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  • Steek Crochet With Pattern Schematics in Any Language


    Pattern schematics inspire me to steek crochet.

    I wish every crochet garment pattern offered a schematic. It outlines the sections of a garment, like puzzle pieces. Schematics cut through illusions cast by fashion photography and lovely models. A single pattern schematic can distill a fancy design to its simplest essence. I created two Pinterest boards of things that inspire me to steek crochet: Steeks: Ideas and Wearable Simple Shapes.

    Schematics also cut through language barriers. I can understand a non-English pattern if it includes a schematic.

    I created a few sample schematics for the Tunisian steek crochet class handout and realized how much I get out of them. This would be the next newsletter issue if I had time to do one! (Too much conference prep.)

    Steek crochet using pattern schematics from around the 'net

    Some simple squares and rectangles from my Tunisian class handout. Add a steek where you see a pink bar, fold on the dotted line, et voilà!—instant garment.

    A schematic is sensational to me when a garment that looks chic on a model, yet its schematic reveals that it’s made of simple shapes, such as rectangles. This is exciting because every crocheter or knitter first learns how to make rectangles, right?

    Sometimes all you need is a rectangle that drapes, or is clingy/stretchy (or all of these). Sometimes weightlessness brings it home, other times it’s a luxuriously weighty swing. The schematic tells you what’s what when you know what to look for.

    Sometimes the key to chic is a well-placed seam on a simple shape. Sometimes it’s a special edging. And sometimes it’s the where and how of the steek. Steek crochet for the easy chic of it.

    I love this conference prep blogging because it makes me aware of things that I’ve done for years, like collect pattern schematics.

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    • June 24th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    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

    Tunisian Crochet Books for Research


    At first glance, the materials I use when researching Tunisian crochet (a.k.a. afghan crochet, & including double-ended types) seem the same as for other crochet topics. Besides Tunisian crochet books and online sources that I find by Googling and searching Ravelry, I use sections of other books, notable designs, and antique sources. (Click on on of the thumbnail photos to enlarge.)

    Tunisian Crochet Books are Keepers!

    Over the years I’ve noticed distinctive differences in the information I can depend on for Tunisian crochet research, compared to other kinds of crochet. The most intensive research I do is for classes, but I also need to for some newsletter topics and when I’m writing a pattern for an unusual design.

    100% Tunisian crochet books are special and really pretty rare. Many of them are slim, booklet-like volumes. They tend to be hard to find and to get. Some go out of print quickly, are self-published, or are only in Japanese, for example. I treasure each one. That first book stack you see is my go-to stack.

    I’ve found a lot of useful information buried in general books about crochet.”TC” (Tunisian crochet) has long been presented in crochet books as a specialization. This means the TC topic sometimes gets its own thick chapter, and that’s a beautiful thing. Other times, the chapter or section is lean, but can make an important contribution somehow. It may have fresh and original material, or offer well designed instructions, stitch symbols, and other valuable publishing standards.

    From my TC perspective, it makes a big, big difference when the book’s production staff, especially the technical editors and illustrators, also understand TC (not just regular crochet). It also matters what is used as a standard, because basic Tunisian crochet publishing standards are still being forged.

    The book stack in the second photo shows general crochet books I own that contain TC sections I refer to often. Missing from the photo is A Treasury of Crochet Patterns by Liz Blackwell.

    I’ve been thinking about this post topic ever since I did one about the very different kind of book stack I devoured for the Stitch Games class topic. (That stack was mostly written about yarn by and for knitters.) I’m also considering a post about what it has been like to unearth and use every resource I could for classes on love knots (Solomon’s knots) and star stitches over the years.

     

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    • June 16th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Reinforced Steeked Crochet Hole, Two Examples


    Reinforcing a Steeked Crochet Hole

    There’s more than one way to reinforce a cut made into crochet stitches because there’s more than one kind of steek and use for that steek. Here are just two kinds of projects made in the same stitch pattern.

