Happy New Year 2019! – Newsletter December 2018

News

I have a blog in English again! In 2019, you’re welcome to follow me over on my English blog.

You can expect an article every week or so. The main focus will be crochet, but I’m continually inspired by other textile art forms so they will be featured there too.

Photo: Anna Bauer

You can head on over there right away to read an article on Swedish textile artist Anna Bauer.

Happy New Year 2019!

As usual, there is no new tutorial in the December newsletter, but a few words on the year coming to an end and the one to begin.

These were the topics discussed in my 2018 newsletters:

The basic theme in 2018 was colourwork in crochet. It is, of course, going to continue in 2019, since stripes are not the only way to use more than one colour in your projects! However, I was very happy to follow my ideas down the stripe rabbit hole. I was able to explore things that I have never seen discussed elsewhere, such as increasing and decreasing at the selvedge in chevron patterns.

In 2018, I published four new designs:

Quite the balance between crochet and knit, two of each!

  • At the top left, Flinga, a crochet cowl and mittens.
  • At the top right, Lady in Red, a crochet shawl using the beautiful yarn of Renaissance Dyeing
  • At the bottom left, Mum’s Wrap, a knitted pattern yet to be translated into English.
  • At the bottom right, Vera, a reversible knitted scarf.

I was also very happy to publish a lovely knitting pattern by Hélène Marcy/EclatDuSoleil, La vie en rose:

In 2018, I also did a lot of teaching here in France and organized two weekend workshops on crochet design.

So, what about 2019?

Of course, we never know what the future holds – but I have lots of projects!

The series on crochet colourwork in the newsletter will continue, with fun and fascinating techniques.

I want to continue developing my teaching and hope to take part of it online in some form.

I want to improve the English language part of my website and add features for international customers – the new blog is the first step in this direction!

Behind the scenes, I will continue working freelance for French yarn companies as a pattern writer. I started doing this in 2018, and even if it took up a lot of time at the beginning of the year, it’s a great way for me to bring in some more revenue (an important goal!) and to develop my skills in a new way.

And more generally, I intend to knit and crochet with passion and joy!

I wish you a wonderful 2019, full of creativity, colour and yarn!

Weave in your ends as you go – Newsletter November 2018

News

My latest pattern is an easy, reversible knitted scarf : Vera!

The pattern is available both on my website and on Ravelry.

And also over on Ravelry, the 2018 gift-along (GAL) is in full swing. I am one of the 349 participating independent designers.

You can take part in the giftalong via the Ravelry forum. There is also an Instagram challenge during the entire event (until Dec 31, 2018) – my posts for the challenge are in English, and I will try to participate as much as I can. Follow me on Instagram.

Weave in your ends as you go

Weaving in ends is many crocheters’ least favourite step in a project. Sometimes, the almost-finished project gets stuck for days, weeks, months or sometimes years, ends dangling, waiting for our attention.

You are absolutely free to dread weaving in ends. Personally, I must admit that I don’t find the task that boring, and sometimes it can almost feel a bit meditative – but I know perfectly well that not everyone shares this feeling!

If you can avoid or simplify this step, why not? Especially when crocheting with many different colours, the number of ends to weave in can be daunting. This is why I want to share my ideas on how to weave them in as you go.

The basic principle:

To weave in an end as you go, you can hide and secure it in new stitches as you work them.

Here I’ve just changed colours from hot pink to light pink. To weave in the light pink end while I’m working the first row in this colour, I place the end on top of the previous row.

To work the stitches in the new row, I insert my hook in the (hot pink) stitch in the previous row AND under the end to be woven in. From there I work my stitch as usual.

On the front (photo at left), the secured end is invisible. On the back (photo at right) it barely shows. You can play with the placement of the end you are securing (a bit towards the back, a bit towards the front, well centered over the previous row) to see what works best for you. In this flat swatch worked back and forth with a right and a wrong side, I held the yarn a bit towards the back.

But there is still the hot pink end! To weave it in, I suggest we rewind and go back to the start of the light pink row.

To manage the two ends, I suggest that you start instead with the hot pink one, which you hold along the last row in the same colour. This doesn’t show quite as clearly in the photos, and that’s the reason I didn’t start by showing it this way, but it’s the smarter choice!

We will carry up the light pink yarn by crossing the yarns at the selvedge (see the newsletter from April 2018 for a detailed tutorial on this technique). When starting the third row in the new colour, hold the end along the previous row, working over it as before.

