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Plant Rooting Jars made with Crochet

I’ve set Rebecca’s sweater and sleeves aside until I have the space to give it more thought – hopefully this weekend when we’re going to be at the farm and have the inlaws around.  Instead I’ve embarked on another project that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while.  I’ve wanted a set of rooting jars to hang up in front of the window.  My sister has a model similar to this one from Vermont Nature Creations.  I’d intended to purchase one like it for a while, but always seem to have something better to spend my money on.  Meanwhile I don’t have anything to root my plants in that my cats can’t get to.

Well, that’s a lie. I have some winebottles held in socks that are hanging from a curtain rod, but they aren’t very sightly.

The beginnings of a crochet lace circleSo this weekend I’ve gotten busy with some crochet.

I started with a magic circle, size three crochet thread and a steel crochet hook (don’t ask me the size) and worked like this:

Round 1: 24 dc.

Round 2: V-stitch in every other stitch, 12 V stitches.

Round 3: 3 double crochets in each V stitch, with a chain in between each grouping.

Round 4, 5 and 6: Let’s rock the granny square pattern!

Round 7: Granny square pattern without the chains in between.  This is when i slip the bottle into the crochet piece, and the following rows are worked around the bottle… which is a pain, let me tell you.crochet lace around spice jar

Round 8: Only two double crochets in each of the spaces between the groups.

Round 9: a single crochet in each of the spaces between the clusters.

And then finally a chain to hang by: 60 chain stitches for the bottom two hanging, 100 chain stitches for the top one to hang off the railing.  Each of these little things takes me about 45 minutes – so they’re quite satisfying!

I decided that it was a good idea to only hang three in a row, since I don’t want them to hang too low… and I was concerned about how much weight a single row of chain stitches could take.  I mean, each of the jars doesn’t weigh that much… but I didn’t want to push my luck.

rooting jars before window

This is the final result – I love the way the sun streams through the stitches.  You can see in the background the original prototype of wine bottles in socks. The wine bottles in socks were nixed because the wine bottle with the water in it is quite heavy, and I’m not sure I want those hanging there long term.  I suppose I could have crocheted around a wine bottle, but that’s a lot of crocheting.

New Classes at Dances With Wool

wwl-allIt’s always exciting when a new yarn store comes to the area – what yarns are they going to carry?  So it was super exciting when a few months ago Debbie Floyd, the owner of Dances with Wool, got in contact with me.  She was opening a new yarn store in Midlothian, VA.  And she wanted to talk to me about classes.

I’m so excited about this new yarn store to the Richmond VA area, especially as the Knitting Basket is closing.  While I haven’t been by the store since they had their opening, what I did see was a store focused on good quality yarn, beautiful patterns, community and classes.

Starting in November I’ll be teaching a Skill Building class focused around my pattern, Wild Wood Leaves.  It’s a crib blanket with options of three different sizes, and is currently only available if you take the class.  The wonder of this series of classes is you can take the entire series of eight (and get a discount on all of them) or pick and choose which ones you need the most.

The classes are as follows:

  • Week 1, Nov. 2, 6-7 pm – Reading Patterns, Knits and Purls (middle left panel)
  • Week 2, Nov. 9, 6-7 pm – Increases, Decreases and Yarn Overs, Beginning Lace (bottom left panel)
  • Week 3, Nov. 16, 6-7 pm – Color Work With Duplicate Stitch (bottom right panel)
  • Week 4, Nov. 30, 6-7 pm – Color Work With Intarsia (middle right panel)
  • Week 5, Dec. 7, 6-7 pm – Beginning Cables (top left panel)
  • Week 6, Dec. 14, 6-7 pm – Slip Stitches (top right panel)
  • Week 7, Jan. 4, 6-7 pm – Bringing It All Together with Seaming and Finishing (all)
  • Week 8, Jan. 11, 6-7 pm – Picking Up Stitches and Borders (all)

You can sign up for the classes here.

I can’t wait to begin teaching locally again!  I’ve missed being able to do it since Rebecca was born, and I’m so pleased to be able to spend time with students while establishing good foundational knitting skills.

You should also check out Dances with Wool!

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Sock Yarn Shawls II Review & Contest

picture of a POC wearing a lace shawl on cover of book by Jen LucasJen Lucas is a designer I’ve been aware of for a while.  How could I not know about her stunning shawl patterns?  We also, if you haven’t noticed, had the same name, and I generally keep an eye on the other designer’s with the name of Jennifer – call it a sense of kindred names.

