Friday, February 24, 2017

Color Play

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope this week (with its U.S. holiday) has allowed you to play with those fibers and colors you love most.

As for me, it's been about deadlines, current personal projects, and ... yes ... color, glorious color. After taking care of a project with a publishing deadline (oh, yeah - I am super thrilled about that project!), I have an update on my Cozy Chic cardi:

As you can see, I am making progress on the lower fabric of this bottom-up design. I am getting about ready to start the split for the armhole/sleeve sections. I am enjoying this yarn and colorway a lot. The crochet lace stitch pattern is also easily memorizable, so I have been able to take this project pretty much everywhere I go and work on it a little bit at a time, all the time. Definitely my kind of project.

At the same time, there is also a small challenge currently getting underway in the Ravelry Vogue Knitting Group, since this year VK will celebrate its 35th publishing anniversary (at least the modern version of the magazine). One of the group regulars decided she would celebrate such a publishing milestone by working a project from any issue published in 2017 ... as well as 2007, 1997, and 1987. Now that is some kind of way to celebrate. 

Since my own personal Vogue Knitting magazine library only dates back as far as 1991, I am a little behind the curve on 1987 (so to the public library I go). However, looking through my 1997 editions, I found a fair isle project that struck my fancy, and purchased the yarn pictured at the right for it. However, once I received it and mulled it over, I was not super thrilled with the light blue. As I have blogged about in the past, color and context are intricately linked. The blue lacks depth (and probably is a litttle too bland) for what I had in mind.

So, I went stash diving to find something to replace the blue (which will stay in my stash for use in some as-yet-known future project), and landed upon my always awesome skeins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. To the left, you will see what I eventually replaced the blue with: two skeins of NFC (one graffiti and one a color test) that, held together, will provide depth and a bridge between the dark blue and the solid green. 

You can, of course, also see the boxy fair isle pullover that this wonderfully colored yarn will become. I cannot believe how fresh the design still is today - remember, this was originally published in 1997. It is fun to see and hear participants not only talk about these designs from the Vogue Knitting archives, but to also see some of them in finished form pulled out and proudly displayed. 

Oh, the staying power of good design.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Anyone for a Little Weaving With Their Crochet?

Last summer, Jackie Daugherty, the editor at Crochet World Magazine, and I were having a discussion about ways to incorporate different types of fabric with crochet. That conversation led to my playing with a new-to-me, cool tool - a Schacht Zoom Loom - which led to my latest third-party-published design, the Spring Madras Shawl. I am super thrilled to show it off to everyone. While I had no idea this would occur, its publication in the April edition of Crochet World Magazine also just happens to coincide with my 100th published design! Another small pinch-me moment - and I am pleased to have it occur with this light and gorgeously-colored stole.

As you will see at the top left of this post, I snapped and am sharing one of many process photos of me warping and wefting my Zoom Loom. It is very easy, and this design is the perfect introduction to the weaving process. Once you work a few of the woven squares, it becomes an easy primer on successfully manipulating this portable pin loom. Additionally, construction on this stole (woven blocks first, then airy crochet motifs worked later in a form of join-as-you), makes it a great travel project.

I also need to say just a thing or two about the yarn used - Berroco Folio and Folio Color. Initially, it is an oh-so-soft alpaca blend with dreamy colorways. I cannot tell you how much this color combination screams spring to me. Folio comes in 27 solid colors (I used #4545 cove for the crochet joining motifs); Folio Color comes in five self-striping colorways. I used #4595 harpswell for the woven blocks and the colorway takes on added shading and light with this loom treatment.

Berroco Folio colorway cove on the left; Folio Color in harpswell
used for the woven blocks.
I am also really pleased with this design for a second reason: the woven block joining treatment. I truly think this little pin loom has all kinds of design possibilities because the joining method is still, virtually, a blank slate. There are many designs out there in the crafty wild that seam the blocks together, but, broadly speaking, very little else. I have chosen one (in my estimation) obvious crochet treatment that creates a lightweight stole with loads of drape and movement. I think there's a whole world of possibilities - and, of course, I am in the process of continuing to explore that whole, new world!

I want to thank Jackie for having that conversation with me last summer. Everyone can check out this design digitally in the April edition of Crochet World Magazine; it also can be viewed on my Ravelry Design page, along with my 99 other designs. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Anyone for a Slouchy Cardi?

Now that A La Maison 2 is finally published, we can get on with the lovely business of making. First up, for me and several others, is The Cozy Chic Cardi. I am hosting a CAL in my Ravelry group, and there are others who are just starting to pick yarn for this project. 

At right is my original sample for this design, worked in Drops Baby Alpaca Silk. I am an unabashed fan of Drops yarns, and Baby Alpaca silk in particular. I could make almost everything in this lovely silky mix, which has really wonderful drape and softness. However, the color range is a little on the uninspiring side. I really wanted this cardi in teal, so I opted for Plan B, Drops Flora. Shown on the left in the awesome petrol colorway, it was exactly what I wanted. Technically lighter in weight than the Baby Alpaca Silk, I am confident I will easily achieve gauge with the Flora and, perhaps, a hook adjustment. While I am losing a little bit of softness (but not much, the Flora is a wool/alpaca blend, so still high up there on the softness register), the wool will help in this garment, since I plan on getting loads of wear out of it.

The CAL goes through March 11, so everyone has plenty of time to join us and make one of these lovely cardigans. Your wardrobe will thank you.