Crochet in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 16

Unfold by Yulika Tkacheva © Amy Gwatkin
Unfold by Yulika Tkacheva
© Amy Gwatkin

Hello there! How is the weekend going? I had a very lazy afternoon yesterday watching Gilmore Girls and working on a new crochet pattern (details to come!), don´t you love Saturdays?

I have a quick post for you to share something I came across this week: Pom Pom Quarterly released the preview for their new spring issue and there are some lovely crochet patterns to check out.

Riveret my Merrian Holland © Amy Gwatkin
Riveret my Merrian Holland
© Amy Gwatkin
Imitation by Judith Brand © Amy Gwatkin
Imitation by Judith Brand
© Amy Gwatkin

I particularly like the Riveret pattern by Merrian Holland, I love oversized tops like that. I am really excited to see crochet featuring in great publications such as this one, though I would like to start seeing more garments and less accessories but that may be just because I have been in a “garment mood” for the last year 🙂

Go check them out and let me know which one you like the best!

xx

Sol

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More summer crochet tops

My last post about summer crochet tops proved quite popular so I am back today with some more patterns for you to check out. The last post was all about what I call a typical crochet top so today I thought I would share a few that are quite stunning but may not fit with your idea of a crochet top which is why I love them even more. I am all about pushing crochet boundaries so these tops really make my hands itch!

I must mention again that I have not tried any of these patterns, though I have tried other designs by some of the designers showcased here with great results, particularly Joanne Scrace and Dora Ohrenstein. Some of these were published on magazines but checked and they are all still available as digital issues if you wanted to purchase the issue. Would love to hear what you think of these patterns and if you would like to try any of them so let me know in the comments. If you click on the picture you will be directed to the Raverly pattern page.

carolyn
Carolyn Top by Joanne Scrace © Tailor Made Publishing
Quartz Lace Top by Dora Ohrenstein © Harper Point
Quartz Lace Top by Dora Ohrenstein
© Harper Point
Penelope Top by Jenny Reid © Tailor Made Publishing
Penelope Top by Jenny Reid
© Tailor Made Publishing
Convergence Top by Linda Skuja © Interweave Crochet 2014
Convergence Top by Linda Skuja
© Interweave Crochet 2014
Roses Jumber by Simone Francis © Tailor Made Publishing Ltd
Roses Jumber by Simone Francis
© Tailor Made Publishing Ltd

x

Sol

June WIPs

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Hello everyone, how are you? I thought it would be good to start the month by sharing what has been on my hook lately and what I plan to start soon as well. I have so many projects I want to work on (and so much yarn waiting to be used), particularly all the summer garments that are on my queue since I want them finished by those two weeks in July that are called “summer” in Scotland.

First, I thought I should show you how my Freyja shawl is coming along. Last time you saw it I was starting my repeats and I am afraid there is still long to go. This shawl is beautiful but oh dear how much time it takes! I am about a third of the way but hope to finish it this month, have some travelling to do for work next week and have decided to bring this project along to make sure I work on it.

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What has been taking most of my crochet time is this awesome Lorelei Pullover by Dora Ohrenstein. It appears in a tunisian crochet book by Dora called The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs from Time Honoured Traditions, it is a great book for learning new stitches in tunisian crochet but unfortunately the patterns didn’t really catch my eye, except for this one. I knew I had to make this as soon as I saw it, and after I found the perfect yarn for it it wasn’t long until this was on my hook.

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The yarn I am using is Ginger’s Hand Dyed Swanky Lace which is a beautiful blend of 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk and 10% cashmere in the colour Girl on Fire. This is the most luxurious yarn I have ever worked with, Jess has a great eye for colour and this one is no exception: it is just beautiful. It is definitely more on the bright side of what I usually wear but the colour suits me (after doing a quick poll in the shop) and since it is a summery item I think that is the best bet to go a bit more colourful.

The stitch pattern for this pullover was adapted by Dora from a vintage magazine, and it is very special and unique. As you may have noticed I love working on things that don’t look like crochet at first sight, and this definitely fits the bill. Gauge is tricky since the length of the stitches are determined by how much you pull that loop in each stitch, and it can vary a lot. Halfway through I realised that even though my swatch had a very loose row gauge I was now crocheting a lot tighter, so I am having to add a few more rows to make sure it is not too small.

