Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Design Anniversary March Nod

The current state of my tri-color Cracked Glass Cowl. I'm going to
finish that light green yarn at any moment, and have another green,
more olive in tone with a little bling, all ready and waiting to go.
 As March nears its close (resembling neither lion nor lamb), and as people start to finish projects in the current Cowl-o-rama a-long, I thought it appropriate in this design anniversary year to recognize the 5-year mark of my Ravelry group

I started it in March 2011, and it has been a small repository of my design evolution. It started out as a place where we read books together and swapped fiber and other stuff, but as my design career gained momentum, the focus changed. It has also slowly and organically grown (and I reached 200 members yesterday, an admittedly small, yet amazing milestone for me), which growth I am really pleased with. I am all kinds of humbled and grateful that other people want to follow my design progress as well as make one of my designs - definitely a pinch me moment.

There's still time to join us and make a quick spring cowl, since the a-long doesn't end till the 10th of April. Etched Ice and La Coeur Cowl have been the two popular designs so far, but I think we'll also see some tunisian crochet cowl design completions before it's all said and done.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate the holiday! Maybe instead of a new Easter bonnet, we should revise the tradition: a new Easter cowl. 

I like that.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tri-Color Work in Tunisian Crochet

So we're all starting to work up our cowls in the current Cowl-o-Rama (and there's still plenty of time to join us!). Some of us are working up Etched Ice cowls, one participant has already completed a La Coeur Cowl (it really is a quick crochet), and a few participants are working on a few different three-color tunisian crochet cowl designs of mine. Since this is a form of colorwork I really enjoy, I thought I'd provide here a form of the visual tutorial I wrote for to coincide with their publishing the Mixed Bag Cowl design last year.

Working with color in design, or art, or when crafting is universally appealing – just look at the explosion of long color run yarns like Noro. This is an area where a multi-disciplinary approach really comes in handy: my painting experience has taught me colors come alive and reveal personality only in context with other colors. As on the painting canvas, so too in creating crochet fabric - there is something infinitely satisfying about watching colors take form and reveal themselves in context in a crochet project.

While there are several ways to inject color when crocheting, one of the easiest ways is to work with multiple colors at once. In tunisian crochet (and the same technique can be applied when crocheting with a traditional short hook), the principle behind using three different yarns at once is quite simple: work an entire row in yarn A, switch to yarn B at the end of the row without fastening off the first color, work the next row in yarn B through the end, attach yarn C without fastening off yarn B and work the next row in yarn C. At the end of each subsequent row, drop the yarn you’re currently using and pick up the next yarn that’s waiting.  You’ll carry the yarns neatly up each side of the work without fastening off, so there’s no pesky yarn tails to weave into your newly created colorful crochet fabric. Additionally, working with three yarn colors at once is a great way to use up stash in intriguing and fresh ways. Don’t be afraid to try different color combinations or, even, of using different yarn weights in the same project.  

A note: this tutorial assumes the crocheter has knowledge of tunisian crochet utilizing one color. The tutorial picks up at the backward pass of the initial row in tunisian crochet:

1.  Work the backward pass of the pattern’s designated
row in yarn A until there are two loops remaining 
on the hook.

2.  Drop yarn A without fastening off and attach 
yarn B by making a loop over the hook with it 
and complete the row.

3.  Work the forward pass of the next row with yarn B 
through completion of the last stitch. 

4.   Drop yarn B without fastening off and attach yarn C 
by looping it over the hook and work the backward pass 
until there are two loops remaining on the hook.

5.  At this point you will have three different yarns live 
in the back of your work – the one you’re currently 
using and one at each end of the work.

6.  From this point on, you’ll change yarns at the end 
of any pass by dropping the yarn you’re using and 
picking up the yarn that’s waiting. It’s that simple. 
While not a requirement, when changing yarns at
either end of a row I like to ensure that the new 
working yarn is beneath the yarn being dropped. 
In this way, the dropped yarn gets carried up the 
side of the work in a neat manner.

7.   Here is how the back of the fabric looks. 
Notice how the yarn is neatly carried up along 
each side of the fabric. Since this cowl will be 
seamed prior to the addition of edgings 
worked in the round, these sides will 
become hidden from view.

I hope this gives you inspiration to stash dive and make a cowl with three colors - of course, right along with us in the Cowl-o-Rama!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Just in Time for Cowl-o-rama

I am pleased to introduce the newest cowl to my Ravelry Design Store, the Mixed Bag Cowl

As regular readers of the blog may remember, I originally blogged about this cowl's publication back in July of 2015. Well, my design rights have reverted back to me, I've created a second sample, snapped some additional lovely photos, et voila! an almost-brand-spanking-new cowl is ready and waiting for purchase.

