Saturday, February 18, 2017

Anyone for a Little Weaving With Their Crochet?

Last summer, Jackie Daugherty, the editor at Crochet World Magazine, and I were having a discussion about ways to incorporate different types of fabric with crochet. That conversation led to my playing with a new-to-me, cool tool - a Schacht Zoom Loom - which led to my latest third-party-published design, the Spring Madras Shawl. I am super thrilled to show it off to everyone. While I had no idea this would occur, its publication in the April edition of Crochet World Magazine also just happens to coincide with my 100th published design! Another small pinch-me moment - and I am pleased to have it occur with this light and gorgeously-colored stole.

As you will see at the top left of this post, I snapped and am sharing one of many process photos of me warping and wefting my Zoom Loom. It is very easy, and this design is the perfect introduction to the weaving process. Once you work a few of the woven squares, it becomes an easy primer on successfully manipulating this portable pin loom. Additionally, construction on this stole (woven blocks first, then airy crochet motifs worked later in a form of join-as-you), makes it a great travel project.

I also need to say just a thing or two about the yarn used - Berroco Folio and Folio Color. Initially, it is an oh-so-soft alpaca blend with dreamy colorways. I cannot tell you how much this color combination screams spring to me. Folio comes in 27 solid colors (I used #4545 cove for the crochet joining motifs); Folio Color comes in five self-striping colorways. I used #4595 harpswell for the woven blocks and the colorway takes on added shading and light with this loom treatment.

Berroco Folio colorway cove on the left; Folio Color in harpswell
used for the woven blocks.
I am also really pleased with this design for a second reason: the woven block joining treatment. I truly think this little pin loom has all kinds of design possibilities because the joining method is still, virtually, a blank slate. There are many designs out there in the crafty wild that seam the blocks together, but, broadly speaking, very little else. I have chosen one (in my estimation) obvious crochet treatment that creates a lightweight stole with loads of drape and movement. I think there's a whole world of possibilities - and, of course, I am in the process of continuing to explore that whole, new world!

I want to thank Jackie for having that conversation with me last summer. Everyone can check out this design digitally in the April edition of Crochet World Magazine; it also can be viewed on my Ravelry Design page, along with my 99 other designs. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Anyone for a Slouchy Cardi?

Now that A La Maison 2 is finally published, we can get on with the lovely business of making. First up, for me and several others, is The Cozy Chic Cardi. I am hosting a CAL in my Ravelry group, and there are others who are just starting to pick yarn for this project. 

At right is my original sample for this design, worked in Drops Baby Alpaca Silk. I am an unabashed fan of Drops yarns, and Baby Alpaca silk in particular. I could make almost everything in this lovely silky mix, which has really wonderful drape and softness. However, the color range is a little on the uninspiring side. I really wanted this cardi in teal, so I opted for Plan B, Drops Flora. Shown on the left in the awesome petrol colorway, it was exactly what I wanted. Technically lighter in weight than the Baby Alpaca Silk, I am confident I will easily achieve gauge with the Flora and, perhaps, a hook adjustment. While I am losing a little bit of softness (but not much, the Flora is a wool/alpaca blend, so still high up there on the softness register), the wool will help in this garment, since I plan on getting loads of wear out of it.

The CAL goes through March 11, so everyone has plenty of time to join us and make one of these lovely cardigans. Your wardrobe will thank you. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Finally - My First New Publication of 2017!

Well folks, this publication has been 6 months in the making, and finally I can announce that the entire A La Maison 2 collection is finally released! I am beyond breathing a sigh of relief; there is definitely a wee bit of champagne in my immediate future.

I wanted to get all of these designs out in early fall 2016, but then real life intervened, first in late summer/early fall with a series of work issues that required immediate and full attention, to be quickly followed by the 2016 Indie Gift-a-long event, which really does just devour all free time. Throw in a living space move, and you have a recipe for design self-publishing interrupted.

However, this e-book is done now, and I am mighty darn pleased with my publishing self. Fourteen accessory designs for home and self for the modern maker in both knit and crochet (although predominantly crochet, in the interests of full disclosure). All of the designs are available for individual purchase, or one can immediately download the entire collection via e-book at the link above. The e-book has a few additions that one won't have access to from any individual design purchase: I have included a bag lining technique section which was, in pertinent part, published initially by in June, 2015. Additionally, to reflect and underscore the interconnected nature of this collection, I have also included a significant materials list at the beginning of the e-book. Much like a grocery shopping list, makers can simply take the materials list with them when they make their various supply runs if they should decide to make one or several of these designs for themselves or their spaces.

Finally, this is the first publication of mine that has charts for almost all of the designs (with the notable exception of those few designs originally published by third-party publishers that did not require an initial chart). I have been creating charts for many of my published patterns over the last few years, but it has, admittedly, been hit and miss. Not anymore! Since crochet has very limited charting software resources (there is one product out there, but with rather crappy functionality), many crochet designers develop their own symbols and methods of manipulating those symbols. I am no different, and I am feeling fairly comfortable with the system I have devised, so my days of not working up a chart for any design are officially numbered at zero.

Do feel free to click on the look-book below for a view of A La Maison 2. I hope you enjoy. I am off to pop that champagne cork.