Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Button Wrap

A little over a year ago, a friend asked me to make a wrap that she saw in some expensive store.  It was knitted, of course, and back then I didn't knit yet.  So I made one in Tunisian crochet and I *wish* I would have written down the instructions at the time.  Anyway, fast forward one year and sure enough, she asked for another one!  This time, I've got the pattern to share.  Not so much a pattern as it is a formula.  This can be worked in any stitch pattern, crochet, knit, Tunisian crochet, you name it.
 This wrap is basically a wide, long rectangle, with approximate dimensions of 18" X 72".  Mentally break up the wrap into 3 equal sections.  In the last third of the wrap, evenly place button holes, approximately 6" apart.  You can add or take away space depending on your preferences and choice of buttons.  Use any yarn, any hook, and/or any needles.

Start with a foundation single crochet (or chain) equaling your desired length.  In the example shown it is 18".  Continue in desired stitch pattern for 54", place button hole, continue 6" and place another button hole, continue 6", place last button hole, and finish off wrap with a final 6" of pattern stitches.  I placed my button holes approximately 2" from the edge of the fabric.









 


Here is a very basic diagram showing the dimensions.  Forgive my pathetic Paint skills.  LOL!  The blue dots represent the button holes.  Can't wait to see what you make with it!





Monday, November 14, 2011

Charlotte, and the lesson I've learned

So up until now, the only patterns I've really listed here, or even alluded to, were all my freebies.  Which I love!  However, it's occurred to me that if I want to be serious about being a designer I really need to get the word out about all the other designs I create.  Is that a bad thing?  No, I don't think so.  A lot more famous designers than I (which would be, um, everyone) do it all the time.  Why not me?  So, from now on, this blog is going to be a lot more active.  Every time I create a pattern, free or not, it's is going to be shown here.  Cool?

With that being said, let me introduce you to Charlotte!  Isn't she beautiful?  All Tunisian, simple, functional and feminine.  And it only took one skein of Madelinetosh Sock yarn!  Gotta love it.  :)  I also had a lovely lady test this for me in worsted weight.  Turned out great!  For those interested in making it in a heavier weight, count on using about 600 - 700 yds to make a nice, full size shawl.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bamboo stitch beanie

A few weeks ago I started experimenting with the knitted bamboo stitch.  I really liked the look and decided I wanted to translate its beauty into Tunisian crochet.  Once I got it down, I made a hat in the round using the stitch and two complimentary colors.  I really, really like it!  So, I want to share it with you!




Bamboo Stitch Beanie

Materials:
Patons Silk Bamboo (DK weight, 70% Bamboo
30% Silk, 102 yds/2.3 oz per skein) – 1 skein Sea (MC), 1 skein Sapphire (CC)
US J (6.00mm) double-ended hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge: not especially important, and will be determined by yarn and hook choice.

Abbreviations:
tfs = Tunisian full stitch (insert hook in space between vertical bars and draw up loop)
y/o = yarn over (increase made)
sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain

Special Stitch:
Bamboo stitch = y/o, tfs in each of next 2 spaces, pull last two loops on hook back through y/o, at the same time.  For a video tutorial on Bamboo stitch, click here.

Notes:
  • Any yarn/hook combination can be used with this pattern.
  • All return rows are as normal: ch 1 for first stitch, y/o and pull through 2 loops for all subsequent stitches
  • All stitches are created knitwise, meaning the hook is inserted from front to back, through the fabric.
  • This pattern can be made in 2 colors, as shown, or using one color throughout.
  • Pictured hat is made extra long for slouchy look, but can also be worn with a fold-up brim. Note that the bamboo stitch is not very stretchy. It is recommended that a test swatch be done in desired yarn.
Pattern:

Ch 75 (or any odd number of stitches, enough to loosely fit around your head). Join with a sl st to first ch. Do not twist chain.
Row 1: Pull up loop in the back hump of each ch around.
Row 2: Work bamboo stitch pattern

Repeat Row 2 until desired length is reached. Hat pictured is 9” tall.

Finishing:

Pull the last CC stitch through final forward pass stitch. Cut both yarns, leaving about a 10” tail of CC. Thread CC through tapestry needle, weave in and out of the topmost stitches, pull tight to gather the top of the hat, and secure the yarn. Weave in ends.

Special thanks to Chaitanya Muralidhara for her technical editing expertise!



Monday, October 17, 2011

More video tutorials!

It's almost 2:30 am and I *should* be asleep.  Instead, I am uploading videos.  Um, Houston, we have a problem.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy these!  I finally figured out how to take a better quality video by putting the tripod between my legs rather than behind me.  Makes a world of difference!

