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  • Crochet for the Easter Weekend (Check-in)


    Happy Crochet Easter! Today I’m taking a break from lots of behind the scenes crochet work to post a quick update. Here’s a long silk skirt I’ve worn every spring for years. It’s one of my all-time favorites. This weekend I mused on its colors.

    This “Vashti’s Silk Skirt” color combo would make a striking crochet Easter/springtime project, wouldn’t it? Perhaps a wrap, shrug, or bolero to go with the skirt? I can picture multicolored motifs. Or, a cream and lavender thing, with the darker colors as a contrasting border–little flowers, maybe. In fact I’m going to create a project page for this in Ravelry after I finish this post.

    I’ll be able to send out a newsletter issue after I meet a big design deadline this week. So close! I’ll also be able to keep moving forward on new blogging and *crochet video* plans I’m excited to share.

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    • April 16th, 2017 by Vashti Braha

    Star Stitch Crochet Scarf with Love Knots


    Love Knot+Star Stitch Scarf: New Pattern!

    A star stitch crochet scarf with love knots? (About as common as a love knot scarf with star stitches.) So beautiful together!

    UPDATE: Lovelace pattern has been added to the Designingvashti Shop and to Ravelry.

    I’m calling it Lovelace Ring Scarf and the pattern is with the tech editor now. The first thing I’ll do when I add the pattern to my shop and to Ravelry is update the header of my shop, its Ravelry project page, and announce it on the DesigningVashti Facebook page.

    Why Star Stitches With Love Knots? The Story.

    I first swatched this in 2014 (see last photo above) for CGOA classes I would be teaching: A Star Stitch for Every Purpose (3 hours) and 21st Century Love Knot Adventures (3 hours). Back then I had to set it aside due to stitch compatibility problems. You might be able to see some in those initial swatches.

    Early in 2016, a visitor to the DesigningVashti Facebook page requested the pattern. Again in deep crochet class prep mode, I had to put it off until after teaching. By the fall I was finishing up a series of seven crochet tutorials I agreed to do for the Cut Out & Keep site (site owner has not added them as of today).

    After the US election I appreciated the sweet, loving patterns crochet and knit designers were spontaneously posting. My 2014 attempts to blend stars and love knots in one pattern came to mind. It lifted my spirits to polish it up into a fun, versatile, balanced, harmonious stitch pattern, with the idea it might also lift others’ spirits.

    The free stitch pattern will be available soon; I’ll announce it everywhere when I hear from the Cut Out & Keep folks. I used it to make a 6.5″ square block with DK weight yarn and a G7/4.5 mm hook. It’s pictured above (without its single crochet border all around): the middle photo in the top row. The border would probably turn it into a 7″ block.

    The Lovelace design happened next because I needed a self-edging version. It came to me while I was getting over a flu-like cold during Thanksgiving (what a season this has been!). As I lay there contemplating the stitch pattern I’d sent off to Cut Out & Keep, I wondered about giving the basic stitch pattern a selvage (no edging later). The start and end of the love knot section always looked a bit stringy and unstable to me. I also wanted to vary the balance of the texture and widen it for a lush, romantic ring scarf. This is how Lovelace came to be.

    Is a Love Knot-Star Stitch Crochet Scarf…Challenging?

    These are Intermediate-level crochet stitches but that doesn’t mean they’re difficult. I include tips and visual aids in the pattern that have worked in my classes. Most of Lovelace is rows of easy, familiar stitches like single and half double crochets (sc and hdc, or as they say in the UK: dc and htr).

    These beginner stitches form a balanced backdrop to the fancy stitches. Like peace-keeping diplomats, they harmonize relations between the two iconic, culturally powerful, individualistic “diva” stitches. My experience of crocheting star stitches (stars) and love knots (LK) in the same pattern is that I get some comfort zone rows of simple stitches, then a spicy row or two, then more comfort zone.

    Similarities and Differences Between Stars and Love Knots are Dramatic!

    I don’t recall ever seeing these two unique stitches combined in one stitch pattern.

    1. Differences

    All of these differences affect what it’s like to get them to work well together in one stitch pattern.

    • Love knots are reversible, star stitches are not. It was an issue with my early swatches.
    • Love knots are more independent than the usual crochet stitch, and star stitches are the other extreme. This shows in lots of ways. LK can be added anywhere just like a chain stitch (because it’s a type of foundation stitch), and each one is distinct, complete, and recognizable from a distance. Stars require context: the stitch just before it, after it, and often above it determine how recognizable it is! 
    • Love knots likely originated as a southern lace, stars as a northern thermal fabric. LK were almost always crocheted in very fine cotton and silk threads for delicate, summery, fanciful edgings, baby bonnets, and petite “opera bags”. Stars have been used most often for making thick, dense coats and blankets in wool. Even when early stars looked like fine spidery lace, wool was the fiber of choice. (That’s why my unofficial name for the original swatch is “North and South stitch pattern“.)

