Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tropical Breeze Cover-Up

The Tropical Breeze Cover-Up that was published in the June 2013 issue of Crochet World was one of my favorites! It was not the type of garment that I usually make, so it really became an adventure for me.

The construction was interesting -- it is crocheted from top to bottom rather than side-to-side, top down or bottom up.  The piece starts with a sleeve, which is worked in a simple mesh stitch pattern.

Once the sleeve is completed, the really interesting part starts!  At the end of the sleeve, the body stitches are added on to the yoke using a Foundation Single Crochet.  When all stitches have been added, turn the work.  Be sure to place a stitch marker in the last stitch before the "added on" stitches; this marker will separate the Yoke from the Body.

The Body is worked in a modification of the simple mesh stitch pattern of the yoke.  Treble crochets are "crossed over" or "crossed behind" double crochet stitches to create "V"s.

Simple, right?!

I'm posting pictures of my original stitch diagrams that I used while working out the design. A few extra notes may make it easier to make sense of my gibberish (i.e., translate the diagram to the written pattern).

On the diagram, the sleeve stitch pattern ends with Row 4 (WS). At the end of this row, add on the stitches for the body.

The Body section (Body Row 1) in the written pattern corresponds to Row 5 of my diagram.

The 2nd picture shows how the Yoke and Body sections "meet" and move between each other.

I hope you find the diagrams helpful and enjoy the adventure as much as I did!

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Progress Report

The project with the cool colors is finished and off to the buyer.

Meanwhile, I received an offer for another project and that is well under way. The yarn for that project had to be changed, and the buyer made a great choice. In addition, the order for the yarn was delayed a day or 2 due to Superstorm Sandy, but arrived safely. While waiting for the yarn, I worked out the details of the stitch pattern and construction.

I was also hard at work on a pair of socks for Randi's birthday (remember the barn jacket?). I threw in 2 pairs of tatted earrings for good measure.

The earrings were fun and pretty quick to make. I'm planning to make several for teacher's gifts this year.

I hope you've made a good start on your own holiday crocheting/knitting. Leave a comment and tell me what kinds of things you are making for gifts this year.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, October 8, 2012

After the Sale is Made

I heard from a buyer last week who wanted to buy a project from a proposal I had submitted.

What's next?  What happens after the sale is made?

I received the yarn for the project on Friday, and this morning I started to work.  I pulled out my swatch and the notes I made.  First, I reviewed those notes for gauge, stitch pattern, hook size, etc, as it has been a while since I worked up the proposal. The buyer didn't ask for any changes to the basic design, just changes in colors.

Next, I began a draft of the pattern. I started at the "top" with the skill level, the Materials section, the Pattern Notes, Special Stitches and the Stitch Pattern. This gives me a head start on all those little details.

Then, I took out graph paper and created a symbol chart of the stitch pattern.  The buyer didn't ask for this, but it helps me visualize--as I mentioned, it's been a little while since I've worked on this--and makes sure I've got the pattern down before I begin calculations for actual stitch counts.

After the symbol chart, I wrote out the words for each row of the pattern.  I will go back and add the actual stitch counts, but for now, this gives me a good basis to test the technical part of the pattern while I'm stitching the model.

Next, I calculated the dimensions using the gauge, and came up with actual stitch and row counts. This is not a garment, so sizing will not be a factor.  I had certain dimensions in mind, but the stitch pattern and the number of colors involved dictates the number of rows.  I needed to think about whether the finished size would be appropriate for the project--little decisions here and there need to be made!

The next part is not as technical in nature.  I made the original swatch in 3 colors, but the buyer wants to add a 4th color. Now there are possibilites for color arrangement (oh what fun!).  Color changes are the norm; most of the time the buyer will give instructions for substituting colors for the original colors, or if not, I go by light/dark. In the case of the Red Twig Socks, I swatched in purple and black, so I followed the light/dark plan for the butter yellow and burgundy that the editor wanted.

In this case, I could arrange the colors in an ABC sequence, or ABC, then CBA, or maybe I could arrange them as ABCBABC, or even ABCCBAABC.

The choices I make will affect the pattern writing; the ABC sequence would make the easiest pattern to write (and to follow), but would that make the project POP? 

I'm swatching color sequences now . . .

Happy Stitching!

Friday, October 5, 2012

New Patterns @ Crochet Me!

Two patterns that were published in the Winter 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet are now available for sale in the Crochet Me shop--the Barn Jacket and the Red Twig Socks.

Both are quite special to me, but for different reasons. I designed the Barn Jacket as a birthday gift for my best friend, Randi. While we met in sunny Florida, she forsake our heat and humidity for a colder climate.  This gives me a chance to design things that I wouldn't get to wear "down" here.

The Barn Jacket . . .

And here is Randi in her jacket . . .

The Red Twig Socks were just downright fun! And quite a challenge. The calf shaping uses short rows and results in the interesting coming-together-of-the-pattern down the back (reminds me of a vintage stocking worn by a movie star with the seam down the back of the calf). 

The color combinations for this sock are exciting and endless.  In addition, the light and dark colors can be switched to create a different look (a great way to make use of the left over yarn from the first pair).

