Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Crochet Griddle Stitch Place Mat and Matching Coaster Set

Our best friends in the Bay Area just bought a home and there's nothing more enticing than crocheting a homemade gift, especially when one of the recipients is an avid crocheter herself.  For this particular project, I used 2 1/2, 8.8 oz (250g) skeins of Bernat Maker Home Dec yarn in Clay color.  The yarn is an unique combination of 72% cotton and 28% nylon which makes it relatively lightweight, stretchy and machine washable. 

Upon close examination, the yarn looks like a machine knitted tube of jersey fabric.  It was my first time using it and it was the perfect choice for this project.

I used the griddle stitch for extra texture and durability.

By maintaining a moderate tension, once finished, the place mats can easily be rolled or folded up for storage.

 I used a size L hook and started each place mat by chaining 50 stitches + 1.  Then (instead of counting rows) you simply griddle stitch until the place mat measures 18" L x 12" W.  For the coasters the foundation row is chain 14 + 1 and griddle stitch until the coaster measures 4 3/4" x 4 3/4" square.

A total of 4 place mats and 4 coasters took me about 2 weeks to finish while simultaneously working on a few other projects in between.  I love the results and I can't wait to devour some more tasty yarn for breakfast!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

What's on my hook?

I took this photo of Xena right before going to bed last night night.  There is really nothing that I love more in life right now than to have my daughter dozing next to me while I crochet.  This is the purest definition of peace and harmony.

After just selling a crocheted shawl like the one below on etsy, I was reminded of how much I love this vintage repeating shell pattern so I started a new shawl with some OOAK hand-dyed Hula Hoop Merino DK yarn from Hedgehog Fibres that I picked up in NOLA last summer in the same pattern.

Since I only have 1, 115g/200m skein, I'm going to finish the shawl off with some Fluorescent Rose Madeline Tosh Fingering yarn.  You might be wondering why I'm combining DK weight with fingering but the Hedgehog yarn actually looks and feels similar in weight to the MT fingering IRL.  If I'm not following a specific pattern, I try not to get too hung up on specific yarn weights; instead I let my fingers be the guide.

Moving onto my next WIP; last year, I bought 14 skeins of Quince and Co. Osprey wool yarn in the Delphi colorway at AVFKW with plans of crocheting a chunky sweater for myself.  At first I tried it with the Autumn Leaves pattern I recently used to make myself a cardigan with Knitpicks Preciousa merino but I just didn't like the way it felt.  The sampler was fine but once I started working the body of the sweater, after a few rows, I realized that this yarn had a different destiny.

So I unraveled everything and decided to make a super simple DC afghan instead.

After so many tedious counting projects, it's nice to just switch off to some mindless crochet for a while.  Most importantly, this colorway perfectly matches our bedroom curtains.  4 more balls left and then I'll be finished.  Still trying to decide if I'm going to keep the raw edges or crochet a DC border around it.

Crochet Planned Color Pooling Tartan Scarf

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with symmetry and geometric shapes.  From bead looming to friendship bracelets, I've always loved the high contrast repeating diamond shapes of tartan plaid designs.  I have no idea why I never tried it sooner but after years of sitting on 4 skeins of variegated Peruvian alpaca wool without any specific project in mind, I finally found the perfect outlet - crochet planned color pooling!  This style of crochet is a lot of fun but depending on what type of yarn and/or hook(s) you are using, it can be really hard on your hands.  To truly perfect this pattern, no matter how skilled you are at crochet or how perfect you might think your tension really is, you will inevitably be forced to undo and redo hundreds of stitches in a tighter or loser fashion as you progress.  Although the color naturally pools based on the yarn's variegation; the variegation isn't always exact and the perfection of the pattern is controlled by your perpetually changing tension and hook size. 

I used the seed stitch for my scarf but you can use a variety of stitches for increased contrast and depth.

By moving each repeating color up and over by one stitch, it's like playing Connect 4 with your crochet hook.

Just look at that lovely fringe!  I used some locally sourced wool from A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA.

I'm keeping this one for myself but considering crocheting a few more for my shop in different colorways.  It's just going to be a challenge deciding how much to charge since the pattern is so laborious and time consuming.

