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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

    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 Class Yarn Sponsor: Lorna’s Laces!


    Why is a crochet class yarn a big deal?

    Crochet classes at national CGOA conferences are a big deal. In fact, they have been the raison d’être of the event since the first one in 1994. Of all the places I’ve taught crochet, this event is my first choice. These classes are unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced–as a student in many of them too, not just a teacher. Each one is intensive and three hours long (sometimes double that). They’re not cheap but you get what you pay for and more. I’ve also made life-long friends in these classes.

    For some in-depth CGOA classes, the yarn either helps make the most of the 3 precious hours, or it can actually add obstacles. Conference attendees have to try to pack the best yarns and crochet hooks for the classes ahead of time, and it’s not easy. You can’t even buy the right yarn in the conference market if the class takes place before the market opens. Stitch Games is one of these classes this year.

    The crochet class yarn for Stitch Games could make or break that class! Lorna’s Laces really came through. They are graciously (can I say heroically) providing enough of the perfect hand dyed yarn for everyone in the class to use.

    How Does a Crochet Class Get Sponsored?

    When a yarn company donates yarn for a CGOA class, it means the teacher has carefully selected that yarn as being the ideal way to experience the class topic. S/he then contacts the yarn company personally.

    For Stitch Games I’ve swatched and designed with a gazillion yarns since 2009. I’m happy to say that Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in bolder colorways, is the ideal crochet class yarn. We’ll have a full three hours-worth for everyone in the room.

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    • June 10th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Two-Color Tunisian Crochet Swatches


    One Color or Two?

    Want to see some stitch patterns change when the yarn color changes?

    The two-color Tunisian crochet swatches are for my class handout (yes, still working on them!). I needed to clearly distinguish the forward row from the return row, so I color-coded them. The one-yarn versions are below their two-color swatches.

    Isn’t it surprising how different the same stitch pattern can look when you alternate yarn colors?

    Sometimes a swatch needs to convey more than words when space is a premium (such as in a class handout).

    Progress update on my crochet conference readiness: only ONE class handout left to send to the tech editor! That’s FOUR down, one to go. My goal is the end of this week. Then you’ll start seeing blog posts of other topics. Like, new Lotus yarn colors. Charleston. Etc.

     

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    • June 8th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Knit and Crochet Books: Stitch Games Class


    Knit and Crochet Books Read for Stitch Games Class

    Some knit and crochet books that I read for Stitch Games class.

    Some Crochet Class Research

    Back in January I read a stack of crochet books (and many knitting books) as research for my Stitch Games class topic. I welcome doing this, especially in January after the hectic holidays. It’s so cozy.

    I take notes as I read them. Then I set it all aside for a few months until I’m ready to look it all over and start writing the class handout.

    It wasn’t necessary that I do this kind of research for the other class topics this year (one never knows how time consuming it’s going to be!). I went through stacks of crochet books regarding love knots, star stitches, and Tunisian lace methods in previous years.

    Below is the list of seventeen knit and crochet books that helped me in some way. They’re in alphabetical order by title. I starred the ones that I recommend the most (regarding stitch games). The list doesn’t include a few articles and websites I also used.

    17 Knit and Crochet Books Read

    ***Artful Color, Mindful Knits: The Definitive Guide to Working with Hand-dyed Yarn by Laura Militzer Bryant XRX Books 2013 ISBN-13: 978-1933064260

    Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarn & Stitch Dora Ohrenstein Lark Books 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1600593314

    Crochet the Complete Guide Jane Davis  Krause Publ 2009 ISBN-13: 978-0896896970

    Crochet in Color Kathy Merrick Interweave 2009 ISBN-13: 978-1596681125

    Crochet Workshop James Walters 1979/1983 (Dover Publications 2014 ISBN-13: 978-0486496207)

    *The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques Margaret Radcliffe Storey Publishing, LLC 2015  ISBN-13: 978-1612126623

    Exploring Color in Knitting: Techniques, Swatches, and Projects to Expand Your Knit Horizons Sarah HazellEmma King Barron’s Educational Series 2011  ISBN-13: 978-0764147395

    **Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques Gail Callahan  Storey Publishing, LLC 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1603424684

    *Indie Socks: Knitting Patterns and Dyer Profiles Featuring Hand-Dyed Yarns Chrissy Gardiner Sydwillow Press 2012  ISBN-13: 978-0981966816

    *The Knitter’s Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime Clara Parkes Potter Craft 2011 ISBN-13: 978-0307586803

    The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn Clara Parkes Potter Craft 2007 ISBN-13: 978-0307352163

    The Knitter’s Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn: Techniques and Projects for Handpainted and Multicolored Yarn Lorna Miser Potter Craft 2010 ISBN-13: 978-0823085521

    The Knitter’s Life List: To Do, To Know, To Explore, To Make Gwen W. Steege Storey Publishing, LLC 2011  ISBN-13: 978-1603429962

    **Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn Carol Sulcoski Interweave 2009 ISBN-13: 978-1596680982

    The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook Lynne Vogel  Interweave 2002 ISBN-13: 978-1931499163

    Wrapped in Color: 30 Shawls to Knit in Koigu Handpainted Yarns by Koigu Wool Designs Sixth&Spring Books 2015 ISBN-13: 978-1936096848

    The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing: Beautiful Color and Simple Knits Linda LaBelle Potter Craft 2007 ISBN-13: 978-0307352538

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    • May 24th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Crochet Along Shaping Thoughts (Jempool CAL)


    Jem CAL: Crochet Along Announcement for the Jempool Scarf methodThere’s a crochet along (CAL) going on right now for the Jempool Scarf. All the posts are public and it’s free (the pattern and technique info is $5), so anyone can join in any time.

