Watch me open the armholes after I finished crocheting the lace: Snip & Unzip An Armhole. These self-healing stitches don’t mind being cut. It’s the low-stress way to create armholes. Really! Much easier than breaking the crochet flow to place them correctly.
Flowerfall is a modified diamond shape: imagine a diamond with its top and bottom corners lopped off. You start crocheting the shape at the left front corner and end at the right front corner.
When you wear it upside down, the hem ends at a different place and the amount of fabric in the collar changes. (It’s also reversible.)
The armholes are generous and not centered, which increases its wearable ways. You can even treat the armholes like head openings. That results in a poncho look, see the bottom images.
An older design, the Leftfield Diamond, is the first time I crocheted this shape. That’s when I found out how versatile it is.
Side-Tied Waist Option
See the top right-hand image above? There’s a hint of a tie belt at the waist. It inspired me to add ties to the front corners for a wrap belt option. These are removable and repositionable, with a petal-like accent that echoes the chained petals in the stitch pattern. I don’t have photos of them yet.
I put off writing about the Tunisian on the Diagonal class because I kept feeling like I had nothing to say, but also too much! Here’s another paradox: I feel like I’ve been teaching this class since 2010 and yet I never have, exactly. How can all of this be true?
I figured it out after writing the section about its 2009 roots below. Crocheting Tunisian diagonally is a huge topic based upon simple and powerful principles. Vary one thing a little, factor in some momentum, and everything ends up dramatically different.
I’ve taught big sections of this. The 2018 class will be the master class. (It’s great for all skill levels, thanks to the “simple principles” part I just mentioned.)
For contrast, travel back to 2009 with me for a bit.
There was almost nothing on diagonal Tunisian crochet from corner to corner, or “C2C”. With C2C you increase steadily along both row ends to widen, then decrease steadily until you end at the opposite corner.
The default increase method back then didn’t have a symmetrical, polished drape. I blogged about it (and the photo at right) in June 2009 because that’s when I was working out the increase method for the Five Peaks Shawl.
2009 Tunisian Hook Choices
Tunisian crochet hooks larger than size 6.0 mm (J) were scarce in any style and length, whether straight, flexible, double-ended, short, or long. When you found one, you put up with whatever its material, surface finish, and hook shape was. Remember that?
My options were either a long straight 6.5 mm (K) or a discontinued 9 mm (“M/N”) flexible hook from eBay. I needed a size between these two. Too bad!
Back then, publishers needed designers to use crochet hooks that were commonly available in stores. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sell the Five Peaks pattern to a magazine. Fortunately, Tunisian hook choices were improving. Only three months later I blogged “Heaven is a Crochet Hook for Every Need”. Nowadays I keep a range of Tunisian hook sizes and lengths.
The Evolving Tunisian Crocheter
We Tunisian crocheters have been enjoying a renaissance for our craft! It had barely started in 2009. Back then, most crocheters still assumed the nature of Tunisian crochet was to be thick, kind of stiff, and with a stubborn curl. Not something that couldcascade and swing from the shoulders like a waterfall, or look like a lacy weightless veil.
Each time I’ve taught a Tunisian crochet class since 2010, the students bring more skills and experience to the room. Newer Tunisian crocheters understand things faster. This became really noticeable around 2013.
Five Peaks classes were the first I taught on diagonal Tunisian crochet. It was ahead of its time in 2009. Since then I’ve learned to start every Tunisian topic with a quick review of the relevant basics. People of all skill levels seem to welcome this. It seems to pull together and standardize the new things everyone is learning from different designers.
For 2018 I’m excited to be starting out with a review of a different set of basics because when we crochet Tunisian on the diagonal, there are clues we can be looking for but may not recognize for awhile. Things may look wrong for awhile and yet be so, so right.
Updated on 7/18/18. View the high-res image. This is a conveniently clickable group of things I mention and display in Creative Planned Color Pooling classes. I teach the next one on July 28, 2018 in Portland OR. (An earlier version of this class was called “Crochet Stitch Games” and included game-like serendipity techniques; between then and now, planned pooling has become a popular technique!). — Vashti Braha
Wannietta Prescod: this blog post links to her earliest inspiration and to her influential Sweetspot 2009 article for Knitty.
Planned pooling crochet patterns, a self-updating link: Ravelry doesn’t seem to have a category for this technique yet, so I used the keyword “pooling”. Of 23 search results it looks like 20 are true planned pooling. Of these, 17 are argyles, and most appear to be seed stitch (as of 4/16/18).