Recently I got my hands on Jen Lucas’ newest book: Sock-Yarn Shawls II: 16 Patterns for Lace Knitting.  I’ve spent the last two weeks with the book, reviewing patterns and sinking my teeth into the book, and I wanted to share my thoughts here.

First off, the book is gorgeous.  The clean and simple lines mean the focus is really on the patterns.  The book’s model is also a POC, which is wonderful: all too often in the knitting world the models are of western descent.

The book is divided into three sections: Small Shawls (featuring 6 designs), Midsize Shawls (featuring 7 designs), and Large Shawls (featuring 3 designs).  While I would have liked one more larger shawl, I also have to admit that the larger shawls feature a LOT of knitting.  And several of the Midsize Shawls could have extra repeats to make them bigger.  Overall, I think the spread and sample size is fairly balanced.

Sunburst

It is now time to declare my bias: I tend to prefer shawls that are solid most of the way through, with a lace edging.  Allover lace patterns, while lovely, aren’t generally my cup ‘o tea, but I understand some people love them.  My favorite patterns ended up being Sunburst, Earth and Sky, and Floe.  Still, the Lycopod, which is the pattern on the cover, is also gorgeous, and I’d think about modifying the shawl to suit my tastes.

I love the amount of variability in shape and construction the shawls have.  I also love how closely Jen’s color taste aligns with my own.  I also love how each pattern has some good close-up shots of the lace, to give you a really good sense of how the lace flows and looks.

On a last note, how approachable is this book to someone who has never done a lace shawl before?

The book has a lovely introduction on managing stitch markers (a must for lace knitting!).  I do wish there’d been a mention of lifelines, considering there’s a few different shawls I’d be tempted to use them on.  However, lifelines are sometimes hard to explain concisely in pictures, so I could see how there might have been a page limit.  There’s also an excellent pictorial reference section, with good pictures on knitting a garter lace tab, and a few other helpful tutorials when working with lace.  Some of the smaller shawls would definitely be approachable to beginners, and you could build on that success.

Sock Yarn Shawls II is available for sale on Amazon as both a physical book and an e-book.  It is also available as a Ravelry Download.  If you love lace, you should pick it up!

And as an extra-special reward, I’m running a contest where one of you will receive a free copy of Jen’s book!  Just enter the Rafflecopter widget below!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Handmade vs. “Just Passing”: the Story of my Lace Souvenirs

My family and I spent the last two weeks in the Mediterranean.  It was my first time going, and it was a wonderful time.  Perhaps one of the things I’m most excited about is the additions I made to my lace collection.  There’s 4 pieces total, one crochet, and one Burano traditional needle lace.

The crochet my parents got for me in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It features Fillet crochet
and pineapple motifs.
The other pieces I acquired was in Florence, on the island of Burano, which is known for it’s colored houses, and it’s lace.  I fell completely in love with Florence, and especially Burano.
Shopping for lace in Burano was an interesting experience.  The shops we went into on the main drag were – frustrating for me.  I was told as I walked in that all lace was “handmade.”  I found this a frustrating experience, because I can te

ll the difference between handworked and machine (at least when it came to this example of embroidery).  I’m afraid I got a very angry look on my face and dragged my brother, who was with me, out of the store.

He then very patiently listened as I ranted for about 10 minutes, and cooled off.  After that we were much more selective in the stores we went into, until I found one that was authentic.
It was worth it to wait.  I got to meet the owner, who spoke maybe 10 words of English.  I spoke about 5 words of Italian, and enough Spanish (which linguistically, is similar enough that I could limp along) to make my interests known.  Once I pulled out the knitting, she understood that I knew about the work that went into the lace, and she started pulling out the “good stuff.”

The lace was full of traditional motifs and beautiful embroidery and work.  I ended up getting 3 different sized doilies, and I couldn’t be happier.

For me, it was important to know that the crafts and the lace were the real thing – because I hate when something that isn’t handworked is “passed.”  In an age where most people are unfamiliar with the traditional crafts, it’s important to me that people’s hard work be appreciated for what it is.