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This is also a project where you can see the magic of blocking. It makes SUCH a difference, from an uneven fabric with a huge bias to beautiful and drapey. It is hard to see how it fits before blocking so I am just trusting that it will all work out in the end, a bit of crochet faith!

So that is what is on my hook just now, very proud to have only two projects on. I am eager to start more and so I will start swatching soon for my next garment to make sure I can start as soon as I finish one of these two WIPs (definitely the pullover). Here is a sneak peak at what I will be working on next!

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What are you guys working on? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great week,

x

Sol

Summer crochet tops

I listened to the latest episode of A Playful Day this week in which Kate was talking about her handmade wardrobe inspirations including a few patterns for knitted tops she was interested in making. I have been wanting to post about crochet patterns that have caught my eye in terms of wearability and I think summery crochet tops would be a great place to start since this would be a good time to begin your project if you want it ready for the summer months.

I went to look in my Ravelry library, searched some of my favourite designers and came up with a stupidly long list of patterns! I decided then to split it up into a couple of posts since I realised I had two categories of tops: lace crochet tops (which are back in fashion, yay!) and well… everything else 🙂

This post focuses on that first category: the lace crochet top, which I would say is what people think of when they hear “crochet top”: a very open design, maybe with some motifs that scream summer like nothing else. When I say lacy though, I don’t mean that it has to be worked with a lace-weight yarn or cotton thread, a few of the designs here use heavier yarns such as DK. What I mean is that it has a lace design which is so typically crochet and which I personally haven’t explored as much as I would like to.

I have chosen patterns, both free and paid, which celebrate this style of crochet top and which I think would fit great in my (and anyone’s) wardrobe. I prefer more loose and flowy tops than fitted ones and this style of top is usually worked with no waist shaping making not only quite straightforward for beginners but also suitable to many different body shapes.

I have not tried any of this patterns personally so as with any pattern I would advise to check projects and comments on Ravelry before running to buy yarn (don’t deny it!) since depending on the weight it could be a long project. Click on the pictures to see the pattern on Ravelry and let me know if you are thinking of giving a try to any of them. Personally I have long admired the Pond Ripples pattern but I am not a big fan of joining motifs!

Kos © Rowan Yarns, 2013
Kos by Marie Wallin
© Rowan Yarns, 2013

 

Genoa by Robyn Chachula © Berroco Inc.
Genoa by Robyn Chachula
© Berroco Inc.
Pond Ripples by Elena Fedotova © Ravliki
Pond Ripples by Elena Fedotova
© Ravliki
Lacy Cropped Top by Marilyn Coleman © Coats & Clark
Lacy Cropped Top by Marilyn Coleman
© Coats & Clark
Striped French Sweater by Pierrot Yarns © Pierrot Yarns (Gosyo Co., Ltd.)
Striped French Sweater by Pierrot Yarns
© Pierrot Yarns (Gosyo Co., Ltd.)
Ethnic Denim Summer Sweater by Pierrot Yarns © Pierrot Yarns (Gosyo Co., Ltd.)
Ethnic Denim Summer Sweater by Pierrot Yarns
© Pierrot Yarns (Gosyo Co., Ltd.)

Let me know if you have any other patterns to suggest, my Ravelry library is never big enough!

x

Sol

FO: Alyssium cardi

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Handmade wardrobe in the air! I seem to have decided to go on this journey just at the right time, everyone seems to be talking about a handmade wardrobe lately and it is so exciting. I have a finished object (FO) to share with you but first let me tell you a bit of what has been going on:

  • This month is Me Made May 2015, a challenge to encourage people to wear and love their handmade items, how awesome is that? There are a few hashtags going around in social media (#memademay, @memademay15) with people posting pictures of them wearing their handmade garments or accessories and it is so inspiring. I am not officially taking part (not good at taking pictures of me every day) but definitely cheering on and enjoying to see everyone’s posts.
  • Joanne Scrace from The Crochet Project has created a Facebook group called “Make it. Wear it”. The group is aimed at people interested in wearable knitted and crochet garments or accessories. The group already has quite a few members so be sure to check it out if you want to join the chat.
  • Kate from A Playful Day has a topic for each month as part of her “inspired 2015” theme and this month is all about a handmade wardrobe (I am telling you there is something in the air!). She has a podcast out with this theme which I haven’t listened to yet but I love her podcast so I am sure it will be a good one.
  • Finally, Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch has kicked off her make-along this month, the idea is to make a shawl using a craft, technique or construction you haven’t tried before. There are quite a few knitters making crochet shawls and crocheters trying out their knitting skills which I think is amazing! I am taking part on this make-along with a shawl from The Shawl Project by Joanne Scrace. Check out the Ravelry group if you want to take part!

So now to the reason for this post: I finished my Alyssium cardigan! I am so excited to share this FO with you guys because I am completely and absolutely in love with this cardigan.

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The pattern is the Alyssium cardigan by Joanne Scrace and I knew I had to make it since the first time I saw it. It is really hard for me to like a pattern for a crochet garment, mostly because they don’t have any drape and I am in a I-only-want-to-wear-very-loose-clothes phase. But then I saw this cardigan and it looked just perfect: drapey, with a beautiful but simple stitch pattern and that ribbing is such a lovely design detail.

I decided to use the same yarn as the pattern and it was at the top of my shopping list for the EYF since I knew Victoria from Eden Cottage Yarns had a stall at the event. I ended up picking the same colour as the sample, it was the one I liked the most and the one that matched what I have in my wardrobe best.

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For this project I really embraced the whole idea of a handmade wardrobe and I am so happy that I did because the result is everything I thought it would be. Here are a few of the things I did differently from my usual way to tackle a project to make sure that this garment was something I would love to wear:

  • Swatching: I not only swatted but also blocked it and made a note of my gauge before and after blocking. This allowed me to keep track of my gauge as I was working on the cardigan, it made me realise if I was crocheting too loose or too tight that day and adjust accordingly.
  • Length adjustments: This is a top-down cardigan so making adjustments is very easy. I made the body a bit longer to make sure the ribbing finished right where I wanted it.
  • Sleeve trial and error: I made a mistake on the body at some point which meant that the pattern for the sleeves short rows wouldn’t work for me. I had to re-think the short rows to match what I had and it took a lot of charting, drawing and counting to get it to work. Once I had the math I had to work the sleeve to make sure it looked good and if not, go back to drawing again. I won’t even tell you how many times I worked those short rows until I was finally happy with the result, and I would’ve never done this if I wasn’t determined to get a cardigan I would love to wear.
  • Sleeve length: The length of the sleeves was another story, I changed the length three times on one sleeve before deciding on a long sleeve, and for each time I had to un-do the cuff to change the length but I am so glad I did because now it is perfect.

I have been wearing this cardigan a lot on the past week and have received quite a few compliments about it. First garment made with intention and it is a success! The first of many more to come…

x

Sol

Freyja journey: More charts

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How’s it going? I am here today with another update of this Freyja journey. Remember Laura from Made in Oxford is also blogging about her Freyja so make sure to check it out.

Since my last post I have been working slowly away with the charts on the pattern. It requires all my attention, I don’t even put music on to avoid mistakes. I am definitely getting more used to the rhythm and since I will have to repeat each chart more than 20 times I know it will get easier. Patience is required and I am giving all I have 🙂

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I am loving to see how it is taking shape, it is such a smart pattern. You know when you are working on a pattern and you see all these crazy charts or instructions and you really can’t tell how it will translate into your project? I was definitely on that stage a week ago, I couldn’t see the end game but now it is all fitting into place and it is looking amazing.

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Isn’t it unbelievable how some designers can come up with such gorgeous creations? Their talent will never cease to amaze me, how they can take individual stitches and play with them in such intricate ways to turn them into a beautiful piece of art.

I will continue to share short posts with my progress but probably less often since it will take some time to get through these charts and it is just more of the same.

Thank you again for reading and keeping us company in this Freyja journey.

x

Sol

Why a handmade wardrobe?

