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Lab Experiment: I’m Customizing a Tank Top with Crochet

Customizing a tank top with crochet: hem in progress with pink DV Lotus yarn.
Crocheting the bottom hem. Armholes & neckline next.
Crocheting the bottom hem. Armholes & neckline next.

This is my first attempt at customizing a tank top with crochet, so I’m using a $4 scoop-neck tank top from Walmart (White Stag brand).  Update: It’s coming along well! See this followup post.

It looks dowdy on me, so I drastically cropped it and turned the neckline into a deep V. The crochet you see adds length along the bottom hem. I’m using standard sport weight yarn and a US/F (3.75 mm) crochet hook. The steel hook you see here is the largest sharp-headed crochet hook I have. I wish I had one that’s slightly bigger for pulling through loops of sport weight yarn. Crazy?

The real reason I’m doing this:

  • What is it like to crochet DesigningVashti Lotus yarn onto t-shirt fabric? Is sport weight yarn a good match? (If I have to use lace weight yarns, I might as well just crochet the whole darn thing.) What does the texture of this yarn look like with a plain cotton machine knit fabric? 
  • I have mill ends of this “Pink Sugar” color; the dyeing looks more tonal than solid (not in this photo though). Do I like it? What is it generally like to pair Lotus colors with my tee shirt colors?
  • Can I use a super sharp crochet hook when customizing a tank top with crochet? I want to be able to start crocheting right onto fabric and get a result I like. Would I enjoy doing it more than sewing along the cut edges first? (I sealed the cut edges with an invisible permanent washable no-fray liquid.)
  • How will it all hold up to wearing, machine washing and drying, and the Florida sun? Will the no-fray liquid add enough strength to the edges?
  • How will I like wearing it? Will I find I have a preference for customizing a tank top with certain kinds of crochet stitches? What if the crochet adds too much weight to the top?

Lots of what-ifs. Will I want to do something similar with my cashmere sweaters? ::gasp::

I have a few pullovers that I want to convert into cardigans. Ideally, give them a roomier fit while I’m at it. Heck, add beads. Cashmere love is a many splendored thing.

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The Frostyflakes Crochet-Along Gallery of Winter Cheer!

Almost all of these projects were crocheted with fingering weight yarns; several of them were Madeline Tosh yarn. Hover over or click an image for the Raveler’s name and more information.

What’s a “Frosty Flake”? Why, Frostyflakes is a way to crochet groups of harmless-ol’ double crochets in a gently increasing manner to a triangular point; then, gently decrease the frosty flakes to create the other end of a shallow triangular wrap. It’s addictive and it’s flexible–as P2P (Point-to-Point construction) usually is—because you can use any kind of yarn, any amount of yarn, and end up with something that looks fabulous.

The Frostyflakes Crochet Along has been a warm cheerful spot during this year’s extended winter-into-spring season. (It’s been cold and dim in Florida too.) The great thing about hosting a CAL in a Ravelry forum is that anyone can start the same project at any time and refer to the discussion thread as if were taking place today. Discussion threads about projects contain a wealth of information and inspiration. Please visit and join Vashti’s Crochet Lounge to see all the lovely projects and meet new friends!

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Why We’re Excited About Our New Lotus Yarn

Two crochet designers — Doris Chan and Vashti Braha — asked each other,
“What if we could create just one yarn. What would it be?” Lotus is the answer.

Lotus has an inner glow that makes captivating crochet stitches as they come off of the hook. Then, watch what happens when you spritz with water later: simple blocking brings out a full drape, and plumps up the stitches just enough to make them pearly cute!

Why we love it:

– It’s spun in a final “Z-Twist” (counterclockwise) direction for superior compatibility with crochet! For most crocheters this reduces “splitting” (that’s when the crochet hook splits the plies – catches on only some of its strands during crocheting). Crocheting with a z-twisted yarn speeds up crocheting, looks prettier, and the yarn stays new-looking longer. The average plied yarn available in the US today is spun with a final “S-Twist” instead (clockwise direction).

