Friday, December 27, 2013

The Final Romantique Design ...

Lion Brand Amazing in
the vineyard colorway and
Romance in the merlot
colorway - very apropos.
Alright my fellow fibery crafters, we're at the last design installment from my Romantique collection - the Brix Coat. Again, there was no particular reason for me to leave this for the end, but I must admit, it is a great note upon which to anchor the collection.

The basic design came to me way back in March (when I was working on Fleurs et L'eau, which is definitely the way with me), but didn't get sketched out for another month. For those who may be interested, brix is a wine-making term (the sweetness level of a grape prior to picking), and once I saw the fibers and colorways in which I wanted to work the coat, the name instantly popped into my head. I am pleased with the balance of fur - just the right amount around collar and cuffs - and I do love Lion Brand's Amazing yarn. If you've never worked with it, I urge you to give it a go; it's brushed so it's soft and warm, and the long color runs ensure great tonal stripes. These photos are very true to the colorway in real life - isn't it just super? The Romance (also by Lion Brand) is a very silky fur. It requires use of a rather honking big hook, so be warned.

And, of course, I needed to make a great button statement. That's a 2" diameter button, and I love it.

The coat comes in just three sizes, and each size fits a wide range. I've shown it here in the second size, but these models could have easily worn the first size. The goal is to provide an easy on/off topper for a multitude of potential winter layers underneath, or a great warm topper with some sass on a dressy night out. And of course while I love these colorways, I can easily envision this in a winter white/gray/brown treatment or any number of other knock-out color combinations. 

By the time you read this (or very soon thereafter), all of the Romantique patterns will be in the Ravelry database, along with the entire e-book. The collection is going to go on a very brief (!) blog tour, ending the first week in January. I will be hosting a CAL in my Ravelry group mainly (although not exclusively) for the collection starting in the new year and running through mid-February. There will be prizes (hint: yummy yarn!) and fun. I hope you'll join us.

Now don't forget to hit The Wonder Why Gal's site to check out the end-of-year fiber doings. It's been another amazing year for me. Wrap up soon.

Add a great black dress, and you're ready for a
rockin' New Year's Eve on the town.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hey, It's Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday ...

... and to totally confuse everyone (because I do have one final pattern from Romantique to introduce), let's jump ahead to ... spring, shall we?

My latest publication design has just been released - it's the Boxed Flower Coverlet:

This coverlet (it's a duvet cover, really) is great for anyone looking to inject some new life into an old but otherwise perfectly fine comforter. The tone-on-tone treatment Crochet! Magazine chose makes the coverlet look very rich and classic - but the color combinations are just about endless. Gotta love bold, graphic designs.

Worked in Universal's Uptown Worsted, it's also easy-care. We definitely love that.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with this design, and how pleased I am that it has made it safely out into the crafty wild. If you'd like to see a preview of the entire spring publication (which is available electronically now, and on newsstands January 7th), head on over to Crochet! Magazine's website.

2013 is definitely ending on a high note.

Now do please head on over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder and check out what everyone else is working on right before the big day. To each of you, whether a regular reader or just visiting for the first time, I wish you a holiday filled with peace, joy, light, and definitely plenty of good food and laughter.

Boxed Flowers in process. Don't the motifs
look a little like Italian cookies?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Romantique Extra: A Few Fun Photos

Before I post the last design in this collection, I thought I'd take a moment to post a few of the funnier photos from the various photo shoots. None of these are meant to embarrass any model (who all did a fantastic job - I cannot thank each of them enough); nevertheless we all have unguarded moments ...

Capturing a funny comment mid-word (and
check out the precarious hold on the martini glass)

Hilarity ensues when models give hand
placement tips and suggestions.

Oh, isn't the ring just gorgeous?

Charlies' Angels fun.

Just trying to stay warm at the end of busy day
of modeling.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 7 of 8 Days of Designs: One Awesomely Quick Pullover

Well, everyone, I am up to the penultimate design of my Romantique collection for autumne/hiver 2013, and we have come upon my pullover for the season - the Moody Bleu:

This pullover may have a rather detailed pattern, but it is actually quite simple to put together: it's bottom-up construction, worked in the round to the underarms. The sleeves are also worked in the round to the sleeve cap, so finishing is minimal. Intuitive, intuitive, intuitive.

What surprised me the most about this design is my final choice of fiber. The body of this is worked up in Red Heart  Boutique Eclipse, and people let me tell you this yarn is incredibly lightweight and springy. And look at those colors! I used two different colorways (carrying both but using one each on alternate rows) and I absolutely love how it turned out. Combined with the Berroco Cirrus I used for that spiffy collar, and I am completely pleased with the color play.

This is a pullover that will do well with a lightweight, very sproingy yarn - something with a tight twist, or with some amount of nylon. The chainette construction of the Red Heart also makes the texture of this almost crunchy, which I just love. Can you tell I'm completely bowled over by this yarn? Really, I had no idea.

