End of Scarf Laid Flat

Original Sketch (before actual length was determined)
I was sent 2 colors of "Sundae" yarn, and my original swatch included both colors as well as some embroidered embellishment.  Norah Gaughan, the design director at Berroco, asked me to make it in one color for the final version.  I also changed the construction of the loops for that version.  It does have quite a different look as you can see in the photo below.

"Sundae" is a wonderful yarn to work, with and the names of the colors alone will make you want to buy some!  "Beseme" is a really fun project, and should you decide to make this scarf, I would love to see some photos!

Original Two Color Version

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fanfare Cowl's Made by Crocheters on Ravelry!

I am excited to report that my Fanfare Cowl design that was featured in the UK magazine "Inside Crochet", has now had 100 people favorite it on Ravelry!   Some lovely crocheters who have used the pattern and posted photos of their finished pieces, have graciously allowed me to use their photos and talk about them on my blog.  It is the greatest compliment to a designer when someone is happy with their project, and takes the time to post photos.  Thank you so much ravelers; parkberry, VelvetinaB, hollynorris, and crochetdisco for allowing me to feature your great work here!  It is so interesting to see the Fanfare pattern made up in different colors and yarn types.  I hope I will be seeing more of them on Ravelry in the future!

This version made by parkberry, was made wider to be worn as a waist cincher belt.  I was thrilled to see someone make it into a belt, because I was thinking of making one myself.  She used 2 finer weight yarns together to create a more delicate evening look.  I love the photo she took of the two cones of yarn working together.  They look like friends!

The sccond version was made by VelvetinaB in Louisa Harding Grace Hand Dyed (green), and Silk and Wool (black).

The third version was made by hollynorris in Malabrigo Worsted (lettuce), and Twist  (teal).              

The fourth version was made by crochetdisco in Mirasol Yarn Cotanani, color # 402 (blue/ purple) and #409 (pink).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Combining Leather with Crochet

The inspiration for this purse was actually the leather!  I bought a bag of miscellaneous leather scraps from a market in London.  I had no idea what I was going to make with them, but I knew they had lots of possibilities!  One day I decided that I would like to make a purse with the scraps.  Since all of the pieces were quite small, I decided to crochet the body of the purse and use the leather for the bottom and sides, handles, and closure.

I made a paper pattern for each part of the purse, and then began crocheting scrumbles.  When I had a large number of scrumbles, I began to join them together, laying them on the paper pattern as I worked to create the shape I wanted.  When the front and back were complete, I cut out the leather pieces.  Then, I went to a leather shop and bought a leather punch.   I didn't have a long enough piece of leather to use for the bottom and sides, so I had to make a seam in the center of the bottom.  I punched equally spaced holes along the edges of the bottom and side leather pieces.  Next, I back stitched the pieces together at the center bottom, and then made a single crochet into each hole to create an edging that could be sewn to the front and back of the purse.  As it turns out, I like it even better that way!   For the handles, I cut 2 pieces for each handle and punched holes in the edges.  I then crocheted a cord, that I sandwiched in between the handle pieces and made a single crochet into each hole of both layers at the same time, to enclose the cord.  For the purse closure, I cut 2 identical pieces, punched holes in the edges and around the buttonhole, and single crocheted the outside edges together as I did for the handles and did a back stitch around the buttonhole.

I really liked using leather in this project and I feel that it breaks up the the crochet and allows you to look at the details in the freeform, instead of being lost in it!