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  • 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

    Special Class Practice Swatches


    Today I get to crochet outside in my gazebo. The weather is gorgeous and the birds sound happy. We have plenty of coffee, chocolate, and fresh peaches. It’s a perfect holiday weekend. On the hook: very special practice swatches. What?

    Well, we’re nearing the end of May.

    One of my big conference prep goals is to complete the handouts for all five of my class topics by June 1. That’s why I keep blogging about how I prepare class handouts. It’s all I can think about. It’s like when I’m in the midst of solving a puzzle, or reading a good mystery.

    Practice swatches try to become new designs!

    I’m an unofficial pattern tester today, following my own directions in a class handout so that I send off the draft to my editor and pattern tester. I hope this doesn’t sound like work to you. It’s very exciting! So many designs happen this way by accident! Translating a class topic into ideal practice swatches for students is creatively inspiring

    For the Steeked Tunisian Lace class I designed a few short practice swatches that build on each other. It’s inspiring to compare these three basic ways to crochet the lacy extended stitch net: with 1 yarn (Seshen is a great example), or alternating 2 yarns (Mesmer Scarf), or the double-ended hook variation (á là Maze Vest). In class we’ll then have practice swatches to steek!

    Why this May 31 deadline?

    • It gives my editor enough time to go over the three new handouts. It also gives me time to incorporate her revisions without feeling rushed.
    • My close friend Annie arrives from Kentucky in two weeks. I can’t wait to see her! I don’t want to be mulling class handouts while she’s here.
    • The UPS truck is going to pull up one of these days and deliver five new colors of our Lotus yarn! I want to be able to turn my full attention to that when it happens! (You’ll know it because I’ll blog it.)
    • It’s for the best that I expect that the conference will sneak up on me. It always does. Plus, this is the first year I’ll have a booth while teaching. 
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    • May 29th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Tunisian Extended Stitch Ripple


    Tunisian Extended Stitch

    Rippling Tunisian extended stitch

    Fresh Off the Hook: a Tunisian Extended Stitch Ripple

    I swatched this for the Steeking Tunisian Lace class out of curiosity and as an interesting visual aid. This Tunisian extended stitch can do some very inspiring things, and it’s fun to steek—cut holes into it.

    Imagine steeking this one…I’m seeing a lovely sleeve cap…

    Ok, this only sort counts as class prep on this 6th day of 50 conference prep days. It’s not strictly essential to finishing the class handout, but now I might get design ideas from it in other spare moments. Class prep always generates lots of new design ideas. I revel in this.

    My son had a band concert last night so I swatched it while I waited for the concert to begin. I’ve actually been meaning to try a Tunisian extended stitch ripple ever since I wrote newsletter #49 in 2013.

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    • May 25th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Day 1 of 50: Crochet Conference Prep


    “Day 1 of 50”?

    Yes. Fifty days of updates. Fifty is 7 weeks-and-a-day, a nice round number. I need all 50 because I’ll be teaching 5 different 3-hour classes at a crochet conference while managing a booth in its market. It’s epic.

    A friend is preparing to teach at the same event for the first time, and another friend is considering it in the future. They’re on my mind as I do this prep again. (It’s my 2nd time having a booth and I think the 6th time teaching lots of classes.)

    I’m going to track my progress and thoughts out loud as I go. Some days it’s various teaching prep, other days it’s booth merch/yarn company stuff, and always lots of swatching and designing. Most days it’s a jumble and I’ll blog a highlight of it. Years from now I’ll enjoy looking back over this.

    Today I Cross a Big Teaching Item Off the List

    The yarn used in a crochet conference class can matter immensely. Having also taken many crochet classes, I know how hard it is for students to choose which yarns to bring to class.

    I asked a yarn company if they would sponsor my Stitch Games class at the crochet conference. This means they would donate enough yarn for all of the students to use. Today they said yes

    This makes my week. Their hand dyed yarn is my first choice for this class! (Below are swatches of this company’s yarns in soft colors. These are tests for other class topics.)

    I’ve used it so much while developing the Stitch Games swatches and designs. I know its fiber, weight, bounce, and twist work for key stitch patterns, and I find the color sequences to be dependably easy and fun for crochet. I want each student to have the best possible experience learning something unfamiliar. This yarn helps guarantee it!

    This colorway is custom hand dyed for my local yarn shop. It’s called “Grape Jelly” and is based on the colors of the Crown Jellyfish found in Fiji’s Rainbow Reef.

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    • May 20th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Long Tail Crochet Foundations


    Issue #72 of my Crochet Inspirations Newsletter is about “long tail crochet”: crocheting with a long yarn end instead of just weaving in a shorter one to make it disappear. As promised in that issue, below is the full size comparison chart of crochet foundations in order of stretchiness. All but the first two and last two examples can be considered long tail crochet foundations.

    Long Tail Crochet Foundations, Stretched

    (Same yarn and hook size used for all of them).

     

    See issue #72 “Long Tail Crochet” for clickable versions of links shown, and more.

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    • October 10th, 2015 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

    Crochet Swatch Puzzler


    Most of the time I can pick up a crochet swatch and identify its top (last row crocheted) and bottom (foundation row). I save crocheted swatches for reference, so it’s important to me to be able to do this confidently and accurately.