Blogger is giving me fits this evening, so loading more photos will not be possible. However, look for more on the Ravelry pattern page as well as in the online preview book. I am just so thrilled with this pullover, I didn't want to wait any longer to post. :)

Ok, just one more to go. Let's hope Blogger behaves better later.


EDIT: Moody Bleu Part Deux

What a difference a good sleep can make - Blogger is now back to its ole' self, and uploading photos of the Moody Bleu pullover is easy as cake.

To the right is a back shot - I love how these colors and textures play together. The lace is a very easy stitch, picked up around the neck edge and worked in successively decreasing hook sizes; there's also one row of actual decreases, which gives a nice fit at the back of the neck. It can also be folded down for a slight shawl collar effect.

I am also a big proponent of Tunisian 1x1 ribbing - the other knit/purl ribbing, as I like to call it. I love its great stitch definition, although it behaves rather differently than it's knit counterpart: there's really no stretch to speak of, so whatever gauge you work the stitches is how it will stay - no expansion or contraction.

Nevertheless, I think it provides a neat finish to most edges, and is especially intriguing with this self-striping yarn (I used only one color at cuffs and hem).

Thanks so much for sticking with my Romantique collection roll-out. If you haven't yet seen the pattern preview book, feel free to check it out here.

And happy holiday making!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day 6 of 8 Days of Designs: Motif-a-Rockin' Shawl

Hello my fellow crafty ones, here I am at day 6 of my Romantique: Autumne/Hiver 2013 roll-out. My apologies for being slightly tardy with this day, but it was unavoidable.

Now everyone who reads this blog knows how much I love shawls, so this second shawl of the collection not only has a special place in my heart, it is just downright drippingly gorgeous. It is far and away the most beautiful thing I've ever designed. Please welcome into the designing wild my Forged Joy shawl:

Using just two skeins of Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s Capital Luxury Lace (a merino/ cashmere/nylon blend), this became the project of the season for me. The motif came to me fairly quickly way back in early spring, but the edging ... well, that's a whole 'nother story. Less than 36 hours before I shot these photos, I ripped back about half of it because I did not like how it was developing, and started again. I am sooooooo glad I did ... but I was sweating it right up until I pulled it off the blocking pins.

It's a v-shape, which really stays well on the shoulders. While all the motifs are the same, the placement of the center motif (seen on the left arm of the top photo) is a real show-stopper, especially when worn on the side. And, of course, the beads on the final edging row add just the right amount of bling and weight to keep the shawl pretty and in place. It's also long enough on each side that it can be folded over in the front and worn almost scarf-like, yet because of that awesome center motif, generously hugs the shoulders. Doesn't it almost look like a tattoo in the photo on the left? I do love a good graphic design. :)
This project is definitely for advanced crocheters that want a challenge. Nevertheless, the crafty person will be rewarded with a most amazingly stunning shawl. At least I think they will be rewarded.

I do hope you make it on over to Andrea's at the Wonder Why Alpaca Farm (whose lovely yarn I used in the skirt which you can see peeking in a few photos above) to see what everyone else is up to this Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday.

I am getting to the end of my collection introductions. Just two more designs to go.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day 5 of 8 Days of Designs: A Play of Fiber & Texture

We are onto Day 5 of the design introductions from my latest collection: Romantique - Autumne/Hiver 2013, and I thought we'd lighten the palette up just a bit with my cowl design for this season - the Lush Looped Scarf:

I am a pretty big cowl fan. I have cowls in most colors, and I love designing them. This one was especially sweet because it's just slightly over-the-top - both in terms of length and the amazingly beautiful yarn choices. 

Initially, I used Tess' Designer Yarns Silk and Ivory for the main body of the shawl. A 50/50 silk/wool blend, I cannot relate to you just how soft this heavy fingering/light dk weight yarn is. And with 665 buttery soft yards in every skein + amazing custom colorways, what's not to love?

This cowl is slightly different than my other longer length cowl designs in that the main body is worked lengthwise. Getting through the initial first row might seem a little, shall we say, long? - but once done, the easily memorized stitch pattern makes this a great evening project. You'll be so engrossed with other things, you won't realize just how quickly you'll breeze through its main portion.

Then, you'll need only one more ball of laceweight mohair - in the case of my sample, I used's Silken Kydd in the baked apple colorway (doesn't that just sound yummy?). It's held double, and the edging goes quickly. The subtle lines created by the edging stitches (as well as the fiber content) are a textural counterpoint to the main body lace. If you're not one for mohair, definitely feel free to choose another fiber blend with a halo - angora is another great choice.

This lush piece falls so nicely around the neck and shoulders and provides excellent, stylish warmth. It's a great added bonus to be able to work with great fibers that are so soft next to the skin.