On the front (photo at left), it’s perfect, and on the back (photo at right), it’s not too bad, if I may say so myself. All we need to do now is cut the ends.

To conceal the ends as well as possible, try to weave them in directly on top of a row in the same colour. It’s a good rule to remember also when you change colours in the middle of a row, or when working a tube in the round.

There is one situation in which I do not recommend this way of weaving in your ends – when you work several two-row stripes, changing yarns at the same selvedge every time.

In this baby blanket (crocheted in 2009 – the recipient will soon turn 10…), I refrained from weaving in the ends as I went, since the many colour changes close to one another at the same selvedge distorted the blanket.

When you work over a yarn end, the end will add a little bit of height to the row. If the changes are not too frequent, this will be unnoticeable. But if you see that the selvedge where the changes are made is distorted and becomes taller than the other one, it’s best to choose another solution.

And now, let’s work in the round!

This is the start of a small motif: 6 chains closed to a ring with a slip stitch. We are going to get rid of the starting tail at once.

I’m using exactly the same technique as previously, holding the tail along the ring as I work the first round of the motif.

This is the back of the motif at the end of the first round. The starting end is now well secured by all the stitches in the first round. If you don’t want to leave it there for another reason, you can cut it at once.

The next round is worked in another colour. I’m going to start the second round on the side opposite the first round, at the arrow.

I weave in the light pink end as I work the first stitches in the round.

When I get to the hot pink end, the light pink one is well secured. I can now continue working around the hot pink end.

At the end of the second round, all I need to do is turn my motif upside down and cut the ends that have been woven in.

As my motif grows, I can change the spot where I join the now colour. I just need to make sure I have enough stitches to weave in the first end before I get to the second one.

The number of stitches required to secure the yarn end depends on the yarn and on your personal preference. In my opinion, 5 to 8 stitches are enough for most yarns. If your yarn is very smooth or slippery, you might need to adapt the number of stitches and perhaps also secure the end under a few stitches in the opposite direction, using a yarn needle.

This technique works well for motifs with a relatively dense pattern. If your chosen motif is a very open design, the ends held along the top of the previous rounds may be too visible. You might prefer to weave them in using a yarn needle. In this case, you can refer to my newsletter from September 2012 – it’s certainly not new, but the ideas still work!

What do you think about these techniques? Do you have a personal preference when weaving in ends in your crochet project? Feel free to share your experience and your thoughts in the comments below.

See you soon!

Catégorie

Yet another kind of stripe – Newsletter October 2018

In the shop

I’m happy to introduce my new crochet shawl design: Lady in Red!

This pattern has been designed in partnership with the fabulous natural dyer Andie of Renaissance Dyeing and worked up in her superb laceweight wool.

You can find the pattern for Lady in Red in my shop and on Ravelry. The kit is available directly from Renaissance Dyeing (they ship worldwide).

Yet another kind of stripe

We have discussed linear stripes and chevrons. However, one of the characteristics of crochet is the ease with which you can combine stitches of different heights in the same row. And this is how you can obtain another kind of stripe!

In this newsletter I will show you three stitch patterns to exemplify this type of stripes – and I’m sure you can make up others based on these!

On the topic of changing colours and carrying your yarn along the selvedge, please refer to the newsletters from April 2018 and May 2018.

Turning chains do not count as stitches in the instructions below. Also, the turning chain at the beginning of the first row is not included in the starting chain.

Stitch pattern 1:

In this pattern groups of 4 sc alternate with groups of 4 dc in one row. In the next row, sc are worked in sc and dc in dc. Changing colours, you then shift the pattern by working sc in dc and dc in sc. It’s simple two-row stripes, but the overall effect looks more like mosaic.

Chain a multiple of 8 + 4 with colour A.

Row 1 (colour A): Ch 1, 1 sc in each of first 4 ch, * 1 dc in each of next 4 ch, 1 sc in each of next 4 ch; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: Ch 1, 1 sc in each of first 4 sc, * 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 1 sc in each of next 4 sc; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3 (colour B): Ch 2, 1 dc in each of first 4 sc, * 1 sc in each of next 4 dc, 1 dc in each of next 4 sc; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: Ch 2, 1 dc in each of first 4 dc, * 1 sc in each of next 4 sc, 1 dc in each of next 4 dc; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 5 (colour A): Ch 1, 1 sc in each of first 4 dc * 1 dc in each of next 4 sc, 1 sc in each of next 4 dc; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 6: Ch 1, 1 sc in each of first 4 sc, * 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 1 sc in each of next 4 sc; repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat rows 3 to 6.