Textured tartan for days!  Glad I tried it but now I totally understand why machines do it so much better.

Crochet Lazy Ripple Stitch Scarf

This scarf has incredible 3-D texture and if you love counting and crocheting in the front post, it's a fun and funky pattern.  I actually started this scarf last year and finished it months ago but in typical overextended fashion, I'm only just posting about it now.  It's made from 100% cream merino and silver tinsel handspun yarn by Death By Yarns based in Orchard Park, NY, near where I grew up.

I love how it looks on both sides, smooth on one side, 3-D textured on the other.

Because of its length, this scarf is very versatile and can be worn in a variety of fashions.

Super long and luxurious, this scarf measures 90"/228.6 cm L x 6"/15.24 cm W.

It's light enough that you can fold it up and take with you wherever you go.

Close up of pattern detail.  By working in the front post alone, you can create a lovely knitted texture with crochet.  It's hard to see in the photo but the tiny silver tinsel in this yarn adds an eye-catching subtle sparkle to every row.

Luxurious Lazy Waves Crochet Scarf

I actually finished this scarf months ago but have been so busy with the little one that I'm only just now getting around to blogging about it.  I used 100% fine alpaca yarn from Fanfare Farms in Vacaville, CA.  I used all 595 yards (8 oz.) of a Grade 3, 23-26 micron jumbo skein.  I purchased this yarn last summer at the Lambtown Fiber Festival and the photos simply do not do it justice.  It is some of the softest yarn that I have ever felt and it's handspun with tri-colors: brown, wrapped around light grey and dark grey.

This scarf is enormous; it measures 78"/198.12cm W x 6 1/2"/16.51cm.

Lazy wave detail.  I used a size F hook.

Lush and lovely layers.

Wrapped twice around and knotted, this scarf is beyond versatile.

Craftsy Free Pattern - Mon Petit Violon Buttoned Jacket Revisited

Well I enjoyed making this pattern so much for Xena that I used it again to crochet a sweater for sweet baby Heron, my friends in Seattle, Mike and Bree's newborn.  I used DK weight Madeline Tosh Forager from Imagiknit with a size G hook.  The yarn is 100% merino wool and it just glides through your fingers like pure bliss.  It takes a little more than a skein and a 1/2 of a 225 yards/205 metres skein.

Mommy's little helper at the yarn store.

Grazing in the grass with the yolk!


Xena modelling the finished product.  She was about 4 months old when the photo was taken.

I used vintage pearly lavender buttons.

Seed stitch sleeve detail.

Back of the sweater.

Front of the sweater.

I just can't get enough of how well the textured griddle stitch works with this variegated yarn so I decided to buy more of the same colorway to make another cardigan for Xena in the 6-12 month size!

Morning vibes at Dolores Park, one of our most frequented crochet spots.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bubnut Autumn Leaves Crochet Cardigan

I started this Bubnut Autumn Leaves Crochet Cardigan on February 19th, 2018.  I probably could've finished it a lot sooner but it isn't always easy to just sit down and work on a pattern that requires continuous counting with an infant.  That being said, Xena usually loves watching me crochet and she eventually falls fast asleep in the process.

The pattern calls for worsted weight Lion Brand yarn and a 5.5mm hook but with my tension I ended up using worsted weight Knit Picks Preciousa Tonal yarn and size J hook.  Among many other amazing gifts, my loving husband bought me 6 skeins of this luxurious 100% merino yarn and the yarn bowl featured in these images for X-Mas.

The pattern is worked by alternating 6 stitch sections of DCs and SCs only in the back row.  It creates a really impressive texture, especially with this yarn.

 The pattern was incredibly easy to follow and super easy to assemble.

Here we are today, visiting my family in North Tonawanda, NY (where I grew up) with Xena and the Easter Bunny at Platters Chocolate Factory.

I used the small size pattern.  My cardigan is so cozy and warm and it fits me perfectly!

I enjoyed working on this pattern so much that I'm going to start another cardigan with some periwinkle wool yarn I bought from A Verb For Keeping Warm last fall.  I can't remember the name brand ATM but I'll be sure to dig out the tag by the time I finish my next sweater!