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  • Project Tests for New Crochet Classes


    I’m still testing new crochet designs…

    …for the five classes I teach next month! This started months ago. It never stops, actually.

    I have other new crochet ideas in progress for this year’s classes too. For Tunisian Eyelet Meshes I have a draping collapsible “Leanin’ Loopholes” wrap to finally start when the new Lotus colors arrive. Another project in motion for the Stitch Games class is an argyle (only a few rows done, no photos yet).

    When CGOA puts out a call for class topic proposals in the fall, I submit more than enough: all the topics that I’ve enjoyed teaching in the past, plus interesting variations on them, plus new ones. Designing new crochet examples starts the moment I find out which ones I’ll be teaching. (Not on purpose, it just happens.)

    Meanwhile

    Meanwhile I stand ready (with camera) to receive a giant new lot of Lotus yarn. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new colors. Doris has her designing cones already so I know UPS will be here any day. Once the yarn arrives–on giant cones–I get some of it turned into Z-Bombes (1-pounders). A bit of it becomes Magnum cones (2-pounders). A lot of it will be “pull cakesASAP.

    I also stand ready to design with it. I’ll need some new crochet for the road trip up to the conference, right? Doris got started immediately with a new design in emerald green. This reminds me that I also need to lock in the new color names for the ball bands and snip cards.

    I’m on Day 35 of my 50 blogging days of crochet conference prep and I’m feeling behind! I still need to get some crochet patterns reformatted into print versions (for some of my classes and for kits in the market booth).

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    • June 23rd, 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

    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

    Crochet Mobius Cowl Wearing Styles


    Simply add a mobius twist to an infinity scarf to multiply the ways it drapes.

    A crochet mobius cowl pattern adds an easy mobius twist to a crochet infinity scarf (a.k.a. long loop scarf). This instantly increases the stylish ways to wear it!

    Have a look at this image I created for the downloadable Starlooper Mobius Cowl crochet pattern. It’s a new design that I added to the shop yesterday. This montage of NINE images means I don’t have to pick just ONE wearing style to display.

    Starlooper Crochet Cowl Scarf: Directory of Styles (montage)

    If you had to pick only ONE of these nine images, which would it be?

    I love a good crochet mobius cowl pattern because it flatters the face and neck effortlessly, no matter how it settles on the shoulders. Plus, of course, they offer easy warmth. (Click here to see an early newsletter issue I wrote called “A Fever for Crocheting Cowls” LOL!)

    For Starlooper I used a special kind of crochet star stitch pattern. It’s naturally a bit offset, reversible, and has accordion-like pleats. It’s also fast, soft, and warm for fall. (Click here to see many more star stitches!)

    I’ve been learning ways to create draping montages like this image for years. Want to see earlier ones? Click here for Shakti Scarfythings and here for Undaria.

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    • September 27th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    The Frostyflakes Crochet-Along Gallery of Winter Cheer!


    Almost all of these projects were crocheted with fingering weight yarns; several of them were Madeline Tosh yarn.

    What’s a “Frosty Flake”? Why, Frostyflakes is a way to crochet groups of harmless-ol’ double crochets in a gently increasing manner to a triangular point; then, gently decrease the frosty flakes to create the other end of a shallow triangular wrap. It’s addictive and it’s flexible because you can use any kind of yarn, any amount of yarn, and end up with something that looks fabulous several ways.

    The Frostyflakes Crochet Along has been a warm cheerful spot during this year’s extended winter-into-spring season. (It’s been cold and dim in Florida too.) The great thing about hosting a CAL in a Ravelry forum is that anyone can start eh same project at any time, and be able to refer to the discussion thread as if were taking place today. Discussion threads about projects have a wealth of information and inspiration. Please visit and join Vashti’s Crochet Lounge to see all the lovely projects and meet new friends!

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    • April 1st, 2014 by Vashti Braha


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