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Crochetscene 2015: Riverbend Skirt

Riverbend is the final of the patterns I worked for Crochetscene 2015.  Like Bow Wrap and Crossed Arrow, I had a really good idea of this pattern long before I turned it into a proposal.  Unlike the other two, Riverbend’s genesis and maturing happened at a lot slower of rate.

Part of this was I was working on other projects, and part of it was wanting to let the genesis pattern have a bit of distance before I created something in the same vein.

Sketch for Riverbend

Riverbend became a design idea back when I was working on Victoria’s Riflebird.  Victoria’s Rifebird is a wrap that should be familiar – it has very similar shaping to Riverbend!  You could say they are siblings.  Once I had finished Victoria’s Riflebird, but before I wove in the ends, Sweetness, one of the girls I nannied at the time, wrapped the wrap around her waist and gave a swirl.  I realized then that a similar shape would work really well with a skirt – with some minor adjustments!

I love the idea of wrap skirts.  I like the versatility and the sizing flexibility.  When I was a kid one of my favorite skirts for about a year was a wrap skirt made of two layers of fabric.  Now, I have another wrap skirt that I wear at least once a week in the summer and the fall.  Riverbend is directly influenced by both those skirts.

Riverbend is also defined by the finishing details of this skirt: there’s a bold fun button in he same color of the wedges (a vintage one harvested from my great-grandmother’s collection), and another vintage button in the main color on the inside.

Riverbend, all finished and on one of my new models – this one being more full-hipped.

Riverbend is a wrap skirt, and sizing makes it super flexible.  The subtle a-line of the skirt makes it great in multiple colors for a summery cover-up for every-day skirt, or do it in solid colors for a more professional look.  The distinctive wedges are created using my special technique to work crochet short rows.  (Keep an eye out, there’s a class on that with Interweave coming soon!)  The ribbed fabric gives it a bit of a sexy silhouette – it hugs the hips just a bit before flaring out.  Unlike my original sketch, which had the skirt looking a lot more full, math and practicality made the finished project a little bit less flared.

Riverbend, on my model that’s a bit less full-hipped, you can see the difference in the way the skirt hangs.

Riverbend is currently available in the newest issue of Crochetscene 2015.  You can check out it, and my other three patterns, in the issue!  Also check out my Ravelry page, where you can read my personal notes and the stats about the time I spent on this project!

Crochetscene 2015: Bow Wrap

Bow Wrap from Interweave Crochetscene 2015 by Jennifer Raymond

Photo Credit: Interweave/Harper Point Photography

My original sketch for the design proposal.

They say that copying is the highest form of flattery.  While I’m not quite sure that’s true, this piece is directly inspired by a cute little miniature wrap I saw on a small child last winter.  While I wouldn’t be surprised if the little girl’s version was more complicated, I immediately thought that I’d wear her wrap, in an adult size.  Bow Wrap was then put in my brain’s back pocket, until I submitted the idea to Crochetscene.

As I mentioned on Monday, when I was working on proposing these designs for Crochetscene, I was also coming off of working on a few projects in finer yarn, and I knew that I wanted something a little bit more sized up.  Bow Wrap is made holding two yarns together, but you could easily substitute for a bulkier yarn with similar results.  Holding the two yarns together creates a cushy, stretchy and warm ribbed fabric.  The ribbed fabric is created by working crochet through the back loop.

The “gather” is made in a contrast color, with a single yarn held together.  I toyed with the idea of creating another version of this, in a sparkly yarn or fastening some glittery pin over top of the gather, for some added class and interest.  Well, I may yet make a second version!

Bow Wrap from Crochetscene 2015

I love the look of the textured stitches, and the way the wrap drapes over the shoulders!

There’s two things I think that make Bow Wrap stand out as a project.  The first is simplicity: Bow Wrap is essentially made up of two squares – the magic happens in the seaming.

 

Bow Wrap by Jennifer Raymond

Wear over the neck and shoulders to keep out the chill!

 

The second thing I love about Bow Wrap is the styling options.  It can be worn like it’s featured in the magazine, but it can also be worn a few other ways!  I had fun taking pictures of a couple of different styling options.