– Almost NO Mill Knots! It’s proudly made in an American mill that also serves the fashion industry.

– The starting yarn end at the center of each ball is HOOK READY: It’s waiting for you because we’ve attached it to the yarn label. No more fishing around for it and ending up with “yarn barf.”

– It blends 52% Cotton with 48% Rayon in a special way. The rayon (a.k.a. viscose, which is derived from plant fibers) contributes a fine-grained shimmer, and the cotton keeps it from feeling too limp and slippery. Then, watch what happens when you spritz with water later: simple blocking brings out the rayon’s silky drape, while the cotton fibers plump and soften a bit to create cute, snug, pearly stitches!

The fiber blending and plying characteristics of Lotus interact so beautifully with crochet stitches.

– It’s a double-size ball. (And 1-pound cones are coming soon!) Each 3.5 oz/100g ball has 256 yds/235 m.

– Lotus is a versatile “sport weight” thickness (equivalent to #2 Fine Weight; “Light DK” or “5-Ply” in the UK). It can be used for many of your favorite patterns; see below.

– It’s available in fourteen colors! Best of all, we never have to worry about someone discontinuing this yarn. In fact, more colors are planned.

– Machine wash and dry Lotus on a gentle setting with like colors, although as with most fashion fabrics, hand washing and air drying will extend its life.

Patterns to Use With Lotus Yarn

We’re designing up a storm with Lotus! To find out about new patterns, subscribe to Crochet Inspirations newsletter.

How to Substitute Lotus Yarn: Start with the crochet hook size called for in the pattern. If it falls in a range of US-5 (F/3.75 mm) to US-7 (G/4.50 mm), then look next at the type of yarn. If it’s primarily cotton or rayon (a.k.a. viscose, bamboo, tencel) and looks smooth, chances are great that Lotus will give you the results you’re looking for.

This yarn can also work well for some fashion patterns calling for a “DK” or “Light Worsted Weight” (CYC #3 Light) yarn. Doris successfully crocheted her Jolimar Skirt with Lotus and a US-8 (H) hook. It was originally designed with Naturallycaron Spa (a discontinued yarn) and a US-9 (I/6 mm) hook. Even larger crochet hook sizes often work better for Tunisian and slip stitch crochet lace.

Especially with jewelry, bags, belts, and kitchen projects, Lotus Yarn also works great in a tighter gauge, for example, Vashti successfully substituted Lotus colors for her Aran Rozsanas Wristcuff pattern. We recommend crochet hook sizes as small as US-4 (E/3.5 mm) for jewelry, bags, and sturdy home decor, and from US-5 (F/3.75 mm) to as large as US-8 (H/5 mm) for fashion projects, depending on the amount of structure and drape needed, and the specific crochet technique used.

We carefully tailored Lotus Yarn to crochet for exciting crochet results, but of course you will love knitting and weaving with it too!

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Mesmer Veil Effects with Easy Tunisian Crochet Stitches

It’s been over three years since I crocheted the original Mesmer design prototype and I’m as entranced by it as ever. The crocheting experience feels magical, and I still get a bit wonderstruck when I wrap myself with it. Click on each photo to enlarge it and see its story.

The Mesmer Tunisian Crochet Veil pattern PDF is now in the DesigningVashti SHOP as an instant download.

You can also find the pattern for it, and projects, in Ravelry.

Recommended! Crochet Inspirations Newsletter #49: ‘TEKSplorations’ for Tunisian Lace

Mesmer is fun project because not only is it fast, it’s an unusual experience of Tunisian crochet and of yarn combining. It’s rare that the Return Pass has the starring role in a Tunisian crochet fabric; in fact, it’s more common for designers to downplay it, or try to work around it. One reason is that it has the least amount of stretch, like the foundation chain in regular crochet. Another reason is its texture doesn’t blend in readily, so it gives a strong texture. Although this design is a fun way to combine scrap yarns, I designed it to make fancy, pricy yarns last longer.