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Starwirbel as a Rectangular Shawl

Five views of my new flat rectangular version of Starwirbel, in progress

Here it is just a week before I fly out to Portland, Oregon to teach five crochet classes at the Chain Link conference. I have a quick update on my preparations for my class on star stitch lace, The Starwirbel Way!

New Features Added to the 2018 Class

How to use my Star Stitch Foundation

Start a Starwirbel with it, or any star stitch project, instead of foundation chains. Once you try it you won’t want to go back.

How I created a “Flatwirbel”

I converted a Starwirbel (tube in spiraling rounds) into a flat rectangular wrap.How to get the same kind of lace as a flat rectangle? People have requested this for years and I’ve swatched it several times.  I love this one! (Pictured above, in progress.) It retains for me the experience and special effects of making it.

More importantly in the long run, it means we can now use Starwirbel fabric to make anything.

Starwirbel Now has a Stitch Diagram

For those of us who like to use stitch diagrams, we’ll have time in class to go over Starwirbel’s. Star stitch diagrams can be a bit quirky to understand at first.

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Crochet for the Easter Weekend (Check-in)

The matching yarns are shown against the skirt colors for comparison.
The yarn colors match up with the colors in the skirt. Another view: https://flic.kr/p/TkJm53

Happy Crochet Easter! Today I’m taking a break from lots of behind the scenes crochet work to post a quick update. Below is a long silk skirt I’ve worn every spring for years. It’s one of my all-time favorites. This weekend I mused on its colors.

This “Vashti’s Silk Skirt” color combo would make a striking crochet Easter/springtime project, wouldn’t it? Perhaps a wrap, shrug, or bolero to go with the skirt?

Full length silk skirt with a floral print. Lavender and cream colored background with rich gem colors in the foreground of the print.
My favorite long skirt. I look for reasons to wear it at Easter time.

I can picture multicolored motifs. Or, a cream and lavender thing, with the darker colors as a contrasting border–little flowers, maybe.

In fact I’m going to create a project page for this in Ravelry after I finish this post.

I’ll be able to send out a newsletter issue after I meet a big design deadline this week. So close! I’ll also be able to keep moving forward on new blogging and crochet video plans I’m excited to share.

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Crochet Mini Skirt Hem Tests

Crochet mini skirt in dark grey "Carbonite" Lotus yarn color: 2 lacy and 2 solid hem tests

I’m working on a crochet mini skirt! The last time I crocheted a mini skirt was in 2006 for Crochet! Magazine (March 2007 issue). Today I completed the third and fourth ideas I have for a decorative hem.

Finally a Crochet Mini Skirt for Fall!

It may be a trendy item this year, but every fall I want a crochet mini skirt to wear with leggings and boots. This dark grey is a perfect neutral color for me.

I’m calling this design Carbonite after the name of this newest color of our Lotus yarn.

Crochet Stitches for Skirts

My goal was a solid stitch pattern with a brocade-like texture and a nice drape.

Does the stitch pattern look familiar? It’s a modified “Catherine Wheel”, a.k.a. “sunburst stitch”. This popular crochet stitch pattern is often used for thick wool scarves and afghans. I tweaked it a bit to prevent gaps that commonly happen between the tall stitches of the “wheels”.

I have a few more idea for hems I’d like to try but I don’t want them to slow me down too much. Each time I try a hem idea, I block it, let it dry, style and photograph it. Then I have to edit each photo a bit so that the tones and light levels match ok. I take each photo on a different day and time of day. A few were taken during Hurricane Hermine!

Next I’ll make decisions about the waistband.

This Carbonite crochet mini skirt design has a Ravelry project page that you can check to see more updates.

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Steek Crochet With Pattern Schematics in Any Language

Pattern schematics inspire me to steek crochet.

I wish every crochet garment pattern offered a schematic. It outlines the sections of a garment, like puzzle pieces. Schematics cut through illusions cast by fashion photography and lovely models. A single pattern schematic can distill a fancy design to its simplest essence. I created two Pinterest boards of things that inspire me to steek crochet: Steeks: Ideas and Wearable Simple Shapes.

Schematics also cut through language barriers. I can understand a non-English pattern if it includes a good schematic or two.

I created a few sample schematics for the Tunisian steek crochet class handout and realized how much I get out of them. This would be the next newsletter issue if I had time to do one! (Too much conference prep.)

Simple garment squares and rectangles. From my Tunisian class handout. Add a steek where you see a pink bar.
Steek where the pink bar is in these pattern schematics for simple-shapes garments.
Update! I wrote newsletter #80, Pattern Schematics for Insiders & Outsiders, three months after I wrote this blog post. Note that shop links in its right-hand column are outdated as of Sept. 2017.

A schematic is sensational to me when a garment that looks chic on a model, yet its schematic reveals that it’s made of simple shapes like rectangles. It’s exciting because every crocheter or knitter first learns how to make rectangles, right?

Sometimes all you need is a rectangle that drapes, or is clingy/stretchy (or all of these). Sometimes weightlessness brings it home, other times it’s a luxuriously weighty swing. The schematic tells you what’s what when you know what to look for.

Sometimes the key to chic is a well-placed seam on a simple shape. Sometimes it’s a special edging. And sometimes it’s the where and how of the steek. Steek crochet for the easy chic of it.

I love this conference prep blogging because it makes me aware of things that I’ve done for years, like collect pattern schematics.

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Project Tests for New Crochet Classes

Love knot hexagonal mesh is beaded in such a way that a cluster of them looks like a sea urchin.
View project page for this “Bead Urchins Cuff” in Ravelry.

I’m still testing new crochet designs…

…for the five classes I teach next month! This started months ago. It never stops, actually.

I have other new crochet ideas in progress for this year’s classes too. For Tunisian Eyelet Meshes I have a draping collapsible “Leanin’ Loopholes” wrap to finally start when the new Lotus colors arrive. Another project in motion for the Stitch Games class is an argyle (only a few rows done, no photos yet).

When CGOA puts out a call for class topic proposals in the fall, I send more than enough: all the topics that I’ve enjoyed teaching in the past, plus interesting variations on them, plus new ones. Designing new crochet examples starts the moment I find out which ones I’ll be teaching. (Not on purpose, it just happens.)

Meanwhile

Meanwhile I stand ready (with camera) to receive a giant new lot of Lotus yarn. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new colors. Doris has her designing cones already so I know UPS will be here any day. Once the yarn arrives–on giant cones–I get some of it turned into Z-Bombes (1-pounders). A lot of it will be “pull cakesASAP.

I also stand ready to design with it. I’ll need some new crochet for the road trip up to the conference, right? Doris got started immediately with a new design in emerald green. This reminds me that I also need to lock in the new color names for the ball bands and snip cards.

I’m on Day 35 of my 50 blogging days of crochet conference prep and I’m feeling behind! I still need to get some crochet patterns reformatted into print versions (for some of my classes and for kits in the market booth).