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Color Pooling Crochet Stitch Games-Class

Planned vs. Accidental Color “Pooling”

 

2016 collage for "Stitch Games" CGOA class
This is the 2016 class web-poster at the CGOA event headquarters.

Last summer’s Get Your Geek On CGOA event inspired my new three-hour crochet class in Charleston SC (July 13, 2016); some new booklets and patterns too. Many of us have sought insight into using hand-painted yarns. These yarns are often boldly variegated with short color changes and other indie dyeing methods. Color pooling is exciting!

You’re looking at stitch game projects I designed from 2009 to a month ago. (There are more but they don’t all fit in this image.) Pattern for the vivid blue striped scarf (Jempool) releases this week.

Use crochet stitches to turn the color volume up or down (or both, selectively!). Exaggerate the element of chance: accidental pooling. Or, eliminate it: planned pooling.

What’s Color Pooling?

Variegated (multi-colored) yarns seem to have randomly and evenly mixed colors in one skein. It’s like a party in a ball…unless the colors stop looking well-blended when crocheted or knitted. A color might repeat too often, or pile (pool) up on itself row after row in a blotchy way. That’s pooling in a bad way.

Texture pooling is a variation of color pooling. Ever use a yarn with dramatic thick and thin areas, and find that these texture contrasts clump together awkwardly? The texture changes are pooling. That also happened with the intermittent tinsel sections of an expensive mohair yarn. I thought it would look magical! Instead, the tinsel just looked lumpy and stiff when I crocheted it.

Sprinkling Love Knots among simple double crochets {UK: tr} retained the otherworldly look of the yarn by giving the tinsel more room. The result was Marisa Artwalk, an exhilarating discovery.

“Stitch Pooling” Makes Color Pooling a Game

Lcustrine Cowl, Tea Lights, and Bare Bones scarves.
The three patterns in the Crochet to the Colors Playbook. This is simple stitch pooling that alters color pooling.

A simple stitch game I like, especially with crochet, is what I call stitch pooling. I switch to a contrasting crochet stitch when a certain color comes up as I crochet. Knitters do this when they switch from stockinette to garter whenever a certain color comes up, for example. Crochet gives us so many texture choices for creating a simple game, or a wildly challenging one! You can heighten or de-emphasize colors too. This is accidental color pooling that’s fresh, interesting, and each result is unique. Just use familiar crochet stitches.

Pictured at right are three examples of beginner-level stitch games in a pattern booklet.

Color Pooling According to Plan

Eliminate chance and you get regular coordinated patterns of color. The game here is to identify the unique color code of a variegated yarn. You decide where they show up in your project. (See my newsletter issue #77, Find the Color Code of Short Striping Yarns.) Then, choose the crochet stitch, gauge, and number of stitches to get the color patterning you want.

To see when this class is offered next, check the Upcoming Classes & Events page. It’s updated regularly.

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New Lotus Yarn Colors: Help Us Choose!

On this first day of National Crochet Month we’re fantasizing about more colors of Lotus yarn.

Designingvashti Lotus yarn: 15 colors in 2015Help us choose the next colors of DesigningVashti Lotus yarn and you might be the lucky recipient of 512 yds (two balls or 200 g) of it. That’s enough to crochet many of these patterns, and all of the Ravelry projects that came up in this search.

The existing 15 colors happen to fall into a tidy symmetry: there are 5 pastels, 5 neutrals, and 5 deep gem tones. What to add, oh what to add?

2017 Update: See which FIVE colors we added!

2018 Update: Explore albums of all the Lotus colors!

What do you think our 16th Lotus yarn color should be? (You’re welcome to add a suggestion for #17 and 18 too.) Just mention it in the comments below. A one-word comment is fine. Color is very inspiring, and I’m especially passionate about color right now because I’m reading books by indie yarn dyers. So feel free to add why that color, or what you would crochet with it, or other colors you’d combine with it–whatever comes to mind. We look forward to reading every comment.

The gift recipient will be randomly chosen on March 15, and announced here on this blog that same day. We’ll use a random number generator. Commenting more than once won’t increase your chances. The yarn gift can be mailed free to a US address only.

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Fascinating Crochet Texture: Chainmaille Cowl

Bottom band of my Oct. 2018 VOTE crochet poster in our Lotus yarn.
This is the bottom band of a crochet poster. See the rest of it below. View full size.

 

Chainmaille is a downloadable DesigningVashti crochet pattern that was recently the focus of a CAL (Crochet Along) in northern Illinois. I thought you and the CAL participants would enjoy seeing a few variations I’ve swatched of this fascinating crochet texture.

The Structure of a Fascinating Crochet Fabric

Brighid's Willow afghan block contributed to a pattern booklet.
For the Brighid’s Willow afghan block I added a simple cable and contrasting edge columns.

Long chains cross over a filet surface in a herringbone-like pattern. It’s easier to see in striping colors, above and below.

It might also be easier to see in different types of yarn. The alpaca-tencel yarn adds to the scarf’s unique look. I used a cotton-acrylic blend for the afghan block at right. For the V-o-t-e poster I used two strands held together of a cotton-rayon blend.

It helps me to think of it as two layers of lace: each gives the other added dimension and visual depth. This makes it lighter to wear. It also drapes better than the solid layered and aran-style crochet fabrics.

How did Chainmaille come about?

I first saw a confusing photo of the stitch pattern in a book. I couldn’t make out what its texture was like, and the book offered no stitch diagram for it. (It turns out that a stitch diagram wouldn’t have helped me, I just had to crochet it first.) I now understand why the photo confused me: a layered crochet texture is hard to capture in a two-dimensional image. If light shows through the layers, that also adds mystery.

Tunisian crochet letters spell V-O-T-E against a rainbow aran crochet background.
This poster is approx. 12″ x 14″. Ten colors of our Lotus yarn, a cotton & rayon blend.

For me, the Chainmaille design is all about immersing oneself in a fascinating crochet fabric. There is no shaping or complicated assembly. Turning it into a cowl is simple enough: just seam it into a tube. Leave it unseamed for a neck warmer, or make it longer like I did to wear as a scarf. (Or gift to a man.)

A Chainmaille Crochet Along took place last month (July 2015) at Mosaic Yarn Studio in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Have a look at this wrap-sized Chainmaille on display in the shop!

I met with a CAL participant, Susan Kenyon, at the Chain Link crochet conference in San Diego a few weeks ago. Susan and I seem to share the same kind of enjoyment of this fascinating crochet stitch pattern. It sounds like the CAL was fun.