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  • 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

    Preview: Aery Faery Lacy Tunisian Crochet Scarf


    I’m looking over the photos I’ve taken so far of my newest Tunisian crochet design. Lately, the weather here has created some moody lighting. Have a look at these!

    Aery Faery Lacy Tunisian Crochet Scarf End

    My first filet-like Tunisian crochet lace in opalescent mohair and silk.

    I’m calling it Aery-Faery because it is faerie-like and diaphanous, like fairy wings. I’ve crocheted most of it while watching the first season of Once Upon a Time. In fact, I’m pretty sure the idea for this design first came to me while watching the show.

    Aery Faery Lacy Tunisian Crochet Scarf/Stole

    Scarf shown draped like a stole. It’s very stretchy!

    The yarn is divine for a lacy Tunisian crochet scarf.

    It’s Artyarns Silk Mohair Glitter; a strand of Lurex is plied with the silk and mohair. It’s particularly fine and smooth. The dyeing is gorgeous. You can’t tell from some of the photos, but it’s the subtle colors of a milky opal. The colors shift like they do in an opal, too.

    The Aery-Faery pattern draft is done. I’m testing a variation tonight and have the final proofreading to do before sending it off for tech editing and testing.

     

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    • November 16th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Answers: The Electra Wrap Love Knot Pattern


    I’m seeing new questions in new places about my Electra Wrap love knot pattern.

    The Electra crochet design continues to attract attention and I’m really happy about that. I’ve blogged questions and answers about Electra here so that people can find them easily when they Google the pattern.

    Q: What is this design? I’m having trouble figuring it out!

    A: Maybe you’re seeing only a photo with no source (such as in Pinterest or Tumblr). Probably it’s one of the photos below. This is the Electra Wrap love knot pattern. It was designed by Vashti Braha (me) in 2012, and published in Interweave Crochet Magazine in 2013. A newly updated version of the Electra pattern was released by me in September 2014.

    Maybe you mean that you’re having trouble figuring out how it was crocheted. Well, the Electra Wrap is all about visual illusions. It’s actually just a simple rectangular wrap. The stitch pattern is 100% crochet love knots. A big reason for the Electra effect is the triangular grid structure. This is an uncommon look for this stitch. A square mesh grid of love knots, on the other hand, is so common that it’s practically a stereotype. My newsletter issue #62 contrasts these two basic types of crochet lace grids.

    Q: Yes but it looks like more than just that! Why?

    A: Three reasons:

    1. The flowery stars. A beautiful feature of triangular lace grids is how triangles tile into hexagonal six-spoked shapes.
    2. This starry flowery lace is love knots. You can crochet triangular lace grids with many different stitches. Love knots bring their own unique magic. They also show off special yarns…see #3.
    3. I used yarn that is so elegant it dazzles the eye. I’m serious! I’ve worn the Electra Wrap in conferences, guild meetings, yarn shops, and love knot classes. Even when a person is familiar with crocheting triangular lace grids – and the love knot stitch, and sees it up close in person, Electra is still a bit mysterious. The yarn’s a factor.

    Q: How did you add all those tiny sequins?

    A: I paid the yarn to do that! Tiny sequins were spun right into the yarn for me. (I’d personally never add the sequins by hand because this would interrupt how quick love knots are to crochet.)

    Here’s the deal with the yarn. A mystery-enhancing effect of the Electra Wrap love knot pattern is it’s crocheted double-stranded. Each love knot shows off two yarn strands. Each strand plumps up and doubles the 3-D loft. That’s why I included that last photo of the Lovepods Boa.

    I held one strand of fine mohair yarn together with one sequined strand while I crocheted. Electra’s yarn specs:

    • Glossy sequined strand: S. Charles Collezione Crystal (85% polyester, 15% cotton; 144 yd {131 m} per .88 oz {25 g}; CYC “#0 Lace Weight”): color #11, 3 skeins.
    • Glittery mohair strand: S. Charles Collezione Luna (71% super kid mohair, 20% silk, 9% lurex; 232 yd {212.5 m} per .88 oz {25 g}; CYC “#0 Lace Weight”): color #25, 2 skeins.

    Even the tiniest sequins can be hard to crochet with. They catch on yarn strands as you pull loops through loops. The solution is to buffer the sequins with fibers. Mohair is great for this.

    Q: I need to use different yarn, though. Can I? Should I?

    A: YES you can, absolutely. The proof is in all the different yarns people have used for their lovely Electras. See this Electra project gallery in Ravelry.

    I can think of lots of reasons why one should use a different yarn, and why one should not.