 

Bow Wrap by Jennifer Raymond

Wear it like a traditional cowl, with the “gather” in the back

Bow Wrap can be found in the latest issue of Crochetscene 2015, or on Interweave’s website.  For more information and notes about my sample, you can read about it in my Bow Wrap pattern page.

Crochetscene 2015: Crossed Arrow Vest

Photo Credit: Interweave/Harper Point Photography

This week I’m focusing on my three patterns released in Crochetscene 2015!  I had the honor of getting all three of my design submissions accepted – and it was so exciting to work on these three designs.  Today I’m focusing on Crossed Arrow, a Hunger-Games inspired vest that’s accessible to beginning crocheters.  With minimal seams and simple shaping, the most challenging part is the edging – and broomstick is an easy skill to learn!

My Sketch for Crossed Arrow

I had the concept of how the vest was put together from the start; although my drawn picture here only gives you a little bit of an idea.  I had been immersed in the future/punk look of a few different shows, and I had just come off of a bunch of fine work in both knitting and crochet – I was ready for a bulky vest that worked up quickly and looked a lot more complicated than it was.  Crossed Arrow was the result.

I’d also been wanting to create a couple of pieces featuring things like broomstick – things that would introduce crocheters to the skill without making the whole project about the skill.

I love that Crossed Arrow is simple – the vast majority of the project is single crochets through the back loop.  Occasionally you crochet to create an armhole, and in the beginning and the end you work increases or decreases for the neckline.  But mostly?  It’s just using one of the foundation stitches of crochet to a really great effect.

Hairpin lace edging on Crossed Arrow

Hairpin lace edging on Crossed Arrow

For me, it’s the details of the piece that make it – specifically, the broomstick lace edging.  Look at the picots!  Look how the rest over the edges!

Crossed Arrow is currently available in print or online in Crochetscene 2015.  You can also read my more personal notes about the pattern on Ravelry.

Resources for Teaching Children Fiberarts

child learning to knit

Learning Fiberarts!

This marks the end of the first weeks of the camps I’m running with Montgomery College, and I’m wrapping up one of my cornerstone camps, String Theory.  String Theory is a sampler camp: giving the children a taste of spinning, weaving, sewing and knitting.  The hope is, at the end of the camp, students will have found something they’re interested in, and pursue it further.  I thought it’d be helpful to have a reference post of resources for children – and ongoing fiberarts learning.

Sewing

Knitting

Weaving

learning to weave

Learning to Weave

  • Kid’s Weaving is where it’s at.  It’s one of the only book that is weaving and geared toward children, and it’s solid.
  • You Can Weave is older, and harder to find, but a good resource.

 

3 Essential Rules to Work on Granny Square Crochet Blankets

Tomorrow morning I’ll be winging off our a week long vacation with my family in Alaska, and then I’ll return to quickly packing up for three weeks of summer camps in Rockville, MD.  So I’ve been trying to wrap up a few long-term finishing projects.

Sometime soon I’m going to write a post on how to properly finish off a granny-square blanket so it doesn’t fall apart in 30 years. (Or really, any blanket for that matter.)  Still, it seems like all I’ve been doing lately is repairing granny squares.

It’s meditative work at the best of times, and dead boring at the worst.  I normally like to put on a book-tape or podcast and crank out the repairs.  This time around I took a few photos to share, and decided to add my 3 rules of working on granny square blankets.

Granny Square blanket with split seams

The first blanket, featured above, had two major places it was broken: the last row of the square didn’t have its ends woven in, and I needed to rework the last row and reattach.

Rule #1: Properly weaving in ends is essential in a blanket that you want to last.  Crocheting over them doesn’t cut it.

Repairing hole in Granny Square Blanket

Repairing hole in Granny Square Blanket

As a corollary to Rule #1, the closer an end is to the center, the more stress it takes.  REALLY weave in the ends at the center of a blanket.

Which brings me to my next rule.

Rule #2: include care instructions when you give a blanket to someone.  Don’t expect them to know how to care for the blanket and the fibers!

