Sunday, 13 March 2016

Shell Stitch Scarf

Handmaiden Maiden Hair yarn shimmers on a sunny Spring day!

One of the joys of teaching crochet workshops at local haberdasheries is that I get to see (and play with) the latest yarns as soon as they arrive in the shop.

When Katia came out with their Air Alpaca yarn, I wanted to hook it up right away. So soft and fluffy!


Katia had sent small samples of the yarn worked up in different knitted stitches – and one crochet stitch sample caught my eye. Rows of shells, stacked row on row, with no chain row in between, which I typically see with shell stitch patterns. The closeness of the shells made a beautiful dense fabric with a lovely texture.

But no pattern for this little sample could be found. Not on the sample's label, not on the Katia web site, and the yarn rep didn’t have any answers, either. But I was determined to make a scarf with this stitch, so I took the sample home and to figure it out myself!

The great thing with crochet is that, with some scrutiny and patience, you can ‘read’ many crocheted items. This shell stitch fabric was pretty easy, once I figured out the number of chains in the foundation row.

I’ve made a few scarves already; the original Katia Air Alpaca scarf was given to Bunny’s harp teacher for Christmas, and I’ve made another with the luxurious Handmaiden Maiden Hair delicate yarn, pictured above.

Shell Stitch Scarf

Materials

I used:
2-1/2 skeins of Katia Air Alpaca (25g/115m/126yd per skein) and a 4mm hook
or 1 skein of Handmaiden Maiden Hair (100g/300m/328yd) and a 5.5mm hook

and I’m currently making one with chunky yarn and a 6mm hook, so feel free to experiment!

Finished size: My latest version, with the Maiden Hair yarn, is 150cm/59in long, 15cm/6in wide after blocking.

Pattern:
UK terms
US terms beneath

Ch 34

Row 1: 1 dc in 2nd ch from hook; *skip 3 ch; [3tr, ch 1, 3tr] in next st; skip 3 ch; 1 dc in next st; * repeat from * to * to end of row. (4 shells)
               US: 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook; *skip 3 ch; [3dc, ch 1, 3dc] in next st; skip 3 ch; 1 sc in next st; * repeat from * to * to end of row. (4 shells)

Row 2: turn, ch 3, 2tr at the base of ch3; *dc in ch space of previous row’s shell; [3tr, ch 1, 3tr] in previous row’s dc;* repeat from * to * two more times, ending the row with 3tr above the previous row’s dc stitch. (3 shells, 2 half shells on either end of row)
                US: turn, ch 3, 2dc at the base of ch3; *sc in ch space of previous row’s shell; [3dc, ch 1, 3dc] in previous row’s sc;* repeat from * to * two more times, ending the row with 3dc above the previous row’s sc stitch. (3 shells, 2 half shells on either end of row)

Row 3: turn, ch1; *[3tr, ch 1, 3tr] in previous row’s dc; dc in ch space of previous row’s shell;* repeat from * to * three more times, with the last dc at the top of the ch 3 of the previous row. (4 shells)
                US: turn, ch1; *[3dc, ch 1, 3dc] in previous row’s sc; sc in ch space of previous row’s shell;* repeat from * to * three more times, with the last sc at the top of the ch 3 of the previous row. (4 shells)

Repeat rows 2-3 until your scarf reaches the desired length, finishing with a Row 2. Fasten off and weave in ends.


Finishing off: I experimented with hooking this pattern halfway, then working an identical piece the same length and stitching the foundation rows together – this would give two halves with the same pretty scalloped edging on the ends. However, I wasn’t happy with the join in the middle, regardless of whip stitch, double crochet join, etc. It just looked too obvious. So I’ve made a shell edging row to crochet onto the starting edge of the scarf:

Shell stitch edging worked in chunky yarn
Edging: Right side facing, attach yarn to the first chain of the row, ch 3, 2tr at the base of ch3; *1dc in the base of the shell of the first row; [3tr, ch 1, 3tr] in the base of the dc of the first row;* repeat from * to * two more times, ending the row with 3tr above the first row’s dc stitch. (3 shells, 2 half shells on either end of row)
                US: Right side facing, attach yarn to the first chain of the row, ch 3, 2dc at the base of ch3; *1sc in the base of the shell of the first row; [3dc, ch 1, 3dc] in the base of the sc of the first row;* repeat from * to * two more times, ending the row with 3dc above the first row’s sc stitch. (3 shells, 2 half shells on either end of row)

Happy crafting!