Planned pooling knitting patterns, a self-updating link: as with the crochet search link above, I used a keyword search. Of the 91 results (as of 4/16/18), about 80 are true planned pooling designs.
Any Books on Planned Pooling with Crochet?
Found one! Yarn Pooling Made Easy by Marly Bird. Published by Leisure Arts, 2017.
The class material for Creative Planned Color Pooling changed me. In fact, it’s still changing me. I’ve adjusted its title to take new developments into account (more on that below).
I’d love to have taken a color pooling class like this years ago! In fact I’d rather learn it in a class than from a pattern or blog. The next time I teach this class: July 28, 2018 in Portland, Oregon.
Crochet Rules, Questioned
Developing this topic changed me as a crocheter. It showed me what I take for granted about crochet how crochet works. I think it’s because for the first time, something else (the yarn’s color sequence) replaces crochet standards that have always worked for other kinds of crochet.
Here’s one: uniformly even stitches are beautiful. We aim to make uniform stitches to get a lovely, polished result, right? Beginners practice until they can be proud of how even their stitches are. Why would one question this?
When you’re intentionally pooling (I think of it as color directing), it’s the yarn’s colors that you aim to make uniform. The evenness of your stitches is second to that. A pretty distant second, which was shocking to me. Why? That brings me to a second way this class material changed me.
On a bigger and more personal scale, my relationship to color changed! It was like watching my brain re-prioritize what it was seeing. My eyes rejoiced when the yarn’s next color stacked up the way I wanted it to. The stitches for making this happen became almost interchangeable. Even the stitch gauge could vary.
In other words, detecting a color pattern is riveting to the brain. (At least my brain. It feels primal.)
Especially when the pretty color pattern emerges from seemingly random chaos.
Especially when it’s like there’s a secret code in a multicolored ball of yarn and you’ve just cracked it.
The crochet stitch and gauge becomes a strategy: change the crocheting a bit to get a color to stick with the pattern and it works! The eye doesn’t see certain stitch irregularities. It’s too captivated by the color patterning. Also, the nearby stitches will adjust.
Since my 2016 class, more crocheters have mostly been finding out from blogs about doing planned color pooling (a.k.a. intentional yarn pooling) with variegated craft store yarns. I’m seeing people make a cool argyle effect using the linen stitch (a.k.a. seed stitch, moss stitch, granite stitch): each row is [sc, ch 1, skip next st], and you crochet the sc of the next row into the ch-1 space of the completed row.
I came to this topic a completely different way, via hand dyed yarns. It’s easy to identify the dye techniques, such as hand painting and dip dyeing, because these yarns tend to be sold in the hank the dyer used, not wound into balls.
In these dyed hanks I saw “stitch games” because I’d already done other color-based and geeky experiments. For example,
When I learned from Marty Miller how hyperbolic crochet works (2006 or so), I crocheted her a hyperbolic coffee cozy secretlybased on her birthdate.
A hand dyed yarn with a vivid yellow in it made me want to set it off with love knots. “Love Games” was the result.
Earlier versions of this class were “Stitch Games for Yarns With Short Color or TextureChanges” (2016 in Charleston SC) and “Stacked Color Pooling” (2017 in Mt. Pleasant IL). Planned pooling is becoming a recognizable term for more crocheters. I suspect that only seed stitch argyles come to mind for some. Also, some folks seem to think this is math based, but it doesn’t have to be. At all.
Creative is the important part of the new title because we’re still at the early stages of what is possible. There is way more to planned pooling than seed stitch argyles. What about lace and tall stitches? Shaping? Tunisian? I want crocheters to experience the possible! And of course to be changed by it.
Three fashion trends are relevant to this class topic: graphic/linear texture, net lace, and fringe. I’ve created a Pinterest board for each trend.
Steeks: Ideas These are often simple shapes that become magically wearable and trendy with just a cut or two.
Trend: the New Fringe I thought today’s fringe was a passing fad but it continues to have a lot of mojo! That’s great for us. Many cut stitch patterns beg to be fringed, especially if you don’t want to use a double-ended hook for Tunisian lace nets. If you cut across several rows, turning that cut edge into fringe is the ideal thing to do with all the ends.
Trend: Simple Crochet Mesh Nets It’s a classic fabric with fresh boho looks. It’ll be a long-term trend because it’s also now going urbane-futuristic-techie.
Cutting self-healing stitch patterns is a unique and fun construction method. Knowing how to easily steek as part of your crochet skillset opens up a whole creative avenue of projects. It’s freeing and empowering. As of 2022, it’s always an option that comes to mind when I’m dreaming up a new design. It goes together with inventive folds and seams I might like to use.