Stitch pattern 2:

Here I have combined the undulations of an offset shell pattern with three colour stripes (described in the newsletter from April) to obtain a dotted effect. Another idea for this type of stitch pattern is to use two balls of the same colour and one of a contrasting one – you will get a very different result!

Shell: (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the same stitch.

Chain a multiple of 8 + 1 with colour A.

Row 1 (colour A): Ch 2, (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in 3rd ch from hook, * ch 2, skip 3 ch, 1 sc in next ch, ch 2, skip 3 ch, 1 shell in next ch; repeat from * to end of row replacing the last shell with (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the last ch.

Row 2 (colour B) : Ch 1, 1 sc in first dc, * ch 2, 1 shell in next sc, ch 2, 1 sc in center dc of next shell; repeat from * to end of row, working the last sc in last dc in row.

Row 3 (colour C) : Ch 2, (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in first st, * ch 2, 1 sc in center dc of next shell, ch 2, 1 shell in next sc ; repeat from * to end of row, replacing the last shell with (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in last st.

Row 4 (colour A): As row 2.

Row 5 (colour B): As row 3.

Row 6 (colour C): As row 2.

Row 7 (colour A): As row 3.

Repeat rows 2 to 7.

Stitch pattern 3:

While researching stitch patterns for this newsletter, this original stitch pattern caught my eye. It’s a two-row stripe, but it looks very different from a simple linear stripe!

dc3tog: dc 3 stitches together {inserting the hook as specified for each dc}.

dc4tog: dc 4 stitches together {inserting the hook as specified for each dc}.

Chain a multiple of 8 + 1 with colour A.

Row 1 (colour A): Ch 1, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, * ch 3, skip 1 ch, dc4tog {inserting hook for 1st dc in next ch, for 2nd dc in next ch, skip 1 ch, inserting hook for 3rd dc in next ch and for 4th dc in next ch}, ch 3, skip 1 ch, 1 sc in next ch; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2 (colour B): Ch 2, 1 dc in first sc, * ch 3, 1 sc in dc4tog, ch 3, 1 dc in next sc; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3 : Ch 2, dc3tog {inserting hook for 1st dc in first st and for 2nd and 3rd dc in first ch space}, * ch 3, 1 sc in next sc, ch 3, dc4tog {inserting hook for 1st and 2nd dc in next ch space, skip dc, inserting hook for 3rd and 4th dc in next ch space}; repeat from * to end of row, finishing with dc3tog {inserting hook for 1st and 2nd dc in last ch space and for 3rd dc in last dc}.

Row 4 (colour A): Ch 1, 1 sc in dc3tog, * ch 3, 1 dc in next sc, ch 3, 1 sc in dc4tog; repeat from * to end of row, placing last sc in dc3tog at end of row.

Row 5: Ch 1, 1 sc in first st, * ch 3, dc4tog {inserting hook for 1st and 2nd dc in next ch space, skip dc, inserting hook for 3rd and 4th dc in next ch space} ch 3, skip 1 ch, 1 sc in next sc; repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat rows 2 to 5.

So there we have three examples of stripes that sometimes don’t resemble stripes at all! Do try them out, and why not invent some others!

Feel free to share comments, suggestions and ideas below.

Next time we’ll continue exploring colour in crochet!

See you soon!

Chevrons: decreases – Newsletter September 2018

Chevrons: decreases

Last time, I suggested a method for increasing at the selvedge when working chevrons. This time, very logically, I follow up with decreases!

A short recap of the meaning of the colours used in the charts below:

In red, the « backbone stitches ». The vertical lines of backbone stitches structure the stitch pattern. A backbone stitch has the potential to become a selvedge stitch when working decreases. On both sides of the backbone stitches are the compensation stitches, in green. They have the double function of creating the zig-zag pattern and maintaining the stitch count. For each added compensation stitch, there is another that subtracts a stitch. Decrease stitches will be noted in blue.

A general note:
Turning chains do not count as stitches in the instructions below.

Grab a hook and let’s go!

Ch 21 + 2 = 23.

Row 1: 2 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, dc3tog in next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, dc3tog in next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, 2 dc in last ch.

We are going to work the decreases at the selvedge on the right-hand side of the chart. This means that we will decrease at the end of even-numbered rows and at the beginning of odd-numbered rows. The first decrease will be worked at the end of row 2.

Row 2: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of last 4 sts.

