A Scrappy Thing

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My favorite weight of yarn is fingering, and over the past 8 years I’ve used a lot of it. About two years ago I decided to make a scrap yarn project using all the little balls of leftovers. Finally after 25 months I have finished my scrappy thing!

With the yarn all heaped together in a big pile I realized almost all of it was variegated or self striping. It looked like a big clash of colors. Fooling around with it I found that the singles yarns didn’t quite match gauge to my multi-ply scraps, so I sorted out all of my singles and just used the multi-ply.

Finding a pattern was a bit of a challenge. Eventually I decided on Color Blend Stole which is a free pattern by Aparna Rolfe, one of my favorite designers. I followed the pattern as written except that I did all of my stitches in the back loop only. And I used my leftovers changing colors after 2-4 rows of the pattern depending on how much of each color I had.

At first I didn’t think it was going to work, everything seemed to clash. But as I continued  I was surprised to see that the overall effect was quite striking.

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I went until I had used most of my leftovers, using 451 grams total of yarn. The finished size is 72″ by 31″ not including the fringe. Normally I’d just weave in the ends but they looked interesting so I added more strands making a fringe that is not too dense.

Using the back loop only technique made the wrap have a very soft drape and also a bit of a ribbed texture.

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I have to say after all these years of crocheting, making many projects,  I was surprised by how this project turned out. I really didn’t expect it to work as well as it did. I’ll call it my New Year’s surprise.

If you’ve been thinking of doing something with your scraps I would recommend Color Blend Stole. You can use the pattern with whatever weight yarn you like. It does take a bit of concentration to follow the waves of stitches but it’s totally worth it.

A List of some of the yarns used:
Fluer de Fiber Acadian
Frolickijng Feet Done Roving
Malabrigo Sock
Smooshy With Cashmere
Claudia Hand Painted Fingering
Hand Maiden Casbah
Misti Alpaca Handpainted Sock
Crazy Zauberball
Zitron Trekking Hand Art
Koigu KPPPM
Sun Valley Fibers Merino Nylon Fingering
Three Irish Girls Velvet Sock
Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock

You can see more details on my Ravelry project page.

Now I have a box full of singles yarn scraps to work with. I have my eye out for the next scrap yarn project.

 

 

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Snowflakes 2016 in review

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This year my sister gave me an old magazine called “Favorite Classics Christmas Crochet” from 1992. This set of snowflakes if from the article Snowflake Fancy. The magazine doesn’t credit the designer which is a shame because I’d love to know who designed these.

I like the whimsical decorations at the ends of the points, suggesting flowers.

Unfortunately this magazine is out of print but the snowflake in the center is available, including a workable chart, on pinterest.

I got a little crazy and tried a couple of snowflakes in pink.

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Continuing on the theme of interesting terminal decorations, I found this snowflake that appears to be from a Russian website. Here’s the link on postila.

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The ends of this flake look like little crowns to me.

All of these flakes were done in either size 10 or size 20 crochet cotton.

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If you would like technical details for the snowflakes shown visit my  Ravelry projects page

Search snowflakes to see all of the snowflakes I’ve made along with notes including hook size, thread size, finished dimensions and pattern used.

 

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Summer Crafting

IMG_1387Going back to my childhood, summer has always been a time for crafting. Making stuff filled the days and staved off boredom. As an adult crafting is a mini-vacation from all the chores and duties of life.

I recently tested a pattern for Lara Oberman, known as DreamsinCrochet on Ravelry. My version of her Grackle pattern is shown above.  Beautiful in its simplicity, it’s worked starting at a corner of the triangle. The edging is worked last and stylishly decorates one side of the triangle. With one skein of fingering weight yarn from a local dyer I and was able to make a cute shawlette. The pattern is available from Ravelry here and includes two patterns, the Grackle and Lorikeet. Included are written instructions and good charts (which always make my crocheting so much easier). I’d like to make another larger one using scrap yarn, colors would stripe nicely on this. See my Ravelry project page for technical details.

Getting even more crafty I went bananas.