    Definitely use the yarns I used if:

    • …You want that ethereal, fairy godmother, fashion couture mystique. I can’t imagine a better yarn combination for this. The yarns I used are top of the line fashion yarns from a venerable Italian mill. They are pricy and yet they’re a bargain. Their high quality is clearly evident in the finished Electra Wrap. It’s part of the mystique. (Hint: it’s the ultimate gift.)
    • …You’re susceptible to swooning while you’re crocheting. I’m not exaggerating when I say that crocheting Electra kept taking my breath away. I finished two of them quickly. I didn’t want to set down my crochet hook! I fantasized about Electra when I was away from it! If you’ve ever “pined” for a crochet project you’ve fallen for, then you know what I mean. The rest of you might be laughing at me right now 🙂
    • …You want practical warmth as well as maximum magic and weightlessness. The mohair in this yarn combo gives other practical benefits, too. (I wrote a newsletter issue about this.)

    Use different yarns if:

    • …You’re allergic to mohair. Mohair and love knots have a special affinity. Both add a weightless magical something. One way to get a mohair effect is with a brushed synthetic yarn. Other natural fibers can also add a halo. Angora is an obvious example. Halo is a laceweight brushed baby alpaca yarn.
    • …You’ve stashed some skinny yarns and bling threads that are difficult to crochet with by themselves. Electra can be a great stashbuster project for these. See this blog post about fun with double stranding.
    • …You want more of a casual daytime layer. Use thicker yarns – two strands held together, or singly. Maybe you want more of a boho artsy look. Try artisan space-dyed torn silk ribbon yarns, or irregular hand spun textures.

    Q: I’m confused about the Electra Wrap love knot pattern in the magazine. Can you help me with that?

    A. If you have the 2013 magazine version of the pattern and need help with it:

    1. Contact the magazine. The company has pattern support staff for their patterns. They also have a forum called Crochet me.
    2. Ask a question any time in Vashti’s Crochet Lounge – lots of friendly, helpful crocheters there. It’s a Ravelry group. Chances are good that your question has already been answered there. Interweave Crochet magazine fans also have a Ravelry group.
    3. I urge you to buy & download my expanded 2014 edition of this Electra Wrap love knot pattern from the DesigningVashti shop, or my Ravelry shop. It has a stitch diagram, how-to photos, and other details that help students in my love knot classes.

    A stitch diagram is essential for this design. Due to space limitations of printed magazines, the 2013 Electra pattern version is missing a stitch diagram and other helpful info. A stitch diagram reveals how simple the construction really is. It breaks the spell (those multiple visual illusions I’ve described above).

    Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter where I announce discount codes for new patterns and yarns. Get your feet wet with my three-part series on Love Knot basics and tweaks. (Link goes to the third in the series, and links to the first two are at the top of the entry.)

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    • October 23rd, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    More on Double Strand Crocheting


    Still quite inspired by the whole double strand crocheting topic.

    It’s way too big for a measly newsletter issue! Double strand crocheting is a whole world of fun. It tames wild yarn textures. It welcomes glitzy bling threads. It speeds up big projects, recycles yarn scraps, and adds warmth to winter accessories. All this, plus it comes with its own specialized gadgets and filaments. You can get exotic reeling stands to manage multiple threads. Reflective filaments can turn a crocheted beanie into nighttime safety garb.

    If you’re just coming in on this topic, be sure to also see the newsletter issue that launched it, “Fun With Double Stranding.” Then see the gallery of overflow images I blogged here yesterday.

    In the past 24 hours I created a new Pinterest board.

    I’m so glad I did. It already has 55 pins! (I’m holding myself back from pinning everything I see.) Visit it here: “Double Strand Crochet.” Also, here are a few more images I found today in my hard drive. They would have been included in yesterday’s overflow gallery:

    It’s really the perfect way to do lots of timely things:

    1. Double stranding says, “I’m ready for the fall crochet season!” Hats and scarves are instantly thicker and warmer.
    2. I’m thinking multi-strand slip stitch crochet could be pretty interesting.
    3. My old yarn stash is too big. As mentioned in the newsletter, tinting and “upcycling” a plain yarn with a fancy one is a creative way to make old stash new again. Crocheting two or more strands of yarn together is a classic way to use up scrap yarns.
    4. Double strand crocheting is perfect for winter holiday BLING! I can’t imagine an easier way to throw in all kinds sparkle. Some of the fanciest yarns are designed to be carry along threads. They may be unpleasant to crochet with by themselves, but dreamy to crochet along with another yarn.

     It makes sense that double strand crocheting is lighting up my weekend, now that I think about it.

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    • October 4th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Double Strand Crochet: Oh, The Overflow


    I found too many double strand crochet images to show in issue #63 of my newsletter!

    The topic is crocheting with two (or more) strands of yarn held together. Here’s a gallery of my double strand crochet projects and designs over the years:

    Please leave a comment, I love comments! Especially as I tinker with new upgrades to this blog.

    To scroll through more recent posts, click here: Quickposts.

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    • October 3rd, 2014 by Vashti Braha


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