If you look closely at the chart, you will see that the third dc in the last dc3tog before the decrease is no longer green but blue. This stitch is no longer a compensation stitch because there is no increase to balance it. It becomes a true decrease, blue in my chart.

Row 3: Ch 2, 1 dc in each of first 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

Row 4 : Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of last 2 sts.

Row 5: Ch 2, 1 dc in first st, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

The stitch pattern is decreasing by itself! Let’s see how things work out as we near the backbone stitch.

Row 6: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in last 3 sts.

Row 7: Ch 2, dc2tog in first 2 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

We now have a backbone stitch at the selvedge. This means that we can continue working straight from this point if that’s what we want. However, if we want to continue decreasing, we will need to adopt a slightly different strategy, since we now start our decreases from a backbone stitch at the bottom of the valley rather than at the top of the hill. Feel free to compare this to my last newsletter on chevron increases. The reasoning is inverted, but follows the same logic!

Row 8: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, dc3tog in last 3 sts.

We need to work a dc3tog to decrease one stitch. You can, of course, look at the 3 stitches in the dc3tog in different ways. I chose to view them as follows: The stitch at the selvedge (black) is the remaining stitch (worked in the selvedge stitch below), the middle stitch (blue) is the decrease stitch, and the stitch closest to the hilltop (green) is the compensation stitch that evens out the compensation stitch at the top.

We will continue in the same way:

Row 9: Ch 2, dc3tog in first 3 sts, 1 dc in next st, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

Row 10: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, dc3tog in last 3 sts.

Row 11: Ch 2, dc3tog in first 3 sts, 2 dc in same st as the last st in the dc3tog, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

We’re close to our goal, which is to reestablish the selvedge at the backbone stitch at the top. I suggest finishing as follows:

Row 12: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 4 sts (the last of these stitches is worked in the next-to-last stitch in the row), dc2tog in last 2 sts.

Row 13: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

We have decreased a complete stitch repeat!

Here is the complete chart:

If you find it more practical, you can download the full chart as a pdf here: Chevron decreases

Thank you for following me in these explorations! Feel free to share your comments and suggestions below.

See you soon!

Chevrons: increases – Newsletter July/August 2018

Chevrons: increases

In  June we discussed chevrons – another kind of crocheted stripes.

I wanted to go a bit deeper into the topic of chevrons, specifically to find methods for increasing and decreasing in this kind of stitch pattern. In this newsletter, we will discuss increases; the decreases will follow!

There are, of course, many different ways to tackle increases in a chevron pattern. I set out with two basic principles: I decided to increase by one stitch per row, and I wanted to maintain the chevron pattern as well as possible while adding stitches. The method I found is a starting point that can be refined, but I still think it’s interesting to share with you.

First, let’s go through some terminology – expressions that I more or less made up for this purpose, to be able to structure my ideas and explain them to you.

This is the stitch pattern I’m going to use as an example for the increases. It has 3 dc’s between the increases and decreases that shape the chevron pattern. This chart was already included in the June newsletter, but you will notice that I used colours a bit differently this time.

The red stitches are the « backbone stitches, » the ones that structure the whole pattern. On each side of every backbone stitch, there are green stitches. Those are the « compensation stitches. » Their role is twofold: create the zig-zag of the chevron pattern and maintain the stitch count. For each added compensation stitch, there is another that subtracts a stitch.

A general note:
Turning chains do not count as stitches in the instructions below.

Let’s start crocheting!

Ch  11 + 2 = 13
Row 1: 2 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, dc3tog in next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, 2 dc in last ch.

We are going to increase at the selvedge on the right-hand side of the chart. This means that our increases will be made at the beginning of odd-numbered rows and at the end of even-numbered rows. The first increase is made at the end of row 2.

Row 2: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in last st.

In the chart, the last stitch in row 2 is blue – this is how I will identify increase stitches that add a stitch to the row.

Row 3: Ch 2, 1 dc in first st, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

This is an even-numbered row, which means that the increase is made at the beginning of the row. The colours in the chart show that the increase stitch is not the first stitch in the row – the first stitch is simply a stitch worked into one in the previous row. The increase stitch is the blue stitch. It could be taken for a compensation stitch, but is not compensated by a decrease. It increases the number of stitches in the row by one.

Row 4: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of 2 last sts.

Row 5: Ch 2, 1 dc in each of first 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

Row 6: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of 4 last sts.