    2. Similarities

    • Both LK and stars are romantic, iconic, classic/old-fashioned, popular, and beloved.
    • Both originated in 1800’s.
    • Both have long been favored for baby things. (Stars: baby blankets and coats; LK: saques, bonnets, layette edgings.)
    • Both can be lacy. When star sts are lacy, you’re looking at pulled loops, just like with LK.
    • Both start the same odd, non-intuitive way. I did a newsletter issue on it: “Starting a Stitch with a Backtrack“.

     

    How to be the first to know when Lovelace the Star Stitch Crochet Scarf (or any new pattern) is published:

    Or, be the second to know by subscribing to my newsletter and opening the email the moment you get it 🙂

    [Feels good to blog again. Remember my “50 posts in 50 days” challenge back in June? I sort of miss it!]

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    • December 8th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Crochet Mini Skirt Hem Tests


    Four Crochet Skirt Hems So Far

    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.

    Crochet Mini Skirt in DesigningVashti Lotus ayrn, 4 hem ideas

    Maybe seeing all four photos together like this will help me decide which one I want to wear.

    Finally a Crochet Mini Skirt for Fall!

    It happens to be a trendy item this year, but every fall I want a crochet mini skirt to wear with leggings and boots. I need it to be in a neutral color. This dark grey is perfect 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. Each photo is taken on a different day and time of day. A few were taken during Hurricane Hermine!

    Next I’ll make decisions about the waistband, and write the pattern for several sizes.

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

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    • September 5th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Pineapple Lace and the CGOA Conference


    Pineapples are the theme for this year’s crochet conference. CGOA’s Hall of Fame Award winner happens to be a pineapple lace queen!

    You know these are freshly crocheted because these yarn colors are the new ones we just received from the mill. Even my husband is amazed. (Not shown: Lavender Ice. That’s for another day.)

    If you’ll be attending the conference this month, come by our booth #203 (on the right after you enter the market). Lots of pineapple lace to see and try on!

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    • July 2nd, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    New Lotus Yarn Colors Arrived (finally)


    Five New Lotus Yarn Colors are Here!

    Now that the new yarn shipment is here I’ll make this a quick post and then go back to checking it all in. I weigh each cone and list it with its lot (a way to keep track of inventory, etc). I’ve learned it’s best to treat each raw cone from the mill as a unique item. Each has a different amount of yarn on it and is part of one particular lot.

    Here are the speediest photos I could take. I figure the best thing is to put a new color with others that it harmonizes with. These five colors all fill gaps in our existing range. That’s a total of twenty Lotus yarn colors for 2016.

    I’m pleasantly surprised by the rich and elegant look of the new colors. The orange could have been bright; instead it’s warm and rich. The emerald green is a full jewel tone. Even the neutrals are rich-looking and make my fingers itch to crochet them (it takes a lot for a neutral to hit that spot for me).

    New Lotus Yarn Colors Need New Names. Hmm.

    The ideal name for each color meets three priorities in this order:

    1. The color name has a maximum of 12 characters so that it fits well within the space I’ve left for it on the ball band.
    2. The name conveys the spirit of the exact color. Like our “Bamboo Green”: it is not minty just because it’s a light green; it’s more pistachio, and clean like a new spring shoot: bamboo. “Satin Grey” is exactly that. So is “Dark Roast”, and “Rose Red” (it’s not a hot fire red). A mental picture of the color can help correct whatever it looks like on someone’s monitor.
    3. It’s nice when the color name refers to the signature sheen and drape that makes this yarn a keeper for us.

    The final Lotus color names I’m considering:

    • Pale Violet or Lavender Ice or Smoky Lilac or Icy Amethyst
    • Emerald, Emerald, or Emerald
    • Soft Caramel or Mushroom Bisque or Cafe au Lait or Honey Taupe or something
    • Carbonite or Slate Patina or Graphite or Charcoal or Gunmetal Glint
    • Orange Riche or Persimmon or Tangerine
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    • June 27th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Steeked Crochet Scarf: First Look


    First Photos of Today’s Steeked Crochet Scarf

    This afternoon I added four small steeks (cut holes) in a wide Tunisian lace scarf. I’ve had this scarf for years. It’s an old oversized swatch, really. It gave rise to the Mesmer Tunisian Veils pattern and to the Maze Vest that is published in the summer 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet Magazine.

    (If these photos look shadowy, it’s because I took them during Tropical Storm Colin today.)

    Steeked crochet scarf: 4-keyhole Tunisian Mesmer

    Four looks for the Four-Keyhole Steeked Tunisian Net.