Time Travler

Time Traveler released early last week, but I’m only now getting to talk and share it with you!  It’s a pattern based off of a historical knitting pattern (which is a secret love of mine).  But, I digress!  Let me give you the deets:

Time Traveler
by Jennifer Raymond

Published in: Sockupied, Fall 2014
Craft: Knitting
Category: Feet / Legs → Socks → Mid-calf
Published: July 2014
Suggested yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock
Yarn weight: Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi)
Gauge: 32 stitches and 46 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
Needle size: US 0 – 2.0 mm
Yardage: 400 yards (366 m)
Sizes available: 7 (8½, 9½)” (18 [21.5, 24] cm) foot circumference and 8½ (9¾, 10¾)” (21.5 [25, 27.5] cm) long from back of heel to tip of toe; foot length is adjustable.

Jennifer updated a stitch pattern from a vintage book to create a new twist in simple lace socks. The zigzag effect is found in many vintage patterns, but also feels right at home in these everyday socks.

Buy Here: http://www.interweavestore.com/sockupied-fall-2014-emag-for-mac-and-pc

New Pattern: Larkin


Larkin

by Jennifer Raymond

Published in:  Homestead by Classic Elite Yarns
Craft: Knitting
Category: Sweater → Pullover
Published: March 2014
Yarns suggested: Classic Elite Yarns Meadowlark
Yarn weight: Worsted / 10 ply (9 wpi) Information on yarn weights
Gauge: 17 stitches and 25 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch
Needle size: US 8 – 5.0 mm
Yardage: 550 – 990 yards (503 – 905 m)
Sizes available: XS (S, M, L, XL)

This pattern is available for $6.00 USD
 buy it now or   visit pattern website
A pullover with lace patterning on the front, pleated sleeve caps, and a no-finish round neckline.

Skill Level: Experienced

Sizes: XS (S, M, L, XL). Shown in size XS.

Finished Measurements: Bust: 32 (36, 42½, 45, 48)”
Length: 23 (24, 25, 25¾, 26¾)”

Yarn: Meadowlark by Classic Elite Yarns (50% silk, 30% linen, 20% viscose; 50 g = 110 yards) 5 (6, 7, 8, 9) hanks 1554 Aquamarine

Other Materials 
Stitch markers
Removable markers or safety pins
Sewing pins

Gauge
17 sts and 25 rows = 4” in St st and Flame patt from
charts. Take time to save time, check your gauge.

For more information, see: http://www.classiceliteyarns.com/pattern_detail.php?patternID=283

New Pattern: One Salt Sea

by Jennifer Raymond

Published in: Tinking Turtle Designs
Craft: Crochet
Category: Neck / Torso → Scarf
Published: October 2013
Yarns suggested: Three Irish Girls Glenhaven CashMerino Sock
Yarn weight: Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi) Information on yarn weights
Hook size: 3.75 mm (F)
Yardage: 200 – 300 yards (183 – 274 m)
Sizes available: 14″ x 68″, blocked. May be worked longer.

This pattern is available for $5.00 USD

One Salt Sea is a great first hairpin lace project. Each strip that makes the scarf is short and sweet – no marathon strips to join together! If you’ve never done hairpin lace crochet before, don’t worry – this pattern walks you through the whole thing.

This scarf works up quickly – even in sock yarn! Work the strips and join as you go, or wait until the end to join them. It’s a great introduction to hairpin crochet.

Isis Wings

by Jennifer Raymond

Published by: Three Irish Girls
Craft: Knitting
Category: Feet / Legs → Socks → Mid-calf
Published: September 2013
Yarns suggested: Three Irish Girls Glenhaven CashMerino Sock
Yarn weight: Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi)
Gauge: 9 stitches and 14 rows = 1 inch in stockinette or lacework
Needle size: US 1 – 2.25 mm
Yardage: 350 – 420 yards (320 – 384 m)
Sizes available: Women’s Small (3-6), Medium (6-9), Large (8-12)

This pattern is available for download for $5.95.

Isis Wings was created almost three years ago, on a porch in North Carolina. It was summer, which was sock time, and I wanted a pattern that was easily memorize-able while still being interesting. Isis Wings is the result. The socks are worked toe-up with an afterthought heel– one of my favorite ways to work socks. The little fun challenge lies in the yarn overs. Instead of working them like the rest of the stitches, whenever you come across a yarn over from the previous row, you knit it through the back loop, creating a twisted stitch. This pattern is written using the magic loop, though it could easily be worked with dpns or two circular needles.

For More Information, Go Here