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  • 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

    Crochet Booth 203 Finalized (Day 8 of 50)


    Crochet Booth PAID IN FULL

    Every year CGOA’s Chain Link conference has a market with knit and crochet booths, in addition to a full schedule of classes and special events. I’ve attended these conferences every year since 2002 (except in 2003). It’s always fun to walk the show floor between classes.

    As a teacher now, I look forward to seeing what students bring back from the market during a class break. This is often how I first hear about something I need to go buy before it sells out! (I can imagine other teachers nodding their heads when they read this.)

    Doris and I had our first crochet booth in this market last year. (The event is also known as the Knit and Crochet Show because it also includes the TKGA/knitting guild.) That was in San Diego; this July it will be in Charleston SC.

    It’s Officially All Ours: Booth #203!

    Today I finished paying for the DesigningVashti booth space—well before the late June deadline. I paid first half of the fee ($300) in April to get a great location. It’s also one of the few corner spaces. I love the location. People will be able to see our crochet booth from the entrance, and I’m going to enjoy being right across from Crochetville’s booth. Not will it be fun to be near Amy and Donna the whole time (like last year), the market opens with a strong crochet presence.

     

     

    It’s Friday and this is my last businessy item to cross off for the week. This is also Day 8 of the epic 50 days I have left to get ready. I’ll be teaching five classes at CGOA‘s conference and have a crochet booth on the show floor.

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    • May 27th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    National Crochet Month Specials


    National Crochet Month 2016! I've got my ticket!

     I’ve got my ticket!

    Welcome, Natcromo Blog Tour Visitors!

    In honor of (Inter-)National Crochet Month, I’ve added a FREE lacy spring scarf pattern to my Ravelry shop: the double-flounced Emdash Scarf. It’s free for one week.

    I thought I’d show you Emdash’s crochet story in pictures. National Crochet Month is for crochet stories, right? Especially about lacy spring scarves. First, the design sketches:

    Original Emdash Sketches for National Crochet Month spring scarf

    Emdash has two design sisters.

    Antoinette is the eldest (I published her popular pattern in Nov. 2011). She loves lace weight metallic mohair with sequins and other holiday party yarns. Cantina is the youngest, even though her pattern was published before Emdash’s (in Dec. 2015). Cantina is a freewheeling hippie girl who likes color parties, scrap yarns, and beads. Below are front page snippets of the three designs. It’s easier to show some alternate views of them this way.

    Emdash Scarf Sister Designs: National Crochet Month 2016 spring scarf freebie

    How did Emdash get her name?

    While I was exploring special characters on my keyboard, I kept seeing the scarf draped on my mannequin. The columns of tall stitches are grouped with vertical spacers. (I like the slightly different crocheting rhythm of it.) They started reminding me of emdashes, yes—a type of punctuation. It shortens so nicely to “Emmy.”

    The last part of her design story is that I learned how to format and print out kit patterns with the Emdash Scarf, for the show booth I had last summer. This means Emdash is also available as a printed pattern here.

    Since you’ve read this far, you can also take 15% off anything in my shop by clicking this link. Remember, shipping is already free to US addresses, so 15% off really is 15% off.Emdash Kit Story for National Crochet Month 2016

    Enjoy your free crochet pattern! And Happy National Crochet Month!

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    • March 30th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    NatCroMo Winner of DesigningVashti Lotus Yarn


    We have a Lotus yarn winner of our National Crochet Month giveaway!

    Thank you to everyone who entered to win some Lotus yarn by leaving a new color suggestion at the previous blog post. I received a total of 69 unique suggestions. One was by email on the first morning before the link was fixed on the Crochetville post: Debra Bostron, who suggested orange and a bright sunny/golden yellow.

    The winner of two skeins of Lotus yarn is… Edith Smith!

    Edith suggested, “Lilac, orchid, and emerald green would all be nice additions.”

    Congratulations Edith! I’ll be emailing you.

