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DesigningVashti Lotus Yarn: Magazine Gallery

Two new crochet top patterns by Doris Chan and two by Jennifer Ryan (an Irish knot wrap and a multicolored tote)

Our Yarn in the Magazines!

Crochet pattern magazines have been awesome for DesigningVashti Lotus Yarn. It’s like getting a surprise Valentine each time I hear that a designer or magazine editor has chosen to use it for a design.

Patterns for the designs you see above are published in the following crochet magazines, listed as shown from left to right:

  1. Interweave Crochet, Spring 2015: Sapphire Sweater. Designer: Doris Chan.
  2. Crochet! Magazine, Spring 2015: Harmony Bamboo Tank. Designer Doris Chan.
  3. Crochet! Magazine, Summer 2015: Féileacán Shawl. Designer Jennifer E. Ryan.
  4. Crochet! Magazine, Spring 2015: Fabric Fusion Tote. Designer Jennifer E. Ryan.

It’s a slow and steady roll out, and that’s good. Here’s why. Crochet designers started requesting DesigningVashti Lotus yarn to swatch with in 2014. A designer has two professional directions to go with a swatch:

1) Create a design proposal with it.

Designers submit their proposals when a magazine editor sends out a call for designs. These calls go out several months in advance of a magazine issue’s publication, especially the print magazines. For example, a call for winter designs might go out in the spring. A digital-only magazine can sometimes have faster production times than print magazines, but speed isn’t everything. There’s nothing like holding a print magazine in your hands or rolling it up in your tote and dashing out the door. I leisurely page through mine several times and save them all.

2) Self publish the design online as a downloadable pattern.

This can be in Ravelry or on one’s own site, for example. Doris Chan and I both tried to get indie (self published) patterns out quickly for our Lotus yarn this way. It’s often the fastest route, depending on the design and the designer.

DesigningVashti Lotus Patterns & Project Galleries

As a designer and also as a yarn company owner, I think a combination of digital and print magazine designs, and quick pattern downloads, is perfect support for a young yarn.

A Young Yarn Design-Wise

As I’ve journaled over at another blog, our yarn celebrated its first birthday a few months ago. I have to remind myself that it’s still a new one, considering that many of the those first months of its life happen behind the scenes. Designs for it are being swatched, submitted, written and edited, photo styled, etc.

Shortening the Lead Time

Yarn companies can sometimes shorten this lead time. The yarn company might be able to get a small advance shipment of a new yarn. Then they get it into the hands of a few designers as soon as possible. This way, the designers can be:

  • Answering calls for designs with swatches of it
  • Crocheting up complete projects for photo styling, or for industry trade show displays.

I experienced this as a designer a few times back when I worked primarily with magazines and yarn companies. It was exciting. One brand-new yarn didn’t even have a label yet!  The color was whatever the company could get a hold of quickly. Sometimes it was also a little confusing. For example, the design was accepted—great!—but the yarn took longer to ship from the mill than expected. The production deadlines had to be readjusted and squeezed in. Occasionally a design contract had to be deferred, or canceled, or a different yarn substituted at the last minute.

After these experiences, when I hear from magazine staff that they’ve chosen to include our yarn in a future issue, I immediately ship it to the lucky designer!

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Simple Pleasures Crochet Bling Bangles

Several Kinds of Easy Crochet Ribs for Stretchy Holiday Bling Bam Bangles

Crocheting *Bling* Bangles, My Cheerful Distraction

I’ve had several stressful challenges this month. Each evening I curl up with super sparkly yarn, crochet hooks, and simple stitches. I go to bed in a merry mood and drift asleep picturing other stitches or color combinations to try.

As I described in yesterday’s post, these slip-on crochet bling bangles are based on the simplest ribbing stitches. The red one is rows of single crochet in the back loop only (outside of the USA it’s called a double crochet). The silvery one in progress is rows of slip stitch in the back loop only.

* Twinkly * sequined * ribbing * is very satisfying.

It also makes sense for a slide-on bracelet! Ribbing is nice and stretchy. I had some sequined carry-along metallic threads in my yarn stash. Now is the perfect time to crochet a *bling* strand of Premier Yarns Enchant with a strand of…my Lotus yarn! I chose Lotus for its cheerful colors that can stand up to all the bright bling action.

I also chose Lotus because it’s sport weight: once you crochet double-stranded (with two strands of yarn held together), you naturally make thicker stitches. I didn’t want super thick stitches for these small crochet bling bangles. The bling string I used is slightly thinner (“fingering weight”).

