Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Release: Crochet a Spiraling Orbit Cowl!

Crocheting this mesh rib stitch in a spiral sure has momentum! I really picked up speed while crocheting it, so it was fun to design. There's no joining, no turning, no counting stitches to slow things down.

To make it even more addictive, you only crochet into every other stitch, and this makes for an especially soft, stretchy cowl-neckscarf-capelet-hooded-shoulderwarmer-snood-wimple-thing.

The Orbit Cowl crochet pattern is fully customizable and includes the "how-tos" along the way. You can see some styling and color editing experiments in its online photo album.

I'm just now thinking that I could have written it for many yarn sizes! The one shown uses an "aran-weight" (kind of "chunky weight" or heavy worsted) and a J-US10-6mm crochet hook. (Isn't it great how the self-striping yarn* looks?) The customizing how-tos in the pattern should help with substituting any yarn.

Well, dangnabbit: why not go super chunky? A big crochet hook too--probably bigger than an L, say an M or N (9mm or 10mm) crochet hook. The 'orbiting' ribs would certainly make a statement, huh?


*Crystal Palace Mochi Plus (80% merino wool, 20% nylon): 300 yards were needed for the size shown.
I also uploaded it to my Ravelry Store today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crochet a "Lariat Cowl"

What a fun idea! I was minding my own business sipping an Americano with a bit of vanilla sugar, and I received a Google Alert for "crochet cowls patterns." When I saw "Lariat of Roses" I had to click.

The designer is Emi Harrington and she has an Etsy shop called Hectanooga here. You can check out the photo and pattern particulars here. Here's what it says in the description:
"VERY EASY, BEGINNER LEVEL, LARIAT OF ROSES.
This pattern can be made up in about 45 minutes!
It is all done in one continuous strip."
This design gets poetry points for blurring distinctions between cowls, necklaces, and scarves, and also for the heady "Lariat of Roses" name :-)

Now I'm going back to getting another crochet cowl pattern of my own ready for release this week. Maybe today! And a Tunisian cowl soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Icelandic Cowl

ICE21Final1
Icelandic Cowl started as a beautiful ball of Madeline Tosh- Tosh Sock in the colorway Iceberg.The name of the cowl is just a play on the colorway name.
Again, this cowl showcases my love for the mobius.  It also works from the center out using a 2 row repeat and finishes with a beautiful scalloped edging. The yarn has a subtle monochromaticDSC04669 variegation to it which in my minds eye gives the look of sunlight rippling on ice.
This cowl is sized in Small (40 inch Bust) Medium (46 inch Bust) and Large (53 inch Bust)
Wear it as a shawl, cowl or even twist up to cover your ears.
You can purchase this shawl on Patternfish or Ravelry for $6.00

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Crochet Moebius Cowl Pattern Released

Crochet designer Lindsey Stephens just released a new moebius cowl pattern on her website. It's called Schönen Herbst (BeautifulAutumn) Möbius Scarf and is shown in sport weight merino wool. You can see more images and find out more information here:
http://www.poetryinyarn.com/pages/10_0010C.html .

To find out more about Lindsey and see more of her designs, visit her Ravelry designs page, check out her blog, or follow her in Twitter.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Presenting Chainmaille, a Crocheted Cowl-Scarf-Neckwarmer

I so love this stitch pattern, it's chic in a luxe metallic-looking alpaca yarn. Feels like liquid chain mail.

I just released "Chainmaille Cowl, Neckwarmer, & Men's Long Scarf." Pattern includes these 3 sizes plus information for customizing. the downloadable pdf crochet pattern for it here: http://www.shop.designingvashti.com/Chainmaille-Crochet-Cowl-Neckwarmer-Mens-Long-Scarf-3-H101810.htm (Here's the tiny URL: http://bit.ly/cM54hH )
Also included: a link to a photo album of alternate swatches, views, etc. You can see some of the photos in the album here, but if you click the link from within the pattern, yeah baby: max pics with more added as they happen. Forever.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Twisty Cowl - design notes and a question!