    ——-

    My method: First, I renumbered the comments slightly by eliminating my own comments and adding Debra Bostron’s emailed comment; Debra’s was the first I received, so it became the new #1. I also needed to number Dianne’s comment because it shows as an unnumbered response to Ann G’s comment. Using the true random number generator at Random.org, I generated Edith’s winning comment number. 

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    • March 18th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    New Lotus Yarn Colors: Help Us Choose!


    Can’t find where to add a comment? Click the title (or just click here) then scroll down a bit until you see comments.

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

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

    These are the 15 colors we already have:

    The 15 Lotus yarn colors

    The 15 Lotus yarn colors

    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?

    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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    • March 1st, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    DesigningVashti Lotus Yarn: Magazine Gallery


    Designing Vashti Lotus Yarn in the Magazines!

    Click each gallery image for complete information about the pattern, designer, magazine issue, and more.

    Crochet Pattern Magazines Have Been Awesome for DesigningVashti Lotus Yarn

    Each time I hear that a magazine editor has chosen to include a design using Designing Vashti Lotus yarn, it’s like getting a surprise Valentine. The designs you see above are published in the following crochet magazines, in order of appearance:

    • Interweave Crochet: Spring 2015; also Summer 2014. Designer: Doris Chan.
    • Crochet! Magazine: Spring 2015. Designers: Jennifer E. Ryan, Doris Chan.
    • Crochetscene: 2014. Designer: Dora Ohrenstein.

    It’s a slow and steady roll out, and that’s good. Here’s why. Crochet designers started requesting Designing Vashti Lotus yarn to swatch with in 2014. When a designer likes a swatch, s/he has two professional directions to go with it:

    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. Produce a complete project pattern for it and self publish it as a downloadable single pattern online. 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 Designing Vashti Lotus yarn this way. This is often the fastest route, depending on the design and the designer.  (It’s about time I created a gallery for those too! In the meantime, checkout this gallery in Ravelry.)

    As a designer and also as a yarn company owner, I think a combination of print magazine designs and quick single pattern downloads is perfect support for a young yarn. Not only that, the print magazines are now supplementing their beautiful print production values with downloadable magazine formats and single pattern options.

    Designing Vashti Lotus yarn: a Youngster Design-Wise

    As I’ve journaled over at another blog, Designing Vashti Lotus yarn celebrated its first birthday a few months ago. I have to remind myself that it’s still a new yarn, 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.

    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 a.s.a.p. 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 Designing Vashti Lotus yarn in a future issue, I immediately ship it to the lucky designer!

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    • February 27th, 2015 by Vashti Braha

    Simple Pleasures Crochet Bling Bangles


    Crochet *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 a double crochet). The silvery one in progress is rows of slip stitch in the back loop only.

    * Twinkly * sequined * ribbing * is very satisfying.

    I added sequined carry-along metallic threads to my yarn stash months ago. 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 Enchant bling yarn 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.

    Sequin Management for Crochet Bling Bangles

    Sequins can get in the way while crocheting. Fun crochet means being able to pull loops through loops smoothly, but sequins can catch on a loop, slowing things down. Pairing a thick enough yarn with a bling strand can buffer or neutralize the sequins. To me, “thick enough” means it matches the diameter of the sequins. The tiny sequins in the Enchant yarn match the thickness of my Lotus yarn; the Lotus gives the stitch loops smooth passage through other loops. Result: the sequins are only piling on more joy. No interruption of the joy.

    The Right Kind of Stretchy for Crochet Bling Bangles

    One last thing I considered is how stretchy each yarn is. The bling yarn (Enchant) has zero elasticity. I expected this, but I don’t know its strength and durability yet. So to reduce the stress that could be put on the Enchant strand, I avoided stretchy yarns like wool. Lotus has no stretch either, so these two yarns are nicely matched for this. Lotus won’t let my crochet project stretch more than the Enchant strand will, so both yarns will share the wear and tear equally.

    By letting the ribbed crochet stitches provide all the necessary stretchiness of a slip-on bangle, I can use whatever yarns I wish.

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    • December 18th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    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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    • December 1st, 2014 by Vashti Braha


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