Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Announcing the Giveaway Winner!

The winner of a pattern from Rebecca Velasquez's new eBook: Crochet, Book 1, is...
 Commenter number 14. Congratulations Amy! I will give your Ravelry contact details to Rebecca. Thank you all for visiting my blog and entering the giveaway!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Plaid Wristlet Purse for Runway Crochet

The second pattern I am revealing from the Runway Crochet book, is the Plaid Wristlet Purse. This purse evolved so much in the process of creation. My original sketch was not a wristlet and it had stripes and a large bow. Quite a few changes were made along the way! I adore surface crochet and have always wanted to emulate plaid in crochet, so it all came together nicely. I love clutch purses, but they can be difficult to carry, so I added a stylish wrist chain to make life easier. If you are more of a traditional clutch purse fan, you could leave off the chain.

The sample for the book is a festive colorful version; I would also like to make a dark version, in black, shades of grey and an accent color like red, gold or Teal. I am thinking I would like to wear this purse with a monochromatic outfit to let the purse take center stage!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Crochet Book Review and Giveaway!

I have had the honor of being asked to review my fellow designer Rebecca Velasquez's new eBook for Quince & Co yarn company: "Crochet, book one".

Rebecca's designs really complement the elegant yarn color palette that is synonymous with Quince & Co. There is something special about each design. I love the textural stitch pattern in the Water Lily Mitts. The Queen Anne's Shawl is light and delicate, yet it has a defined silhouette. The Pauline Hat is stylish and can be worn with such ease. The Alium Ascot is a keyhole scarf that is a practical design that Rebecca has made beautiful. And last but certainly not least, the classic and lovely Marigold Sweater, which would be flattering on many body types.

It is a wonderful collection of modern, sophisticated designs that are available either as an entire collection, or for individual download. All patterns have symbol diagrams in addition to the written instructions.

Until April 29th at 11:59 EST, you can enter to win a pattern from the collection. Please leave a comment and an identifying location, Twitter or Ravelry name, on this post to be entered to win. For more chances to win, check out the remaining stops on the blog tour. In May, all of the blog entries will be entered to win the entire collection as an eBook. (You will have multiple chances to win, if you comment on more than one blog). Good Luck!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Revealing the Modern Waves Necklace from the "Runway Crochet" Book

Runway Crochet by the legendary designer Margaret Hubert, also includes designs by the talented: Doris Chan, Ellen Gormley, Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby, Sharon Valencia, and Tatyana Mirer.

When Margaret told me the fashion forward theme of the book, I was instantly on board with the idea, and I had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas! I was keen to submit a necklace, because I thought this book would be a great place to showcase a statement piece.

This necklace components are simple to crochet, but the way it is put together makes it eye-catching and unusual. I think what really makes this piece, is the pearl cotton edging, it gives it a delicate feel and softens the look. It is a fun project which requires very little time or yarn. I have 2 more designs in this book that I will be revealing soon, so please stay tuned! 

Modern Waves Necklace

Close-up to show detail

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Make a Cowl with the Ruffles Scarf Pattern

Remember the Ruffles Scarf I designed for Interweave Crochet's Fall Issue? Interweave has recently made the pattern available for individual download on their website. Since I always like to create multiple uses for my patterns, I have added some new details to transform it into a cowl! By using lighter weight yarn, a smaller hook, weaving in some contrasting "ribbons", and making buttons and button loops, you get a different look and use for the pattern. I decided to weave in the Ribbons, because the main purpose of a cowl is to keep your neck warm, and the openwork through the middle would defeat the purpose. You could wear it with the top ruffle standing up, or with it folded over to let the tops of the ribbons peek out, for a little show of color.

Top Ruffle Folded Over
Back of Cowl

To make a cowl from the Ruffles Scarf pattern:

1. Use a worsted weight yarn. For this sample, I used Cascade 220 superwash.

2. Use hook size E/4 (3.50mm)

3. Work 38 rows of the scarf pattern as written.

4. In the 39th row, you will make three button loops in the center section. Work the top ruffle sts, then make the first hdc in the center section, *ch 8, sl st in first ch to make a loop**, hdc in next 5 sts*. Rep from * to * once. Rep from * to ** once, hdc in next st, then complete the bottom ruffle sts.

5. Work the edging as written, but stop at the top corner and do not make any edging on the last short side. (The one with the button loops).

6. To make the Ribbons, using a second color and hook size E/4 (3.50mm), ch 18, then, beginning in the second ch from the hook, sl st in the back loop only of each ch, then work the unworked front loops of the ch. Invisible Fasten Off. Repeat these instructions to make 18 more Ribbons. Weave each Ribbon through the ch spaces in the middle section as pictured. Neatly stitch each Ribbon at the top and bottom to secure them to the cowl. Weave in all loose ends with a tapestry needle.

7. To make the buttons, use hook size E/4 (3.50mm). Wrap the yarn twice around your finger to form a magic ring. Insert hook into ring, yo and pull up a loop, ch 2, then make 10 hdc into ring. Pull on the tail end of the yarn to tighten the magic ring. Sl st in every other st around to close up the button. Fasten off. Repeat these instructions to make 2 more buttons. Stitch these buttons to the third row of the cowl, to match up with the spacing of the button loops.

Version 2:

If you want to add another element, you can do surface crochet between every other row, beginning between rows 2 and 3. I used a complementary, variegated worsted weight from my stash and a hook size F/5 (3.75mm). Beginning at the bottom of the cowl and keeping the yarn underneath the work, insert hook in between the front and back loop of the stitches you worked into to create row 3, yo and pull up a loop, then pull this new loop through the loop that was already on the hook. Rep these instructions to the top of the cowl. Fasten Off. *Skip a row and surface crochet between the next 2 rows, in the same manner*. Rep from * to * across the entire cowl. Weave in all loose ends with a yarn needle.

Depending on the weight and type of yarn you use, you may need to adjust the number of rows you work to make it fit you, just try it on as you work to decide how many rows you need. Make sure you end with an odd numbered row.

The woven Ribbons and surface crochet details could also be added to the original Ruffles Scarf as well.  For additional inspiration, check out all of the Ruffles Scarf projects made by crocheters on Ravelry!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Giving Old Crochet a New Purpose!

I wanted to make a card to enclose with last week's giveaway prizes, and I decided it should include crochet. I love making cards out of sample pieces. I guess you could say it is an exercise in "upcyling". Sometimes I make a brooch and pin it onto the card so it serves 2 purposes; to decorate the card, and as a little surprise gift. It depends on what pieces of crochet inspire me. I have a large bag filled with leftover scrumbles, samples, and swatches. They are just waiting for the perfect project! I needed this bag twice on the day I made this card. My daughter needed some cord to hang a pinata she had made, and I found the perfect piece of bright orange crocheted cord in my bag. It was leftover from a tutorial I had done. We are starting to call it the magic bag, as it always seems to have just what we need in it!

For this card, I used 4 different samples. The vine with the berries, the two gold flowers, and the light yellow center that I stitched on top of a gold flower. When I am in America, I like to go to Michaels to buy card blanks. They have a nice assortment of colors, and they come with envelopes. Since they are plain, you can customize them for any occasion. I chose a beige card but it seemed too plain, so I sponge painted it lightly with a dark gold color first. Then, I stitched all 4 pieces together and glued them to the card. I decided to cut around the crochet and glue it on a dark background to give it some depth. After I did that, I was really happy with it. Happy with the look, and happy that I had made something new and exciting out of pieces I thought I might never use!

What do you make with your scraps and leftovers? I would love to hear about your ideas!