The idea for this cowl had been kicking around in my brain for some time before I actually put hook to yarn. I had designed a knitted cowl with a simple stitch pattern in a funnel shape and it was way more successful than I had anticipated, so I wanted to use the same principals in a crochet design.

I had the perfect yarn - a jumbo hank of Baby Twist by Alpaca with a Twist. Baby Twist is soft enough for next-to-your-neck wearing, and because it is a DK weight, it would look good in a variety of hook sizes/gauges. Because the jumbo skein has over 500 yards, I knew I could make a whole project with just one skein!

So, bottom up, because I wanted to establish the stitch pattern quickly, then achieve the funnel shape by decreasing hook sizes as I stitched.

Choosing a stitch pattern took some time - I wanted it to be easy to stitch but look interesting. And alpaca yarn is VERY warm - so I wanted to have a little but of openwork so that the wearer wouldn't suffocate if she lived in a place wear sub-zero temperatures are not the norm, but of course if it was too open, it wouldn't be warm at all! I settled on this double crochet cross stitch pattern.

While I had originally planned for no decrease stitching at all, I had pretty much gotten to the smallest hook I could use prettily with this stitch, but I still wanted a closer fit at the neck. So I added a couple of rows of decreasing. I think that at this point in the pattern, the stitch is so intuitive that even a beginning crocheter could handle the decreases.

Now for the question - how far down over your shoulders do you want your cowl to go? My model is 5'5" tall and wears and adult small - you can see that the bottom edge of the cowl just covers her shoulders. Yet a friend of mine who is close to my height (5'10" with proportional should width!) said she would like to make it wider at the bottom so it would cover more of her shoulders. What do you think? How wide do you want your cowl to be? I am genuinely curious, as the width question had never occurred to me - I prefer my cowls to sit on top of my shoulders!

Twisty Cowl is available for download at Patternfish.com, and in print versions through your local yarn store, and the Patternworks catalog.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photographing Crochet Cowls

I never hear a peep from my mannequin, Lindsay, no matter how long she has to stand there while I drape crochet on her every which way. OK yes, she doesn't have a head, but I think I would know if she grew restless. I'm sure it helps that whenever I make myself a mocha, I make one for her too.


If you haven't tried it (mochas and draping cowls on a patient mannequin), it's worth it! I see new ways to wrap stitches around a neck and shoulders, and new places to put a button or shawl pin. Like with the one shown here, I wonder about a toggle or two? Or short ribbon ties, or a buckling-latching thing?

Let's "face" it, headless models are not ideal for photographing cowls, so I try to be creative, learning something daily about this kind of accessory.

For example, today I tried dressing the mannequin in a black silk camisole--the opposite of a heavy winter coat, then tried different kinds of cowls on her.

The crochet cowl experiment you see here is all about the stitch. It's a deliciously spongy double-faced pattern I came up with on my own. In pure bulky wool and a big hook it's nearly an inch thick!! It's one full 3.5oz/100g skein of Patons Classic Wool Roving (Bulky weight, 120yd/109m). It calls for a USJ/10/6mm crochet hook and I used an M/9mm. I wish I'd gotten a few more rows out of that skein, but it does fit as a 'gaiter'-type cowl more than one way.

The yarn is vivid Christmas red, which caused my camera to blur the stitches no matter what I did. I had to cool off the red with editing tools just to see the stitches! Then I played around some more to get the version you see here. Now I want to try some fancier effects in Picnik (the editing feature of Flickr & Picasa).

Please please leave comments if you have any tips, feedback, commiserating about photographing crochet cowls! It just isn't like photographing other crochet projects.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Purple Tide Cowl

Thanks to Vashti for letting be blog here about some of my cowl designs! I have several and will be blogging about them now and in the future. This is my Purple Tide Cowl, so called because it uses a stitch pattern that looks like waves up close. This particular model is created from Malabrigo's Silky Merino. Yummo, is all I can say! I love me some Malabrigo! This cowl is deep enough to be pulled up over the head to cover your ears. The stitch pattern is easy, and if you pick a fabulous yarn, you will have a gift that you can whip up in just a couple of hours; of course, you might like it so much once it's done, that you won't want to gift it! This pattern is one of the designs from my upcoming book, "Crochet, Naturally!", which features crochet projects made from all natural yarns. Look for it on Amazon after the first of the year. My next cowl will include a link to a free pattern, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simple Pattern, Popular Results!