I am showing a photo of both samples of this cowl together, so you may be able to see the color interplay not only within each sample, but between the two cowls side by side. There is one fiber that is common to both samples, Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the shire colorway, but then the rest of the fibers are different in each. As you can see (and something I continually talk about), color is all about context - you may be able to pick out the Tosh Merino Light  in each sample, but together with other colors, it acts very differently. Love this, like a lot.

In fact, I love pretty much everything about this design. It's tunisian crochet (one of my favorite techniques), utilizes tri-strand colorwork, and is a study in color. Absolutely my sweet spots. I could make many of these cowls. 


Friday, March 4, 2016

Yarny Prizes and a New Design - Yes, They're Connected!

Well, it's Fiber Arts Friday (although pretty much everyday is a fiber arts day at chez Voie de Vie), and I'm here with a new design. Fresh off the virtual presses at, I'm so thrilled to share with you my Springtime Decadence Shawl.

Photo (c) and used
with kind permission
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed designing and working up this shawl. Made with an incredible Shades of Jade gradient set in the Rustic Fingering base from Neighborhood Fiber Company (oh Karida and her most awesome dye pots!), this shawl is everything spring - glorious shades of green (and if you look at my photo background at left, you'll see some of those shades reflected), an easy lace pattern that just flows off the hook, and a shape that stays easily on the shoulders. This is a great piece to have on hand in transition weather.

And get a load of that awesome color!!!!
I must also take a moment to express my appreciation to both and Neighborhood Fiber Co. Both of these entities have been real supporters of my design career, and their continued support means a lot to me. I took a quick look at my designs catalog over at (and it's sister publication, and they have published over 15 of my designs since they started publishing in 2014, as well as several technique articles.

Additionally, I cannot say enough good things about Karida Collins and her team (well, ok, it's Kristen, but hey, she's amazing!) at Neighborhood Fiber Company. Some of my most beloved designs have used her wonderful yarn (and there will be more from her showing up in my designs later this year). There is something about Karida's saturated colors that just speaks to my color-loving heart. I put the Springtime Decadence Shawl up next to one of my paintings just to show the yarn's vibrancy. It absolutely stands up and says "Notice Me!" while still playing well with other colors in the sandbox. It doesn't get much better than that, my yarny friends.
And folks, this photo was snapped outside in the
middle of the day
. That's how dark it can be here
in the rainy, springtime Pacific Northwest.

And now to the yarny prizes portion of this blog entry. As some of you may know, I will be starting a new Cowl-o-rama K/CAL in my Ravelry group on Monday (and people are already signing up - yeah!). I am super thrilled to reveal the prizes to be awarded in April at the end of the a-long, and you'll see the tie-in to the Springtime Decadence Shawl in just a moment, so wait for it folks.

First, I am so pleased that another indie dyer has donated this lovely skein of yarn to the left. Denise over at Lost City Knits dyes beautiful yarn. She and I have been virtual friends since our days hanging out in a rather large shawl group on Ravelry - she, a sponsor and me, the sponsor coordinator. Well, once I started designing for publication, Denise kindly supported the cause with a skein of her luscious Twin Canyon Merino/Silk fingering that I turned in my Embossed Coleman Muffler (originally published by, you guessed it, in April, 2015). So, to honor that yarny support, the first prize I'll be awarding in the Cowl-o-rama a-long is Lost City Knits Twin Canyon Merino/Silk fingering - 500 yards in the glowing copper penny colorway + a copy of the Coleman Embossed Muffler pattern. It's a great one-skein project, easy enough for beginner knitters, yet still has a lovely stitch pattern that will keep more advanced knitters happily meditating over their sticks.

And yes, you can thank Karida at NFC for this most
awesome prize - 1,250 yards of Rustic Fingering gradient
Finally, I am also so thrilled to announce that I will be giving away to one lucky cowl finisher a Shades of Jade gradient kit from Neighborhood Fiber Company! I think I'm almost more excited to give it away than those who might have the opportunity to win this yarny package. I cannot provide the Springtime Decadence Shawl pattern (darn those contractual obligations), but you can purchase an individual month of and receive the shawl pattern automatically on your device of choice.

See how this all ties together so neatly? Love that. 

Head on over to the Cowl-o-rama thread on Ravelry and
get in on all this yarny prize action by making a cowl
with us, alright?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

It's Almost Cowl-o-Rama Time!

I hope everyone is surviving the beginning of March. We are almost done with the Head, Hands & Heart a-long (it wraps up this weekend), so I'll have more to say about it, as well as announce the prize draw results, early next week.

In the interim, here's the reveal of the next a-long announcement: it's cowls, people! All the cowls will be made, hopefully all the time in my group between next Monday and April 10th. There will be yarny prizes, and they are pretty awesome for this next a-long. Additionally, several of my cowl designs will be on sale for the first week of the a-long, and you can check out the sale designs as well as all of the designs that are eligible to be made in this CAL by viewing the Cowl-o-rama bundle.

Come on over and make a cowl, won't you?