Monday, February 23, 2015

a new baby crochet pattern: florette

In my last post, I was talking about crocheting with cotton, and that I would soon share with you my projects. Here is the first one. It is the sweetest little baby sweater, a true heirloom.
I was inspired by the shapes of vintage "tulip" baby sweaters, and the soft colors of roses. Even though, the tulip sweaters were my starting point, I was never really fond of their exaggerated shapes, and the slightly odd fit at the shoulders. So instead of working a chevron to get the tulip shape, I discretely placed increases on each side of the post stitches. The post stitches accentuate the tulip shape.
I placed my increases carefully to guarantee a good fit at the shoulders and around the arms, and a graceful bloom of the body of the sweater. I actually crocheted the sweater in all the sizes offered to make sure the pattern's appearance would stay true as the sizes increased.
Three buttons keep the sweater closed. A delicate scalloped edging completes the petal touch.
I crocheted the sweater in many different wools before settling on cotton as my favorite. For my final choice I used Sirdar Snugly cotton DK for the body of the sweater, and rowan revive for the edging.

A lot went in the design, accurate sizing, minding proportions, design placements to insure a truly graceful garment, that will become a family heirloom. The pattern is offered in 5 sizes, from preemie to 2-3 year old. The directions are written in full for each pattern which will make it very easy to follow. No confusion at all, rather a smooth crochet experience. I am offering this pattern for purchase as a PDF on Ravelry and on Craftsy. I hope you will join me in making some florettes of your own.

Monday, February 9, 2015

in love with a new yarn

My two latest crochet projects which I will soon share with you have been crocheted with cotton or cotton blends. So when I went to my local yarn store, the Quarter Stitch in Wilmington NC, I went to find more of the great Cotton Fleece yarn I had just used, and loved, but the even though there were some great color choices, none quite matched what I had in mind.

Then I saw Berroco's Maya yarn. A soft blend of cotton and Alpaca in a nice range of colors. I fell in love with the muted tones of some of them. I picked a muted taupe, a pale muted lavender, and a slightly darker muted lavender.

I got home and started working with the yarn and I just love it. It is a worsted weight which is great if you want your project to grow fast. The yarn is very soft, and has an amazing drape, no stiffness, but not floppy either, and best of all, the cabling of the yarn means it does not split nor snag at all. It crochets up like butter!

I just love it when I discover a new yarn, in particular a great new yarn. I cannot wait to share my project with you. For now here is a little bit of yarn porn!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pom free crochet hat pattern

Pom is my latest little creation. I have to say my inspiration for the hat was not the unusually cold weather, but rather a ski hat worn by Claudia Cardinale in the first Pink Panther Movies with Peter Sellers and David Niven. I got the yarn at my new local yarn store, the Quarter Stitch in Wilmingon, NC. I picked a smooth and round cushy yarn, Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.

I loved the look of the beanie with the big pompom, and the slight texture. I simplified the texture to simple front post double crochet stitches against a background of double crochet stitches.

The pattern is so simple all sizes from newborn to adult follow the same pattern at the beginning. A simple rib edging finishes the hat.

For the pompom to be substantial, the best is to make the pompom circumference half of the hat circumference. I like a big pompom!

The hats were so quick to make, I have already made 4, all of which have been claimed. It is time to make more. All I need is a little worsted weight yarn. I will go check my stash for odds and ends, and might come up with a wild hat or two! Striped or not striped, I tell you these are fun to make.

Pom is offered as a free pattern on Ravelry.

Monday, January 12, 2015

fragonard free crochet cowl pattern

After finishing the writing of the building blocks pattern, I told you I had already started thinking about my next project. I had some yarn left from the sweater and wanted to make something that would require no more than 200 yards.
I went for a walk with my daughter, and during our walk I ran into a neighbor who told her she looked like a Fragonard painting.
We came home from the walk, and I knew what I was going to crochet a rushed cowl, that would re-interpret the beautiful gathers and drapes of the garments worn by the beautiful women Fragonard painted.

