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Archive for July, 2008

Shades of the Sun

For today’s blog, it’s Shades of the Sun reflecting the colors of your garden and the soft sunshine that filters through on a warm summer day.

But it’s also colors of wonderful fall projects and, this being July, it’s time to start thinking about those.

The Kent Vest, designed by Drew Emborsky, would be ideal for back-to-campus or for yourself for back-to-work. It’s crocheted in Country’s Sunset, Foliage, Plum Pudding and Charcoal.

This Ku Fair Isle Baby Blanket, knitted in Spa and designed by Melissa Matthay, is a great year-round baby shower gift. The Fair Isle patterning is an easy repeat, giving the blanket the color and heirloom quality we all look for in our gift-giving.

But before we go to Liz, I wanted to say HI to all the crocheters attending the Chain Link Conference this week and weekend in Manchester NH! For all of you reading this, will see you there!

So, without further ado, here’s Liz…..

Lizzie’s Sunflower Crochet Along
This week you can create your leaves and catch up on the petals because they turned out to be more time consuming then even I had anticipated. Next week we’ll move on the assembling of the flower and the stem. Happy Crocheting!

Leaf (make 2)
With D, chain 17.
Row 1: Sc in second ch from hook and in each remaining ch across, turn—16 sc.
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in first sc, dc in next 11 sc, sc in next 4 sc, slip st in beginning ch (tip); ch 2 and pivot piece to work along opposite side of foundation ch, sc in first 4 ch, dc in next 11 ch, sc in next ch, turn—16 sts along each side of leaf, and ch-2 at tip.
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, dc in next 10 sts, sc in next 5 sts, 2 sc in next 2 ch (tip); skip the sl st, sc in next 5 sts, dc in next 10 sts, sc in next st, turn—36 sts.
Row 4: Ch 1, sc in first st, dc in next 9 sts, sc in next 8 sts, ch 1 (tip), sc in next 8 sts, dc in next 9 sts, sc in last st. Fasten off leaving an 18″/45.5cm tail.

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As promised, here’s a photo of a sweater I made in high school (and I will not tell you how long ago that was…). As you can see with classic Aran designs, they’re wearable nearly any time, any where and any year. They’re even good belted with the layered look. (And, sorry, I don’t have the pattern any more, but it was probably Bear Brand or Columbia Minerva – where are those guys today??)

So what retro (or classic) sweaters do you have in your closet, whether you wear them yourself or one of your kids (or grandkids) wears?

Since last week’s blog was a bit longer than I’d expected (bet you’re still reading it…), this week’s will be short and, hopefully, sweet.

NaturallyCaron.com is a Murder Mystery Player
If you get a chance, be sure to pick up the long-awaited crochet mystery, Dying to Crochet, by Bendy Carter. One of the characters shops for yarn and picks a ball or two of Spa. Here’s a synopsis of the book, from the back cover:

Veronica, who recently experienced a tragic loss, begins crocheting for its therapeutic benefits. When she accidentally invents a new stitch, her whole life changes; she now eats, sleeps and thinks crochet. The budding designer is quickly swept into the fascinating world of crochet fashion and design.

When the unthinkable happens at a fiber convention, it is up to Veronica, her friends, and their knowledge of yarn and stitches to find the killer before the killer finds them.

Written in a “Crochet-Along-with-the-Character” style, the book includes ten original designs plus directions for two additional pattern stitches.

You can purchase the book here.

More New NaturallyCaron.com Free Patterns
Take a look at these two summer dazzlers…Athens, a short tie-front jacket with an eyelet lace pattern and Sandals, a beautiful crocheted wrap in three complimentary colors of Spa.

And now, here’s Liz:

Lizzie’s Sunflower Crochet-Along: Week 3 — The Petals
So I was surfing the web trying to find some fun facts about sunflowers to include this week and I came upon The National Sunflower Association. They even put out a magazine The Sunflower. If you’re into this bright beauty, take few minutes and check out their site. Here’s a couple of amazing facts from their website.

What is the height of the tallest sunflower?
A sunflower grown in the Netherlands holds the record for being the tallest sunflower in the world. It measured 25 feet, 5.4 inches. (Source: 2004 Guinness World Records)
What size is the largest sunflower head on record?
That honor belongs to a 32 inch (82 cm) sunflower head that grew in British Columbia. (Source: 2004 Guinness World Records)

This week we will create the petals of our flowers. Because I’m a visual learner, I’m finding that drawing the diagrams is much easier then writing the pattern in words. Reading through all those abbreviations still makes my head spin. This week try just using the diagrams. Next week, we’ll assemble the heads, and create the leaves and stem, so Stay Tuned.

The Petals
There are 4 rows of petals, alternating in colour. Petals 1 & 3 are stitched in Vicuna, 2 & 4 in Gilded Age.

(Pattern continues, scroll down for weeks 1 & 2)

Stitches Used
Chain (ch)
Double crochet (dc)
Single crochet (sc)
Slip stitch (slip st)
Treble crochet (tr)

First Row of Petals
Work with C.
Row 1: Ch 8, sc in second ch from hook, sc in next ch, dc in next 3 ch; leave remaining 2 ch unworked; do not turn—1 petal made. Do not fasten off.
Repeat Row 1 eight more times—9 petals made. Fasten off leaving an 18″/45.5cm tail.

