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

Freyja journey: Getting through Row 1

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I love short weeks, it is so amazing that it is Wednesday already! Wednesdays will be the day when Laura from Made in Oxford and I have planned to keep you updated on our progress on the Freyja shawl by Aoibhe Ni, you can check the first post here where I talked a bit about the pattern and the yarn I am using.

I am halfway through Row 1 of the pattern after working on it over the long weekend. As I have mentioned before, Aoibhe Ni uses a special construction in some of her designs that takes some time to get used to. You basically start with a VERY long chain (we are talking hundreds here) after which you work perpendicular rows and attach the end of each row to the initial chain until you run out of chains. Since the foundation chain consisted of hundreds of chains, that means hundreds of rows that need to be worked up and it takes a while… I am a bit past the middle of the first row and can’t wait to see the end of it!

It is looking quite nice already though, and this yarn.. I LOVE IT. It is Rooster Delightful Lace and it is SO soft and creates such a nice fabric that I think this is going to be shawl that will be around my neck quite a lot once it is finished.

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In case anyone of you is working on Freyja or thinking about trying it in the future I thought I should give you some tips from my experience with this pattern so far:

  • I don’t usually swatch for shawls but when I started working on this pattern I wished I had because I realised after a few perpendicular rows that I didn’t really like how the fabric looked. Tunisian crochet with lace-weight yarn can look too loose for me sometimes which I think makes the stitches look uneven. I ended up starting again with a smaller hook size and I am really liking the way the stitches look now.
  • The pattern says to begin with a long foundation chain, however I chose to work foundation double crochets instead. There is a tutorial for this stitch in my Tutorials page if you are not familiar with this stitch. I think it gives it a nicer and sturdier edge than if I were just doing a chain.
  • There are many lines to the instructions of Row 1 and the only way I could keep track of where I was in the pattern was to use one stitch marker per line, which is a lot of stitch markers! I am actually running out and will have to turn to using safety pins but it is the only way I will ever find a mistake if necessary.
  • With this method of construction there is always the chance that you will work through the lines of instruction in Row 1 and realise that you still have more lines to work but have run out of chains in your foundation or the other way around. I already know I am off by one or two chains if my counting is right and as long it is not much more than that I am not even going to try and find what I did wrong. You can always work two perpendicular rows into just one chain, or even skip the last one and no one will know 🙂

That is all I can share so far with this shawl, hopefully by this time next week I will have survived this first row and will be tackling another challenge. I have to say it feels great to work a difficult pattern again, I hadn’t done this in a while and I am really enjoying the satisfaction I get from every milestone I achieve. I am always looking for simplicity when designing patterns, mostly because of my inexperience in design but I truly hope one day I can create a challenge as beautiful as this pattern.

Hope you have a nice end of the week!

x

Sol

 

Killing my yarn stash: Yeoman Yarns Red Lace

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Hope you are all having a lovely day. Following the introduction of myself and my yarn stash killing project I thought you might want to see what I have accomplished so far. My first project was to find a purpose for a red lace yarn from Yeoman Yarns. They have some lovely colours if you want to check them out. This yarn is not soft, but not too scratchy either. I bought it to make a shawl for a friend, I used the pattern Love is a Prism by Julia Wardell (beautiful!) but got loads of yarn left.

I wanted a really simple project and remembered that I had really liked the tunisian crossed stitch in the shawl pattern so decided to use that and just simple stitch, I really like the result. I used the biggest hook I had to make it lacy.

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It looked boring without some fun edging, I knew how I wanted it to look but couldn’t come up with a way to do it so finally I found a pattern in a Japanese crochet book that is very similar to my mental image and I think it really adds to the final result. I will write up the pattern and post it soon, if you have not tried tunisian crochet this is a very simple project to start with.

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By the way I still have yarn left! I could’ve made it longer but I was getting bored… I know, should’ve just used it all but too late now 😛 If you are in need of some red lace yarn please let me know.

x

Sol