The yarn math: Add 1 sport strand + 1 fingering strand and you get “DK wt,” a.k.a. “light worsted.” A G-7 (4.5 mm) hook is a good all-purpose size to use for this weight.

Let’s Talk About * Sequin * Management *

Two Bling Bam Bangles of DesigningVashti Lotus yarn and sequined strands.
I tested the sequin theory with these. See the giant square sequins? It took longer to crochet. Worth it though!

Sometimes, sequins get in the way of smooth, stress-free crocheting. If sequins can catch on a loop while you’re trying to pick up crocheting speed, it slows things down.

The secret is pairing a thick enough yarn with a sequined strand to buffer or neutralize the sequins. To me, “thick enough” means it roughly matches the diameter of the sequins. The tiny sequins in the Enchant yarn match the thickness of my Lotus yarn. Lotus gives the stitch loops smooth passage through other loops.

Result: the sequins only pile on more joy. No interruption of the joy.

The Right Kind of * Stretchy *

Enough stretch puts the bangle in crochet * Bling Bangles *—literally. A bracelet earns the right to be called a bangle when it can be slid on and off instead of requiring some kind of clasp.

The bling string (Enchant) has zero elasticity. I expected this (it’s typical of carry-along bling strings) but didn’t know its strength and durability. To reduce the stress that could be put on the bling strand, I avoided stretchy yarns like wool. DesigningVashti Lotus has no stretch either, so these two yarns are nicely matched: Lotus won’t let my crochet project stretch more than the Enchant strand can, so both yarns will share the wear and tear equally.

It’s the crochet stitches that provide all the necessary stretchiness of a slip-on bangle! That way I can use whatever yarns I wish. The crochet * bling bangle pattern * includes several kinds of ribbing for beginners and beyond.

*  *  *

2018 update: Want to see my cheerful distraction during the 2017 holidays?

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Selling Crochet Items Based on DesigningVashti Patterns

Selling crochet items based on my patterns? Please do.

If you like to crochet things to sell at craft fairs or in a shop, please enjoy using my crochet patterns for that. I really appreciate that some crocheters care to ask a designer first! I love that about our crochet community. Not only is it your right in the USA, please also know that I feel honored that my designs inspire you to make and sell finished items.

I now state officially in several places that crocheters are welcome to sell the items they make from my patterns. (Patterns I’ve already published lack this notice. I’m updating each one as time allows.)

I’ve been a maker too.

Most recently in March 2014. Ananda, a dear friend I’ve known for forever, has an indie natural perfume business. Her cool idea for a trade: she would create a limited edition perfume with pure essential Lotus blossom oil.*

In return, I would crochet special little Lotus perfume pouches just for her and her best customers. The photos above are the pouches I made.

*She even named it Vashti.  :swoon:

It was good timing for me to revisit being a maker—not a designer, teacher, editor, etc. I say “revisit” because I had a macramé jewelry business back in the 1980’s. After that I had a calligraphy business. I loved being an indie maker and selling at fairs.

Why would designers object to people selling crochet items from their patterns?

In forums, makers complain that some designers and publishers try to limit how their patterns are used, and can’t imagine a good reason for it. I think it’s understandable. Here’s why:

Back when I first launched my own pattern website, craft bloggers were reporting instances of large companies taking advantage of “the little guy” (indie designers). These companies were allegedly looking online for designs and then copying them as their own.

Whether or not the law would side with the indie designers in any of these cases, 1) These watchdog bloggers revealed publicly that stealing intellectual property isn’t victimless nor is it invisible on the internet; and 2) It scared me as a new owner of a web-based pattern line.

I did not start out encouraging people to use my patterns for selling crochet items. (I hope I didn’t discourage anyone!) I figured I’d hear from someone on a case by case basis. It’s because I didn’t know there were so many indie makers looking for inspiring crochet patterns. Turns out I was only hearing from a tiny percentage.

One last thing: crediting me as the designer of the pattern, or listing my DesigningVashti.com URL on your labels, is greatly appreciated, but not required. Let me know how your items sell, or show me some pics. It inspires me to design more!

Now: if you wish to use my designs to produce crochet items on a mass scale, contact me: vashti AT designingvashti.com . Thank you.

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Customized Tank Top with Crochet: Update

I customized a tank top with crochet edgings and a peplum. Looks great on my mannequin.

Remember I started to customize a tank top with crochet?

I cut a tank top to crop it and to give it a deep V-neck. Then I added crochet to it to customize it.