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My Uva shawl

As part of the Love your Blog Challenge by A Playful Day I shared with you recently that I have created a new little section around the theme of a handmade wardrobe (you can find a link on the main menu). The idea is that every time I post something relating to this theme you will be able to find it in the new section.

But what is this theme all about? It is quite simple really, I have become very interested in creating beautiful items for my wardrobe that are made with my own two hands, so I decided to use the blog as a tool to stay inspired and keep track of what I am doing to achieve this.

Why a handmade wardrobe? This is of course not a new concept and many of us who crochet, knit or sew are actually working towards this without a proper label for it. I first heard someone mention it as such while listening to an episode of Woolful featuring Karen from Fringe Association. At the time I was just starting to dive in to the challenge of crochet garments so this idea really spoke to me and started to circle in my head with no plans to leave any time soon.

It made me think about what finished projects I actually wear which led to the stunning realisation that I was wearing hardly any. Even my designs were in a drawer somewhere gathering dust. While doing a sample for a design a few months ago for a pair of fingerless mitts I suddenly stopped. Why am I doing another pair of these when I don’t even like fingerless mitts! It has never made sense to me to leave the fingers uncovered, along with sleeveless jackets they are a mystery to me. But here I was making another pair to go on the drawer with the first pair and the wrist warmers I don’t wear either. What is the point of investing all these time and effort on something that I will never wear? Over the years I have made hats that are too loose or too tight, scarfs and wraps I don’t like the colour of, sweaters that don’t fit and the list goes on and on.

The point of a handmade wardrobe for me is to create pieces that you will not only love to make but also love to wear. And for that you need to use the right yarn, the right colour and make the right size. Karen talks in the podcast about “making with intention” and that is the key to achieve this: you really need to think about what you need in your wardrobe in the context of everything else in it, what colour it has to be, what outfits you can create with it, and of course make sure that the fit is just right.

Currently I have two shawls and two cowls which were made with a bit of more thought into colours and wearability and I am happy to say that I do wear them and most importantly, I love to wear them. My WIPs consist at the moment of one shawl, one cardigan and one cowl, and I also think they will all be a happy addition to my wardrobe once finished. The colours go well with what I usually wear, they are practical, stylish and I have put a lot of effort to make sure everything fits just right.

Another reason to embark in this new journey relates to the environmental impact of the clothing industry and my wish to buy less industrially manufactured clothes. This is quite a big thing for me since I have always been a bit of a shopaholic and even though since moving to the UK I have been a lot better I still buy clothes many times just because I am in the mood of buying clothes and not because I really need them. There is a lot of info out there so I´ll probably dedicate another post to this and how we can be a bit more sustainable when buying clothes and making our own.

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My Alyssium cardigan in progress

Regarding what content I’ll create for the section I am not completely sure yet to be honest, I do know that I want to feature crochet patterns that catch my eye, also more exploring about why this is a good choice for me and of course, how is it working in practice. I am almost finished with my first crochet cardigan so expect to see that soon 🙂

This space will continue to be all about my crochet journey, this is just a new light to that same journey that will help support it, shape it and give it purpose.

Thanks for reading!

x

Sol

Freyja journey: Patience is a virtue

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My mum always used to say: “patience is a virtue”. She said this because she, as a very impatient person like myself, understood the value of patience. I am the kind of person who goes about life as if there is never enough time: I am always running to the the next thing which is I think the basis for my impatience. There is no time for slowness or inefficiency, from trying to open a package that seems like it was made to never be opened or to pair my boyfriends socks which are all black except for this tiny little embroidery in different colours (I keep trying to convince him no one will notice if they are different).

So it is no wonder that until recently I was also impatient with my crochet projects. I wouldn’t swatch before a garment, or I would use a DK yarn even when I knew the pattern would work a lot better with a 4ply so that I could get started sooner, I would not block my finished project because I couldn’t wait to start the next one and I would not do a proper swatch for my designs but just go straight for the sample instead (I still do this actually…). And most important of all the rules for the impatient crocheter: you don’t rip out, you just pretend like the mistake isn’t there. Because who has time to work all that section again, right?

