Blocked: Sunrise Knit-Alike Tunisian Scarf

This scarf took me three months to completely finish, including blocking. Scarves are one of those things that seem easy, and for the most part, they are. But when you get over halfway through and you just want to be finished already, getting to the end can seem like an eternity. Also, I’ve noticed this is more the case with Tunisian crochet scarfs than traditional crochet where you merely turn and keep going.

In any case, I was working a lot of hours between January and April, so it didn’t really take me three months as much as I had to put it down and motivate to pick it back up again on numerous occasions.

All that aside, I absolutely love the look of this scarf! The pattern is from bhooked. It may look intimidating, but it’s just two Tunisian stitches: the knit stitch and the cross stitch. I also followed her lead and did the same colorway as the designer did. I’m not usually a super bright colorway person, but there’s just something about those colors. I didn’t have a specific person in mind when I set out to make it, either — I just knew it needed to get made.

When I first began trying my hand at Tunisian crochet, I was unsure if I would get the hang of it. But I caught on pretty quickly, and like many others who have become addicted to it, it fulfills that yearning to create something denser and less loopy. I have dipped a toe — A TOE — in the learning-to-knit pool, and so far, it hasn’t taken. I’m going to keep at it but my hands just don’t want to cooperate with where I’m supposed to put my fingers to keep tension, the movements, etc. (I am working on learning Continental knitting, as it’s an easier transition from crochet and it is more efficient, which is right up my alley.) When I get frustrated at my clumsiness with knitting needles, I toss them aside and pick up my hooks again, feeling right at home.

I digress.

This scarf is super long, warm, cozy, and bright. It would make a wonderful autumn-into-winter scarf. Mine turned out pretty wide at 6-7″. I also used bhooked’s method for wet blocking. Blocking is a pain but it does work! My ends didn’t uncurl completely but it’s not terrible. It just gives the scarf that little extra handmade look.

For blocking, I used some rubber/foam interlocking mats, T-pins, and sprayed down the scarf with water from a spray bottle I had. I let it dry for a couple of days before unpinning, which was the most tedious part of the whole process.

I haven’t decided whether to list it in the shop or just keep it in my gifts pile. But I’m excited for the day to come when it goes to an ecstatic new owner!

Edit: added to the shop!

First Improvised Projects!

Holy moly, it’s almost spring!

Over the winter (which wasn’t much of one this year), I created two things all on my own without relying on a pattern.

Some people come by this skill naturally. I do not. I’ve been crocheting for the better part of three years now, and it took that long for me to become confident in my skill, and be inspired by something I see around the interwebs and make it happen.

The first thing I completed was a star stitch headband. I had an image in my mind of creating a star stitch headband using this gorgeous Galileo yarn I had from Knit Picks, since it’s soft, has a sheen to it, and is just downright pretty and fun to work with. I used the color Valentine and I didn’t even end up using one whole ball. For my Ravelry notes, you can check out my completed project here.

 

The star stitch exploded in popularity, to where I was seeing lots of hats, headbands, bags, and all sorts of things made with it. It is a really cool and pretty looking stitch. Once you do it a few times, you get the hang of it.

The star stitch is really tricky only because of the number of chains to start with, and in the end how it makes the edges look slightly uneven, something that can be fixed with blocking (and even tension). Since I was making a headband where I would stitch the ends together, I didn’t worry about the unevenness too much.

The tutorial I relied on to create my piece was this one by Not Your Average Crochet.

What I like about her tutorial is that she uses HDC (half double crochet) on the second row of the star stitch, instead of single crochet. It gives it just a little more fullness than single crochet. Plus, I found for my brain, at least, that counting the number of stitches on the second row (or “return pass”) was easier her way.

I was quite pleased with the final result and definitely want to make more so that I can hopefully feature it in the shop at some point. The only quasi-decent photo I got was the one below. I need to whip out the DSLR and take better photos of it, or others I make.
Star Stitch Headband

The second project I did was a scarf for my brother-in-law. I started off making it in Tunisian crochet (full stitch, which I loved the look of!) but because I was using a softer yarn that didn’t hold up on its own, it drooped on the edges with the color changes and looked sloppy.