We continue the increases in the same way. Please note that you need to increase enough to have 4 « normal » (black) dc’s after the « 3-dc in same st. »

Now we have increased enough to reestablish a backbone stitch at the selvedge. If from this point we want to continue working straight, without shaping, we can work the following row like this:

Row 7: Ch 2, dc2tog in the first 2 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

However, if we want to add a full horizontal stitch repeat and obtain two symmetrical selvedges, we need to continue increasing. But the new backbone stitch at the right selvedge plays a different role from to the one at the start. Up to now, we made our increases next to a backbone stitch at the top of a zig-zag. Now we are going to make them next to a backbone stitch at the bottom of a zig-zag.

To continue increasing, we can work row 7 as follows:

Row 7: Ch 2, 1 dc in first st, dc2tog in first and second st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

The first stitch in the row is an increase stitch (blue), which will serve as the basis for the increase in the following row.

However, it very quickly becomes clear that we can’t simply add a single stitch in each row to continue increasing. In order to maintain the chevron pattern, we must as soon as possible add a decreasing compensation stitch to the right of the backbone stitch.  This means that we need 1 stitch to maintain the increase in the row below (black) + 1 compensation stitch to balance the decrease compensation at the backbone stitch (green) + 1 increase stitch to continue increasing 1 stitch per row (blue).

Row 8, where we increase at the end of the row, will be worked as follows:

Row 8: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in last 3 sts, 3 dc in last st.

The increases are continued with a « bouquet » of 3 stitches along the increase selvedge.

Row 9: Ch 2, 3 dc in first st, 1 dc in next st, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

Row 10: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts, 3 dc in last st.

In row 10, we have 3 black dc’s to the right of the backbone stitch. This means that we can reestablish the chevron pattern to continue straight.

Row 11: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in last st.

We did it! We went through all the steps to add a full horizontal repeat to our chevron stitch pattern.

This is the complete chart:

You can also download it in pdf format here: Chevron increases

Thank you for reading this long newsletter! Please feel free to share your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.

Next time, we will be decreasing!

See you soon!

Another kind of stripe: chevrons – Newsletter June 2018

In the  shop

I’m delighted to present a new knitting pattern designed by EclatDuSoleil/Hélène Marcy: the shawlette La vie en rose!

Based on an old Shetland lace border, this is an interesting and fun project to knit. And 400 meters / 440 yds of fingering weight yarn is enough for the shawl!

The pattern La vie en rose is available in my shop.

Crocheted chevrons

In the current newsletter series on colour, we have already discussed stripes. However, crocheted stripes can be so much more than straight horizontal lines. One of the shapes a crocheted stripe can take is a zig-zag: chevrons.

Anatomy of chevrons:

To transform a straight line into a zig-zag, you need…

… A : increases, to create « peaks ».
B: decreases, to create « valleys » (and compensate for the increases)
C: straight lines (sloping diagonally) to go from peak to valley.

Let’s have a closer look at a few different chevron patterns.

A general note:
Turning chains do not count as stitches, and are not included in the multiples indicated for each stitch pattern.

 

Chevron 1

Worked over a multiple of 12.

Row 1: Ch 2 (do not count as a st, here and throughout), 2 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, repeat (dc2tog in next 2 sts) twice, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, 2 dc in next ch, * 2 dc in next ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, repeat (dc2tog in next 2 sts) twice, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, 2 dc in next ch; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, repeat (dc2tog in next 2 sts) twice, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st, * 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, repeat (dc2tog in next 2 sts) twice, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, 2 dc in next st; repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat row 2 for pattern.

This is what we get:

A rather soft wave, undulating in tranquility. Increases at the peaks are made by increasing 1 st in 2 separate stitches, one for each slope down to the valley. The decreases in the valley are also paired, to absorb the stitches increased to create the peak.

If we want to sharpen this zig-zag pattern, there are (at least) two parameters to play with: the concentration of increases/decreases and the height of the stitches. Let’s see how that can work.

Chevron 2

 

Multiple of 10 + 1.

Row 1: Ch 2 (do not count as a st, here and throughout), 2 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, * 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch; repeat from * to end of row, 2 dc in last st.

Row 2: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, * 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in each of next 3 sts; repeat from * to end of row, 2 dc in last st.

Repeat row 2 for pattern.

In this stitch pattern, the increases and decreases are more concentrated. All the increases at the peak are made in the same stitch. The decreases in the valleys are no longer made over 4 stitches, but over 3.

This makes for sharper angles in the pattern. The « turns » are taken more markedly. The general impression is more geometric and less wavelike.

Chevron 3

Multiple of 10 + 1.