I'll be back on Friday with another installment - we're getting down to the designing wire.

And a final, small update: I'm now whole hog (well, almost) on social media: I'm @DeniseVoiedeVie on Twitter, and DeniseVoiedeVie on Instagram. Do feel free to follow along.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 4 of 8 Days of Designs: The Ripple Stitch Reimagined

Hello my crafty friends - here we are at the midway point of my Romantique: Autumne/Hiver 2013 collection, and I'd like to talk a little about the oft-maligned crochet ripple stitch. It inhabits a well-worn place in the traditional crochet stitch pantheon, which also means that it gets its fair share of knocks. We all know someone who has a ripple stitch afghan, right? On the other hand, there are those mavericks over at Missoni who leaned into it and just made the stitch pattern figuratively vibrate with color and new life.
Well, I wanted to put a somewhat unique spin on the ripple stitch. I see it as almost tweed-like, and in a solitary, saturated color in fibers that have drape and good stitch definition, downright fantastic. Paired with a fresh take on a crocheted skirt, and you have all the elements for my New Wave Skirt:

This design actually became a favorite at the photo shoot - much to my surprise and joy. It actually looks good on most any body type, and the length can be customized, although I admit I do tend to like most of my skirts above the knee (with exceptions, of course). This one has a zipper in the back (and yes, it really looks great!) as well as a simple twist on foundation stitches that gives a fun little effect along the hem:

I worked this up in Wonder Why Alpaca Farm's sportweight alpaca/merino/silk blend, which provided such great definition to this ripple stitch pattern. And the colorway - well, what I can say about wine on the vine? It was definitely sweet music in the skein.

The Wonder Why Farm's yarn is on the left.
Really yummy, no?
This skirt is amazingly easy to put together - just two pieces, and other than the zipper and some folds prior to working the waist, incredibly straightforward. I'm looking forward to working one up for myself. Yes, yes indeed.
If you'd like to see a few additional photos of the skirt, feel free to access the Romantique preview booklet here. 
See you tomorrow for Day 5. Which pattern will it be????

Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 3 of 8 Days of Designs: A Little Jewelry Music

Alright, we're up to day three of my 8 days of designs, and we've hit upon one of my favorite designs in the collection (even though I do love all of them) - The Channeling Gabrielle Necklaces:

These are gorgeously delicate, yet made strong with the use of LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel. The small amount of stainless steel also provides a certain "memory" which is very much appreciated when crafting jewelry. As a result, these are soft enough to wear next to the skin, yet can withstand more wear and tear that one might think from first glance.

Both necklaces take advantage of very simple motif work, but are worked up differently, and the pattern contains a schematic explaining the joining points of the shorter necklace.
I also thought this a good opportunity to mention how color changes in context. I photographed these necklaces against the backdrop of two different portions of one of my paintings created for this collection, and the necklace color really changes depending on the background:

 Do you see how the cerise colorway of the LB Wool Stainless Steel almost becomes neon-ified up against the blue values in the painting? Against the more neutral portion of the painting, the cerise (along with the beads) just lights up.

I love both of these, and expect I'll work up a few more in different colorways, either in the LB Wool Stainless Steel, or perhaps Habu Textile's Stainless Steel. I will need to study the colorways before I decide. I will also say that either of these would look super in Habu Textile's copper version of its stainless steel. Hmmm ... so many great materials choices, so little crafty time ...

Do stay tuned for tomorrow's design installment. And if you're hankering to see the pattern preview book for all of these designs, just scroll up to either the first or second day, and then just click on the linky.

A cone of LB Wool Stainless Steel -
there's several pieces of jewelry
to come from it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 2 of the 8 Days of Designs: Hat Fun

Welcome to my second design from the latest Romantique collection, and they are 
decidedly on the fun side of romance:

Say hello to two slightly different versions of the Persephone Hood. Since I'm always so warm (just color me polar bear), I don't wear hats all that much. However, this one I'd probably don - and yes, they're warm, but they also sit lightly on the head yet stay in place because of the shape. It's inspired from a bob haircut - slightly shorter in the back and longer in the front. That extra little bit of weight in the front (and the pompoms on the left-hand side version also helps with weight) allows it to stay on the head.

And of course, there's no accounting for the pompom fun factor, as well as the fur trim on the purple version - just perfect, in my biased estimation.

These were the last projects to be photographed during this shoot and it shows, not only in the smiles and silliness of the models (we'd been at for a few hours and a few locations at the site) as well as the lengthening shadows at day's end. I like that it makes the hoods become an even more integral part of the scene - one of the hoods remained on the model during shooting of a different piece, and it just worked.

And if you haven't yet seen the pattern preview book, I provide it again here for your easy viewing:

I'll see you tomorrow for Day 3. :)