Second Row of Petals
Work with B.
Row 1: Ch 11, sc in second ch from hook, sc in next ch, dc in next 5 ch, tr in next ch; leave remaining 2 ch unworked; do not turn—1 petal made. Do not fasten off.
Repeat Row 1 eight more times—9 petals made. Fasten off leaving an 18″/45.5cm tail.

Third Row of Petals
Work with C.
Row 1: Ch 16, sc in third ch from hook, sc in next 2 ch, dc in next 10 ch; leave remaining ch unworked, turn—13 sts.
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in next 12 sts, slip st in last st, turn—12 sc.
Row 3: Ch 1, skip slip st, sc in next 3 sc, dc in next 9 sc; do not turn—12 sts (1 petal completed). Do not fasten off.
Repeat Rows 1¬–3 five more times—6 petals completed. Fasten off leaving an 18″/45.5cm tail.

Fourth Row of Petals
Work with B.
Row 1: Ch 17, sc in second ch from hook, sc in next 2 ch, dc in next 12 ch; leave remaining ch unworked, turn—15 sts.
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in next 3 sts, dc in next 9 sts, sc in next 2 sts, slip st in last st, turn—14 sts (excluding slip st).
Row 3: Skip slip st, sc in next 3 sts, dc in next 11 sts; do not turn—14 sts (1 petal completed). Do not fasten off.
Repeat Rows 1¬–3 five more times—6 petals completed. Fasten off leaving an 18″/45.5cm tail.

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So often during the summer, families get together for reunions or just for backyard grilling. It’s the time of year that creates memories, almost like the holidays do.

Over the Fourth of July weekend I paid a visit to my family’s summer camp in the Adirondacks, a house built by my grandfather on the same land as another house built by my great-grandfather. Both are loaded with memories and treasures from the past and it’s wonderful to see the same memories being created by my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in my (now our) house there, a restored one-room schoolhouse.

As a teenager, living in the mountains with no phone, no TV and no radio (WAY before the internet), I had to entertain myself and, while siblings mostly do that by getting on each others nerves, my time was spent knitting at least a couple hours a day. I had my constant teacher, Mom, since knitting kept me sitting still for at least a short time, something no other activity was able to make me do. And, while I have only a couple sweaters left from that time, I do have all the memories of learning Fair Isle so the stitches wouldn’t pull in, cables without a cable needle available (a sharpened stick worked great) and interesting knit-purl stitches that required minimal attention.

I’d like to invite our readers to write to me with your memories of knitting and crocheting, whether you were taught or you were the teacher. I’d love photos, both old and new, to share. It doesn’t matter what yarn you used in the past – all that matters is your story. And next week I’ll share photos of some of the sweaters I made during that time (which, surprisingly, still pretty-much fit).

AND NOW FOR THE PATTERNS
This week, check out the Turnberry crocheted summer jacket, designed by Drew Emborsky. Done in Spa Coral Lipstick, this jacket is an airy complement to any summer look, from work through the weekend. The body of the jacket is in easy double post stitches and a puff stitch makes the granny border motifs anything but granny.

But the Boston baby aran jacket HAS to be my favorite, not so much because of the sweater, but more because of the model, my granddaughter, Hazel (who I prefer calling Hazy). The cable stitch pattern gives this ready-for-fall jacket loads of texture, texture that’s even more enhanced by Country’s unique cabled construction.

Lizzie’s Sunflower Crochet-Along
(To see the finished sunflower and the first steps, scroll down…)

Liz continues…

One of my favorite paintings by Van Gogh is his vase of “Sunflowers”. I thought this would be a great inspiration this week as we continue with the Lizzie’s Sunflower. There’s something so playful and energetic about the colors and shapes in these sunflowers.

Last week we created base for the center of the flower. This week we will work to complete the heads of our flowers. In week three we will create the petals. Week four will include the instructions for the stem, leaves and assembling our flowers. I hope you will crochet along with us.

Tips and Comments: Stuff the head as much as you can and roll it around in you hands to shape it. Don’t worry about the openness on the Gilded Age (gold) part, because the petals will cover this area. Red symbols on the diagram are just to make it easier to read and do not represent color changes.

Please scroll down to see last week’s blog for the materials and the beginning of the pattern.

SUNFLOWER (continued from last week)
Note: see crochet chart below

THIS WEEK:
Round 6: Join B by drawing up a loop in the top of the beginning ch of Round 5, ch 3, dc
in each st around; join with sl st in top of beginning ch.

Round 7: Ch 3, *dc in next 2 sts, sk next st; repeat from * around to last st, dc in last st; join with sl st in top of beginning ch—21 sts. Fasten off.

Round 8: Join D by drawing up a loop in the top of the beginning ch of Round 7, ch 1, sc in each st around; join with sl st in first sc.

Round 9: Ch 1, *sc in next 2 sts, sk next st; repeat from * around; join with sl st in first sc—14 sts.

