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Mamruana CAL “Wrap Up”

Sleeve cuff test for the Mamruana in progress.
Mamruana (unfinished): sleeve cuff test.

I put “Wrap Up” in quotes because this is a soft ending to a crochet along, not a hard one. In fact I remain inspired by some discoveries I made about it along the way. Plus, I can’t resist a pun.

It’s easy to imagine revisiting this CAL with a springtime project with CAL participants who also intend to start or resume their Mamruanas later.

Mamruana Evaluation Day

I’m going to do a behind-the-scenes evaluation of it as a crocheter of it (the process), wearer (the product), yarn provider (yarn brand choice), designer (art and craft of it), and pattern writer (is it patternable?).

Wearing the Ruana

Mine is in fall colors and I’ll be wearing it to parties here in Florida through the winter. It’s bigger and heavier on me than I expected, but not too much. It means I made a size Large to X-Large instead of a Small to Medium.

I will love dancing in it. It drapes beautifully and the colored diamonds flicker as it moves, vaguely like confetti.

As a Crochet Project

I really enjoyed crocheting it for three reasons:

  1. The half double stitches (hdc) are crocheted into spaces, not stitch loops (helps the crocheting pace). See the stitch close up below.
  2. The rhythm of color changes kept me looking forward to the next strip, with no color juggling or managing ends.
  3. Constructing this in MAM (“mile-a-minute”) strips gave me a satisfying feeling of completion and progress.

As a Design Idea

Mamruana crochet strips in other wearable shapes and striping.
Mamruana crochet strips in some other wearable shapes. Compare how the color stripes drape with first photo of the ruana.

Several inspiring discoveries here for the designer in me!

I love that you’re just crocheting little square patches in simple rows—so elementary—but they end up being diamonds on the bias. Changing the color of each strip adds a big visual effect to the drape. A ruana shape magnifies the effect because the sleeve sections also drape on the body at an angle.

Not only is a patch reversible, it’s rotatable! This excites me because it means a series of patches could be linked up while going in different directions and still look coolly consistent. Freeform-bitmappy, chic, powerfully versatile design-wise. A gazillion options are possible for other wearable shapes and kinds of projects. It’s like each patch is a fashionable “bit” for infinite design “pixels”.

Put a Cuff on It

I’m unreasonably inspired by putting sleeve cuffs on a ruana. I like how it feels to wear it, how it updates the look, and how easy it is to do. It’s a trendy effect I’ve wanted to explore since seeing it so much in Pinterest.

The Yarn Choice

Speaking as both a designer and a yarn provider, I’m very pleased with how the design and yarn go together. (I never really know if that will be the case.) YES I always want to have new crochet patterns for DesigningVashti Lotus yarn, and to show off new colors of it. For example, the new Orange Luxe color inspired the Mamruana.

Yarn-me will ask designer-me to tinker with the final pattern because it needn’t use quite this much yarn—approx. 525 grams or 1350 yds.

As a designer I always need a good design reason for choosing one yarn over another. So, of course I fantasize about other yarns too. Besides the sport weight (CYC #2) Lotus, I think thinner yarns (lace wt./CYC #0 and fingering/CYC #1) would be wonderful; I swatched some for the CAL. I keep picturing a wool or alpaca blend as a generous cowl, for example. What about fine crochet thread for a scarf, panels of a skirt, etc. Beads?!

My takeaways from using Lotus for this Mamruana:

  • Its sheen combined with its drape is key to the whole effect! (That “I want to wear it to holiday parties and dance in it” effect.) Check out the stitch close up at right.
  • For Lotus designs I tend to vacillate between using a G-6 and G-7 (4mm, 4.5mm) crochet hook size. I used a G-7 for Mamruana. For larger sizes at least, I’m thinking it should be a G-6. Probably not an F-5 (3.75m) but I’ll investigate.
  • The color range of Lotus is a significant element in its “just one more strip!” crocheting fun and visual impact. I’d need an inspiring color range in any yarn I use for this.

Mamruana as a Downloadable Pattern?

I’ve learned that you never know what it will be like to write up a design until you’re in too deep, but I’m not worried about this one. No red flags. Nothing that would require a video to be understandable. Unlike, say, a Bosnian color-pooled moebius.

It’s so Plus-sizable. Good Plus Size patterns are another thing I always want more of in my shop.

