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Hortensia Scarf Crochet Pattern

Posted on by MK Carroll

Simple stitches make a lace scarf that drapes on the bias. Instructions are given in both written and charted format, using US terminology (a version with UK terminology is in the works). The open lace sections are reminiscent of the 4-petaled Hortensia flowers, commonly called hydrangeas.

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PSA: White yarn comes in dyelots too

Posted on by MK Carroll

Here's an object lesson in dyelots:

Yarn: Brown Sheep  Cotton Fleece

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece

There are two different dyelots of Cotton Ball in this baby blanket, and since I was using up small squares and making new squares, the different dyelots aren't evenly distributed throughout the blanket. I just keep telling myself the baby won't care. A few washes and some baby grime may even it all out in the end, and it will be a project finished! 

Progress: Holiday Sanity Scrapghan

Posted on by MK Carroll

Ravelry project page: Holiday Sanity Scrapghan

When the point is to use up what I've already got, not to buy more yarn, realizing that I'm going to run out of the two shades of pink being used for the final rounds of each square means figuring out what color I've got on hand that will work instead. 

Looking at the colors in grayscale

Looking at the colors in grayscale

I'm working with a fairly small color palette, and I'm not too worried about the final results, but I'd like there to be some consistent elements to tie it together visually. The squares are all the same size and worked at the same gauge, so that's a start, and all of the squares have at least one of the two shades of pink that are being used, and again, in the final round it's one of the two. I'm now at a point where if I keep using them for the final round, I won't have enough. If I use a yarn of the same color value (or very close to the same value), that could help keep the overall blanket looking consistent. It could even be an improvement, breaking up the lines in an interesting way without looking chaotic. 

grayscale-collage-02.jpg

There are a number of ways to determine value; what I've done here is taken photos and then compared them to copies in gray scale (PicMonkey is a simple, free program for photo editing - used it for converting photos to gray scale and then collaging them together for easy side-by-side comparison). If you want to be really accurate about sorting and matching color values, there are tools you can use, like The Ruby Beholder or the Gray Scale and Value Finder, and for planning out color schemes, the Color Scheme Designer is a fun, free online tool. None of this is cheating: these are useful tools to help you make choices, and are used by industry professionals. I have an art degree and no shame about using them; I hear people saying "oh but I'm no good at picking out colors" and want to sit them down with the Color Scheme Designer immediately. We're not all color geniuses, and we don't have to be. 

grayscale-collage-03.jpg

I may be able to work up another color for the border rounds, using leftover white yarn and experimenting with dyes I have on hand or can make using plant material. 

For more details about color theory, there are a lot of great resources out there. Here's just a few:

Suzyn's Color Theory for Knitters (Knitty, Fall 2004)

Color Theory Basics for Knitting and Crocheting (Lion Brand Yarn Blog)

Exploring Colors for Your Knitting (Craftsy blog)

Color Journey: a mini-course on creating color you love (Dyeing to Knit blog)

Project: pläd mormor

Posted on by MK Carroll

If Google Translate is right, pläd mormor is Swedish for "granny square." 

Small granny squares, back side shown

Small granny squares, back side shown

While cleaning up my yarn stash and unfinished projects, I pulled out a bag of small granny squares. Each one is about 2" across. I think my original plan was to make a baby blanket for my niece - and after calculating out how many more squares I'd have to make and seam together to do that (about 50), I opted for a change of plan.  

Granny square blanket, available at Oddbirds.nu

Granny square blanket, available at Oddbirds.nu

This granny square blanket popped up in my Pinterest feed and looked like just the thing. Only the first round uses a color, with the rest of the block done in white. The overall effect is still colorful, in a clean, modern way. All I needed to do was buy more white yarn, select a handful of the squares, and add a few more rounds. 9 squares are enough to make a baby blanket, so now I just need to weave in ends, block the squares, seam them together, and do a simple border in the same gold color as used for two of the squares. 

Granny squares

Granny squares

Project: Holiday Sanity Scrapghan

Posted on by MK Carroll

My Holiday Sanity plan: crochet granny squares, ideally during my city bus commute, while listening to podcasts.  

Granny squares

Granny squares

Yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, which I've been building quite a stash of over the past couple of years (YarnStory in Honolulu has an ever-changing array of colors). My yarn acquisition habit has been to buy single skeins and only occasionally quantities for projects larger than a hat. In this case, that works just fine. I did buy an additional 3 skeins of white for another granny square blanket (and I'll post progress on that later), and had enough left over so that I split one of the skeins into 3 smaller skeins, and used them for dye experiments that I think could work with these colors (will also post progress on that later).  

This is a nice soothing project for me, just the ticket while I'm on the city bus on my way to or from work. It's simple enough so I can pay attention to a podcast. CraftLit is currently doing Age of Innocence, which I haaaaated the first time I read it. I was a teenager, I thought all the characters were horrible people, and I wanted to kick every single one of them in the shins. 20-ish years later, I'm glad I gave it another go. Heather Ordover really knows how to enrich the experience with background information and Literary Links of Interest that explain things like Parma violets and camphor, and Brenda Dayne is a sublime reader (you really can hear it when she arches an eyebrow sardonically). 

 

Granny square inspired by a textile print

Granny square inspired by a textile print

A big part of the joy of doing a granny scrapghan is that I don't have to think about too much besides what color I want to use next. I'm thinking a little bit about how the squares will work together in the end, but since part of the point is to have a cheerful riot of color, I don't think too hard. This isn't to say that I don't think - there are squares where I've ripped back because a color wasn't working, and there are squares like the one above, where I was thinking specifically about something. In this case, an 18th century textile print: 

Waistcoat, French. circa 1770 - 90, cotton fabric (India?). In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Waistcoat, French. circa 1770 - 90, cotton fabric (India?). In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

The shades of green and gold, with the pink, red, and blues - reminds me of my childhood (my parents had some very bohemian/hippie friends who had traveled/lived in India, Turkey, Tibet, etc. and Mom did a lot of traveling in Asia and the Middle East during the 60's). Recently, I moved some furniture I had stored at my parents house into where I'm living now, and that includes a rattan loveseat with a riotous mix of pillows in stripes, paisley, ikat (-ish - I don't think it's a genuine ikat weave), and embroidered fabrics. This scrapghan might fit right in.  

Ravelry project: Holiday Sanity Scrapghan