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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 I show a lots of published and unpublished designs in this class!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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Why “Self-Healing” Crochet Stitches?

Love knots removed on the left; row of double crochet on the right, which need a lifeline (in red).
On the left is a self-healing stitch pattern. I’ve removed two rows of love knots, and the stitches left behind are fine the way they are—I have not edged them. No “lifeline” was required to prevent unraveling.
On the right, a red lifeline has been woven into the base loops of some of the double crochet stitches (dc, or in UK: tr). The nearby stitches without a lifeline are unstable and will unravel. View full size.

 

The Self-Healing Crochet Stitches and How to Cut Them class is thanks to an accidental discovery I made in 2013. A rectangular wrap kept sliding off of my shoulders. It has interesting edges, so I added (cut open) armholes to wear it as a vest.

I held my breath, cut a stitch, and…

Nothing happened. The stitches didn’t care. Why though? (Some stitches DO care. A lot!)

The first armhole is being opened to turn this Tunisian Mesmer Veil stole into a waterfall Maze Vest.
The cut that launched a whole class!

At first I thought it was an odd quality of only a few kinds of Tunisian stitches. After testing why this happened, I created a class called “Steeked Tunisian Lace for Fun Fast Fashions”.

By the time I taught it (2016), I’d already discovered the same effect with some regular crochet stitches. That led to a new version of the class​​, “Easy to Steek Crochet Stitches” in 2017.

Self-Healing vs. “Steek”

Nowadays I’m thinking “self-healing” conveys the topic better than referring to steeks. Steek is a specialized knitting term. I see too many question marks over crocheters’ heads when I use it. Also, steeking often involves cutting across several rows whereas in my class we cut open ONE row.

Cutting a self-healing stitch is creatively liberating and empowering. For me as a designer it’s exhilarating! I think “self-healing” conveys some of the positive, low-stress feeling people have in this class.

​Which Crochet Cutting Class?​

My friend ​Pauline Turner will be teaching a class​ called “Cutting Crochet” at the same event on ​Thursday, ​July 26.​ Our two “how to cut” classes seem to be very different​.

When renaming my class I briefly considered “Cutting Crochet” as a way to avoid the steek term. I worried that it would bring to mind the traditional reasons a crocheter would need to cut crochet: to fix, tailor, or repair it. My class is not traditional.

“Game Changer”?

“It’s a Game Changer” — Vashti’s mom (crocheter).

If you can add a head opening, armholes, and even decoratively shaped openings wherever you wish in a crocheted item, it means this is a distinct, different construction method. Here’s why my mom might be right:

  • It changes what we can do with schematics and simple shapes.
  • Beginners can understand and use the basic principles of it.
  • It simplifies the crocheting: just keep crocheting to the end. No need to make sure you start the armholes in the correct row. Stop crocheting when you want to, not when you’re a fixed distance from an opening.
  • The opening you add later is actually superior to crocheting it in as you go. It’s less lumpy.
  • It’s certainly a game changer when doing planned pooling with a variegated yarn (argyling, color stacking, etc). Crocheting a simple shape straight through is really important for this kind of crocheting. If you were to add an opening as you’re crocheting, you’d throw off your color sequence. To be able to cut open armholes, a head opening, pocket slit, and even a scarf keyhole later is ideal.

It turns out that a large number of stitch patterns are, or can be subtly tweaked to be, self-healing.

Self-Healing Crochet Stitches and How to Cut Them has a 2018 class resources page.
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Steek Crochet With Pattern Schematics in Any Language

Pattern schematics inspire me to steek crochet.

I wish every crochet garment pattern offered a schematic. It outlines the sections of a garment, like puzzle pieces. Schematics cut through illusions cast by fashion photography and lovely models. A single pattern schematic can distill a fancy design to its simplest essence. I created two Pinterest boards of things that inspire me to steek crochet: Steeks: Ideas and Wearable Simple Shapes.

Schematics also cut through language barriers. I can understand a non-English pattern if it includes a good schematic or two.

