Newsletter January 2013: Playing with a squareNews:I’m happy to present the newest pattern in my shop: Mademoiselle Chrysanthème and Monsieur Chou, two knitted and felted bags designed by Olivia Ferrand.The pattern contains detailed instructions for knitting and felting both bags.More information in the shop.There are also new tools for crocheters in the shop. You can now find Tunisian hooks in bamboo, both traditional and double-ended hooks in two lengths.More information in the shop.Playing with a squareWhen I designed the square used for the candleholder in the last newsletter, I didn’t start completely from scratch.I wanted a square motif with a circle in the middle. Since I knew crocheters have been making motifs like this for ages, starting with a circle and finishing as a square, I pulled out my reference books and started leafing through them.Using the basic construction of an existing square of this type, I modified the stitches used and the way they were distributed until I achieved a new motif that I was satisfied with.There is no reason that you should not be able to do the same thing. This month I want to give you a few ideas on how to modify an existing motif. Many of these ideas are, of course, also applicable to row-by-row stitch patterns, and perhaps you will find it interesting to consult the newsletter from August 2009 on that topic.This was my starting point. It’s the exact same square as in last month’s newsletter, only this time worked in laceweight yarn and with a 3 mm (US C-2 or D-3) hook. The yarns in these squares are my laceweight linen and bamboo, after undergoing some dyeing experiments.Without changing a single thing in the construction of a square, you can change its appearance by playing with the colours you’re using. Change colours on different rounds and see what you get. The rounds worked in the same colour will become a visual unit – as they do here for rounds 3 and 4, which both become the frame of the motif. Light or bright colours will pop out and highlight the part of the motif in which they’re used. You can easily spend a couple of hours just playing with different uses of colours in the same motif, and get very interesting and visually different results.In my first variation, I simply replaced the dc’s in rounds 1 and 3 by dc3tog-clusters. This instantly gives the quite geometrical motif a rounded, flowery character. You could of course take this even further by working the trebles in round 3 as tr3tog-clusters, and perhaps even by working dc3tog’s in round 4 (the final round). In this latter case, I’d suggest working only every second dc as a cluster and replacing the other ones with chains, to keep the edge straight and the motif flat.In the second variation, I wanted to work a full circle in the middle of the motif. I added a chain to the ring at the center for comfort and flatness.Note that to enhance the contrast with the now very present center, I also « thinned out » the last round by replacing every second dc with a chain. Then it was time to play a bit with round 3. I decided to emphasize the corners by « filling in » the previous 3-ch space, replacing it with 3 trebles.This actually increased the perimeter of the square, since a treble takes up more space than a chain. I had to add a couple of chains to each corner of round 4 to compensate for this.I couldn’t end my experiments without another variation of round 3. This time I visually reinforced the center of each side of the square by adding 2 dc’s on either side of the lone dc (and, of course, subtracting the corresponding chains).I could go on even longer – and this is just a simple square with four rounds. Just imagine how you could play with a larger square, changing the stitches on different rounds and testing different colour arrangements.Grab a hook and some leftover yarn and start playing!
See you soon!