Surprisingly, my hands have been very busy lately. I have three projects that are actively in the works – a crochet project, a tunisian crochet project, and a knitting project. Last night, I started designing a wrap to wear to a big charity ball that my husband and I will attend this November. I must admit that I really like how it is turning out so far.
I plan to shimmer and sparkle the night away in this wrap!
I am also working on the Pippi sweater by Marie Wallin (Rowan Holiday Crochet) in some gorgeous yarn that I found at this year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – Sunna (merino, cashmere, silk blend) by Spirit Trail Fiberworks. And lastly, a charity project – my daughter and I have started a knitting and crochet club at her middle school. Our project this year is to make baby sweaters for crisis pregnancy centers in the area. I am working on the Hooded Baby Jacket by Bernat Design Studio.
As you can see, there is lots to keep my hands busy these days! Happy Stitching!
For years, crochet designers have begged and pleaded for an easy-to-use, affordable software solution for crochet charts. Two years ago, Brian Milco, from Stitch Works Software, answered our prayers with the release of Crochet Charts.
“It has been quite a ride! I’ve had a good response from people all around the country and the world. I’ve had sales in 44 US states and territories, and 47 countries on 6 continents. And from them, I’ve had a lot of really good feedback that I’ve tried to incorporate into each subsequent release and into my plans for the future of the software,” explains Brian.
Recently, Brian partnered with Wheat Carr, owner of ItsAllJustString.com, and Tunisian crochet designer Kim Guzman to create a basic stitch library for those of us who enjoy designing with the long hook. “Wheat was the one to suggest the partnership; she facilitated the process and kept us from dropping the ball, even when I had a full schedule,” Brian continues.
The Tunisian crochet stitch library contains a set of 16 basic stitches and is available as a free download for those who already have the Crochet Charts software. “I had Brian’s software from the moment it was introduced. It is a fantastic software and just what the market needed. I have wanted software like this for at least a decade and I felt that the addition of Tunisian crochet symbols would be outstanding,” adds Kim. In fact, Kim recently published Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide, which is the perfect companion for the Crochet Charts Tunisian crochet stitch library. The Tunisian crochet stitch library can be used to create all of the stitch patterns in Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide. Although she was unable to use the software while writing this book, she looks forward to using it in the future.
“[The Tunisian crochet stitch library] would have made writing my book a lot easier. I usually chart my stitch pattern after I’ve finished writing it out. It’s my method of double-checking the written text,” Kim explains. “Something wonderful happened one day when I was working on some designs and I needed to chart them out first. During the charting process, in order to make a nice clean chart, I inadvertently discovered a method that allows you to make Tunisian cables that actually sit up on the fabric instead of embedded inside the fabric. It was a complete fluke. I don’t think I ever would have tried it if I hadn’t been attempting to fill in spaces on the chart. It’s just amazing what happens when you look at something in a different way. With one of my next projects, I have to do a lot of prior planning of extensive cabling. I plan on charting the entire thing before I get started because I love to be able to see the way the project should look before I even start crocheting. It helps me identify and avoid any potential problems, especially with a large project.”
What’s New for Crochet Charts?
Brian has planned several updates to Crochet Charts, which will enhance the functionality of the software. Upcoming features include the ability to change the stitch color for each stitch; the ability to have a grid or round guidelines with a custom number of rows or rounds, and columns; and, improved handling of grouped stitches. In addition, he plans to include support for iPad and Android tablets in the future.
The Tunisian Crochet Evolution Continues
Tunisian crochet has continued to surge in popularity as more and more designers bring fashionable and functional pieces to life and publishers become more willing to share their creations. “[Tunisian crochet] has moments of great attention, but its devotees form a serious sized ‘underground’ of practitioners. What has changed [most, though,] is the support from the equipment manufacturers and distributors,” explains Wheat.
“When I submitted my first three books in Tunisian crochet, I had developed a stitch which hadn’t been readily used in publications in almost a century. I had no idea that it was a different stitch. I thought perhaps I had done something incorrectly. But, with Tunisian crochet, there really is no incorrect way to do stitches. It’s still in its infancy and continues to evolve,” adds Kim.