Row 1: Ch 1 (do not count as a st, here and throughout), 2 sc in the 2nd ch from the hook, 1 sc in each of next 3 ch, sc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 sc in each of next 3 ch, * 3 sc in next ch, 1 sc in each of next 3 ch, sc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 sc in each of next 3 ch; repeat from * to end of row, 2 sc in last st.

Row 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in first st, 1 sc in each of next 3 sts, sc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 sc in each of next 3 sts, * 3 sc in next st, 1 sc in each of next 3 sts, sc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 sc in each of next 3 sts; repeat from * to end of row, 2 sc in last st.

Repeat row 2 for pattern.

This pattern is a variation on chevron 2 above. The number of stitches and the construction are identical – only the height of the stitches changes. The dc’s have been replaced by sc’s.

This chevron shows an even sharper zig-zag. Of course, the swatch is also denser and much smaller!

Chevron 4

There is another parameter that we haven’t touched on yet – the length of the « straight line » (sitting diagonally in the fabric), the slope between peaks and valleys.

 

Multiple of 6 + 1.

Row 1: Ch 2 (do not count as a st, here and throughout), 2 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook, 1 dc in next ch, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next ch, * 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next ch; repeat from * to end of row, 2 dc in last st.

Row 2: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in next st, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next st, * 3 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st, dc3tog in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next st; repeat from * to end of row, 2 dc in last st.

Repeat row 2 for pattern.

This stitch pattern is another variation on chevron 2 above, including only 1 dc (instead of 3) between increases and decreases.

This pattern takes its rhythm more from the change of direction than from the angles. The shorter slopes give it a softer and more wavelike character – at least from my point of view!

I encourage you to experiment further with these parameters. Among other options are the possibilities to include openwork or clusters, to work under one loop only or to mix stitches of different heights. The list can go on and on!

As always, please feel free to share your ideas, questions or suggestions in the comments below.

The next newsletter (the July/August issue) will be published at the end of August.

Have a lovely summer!

See you soon!

Stripes worked flat 2: Free your stripes and carry your yarn!

News

A new podcast in English! This one is about my ongoing project on Instagram, #100daysofcrochetswatches

Free your stripes and carry your yarn

In the April newsletter, we discussed how to carry your yarn along the selvedge when working stripes over an even number of rows. In that case (which is quite a common one), yarn changes are always made at the same selvedge.

But sometimes, you want to make a one-row stripe, or a stripe over an odd number of rows – without necessarily cutting your yarn at every change.

For this kind of situation, I suggest two different techniques. My example is a swatch worked in simple dc’s, in which two rows of the main colour (MC) alternate with one-row stripes of the contrast colour (CC). You can, of course, vary the techniques as you prefer, and check out the April newsletter when you want to carry your « resting yarn » over a larger number of rows.

1. The « classic » method, putting the loop on hold.

Here, I have finished my first two rows of the MC. I put a locking stitch marker (a safety pin works fine) in the loop left on my hook to secure it and avoid unwanted unraveling.

Without turning the work, I go back to the beginning of the row and start again with the CC.

Now the CC row is finished, and the remaining CC loop is also secured by a locking stitch marker.

I turn and put back the MC loop on my hook. I chain 2 to compensate for the height of the CC row, and attach the yarn with a slip stitch in the first CC stitch. It’s time to work two more MC rows.

After finishing the two rows, I turn and put the CC loop back on the hook. I now need to compensate for the height of two rows so I will work *ch 2, 1 sl st in first st in row above* twice.

When my single CC row is finished and the loop has been secured, I go back and pick up the MC loop, just as I did after the first CC stripe. The sequence starts over again.

The drawback of this technique: the chains at the selvedge create extra bulk (more or less visible depending on the yarn used).

The advantage of this technique: the work is almost as easy to unravel as a solid-coloured piece – to be used for experimental work or when you aren’t sure you have completely understood the stitch pattern.

2. Anna’s next-to-invisible method

Anna is a Swedish crocheter and very interested in specific crochet techniques. Following a 2013 newsletter in which I described the « classic » method above, she got in touch with me to explain how she carried the yarn when working stripes over an odd number of rows. It’s a very clever technique!

After my first two MC rows, I enlarge the loop on the hook…

… so that I can pass my entire ball of yarn through it.

 

I pull on the yarn to tighten up the loop.

Voilà !

Without turning, I start again with the CC at the beginning of the row.

And I secure the CC yarn in exactly the same way. Both colours are now at the left selvedge.

I turn, I insert my hook in the first stitch in the previous row, and I pull up the MC yarn. I’m ready to start my next two MC rows.

