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...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Crochet options

I have been exploring the possibilities of crochet for a while now and I can safely say that I am very much in love with the craft and I completely disagree with those who see crochet as a craft for the home stuff only. I love crocheting for my home, but I also love, absolutely love to use crochet for making garments.

To crochet garments successfully you have to make a few important choices. Here is my 2 cents worth:

- choose a thinner yarn than you would for knitting to get the same thickness in your finished product. The way the knots are created in crochet creates a bulkier fabric. Instead of a worsted pick a sport, instead of a sport pick a fingering, instead of a bulky pick a worsted.

- crochet with a hook slightly larger than the one recommended by the manufacturer. Pick a hook that is at least one or two sizes bigger than the recommended hook. Crochet a couple swatches with the different hooks and pick the hook size that gives you the best drape, that creates a soft, supple fabric that will make a comfortable garment.

- worsted spun or woolen spun? For very defined stitches pick a worsted spun, but for garments, my favorite is a woolen spun, or a yarn with a halo. This softens the very defined appearance of the crochet stitches.

Here is a little sample of the fun and beauty of crochet. This is a sample for a child sweater design I have been working on. The yarn used here is Cascade's wonderful Tangiers in 2 contrasting colorways creating a fun play on textures and colors.






Thursday, April 17, 2014

spinning winterberry farm fibers

A few weeks ago, I went to the Wayland Farmers' Market for their fiber day. Before I tell you about the fiber I got there, I just want to say, that we had a great time looking at locally grown fibers, yarns, and locally made finished products. It reminded me of the farmers' markets I used to go to growing up in France.

There were a lot of choices, but my heart settled on fibers offered by Winterberry Farm.Winterberry Farm is a small farm in Colrain, MA. Jill and Jim raise sheep and  angora rabbits. Jill hand dyes beautiful carded fibers as well as locks and sells raw fleeces.

I fell in love with her beautiful carded rovings. The roving I picked was a blend of cormo and polwarth in a heathery blue colorway with little flecks of softly contrasted colors.

It took me a little bit of time to figure out how I wanted to spin the fiber. Being more of a worsted spinner, I first had to accept that the finished yarn would be textured. After sampling, my Roadbug wheel and I  settled on a short backward draw, with no smoothing of fibers, with intention of keeping the yarn as a lightly fulled singles. The short backward raw allowed to have a little more control over the diameter of the yarn.

After I was done spinning the singles, I really liked the yarn but felt it still had too much twist for a singles. I ran the yarn again through the wheel but in the opposite direction to take some of the twist away. Pleased with the result, I finished the yarn lightly fulling it.

Here is the result, about 450 yards of super soft dk singles with character!

I have started knitting the yarn. I am working on a simple, natural, button down vest for the tiniest man in my life.