I frogged it. <sad trombone>

Note: I will use the full stitch for another project down the road. It really looks beautiful, and boy is it dense and warm!

Thus, I started over with the scarf project and decided to go with Old Reliable of double crochet, but going in the back loops only, which gives it some texture and a horizontal “knit” look in every other row.

I finished it off with a round of half double crochet in silver–I think it turned out quite handsomely. My brother-in-law seemed really happy with it, which is all that mattered to me. But in the end, I was just so happy that I could make something all on my own without referring to a design. It gives it that extra specialness upon completion.

Here’s to more projects like this in the future!

Scarf Detail

In the making

Finished!

Finished!

Wearable Crochet

For those who do not make garments or anything else out of yarn, it seems that the word “crochet” conjures up images of granny square afghans, doilies, hats, and potholders. Crochet definitely can and does produce those items–and beautifully!– but crochet has made a comeback to the point where it is actually mainstream.

The blankets and throws from the 70s have made a roaring comeback and people have added their own modern twists; coupled with the infinite number of colors and types of yarn out there, people are now taking those motifs and turning them into fashionable, wearable items.

Take the poncho, for example. When I think of the word “poncho,” I think of a shapeless garment meant to keep you dry from the rain.

But some brilliant designer out there (Simone Francis) created a design for a cowl-neck poncho with a standard “granny square” motif as the mainstay stitch, and voila:

Poncho_pic_small2

It is my absolute goal to make one of these this year.

A woman I found on Instagram, and whom I now follow, has made over 60 of these ponchos! Her name is April–check out her Instagram. It’s incredible! I tend to get bogged down before I even get started with what kind of yarn and colors I should use. In reality, I should analyze less, grab a hook and some yarn, and get cracking. April’s photos show that there are endless possibilities with this design.

I am still relatively new to crochet, only having a couple of years under my belt, so I continually try to build my skills and tackle projects that are doable for both my skill level and meet my need to make something useful but also pleasing to the eye.

I posted a small update about this on the zavvy creations Facebook page, but a year ago today, I completed a project I was so proud of: a crochet shawl. The design is courtesy of Bonita Patterns and uses the crocodile stitch, one of my favorites that I learned to master. I made the below shawl for a friend of mine at work; seeing the memory on Facebook this morning reminded me of how much I enjoyed making something wearable, warm, and beautiful. Honestly, it inspired me all over again to want to make another one or something similar.

Crocodile shawl front and back

Finished crocodile shawl

Those who keep up with my Instagram or Facebook account have already seen the next item I just recently accomplished, but I can’t help but be proud of it because it meets all of my requirements in looking chic, being soft, and keeping one warm. It is the infinity houndstooth scarf. I rarely keep things I make, usually adding them to the shop or giving it away as a gift, but this one was too lovely to part with.

Crochet Houndstooth Infinity Scarf

I have a couple of other small things in the works (I think I have four to six things going at any given time), nothing I am any less proud of, but there is just something about completing a larger project that is so satisfying, be it an amigurumi, a blanket, or a wearable piece. I find I’m constantly in awe of people’s creativity when it comes to this craft, because at its core, crochet’s “foundation” stitches (chain, slip, single, half-double, double, treble) make up the world of crochet’s creations.

And, like most other Chronic Crocheters, I have a dream To Make list a mile long. But it’s only one stitch at a time and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Until next time, friends. If you have made anything you wear proudly, I’d love to see it! Leave a link to a photo, blog post, Ravelry project, etc. 🙂

Love is: Diamonds in the Rough Tunisian Scarf for Men

Diamonds in the Rough - Diamond CU
I think me and everyone else in the crochet world are having a love affair with Tunisian crochet. Everywhere I look, it’s Tunisian this and Tunisian that. Tunisian crochet adds just enough of a twist to standard crochet to make it interesting on its own, but with different possibilities, and of course limitless creations!

I remain blown away by what people come up with for patterns using stitches, negative space (read: holes), and their imaginations. For example, has anyone seen the explosion of graphghans that people are making with Tunisian crochet? I cross-stitch and it overwhelms me to see what people are doing with this technique.