The pattern is a simple play on increases and decreases and uses only 2 stitches, single crochets and double crochets. There is really nothing to it. But the result is rich with texture.

The texture catches the light beautifully. It makes this cowl very special. You know what the best part is ? You can have it done in an evening of crochet. I crocheted it watching one of my favorite series, Downtown Abbey.

I am offering the pattern as a free pattern on Ravelry !

I hope you will enjoy crocheting Fragonard. One word of warning these cowls are addictive. I have already made 2!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

building blocks free crochet pattern

The sweater I have been working for the last few weeks is now a free pattern available on Ravelry. I called it building blocks.

Publishing a pattern always gives me great satisfaction. I adore the creative part of designing. Testing is my chance to fine tune, and I love to take my time. Then there is picture time. We took pictures this morning, and my little Leo was in a wiggly mood which made my life a little hard in particular with the low light. I was determined though, because I knew the light would play beautifully with the natural colors.

Then came the pattern transcribing into a word processor, the proof reading and the formatting. I just finished uploading to Ravelry, and I feel happy. I have already started sketching the next project...
This little sweater is a classic with an updated fit. I really like playing on this classic / modern feeling. I picked neutral colors to create subtle textures in the stitches. The sweater is crocheted using a worsted yarn. It is so quick and simple to make that I think you could have a newborn size one ready even if the baby was due tomorrow!

The sleeves are drop sleeves for an easy fit. There is a back neck buttoned opening to allow for easy putting on and taking off. Sizes range from newborn to 3 years. I recommend you use the chest measurements to select the size.

I am offering this pattern as a free Ravelry download. I hope you will give it a try. Happy crocheting!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

a new life

If someone had told me last year where I would be today, I would not have believed them. Our lives have changed completely. We changed our lives completely.

We sold our home in Boston, left our jobs, and moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. We dropped our belongings in our new 1930's cottage. We helped our college son settle in our new home.

But this was not the major change. We bought a sailboat. Rolfe and I decided to live our dream or traveling and living most of the time on a sailboat with our younger homeschooled children. We looked at many boats until we found her in Beaufort, South Carolina. For those of you who sail, she is a Catalina 28. She is not huge, but she is enough for us. We named her Lucy. Here she is on a frosty morning. Excuse her appearance she had just woken up and had not tidied up yet!

A couple weeks ago we started going back up the ICW. What a wonderful trip. I saw landscapes like I had never seen. At times we anchored at night, and at times we docked in a marina.

The most memorable sight were a foggy sunset in Georgetown.

I am in awe of sunsets on the water. This one I saw as we were getting close to home on the Cape Fear river.

There is nothing like crocheting on the deck, sitting in the sun while your husband is navigating. I did quite a bit of work on my new sweater pattern. The testing is almost complete.

For now, we are back home, on land, enjoying time with our oldest son. This will give me time to publish my new pattern. We have not decided where we will be going next. I guess the winds will decide...



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

mandala fun

We recently moved from icy Boston to sweet Wilmington, North Carolina. Apart from enjoying the weather, I am truly enjoying our new house. We moved from a six bedroom Victorian, to the cutest 30s cottage, the perfect canvas for crochet projects.

Because our dining room is super tiny, only 9 feet by 9 feet, I chose diminutive furniture for it: a round table and cafe chairs. Instead of re-upholstering the seats, I decided to crochet mandalas.

I logged into my Ravelry account and browsed one beautiful mandala after the other, until I settled on the Little Spring Mandala. The pattern appealed to me because of its simple design with no raised stitches. Nicer to sit on, don't you think? Of course, I knew I would have to expand the pattern. I followed the pattern exactly until row 7, and then keeping the spirit of the design added more rounds for a total of 15 rounds.

I used a worsted weight super soft cotton yarn in summery colors: coral orange, sunny yellow, light turquoise, sandy beige and a mottled cream with flecks of each of the colors in it.

I have so far completed four mandalas. Two more to go. They each take me a couple hours, and the pattern is so easy I can watch I Love Lucy and even laugh without loosing track.

Don't these look fantastic? I think after I am done with the last two, I will create my own...