Let me show you some examples:

Center of granny square lost of love

Center of granny square lost of love

Slowly adding back the center of the Granny Square

Slowly adding back the center of the Granny Square

Granny square center replaced!

Granny square center replaced!

All the black that's  not a

All the black that’s not a “frame” for the granny square is replaced & repaired.

The blanket above is one that’s been well loved, but also subjected to light and heat damage.  The fibers are very very delicate, and I’m working to repair the largest holes so this can be gently loved again. Still, proper care of textiles can extend their life a hundredfold.

Finally, my last rule.

Rule #3: REALLY, REALLY weave in your ends.  Seriously.  Nearly 80% of the granny square repairs I do is in places where they ends have come unraveled, instead of the fibers degrading.  Weave in the ends.  Use a sharp needle.  Skim them in.

Are there things you can think of to extend the life of your afghans?  What are they?

Now available: Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs!

Matryoshka Baskets from Crochet World

I’ve been really enjoying playing with padded crochet lately, if you haven’t noticed.  Last year with Crochet World I published the Matryoshka Baskets, and this past week my Rag-ety Rug came out.  Now, this week I have another wonderful piece of news to share with you!

Remember how a couple of months ago I talked about filming classes with Interweave?  Well, the first of them are out, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Let me tell you about the class.

Titled Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs with Jennifer Raymond, this class covers all you’d need to know in order to make Stained Glass Rug.  While the pattern by itself stands alone, you do need a basic understanding of padded crochet to make the project work.

With my online class, not only do I show you the basics of padded crochet, but I also show you all my tricks I developed and learned while making the rug.  You’ll learn the best ways of finishing off your cord, the easiest ways to join the motifs, and how to adapt the pattern for other purposes.

Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs

Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs

As I mentioned before, this class focuses around Stained Glass Rug, which was featured on KDTV’s episode 1409. I love this pattern.  It’s infinitely customizable, as you can make the rug as large or small as you want it.  The padded crochet makes the rug both cushy under the feet, durable, and the project works up really fast!  There’s plenty of room for color play, in the form of using up scraps, creating color blocks, or making magic balls to use.  And I love how, just worked in the yarn I used for the original project, each piece looks a little bit like the stained glass you see in churches.

Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs with Jennifer Raymond is available for pre-ordering as a DVD, or you can download it right now onto your computer.

You should checkout the preview:

Have you ever worked padded crochet? What do you think of the preview?

Padded Crochet Tutorial

Padded Crochet Tutorial

In honor of Rag-ety Rug coming out this week from Crochet World, and my recent post about it coming out, I thought it was appropriate to finally post this tutorial, which I’ve been saving for quite a while.

What you’ll need:

  • A crochet hook
  • Some scrap yarn
  • Rags, upholstery cord, or something else nice and thick but flexible to crochet over.  Bulky yarn would work too.

A bit about padded crochet: this technique originally was used to crochet around thicker yarn to create different motifs.  It gives you a lot of flexibility because you don’t have to crochet into the previous row, you can also just crochet around your material.  You see this technique often used in  Irish Crochet.

To begin, work a foundation chain, and work single crochets into the chain.  This can be any width, as we’re working a practice swatch.  After you’ve finished those two rows, you begin by adding in your cord/rag/yarn.  You’ll be crocheting around it much like you do when you’re burying an end into your crochet work, except this will be much larger.

Adding in your cord/rag/yarn

Adding in your cord/rag/yarn

Begin by holding your cord/rag/yarn above the last row you worked.

Joining Yarn around padded crochet

Joining Yarn around padded crochet

In this case, I’m also joining the yarn for this row.  Insert your hook into the last stitch of the previous row, and draw up your yarn.

Attaching yarn, Padded Crochet, Step 2

Chain one, securing yarn around the cord/rag/yarn.  I like to hold my tail together with my working yarn for this first stitch, or no other reason than it makes me feel better, and makes me feel like things are more secure.  I’ve got no proof, though.

Begin working Single Crochets around cord/rag/yarn

Begin working Single Crochets around cord/rag/yarn

Now, begin working your crochet stitches into the stitch of the previous row, working the yarn around the cord/rag/yarn.  In this case, I’m working a variant of the v-stitch.