    While I was crocheting Jempool, I wondered if I should complete it as a traditional rectangular scarf. Maybe it would like to be something different?

    I quickly discovered that when you stack each color of a variegated yarn, you can’t just increase or decrease stitches to shape a sleeve or neckline. The color repeat sequence becomes the pattern repeat.

    Below are some sketches from when I was working this out. I needed colored pencils to help me see if there might be a 2-skein version I’d prefer even more than the simple 1-skein scarf.

    Sketched ideas for other shapes of the basic Jempool Crochet Along rectangle.

    A few ideas for shaping with a fixed-width rectangle.

    If one complete color sequence gave me a 9″ (22.86 cm)-wide scarf, that 9″ is a fixed pattern repeat. That means I could double it (or triple, etc). In this case the colors are symmetrical, so I could also halve it; a 4.5″ pattern repeat is easier to design with.

    So as part of the crochet along, if you try a Jempool and you’re loving it but you don’t need to end up with a scarf, you could think of it as a repeatable motif. A handy seam here or there could yield a ruana, poncho, shrug, etc.

    Jempool is reversible, so it could easily be turned into a möbius. I’d just need to add a half twist then seam together the two ends.

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    • May 6th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Color Pooling Crochet Stitch Games-Class


    Planned vs. Accidental Color “Pooling” Fun

    Last summer’s Get Your Geek On CGOA event inspired my new three-hour crochet class in Charleston SC (July 13, 2016); some new booklets and patterns too. Many of us have been seeking insight into using hand-painted yarns. These yarns are often boldly variegated with short color changes and other indie dyeing methods. Color pooling can be exciting!

    Planned Pooling Stitch Games Crochet Class CGOA Vashti Braha

                                  This is the class webposter at the CGOA event headquarters.

    You’re looking at stitch game projects I designed from 2009 to a month ago. (There are more but they don’t all fit in this image.) Pattern for the vivid blue striped scarf (Jempool) releases this week.

    Use crochet stitches to turn the color volume up or down (or both, selectively!). Exaggerate the element of chance (accidental pooling). Or, eliminate it! (i.e. planned pooling).

    What’s Color Pooling?

    Variegated (multi-colored) yarns appear to have randomly and evenly mixed colors in one skein. It’s like a party in a ball—unless the colors stop looking well-blended when crocheted or knitted. A color might repeat too often, or pile (pool) up on itself row after row in a blotchy way.

    Texture pooling is a variation of color pooling. Ever use a yarn with dramatic thick and thin areas, and find that these texture contrasts clump together awkwardly? They’re pooling. That happened with an expensive mohair yarn I bought because of its intermittent tinsel sections (see it above). I thought it would look magical. Instead, the tinsel just looked lumpy and stiff when I crocheted it. Love Knots retain the otherworldly look of the yarn by giving the tinsel more room. Sprinkling Love Knots among simple double crochets {UK: tr} is an exhilarating experience.

    “Stitch Pooling” Turns Color Pooling into a Game

    A simple stitch game I like, especially with crochet, is what I call stitch pooling. I switch to a contrasting crochet stitch when a certain color comes up as I crochet. Knitters do this when they switch from stockinette to garter whenever a certain color comes up, for example. Crochet gives us so many texture choices for creating a simple game, or a wildly challenging one! You can heighten or de-emphasize colors too. This is accidental color pooling that’s fresh and interesting. Just use familiar crochet stitches.

    Pictured below are three examples of beginner-level stitch games in a pattern booklet:

    Color Pooling Booklet: Crochet to the Colors Playbook, Level 1

           Crochet to the Colors Playbook: simple stitch pooling to alter color pooling. Table of Contents here.

    Color Pooling According to Plan

    Eliminate the element of chance and you get regular, coordinated patterns of color. The game here is to identify the unique color code of a variegated yarn. You decide where they show up in your project. (See my newsletter issue #77, Find the Color Code of Short Striping Yarns.) Then, choose the crochet stitch, gauge, and number of stitches to get the color patterning you want.

    Two examples of this very different crochet experience are shown in the photo at the top: Jempool (the blue striped scarf) and the basketweave look in the top left corner.

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    • April 19th, 2016 by Vashti Braha


    © 2010 Designing Vashti All Rights Reserved

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