    One of my goals has been to create a “keyhole” (steeked) crochet scarf for my July Steeking Tunisian class. A keyhole scarf is just one of many things a steek can offer.

    Instead of crocheting a new one from scratch, I thought of this sequined pink rectangle. It has always been dear to my heart, even though it’s just a bit too small. (The only reason it’s too small is that I was trying to conserve the expensive yarn! I didn’t know then that this Tunisian net stitch uses less yarn than usual.)

    Not only does adding a “keyhole” (a steeked slit) make it easy to wear now, it can be styled so many ways.

    -:——————–:-

    This is Day 18 out of the 50 conference prep days I have until the big event. I can cross this project off my list! I’ve been wanting to turn my pink Mesmer into a steeked crochet scarf for months.

    Today is also the day that Tropical Storm Colin arrived, and I’m happy to report that we’ve gotten off easy with this one (so far). The worst is supposed to be behind us and it has been no big deal. My son did have to miss school today–we couldn’t get onto the mainland. The flooding is minor compared to what it could be, and the wind and rain have been milder than predicted. No power outages so far. We haven’t had to move our car to higher land.

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    • June 6th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Hand Dyed Yarn Three Ways


    Three Looks for a Unique Hand Dyed Yarn

    Today I present three very different crochet textures in the SAME. EXACT. YARN.

    hand dyed yarn three ways

    At Left, Tunisian Islander Wrap; center, random Love Knots (stitch game test); at right, color stacked slip stitch mobius.

    These photos span about seven years. This particular hand dyed yarn is Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock.

    The 2016 design on the right was such a different experience of this yarn that it felt like a new purchase from the yarn shop. I had crocheted a whole shawl with the same yarn, though, seven years ago.

    I thought it was just me. When I showed the two projects in a Stitch Games class yesterday, others were also noticeably surprised that it’s the same yarn.

    Hope you’ve had a great weekend! If you don’t see a new blog post from me tomorrow, it will only be because we lost power due to the tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. It hits sometime tonight or in the early morning.

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    • June 5th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Starwirbel Class Resources (Spiraling Star Stitches)


    Clickable resources for my 2016 Starwirbel class (How to Shape Spiraling Star Stitches). Includes patterns for designs shown, and inspiration for new projects and variations. Also articles & books recommended in class. Click an image to enlarge it.

    Note: sorry, this class SOLD OUT in April, but keep checking back at the registration page. Sometimes a space opens up. 

    Crochet Patterns & Crochet Alongs:

    Recommended Issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter:

    Starwirbel Class, Blogged:

    Inspiration Boards for this Class

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    • June 3rd, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    2010 CGOA Runway: Tunisian Weightless Wrap


    Found this photo I’d forgotten about! It was taken at a crochet conference in 2010. I’m modeling the Tunisian Weightless Wrap because it won an award in the CGOA Design Contest.

    Tunisian Eyelet mesh pattern: "Weightless Wrap"

    2010 CGOA runway photo of Vashti by Doris Chan.

    CGOA Design Contest, 2010

    I think 2010 was the very first year of the contest. It has since become an exciting annual event, thanks to Doris Chan’s tireless efforts in the first 3-4 years of it.

    The Weightless Wrap is the inspiration for one of my longest running crochet classes on Tunisian eyelet meshes. I’ve just completed the 2016 class resource page for it–that’s how I stumbled upon this photo.

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    • June 1st, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Tunisian Eyelet Meshes: Class Resources Page


    A clickable list of resources for my 2016 Tunisian Eyelet Meshes class: patterns for designs shown, books mentioned, & articles recommended in class. Also, inspiration for new Tunisian eyelet variations. Click an image to enlarge it.

    Story of the Tunisian Wicker Stitch (an eyelet mesh) featured in the Weightless Wrap:

    Recommended Issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter:

    Blogged:

    Some Inspiring Tunisian Crochet Books

    You might see a lacy stitch variation to try.

    • 1997: Basics of Tunisian Crochet for Beginners, N. Seto, Japan. ISBN 978-4-529-029285
    • 2000 (1991), Rebecca Jones: Tricot Crochet The Complete Book, Lacis Pubs., Berkeley CA. ISBN 978-1-891656-28-6
    • 2004, Angela “ARNie” Grabowski: Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet, LoneStar Abilene Pubg LLC, TX. ISBN 978-0-974972-55-8
    • 2004, Carolyn Christmas and Dorris Brooks: 101 Easy Tunisian StitchesTM, 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
    • 2009, Sharon Hernes Silverman: Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA. ISBN 978-0-811704-84-7
    • 2014, Kim Guzman: Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide.
    • Duplet magazine issue #61.
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    • June 1st, 2016 by Vashti Braha


    © 2010 Designing Vashti All Rights Reserved

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