This first video is on right and left leaning twisted knit stitches...



And here is a video on the bamboo stitch.  I've never seen or heard of it being used in Tunisian, so maybe I actually came up with something new!  That would be so cool!


And last, but certainly not least, what's a person to do when they find they've dropped a stitch?  Frog it all back?  Throw it in the fire out of frustration?  No!!  Here is a little video on how to repair knit and simple stitches.  Hope it helps someone else as it has helped me.  Keep in mind that this is my own repair method and that someone else out there may have something even better.  :)



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kokopelli Stole

Well, after much deliberation, I finally decided to enter two items into the CGOA Chainlink Conference design competition.  Now, if you see this year's winners, and take some time to check out last year's winners, you will know that the designs are out of this world.  I never expected to win, or even place for that matter, but I was so proud to even enter.  Maybe next year I will win something!  Of course, that means I would need to start designing right now to stand a chance.  LOL!  There are some AMAZINGLY talented designers out there!

And here is one of my entries!  My Kokopelli stole, all Tunisian lace with a bit of beaded trim bling.  










Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seaming Tunisian knit stitch and a free pattern!


I've been a bit obsessed lately with ways to seam Tunisian crochet, without the obvious seam! What about pieces that need to be seamed and can't be worked in the round? Or, how about those who are just getting into Tunisian crochet and don't have double-ended hooks yet? Or, how about those kick-ass yarns that can't really show off their stripes when worked in the round? Or, how about crocheters who just don't have a long enough cable to attempt the "circular" version of Tunisian? Or large pieces seamed together Aran style?

Let's face it. Some things are just going to need seaming. So, as I continue to obsess over this for other stitches, let me just share my seaming solution for pieces worked in Tunisian knit stitch. It's called the mattress stitch, and it's used in knitting. I've heard vague mention of it being used for this, but I was surprised to find my Google searches of Tunisian crochet + mattress stitch came up totally empty! And only the briefest of mention on Ravelry (oh, the shock!).

Before I learned to knit on circular needles, I knitted flat pieces that would have to be seamed together (i.e. into a hat). Since Tunisian knit looks so much like stockinette, I thought I would give it a try. Et voila! It works! Of course, how I do it is just a version of the mattress stitch, but it's adapted to Tunisian knit and I must say, the seam is almost invisible. Not perfect, but pretty damn good! Another surprise was that the inside of the seam was absolutely smooth, so you could even use this technique to make chemo hats!

Anyway, here is a basic knit stitch hat pattern, and two videos on mattress stitch seaming - one for pieces made in one color, and the other for pieces with color changes every other row. Enjoy!

Basic Tks Hat

Materials:
less than 100 yds each of 2 colors sportweight
J hook with cable attached
tapestry needle

Notes:
Although I used 2 colors, the possibilities are endless. Also, you can use any yarn you want. Just note that your decreases will be different than the ones mentioned in this pattern. If you aren't sure how to decrease, just send me a comment and I will help you out!

Terms:
tks = Tunisian knit stitch

Pattern:
With color A, ch 75
Row 1: with one loop on hook, pick up each st across. Return row as normal (and for all rows until the decreases). Before pulling hook through last stitch, drop color A, yarn over and complete stitch with color B.
Row 2: with one loop on hook, tks across the row. Change color on last stitch of return row.
Rows 3 and on: continue knitting across, changing color each row, until piece reaches desired length. I stopped when my piece reached about 8" tall as I wanted a slouchy hat.

Decrease Row 1: tks each st across. On the return row, y/o and pull through one loop, y/o and pull through 2 two times, y/o and pull through 3, *y/o and pull through 2 three times, y/o and pull through 3.* Repeat from * to * to end of row.

Row 1a: tks across with other color, sliding hook through both stitches that were decreased in the previous return row. This will ensure that they remain decreased stitches.

Decrease Row 2: tks each st across. On the return row, y/o and pull through one loop, y/o and pull through 2, y/o and pull through 3, *y/o and pull through 2 two times, y/o and pull through 3.* Repeat from * to * to end of row.

Row 2a: tks across with other color, sliding hook through both stitches that were decreased in the previous return row. This will ensure that they remain decreased stitches.

Decrease Row 3: tks each st across. On the return row, y/o and pull through one loop, y/o and pull through 3, *y/o and pull through 2, y/o and pull through 3.* Repeat from * to * to end of row.

Row 3a: tks across with other color, sliding hook through both stitches that were decreased in the previous return row. This will ensure that they remain decreased stitches.