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When I saw this pattern on Ravelry I had to make one. Then I thought, what I am I going to do with this? Of course, make a cat toy. So I made another and stuffed it with catnip to send to an friend. The pattern is Amigurumi Banana and is available free on Zan Crochet. Details on my Ravelry project page.

Working on unfinished projects, I finished a cowl that I started in April for a class I was teaching at YarnCon on my TriTone Tunisian Cowl pattern. This one was made with leftovers of Cascade 220 and Shephards Wool.

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Lastly, I finished a shawl using the free Sunspree One Skein Shawl pattern by Rebecca Velasquez.

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I used MJ Yarns Silken Lace instead of the DK weight called for. The pattern can be downloaded from the Ravelry pattern page. This is Lucky Cat. She arrived in December, starving. When we couldn’t find her owners she asked if we’d like to adopt her.

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Coaster mania

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Recently I visited friends who have a beautiful burl wood table. When the drinks came out I noticed they had no coasters. This sent me on the quest for the perfect coaster.

I settled on the Springtime Coasters pattern by Doni Speigle. This pattern is very well written and produces wonderful results. Plus, it’s available free on Ravelry. The post stitches make this an advanced beginner project. There is a video tutorial  providing an excellent opportunity to learn a new skill if you’ve never made post stitches before. If you already know how to make post stitches you probably won’t need the video.

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As you can see I went a bit overboard with the coaster and will have some coasters leftover for other friends! I used Lily Sugar ‘n Cream yarn with a G (4 mm) hook. See my Ravelry project page for more details.

And, if you are interested in learning how to make these Tunisian crochet mitts…

fingerless mitts class photo

I am offering a class at Windy Knitty in Chicago. The two week class meets this Saturday May 7 and May 14, 1-3 pm.  You can sign up online, the deadline to sign up is Thurs. May 5 at 7 pm. So if you’re interested head right on over to their website to sign up.

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Infinite Spring

In celebration National Crochet Month (NatCroMo) I am participating in Crochetville’s Designer Blog Crawl.

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This is my new pattern, Infinite Spring Scarf, an infinity scarf in 3 colors of DK weight yarn. It could easily be adapted to another weight yarn, however I chose the lighter DK for spring. It’s perfect for a chilly spring day. The scarf above is done in Berroco Vintage DK (wool/acrylic blend). This has a nice soft feel to it and I am a fan of wool, even in the spring and summer! Added benefit, if you make this cowl with Vintage DK you should have enough yarn leftover to also make my Tri-Tone Tunisian Cowl.

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This version is done in Bernat Cotton-ish (cotton/acrylic). I  like how the cotton acrylic blend feels light around my neck, no cotton dishcloth feel with this yarn.

Both the Vintage DK and Cotton-ish come in a variety of complimentary colors that make color choice relatively easy. For these scarves I used two bright mid-tone colors and one lighter neutral color. This seems to be a good rule of thumb for creating a pleasing color combination with this stitch pattern.

In honor of NatCroMo I am offering this pattern free on my Ravelry store for the rest of March. Use coupon code NatCroMo2016 at checkout.

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Thanks to Amy and Donna of Crochetville for letting me participate in the blog crawl. Hop on over to Crochetville to check out an interview with me and see all the other crochet designers who are featured this month.

Thanks also to my local yarn shop Windy Knitty for the use of the mannequin for photographs. I’ll be teaching some classes in Chicago at Windy Knitty. In April I’ll be teaching the Whispering Flowers Infinity Scarf, and in May a class on Tunisian crochet fingerless mitts.

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Happy Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Crazy Scarf pattern for Marled Yarn

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I am a sucker for marled yarn, the kind of yarn that has two or more different colored strands twisted together. Beautiful as it is, I usually have trouble deciding what to do with marled yarn. It doesn’t show stitch patterns well and it can be difficult to see your stitches to crochet with it.

Last summer I found this beautiful “Crazy Wool” yarn, made in the USA by Stonehedge Fiber Mill, at my local yarn shop. I came up with a very simple pattern for a scarf to show off the beauty of this yarn. This is an easy pattern, a beginner could tackle it.

