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Crochet Swatch Puzzler

Most of the time I can pick up a crochet swatch and identify its top (last row crocheted) and bottom (foundation row). I save crocheted swatches for reference, so it’s important to me to be able to do this confidently and accurately.

Here’s a swatch that puzzles me at first, each time I see it. Then I remember helpful identification clues.

A crochet swatch that's not easy to "read"
Is this crochet swatch right side up?

The swatch in hand puzzles me almost as much as this photo of it.

Being able to quickly identify how a crochet swatch was created is a special skill. It may take many years of crocheting to develop it.

This is true for images of crochet (photos and drawings) as well as for the actual piece.

The single most helpful clue about this swatch is that it’s Tunisian crochet.

This means it’s likely that we’re looking at the right side of the stitches. Tunisian stitches usually all face the front, and look distinctly different on the back. Usually.

I can quickly make sense of a new-looking Tunisian crochet swatch if I can identify where the return row stitches line up. The return row is when the loops are worked off of the crochet hook. If I know whether the crocheter is crocheting leftie, then I know which direction the return row stitches should be traveling. They go toward the right edge if crocheted right-handed. (I’m right handed.)

Thirdly, I know two basic ways to make Tunisian crochet lacy. You can:

  • Use the Tyo (Tunisian Yarn Over stitch), and/or
  • Add chain stitches during the return rows.

This issue of my Crochet Inspirations Newsletter briefly contrasts the two kinds.

I’ve started a project page for this in Ravelry. I’ll add updates to it as the project takes shape.

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Crochet Mobius Cowl Wearing Styles

Simply add a mobius twist to an infinity scarf to multiply the ways it drapes.

A crochet mobius cowl pattern adds an easy mobius twist to a crochet infinity scarf (a.k.a. long loop scarf). This instantly increases the stylish ways to wear it!

Starlooper Ring Scarf: Turn it into an infinity scarf. Or not! Nine ways to wear it.
If you had to pick only ONE of these nine images, which would it be?

Have a look at this image I created for the downloadable new Starlooper Mobius Cowl crochet pattern. This montage of NINE images means I don’t have to pick just ONE wearing style to display.

I love a good crochet mobius cowl pattern because it flatters the face and neck effortlessly, no matter how it settles on the shoulders. Plus, of course, they offer easy warmth. You might enjoy an early newsletter issue I wrote called “A Fever for Crocheting Cowls” LOL!

For Starlooper I used a special kind of crochet star stitch pattern. It’s naturally a bit offset, reversible, and has accordion-like pleats. It’s also fast, soft, and warm for fall. (One of many star stitches.)

I’ve been learning ways to create draping montages like this image for years. Want to see earlier ones? Here’s Shakti Scarfythings. Check out Undaria!

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On The CGOA Runway: Doris Chan’s Lotus Bolero and Lace Pants

Vashti Braha models Doris Chan’s crochet designs in Lotus yarn.

CGOA member Irene Iannelli brings her photography-savvy husband, Alex, to Chain Link conferences. Here’s one Alex snapped at the 2014 summer fashion show banquet, during the guild’s 20th anniversary crochet conference.

Doris Chan designed the lace pants and the bolero in her signature construction method of crocheting in the round from the top down. The drape and fit feel naturally comfortable and sleek. She waited to design these garments until we developed the Lotus yarn for them. They’re made for each other.

Click on the photo for more details on the patterns. Bolero pattern and our Lotus yarn are in the shop.

Even Alex and Irene’s adorable toddling daughter modeled on the runway for the first time! July 26, 2014 at the Radisson in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Post-Creeper Crochet Ideas

My giant Minecraft-inspired crochet Creeper project gave me some more ideas. Here are a few from my studio “vault.”

In the first three photos (top row), the head is partly assembled. On the far left I see part of a hood. For example, a muffler or wide scarf seamed at a right angle to the scarf sides to create a hooded scarf. In the middle photo I see what a Creeper backpack might look like, and in the rightmost photo, a square bottomed bucket-style tote.

Gamer crochet amigurumi: giant Minecraft Creeper
I saw other projects and uses before I finished the full-size Creeper. View full size image.

In the bottom left photo, I don’t know what YOU see but I see an ipad/laptop sleeve. I threw in the next photo so you could see what the individual pieces look like before seaming. They could be joined to create lots of useful items. Besides the obvious baby blanket, how about patches on jeans or pockets on sweaters? A bathmat might be just the way to startle awake first thing in the morning.

And finally, there’s the happy recipient in the last photo. He was 13 here. The completed Creeper head could double as a throw pillow, literally. (He threw it around a bit like he would while playing with a cubic ball in Minecraft.)

I love how big and sturdy it came out. Single crochet stitches are so versatile! (Double crochet in the UK and Australia). As with this Creeper crochet toy, it was the perfect stitch for Gallon Friend, a classroom aid for my son’s third grade teacher.