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Today’s Sarasota Yarn Shop Class

First half of the Florida Peaches Handbag shown with the variegated yarn I'm using, and real FL peaches on my tree!
First posted in June, 2016. Updated in 2018.

 

I taught a small, intimate two-hour crochet class in my favorite Sarasota yarn shop today. It was a test of a few ideas I have for next month’s Stitch Games class in Charleston.

Color-POP-corns

A few days ago I imagined using the popcorn stitch to show one way to group colors of a bold variegated yarn. I’m glad I crocheted a swatch in time for this class. It was perfect. I think I’ll turn it into a summer handbag.

UPDATE: Florida Peaches Handbag is done!

Some of the students were surprised that you could get the look of alternating two or more yarns with just one yarn. I hadn’t thought of this advantage, but it’s true. Sometimes, alternating different strands of yarn in a project interrupts the crochet flow, so that’s why this is an advantage. It’s nice to have this built in option with just one ball of yarn, if you know how to do planned pooling.

Color Stacking 101

Rows of double crochets keep each color of a variegated yarn stacked in columns
Simple rows of double crochets (UK: trebles).

Susie, a student in today’s class, crocheted this swatch. It’s color-stacked double crochet. Susie is actually the resident crochet teacher for the shop! Isn’t it beautiful?

You can use a taller crochet stitch like the double crochet (dc) if each color in a variegated yarn is long enough. In this swatch, the yellow is barely long enough for one full dc, but it looks cool the way it shades into the green, doesn’t it?

For the handbag I used half doubles (hdc or UK: htr) for the aqua, and dc for the peachy popcorns.

The yarn I wanted to use for the Jempool Scarf pattern had shorter colors, so I used (soft, loose, stretchy) slip stitches. You can see another color-stacked slip stitch project at the top of this page.

Both of these yarns are exclusive custom colorways hand dyed for this Sarasota yarn shop, A Good Yarn. I’ve used several of their custom yarns for class samples: Seshen, Bonefish, Bare Bones, Tunisian Spoonbill, and Slip Stitch Ikat Cowl.

I’ve tested many CGOA crochet class topics at A Good Yarn over the years, and a subtropical theme always seems to work well 🙂 The handbag looks just like Florida peaches against the Florida sky.

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2010 CGOA Runway: Tunisian Weightless Wrap

Vashti Braha modeling the Tunisian Weightless Wrap, CGOA fashion show 2010 in Manchester NH
At least one of these photos was taken by Doris Chan at the Chain Link Conference fashion show, 2010, Manchester New Hampshire. View full size.

Found these photos I’d forgotten about! They was taken at a crochet conference in 2010. I’m modeling the Tunisian Weightless Wrap because it won an award in the CGOA Design Contest.

CGOA Design Contest, 2010

Read my short article on the very first year of the contest (2008). It has since become an exciting annual event, thanks to Doris Chan’s tireless efforts in the early 3-4 years of it.

The Weightless Wrap is the inspiration for one of my longest running crochet classes on Tunisian eyelet meshes. I’ve just completed the 2016 class resource page for it–that’s how I found these photos again.

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The Crochet Class Resource Page

What’s a “Crochet Class Resource” Page?

I’ve been creating one crochet class resource page per topic since 2012 when I started teaching three-hour classes at CGOA conferences. Teaching at a conference is not the same as teaching in a yarn shop (in so many ways! That’s a future blog post). 

Almost everyone has traveled to attend a national crochet conference like CGOA’s, so we all have on hand only what we thought to pack. Or had room to pack. In a yarn shop I could assemble a stack of the books and magazine issues I refer to, and leave designs on display in the shop for weeks.

Class Headquarters

My solution is to have one link to a web page with all the things I might refer to in class. I print this one link in the class handouts. Saves so much precious space! I’m happy to make the page accessible to crocheters who can’t attend the class because this is all extra, supplemental, overflow info. It might even help some people to decide to take my class when they’re registering for the conference. As a perpetual student myself, I always love it when footnotes, bibliographies, links, etc. (resources) are provided.

It just plain helps me psychologically–I love knowing that I can add anything to a resource page at any time as a way to communicate with students before and after the class.

It’s an outpost. A headquarters. A portal.

On my to-do list is five such crochet class resource pages. I’ve just finished updating the one for 21st Century Love Knot Adventures. I created it in 2012 and overhaul it every year that I teach it again! Didn’t expect it to take so long but it had lots of outdated links and a big gallery to edit. Figured in this blog post I’d be proudly glowing about having completed three of them.

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Shaped Star Stitch Class Swatch

Happy Memorial Day.

It’s a short update today. Checkout this pretty photo I took this morning of a brand-new star stitch class swatch. This is what the Starwirbel Cowl stitch pattern looks like when it’s done in flat spiraling rounds. (It still has the scrap yarn marking the spiraling rounds.) I’m testing the shaping information in the Starwirbel Way class handout.

Thank you.

Thanks for joining me as I blog the 50 days of preparation for the crochet conference this summer! It’s Day 11 which means I’ve blogged one-fifth of the 50 days.

Have I completed one-fifth of my tasks? Frankly, I don’t know. There are so many little things to do that they’re hard to count accurately. If my gut says I’m moving through things at a good pace, I’ve learned I can trust that and enjoy the constant river of details that get done as they flow through me. I’m halfway through my list of things to do for the Starwirbel star stitch class.

It was my gut that said, “For the 2016 conference you’ll have from half to two-thirds of 2015’s river of show booth details to manage. After several years of teaching you’ll have slightly less than half of a river of teaching details, so GO FOR IT! DO BOTH!”

Here’s a different view of the swatch:

Star Stitch Class Swatch: Shaping a Spiral
Would you believe the yarn I used is white?
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Special Class Practice Swatches

Today I get to crochet outside in my gazebo. The weather is gorgeous and the birds sound happy. We have plenty of coffee, chocolate, and fresh peaches. It’s a perfect holiday weekend. On the hook: very special practice swatches. What?

Well, we’re nearing the end of May.

One of my big conference prep goals is to complete the handouts for all five of my class topics by June 1. That’s why I keep blogging about how I prepare class handouts. It’s all I can think about. It’s like when I’m in the midst of solving a puzzle, or reading a good mystery.

Practice swatches try to become new designs!

I’m an unofficial pattern tester today, following my own directions in a class handout so that I send off the draft to my editor and pattern tester. I hope this doesn’t sound like work to you. It’s very exciting! So many designs happen this way by accident! Translating a class topic into ideal practice swatches for students is creatively inspiring

For the Steeked Tunisian Lace class I designed a few short practice swatches that build on each other. It’s inspiring to compare these three basic ways to crochet the lacy extended stitch net: with 1 yarn (Seshen is a great example), or alternating 2 yarns (Mesmer Scarf), or the double-ended hook variation (á là Maze Vest). In class we’ll then have practice swatches to steek!

Why this May 31 deadline?

  • It gives my editor enough time to go over the three new handouts. It also gives me time to incorporate her revisions without feeling rushed.
  • My close friend Annie arrives from Kentucky in two weeks. I can’t wait to see her! I don’t want to be mulling class handouts while she’s here.
  • The UPS truck is going to pull up one of these days and deliver five new colors of our Lotus yarn! I want to be able to turn my full attention to that when it happens! (You’ll know it because I’ll blog it.)
  • It’s for the best that I expect that the conference will sneak up on me. It always does. Plus, this is the first year I’ll have a booth while teaching.