Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kicking Off July

Hello everyone - welcome to the hazy, lazy days of summer. It's been super warm around here, and there's pretty much no end in sight.

photo credit:
To distract from the heat of the moment, I am pleased to show you my two latest designs published in the August edition of I seem to be in cardigan overdrive these days: check out the Cozy Chic Cardi. Worked up in Drops Baby Alpaca Silk, this is a light, airy cardigan that's also a breeze to work up. The sleeves have cuff interest courtesy of some boho shaping (if the model's arm was straight, the sleeve would rest past the wrist). The overall look is relaxed and casual, and since it's lightweight, makes a great travel piece.

Please excuse the sun in the photo,
but you can see how the
cuff dips along the outer edge.
Additionally, I've written a quick article on how to work with multiple colors in tunisian crochet, and designed a cowl to show off the technique. The Mixed Bag Cowl is a great project not only because you'll get to play with color, but also because it does double duty as an excellent stash-busting project. While I used three different fingering weight yarns for the main body of the cowl, the edging is worked up in Berroco Mixer, which is dk weight. There's also a thick and thin quality to it that I found added a ton of interest to the cowl's edges.

This is a good shot of the thick and thin
quality of the edging done in Berroco Mixer.
This is a great project to play around with color and texture and create something unique with one of my all-time favorite techniques - working with multiple colors in tunisian crochet.

I do want to take a minute to also urge you to check out this edition of It is really chock-full of great crochet projects (my designs notwithstanding), including this lace topper that, if you like crochet lace as much as I do, you might want to make ... like ... pronto.

It's Indepedence Day weekend here in the U.S., and Canada just celebrated Canada Day. I wish everyone all kinds of freedom - however you define it.

Oh, and let's hope everyone stays cool and enjoys some rockin' food.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On Creating Crochet Lace: Fiber Choice Counts!

Hello everyone - I hope the beginning of summer (well, it will be here officially this weekend!) has thus far been good to you.

As some of you may know, I've been conducting a wee test of my Frosted Espresso Cardigan, which publishing rights have reverted back to me and I'll be releasing it once the test is complete. This cardigan is comprised of two different lace patterns - one very open (on the upper sleeves and back) and a puff-based design along the sleeve bottoms and front/neck. This design was intentional - my goal was to have pretty lace in the back and something slightly warmer in the front and along the sleeve openings, where (at least I) find that a little extra warmth is a good thing. For the sample, I used a duo of Rowan yarns held together: Rowan Fine Art (with a fiber makeup of: Merino Wool: 45%, Mohair: 20%, Silk: 10%, Polyamide: 25%), and Rowan Kidsilk Haze which is 70% Mohair and 30% silk. It produced a great looking sample. (Go here to see my previous blog entry about the Rowan yarns.)

Because two different lace/patterns are used, gauge is important, as well as good blocking abilities. I've provided photos of my two original swatches (and I do apologize for the less than spectacular shots, but you get the idea).

I wanted the back and upper sleeve lace sections to open up when blocked. Because of the fair amount of wool content in the Rowan Fine Art, not only did my sample swatches block nicely, but there's still some give to both of them (although, admittedly, I was more aggressive with the lace swatch than the puff-based swatch).

Andean mist from my stash in colorway Chaiten
I have no issue with testers making fiber substitutions - that's the nature of making one's own projects. My testers decided to swap out two yarns held together for one: Berroco Andean Mist, since it was on sale at Webs earlier in the spring. While I've not used it for a project, I do like it, since it's comprised of some wonderful fibers - suri alpaca and mulberry silk. It's also incredibly lightweight and lofty, which I know appealed to one of my testers. I even, albeit briefly, thought about using it (since I'm making a cardigan for myself during this test), but opted for a two-yarn cocktail somewhat similar to my original Rowan blend - LB Collection Silk Mohair (70% mohair, 30% silk), and Lion Brand Sock-ease (75% wool, 25% nylon). The Sock-ease has a higher wool content and nylon, allowing for spring and memory. As you can see in the photo, I swatched with what I had on hand, and liked how the swatch behaved. I still had to purchase more of both yarns, but I was glad to have found a nice match for these two stash skeins.

Fast forward to now, and one of my testers has brought to my attention that perhaps more of the open lace repeats should be included in the pattern, since she really needed to block the h&%# out of her shrug ("to within an inch of its life" were her exact words). While I am willing to tinker (and have pursuant to her request), I do feel this is also a case of even though one achieves gauge (which my tester did with the Andean Mist and an H hook), that perhaps a fiber with some wool in it might have behaved better for her, and I have photos of a little test I did to illustrate the point ... which I'll share in the second installment of this blog post, which will occur in a few days. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summertime Fun

This absolutely scrumptious handspun alpaca is a dream
to work with. I so love alpaca!
Happy Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday everyone. I must admit, it's been an up and down week - I was thrilled to announce the winners in the Spring Flingy Thingy giveaway on Monday, but I'm really sad to see the two months of making come to an end. The good thing? Since not everything was completed (and I'm looking at you, my Espresso Cardigan test), I still get some residual fun in June.

While I have no finished objects to show (for the moment), I thought I'd share some of the fiber that's currently on my hooks.
I'm looking forward to showing everyone
what this summer loveliness became.

Additionally, I realized a few days ago that in all the Voie de Vie Spring Flingy Thingy information and goings-on, I actually failed to post the final art blog installment in my local yarn shop tour from last year. Even though our local tour for this year is over (for a few weeks now), it's the LYS tour/hop season for many, so this is still current. For anyone who missed the earlier installments, Day 1 is hereDay 2 is here, and Day 3 is here. Again, these art diary entries are from the largest local LYS tour in the Puget Sound from 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed creating these art diaries.

I hope everyone has a great, fiber-filled weekend. And enjoy the sunshine if you get some.