When I need my CC yarn again, it is two rows below. Heres how I carry it up as discreetly as possible:

Insert the hook in the first stitch in the next row, and pull up a CC loop. Enlarge the loop and pass the CC ball through it.

Tighten the loop. One row left to go

Insert the hook in the first stitch in the next row and pull up a loop. I’m ready to start the new CC stripe.

When the stripe is finished, I go back to the beginning of the row without turning and pull up an MC loop. And now you know how to continue!

The advantage of this technique: the yarns carried along the selvedge are very discreet and easy to hide in a small border.

Drawback: if you want to rip out your work, you will need to patiently undo all the knots that are created when you pass the ball through the loop at each colour change. It’s best to be sure where you’re going!

So, these are my ideas on carrying the yarn along the selvedge when working flat. Do you have other thoughts? Which is your preferred method? Please feel free to comment below!

The swatches in this tutorial were worked with
my DK weight merino yarn
and a 5 mm (US H-8) hook
.

See you soon!

Stripes worked flat 1: carrying your yarn – Newsletter April 2018

Stripes worked flat 1: carrying your yarn.

In our exploration of crochet and colour, we’ve already discussed how to make a tidy colour change.

This time, we are going to start a discussion of a very simple but effective type of colourwork: stripes.

Stripes are an easy way to add colour and visual impact to your projects. However, if you work an entire project with lots of stripes and cut your yarn after every stripe, you will have many, many ends to weave in.

In some situations, this might be inevitable. If that’s the case, I can only recommend finding some time in peace and quiet, a good audiobook or podcast, and a cup (or glass) of your favourite beverage.

But very often, you can significantly reduce the number of ends to weave in by carrying the colour not in use along the selvedge. Let’s see how!

Double crochet, stripes over an even number of rows


Let’s start our first stripe by a neat and tidy colour change worked at the finishing step of the last dc in the previous row.

The unused colour will be carried along by crossing the yarns at the selvedge. Since dc’s are rather tall stitches, I suggest crossing yarns on every row, to avoid having too-long strands running along the edge of the work.

After making the chains at the start of the next row, we simply cross the yarns by passing the unused colour over the one in use.

Then we continue the first row of our stripe. The unused colour is now attached at the top of the new row.


This is a two-row stripe. At the end of the second row, we’ll change colours by finishing the last dc with the unused (background) colour.

Since we’ll want to make a new stripe further along, we attach the unused colour at the top of the next row, exactly as before.

We are going to work several rows in the background colour before the next stripe. This means there is no colour change at the end of the second row. Instead, we simply cross the yarns when the row is completely finished.

After the chains at the beginning of the next row, we cross yarns again. We repeat these steps to the next stripe.

The unused yarn runs along the selvedge. It is important to check after each yarn crossing that it’s not too tight or too loose. We don’t want puckering or loose strands that can catch on things and be harder to hide in a border.

Double crochet, three-colour stripes

Three-colour stripes are a fun way to make narrow and colourful stripes, all while minimizing the number of ends to weave in.

The strategies for colour changes and crossing of yarns are exactly the same as described above. At the end of each row, the next colour to work is waiting for you!

Single crochet, an easier way

As already stated, the height of the double crochet makes it very useful to cross yarns at each row. But if we work in single crochet, things get really quick and easy!

Here, we’re going to start a stripe. We’re going to finish the last stitch in the previous row with both colours, the old and the new.

Turn, ch 1 with the new colour only, and work the stripe. And that’s it!

To carry the unused colour over several rows, simply finish the last stitch on every second row (at the edge where the colour changes occur) with both yarns, and continue working with the colour in use.

The unused colour nicely follows along until you need it again.

And of course, three-colour stripes work really well in single crochet too!

There are so many things to say about crocheted stripes – I’ll come back to this topic again next time!

See you soon,

Colour change – Newsletter January 2018

New pattern

I’m happy to introduce my new pattern, which is actually composed of two designs: Flinga, cowl and fingerless mitts.

These soft and snuggly items to warm your neck and hands are inspired by my childhood memories of Swedish winters – the large snowflakes falling slowly from the sky, the icicles sparkling on tree branches…

The pattern was originally created for Mon Sheep Shop‘s advent calendar 2017, but is now available on Ravelry and in my shop.

Notes

If you haven’t quite finished with the Christmas spirit or just want a colour fix, you can find the collections of the baubles crocheted by the participants in my own advent calendar on the blog!

