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  • 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.

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    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

    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

    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

    Fascinating Crochet Texture: Chainmaille Cowl


    Extra Images for Chainmaille CAL (Crochet Along) Participants

    Chainmaille is a downloadable DesigningVashti crochet pattern that was recently the focus of a CAL (Crochet Along) in northern Illinois. Below are four images of variations I swatched of this fascinating crochet texture.

    Click on an image to see more information.

    The Structure of a Fascinating Crochet Fabric

    Long chains cross over a lace surface in a herringbone-like pattern. It helps me to think of it as two layers of lace: each gives the other added dimension and visual depth. This makes it lighter to wear. It also drapes better than the solid layered and aran-style crochet fabrics.

    How did this stitch pattern come about? I first saw a confusing photo of it in a book. I couldn’t make out how it was crocheted, and the book offered no stitch diagram for it. I now understand why the photo confused me: a layered crochet texture is hard to capture in a two-dimensional image. Light showing through the layers also complicates a photo. A stitch diagram would have also looked confusing. I just had to swatch it to know it.

    The Chainmaille design is all about immersing oneself in a fascinating crochet fabric. There is no shaping, fancy yarn or color changes, nor complicated assembly. Turning it into a cowl is simple enough: you just seam it into a tube. Leave it unseamed for a neckwarmer or make it longer to wear as a scarf.

    A Chainmaille Crochet Along took place last month (July 2015) at Mosaic Yarn Studio in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Have a look at this wrap-sized Chainmaille on display in the shop!

    I met with a CAL participant, Susan Kenyon, at the Chain Link crochet conference in San Diego a few weeks ago. Susan and I seem to share the same kind of enjoyment of this fascinating crochet stitch pattern. It sounds like the CAL was fun.

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    • August 13th, 2015 by Vashti Braha

    Newest Crochet Design: Undaria Flutter Scarf


    This is the first blog post using a new feature here at my DesigningVashti website headquarters: I can blog right here at my own website.

    I have some design news. The downloadable crochet pattern for Undaria is being tech-edited now. This means it will be available just after Thanksgiving, most likely this Monday, Nov. 28. You can see several wearing styles in the meantime, all possible with the same pattern:

    I really enjoyed designing and crocheting this exciting shape.

    The next pattern after Undaria will be the Thaxton Hooded Cowl. Both of these designs are cozy new ways to use crochet slip stitches. The short rows keep them interesting.
    …and now to see how this new kind of blog post looks!

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    • November 23rd, 2011 by Vashti Braha


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