7.31.2009

3 swatches, 3 yarns, 3 stitches

These 3 pictures are the swatches I have made for the project I am planning to design. This will be a clothing article for a young girl. It will be a warm weather item, so the fabric needs to be as light and breathable as possible without being see-through. The light pink one, which has a nicer color than the picture shows, is an organic cotton called Rowan purelife. It is quite lightweight, which I like, but not machine washable--definitely a downside for a children's item. It is not especially soft, just your ordinary cotton feeling.

The magenta colored yarn is 80% bamboo, 20% wool. It is called Debbie Bliss Prima. It is very soft, and machine washable. The yarn is a little thicker than I really want though. It is DK weight, where the two others are fingering weight. The thickness combined with the wool could make a slightly warmer fabric, which is not so good during warm weather.



The dark purple yarn is a 100% mercerized (does anyone know what that means anyway?) cotton that is very densely-spun. It is RYC's Sienna. It has a neat feel to it that is kind of silky. It will make a heavier and slightly less drapey fabric than the other cotton, but it is machine washable, a definite bonus.

So, I have 3 yarns to choose from, which I chose by looking at the info for lots and lots of yarns available at my favorite yarn source, yarn.com. They have such a large selection, that I prefer that to a local yarn store most of the time. Macine washability is pretty important to me, and so is feel. However the denseness of the fabric

is pretty important when you are crocheting something for warm weather times. The RYC Sienna is the one that I am leaning toward. As a bonus, it comes in a great variety of colors. The Debbie Bliss Prima also has lots of color variety. The organic cotton has a very limited variety of colors because all of the dyes are natural plant dyes.

I also have 3 stitches to choose from. I think I like the ones in the light pink and dark purple swatches the best. The shells in the magenta yarn are nice, but I think that they may just distract from the look of the garment itself, be too busy.

Opinions to share anyone?





7.17.2009


This was my first attempt at felting. The swatches on the left were not felted, those on the right were felted. I know it's not a close-up shot, but you can probably see that there is not a lot of difference in stitch definition between the two sets. I had hoped to accomplish a near total loss of stitch definition. I felted the swatches for 20 min in the washer. I think the problem was that the water in my washer wasn't hot enough. I set it on "warm", but got water that was maybe slightly warmer than tap water. Every water source in our house seems to take a long time to warm up. Even though the washer is just on the other side of a wall from the hot water heater, it apparently has the same problem. I guess next time I'll have to try it on hot. The felted swatches have also been blocked, so they lie flatter than the others. I also made two swatches each with hook sizes H, I, and J to see how the stiffness/drape of the fabric would be with those differences. I felted one of each. Interestingly, the felting seem to pretty well equalize the difference, so that all the felted swatches have about the same drape.
In order to felt you have to start with a yarn that is at least partially animal fiber. Other fibers don't felt. I used Louet's Riverstone (100 % wool). You need friction, warm to hot water, and plain soap, such as Ivory dish soap. You can do this by hand and rub the material in the water, or you can do this in your washing machine by placing other items in the wash that are similarly colored. I found some good felting instructions by searching the Lion Brand yarn website.
I hope to eventually design a felted garment with this yarn, but obviously, I'm going to need more practice. I need to be able to consistently get the results that I want and a predictable amount of shrinkage. Then I'll have to be able to tell others how to get the same results.

7.08.2009

baby hat


I started this little hat last night and finished it this afternoon. It's very simple and small. The pattern I based it off of is one that my sister got on the internet somewhere, but I haven't been able to find it again, so I don't know who to give the credit to. It starts with a ch 4 joined into a ring, a ch 2 turning ch (which does not count as a st throughout the pattern), and 13 dc in the ring. There is another ch 2 turning ch, and 2 dc in ea dc around, join w/ a slp st. The next round is *1 dc in first dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat from * to * around. The next row is where I changed the pattern because I was working w/ a worsted weight yarn and a size H hook rather than sport weight yarn and a size G hook like the pattern calls for. I also want it to be small enough for my newborn, who will be needing it for a few days in 2 to 3 weeks. So, the next round is *1 dc in ea of the next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc*, repeat from * to * around ending with 2 dc in last dc, join w/ a slp st, ch 2, turn. Each round after that is just 1 dc in ea dc, join the rnd w/ a slp st, with ch 2 turning chs that do not count as stitches, turn. This hat has 14 rnds total.

The yarn I used was Naturally Caron's Merino Wool blend. I bought it at Hobby Lobby. It is 75% acrylic and 25% Merino Wool. It is washable. The hat only takes a partial skein. This hat is purple with a bright green ribbon. I love the color combination, but I've always had different ideas when it comes to combining color. Yeah for me!

7.02.2009

Plaid Crochet


Earlier this week (end of Jun 2009) I couldn't sleep much at all one night. I was thinking about crochet all night long, and even dreaming about it when I did manage to sleep for a few hours. I've thought for awhile that I'd like to design something in plaid but didn't know how to do it...until this particular night. I figured it out during the night. I made this swatch the next day to try it out. It worked!