Round 10: Ch 1, sc in next 2 sts, *sk next st, sc in next 2 sts; repeat from * around; join with sl st in first sc—10 sts.

Round 11: Ch 1, sc in each st around; join with sl st in first sc.
Fasten off leaving an 18″/45.5cm tail.

Be sure to visit next week when I’ll be figuring out the pattern for the leaves! THAT should be really fun.


MORE FLOWER FUN
For those of you loving this crochet-along, I thought I’d let you know about my friend, Suzann Thompson’s, book, Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers, published by Lark Books and retailed at $14.95.. Suzann is one of the most creative knitters/crocheters I’ve ever met. She does crocheted tapestries, quilted knitting, installations, Bond-knitted upholstery – major stuff!

I asked Suzann to write up something I could use in this blog, just to whet your fancy for crocheted flowers:

“Crochet Bouquet gives patterns for a good mix of realistic and fantasy flowers and leaves that are designed to be used for embellishment. Including the variations given in the instructions, you can make well over 50 different flowers and 15 different leaves.

Project ideas in the book show how to use flowers to decorate a blanket, backpack, greeting cards, jeans, pillows, a hat, and more.

A chapter on Crocheted Flower Basics gives a good overview of yarns and tools, plus ideas for making flower centers with buttons, beads, and other craft supplies. The tips and techniques help you make better-looking flowers and you can use them in your other crochet projects, too.”

Suzann also runs a blog called “Curious and Crafty Readers” (http://www.textilefusion.com/bookblog), where crocheters are encouraged to ask questions and make comments about the book.

You can find lots of Caron yarns in Crochet Bouquet, so check it out.

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Welcome to the official start of summer – the week of the Fourth! A great week to bring out those needles and hooks for some lolling at the pool, in a tent – or under the stars!

New Featured Patterns
Kigali Wrap I’ve been intrigued and inspired by the amazing crocheted lace designs I’ve been seeing, especially from our designers, so wanted to do one myself (though certainly not what I’d consider amazing – just easy). I love subtle colors, as you can see in the NaturallyCaron.com shades, but I also like to do crochet projects that are easy and fast – that don’t require much thinking when I’m traveling with hook in hand – and that are colorful.
I was attracted by a chart in an Italian crochet book (and I don’t speak Italian), so I followed the chart (with one unintentional minor modification) and this is how it came out, above left, the Kigali Wrap in Country. Since I’m becoming such a devotee of crochet charts, I asked our tech editor to create a chart for this design, to the right (you can see a much larger chart here. Try looking only at the chart (no peeking at written instructions) and creating the wrap. You’ll see just how easy it is!

FelicitaDarlene Dale created the Felicita Ruana, to the right, in Berry Frappe Spa. When making summery lace projects and shawls, using a much larger needle or hook size than what would normally be used for these types of projects makes your work go faster, makes the finished project drape particularly well – and uses much less yarn. AND it packs SO well in your carry-on

Now I invite you to join Liz Walsh as she learns to write her first pattern for this charming sunflower…

Lizzie’s Summer Sunflower Crochet-Along
I have been crocheting for years but I work using a couple of simple stitches and my imagination. But I’m not really sure what I’m doing; I shape by instinct. However now that I’ve joined the Caron team I think its time for me to learn to crochet by the book, (or by the pattern)!

This sunflower came out of a pile of odd balls of yarn that were leftovers from other Country projects and I was trying to find something to make with the colors I had, hence the sunflower.
Over the next couple of weeks, join me as I learn to write a pattern & crochet chart. This crochet-along features my “Lizzie’s Sunflower.” Each week we’ll work on the next step in the process until you’ve created a great sunflower and I will have written my first pattern! This pretty flower is created out of NaturallyCaron.com Country. This week I will focus on getting the materials together and starting the center of the flower. At the end of the crochet-along, we’ll post the full pattern and a printable pdf, too!

Materials List:
NaturallyCaron.com Country in
#0023 Chocolate Truffle (A), 1 oz
#0011 Gilded Age (B), 3 oz
#0019 Vicuna (C), 1 oz
#0020 Loden Forest (D), 2 oz

Crochet Hook:
One size US G-6 (4mm)

Additional Materials:
One ½ x 48″/13mm x 122cm dowel cut to lengths between 18-24″/45.5-61cm
Polyester fiber fill
Yarn needle

Project tip: Crochet a bouquet! Make a few flowers at a time, cutting the dowels different lengths, to create a stunning bouquet.

STITCHES USED
Chain (ch)
Double crochet (dc)
Single crochet (sc)
Slip stitch (slip st)

SUNFLOWER
Center
With A, chain 4; join with slip st in first ch to form a ring.
Round 1: Ch 3, work 12 dc in ring; join with slip st in top of beginning ch—12 sts.
Round 2: Ch 1, sc in each st around; join with slip st in first sc.
Round 3: Ch 3, *2 dc in next 3 sts, dc in next st; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch—21 sts.
Round 4: Ch 1, sc in first st, *2 sc in next st, sc in next st; repeat from * around; join with slip st in first sc—31 sts.
Round 5: Ch 3, dc in each st around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.
Fasten off.

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