 

Crochet and knitting are fantastic crafts, but there is also a place for sewing. I’m far from being an expert in this field, but I plan on sharing my sewing experiences with you in 2018. Follow me on Instagram to see what I sew!

 

Colour change

To start 2018, I want to explore colour in crochet in this and upcoming newsletters!

If you have subscribed for 10+ years (yes, I have published my newsletter for more than 10 years!) you will already have read about some of the topics I’m going to tackle in this series on colour. But I have many new subscribers, many of them beginners, or people getting back to crochet after a long break – and in any case, it never hurts to get back to basics!

This time, a simple but very important tip for successful colour changes in crochet.

It seems easy to change from colour A to colour B when crocheting a row – just crochet one stitch in colour A, then another in colour B.

But just for once, the easiest way is not the best way. Just look at this little swatch:

The colour change isn’t perfectly neat. Small « blips » of the previous colour appear in the new one (at the arrows).

Also, the fabric is not perfectly cohesive. One of the strands that link the stitches together is missing at the colour change, making holes in the fabric. Of course, you could close up these holes when weaving in your ends, but that might be more or less practical, depending on how many rows you need to tidy up.

Here is another swatch:

The colour changes are neat and tidy, and there are no holes. This is all due to one simple technique. Let’s see how it’s done!

This is our last grey stitch (colour A) before changing to pink (colour B):

As you can see, this dc is not complete. I have stopped before the last step, which is the final step in any crochet stitch: yarnover and pull through.

I’m going to work this last step with the new colour:

Ta-daa! This is how to make a perfect colour change!

If you want a more in-depth explanation, let’s follow the destiny of a very special loop: the one left on the hook when a stitch is completed.

Back to our swatch – to the left above, you can see this loop sitting alone on the hook after completing the previous dc.

In the righthand photo, it is joined by the yarnovers that have been added to make the next dc. Our special loop is the rightmost one on the hook.

Now, watch carefully! Before the last « yarnover and pull through », our loop is still the rightmost one on the hook (left above).

The final picture shows where our loop ends up: as the « lid » of the new dc. It’s the « V » we can see on top if we tilt our work towards us.

So, if you want this new dc to be entirely worked in the new colour, you must take care to make the « lid loop » in the new colour, too.

If you find this detailed explanation utterly boring, all you need to remember is to make the last « yarnover and pull through » of the stitch (any stitch) with the new colour.

Next time, we’re going to start talking about stripes. I promise, there is much more to say about them than it seems!

Please feel free to comment and leave suggestions below!

See you soon!

Happy New Year 2018! – Newsletter December 2018

Happy New Year 2018!

As usual, at the end of the year, I’m taking a short break from crochet tutorials to reflect on the past year and share a few ideas for the year to come.

2017 was the year when you could watch me on screen – my French YouTube channel grew, and I started a channel in English. I also appeared (briefly) on national TV news in October – lots of fun!

Four new patterns this year:

From top to bottom (and in chronological order): Wave (crocheted asymmetrical triangle), Sibylla (knitted reversible crescent), Siebold (crocheted large crescent) and Pyramidal (crocheted half circle pi shawl). A few nice construction ideas in there.

Oh, I almost forgot that I also published two free patterns in the newsletter:

Two cowls: Dryas to the left and Pilier to the right.

So what about 2018? A page still unwritten, but I have a few ideas and hopes for it.

In knitting, reversible stitch patterns are still very much on my menu. 2017 was also the year when I discovered that stranded knitting was far less complicated than I had thought, so I hope to work on that in 2018.
In crochet, the post stitches explored in the newsletter these past few months still have a lot to give. And I didn’t spend enough time on different crochet colour techniques this year, so this must be done in the year to come.

 

And what about you? What inspires you on the threshold of 2018? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

As for me, I will continue on the road ahead, simply trying to put a little more beauty, colour, and kindness into this world every day, because I think it needs it. I don’t know exactly where this road will take me, but bends and changes of direction are what make the trip interesting!

As Swedish poet Karin Boye put it in her poem « In Motion »:

« The sated day is never first.
The best day is a day of thirst.

Yes, there is goal and meaning in our path –
but it’s the way that is the labour’s worth.

The best goal is a nightlong rest,
fire lit, and bread broken in haste.

In places where one sleeps but once,
sleep is secure, dreams full of songs.

Strike camp, strike camp! The new day shows its light.
Our great adventure has no end in sight. »

(English translation by David McDuff)

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking a few steps on the road with me.

I wish you a magnificent, creative year in 2018!