Some tips:

  • Make sure you’re letting your stitches lie flat.  If you make them tight, they’ll bunch up your cord/rag/yarn.
  • Every once and a while check to make sure that your piece is laying flat.  Because the cord/rag/yarn that you’re working over has a tendency to shift around, it can make things pucker, draw tighter or looser.  I like to measure ever few rows.
  • When you have to add more cord, there’s a few ways you can do it.  In my case, I sewed on my rags together, because it was a bit more tidy.  You can also just hold the end of one rag and the beginning of another together.
  • Make sure if you’re using rags they’re the same width, so your rug doesn’t have a lumpy look, or have irregular rows (unless that’s the effect you’re going for)!
Measure, measure, measure!

Measure, measure, measure!

Have you every worked padded crochet?  How’d it turn out?  What was the project?

New Pattern: Rag-ety Rug, a Padded Crochet Project

Rag-ety Rug by Jennifer Raymond

Rag-ety Rug, a Padded Crochet Project

I’m proud to announce that Rag-ety Rug, my pattern with Crochet World Magazine’s August 2015 issue, is officially out.  (Yes, I know it’s only June.  I’m not quite sure how Annie’s works their release schedule, but even though it’s June, you should be able to start finding the magazine on shelves in the next few weeks).

Rag-ety Rug uses one of my new favorite crochet techniques, padded crochet.  Like Stained Glass Rug and Matryoshka Baskets, Rag-ety Rug uses padded crochet.  Normally padded crochet is worked with smaller items (like in Irish Crochet Lacework), but I like to use padded crochet to make more modern, exploded lace pieces.

Rag-ety Rug was mostly worked on during a vacation to Atlantic Beach with Mr. Turtle’s Parent’s.  It seemed rather fitting: this rug, worked with denim scraps, fits in perfectly with beach decor.  The varied blues of the different denim scraps seemed to echo the blues of the ocean.

walking on Atlantic Beach in January

Walking on Atlantic Beach in January

There is a meditative quality to this rug, as each row the “v-stitch” nests into the following row.  I loved watching the rug gradually grow.  The cotton in the rug is from Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream line, in a color called Stone Wash.  It was a perfect pairing for the denim.

Padded Crochet Rug from Annie's Crochet World

Rag-ety Rug, done in Padded Crochet, detail shot.

In my original pitch I imagined this rug in rainbow colors, for a children’s room or for someone who loves color.  I think it’d be fun to play around with textures too: perhaps with prints or strips or plaid?  The possibilities are endless!

What colors would you work this rug in?

My Easy Finishing Technique for Weaving in Bulky Yarn

Techniques for Weaving In Really Bulky Yarn

Today we have a quick little blog post that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but haven’t quite gotten around to!  I thought it’d be the perfect thing to start out our week: a tutorial on weaving in really bulky yarns.  I think it’s a helpful finishing technique for both knitting and crochet.

What am I going to be talking about? Well, weaving in ends.  Now, I know weaving in ends isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I totally understand.  It’s one of the reasons I offer finishing services.  But for those of you who like to sweat the details, weaving in ends can be an important part of finishing a project.

Today’s little tutorial is specifically about weaving in really bulky yarns, which can be hard to pull through the fabric.  Now, this trick only works for plied yarns, but it’s a nice thing to have in your arsenal.

Onward!

  1. First, we’re going to want to take the tail that we plan to weave in above.  See how it’s plied together – that is, it’s got multiple strands all twined around each other?  We’re going to separate those out.  You’ll want to do it by twisting the yarn in the opposite direction it’s twisted together, so the individual strands start standing out from one another.  Once you’ve got one you can grab, pull it from it’s neighbors, until you’ve got them all separated like this:
    Yarn separated out into it's individual plies.

    Yarn separated out into it’s individual plies.

  2. Now that you’ve got the plies separated out, get a sharp-pointed needle and thread one of the plies onto the needle.  Like this:
    Thread one of the plies onto a sharp needle to weave in the end of the yarn.

    Thread one of the plies onto a sharp needle to weave in the end of the yarn.