    Both of these projects are part of the Mesmer Tunisian Veils pattern. If you steek crochet stitches the easy way—within one row—you have at minimum two yarn ends to fasten securely and then weave in. Some Tunisian stitches will cause you to have more (see newsletter #79 about that).

    The more stitches you unravel, the larger the hole and the longer the yarn ends will be. I only unraveled 3 of the pink stitches and that left me with yarn ends that were just long enough to work with comfortably.

    If the steeked crochet hole won’t be getting a lot of direct wear and tear, use those yarn ends to reinforce the stitch at each end of the slit. Look closely at the pink photos where I weaved the fine mohair yarn in and around the stitch at each end. This will get light wear. It’s a “keyhole” opening for a scarf.

    Steeked Crochet Hole for Sleeves

    You’re looking at an edged armhole in the brown example. An armhole needs more reinforcement because of the constant pressure it supports in a garment. I switched to a double-ended circular crochet hook to crochet a few rounds of the same Tunisian stitch. It gives a really nice cap sleeve look when it’s worn. In the future I’d love to try longer sleeves this way.

    This is part of my blogging goal of 50 posts for these 50 days of epic crochet conference prep. I’ve missed a day here and there lately because my dear friend from college is here for the week! We’re about to leave for the day to see the mermaids of Weeki Watchee. It’s a spring fed lake and water park.

     

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    • June 15th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Steeking Crochet Newsletter Overflow


    Three images that didn’t make it into the newsletter I sent out yesterday on steeking crochet:

    Not sure if it’s obvious in the middle photo: I removed two stitches in the forward pass. It freed up the return pass AND the stitches above them in the next row. This is because these stitches are crocheted around the post of the stitches, not into a base (i.e. into any return pass loops).

    Without a lifeline, these post stitches just dissolve into messy loops. It’s not as bad as Tks or Tfs (as mentioned in the newsletter). The unraveling is contained.

    My friend arrived last night from Kentucky! So glad I got the newsletter sent off. I hope you enjoyed my exploration of steeking crochet. My next critical conference prep task is to complete my last class handout (Starwirbel Way). After that milestone, I’ll add corrections to all handouts as I receive them from my editor, and direct my mental energies toward writing patterns.

     

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    • June 12th, 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

    Beaded Tunisian Crochet Test


    I love preparing to teach crochet classes for the big CGOA conferences every year because I try things I’ve been meaning to for months. Like yesterday. Today I’m testing instructions in my class handout for Steeked Tunisian Lace. I figured while I’m at it, I might as well throw in some beads.

    Beaded Tunisian crochet

    [this blog post is in progress please check back]

    Beads aren’t part of the class, but if someone asks, I’ll have the swatch handy.

    I will probably come back and add a little more to this post when I can. Gotta run for now.

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    • June 7th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    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

    Hand Dyed Yarn Three Ways


    Three Looks for a Unique Hand Dyed Yarn

    Today I present three very different crochet textures in the SAME. EXACT. YARN.

    hand dyed yarn three ways

    At Left, Tunisian Islander Wrap; center, random Love Knots (stitch game test); at right, color stacked slip stitch mobius.

    These photos span about seven years. This particular hand dyed yarn is Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock.

    The 2016 design on the right was such a different experience of this yarn that it felt like a new purchase from the yarn shop. I had crocheted a whole shawl with the same yarn, though, seven years ago.

    I thought it was just me. When I showed the two projects in a Stitch Games class yesterday, others were also noticeably surprised that it’s the same yarn.

    Hope you’ve had a great weekend! If you don’t see a new blog post from me tomorrow, it will only be because we lost power due to the tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. It hits sometime tonight or in the early morning.

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    • June 5th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    2016 Crochet Stitch Games: Class Resources Page


    Clickable resources for my 2016 Crochet Stitch Games with Colorful Yarns class. Includes patterns for designs shown, and inspiration for new games. Also articles & books recommended in class. Click an image to enlarge it.

    Crochet Patterns & Crochet Alongs:

    Recommended Issues of Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter:

    2016 Crochet Stitch Games, Blogged:

    Inspiration

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    • June 2nd, 2016 by Vashti Braha


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