The Soulful Seas Mobius Cowl came into being last winter when the owner of my LYS, Great Yarns! asked me to create something other than socks with Conjoined Creations Flat Feet Yarn.

After perusing the color choices, and with hand dyed yarns there are PLENTY, I chose this gorgeous blue that reminded me of the sea.  With only 400 yards of sock weight yarn, what could I make?

As a computer geek, math and all its complexities has always been of interest to me.  From geometry to computer programing, Math has always been a part of my life.  As much as I even complain about grading garment patterns, I always end up caught in the math.  The mobius shape, the symbol of infinity, always was a favorite.  Thus the cowl was born.

Made with a simple pattern stitch (just 2 repeated rows!) the cowl can be worn in a multitude of ways.  Wear it as a shawl around the shoulders.  Wrap it around the head to keep warm.  Loop it twice around the neck to keep warm. Or even just hanging down as a long continuous scarf with no end.

What I love about this pattern?  It grows from the center out.. there is NO SEWING other than burying the ends at the beginning and end.

The pattern is now available from Ravelry and Patternfish for Download! $6.00

A Dash of Color

Worn as a necklace but warmer, a cowl can do more than keep me warm!  The two above photos are the same Mobius Neckwarmer I designed for Inside Crochet Issue 7  I use cowls to chase away the winter wind and the winter blahs.  By adding a dash of color next to the face, it brightens the whole look.  Many times when I pick up the most luxurious of yarns, I can't resist but pull it up to my face to feel it's softness on my cheek.  The best way to celebrate that "aah" moment is with a cowl. That's how this cowl started with the pink one shown below in Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK.  Above, the cowl is remade in the lovely Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.  As Fall and Winter approaches here in middle America, a new cowl pattern is a great way to embrace the transitional weather with a dash of color.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nothing like a dip in temperature to make one design and crochet winter warmers. Well it's no secret I love Scarves, shawls and of course cowls. Introducing the Chill Chaser Cowl...

Photos: Crocodile Stitch Neckwarmer

I blogged this yesterday. Here are some photos, thank you Lianka Azulay:

Is this a cool crochet stitch pattern or what? You can also see this design in two other colors, a gray and an olive green. The designer recommends Knit Picks Palette, a fingering weight pure Peruvian Highland Wool. 

Lianka writes: "I really have very little time to promote my designs (i.e. full-time job, husband, dog and grad school). Crochet is what keeps me centered.
I love that your blog intends to increase interest in crochet. Unfortunately, too many people think that you can only make ponchos, doilies and tablecloths with it."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Links to Two New Crochet Cowl Designs

I'm setting down my crochet hook for a moment to mention a few links you might be interested in.
  • There's a new MUST SEE crochet cowl but I have not posted a photo here yet because I'm waiting for permission. It's the "Crocodile Stitch Neckwarmer" by Lianka of Bonita Patterns. A photo of it and the pattern are available at that link. I think of this neckwarmer as being a very close relative of the cowl.
  • There's a MUST SEE Norwegian crochet pattern book that you can page through online here: http://www.dustorealpakka.com/oppskrifter_temahefter.shtml   You'll see a sprinkling of crochet cowls, all crocheted in luscious alpaca yarns (from what I can tell from a bit of Norwegian I've picked up); be sure to see the fine-textured Tunisian Simple Stitch cowl on page 40. Or, see it in Ravelry here.
  • Lastly, if you missed it, my latest Crochet Inspirations newsletter was all about crocheting cowls. It’s online and you can view it here. It’s free so if you like it, you can subscribe by clicking on the link at the very top of the page, or see other past issues. It comes out every other Thursday.
When you see me here again in a day or two, it will be because Chainmaille, my newest crochet cowl pattern, is ready!