Crazy Scarf pattern for Marled Yarn
by Kathy Kelly

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Materials:
2 skeins Stonehedge Fiber Mill Crazy Yarn (75 grams, 230 yards per skein)
or 450-500 yds DK weight yarn
(This would work with just about any weight yarn, but you will need to adjust the amount needed.)
Size G, 4.00 mm crochet hook.
Finished dimensions: 68” long, 7.5” wide after blocking. (Before blocking 60” long, 6.5” wide).
Scarf is worked lengthwise. If you would like to adjust the length of the scarf make an odd number of chains which will result in an even number of stitches across the length of the scarf.

Abbreviations, US Terminology used
ch, chain
hdc, half double crochet (half treble in UK Terminology)
sk, skip
st, sts, stitch(es)
ch sp, chain space

 
Instructions:
Ch 319
Row 1: Hdc in 3rd ch from hook, *ch 1, sk 1 ch, hdc in next ch, repeat from * across. Your last ch will have a hdc in it. (318 sts, ch 2 at beginning counts as a st)
Now you will be working in the chain spaces of the previous row.
Row 2: Ch 2, hdc in first ch sp, *ch 1, hdc, in next ch sp, repeat from * across until you have made a hdc in the last ch sp, then hdc in 2nd ch of turning chain at end of row.
Repeat Row 2 until you have used up your yarn or your scarf is the desired width.               (I did 28 rows for the scarf in the picture with the brown stripes.)

Fasten off. If you like, add a couple of tassels at the corners.  Block.

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Chart for a reduced portion of the stitch pattern. Scarf is worked lengthwise.

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This one is a bit shorter and thus wider, again using the Crazy Wool. 306 stitches makes it 64″ long and 8″ wide.

© Kathy Kelly 2015. For personal use only, please do not copy or distribute.

More details about Crazy Wool on Ravelry

Some of my other favorite marled yarns include, Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball, Cascade Ecological Wool twists, and Blackberry Ridge Colorflow. There are many so keep your eyes open when yarn shopping.

I am very sad to say that the local yarn shop where I bought the Crazy Wool yarn is going out of business at the end of this month. When a local store goes out of business it is a huge loss to the community. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like not to be able to go to a store and pick up the skeins, give them a squish, compare colors side by side, and talk yarn with the employees. When you are buying yarn please consider your local yarn shop, if you have one, and stop by to see what they have before buying online. You might be surprised to discover something unique and beautiful that you can’t get anywhere else.

Here are my last 2 skeins of Crazy Wool.

crazy wool yarn

I’m joining in on the Hookin’ on Hump Day blog party from moogly blog.

 

 

 

 

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Snowflake roundup 2015

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In December I made many snowflakes to give as gifts and tried out a lot of  snowflake patterns. This is my roundup of favorite snowflakes of 2015.

Above you see the first snowflake in a collection of patterns, 9001 Snowflakes for Christmas Tree by MyPicot. These are available for free and are all charted with minimal written instructions.  This one gets my pick for best snowflake for thread. The flakes in this collection turn out huge unless you use finer thread. For the above snowflake I used size 30 DMC cordonet cotton and it is 5.25″ in diameter. You can see technical details on my Ravelry Project page.

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My pick for best size 10 cotton snowflake is Pretty Snowflake by Julie A. Bolduc. You can download the pdf for free here. This pattern has written instructions and produced a small flake 3.75″ in diameter. You can see details on my Ravelry project page.

felted flake '15_1112

My favorite pattern for a felted snowflake, made with worsted weight wool, is Easy to Make Snowflake by EmmHouse. You’ll need to scroll down the page to get to the free written instructions. This produced a large 7.5″ diameter flake that could be used as a hotpad or larger decoration. See my Ravelry project page for hook and yarn used.

For the most complete information on blocking I recommend this article by Crochet Memories. I used the first recipe for cornstarch and water method. It produced flakes stiff enough to hang on a tree with a nice stitch definition.

Best wishes for a New Year of fun crocheting.

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Mini the cat, modeling snowflake.

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