Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bobble Blanket

The charity blanket-making continues in my Yak and Yarn group. My latest make is the Bobble Blanket. One of the other members of my group gasped "that would drive me crazy" but I found the repetitive bobble-making extremely soothing. Yarn over, insert hook, pull up yarn, repeat, repeat....... When my life is complicated and overwhelming sometimes mindless making in cute colors with my hands is the perfect antidote.

The bobble stitch is one of the nine squares from the Sampler Blanket that I designed this summer and wrote about a few weeks back here. I am slowly editing the Sample Blanket pattern as members of my Yak and Yarn group make their own glorious versions and give me their feedback along the way. I am hoping to publish the pattern on Ravelry at some point too. Well that's the plan! Other things with a higher priority keep getting in the way. The bobble was a favorite square so I decided to make an entire blanket in this stitch. Each one of the nine squares in the Sampler Blanket could feasibly be used to make a blanket.

Bobble blanket method:
Please note that I am using US terms and Craft Yarn Council standard abbreviations

To make a bobble: *Yo, insert hook in next st, yo, draw yarn through st and up to level of work. Rpt from * 3 times in same st, draw yarn through 7 loops on hook.

Ch a multiple of 2 + 1 (each multiple will give you one bobble)

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc to end.
Row 2: Ch 3, *skip one st, booble in next st, ch 1. Rpt from * to end, bobble in last sc.
Row 3: Ch 3, *bobble in ch st, ch 1. Rpt from * to end, bobble in last ch 3 space.
Rpt row 3 as required. 
I used mainly worsted weight but did double up a lighter weight yarn for one of the off white sections. I used the yarn I had, stash-busting my donated yarn, so had to improvise a little. My blanket has 50 bobbles per row and measures approximately 34" x 34" It's a square which surprised me because I thought I'd made a rectangle before I got out my measuring tape. The stripes create an optical illusion. I made five stripes in three colors of 12 rows each: off-white, bubblegum, rosewood, off-white, bubblegum.

The one downside of the bobble is that it is extremely yarn hungry and I used up A LOT of our donated yarn stash. But it looks great and this particular blanket has been donated to an upcoming charity raffle. I am sad to see it go because it's cute stripes and fun texture made me quite happy. I can always make another!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review of online class

I took my first ever online class this month: Fantastic Finishes, Edgings and Borders by Edie Eckman. I've been asked to teach a crochet program at my local chapter Chix with Sticks of the Houston Knit at Night Guild. (I'm wondering how I get myself into these things!) I've decided to teach crochet borders for knitted projects since the majority of the members are knitters and this is a popular request from the knitting folk in the yarn store where I teach. And now inevitably I feel compelled to become a master at crochet borders. And to do this I have to learn from a guru in this field and for me that would be Edie.

I already have two Edie Eckman titles on my bookshelf: Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs and Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs  And when I signed up to take my Craft Yarn Council knitting certificate I was assigned Edie as my master teacher. How daunting! She assessed my knitted swatches and interviewed me over the phone. (I passed but I'm a better crocheter!) 

Anyway the Craftsy class did not disappoint. It was really comprehensive and even had a section on crocheting on knitted borders. Perfect! I learnt A LOT. For beginners there are close up shots of Edie adding borders. She demonstrates two simple and three fantastic advanced borders. The written patterns and charts for these are provided in the class materials to print out. It was easy to pause and move through the lessons. There are also Q&As down the right hand side of the screen for students to ask questions and Edie replies. How useful!

I like the fact that when I returned to the Craftsy website I was right back at the place where I left off. There are seven lessons in this class and the longest ones are almost 30 minutes in length so you're not going to go through the whole course in one go.

So online classes get a big thumbs up from me and thank you to Edie for continuing to share her knowledge and skills. I'm now confidently hooking up border samples for next month's knitting guild program...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Overlay Crochet technique

I couldn't help myself from jumping on the CAL (crochetalong) bandwagon again. This time I'm making a bag (or purse as they call it here in Texas) designed by the wonderful crochet designer Tatsiana Kupryianchyk aka Lilla Bjorn Crochet  from the Czech Republic. I'm on part five and having such fun learning another new technique - overlay crochet. 

In one of my recent book purchases Crochet Master Class (I wrote a book review here) there is a section devoted to this technique by Melody MacDuffee. She writes:

"I had always wanted to create something in the medium of crochet that looked like a mandala or stained-glass rose window. When I eventually found my way into this technique, I knew I was there."

The book describes Overlay Crochet far better than I could:
"densely textured cable crochet with color changes on every row or round...long stitches cover up horizontal rows or concentric rounds behind them...unwanted ones disappear like magic"
Tatsiana's CAL pattern is well written with very clear photos and video support. And I'm extremely impressed that this CAL has been translated into Dutch, German, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, French and Hebrew. Following the hashtag #peacocktailbagcal I can see versions of this bag being made all over world. So cool! I find myself leaving comments "beautiful", "wonderful colors"... and wondering if the recipient can read English but Instagram helpfully has a translate function.

In my mind I can visualize overlay crochet as the perfect technique for a Christmas tree ornament. And Tatsiana has three gorgeous ornament patterns for sale. My favorite is her Starry Dream design.  Now if I can resist another CAL I might just make some as gifts.

Have a great week y'all and please do let me know if you've tried overlay crochet before or if you're feeling tempted!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hill Country Yarn Crawl

Woah! Look what arrived in our post this week - a yarn crawl on the front cover of our AAA members magazine (that's breakdown cover). Fantastic! My husband commented "I can't escape!"


The 10th annual Hill Country Yarn Crawl takes place at 19 different yarn stores in Central Texas from October 7th-16th. I really need to start planning how I can get myself along to at least a small part of the action.

I have never been on a yarn crawl before but according the website it works as follows: purchase a Yarn Crawl passport for $15 either on the website or at a participating yarn store. With this you receive a commemorative stitch marker (and bag for the first 1000 participants), two exclusive patterns at each store you visit and a 25% discount on the yarns for those patterns. There are prizes and the more stamps you collect (one per store) the more opportunities you will have to win. And if you're on Instagram there are prizes for those posting photos with the hashtags #hcyc2016 and #crawlhawl16 I love it!

I am excited about seeing many of the lovely folk that I met at the Houston Fiber Fest in June this year. Independence Farmstead Fibers are offering private tours of their mill for the first time to the crawlers this year. WC Mercantile will be hosting Blue Bonnet Alpaca Ranch both weekends of the Crawl. You know I can't get enough of alpacas and Navasota just happens to be my closest stop.

Anyway do head over to Hill Country Yarn Crawl website for more details. There is also a Yarn Crawl Facebook page. I just checked out the hashtag #hcyc2016 on Instagram and the stitch marker looks amazing. I can't wait for mine to arrive! And there are already lovely photos of the mystery knit along and crochet along on there. I have just bought the latter and will be playing catch up!!

Enjoy the yarn crawl y'all!