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Flowerfall Vest Update

Flowerfall Vest is a versatile shape that can be worn several different ways. Nine shown here.

Remember my Crochet Class in a Vest blog post about a week ago? I’m happy to report that Flowerfall is progressing nicely through the pattern writing obstacle course. View full size image.

Snip & Unzip An Armhole Mini-Video

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.

Special Shape

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.

You can keep up with Flowerfall at its project page. It’ll work out great for at least two of my class topics: 21st Century Love Knot Adventures and Self-Healing Stitches & How to Cut Them.

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Self Healing Stitches to Cut: Class Resources

2018 Self-Healing Crochet Stitches and How to Cut Them Class by Vashti Braha
Up to date as of 4/11/18This page will likely be updated again before class time and possibly after. 
View full size images of steeked swatches
This page is a conveniently clickable group of things I mention in the Self-Healing Crochet Stitches and How to Cut Them classes. I teach the next one on July 28, 2018 in Portland OR. I show a lots of published and unpublished designs in this class! Each illustrates the stitches and techniques learned.  — Vashti Braha
Considering signing up for this class? Read Why “Self-Healing” Crochet Stitches?

 

Recommended Articles

Designs & Patterns

Steeked Crochet Designs by Others

Inspiration Boards for this ClassA chunky lace vest that can be completed in 2 hours because you create armholes later with quick steeks (cutting).

Self-Healing Crochet Stitches and How to Cut Them started out Tunisian-only in 2016. It was originally titled Steek (Cut) Tunisian Crochet Lace for Fun, Fast Fashions. (I overhauled the title to help differentiate this topic from steeking knit fair isle sweaters and other traditional reasons for steeks.)

Three strong 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.
  • To Try with Tunisian Crochet Nets (linear, visually directional fabric grain as design element)

Cutting self-healing stitch patterns is a unique and fun construction method. It makes pattern schematics newly inspiring! You might enjoy newsletter #80: Pattern Schematics for Insiders and Outsiders.

Any Books on Cutting Crochet?

I’ll add information here as I find it, so please check back. (In 2016 I found nothing in books on specifically steeking Tunisian crochet. (If you know of a source, please leave a comment.)

Original 2016 Steeked Tunisian Lace Class Resources page.
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Wearing Crochet to a Memorial Service

Four views of Graven worn with its buttons in front or back.

I traveled over the weekend to attend a memorial service for the sudden death of a beloved uncle.

The chapel accommodates 280 people, and 360 attended. Fortunately the weather was ideal (around 80º and sunny) so that the building could be open on two (maybe three? sides. The overflow of people could sit comfortably outside and feel included.

I designed something specifically to wear to this event and had two weeks to make it. That includes all swatching, blocking, and any do-overs.

The Challenge: Accepted.

Wearing crochet to this event meant meeting three strict requirements.

The short, fixed deadline.

I had to rule out my very first idea: to crochet a Chanel-style jacket. Instead I started imagining something that would take two balls of yarn or less.

Result: The finished Graven weighs 108g (slightly over one 256-yd ball).

The second limit was its style and color.

The 3-button front Graven capelet and black dress and pearls.
A stop at Starbucks after the memorial.

Graven would have to be far more subdued than my default personal style, so I ruled out several initial ideas. It also had to be solid black; a challenge because that’s not what I tend to crochet. Sure, I often wear black clothing as a plain first layer that forms a background to a (sometimes crocheted) lighter-colored layer. I struggled at first to picture wearing crochet in solid black on a sunny Florida morning, not for evening, or in a northern office.

Result: I wore Graven all day. It was mostly easy and comfortable to wear, and felt elegant and proper style wise. I did have to adjust it periodically so that the buttons stayed centered. (I think this is because I accidentally increased some rows unevenly.)

It had to work with my dress and high heels.

The dress was a simple sleeveless deep V-front shift made of an inky black pima-modal fabric. Its surface had a woven linen look but it was actually a fine knit. Very comfortable to wear in Florida! It needed a dressy covering for the upper arms and chest though.

Result: Armed with these three requirements, I narrowed down my project to a fairly traditional shoulder covering, crocheted in a fairly tame lace stitch texture, with a polished-looking yarn that’s not too thin or thick: a capelet in Tunisian crochet with Lotus. (Our “Black Gleam” color matched the dress! whew.)

Other Requirements I Hoped to Meet

Half of the capelet shown flat along its hem while it blocks.
Half of the capelet shown flat along its hem while it blocks.

Learn something new about crochet: this was the first time I tried doing a Tunisian “wicker” mesh in short rows with a built-in shaped collar, and a distinctive twisted-loop edging at the hem.

Use yarn already in my stash, ideally my Lotus yarn. I try to feature a different Lotus color each time I design with it. This was the first time I designed with the black.

Try out a trendy style: The trend of using mesh textures in a modern, sort of sporty way inspired the stitch pattern. (The edging later added more of a medieval-ish wrought iron look.)

Give my handmade item the kind of polish that could even make someone wonder if it was a store-bought designer label. (I don’t know if this actually happened).

Wearing Crochet to Memorials

I’d do it again. It was a tangible comfort to me.

Although I don’t think I caught sight of all 360 people individually, I feel confident in saying that I was the only one wearing crochet, or even a hand knit item.

To me, fabric has a language, and crochet adds a necessary voice to the conversation, at memorials too. Time spent crocheting Graven was also time spent contemplating the uncle I will miss so much. Crochet caught and is holding my feelings for him.

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Crochet Mini Skirt Hem Tests

Crochet mini skirt in dark grey "Carbonite" Lotus yarn color: 2 lacy and 2 solid hem tests

I’m working on a crochet mini skirt! The last time I crocheted a mini skirt was in 2006 for Crochet! Magazine (March 2007 issue). Today I completed the third and fourth ideas I have for a decorative hem.

Finally a Crochet Mini Skirt for Fall!

It may be a trendy item this year, but every fall I want a crochet mini skirt to wear with leggings and boots. This dark grey is a perfect neutral color for me.

I’m calling this design Carbonite after the name of this newest color of our Lotus yarn.

Crochet Stitches for Skirts

My goal was a solid stitch pattern with a brocade-like texture and a nice drape.

Does the stitch pattern look familiar? It’s a modified “Catherine Wheel”, a.k.a. “sunburst stitch”. This popular crochet stitch pattern is often used for thick wool scarves and afghans. I tweaked it a bit to prevent gaps that commonly happen between the tall stitches of the “wheels”.

I have a few more idea for hems I’d like to try but I don’t want them to slow me down too much. Each time I try a hem idea, I block it, let it dry, style and photograph it. Then I have to edit each photo a bit so that the tones and light levels match ok. I take each photo on a different day and time of day. A few were taken during Hurricane Hermine!

Next I’ll make decisions about the waistband.

This Carbonite crochet mini skirt design has a Ravelry project page that you can check to see more updates.