I'd love to hear your thoughts about each design.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Circular Tunisian Socks

In an earlier post, I showed you the new design, Tunisian Tapestry Socks, I have that is included in the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet.  Those socks are stitched using Tunisian crochet in the round with a double-ended hook, and have great color play.

But . . . what if you don't want the color play? What if you have a varigated or self-striping sock yarn?

You can still use the double-ended hook to make a fabulous pair of socks.  I made a pair of socks for the oldest Lovely using a skein of Tofutsies yarn.  I wound the skein into 2 equal balls of yarn, and used 1 ball for the forward pass and 1 ball for the return pass.  I simply used the Tunisian Knit stitch throughout.

This is her favorite pair of socks, and it is hard to get them off her feet to wash them!

Happy Stitching!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tunisian Tapestry Socks!

My Tunisian Tapestry socks are included in the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet. This is a fun technique that allows you to place color changes where you want them with little to no fuss! The stitcher chooses which color a stitch will be by the type of stitch she chooses. In this pair of socks, the darker zig zag lines are created by making a Tunisian Reverse stitch, while the lighter colored stitches are created using a Tunisian Knit stitch.

The technique involves using a double-ended hook and 2 contrasting colors.  The work progresses in the round, with no joining. The forward pass is worked in one color (the lighter color for these socks) and the return pass is worked in the darker color.

The heel is worked back and forth in a traditional Tunisian stitch, decreasing 1 st on each side to create the slant.

The foot is worked in the round, but using the Tunisian Simple stitch, causing the neat look of the vertical bars in the lighter color and the body of the foot in the darker color.

These socks work up quickly. I love that!

I'd love to know how you like this fun technique.

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Fun

This is our last week of summer break. Open House for both schools is this week and school starts next Tuesday.

So, no crochet, no knitting . . . no work today. Just a recap of our recent camping trip to St. Augustine.

Our tent was big and roomy. We've used it only once before and our memory on how it went up was fuzzy. It has a screened porch on the front, but we weren't able to squeeze all of the airbeds into the sleeping area, so we had to move one of the girls to the front porch.

We took our bikes and enjoyed riding to the beach area, and around the campground, checking out sites for future visits.

We took one day and visited the lighthouse museum. Doc and I started going to St. Augustine in . . . well, 20 years ago when we lived in Gainesville. So much has changed and there are so many improvements that it was like a new adventure for us as well as the girls. We all climbed to the top of the lighthouse—an amazing view.

After seeing the lighthouse, we rode into the city of St. Augustine. We had a great seafood lunch, and then hit the main drag for shopping. Along the way, we met up with one of the old Spanish Guards. That is the Oldest Schoolhouse in the background.

Later, it began to rain, and then it began to pour. We headed back to the campsite to find that we had left the windows unzipped. One of the airbeds was pretty wet, but the rest were ok. We spent the evening reading and listening to the staccato beat of the rain.

The next day cleared and we headed to the beach, where there was much fishing and shell collecting. And there was actually fish catching.

We ended our trip by roasting marshmellows, eating s'mores, and telling a ghost story.

Next week . . . back to work!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Designing, Why It's Called Work

A few months ago, I sketched out an idea for a garment on a paper towel (no joke!) and I've had it tucked in a notebook all this time. I've looked at it a few times in those months, but moved on.

Yesterday, I was reviewing the next editorial calendar. I took a few hours to absorb the information -- theme, colors, the adjectives they used to describe the "look" they were after. That is a chaotic phase for me; drawing out a sketch, then jumping to the computer to search for images (not necessarily crochet or knit images), pulling out a stitch dictionary, back to the sketch pad. I feel disjointed and awkward during that time, and yes, a little like Marty chasing his tail.

Then I hit on an idea. I shouted "Eureka!" The sketch on the paper towel had found its time.

I knew exactly what I wanted to work on. Anxiety receded. Excitement set in.

Work -- Phase 1 
I began to swatch. Swatching tells me a few things: how the stitch pattern will play out, gauge, how color changes will affect the overall look, and shaping.  This phase is fun, but can be intense (concentration is needed).

I swatched until I had the color work done, and then it was time to work on the shaping for armholes and neckline -- a bigger challenge, given the stitch pattern I had chosen.

I slept on it.

Work -- Phase 2 

This morning I've done a lot of staring, wheels turning trying to get some traction on the problem. Again, I had the idea and continued to work on that swatch, developing the idea and the shaping. I was pleased as punch!

Work -- Phase 3 

Next, I've pinned the swatch to my dress form (Rebecca). She's wearing it pretty well, but now I can see more issues. Color changes need to be modified, armhole shaping can be refined and the idea needs to be placed in a different spot.

Now What? 

So . . . I'm not done yet.

Why am I going to all this trouble to work out details if I haven't sold the piece yet? Wouldn't a sketch be enough?

Yes, well . . .  maybe.

The issues that are left to be resolved involve design elements. Those design elements are opportunities to set my design apart from the other hundred or so that will cross that editor's desk. What makes my piece special, interesting, or something that will give the reader of the magazine a chance to learn something new?

Remember, the proposal is a selling tool. It's an opportunity to SHOW the editor something great, not just tell her.

Happy Stitchin'!