Decrease Row 4: tks each st across. On the return row, *y/o and pull through 3.* Repeat from * to * to end of row.

Row 4a: tks across with other color, sliding hook through both stitches that were decreased in the previous return row. This will ensure that they remain decreased stitches. Do not change color on the last stitch. At this point, you should have 15 stitches. Cut yarn, leaving a very long tail of the color you just used.

Finishing:
Thread the yarn through your tapestry needle. Insert needle on the left side of your work, through the last row just made. Slide needle through each stitch and pull snug. The top of your hat should be gathered now.

Turn work with right sides together and use the mattress stitch to seam together. After seaming, if you don't care for the curl created by the knit stitch, either block it into submission, or add a brim of some sort. Totally up to you!

By the way, I wrote this up on the fly and haven't really proofread it. If you find mistakes, my apologies! Let me know and I will fix it right away. :)



video


video

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened...

**Errata added 7/9** - Trim should read *Dc next st, ch 7, sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 2, sk 3 st, dc next st.*

The other day, a nice gal named Les sent up a challenge on Ravelry to recreate Doris Chan's famous All Shawl in Tunisian crochet. Well, I love Doris, I love shawls, and I think everyone knows I love Tunisian! So, that challenge was right up my alley.

I knew I needed something semi-circular, and something with a fairly tall, open stitch. After all, these are the traits carried by the All Shawl. So, following the basic formula for a perfect (half) circle, I set off using the Tunisian double crochet, also called Tunisian double stitch but...

A Funny Thing Happened...

Take a look at this picture of the shawl, before blocking. There is a definite sway to the right. Convinced I had screwed up somehow, somewhere, I started designing a new shawl, also semi-circular, but with a more complicated stitch pattern. Sure enough, the sway was there too! I am not sure why it's there; it doesn't really show up as much when working other shapes. But, I am convinced that blocking cures all evils, and it didn't fail me on this adventure either. Anyway, hope you enjoy this pattern!

Materials:
GypsyKnits BFL Superwash Wool Fingering weight, appx 385 yds
J Tunisian (afghan) hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge: not especially important.

Abbreviations:

tds = Tunisian double stitch (y/o, insert hk, draw up lp, y/o, draw through 2 lps)
y/o = yarn over (increase made)
lp = loop
hk = hook
sp = space
st = stitch
ch = chain

Notes:

•Ch 1 at the beginning of each row, counts as a tds.
•All return rows are as normal: y/o, pull through 1 loop, then y/o and pull through 2 loops for remainder of row.
•Yarn-overs, and the spaces created by them, count as stitches and should be worked accordingly.
•All stitches are created knitwise, meaning the hook is inserted from front to back, through the fabric.
•The fabric will not appear to be perfectly semi-circular. However, a good blocking will remedy the situation regardless of the fiber content used.

Pattern:

**Read Notes first!**
Ch 10
Row 1: With 1 lp on hk, *y/o, pull up next loop*. Repeat from * to * to end of row.
Row 2: With 1 lp on hk, tdc in y/o sp, *y/o, tdc in next st and y/o sp *. Repeat from * to * to end of row.
Row 3: With 1 lp on hk, tdc in next st and y/o sp, *y/o, tdc in next 2 st and y/o sp *. Repeat from * to * to end of row.
Row 4: With 1 lp on hk, tdc in next 2 st and y/o sp, *y/o, tdc in next 3 st and y/o sp *. Repeat from * to * to end of row.
Rows 5 – to desired size: continue increasing each section by tdc in each tdc, as well as each y/o sp.

Trim/Bind Off Row:

Ch 10, sc in 5th ch from hook (counts as dc, ch 2), ch 2, sk 3 st, dc next st. *Dc next st, ch 7, sc in 5th ch from hook, sk 3 st, dc next st.* Repeat from * to * to end of row. In the event that you are short or over 1 extra st, just sk 2 st for last trim section, or sk 2 for the last 2 sections, to even it out.

Finishing:

Block the shawl, regardless of the material used, to beat the sway into submission. Check out the pics here on the blocking board, and after. Blocking matters!







Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guess what?!