Surely, the new Tunisian crochet stitch library will help greatly in this evolution. Not only will the library promote a universal language for Tunisian crocheters, it is sure to become an indispensable tool for designers as they strive to produce clear and easily understandable patterns for all of us to enjoy.
I have a bad habit……I usually finish a project and put it in the “to be blocked” pile. I had several projects in the pile and I decided to finish blocking them this week….uuum…..to make some room for my two new Tunisian crochet designs. My craft room is filled with yarn and I keep several projects next to my bed – so, it was time to get a little organized. I should add that for both projects, I bought the yarn during MDSW 2012.
Anyway, the first project is my MDSW sweater, made with some gorgeous worsted weight yarn from creativelydyed. Unfortunately, I altered the pattern to custom fit my body several months ago and I have now lost 61 pounds. I still love the sweater and will just pull it closer to me. It was originally intended to be a “cropped, close-fit” sweater for wearing with jean and such. Well, after blocking and losing weight, this is what it looks like.
The second project is a hat and scarf set made with “Mirabella” by Tess Designer Yarns. The scarf pattern was designed by my dear friend Sharon Silverman and I had extra yarn, so I decided to “freestyle” a matching hat. I have to say that in the middle of June, the hat and scarf are very warm!
Take notes! I wasted nearly an entire week trying to recreate a swatch that I had designed two years ago. If only I had of written down my thoughts after that brilliant (a brief!) moment of stitching genius, I would be working on the design now instead of still swatching. I have lost count of all of the swatches I made and frogged since last week, but hopefully I have it figured out now. I am so looking forward to this design – it’s been on my mind for two years, inspired by the perfect yarn. Fingers crossed – tomorrow I finalize the swatch and block it; Monday’s math day; and, Tuesday, the design starts flying off my hook.
I’ve been walking around all day with hook and skein in hand. I even found a few moments to stop by the new Fibre Space (www.fibrespace.com) location in Old Towne Alexandria, VA. It’s simply beautiful. Dragonfly Fibers (www.dragonflyfibers.com) was there with a great display of their lovely yarns too. I’ve been on a yarn diet (other than MDSW of course!) for months, but I just may have to splurge. “Watermelon Head” is to die for!
I was so afraid that I would not make it to MDSW this year. I have been totally consumed with a project for work – literally worked 85 hours this week – and I was not sure if I could get away for a few hours of yarn paradise. Not to mention, I am so tired and was not sure if I could even walk around to my favorite vendors. Fortunately, everything fell into place, and I was able to spend a couple of hours shopping for some more yummy yarn goodness.
As usual, I blew right through my budget. In fact, I almost spent twice as much as I had planned to spend. But, it was so worth it! I have lots to add to my stash, including:
* Minuet by Dancing Leaf Farm, 2480 yards of superfine alpaca lace yarn
* Hip Hop by Dancing Leaf Farm, 792 yards of merino/cashmere/nylon fingering, Crocus colorway
* Bamboo by Creatively Dyed Yarns, 1000 yards of bamboo lace, Sand colorway
* Sunna by Spirit Train Fiberworks, 1050 yards of merino/cashmere/silk fingering, Smashed Raspberries colorway
* Glenhaven Cashmerino Fingering by Three Irish Girls, 740 yards of merino/cashmere/nylon, Golden Afternoon colorway
* Homage by Shalimar Yarns, 400 yards of merino/cashmere/silk, Byzantium colorway
Well, I guess it’s back to my “stash buster’s” diet. I did work my way through several skeins since last year’s MDSW, so I don’t feel that guilty.
Goodness, I do love the first weekend in May!!!! Happy 40th Anniversary MDSW! Here’s to 40 more!
For the past week, I have been turning that yummy yarn that I bought from Creatively Dyed Yarns at last year’s Maryland Sheep & Wool (MDSW) into a fun and comfy sweater that I can show off at this year’s MDSW. I have been super stressed and had some extra time on my hands since we traveled by car to Florida (from Virginia!) for the funeral of a close family member. Honestly, this yarn has kept me sane over the past week. I am so pleased with my progress too….as I posted a couple of weeks ago, this yarn will be a sweater someday – and, hopefully, sooner rather than later since MDSW is less than one month away. Can’t wait! I already have my wish list in mind.