If you are reading this and nodding (don’t pretend like your weren’t now!), then let me give you a small advice. It will probably sound ridiculous but hang with me for a moment. Here it goes:

If you actually take the time, if you are patient with your projects, you will enjoy them more.

I know, it sounds crazy right? But people, it is true. Not easy, but definitely true.

I am still an impatient crocheter in recovery but I can honestly say that ever since I started taking more time planning my projects, choosing my yarn, making proper swatches, weaving in ends properly, working proper seams and everything else that a patient person would do, I have actually enjoyed my craft a lot more. I not only feel better because the finished product looks and fits better, but I also feel very proud of myself for taking the time to re-do that bit that wasn’t looking very well, or to start again with a different hook size to get a nicer drape. This realisation has helped grow this idea of mine to create a handmade wardrobe that I will want to wear, and time is definitely key in that process. Time and of course, patience. Patience to understand that it is time well spent.

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As the weekend flew by I didn’t have much time to work on my Freyja but I was determined to finish that Row 1 before this next post. Why? Who knows, no one is timing me and I am sure you won’t mind if I take a bit longer. When I had a few hours to spare on Sunday I started working on it and had made some good progress until I realised I made a mistake right after I picked it up that day. I could either get to the end of the row and try to make it work somehow, or rip all I had done in those precious hours. I am proud to say I didn’t think (that long) before deciding to just undo my work and start again.

It is not always easy and I still don’t follow my own advice every now and again. And of course patience has its limits and I won’t start a whole sweater again if I made the mistake right at the beginning (which just happened with my Alyssium cardi by the way). But here I am, with no progress with my Freyja compared to last week and feeling quite good about it. The world hasn’t ended, that mistake is not there to annoy me anymore and that shawl is still going to get finished, just maybe a few days later than planned. For someone so used to running about, I am really enjoying to take things slow for a while.

x

Sol

Love your blog challenge: Beginnings

A Playful Day

I am back today with my post for the next prompt for the Love your Blog Challenge organised by A Playful Day (if you missed the first prompt you can check my last post here). If you are a blogger I would really encourage you to check out the posts that Kate has developed to support the challenge, they feature some amazing bloggers and really great tips to help keep your blogging mojo.

First of all I want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post about interactions and community, it was really nice to get your feedback and views on this topic and I really appreciate the encouragement you have given me as well. It has been so fun to read other people’s posts and I am very happy to be contributing to our awesome community.

I have been so inspired by readers and bloggers and what really made my week was to see Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch change her “knit-along” to a “make-along” to include both knitters and crocheters! That really made my heart leap several times *sigh*

This week it is all about beginnings. And unlike last week’s post which was a bit of a struggle to get done, I couldn’t wait to get started with this one after such encouragement. I decided to give my blog a bit of a new leaf to honour this theme, with a new look, a new domain and also a new section. You can now find my blog at acrochetjourney.com, any of the links to the wordpress.com site will still work with this new domain.

If you look at the menu on the top you will see my usual pages for tutorials and free patterns, but you will now also see a new one under the name “handmade wardrobe”. I realised while thinking about beginnings that I really wanted to start exploring this theme more, first with crochet but eventually with other crafts such as sewing and knitting.

After realising that I was spending hours and hours working on projects that I never used I have been putting a lot more thought and attention to each of my projects to make sure that it will be something that I will love to wear once finished. One thing this challenge has made me realise is that I really want to inspire people to give crochet a try and wouldn’t it be great if I could inspire some of my readers so that we are all making lovely garments or accessories that we not only love to make, but also love to wear. There is something so special about handmade items, and clothes really strike a cord with my practical self. You always have to wear clothes don’t you? Well… not always but now we are getting off track!

The new section will contain all my posts from here onwards which relate to creating your own wardrobe pieces, from inspiration and patterns that I would love to try to WIPs and FOs that are being added to my wardrobe. I will do an introductory post soon and start creating content for this new section. Of course this is still a crochet blog so it will centre on crocheted items but with a bit of inspiration from other crafts as well.

So there you have it, my beginning in a new journey… a handmade journey. Hope you continue to join me and thanks for reading 🙂

x

Sol