Yours truly is going to have her first nationally published pattern! That's right! One of the very best crochet magazines is taking a chance on little ol' me and I just can't believe it! I feel so accomplished all of a sudden. :)

I suppose that's about all I can say, but trust me when I say that it doesn't get much better than this. Really. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tunisian twisted knit stitch

Oh, and just for fun, and because it's a stitch I am working on in one of my new designs, here is a video tutorial on the Tunisian Twisted Knit Stitch (ttks)...

video

Left side increases in Tunisian crochet

So, I know I've been away for awhile, but it's been for good reason. Very good reason, actually. Awhile ago I was bitten by the design bug and since then it's been unstoppable. Obsessive really; it wakes me at night. I've been designing up a storm and have now submitted 4 designs to magazines with another 3 in the works at the moment. Now I know that none of them may ever actually get published, but I've got a pretty good feeling about them. And hey, I am getting out there. I am doing what I love. All the best designers started somewhere, right?

Anyway, during a design I was working on I came across a problem where I needed to increase the number of stitches but only on the left side. I am working in Tunisian crochet which presents some challenges. The right side increase is simple: chain the number of stitches you need, pick up the loops and keep on truckin'. Middle of the row increases are simple too - just place extra stitches between the posts (or something similar) in the appropriate places until the needed stitches are obtained. The left side is a horse of a different color. A fellow Raveler pointed me to a video from KnitDenise showing a left side increase using the Simple Cast On method, aka backwards E loop. A posting on Vashti Braha's blog noted the same technique. I tried it and was not pleased with my results. The bottom of the loops were too flimsy and loose for me, and didn't provide a clean edge. Of course, I have the same problem knitting into a Simple Cast On as well, so I should have guessed that crocheting into it would be no different for me. I needed the clean edge because I will be crocheting a trim onto it.

What's my solution then? Crochet Cast On! I used another hook to do a Crochet Cast On for one less than the number of extra stitches I needed. I took the last loop still on the extra hook and set it on my afghan hook. Voila! I had all the new stitches I needed, with a nice clean edge to come back and crochet over. I was so pleased I just needed to share!

Hope you find this helpful!

video

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Experiment in blocking acrylic

So, if you've looked at any of my patterns (seriously, ANY of them), you will note that I use acrylic yarns for everything. Absolutely everything. Hubby and daughter are allergic to wool and my sons have sensitive skin. Did I mention I have three kids? Everything I own needs to be wash and wear. I do own an iron but it lives in the garage next to my sewing machine for the few times I need to iron fabric before tracing and cutting patterns. Other than that, I don't believe in high maintenance wearables. Hence my love of acrylic.

This weekend I am heading to Las Vegas and I wanted to have a couple of kick-ass crocheted pieces to take along. I chose the Toshiko Popover and the All Shawl, both Doris Chan creations. I made the Popover in naturallycaron.com Spa, and the All Shawl in Red Heart Soft. They are rockin'! The All Shawl, though, is waaaay too short for my liking. I even added two extra rows but the inevitability is staring me in the face: I am going to have to block it.

Um, I've never blocked a thing in my life. Working with acrylic, I don't really find the need. Plus, it scares me. But this shawl is a thing of beauty and I am all about new challenges, so why not give it a go? Did a bit of research and it seems peoples views on blocking acrylic are all over the map. Wet block, steam block, don't block. What's a gal to think? This is when the science geek in me takes over. On to my experiment...

I made three swatches in Red Heart Soft. I used edc (extended double crochet) since that's the stitch used in the All Shawl. I made them 4"X4". One was a control swatch, and would remain in its original state throughout the experiment. One swatch was to be wet blocked, and one was to be steam blocked. I don't have blocking boards or push pins, so I made do with what I have. I used plastic canvas sheets and sewing pins. Seems to have worked just fine!

All three swatches...
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Sizing...
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Wet Blocking
For this swatch, I just soaked the swatch and rung out the water as much as possible. Then I pinned in place and waited. It took 5 hours to dry!

Wet blocking on the plastic canvas...
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Steam Blocking
For this swatch, I pinned in place and held my iron about 1 - 2" above the swatch. I kept blasting it with steam for about 2 or 3 minutes then left it to cool...which didn't take long.

Steam blocking on the plastic canvas...
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After blocking, both swatches were the same size, as expected.

All three swatches ready for the washer...
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But remember, this household is all about the washable benefits of acrylic. So, which method would retain its shape after being thrown in the washer/dryer? The results are quite clear. Although the steam blocked piece lost a bit of height, it's the obvious winner. In fact, I couldn't tell which swatch was original and which was wet blocked. Should have put a little contrasting yarn on that one too, but it really wouldn't have helped, since it ended up the same size as the original.

All three swatches, post washer/dryer...
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Hope you enjoyed the results of my experiment as much as I did. Guess a handheld steamer is in my future as I REALLY need to block my shawl. Once I do, I will add pics!