Saturday, October 28, 2017

Yarn at Seattle Recreative

I love Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood. With a bar called The Angry Beaver, my favorite yarn shop called The Fiber Gallery, The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company (the funds of which go to a non-profit tutoring center for kids), and Chocolati chocolate cafe... what's not to love!? The neighborhood suffered a tragedy last year, but it has mostly recovered.

Another neat spot in Greenwood is Seattle Recreative. This is a non-profit shop that receives donations of craft supplies and resells them. They use the profits from the sales to fund art programs. This place is so fun to browse; it is full of little treasures! As a teacher, it seems to me to be the ultimate representation of the phrase "I could totally use this for a class project someday!" They even have a yarn stash. Check it out!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Color Pooling in Crochet: An Exploration (with Bonus Knitting!)

Have you ever purchased a multi-color yarn that didn't work up like you expected it to? Perhaps the colors on the hank or skein didn't match what you wanted the finished object to look like. Perhaps an unexpected color pattern showed up along the way. When the colors of a yarn group up in particular places, that is called pooling. The color pooling in a finished object can really make or break it. You can have a lot of pooling or a little. The pooling could be patterned or random. There could be spots or stripes.

Here's the most important thing about pooling: It changes based on your stitch pattern. So, while it may be tempting to give away a yarn skein when the colors didn't thrill you the first time, wait! Try again. Another stitch pattern might make all the difference. Pooling can also be affected by the length of your repeat.

For this pooling exploration, I used a discontinued skein of Caron Simply Soft that my friend Vicki gave me, which hopefully represents something you might have laying around in your stash. I worked it up in a number of stitch patterns, trying to maintain around the same width.

In this first picture, I really like the pooling in the smaller stitches. The single crochet on the bottom left and the linen stitch on the top right look good to me. However, I don't really enjoy it in the taller stitches. The shell stitch at the top left looks a little muddy to me, and also has some vertical stripes going on. I also don't think this yarn looks good in the round at all, in either the double or triple crochet. What this tells me is that it could make a nice simple scarf, but I probably wouldn't want to use it for a hat.

I'm not the biggest fan of the pooling in almost any of the samples in this picture. The post ribs, v-stitch, double crochet, and triple crochet all look muddy to me. I think this is because this is a short color changing yarn instead of a long one, so in taller stitches there are lots of colors per stitch instead of just one or two. The knit garter stitch on the bottom right doesn't tickle me, either. However, the striped look of the stockinette above it is nice in a very different way from the single crochet.

There you have it, a small look at pooling. Have fun experimenting to find what looks best to you.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Crochet Basketweave Cowl in the Round

One of my most popular blog posts of all time is my basketweave stitch tutorial. It's easy to understand why; this is a fun stitch to work up, and the results are very attractive. One of my favorite basketweave projects has been my Carefree Crossbody Bag pattern. I also enjoy the basketweave stitch for times when mindless crocheting is necessary, such as on my commute or when distracted and chatting with my weekly fiber group. So, when I had some extra Berroco Ultra Alpaca hanging about, I decided to work it up in basketweave.

Sometimes you aren't sure what you are making until after you've begun. Such was the case with this particular project. This was my first time working the basketweave in the round, and boy was it fun. It looks crisper and cleaner than basketweave worked in rows because only the fronts of the stitches show on the outside. What my item eventually ended up becoming was an asymmetrical infinity scarf. I also included a little twist (ba dum tss!) on the basketweave by working up the lighter yarn in basketweave cables to vary the texture in addition to the color.

Working the scarf in the round made the finished product very warm. This is because the pocket in the center traps warmth. It would be an excellent choice for a very warm winter accessory.

Of course, Ranna didn't seem to mind the warmth. She is convinced that this scarf is actually some kind of cat bed. She murred and meowed while trying to get comfortable in it.

All in all, I definitely recommend working up basketweave in this way.