Friday, February 23, 2007


...or, why can't I stick with one project?

This just jumped on the needles while I should have been finishing up the Sea Silk scarf --

It's the Heartbeat Sweater from Just One More Row and it's actually looking rather heart-like in the photo. This particular design is knit multi-directionally -- the vee shaping in the photo is the vee-neckline of the top. Right now I'm working on one of the shoulders. I've always enjoyed this type of knitting -- I think that's part of the reason I'm a big fan of Hanne Falkenberg's designs -- and so far it's been a fun knit. It remains to be seen how it will fit -- there's always something to spoil the fun, isn't there?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wandering through blogland...

...can be hazardous to your wallet. While checking out a few favorite reads I noticed that Jean was knitting socks with an attractive hand-dyed yarn. So I ambled on over to The Yarn Yard and look what followed me home -

I really do love me some orange. In the front is marmalade swoop and chocolate orange mousse is in the back. Mmmmm, good enough to eat!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sea Silk

by Hand Maiden -- 70% silk 30% Seacell (a kelp derivative) available in 100g/400m skeins, hand dyed in Canada.

I had originally thought to use this for a rectangular scarf from the new Victorian Lace book. Because I only bought one skein I thought I'd knit the simplest design, which was the one closest in required yardage to what I had. I wasn't happy with how it looked though -- The colors that were so glorious in the skein seemed very insipid and blah.

Since I'd just gotten a few new Japanese crochet/knit books, I thought I'd see how it worked up in a simple crochet stitch. This stitch pattern gave me stronger blocks of color instead of an overall pastel look which I thought the knitted swatch had. So, crochet it is. This particular pattern is worked from one end to the other, then a ruffled edging is added to the beginning, to match the ruffled end.

I have been very pleased with the pattern books that I've gotten from YesAsia . Even though I don't read a word of Japanese the patterns are easy to follow because they are all graphed out using Symbolcraft. The only problem I have is figuring out just how much (and what type) yarn is called for in each project. Most likely I would never be using the yarn called for, but it would be nice to have a better idea of the weight/fiber/yardage of the yarn used so that I can substitute more easily.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Sneak Pique*

*groan-worthy pun intended

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A fitting end... my first experiment in shaping garment pieces in crochet.

The pattern is an adaptation of a free Drop's pattern (number 56-16). I resized the pattern using Sweater Wizard , changed the neckline, made the sleeve totally crochet instead of crochet trimmed, and substituted a different crochet stitch pattern -- other than that, totally the same pattern!

I was very pleased with the way the sleeve cap turned out --

Now, what's next?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Anatomy of a sleeve...

...or, further adventures in shaping crochet using the Lily Chin method. The first photo shows the photocopied swatch. Two copies actually -- taped together to give me the depth I needed. The shape of the sleeve cap was outlined using highlighter markers -- both right and left side. This will become the basic road map for placement of stitches. Shown here is a (half) sleeve pattern piece and the unblocked crocheted sleeve. The actual pattern piece was generated using Sweater Wizard software. And finally, the blocked sleeve shown on top of the half pattern piece. The sleeve is shorter than the pattern piece to allow for an edging to be added later. Overall I am quite please with my results using Lily's method. My execution was not perfect, however I think that I will have the sleeve fit that I wanted when everything is assembled. This particular stitch pattern has strong diagonal lines, which helped (I think) in the shaping of the sleeve cap. It will be interesting to see how this method works with different patterns. I'll definitely be trying it again.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Now auditioning...

...for the spring production of Short-Sleeved Lace Trim Cardigan. This one is the leading candidate. Katia Baltimore yarn, stockinette fabric with the trim pattern from a Japanese crochet stitch dictionary. My only fear? Having enough yarn -- definitely would have enough if it were entirely knit, but crochet? We shall see.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Couture Crochet

As a self-taught crocheter I'm on shaky ground when it comes to more advanced techniques in the craft. I eagerly anticipated Lily Chin's new book Couture Crochet Workshop - Mastering Fit, Fashion and Finesse.

This book is not a crochet primer; it is assumed that you have a knowledge of basic stitches and techniques. What is offered is Lily's insight into couture and fashion, a brief (26 page) section on fitting and stitching tips/techniques meant to help crocheters achieve a custom fit with attention to details of style and finishing, plus patterns for various garments and accessories. I found a lot of helpful and new (to me)information in the technical section of the book. Especially intriguing was Lily's suggestion of photocopying a large swatch of your stitch pattern to be used with neckline/sleeve cap/armhole shaping templates in order to more easily shape complicated patterns. In the past I've limited myself to very simple (and thus boxy) shaping for just that reason -- it can be quite difficult to work out smooth shaping when you are using anything but the simplest of stitches. My only quibble with this section of the book is that I wish it had covered more.

The remainder of the book consists of patterns. These have been grouped in the categories of -- simpler stitches -- circular construction -- manipulating lace -- shell stitch and variations -- and the chevron stitch. While there are only a couple of the 24 patterns that I would be tempted to make 'as is', I could see the others as useful examples of particular techniques and possible inspiration for my own ideas.

I'm glad to have this book in my crochet library -- especially since I have not (yet) found any other books that cover this type of information, but I can't help regretting that the technical section was not longer and more comprehensive. Whatever one may think of Lily Chin's designs, she has impressive technical skills and I'd like to learn more.