Chrissie 





Sunday, 24 January 2016

Seed Stitch Infinity Scarf Pattern


Is it possible to fall in love, I mean *true love*, with a crochet project? If so, then I am head-over-heels for my seed stitch infinity scarf!

It ticks all the boxes for a crochet crush: beautiful texture, an easy pattern (by that I mean I can simultaneously crochet and carry on a conversation!), a useful item, and in this case, the most sumptuous yarn in the most perfect shade of pink!


It all started with the indulgent birthday purchase of two skeins of Juniper Moon Farm’s Moonshine yarn – a super-fine alpaca, silk and wool blend, sooo soft and snugly. I couldn’t decide what to make with it, so while searching out different crochet stitch combinations I found the seed stitch and knew it would fit the bill.


This pattern is perfect for my Beginner’s Crochet Courses, so I will be including it in the final handouts and sharing it with all my Crochet Clubs. And you, too!  

Seed Stitch Infinity Scarf

Materials

I used:
2 skeins of Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine (100g/180m/197yd per skein)
or 3 skeins of Sublime extra fine merino wool DK (50g/116m/127yd per ball)

or a DK yarn of your choice, with at least 360-400m/400+yd of length – feel free to mix colours, try cotton yarn, acrylic, anything that you fancy! I want you to enjoy this pattern and feel you have the confidence to make it your own!

4.5mm hook

Finished size: My pink scarf was 122cm/48in long, 19cm/7.5in wide – but again, have the confidence to make it longer if you want. I am five feet tall, so I don’t have the neck and shoulders to carry off a large infinity scarf. This is a forgiving pattern in terms of tension and size, so do what suits you!

Pattern:
UK terms (US terms)

Ch 27
Row 1: dc (sc) in 3rd ch from hook; *tr (dc) in next stitch; dc (sc) in next stitch; * repeat from * to the end of the row, finishing with a dc (sc) stitch. Turn your work. (25 sts)


Row 2: Ch 2, dc (sc) in second stitch – this is the top of the tr (dc) of the previous row; tr (dc) into next stitch (top of the dc [sc] of previous row); *dc (sc) in next stitch (top of previous row tr [dc]); tr (dc) in next stitch (top of previous row dc [sc])*. See how the stitches alternate row on row?
Repeat from * to *, ending with a dc (sc) in the turning ch2 of previous row.

 

Repeat Row 2 until your scarf reaches the desired length. Here’s a tip: I always test the length of an infinity scarf or cowl by carefully pinning together the ends with safety pins and trying it on. This way I know if I need to make it longer, if it looks too bulky, etc. Once I’m happy with it, I fasten off, leaving a long tail, then use this tail to stitch together both ends of the scarf (I just used a simple slip stitch with a yarn needle).

I just love the texture of the seed stitch.

I think I'll be making more patterns with it. Cushion cover, summer wrap with a light cotton yarn...but for now I’m actually hoping for more chilly weather so I can get more use out of my new scarf!

Happy crafting!

Chrissie




Sunday, 27 September 2015

Crochet with The Spice Girls

When my lovely virtual pal Sandra from Cherry Heart asked if I’d like to take part in the Spice of Life Crochet-A-Long, I happily added one more WIP to my list!

Photo courtesy of Sandra at Cherry Heart

How could I refuse a gorgeous delivery of yarn from Black Sheep Wools and a fun pattern that guarantees a Christmas gift ticked off my list?


Any combination of DK yarn can be used for the project, and Black Sheep Wools has special Spice of Life yarn packs using Rico Classic Baby DK and Stylecraft Special DK. Left to my own devices, I’d use my typical, safe shades of taupes and soft blues, greens and pinks. So I decided to go for the Stylecraft version, as Sandra used the Rico pack, to get me out of my comfort zone and into some bright and unusual shades. (My rainbow-loving Little Flower already has a claim on the finished blanket...)

This CAL suits all levels of experience, so I shared the info with my Crochet Club a few weeks back. The response was fab – I have a merry band of 12 joining together to make the blanket! Of course, a group this size deserves a name, so introducing...

* * * The Spice Girls * * *

(cue rolling eyes and groans, but I just couldn’t resist!)

We are meeting this Tuesday for the first of a series of CAL evenings outside of our regular Crochet Club. I can’t wait to see all the different colour palettes, and what better motivation to keep hooking as the autumn evenings close in?



I’ll share The Spice Girls' progress on the Spice of Life Facebook page. Black Sheep Wools has a dedicated Spice of Life page on their web site, and of course I’ll keep snapping away for Instagram (chrissie_crafts)!

Are you joining in the fun? Tell me all about it!

Happy crafting!
Chrissie x (aka Crafty Spice)