Since I am still relatively new to the art of Tunisian crochet, I wanted to try my hand at a smaller worn accessory, such as a scarf. My husband was in need of a new one for the coming chilly months, and when I saw this pattern online, I immediately knew I had to try it out.

The designer, Michael Snow, has created a lovely and simple design that looks a lot harder than it is. It uses Tunisian Simple Stitch and Tunisian Purl Stitch.

If you’re like me, you might have groaned when you realized that you have to use TPS in this pattern. But once you master it, and of course that comes only through lots of repetitive practice, it becomes second nature, and the scarf will work up so fast you’ll wonder how you blinked and missed it. The most helpful tutorials I’ve found are from Kim Guzman and Stitch Diva Studios–give them a look-up if you’re stumped on mastering the purl stitch.

The diamond pattern is subtle but stands out nicely against the Simple Stitches. A relative had sent me some gorgeous Capra DK yarn from KnitPicks in shades of dark brown, light brown, and cream in order to get me out of my usual vibrant or pastel-colored wheelhouse. I decided I would use it for the scarf, even though the original pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. In doing so, I got a deliciously warm, wide, and long scarf, perfect for a guy on the go who wants something professional looking, but also cozy.

For those not in the know, Capra DK is merino wool and cashmere. Can you say YUM?

Folded Diamonds in the Rough Scarf

I did not intend to make this scarf a listing in the shop (at least not right away) but when I showed it to someone while it was being made, excited at how it was going to turn out, she immediately asked if I could make one for her son-in-law. Then someone else heard about the scarf and asked me if I could make him one, too! It’s hard not to want one when you see the pattern and feel the luxe softness of the yarn. You just want to cocoon yourself in it all winter long. (It also reminds me why participating in craft shows is so fun–once people can see and touch the stuff, you want to take it home!)

While my original scarf for my husband–who loves it, by the way–was done in color blocks, the IMG_1161 zvcothers I am making will be all one color, and I think it will show off the diamonds a bit better, because you don’t get distracted by the color changes. That said, it’s still a real showpiece. Hats off to Michael Snow for his ingenuity with two easy stitches!

My husband wanted a longer scarf, so this used five balls of the Capra, but if you want to go shorter, you certainly can. There’s no question he’ll stay warm in the frigid winter temps that Illinois brings. Furthermore, even though this is “men’s” fashion, it is a unisex pattern that would look great on men or women. I think it would be fabulous in a deep red, green, purple, or even pink; I guess I’m thinking jewel tones here. But no matter who you make it for, that person is sure to fall in love with it as soon as they lay eyes on it. I know I did!

Diamonds in the Rough Scarf - Color Blocks

Stumped

One of the reasons I get sucked into buying so much yarn is I fantasize about all the potential things I could make with the yarn I am drooling over (and end up purchasing).

Logic tends to lock itself in the bathroom and I end up convincing myself I’m going to make THE most beautiful ________ with the threads in my shopping cart.

Case in point: I bought three different sets of color-changing yarn from Bonita Patterns. Like, months ago. I bought two different skeins of each, thinking I could always buy more if I started a large project.

Those beautiful skeins have sat on my shelf just waiting to be used. Last week, I decided to pull one out so I could attempt to start making something as a gift. I researched and researched (until my researcher was sore) until I thought I had figured out exactly what I wanted to make with this stuff:

IMG_7406_zvc

I started a pretty butterfly shawl but wasn’t really feeling it for this particular yarn. (I think the shawl pattern is gorgeous but I believe it would do better with a less fuzzy yarn and something a bit shinier.) Then I tried a wavy scarf pattern but despite my best efforts with it, self-doubt kept creeping in and I decided not to waste anymore yarn and scrap it.

Scraps_zvc

This yarn is a blend of angora and acrylic. It has a nice stiffness to it, so it will hold its shape well, but also has some nice fuzz from the angora.

At this point, I have returned the yarn to its position on the shelf and I am still ruminating on what to DO with it. I have researched patterns from a yarn perspective, yardage perspective, ease of making, you name it. At this point, I’ll need to have an epiphany in a dream. I. Am. Completely. STUMPED. If there is such a thing as Crocheter’s Block, I have it.

If anyone out there has a suggestion or two, send ’em my way!

Back to my crochet lair where I continue with my owl project….