I created a few sample schematics for the Tunisian steek crochet class handout and realized how much I get out of them. This would be the next newsletter issue if I had time to do one! (Too much conference prep.)

Simple garment squares and rectangles. From my Tunisian class handout. Add a steek where you see a pink bar.
Steek where the pink bar is in these pattern schematics for simple-shapes garments.
Update! I wrote newsletter #80, Pattern Schematics for Insiders & Outsiders, three months after I wrote this blog post. Note that shop links in its right-hand column are outdated as of Sept. 2017.

A schematic is sensational to me when a garment that looks chic on a model, yet its schematic reveals that it’s made of simple shapes like rectangles. It’s exciting because every crocheter or knitter first learns how to make rectangles, right?

Sometimes all you need is a rectangle that drapes, or is clingy/stretchy (or all of these). Sometimes weightlessness brings it home, other times it’s a luxuriously weighty swing. The schematic tells you what’s what when you know what to look for.

Sometimes the key to chic is a well-placed seam on a simple shape. Sometimes it’s a special edging. And sometimes it’s the where and how of the steek. Steek crochet for the easy chic of it.

I love this conference prep blogging because it makes me aware of things that I’ve done for years, like collect pattern schematics.

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Steeked Tunisian Lace: Class Resources Page

Tunisian simple, knit, and full stitches steeked. Each responds differently.This resource page is for the original 2016 class. In 2018 I expanded the topic to include non-Tunisian stitches too. It’s called Self-Healing Crochet Stitches to Cut and its resource page is here.

  -:————–:-

Here’s a clickable list of resources for my 2016 national guild Steeked Tunisian Crochet Lace class. You’ll find patterns for designs shown, books mentioned, & articles recommended in class. Also, fashion inspiration for taking this topic in expressive new directions.

Designs & Patterns

Steeked Tunisian Lace Designs by Others

The Fun Fast Fashions Part!

The full title of this class is Steek (Cut) Tunisian Crochet Lace for Fun, Fast Fashions. I felt the need to differentiate this topic from steeking knit fair isle sweaters and other existing reasons for steeks. Three strong fashion trends converge in this 3-hour class: Clean net lace, graphic/linear texture, and fringe. I’ve created a Pinterest board for each trend:

  • To Try with Tunisian Crochet Nets (linear, visually directional fabric grain as design element)
  • Steeks: Ideas These are often simple shapes that become magically wearable and trendy with just a steek 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 steeked Tunisian lace nets beg to be fringed.) If you cut a steek 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.

Recommended issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter

Blogged

Books re: Steeked Tunisian Lace?

I could find nothing in books about steeking Tunisian crochet, even though it is so fun, easy, and versatile! (If you know of a source, please leave a comment.) Below are a few books that include some extended stitch patterns.

  • 2000 (1991), Rebecca Jones: Tricot Crochet The Complete Book, Lacis Pubs., Berkeley CA. ISBN 978-1-891656-28-6.
    • Offers three interesting variations of the Tunisian extended stitch net I used for Mesmer: “Open Mesh”, “Josephine Stitch”, and “Point de Chantilly”.
    • The author states, “This makes a very open stitch which grows very quickly. It’s a good stitch to use with a long-fibre mohair for scarfs and stoles.”
  • 2004, Angela “ARNie” Grabowski: Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet, LoneStar Abilene Pubg LLC, TX. ISBN 978-0-974972-55-8
    • The author shows several swatches of extended Tunisian stitches. See pages 34-43.
  • 2004, Carolyn Christmas and Dorris Brooks: 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches, Annies Attic, IN. ISBN 978-1-931171-74-8
  • 2008: Tunisian Crochet Patterns 100, Nihon Amimono Bunka Kyo-kai, Japan ISBN 978-4-529-04484-4
  • 2009, Kim Guzman: Learn to Do Tunisian Lace Stitches, Annie’s Attic, IN. ISBN 978-1-59635-264-3
  • 2014, Kim Guzman: Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide.