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  • CGOA Award Event Plans

    I’ve mostly blogged lately about getting ready to teach and have a market booth at the big crochet conference next month. Here and there I’ve mentioned some special events I also plan for, such as the fashion show banquet and design contest. This year I’m making special preparations for the Hall of Fame event when my friend accepts the CGOA award. 

    The CGOA Hall of Fame recipient for 2016 is my close friend Doris Chan. We met at CGOA’s 2004 conference in Manchester NH. There could be no Lotus yarn if we’d never met.

    For the past few days I’ve been tracking down which of Doris’ earliest designs I have. My mom has the most important one of all, and she’s in Iowa. Back in March 2004 I used a pattern by Doris called Celebration Shawl to crochet a Mother’s Day gift.

    Back then I had no idea who designed the shawl I made. I just leafed through my issue of Crochet! magazine and thought it looked like fun to make. The yarn was soft, cheerful and warm. I knew my mom would enjoy wearing it in a dreary Iowa winter.

    Doris didn’t know that her design had been published somewhere. When she saw the bag I made to go with it, that really threw her off. The bag wasn’t part of her pattern. I just crocheted it on the plane from the leftover yarn.

    Of course she had to ask me about it, and the rest is history. The next year I crocheted her a silver wire bracelet that is a miniature replica of her shawl pattern. (Blue bugle beads kind of look like Fun Fur yarn, right?)

    Twelve years later, Doris gets the Hall of Famer CGOA award! This will be a very special conference.

    • June 25th, 2016 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.

    • December 18th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Bam-Bam Crochet Bangle

    The Original Bam Bam Crochet Bangle, 2012. From its "art gallery" photoshoot.

    The Original Bam Bam Crochet Bangle, “art gallery” photoshoot, 2012. See the whole set in better resolution here

    Crochet Bangle from the Archives

    It makes me giggle. “Bam-Bam” began as a test of ribbing stitches for a simple crochet bangle.

    I remember reasoning that if a crochet bracelet is stretchy enough, a clasp is optional. You can just slide it on and off your wrist—i.e., a crochet bangle.

    A back-loop slip stitch rib (Bss) version was planned after this back-loop single crochet rib (BLsc) one. I did NOT plan to add the “Bam-Bam” part.

    The “Bam-Bam” Part

    Remember Pebbles and Bamm Bamm? Back in September 2012, I was preparing to teach a crochet jewelry class at a CGOA conference in Reno NV.

    I don’t remember where my head was at, but after completing the BLsc band, I amused myself by free-forming the fake clasp. It made me think of Bamm Bamm Rubble, the baby boy who hit everything with a stone club in the The Flintstones cartoon.

    Then I photographed it as if it’s an art gallery piece, which amuses me even more!

    This is its project page in Ravelry. I’m writing a holiday pattern for the Bam-Bam Crochet Bangle now. It makes me giggle too much to keep it to myself.

    By the way, the Lucky Twists Boot Cuffs pattern that I posted about earlier is being tested now. I expect to release it in a day or two.

    • December 17th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Crochet Glow-in-the-Dark Yarn Idea

    I crochet pretty little things for my bedroom that glow. The one pictured here is from about three years ago and it has kept me from bumping into this bedpost every night since then.

    Glow in the dark crochet bracelet pattern
    Glow in the dark crochet “Jasmine Rope”

    I like to sleep in total darkness. This puts me at risk of bumping into something if I have to get up in the middle of the night, but even the dimmest night lights are too bright for me.

    My favorite solution is a bit of crochet that glows in the dark! It glows just enough in the middle of the night that I don’t notice it while I’m in bed, only if I’m walking around in total darkness. I can make it any size, shape, and color.

    I also crocheted a snug mesh cover for the bathroom doorknob in the same yarn.

    (Pattern and yarn info: the yarn is Bernat Glow in the Dark, discontinued. Other glow in the dark yarns or carry-along threads should work. The soon-to-be-published pattern, Jasmine Ropes, has a project page that you check in on to find out when the pattern PDF is ready.)

    • September 20th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    New Free Crochet Jewelry Pattern & Guide

    My three newest crochet jewelry pattern releases share a theme: all are methods for crocheting beaded strands, without actually using beads. I’ve developed special beady crochet stitches and found jewelry-crocheting ways to make stitches stack up symmetrically and neatly, like beads do.

    Not only do I love crocheting beads instead of adding beads to crochet; sometimes it’s better – allows a crochet project to be more portable or faster to begin, for example. For more images, here’s my “Pearly Crochet Stitch Types for Jewelry Crochet” photo set.

    My free Puffpearls Jewelry Cord Crochet Guide is really three small patterns in one, because each pattern is a jewelry component that can be used independently with other designs. The three components are the Chain Loop Clasp, the Puffpearl Stitch Cord, and the Mushroom Button. Along the way I explain what makes each of these my “go-to” jewelry components, and suggest some creative ways to vary them and enhance their basic features.

    After wearing crochet jewelry for years, and teaching Crochet Jewelry in local yarn shops and at national conferences, I wanted to provide a free guide to some of the simplest basics I find that I’ve relied upon for years. That’s why I came out with the free Puffpearls Jewelry Cord Guide. Together with the Irish Pearl Knot Stitch and the stitch menu in the Sweet Almonds Jewelry Set, I use it myself as a reference guide, so I’ve rounded out the free crochet jewelry pdf with:

    • A chart of standard necklace lengths
    • How to make the best beginning slip knot when starting a crochet jewelry project
    • How to make necessary adjustments for a good match between pendant and crochet cord.

    Something else I’m noticing about crocheting ‘beads’ is that they’re amazing in silk and rayon threads. You might like issue #47 of the Crochet Inspirations Newsletter on using rayon threads for crochet jewelry. You also might like issue #46, “Open and Closed Clones Knots.” It was inspired by the Irish Pearl Knots design.

    The Puffpearl was one of the first (if not THE first) of the pearly stitches I swatched, back in 2008. Allow me to end by counting the ways that I like it now more than ever! The Puffpearl Cord is…

    1. Strong with a bit of built-in stretch. It has clean good looks from any angle and has many uses, so it’s fun to see how it responds to different fibers and hook sizes.
    2. Fun to experiment with simple changes to the stitch’s basic steps for creating alternate versions of the cord.
    3. Fast! A 20-minute crochet friendship bracelet is pretty instant gratification.
    4. Easy to make this stitch uniform in size and shape for a polished-looking pendant cord.
    5. The most straightforward and structurally familiar of all my favorite bead-like crochet stitches for fancy cords. (I especially appreciate this when using slippery threads like silk and rayon.)
    • February 26th, 2013 by Vashti Braha

    Crochet Jewelry Class Resources

    Most recently taught by Vashti Braha on September 13, 2012 at CGOA’s Chain Link Conference in Reno, Nevada

    This clickable list of crochet jewelry resources is mainly to aid students of my classes in exploring more about jewelry crocheting at their leisure. (If you have not yet taken any of my crochet jewelry classes, I hope someday I’ll meet you in one of them!) You’re welcome to enjoy the links below whether you’ve taken the classes or not. They represent the extra information that doesn’t fit into a standard three-hour class. Some are the names of designers, books, jewelery styles, etc., that I may have mentioned in a class.

    — Vashti Braha

    1. Page of my published Jewelry Crochet downloadable patterns
    2. Some of my not-yet published Jewelry Crochet projects

    Crochet Inspirations Newsletter Topics:


    Books, Four Recent Observations About:

    1. Here’s something I’ve noticed: Jewelry crocheters tend to have very strong opinions about which threads and other types of filaments are best. Some jewelry authors’ recommendations contradict others; some conflict with my actual experience of crocheting or wearing these materials. I also came to realize that I had my own fierce preferences (based upon what I know so far about how cotton crochet thread is made)! Crocheters know that we can crochet with just about anything. This is especially true for jewelry! Bead shops and craft stores offer beading threads, “memory wires,” leather lacing, braided waxed linen, etc., which offer us completely new crochet experiences. I haven’t tested every material favored by every author, and it’s looking like each crocheter needs to do her/his own open-minded experimenting and testing.
    2. How I make sense of Observation #1: When an author (and/or publisher) seems to come from the world of non-crochet beading and jewelry making, s/he tends to have a comfort zone and preference for synthetic beading threads for crochet. I also see an easy familiarity with traditional metal jewelry findings and related tools, and with using large amounts of tiny seed beads, or bead mixes, to the point of covering up the crochet stitches completely. If a natural fiber thread is recommended, I more often see a preference for perle cotton. On the other hand, authors who come to jewelry design from the world of crochet tend to: be conversant with the virtues of high-twist mercerized cotton threads; explore yarns of various fiber mixes; may use only a few beads as accents or no beads at all; feature crochet stitch textures and contrasting colors of thread work (which may stand in for beaded looks); and to crochet jewelry fastenings in place of traditional metal findings.
    3. Due to #1, I’m finding that having a library full of crochet jewelry books is paying off in a powerful way when I treat them as one individual jeweler’s “workbench notes.” Here’s an example of how I use them for reference: if I wish to try a new fine silk sewing thread, I look through the books to see if someone already has. If so, I look to see what crochet hook size the designer used as a starting point, and I go up or down hook sizes from there, depending on what I think about the stitch texture pictured. If it’s beaded, I check what size beads fit onto the thread. In this way, those jewelry books which are eclectic compilations of several designer’s patterns are goldmines of pointers toward how an unfamiliar (to me) material worked out for someone else.
    4. Observation #3 is why I now keep a better “jewelry workbench journal” as I travel this jewelry crochet journey, and I hope that you will, too. Each of us needs to discover what kind of hook size we prefer with a new unusual material, what beading needle made the stringing easiest with which bead & thread combo, etc. — and then record it so that future designs come together faster and easier. 🙂

    See my crochet jewelry book list at the original DesigningVashti crochet blog for clickable titles and descriptions.

    Crochet Jewelry Design Styles:

    I’ve noticed that of the fullest range of crochet jewelry designs imaginable, some styles are far more explored than others. For example, bead crochet ropes (sometimes called “tubular crochet”), are so popular and recognizable that this style sometimes seems to represent the whole field of crochet jewelry. Several good books are available on this one type. I’ve discussed most of the crochet jewelry books in print in another blog post (see Books, above).

    In the interest of promoting the broadest, most inclusive definition of what crochet jewelry is and can be, I’ve begun curating online images in galleries in Pinterest and in Flickr.


    You might also be interested in the resource pages I’m creating for my other class topics:

    • September 27th, 2012 by Vashti Braha

    The Five Peaks Tunisian Crochet Shawl: Class Resources

    I created this resource list for my students & others to explore the Five Peaks Tunisian crochet shawl, and similar start-in-a-corner, edge-as-you-go L-shaped wraps. (If you have not yet taken any of my Tunisian crochet classes, I hope someday I’ll meet you in one of them!) This extra information didn’t fit into a standard three-hour class. Some items are names of designers, books, etc., that I may have mentioned in class.
    Below I also include a complete list of my downloadable patterns for Tunisian crochet shawls and accessories. In classes I show a huge amount of published and unpublished crochet designs. They illustrate what we learn in class, and what can happen when we take it further.              — Vashti Braha

    The “Five Peaks Tunisian Crochet Shawl” Class Resources

    The Five Peaks Tunisian Crochet Shawl design in the news & around the ‘net

    Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations newsletter issues that pertain to the Five Peaks Shawl


    Page of my downloadable Tunisian crochet shawl patterns


    [Some of these lists are under construction.] 

    All about the “Half-Hitch” stitch

    • Quick how-to video (Backward Loop Cast On is the same as a half hitch stitch.)
    • See the CAL discussion thread listed above.

    Getting Geeky About the Geometry of the Five Peaks

    Inspiring Features, Examples, and Variations of the Five Peaks L-Shape

    • Doris Chan’s Fairlane
    • Nicky Epstein’s __
    • Barry Klein’s _


    Five Peaks Tunisian Crochet Shawl Class was held September 12, 2012 at the CGOA ‘Knit and Crochet Show’ conference in Reno, Nevada (Grand Sierra Resort). 
    • July 20th, 2012 by Vashti Braha

    From the Archives: Issue #1 “Inaugural Crochet Newsletter” 9/2/2010

    New Crochet Talk

    You’re reading the very first issue of a bi-weekly crochet newsletter because you subscribed to it sight unseen, and for that I feel honored. I don’t want to clog up anyone’s inbox. I do have a lot to share about the crochet that I make, think about, test, teach, and talk about with other designers.  I’ll keep it to something brief here, put extended material on my blog, and article-length stuff can go on my website (or to magazine editors).

    My crochet mojo doesn’t fit neatly into a pattern, and lends itself to being free of charge. I suspect that a newsletter is the best medium for these inspirations. A subscription-based newsletter is kind of intimate, like a club, more so than a blog or open forum. I’m hoping that together we’ll enjoy looking more closely at the crochet we love and which brightens our days.

    I’m told that an email newsletter is for selling stuff, but if I used this newsletter for that, you and I would both grow bored. Of course I wish the best for the crochet patterns at my website–each one is like a child with its own destiny–and when there is news about them, I’ll report it in a news section of the newsletter.

    I’ve fantasized about having a newsletter that tracks what’s happening in crochet everywhere. We’re members of an exciting global crochet community (thanks to the internet). So, the news section will also contain newsy hookalicious items that happen to come my way.

    A Little Inspiration: Crocheted Buttons for Jewelry

    This first newsletter issue is mostly a test to see that it works as it should and to let you know what I have in mind for future issues. I’ll wrap up this one with what has been inspiring me the past 3 days. (I can test how the images upload and appear while I’m at it.)

    When crocheting jewelry, if I crochet the clasp instead of sewing on a button or snaps, or attaching traditional metal jewelry clasps, I enjoy it more, finish faster, and wear it immediately. Crocheted clasps also have the virtue of being metal-free for my friends who are allergic to some metals.

    This week I worked out two “buttons” that I’m really happy about, partly because neither causes a crochet pattern’s skill level to suddenly go from Easy to Intermediate*, and partly because they have a distinctive look.

    One is like a wavy donut. I like the look of the waves, and the texture adds to the clasp’s grip. This one’s in size #20 thread (see abbreviations below):

    Wavy Donut Button

    Ch 9, sl st in the 6th ch from the hook to make a ring, 12 sc in ring, sl st in top of 1st sc to join, [sl st, ch 1] 11 times into ring (you are crocheting around the sc completely), sl st once more, sl st in same 6th ch of the ch-9 as the first sl st, sl st in each of next 2 ch to firm up the button’s post.

    The other looks sort of like a plump star. I worked it in sock yarn, so it might not seem super-starry in photos:

    Plump Star Button

    Ch 5, [hdc, ch 1] 6 times in 2nd ch from hook, turn, sc in each hdc (skipping each sl st), sl st side of first sc, sl st in ch at base of button, sl st in each remaining ch to firm up the button’s post.(Some of the stitches are tight, which helps a button hold up well over time.)

    Abbrev’s: ch=chain, hdc=half double crochet, sc=single crochet, sl st=slip stitch.

    *For a long time I crocheted clones knots as buttons. When I started writing up the patterns, the tech editor instantly changed the skill level from “Easy” to “Intermediate” because of the clones knot. Also, I had to explain the unusual stitch from scratch each time.


    Below was originally the righthand column of the newsletter:

    Button Experiments for Jewelry (tiny patterns at left)

    I hope you can make out here the zigzaggy surface of the Wavy Donut (green size #20 thread), and the star-like points that the hdc stitches make in the teal Plump Star button (sock yarn). (It’ll be available at the link below so that you can enlarge it.)

    The two purple lumps in the photo are beaded puff stitches. I made these a few years ago. The advantage of adding beads to a clasp button is that they add extra friction, which helps the clasp stay clasped. Over time and with even just a little wear, however, the beads loosen and the button is less cute.

    The teal button is part of an “Aran Rozsana Cuff” pattern that I’m writing now. You can see project photos here: http://ravel.me/vashtirama/nlfdi (this special link will work even if you’re not a Ravelry member.)

    Newsy Items Go Here!

    For example, I’m still daydreaming about a blog entry I read the other day about Tambour embroidery, an early form of crochet. This link takes you to exciting haute couture images, plus a photo tutorial of how it’s done.
    ::crossing fingers that these links are clickable for you::

    That’s it for issue #1, first published September 2, 2010.

    If you’d like to subscribe, <– just click it to go to a simple subscribe form. To see this newsletter issue in its original 2-columned and tastefully tinted format, click this. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me: vashtibraha AT gmail.com. Thanks!      —Vashti
    • May 21st, 2012 by Vashti Braha

    Summer-Fall 2012 Crochet Class Schedule

    I’ll Be Teaching Crochet Classes and Meeting Up with Fellow Crocheters at these National 2012 Events

    Class: Tunisian Crochet Meshes: The Weightless Wrap & Variations

    Class: Tunisian Crochet Meshes: The Weightless Wrap & Variations

    1. June 27 – July 1 in Manchester, New Hampshire: Summer Chain Link Conference produced by the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA); register at The Knit and Crochet Show site. Classes are already selling out and a second hotel has been added!
    2. September 12 – 16 in Reno, Nevada: Fall Chain Link CGOA Conference; registration will open in July here.


    Classes Listed by Topic

    See event links above for class descriptions

    Slip Stitch Crochet Classes:
    Combines two basic Slip Stitch types

    Class: Introduction to Slip Stitch Technique (Slip Tectonics Cowl)

    1. Introduction to Slip Stitch Crochet Technique: June 28th in Manchester NH (SOLD OUT), and September 13 in Reno NV (see registration link above)
    2. Class: Advanced Slip Stitch Technique (Slip Swoop Loop, forthcoming design)

      Class: Advanced Slip Stitch Technique (Slip Swoop Loop, forthcoming design)

      Advanced Slip Stitch Technique: June 28th in Manchester NH (SOLD OUT)


    Tunisian Crochet Classes:

    1. Tunisian Crochet Lace 101: June 29th in Manchester NH (SOLD OUT)

      Class: Tunisian Crochet Lace 101 (Quartz, class project version of Aero)

      Class: Tunisian Crochet Lace 101 (Quartz, class project version of Aero)

    2. The Five Peaks Shawl: September 12 in Reno NV (see registration link above)

      Class: The Five Peaks Wrap (Tunisian crochet on the bias with lacy eyelets for a shape that stays on your shoulders)

      Class: The Five Peaks Wrap (Tunisian crochet on the bias with lacy eyelets for a shape that stays on your shoulders)

    3. Tunisian Crochet Meshes: The Weightless Wrap: September 14 in Reno NV (see photo at top of screen and registration link above)


    More Crochet Class Topics for 2012:

    1. Embracelet

      Class: Creating Crochet Jewelry (Embracelet)

      Love Knot Adventures: June 29th in Manchester NH (SOLD OUT)

    2. Creating Crochet Jewelry: September 13 in Reno NV (see registration link above)
    3. Class: Love Knot Adventures (Nakshatra, forthcoming)

      Class: Love Knot Adventures (Nakshatra, forthcoming)

      How to Prepare a Design Proposal, presentation for Professional Development Day: September 12 in Reno NV (see registration link above)


    Regional Crochet Events

    I’m honored to be leading the Annual Crochet Retreat of the Northern Illinois CGOA Chapter in Oregon, IL (Chicago area), October 26-29 2012. Retreat topics (more details to come):

    1. Special Topics in Slip Stitch Crochet
    2. Advanced Tunisian Crochet Lace

    More Relevant Photos:

    Retreat Topic: Advanced Tunisian Crochet Lace (Rivuline, preview of forthcoming design)

    Retreat Topic: Advanced Tunisian Crochet Lace (Rivuline, preview of forthcoming design)

    Class: Advanced Slip Stitch Technique (new stitch combos, forthcoming design)

    Class: Advanced Slip Stitch Technique (new stitch combos, forthcoming design)

    Class: Creating Crochet Jewelry (Cabochon Braid, forthcoming design)

    Class: Creating Crochet Jewelry (Cabochon Braid, forthcoming design)

    • May 13th, 2012 by Vashti Braha

    © 2010 Designing Vashti All Rights Reserved