It’s mostly done now, and I like it. This is a size Medium tank top on a Small-size mannequin. In standard sizing, Lindsay the mannequin is on the Extra-Small side of Small. I’m on the Large side of Medium. On me, the waistline of the top sits higher, like an Empire-waist top. Also, on me there is no ruffling where the crochet meets the cut hem.

I uploaded a bunch of photos of this project to its Ravelry project page. (If I take a selfie I’ll add it there too. Maybe even here on the blog if I’m not too shy.)

This is my first attempt at a customized tank top with crochet. Thank goodness for a timely email I received from designer Sue Perez! She shared with me her sewing experience: a V-shaped neckline needs special reinforcing. I took that into account when I chose the crochet stitches and gauge for the neckline.

This experience of refashioning store bought clothes answered lots of questions I had. For example:

The Yarn Thickness Worked Out

It’s standard sport weight, very smooth, and is a cotton mixed with rayon for drape. In crochet thread sizing this would be a Size #3.

I wouldn’t want to go with a yarn that’s any thicker than this, or that has any fleecy loft or friction on the yarn’s surface.

A thinner yarn (a.k.a. a crochet thread Size #5 or #10) would work great, especially for fancier, fussier garments. This sport weight thickness works for the casual nature of a daytime tank top, or for a tee shirt. It also gave me the feeling of making progress quickly enough to stick with it.

Amount of yarn

I’d say it took up to 1.5 balls of Lotus yarn; that’s 325-375 yds.

Method of Attaching the Crochet

Seems fine so far. It will also have to hold up to washing and wear. Crocheting right onto tee shirt fabric like this? Yes, it can be done. I used a needle-sharp steel crochet hook. It was the largest I have and was not quite large enough for the yarn. A larger one might have left noticeably big holes in the fabric though.

I didn’t loooove doing the first row. Funny thing about crochet – that’s often the case. Crocheting into the foundation chains isn’t my favorite thing either, nor is crocheting foundation stitches. I usually want to get whatever the first row is over with. Same with this top.

Holes Where Stitches Meet Fabric

I mostly don’t want to look at the holes where the crochet stitches meet the fabric. When I wear it I don’t notice it at the hem. It stands out in this photo to me because it’s rippling a bit. At the neckline, though, I added a surface crochet row that covers the holes.

A customized tank top with crochet looks pretty nice, doesn’t it? I super love the hem. Those are split clusters of triple trebles.

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Tunisian Lace Crochet Pattern Test

Filet lace crochet pattern for summer top
My son and me, circa 2003. I love green and lilac together! He loved fiery tie dye.

About twelve years ago I crocheted myself a top in an easy lace crochet pattern.

It was in Sandra, a European pattern magazine. I used apple green sport weight cotton yarn from my stash. These are regular ol’ double crochet and chain stitches. See next photo below for close up view. My sparky son there in the photo with me was probably four or five years old (he’s fifteen now!).

The double crochet stitches  [abbreviated dc, or tr in the UK] are grouped into three-row blocks of six stitches each. These are alternated with lacy spaces (i.e., eight-chain bars, to use another Filet Crochet term). For a fun texture change, some of the solid blocks alternate with “blocks” of V-stitch instead. In this case, the V-stitch is [dc, chain 1, dc] in the next stitch twice. (Some V-stitches don’t have a chain-1 between the two dc; you might like this popular newsletter issue, “Unpacking V-Stitches.”)

Personally, I consider this lace crochet pattern to be based loosely on a filet crochet structure. It uses the same logic of double crochets and chain spaces. It’s easy to memorize and feels like filet crochet to me while crocheting it. I like the lacy gingham plaid effect!

Tunisian Lace Crochet Pattern vs Regular Crochet
Tunisian crochet (red), regular crochet (green)

Now for the Tunisian Lace Crochet Pattern Version.

Now compare the dark red Tunisian lace pattern swatch. I crocheted this a few months ago for my class on Tunisian Filet Crochet technique. Like the earlier green swatch, I used a sport weight cotton yarn — a test of the DesigningVashti Lotus yarn in Grenadine.

I used Tunisian double crochets (Tdc) in place of the regular dc, and Tunisian yarn overs (Tyo) in place of chains.

One interesting difference is how rope-like the Tyo bars are, compared with the chain-8 bars in green. They look a lot like very tall stitches running horizontally, don’t they? Like double treble crochet stitches, perhaps.

Another difference is how much taller the Tdc blocks are. Here’s an important thing to keep in mind, though: twelve years ago I was still making my dc stitches kind of short and compact. In other words, I used to be a “Rider.” Since then, I’ve gradually altered my crocheting style to be more of a “Lifter.” This is such an important thing to keep in mind about double crochets! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please see this post.