Monday, September 10, 2012

New Pattern Available

It's been a busy summer and fall, but I've got a few patterns in the works. One is a hat pattern I came up with last spring that has received many compliments. It uses scrap yarn, so you can reduce your stash while making it. I hope to post that pattern in the next month, just in time for the Fall/Winter weather. I plan on including some color theory basics to help you organize your scraps into an attractive hat.

For now I've posted my scrubber pattern, called "Quickie Scrubbie," which you can find on my freelance site, Suite101 (along with some other patterns I've created). To check out that pattern see this link. I've also created a finishing technique for this pattern, which makes it a little bit less quick, but looks nice. I hope to post that technique sometime this month, along with pictures to make it easier to understand. For the time being, give Quickie Scrubbie a try. I love using mine to do dishes, it makes scrubbing plates less of a chore.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog Redesign Update

Hello!

After considering my options for a couple of weeks I've decided to keep the blog as-is for now.

I may put new free patterns on the web at my old freelance site Suite101, and/or convert some of my patterns here to purchasable downloads following a free testing period. Patterns posted/published on Suite101 would be linked back here, so you won't miss them.

I'm currently working on a scrubber pattern, so more news about that soon. It only uses a small amount of cotton worsted weight yarn, works up in a sitting and is a great easy/beginner project. I've already made a few test versions, so now I'm into the pattern instructions/photographing phase. So please stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blog Redesign

Hello!

Please forgive me for not posting in awhile. I've been finishing up school, traveling and busy with new studies. While I enjoy blogging about my crochet designs, I am considering a redesign of this site that incorporates my other creative projects. This will allow me to synthesize my creative works as well as post more frequently in one setting vs creating new blogs.

I'm considering migrating some of my pattern instructions over to Suite101 to enhance revenue I already earn there. I would still discuss my designs and projects on this blog, but would also post about other endeavors such as painting and drawing, digital work, photography, sewing and creative writing.

For example, this evening I worked on some color sketches for a series of small paintings. These are just rough drafts and will change a lot before the paintings are done.

I'm still mulling over options for streamlining my different creative endeavors together. Please let me know if you have any specific feedback or suggestions. I appreciate input! Thanks for catching up.

Kristin

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dreary Week

It's been a cold, wet and gray week in Minneapolis. It even snowed a bit, and it's April! I shouldn't be surprised, having lived in the Midwest about five years, but we had a mild winter this season. I was hoping spring would mild, too -- sunny, in the 60's and 70's, with a refreshing breeze. Instead it's been in the 30s and 40s, with damp precipitation and a biting wind.

Because of the inclement weather I haven't had good lighting (or motivation) to shoot photos of my current projects. Instead of a new projects post, I thought I'd put up pictures of the "Divine Hat" I crocheted a few months ago. Divine Hat is a design by Sarah Arnold. Her pattern is super quick and easy once you get the hang of it. You get to crochet into the space between stitches. I love patterns like this because they're so easy. There are over 3,000 Divine Hat projects posted on Ravelry -- impressive!

Here is my Divine Hat. I used some light blue Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe. The official color name is "beach glass." Bonus points for a beach reference. I took the first few pictures down by the lake, which is sort of like a beach? Anyways, here it is.



I knew I needed to make this hat when I saw someone else wearing it while I was walking around town. My neighbor made it in a bright green yarn and it looked awesome. I was like, OMG, I recognize that pattern from Ravelry and it's gorgeous! Must make it! Has that ever happened to you before -- see someone else wearing a crochet or knit pattern you've been thinking of making?

Divine hat worked up so quickly that I wanted to make another one. Luckily, the pattern page contains instructions for infant and preemie versions. The preemie version calls for DK weight, and I had some leftover cotton-poly hiding in my stash. I'm going to make a couple more and donate them to a local hospital. I've been told that hospitals get a lot of knit/crochet donations, but they can always use more.

Here is my preemie hat. The thought of a preemie wearing this tiny thing is definitely cute. I recommend making this hat if you've got some leftover soft, cotton or synthetic machine washable yarn. The preemie version used a very small amount of yarn.


A few more pics...


A friend took them for me on a trip to Ikea, which is why you see odd boxes and furniture in the background. We were killing time in the check-out line.



This weekend I hope to post more about my shawl, and the beading technique from the "Beaded Twist" bracelet pattern I posted a couple of weeks ago. Crossing my fingers for decent weather!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Taking A Break with a Shawlette




I've been working on design ideas for new patterns, but have reached the point where I need to step back for awhile. I decided to take a break Friday and browsed Ravelry for patterns by other designers.

For some time I've longingly gazed at the romantic photos of women with triangular, lacey shawls. The pinnacle of shawl joy seems to be that moment when you hold up the lacey triangle behind you, and it blows in the wind dramatically. The light catches your shawl in just the right way to show off the stitches evenly. You have a photo taken and upload it on Ravelry for all to see.

It reminds me of Japanese animation flicks in which star crossed lovers meet amongst billowing pink petals. I swear this scene is in every anime show. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it looks like this. You can google "anime petals" it if you don't believe me.


image from animepaper.net user bouinboun

The romantic shawl photo is basically the equivalent of this scene in anime. Being the avid crocheter that I am, I've envisioned myself like this, only with a shawl blowing in the wind instead of petals and a significant other, lol.

What has held me back from shawl drama has been lack of yarn. Shawls eat up many yards of yarn, and I'm hesitant to purchase several skeins at a time because of my finicky nature. I change my mind about what sort of project I really want to work on several times and almost never crochet what I originally intended to. I usually grab one skein at a time at the sale loft or thrift store and see what happens from there.