  3. Make sure the other ends are out of the way, and now, weave in the end.  Do the same with the other strands of the yarn.
    Nearly there: All but one end woven in!

    Nearly there: All but one end woven in!

  4. Finally, trim your ends away as close as you can to your project without cutting anything.
    Trim your ends away, and admire your work! You've finished weaving in your ends!

    Trim your ends away, and admire your work!

 

Do you have a favored method of weaving in ends, or a finishing technique that you love to share with others?  Tell me about it in the comments!  I love hearing from you!

Tinking Turtle’s Summer Camps: Knitting, Crochet, Sewing and More!

young child learning to sew

Sewing with Next Step Needlecraft from Tinking Turtle Designs

It’s that time of year again: the weather is warming (despite all the rain we’ve had this week), and on my walk this morning, I found the first delicious blackberries.  It’s summertime – and it won’t be long now until school wraps up and those hot days will be around the corner.  It won’t be long until Tinking Turtle’s Craft Summer Camps start!

For me, this means a shift in Tinking Turtle’s focus: I’m beginning to get ready for the summer camps that I’ll be running.  They’re one of my favorite parts of the year.

You see, way back before Tinking Turtle was a name written on a piece of paper, before I’d even dreamed up my first pair of socks, I was a camp counselor at Chimney Corners Camp.  I’ve talked about CCC (as it’s known to campers and alumni alike) before: it’s the place where I met my longtime friend Becca, and where Mr. Turtle proposed to me.  CCC’s been a huge part of my development as a person – not only personally, but professionally as well.  CCC was the place I taught my first students: figuring out how to break down knitting, crochet, embroidery and cross stitch to campers aged eight to fourteen.  I was only about seventeen myself, and I had very little clue what I was doing, but I figured out.

Since then, I’ve continued to love working and crafting with children.  I worked as a nanny for many, many years, and last year I ran the camp String Theory through Montgomery College.  It was a hit and a blast, and this year I’m adding to the lineup with two new classes: Next Step Needlecraft and Knockout Punch Rug Needlework.  Let me tell you a bit about the classes:

String Theory is my flagship class, now in it’s second year.  It’s a variety introduction to needlework

young girls showing off their finished knit mitts

Finished knitted mitts from String Theory!

and crafting for both boys and girls ages 8-12.  Campers learn how to knit a fingerless mitts (or two!), sew and decorate a project bag, learn to process, card and spin fiber, and the basics of how to dye wool.  This year we’re offering three sessions: 7/20 – 7/24 from 1-4 pm, 7/27 – 7/31 from 1-4 pm, and 8/3 – 8/7 from 9 – 12 pm.  You can click on the links to find out more and signup!

Because we received such a great response to String Theory, we’ve added Next Step Needlecraft.  Intended for campers who loved String Theory and want to learn more, or for older students looking to learn some more interesting crafts, it’s a great next step.  Students learn how to crochet, how to spin yarn, the basics of needle felting, and how to create stunning punch rug pieces.  This class is meant to sink students’ teeth into needlecrafts you don’t get exposed to nearly anywhere else.  This year I’m offering two sessions: 7/20 – 7/24 from 9-12 pm, and 8/3 – 8/7 from 1-4 pm.

 

My last class: Knockout Punch Rug Needlework is a very focused class.  Unlike the other two camps which focus on variety, this one dials down into the art of rug making.  In this class students will have a lot more independence to learn, plan and execute one, if not two projects.  This class focuses on giving students the independence to decide and plan their own projects, and my help to make them a reality.  We’ve got just one session of this camp, so if it sounds like something your child would enjoy, make sure to sign up as soon as possible. Knockout Punch Rugs will run 7/27 – 7/31 from 9 – 12 pm.

Child learning to knit with multicolored yarn

Learning to Knit in String Theory

If you’re looking for a great crafting camp for the summer, these camps are for you.  Don’t have children of your own?  Tell your friends about these camps.  Teaching kids crafts improves dexterity, problem solving and creativity – and preserves these traditions for the next generation.

Let me know what you think about the camps – and what other crafts I should look at adding to the repertoire!