    Here’s a swatch that puzzles me at first, each time I see it. Then I remember helpful identification clues.

    A crochet swatch that's not easy to "read"

    Is this crochet swatch right side up?

    The swatch in hand puzzles me almost as much as this photo of it.

    Being able to quickly identify how a crochet swatch was created is a special skill. It may take many years of crocheting to develop it.

    This is true for images of crochet (photos and drawings) as well as for the actual piece.

    The single most helpful clue about this swatch is that it’s Tunisian crochet.

    This means it’s likely that we’re looking at the right side of the stitches. Tunisian stitches usually all face the front, and look distinctly different on the back. Usually.

    I can quickly make sense of a new-looking Tunisian crochet swatch if I can identify where the return row stitches line up. The return row is when the loops are worked off of the crochet hook. If I know whether the crocheter is crocheting leftie, then I know which direction the return row stitches should be traveling. They go toward the right edge if crocheted right-handed. (I’m right handed.)

    Thirdly, I know two basic ways to make Tunisian crochet lacy. You can:

    • Use the Tyo (Tunisian Yarn Over stitch), and/or
    • Add chain stitches during the return rows.

    This issue of my Crochet Inspirations Newsletter briefly contrasts the two kinds.

    I’ve started a project page for this in Ravelry. I’ll add updates to it as the project takes shape.

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    • September 29th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Lab Experiment: I’m Customizing a Tank Top with Crochet


    Customizing a tank top with crochet: hem in progress with pink DV Lotus yarn.

    Crocheting the bottom hem. Armholes & neckline next.

    Crocheting the bottom hem. Armholes & neckline next.

    This is my first attempt at customizing a tank top with crochet, so I’m using a $4 scoop-neck tank top from Walmart (White Stag brand).  Update: It’s coming along well! See this followup post.

    It looks dowdy on me, so I drastically cropped it and turned the neckline into a deep V. The crochet you see adds length along the bottom hem. I’m using standard sport weight yarn and a US/F (3.75 mm) crochet hook. The steel hook you see here is the largest sharp-headed crochet hook I have. I wish I had one that’s slightly bigger for pulling through loops of sport weight yarn. Crazy?

    The real reason I’m doing this:

    • What is it like to crochet DesigningVashti Lotus yarn onto t-shirt fabric? Is sport weight yarn a good match? (If I have to use lace weight yarns, I might as well just crochet the whole darn thing.) What does the texture of this yarn look like with a plain cotton machine knit fabric? 
    • I have mill ends of this “Pink Sugar” color; the dyeing looks more tonal than solid (not in this photo though). Do I like it? What is it generally like to pair Lotus colors with my tee shirt colors?
    • Can I use a super sharp crochet hook when customizing a tank top with crochet? I want to be able to start crocheting right onto fabric and get a result I like. Would I enjoy doing it more than sewing along the cut edges first? (I sealed the cut edges with an invisible permanent washable no-fray liquid.)
    • How will it all hold up to wearing, machine washing and drying, and the Florida sun? Will the no-fray liquid add enough strength to the edges?
    • How will I like wearing it? Will I find I have a preference for customizing a tank top with certain kinds of crochet stitches? What if the crochet adds too much weight to the top?

    Lots of what-ifs. Will I want to do something similar with my cashmere sweaters? ::gasp::

    I have a few pullovers that I want to convert into cardigans. Ideally, give them a roomier fit while I’m at it. Heck, add beads. Cashmere love is a many splendored thing.

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    • September 16th, 2014 by Vashti Braha

    Beaded “Delta” Types of Crochet Lace


    I have some fun photos of beaded crochet swatches to share: overflow from newsletter issue #62, “Delta-Type” Crochet/Hexagonal Lace Types. Click on each photo to enlarge it and see comments.

    Note: I’m using “delta crochet” to refer to a category, not for a single kind of stitch pattern, and not for triangular items such as shawls. I mean geometrically a type of lace grid. In the four-sided lacy net category we have the filet type (square/rectangular spaces that stack up in columns), and the fishnet or diamond mesh type, which have diamond-shaped spaces that are offset/staggered. “Delta” is pretty well known to mean triangle, whereas a term like “isometric” might be less helpful. If you have a better term to suggest than “delta,” please leave a comment, thanks  🙂

    The gist of the newsletter is: Crochet nets of three-sided triangular lacy holes (or “spaces”) have a fundamentally different kind of lace structure, or grid. You can create them with several different kinds of crochet stitches, and they all differ from nets with four-sided spaces in looks, stretch/drape properties, and the experience of crocheting them.

    When I experimented with beading delta laces, interesting things happened. Adding beads to love knots is in some ways very similar to beading chain stitches. I haven’t even tried several more ways to add beads to the ones shown here. Adding beads to the classic tall-stitch delta type, though, is more limited. It would be super tricky* to add beads to a whole post of a tall stitch.

    *By “super tricky” I mean unpleasant and perhaps impossible LOL.

    Check back, I’m swimming in swatches and blogging them all – my goal is a short blog post most days per week. I love comments!

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    • September 15th, 2014 by Vashti Braha


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