A nice thing about this CAL is that I wrote up the main pattern in sections and created visual aids as we went.

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DesigningVashti News Roundup

Hello from the Other Side

…of the Great Website Overhaul of 2017. ? RIP sweet old DesigningVashti site from 2010. ?

For this first blog post at my new ‘n improved DesigningVashti.com, I’ll firm up loose loops by bringing you up to date.

Crochet Inspirations Newsletter

Freshly fallen mango tree in our front yard. Hurricane Irma
Freshly fallen mango tree in our front yard from Hurricane Irma.

Top of mind is the next issue (#88). Now that this website is up and working smoothly, I can focus on it again. I’ve mulled topic #88 since the week before Hurricane Irma grazed us. This site now has a respectable About the Newsletter page. (On my list is to put a sign-up form on it.)

You know, people have told me over the years that I should charge a subscription fee for the newsletter. I don’t know if they’re right, but I can tell you that if I had been, it would have weighed on me heavily while trying to get back up to speed after the storm!

We evacuated for Irma and that’s mighty rare. It was so nerve-wracking that the only crocheting I could muster was a swatch for the newsletter. Fortunately I didn’t lose it amidst the upheaval because that one swatch gave me a lot to think about.

omg, the Mamruana CAL-DAL

Mamruana Crochet-Along edging test: 3-inch fringe.
Mamruana Crochet-Along edging test: 3-inch fringe.

I launched the Mamruana Crochet Along/Design-Along Aug. 24 in my Ravelry forum. The “design-

along” part is a new kind of medium for me. The CAL-DAL was humming along by the time Irma was aiming for our area.

Fortunately, the DAL part gives a CAL a more open-ended timeline and direction, because a series of hurricanes and fires put a damper on the momentum. Any work I could do had to go to the website. I couldn’t even blog about the CAL; the blog part of the site was down the longest.

After this blog post I can add a fringe update to the forum thread!

Crochet Videos

Rosepuff crochet videos by Vashti
Crochet Rosepuff videos (in-depth one for owners of the pattern).

I had just begun creating videos before Irma. I have some raw clips waiting, in fact. YouTube even emailed me and said, “Hey, do you need encouragement? You’re doing great.”

We tore down my home filming “studio” in preparation to evacuate for the hurricane. I can set it up again now that this new website is live.

Ideally, the next newsletter issue will have a short video clip or gif.

Vashti’s Crochet Archives

In May I announced that I was going to start putting my crochet stuff online. Weird little obstacles cropped up at various sites as I did so. It turns out the updated features of this website are perfect! I did not foresee this! Also probably ideal for others who would be interested in my crochet archives because it will be all in one place, tightly interlinked.

New Crochet Patterns

It’s true, there have never been more new patterns in various stages of completion. Wonderful tech editors and diagram makers are still standing by to help me too (I hope). I’m anxious to get back to pattern writing as well as to newsletter #88. I’m also working on a new Tunisian design.

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Crochet Along Shaping Thoughts (Jempool CAL)

Jem CAL: Crochet Along Announcement for the Jempool Scarf methodThere’s a crochet along (CAL) going on right now for the Jempool Scarf. All the posts are public and it’s free (the pattern and technique info is $5), so anyone can join in any time.

While I was crocheting Jempool, I wondered if I should complete it as a traditional rectangular scarf. Maybe it would like to be something different?

I quickly discovered that when you stack each color of a variegated yarn, you can’t just increase or decrease stitches to shape a sleeve or neckline. The color repeat sequence becomes the pattern repeat.

Below are some sketches from when I was working this out. I needed colored pencils to help me see if there might be a 2-skein version I’d prefer even more than the simple 1-skein scarf.

Sketched ideas for other shapes of the basic Jempool Crochet Along rectangle.
A few ideas for shaping with a fixed-width rectangle.

If one complete color sequence gave me a 9″ (22.86 cm)-wide scarf, that 9″ is a fixed pattern repeat. That means I could double it (or triple, etc). In this case the colors are symmetrical, so I could also halve it; a 4.5″ pattern repeat is easier to design with.

So as part of the crochet along, if you try a Jempool and you’re loving it but you don’t need to end up with a scarf, you could think of it as a repeatable motif. A handy seam here or there could yield a ruana, poncho, shrug, etc.

Jempool is reversible, so it could easily be turned into a möbius. I’d just need to add a half twist then seam together the two ends.