Happy Crochet Easter! Today I’m taking a break from lots of behind the scenes crochet work to post a quick update. Below is a long silk skirt I’ve worn every spring for years. It’s one of my all-time favorites. This weekend I mused on its colors.
I can picture multicolored motifs. Or, a cream and lavender thing, with the darker colors as a contrasting border–little flowers, maybe.
In fact I’m going to create a project page for this in Ravelry after I finish this post.
I’ll be able to send out a newsletter issue after I meet a big design deadline this week. So close! I’ll also be able to keep moving forward on new blogging and crochet video plans I’m excited to share.
I’ve just returned from teaching “Big-Hook Slip Stitch Crochet” in icy Chicago. I urge everyone to gather up their jumbo crochet hooks and super bulky yarns! Some of my slip stitch projects take only an hour or two this way.
Tip: throw in at least one strand of alpaca or angora. These fibers are four times warmer than wool. Add a yarn with a halo like mohair, or a textured novelty yarn, to fill in any gaps between stitches.
Be ready for the next cold snap with this set of five jumbo crochet hooks—sizes Q, R, S, T, and U—bundled with a free Big Hook Bucket pattern. (It’s already at a discount as a kit so I’m unable to discount it further for NatCroMo readers, sorry.) You can buy these crochet hooks individually here.
Armed with these hooks you’ll also be ready for when I release these new Big-Hook Slip Stitch crochet patterns (links currently go to their Ravelry project pages):
Zumie Lace Vest I used a size S (19 mm) hook for most of it. This one-skein lace item took only 45 minutes to crochet. Yarn: the fun Hikoo Zumie by Skacel.
Pink kitty-ears hat with only 95 yds and an M/9 mm hook. It’s simple back loop slip stitch in rows, then seamed on the top and side. It came out smallish on me and perfect on my friend (she kept it!). No yarn left over so I’m mulling a way to get a slightly more out of about 95 yds of yarn for this.
Two years later a visitor to the DesigningVashti Facebook page requested the pattern. Again in deep crochet class prep mode, I had to put it off until after teaching and a series of seven crochet tutorials I’d agreed to do for the Cut Out & Keep site.
By then the US election had just taken place. I appreciated the sweet, loving patterns crochet and knit designers were spontaneously posting. I returned to the 2014 attempts to blend stars and love knots in one pattern. It was a pleasure to finally polish it up into a fun, versatile, balanced stitch pattern. I hoped the idea of harmonizing and unifying two popular stitches of very different traditions might lift others’ spirits.
The basic stitch pattern is available here. I used it to make a 6.5″ square block with DK weight yarn and a G7/4.5 mm hook. A border would probably turn it into a 7″ block.
The Lovelace Ring Scarf design happened next because I needed a self-edging version. It came to me during Thanksgiving. As I lay there contemplating the stitch pattern I’d sent off to Cut Out & Keep, I wondered about giving the basic stitch pattern a selvage (no need to edge it later).
The start and end of the love knot section always looked a bit stringy and unstable to me. I also wanted to vary the texture bands and widen it for a lush, romantic ring scarf.
This is how Lovelace came to be.
Is a Love-Knot-to-Star-Stitch Scarf…Challenging?
Both are Intermediate-level crochet stitches but that doesn’t mean they’re difficult. I include tips and visual aids in the pattern that have worked in my classes. Most of Lovelace is rows of easy, familiar stitches like single and half double crochets (sc and hdc, or as they say in the UK: dc and htr).
These easy stitches are a backdrop to the fancy stitches. Like peacekeeping diplomats they harmonize relations between the two iconic, culturally powerful, individualistic “diva” stitches.
My experience of crocheting star stitches (stars) and love knots (LK) in the same pattern is that I get some comfort zone rows of simple stitches, then a spicy row or two, then more comfort zone.
Dramatic Differences Between Stars & Love Knots
I researched both of these two unique stitches deeply. I don’t recall ever seeing them combined in one stitch pattern. If you have, please let me know in the comments.
Love knots are reversible, star stitches are not. It was an issue with my early swatches.
Love knots are more independent than the usual crochet stitch, and star stitches are the other extreme. This shows in lots of ways. Add Love Knots anywhere like a chain stitch because it’s a type of foundation stitch. Each LK is distinct, complete, and recognizable from a distance.
Star stitches require context. The stitch just before it, after it, and often above it determine how recognizable each star is!
Love knots likely originated as a southern lace, star stitches as a northern thermal fabric. LK were almost always crocheted in very fine cotton and silk threads for delicate and summery edgings, baby bonnets, and petite “opera bags”.
Stars have been used most often for making thick, dense coats and blankets in wool. Even when early stars looked like fine spidery lace, wool was the fiber of choice. (That’s why my unofficial name for the original swatch is “North and South stitch pattern“.)
Interesting Similarities Between Them
Both LK and stars are romantic, iconic, classic/old-fashioned, popular, and beloved.
Both originated in the early to mid-1800’s.
Both have long been favored for baby things. (Stars: baby blankets and coats; LK: sacques, bonnets, layette edgings.)
Both can be lacy. When star stitches are lacy, you’re looking at pulled loops, just like with LK.
I’m working on a crochet mini skirt! The last time I crocheted a mini skirt was in 2006 for Crochet! Magazine (March 2007 issue). Today I completed the third and fourth ideas I have for a decorative hem.
Finally a Crochet Mini Skirt for Fall!
It happens to be a trendy item this year, but every fall I want a crochet mini skirt to wear with leggings and boots. I need it to be in a neutral color. This dark grey is perfect for me.
I’m calling this design Carbonite after the name of this newest color of our Lotus yarn.
Crochet Stitches for Skirts
My goal was a solid stitch pattern with a brocade-like texture and a nice drape.
Does the stitch pattern look familiar? It’s a modified “Catherine Wheel”, a.k.a. “sunburst stitch”. This popular crochet stitch pattern is often used for thick wool scarves and afghans. I tweaked it a bit to prevent gaps that commonly happen between the tall stitches of the “wheels”.
I have a few more idea for hems I’d like to try but I don’t want them to slow me down too much. Each time I try a hem idea, I block it, let it dry, style and photograph it. Then I have to edit each photo a bit so that the tones and light levels match ok. Each photo is taken on a different day and time of day. A few were taken during Hurricane Hermine!
Next I’ll make decisions about the waistband, and write the pattern for several sizes.
Carbonite crochet mini skirt design has a Ravelry project page that you can check to see more updates.