You have to have 3 different colors to make this particular plaid. You could use more colors, but it would get complicated. Each of the vertical stripes has to have its own strand of yarn. You use that strand of yarn for each of the stitches in that stripe. The back doesn't look pretty because you have a little bit of that yarn that gets carried up the back between rows. The horizontal stripes are just as easy as any other horizontal stripe--you just join that color and do the number of rows you want, then switch back to the base color. I made my red stripe one stitch, or one row (of sc) wide. The black stripe is 3 stitches or rows wide. All of the stitches are sc. You have to choose which color you want on top when the lines cross.


Well, I've figured out how to do the plaid. I'll probably design something with that in the future.

7.01.2009

Crochet Snuggly Quilt




I designed and made this some months ago for our youngest daughter. This is the first of my published patterns. I plan to also post it at http://www.crochetme.com/. I hope this is the first of many.


Crochet Snuggly "Quilt"
Difficulty: Intermediate

Yarn: I Love This Yarn!
Color: MC-Periwinkle, CC-Buttercup
Hook: I

Make 8 ea of fur stitch squares and "Stem & Petal Stitch" squares

Fur Stitch squares:

With CC, ch 15

Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and in ea ch across (14 sc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: *Loop the yarn over the top of your index finger (you could also use a knitting needle or dowel). Yo, and draw through loop on hook. Sc in next sc.* Repeat across row (14 loops, and 14 sc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Sc in first sc and in ea sc across (14 sc). Ch 1, turn.

Rows 4-18: Alternate repeating rows 2 and 3. Finish off.

"Stem & Petal Stitch" squares (Stitch from The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches)

With MC, ch 22

Row 1: 3 Dc into 4th ch from hook, skip 4 chs, 4 dc into next ch, ch 3, skip 3chs, 1sc into next ch, ch 3, skip 3chs, 4 dc into next ch, skip 4 chs, 4 dc into last ch (15 dc). Turn.

Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc now and throughout), 3 dc into 1st dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc into next dc, ch 3, 1 sc into next sc, ch 3, 4 dc into next dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc into top of turning chain (16 dc). Turn.

Row 3: Ch 6 (counts 1 dc, ch 3 now and throughout), 1 sc between next 2 4-dc groups, ch 3, skip 3 dc, 4 dc into each of next 2 dc, ch 3, 1 sc between next 2 4-dc groups, ch 3, 1 dc into last dc (10 dc). Turn.

Row 4: Ch 6, 1 sc into 1st sc, ch 3, 4 dc into next dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc into next dc, ch 3, 1 sc into next sc, ch 3, 1 dc into last dc (10 dc). Turn.

Row 5: Ch 3, 3 dc into 1st dc, 4 dc into next dc, ch 3, 1 sc between next 2 4-dc groups, ch 3, skip 3 dc, 4 dc into each of next 2 dc (16 dc). Turn.

Rows 6-9: Repeat Rows 2, 3, 4, and 5 in order.

Finish off

Join squares into a checkered pattern of four rows with four squares each.

Edging:

Note: Leave 3 unworked sc between each motif. When you complete a motif, begin next on the motif to the right of it. When you come to the corners (i.e. there is not enough room to work another motif before arriving at the corner of the blanket), work a "Corner edging motif." For all other motifs, work a standard "Edging motif." When you have worked all the motifs but one use the "Last edging motif" instructions.

With MC join w/ a slp st to the right end of any side. *Work 67 sc across that side and one additional sc in the corner.* Repeat from * to * around the blanket and join w/ a slp st to beginning sc (272 sc). Ch 1 and without turning, work a slp st in the same beginning sc as well as the next 5 sc. Begin working first edging motif with that slp st.

Edging motif

Row 1: Join yarn with slp st to designated sc (already done for first motif). Ch 3 (counts as dc now and throughout), work 3 dc in same st as the slp st. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and sc in next sc. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and work 4 dc in next sc. Join w/ slp st to end dc of adjoining motif (not necessary for first motif). (8 dc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3, work 3 dc in same st. Ch 3, sc in next sc. Ch 3, work 4 dc in next dc (8 dc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3. Work 3 dc in same st. Work 4 dc in next dc. Finish off.

Corner edging motif

Row 1: Join yarn with slp st to designated sc. Ch 3, work 3 dc in same st as the slp st. Ch 3, skp 1 sc and sc in next sc. Ch 3, skp 1 sc and work 4 dc in next sc. Join w/ slp st to end dc of adjoining motif. (8 dc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3, work 3 dc in same st. Ch 3, sc in next sc. Ch 3, work 4 dc in next dc (8 dc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3. Work 3 dc in same st. Work 4 dc in next dc. Finish off.

Last edging motif

Row 1: Join yarn with slp st to designated sc. Ch 3, join w/ slp st to last dc of adjoining motif, work 3 dc in same st as the first slp st. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and sc in next sc. Ch 3, skp 3 sc and work 4 dc in next sc. Join w/ slp st to end dc of adjoining motif (8 dc) Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3, work 3 dc in same st. Ch 3, sc in next sc. Ch 3, work 4 dc in next dc (8 dc). Ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Slp st in first 4 dc, ch 3. Work 3 dc in same st. Work 4 dc in next dc. Finish off.

Weave in all ends. You're finished!