Luckily, my winter sock-making spree has left me with the right weight yarn. While browsing through Ravelry I came across a Lion Brand pattern called "South Bay Shawlette." Realizing I had a skein with the right colors and enough yardage, I got to work right away. Here are the first few rounds.



And so my romantic shawl photo shoot should be fast approaching ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Purpley Nested Shells, did I really frog this hat?

Do you ever crochet something, take a bunch of photos, then decide you don't like your project and frog it? Apparently I do. I was going through my digital camera, freeing up some space for a new post when I found these old pics.

You can see the lovely purple striping pattern of this skein, along with a peep of my tattoo and some treeless fall foliage. I love how the yarn alternates between soft pure purples and a darker purple-neutral.



The yarn I used was light worsted, even though it was labeled 4. I seem to run into yarn weight problems a lot, because I shop at fancy yarn stores that only discuss weights in terms of knitting stitches per inch. I'm a crocheter! I say, and the store clerks look at me like I'm slightly crazy. Or at least confounding. Oh well.

I think the reason I frogged the hat was because it was kind of tight fitting on my head. Since I already have an extra small head there didn't seem to be much hope for selling it. I guess I could have thrown it up on Etsy as a child's size.



I still have the skein floating around my stash. I tried to make it into arm warmers a ways back, then frogged it again in favor of a sock weight yarn. I procrastinated on that design for so long that it's no longer in season. I'll have to revisit it next fall.

In the meantime, if you'd like to see what the actual well-fitting hat looks like, check out my earlier blog post. It contains the pattern for free. I may sell the pattern at some point, but it probably won't be until next fall.



PS it's really hard to photograph yourself as a hat model ;)

Also, feel free to post a comment if you've ever photographed and frogged before.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Beaded Twist



I decided to scrap the project from my previous post, in favor of something more delicate and instantaneously gratifying. I came up with Beaded Twist, which involves twisting a triple crochet in front of two other triple crochets. I added beads to give it some sparkle.

Once you get the hang of it, the bracelet works up quickly. It only requires a small bit of yarn, so is great for plundering your stash. You could theoretically substitute sock yarn for the chunkier version, but I haven't tried it yet so I make no promises as to how that would turn out.

Please let me know if you find any errors and I'll make a note of it. I did my best to thoroughly explain the beading-twisting technique, but please let me know if anything is unclear.



Difficulty Level
Intermediate -- You'll need to be comfortable with chain (Ch), single crochet (Sc) and triple crochet (Tr). In fact you should be proficient with triple crochet, because the beaded-twist involves both twisting and beading in one triple crochet.

Yarn
Small amount of size 10 crochet thread. (Use size 3 crochet thread for an anklet/chunkier version.)

Hook
Size 1.8 mm needle, or size needed to obtain gauge. I believe I used a 3.5 size hook for the anklet/ size 3 crochet thread/ slightly larger version of the bracelet.

Gauge
Gauge is basically - is the length of the bracelet enough to go around your wrist? Thread will stretch a little bit to go over your hand, but you don't want to cut off your circulation.

The pattern works up in multiples of 5 plus 1. I have a small wrist and ch 46 to start. You may want to to begin with a ch 51 (or 56) for a medium to large size wrist. Using a 46 base chain will give you nine beaded-twist clusters.

Beads
Check that your thread will actually slide through the beads. You may want to thread a needle and use it to pick up the beads, though I usually do it without a needle. You'll need 18 beads for a Ch46 bracelet. Add 2 beads every time you add 5-ch, (subtract 2 beads every time you subtract 5-ch)

Alternately, you can work it up without beads. It'll be a little less sparkly/decorative, but still pretty. I haven't tried this with a color-changing yarn yet, but I think it would look rather nice and work well without beads. The color-changing yarn would have to change color pretty rapidly, though, to be noticeable over such a small amount of thread.

Beaded Twist Technique

Here are some tips for adding the beads so that your bracelet will look like the pictures I posted.

When incorporating the beads, slide two right up to your hook before making the next triple crochet (Tr). Next, wrap two strands around your hook, insert into the indicated stitch, then draw up a loop. Push the first bead all the way down and in front of your hook. Capture the bead in this position as you draw up a loop through the next two loops on your hook. Repeat the same technique with the second bead. To finish the triple crochet, draw up a loop through the last two loops on your hook as normal.

Beading can be tricky to get the hang of at first. If you don't push the beads all of the way down, and in front of the needle, they may not line up along the bottom edge of the bracelet, as in the pictures.


Beaded Twist Pattern Instructions

Slide 18 beads onto your yarn. Ch 46. (or different multiple of 5+1 depending on the desired length). Leave enough of a "tail" that you can use it to sew the bracelet together at the end.

Row 1: turn, Sc in 2nd Ch from hook, Sc in each Sc to the end of the round.

Row 2: turn, Sl St in first 4 stitches, Ch 3, Tr in next Sc, slide 2 beads down, Tr in Sc behind initial Ch 3 while incorporating beads (see Beaded Twist Technique) (first beaded-twist cluster made) *Ch 2, skip 3 stitches after beaded-twist cluster just made, Tr into next 2 Sc, Tr in Sc behind second to last Tr while incorporating beads (see Beaded Twist Technique)* Repeat from * to * through the end of the round.

Row 3: turn, Ch 1, Sc in same stitch, Sc in next 2 Tr, *Sc in next Ch-2 space, Sc in next 3 Tr*, Repeat from * to * until you run out of stitches. Do not fasten off.

Finishing

Sl St into side of last Sc, Ch 3, Sc into 2nd Ch from hook, Sc into 3rd Ch from hook. Sl St into the last Sc from Row 3. Fasten off leaving a long enough tail for sewing. Use the tails to sew the Sc ends of the bracelet together only, leaving the mid portion of the beaded twist unsewn.