Month: March 2020

March Round Up

March Round Up

Spring Crocheting at it’s finest

I’m not even friends with March anymore. What a month and a half! Perhaps one day I’ll forgive her, but not any time soon. This has been the most stressful, terrifying, saddest, “holy shit!” of a month I’ve had in a long time. I bet I’m not the only one who feels this way, either.

At least the yarn was good. Yarn tends to make the bad not quite as bad as it could be. Allow me to try to brighten your day a little with these lovely pictures for our March Round Up. Keep your chin up. We’re not finished yet.

This Dazzle Hat really, well, dazzled me. I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off; I’m not half the knitter I am crocheter and I had never done German short rows before. But behold! It worked. Awesome 🙂

Sweet Batilda is the second bat I’ve crocheted from this pattern, and I love her. So does everyone else, it seems. I highly recommend this pattern!

The Prismatic Hat has been in my favorites for a good long time. I do have a weakness for Chroma, especially in fingering weight. See those colors? Crocheting this hat was so soothing, like crocheting little pieces of the ocean, which is fitting as the colorway is called “Fathoms.”

I updated both Leyla’s Hat and Leyla’s Mitts. The patterns have the new stylesheet, better pictures, more info, and are easier to read and follow. If you grab yourself a copy, tell me what you think!

Y’all. I crocheted bunnies for Easter and then turned right around and crocheted some dicks. I’m not even sorry.

Becoming an independent contractor for WeCrochet has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. They send me FREE YARN!! And I write patterns, and test patterns, which is like a dream come true. Every time I open a box, it’s the best day ever 

I finished this set of Maracas Bowls for the CAL in the Ravelry group, and have another almost finished. I will never ever ever get tired of playing with Dishie and making new bowls in new styles.

I sent out all the St. Patrick’s Day stuff earlier this month. This was before we all knew March 2020 was going to crash and burn. They were well received though, and I sure had a great time making them. Maybe next year we’ll all be able to congregate again and have a St. Pat’s party!

Besides all this...

I guess it’s been okay, really. Social distancing means we actually DON’T have somewhere to rush off to each day, so that’s really nice. The kids are staying in touch with their friends through Messenger for Kids, Zoom rooms, and Minecraft. I’m drinking a lot of coffee and playing with a LOT of yarn! I put up a blog post on blocking, we’ve got a CAL for Maracas Bowls on Ravelry that’s closing up and new CAL about to begin, and I released a new FREE pattern, SUNday.

If you’re crafty, I’d love to see what you’re doing! Are you crocheting, knitting, dyeing, spinning, weaving, painting, beading, sewing? How are you handling staying in for the time being? Comment and let us know! You can even link us to your blog or social media so we can all support each other. As always, if you’ve found value in this post, please tweet, pin, share. Every little action from you helps me out tremendously ♥

SUNday FREE PATTERN!

SUNday FREE PATTERN!

FREE crochet pattern

Sunday Collage

SUNday is a cheerful sunny scarf, and just what we all need to hurry Spring on her way. Crocheted lace is one of my favorite springtime indulgences. This stitch pattern, worked on the bias, offers interest during crocheting and produces a naturally scalloped edge. Worked in WeCrochet’s Upcycle Alpaca, a drapey DK weight, the alpaca makes it nice and soft, while the silk and Tencel give it a gorgeous sheen. This one-skein scarf is a quick project, so why not make two and gift the second to a very special person in your life!

You can get a .pdf version of this pattern for just $1.99 on Ravelry. This makes it easily printable so you can take it with you, and it helps support me in the writing of even more patterns. Even if you don’t purchase the .pdf, please go rate it for me!

If you love this pattern, check out some of my other FREE patterns, as well as my Ravelry shop.

A little info

Stitches:  Ch, sl st, beg V-st (ch 4, DC) V-st (DC, ch 1, DC) W-st (DC, ch 1, DC ch 1, DC)

Yarn:  200 yards DK (WeCrochet’s Upcycle Alpaca, alpaca/silk/Tencel, 1 skein)

Hook:  H

Sizes:  Approx. 5” wide x 62” long, unblocked (if you use a whole skein of Upcycle Aplaca)

 

Gauge:  3 V-sts x 3 rows = 2” approx.

 

Notes:  Ch 4 in beg V-st counts as (DC, ch1) and ch 3 at the beginning for row 3 counts as a DC.

Let's get hookin'!

Pattern:

Ch 32

Row 1) V-st in 5th ch from hook, *sk 2 chs, V-st in next ch* eight times, sk 2 chs, W-st in last ch. Ch 1. Turn.   = 9 V-sts

Row 2) Sl in 1st ch-1 sp, beg V-st in same ch-1 sp, V-st in each ch-1 sp to end. Ch 1. Turn.  = 11 V-sts

Row 3) Sl in 1st ch-1 sp, ch 3, *V-st in next ch-1 sp* to last ch-1 sp, W-st in last ch-1 sp. Ch 1. Turn.  = 9 V-sts

Repeat rows 2-3 until desired length or until you run out of yarn. Finish off. Weave in ends.

Yup, that’s literally the whole entire thing. Wasn’t that the most enjoyable and stress-free little piece of crochet you’ve ever done? Now you’re ready to spring in style! I hope you’ve enjoyed this pattern. I’d love to see your finished scarf! Share your project on social media with the hashtag #RowsAndRosesSUNday so we can all see how you’ve made it your own! As always, if you have any questions, just ask. I’m easy to find 🙂

Blocking Finished Items

Blocking Finished Items

The whys and the hows

I’m sure that we’ve all seen some handmade items that, well… left much to be desired. It’s not the yarn. The yarn is gorgeous! And it’s not the pattern. We can see pictures of other items made by different people using the same pattern, and they are remarkable. However,  perhaps the one in front of us just doesn’t seem right. Sloppy? Is that the right word? Could it be that the gauge is off? Or maybe it looks more like what you would consider a “rough draft” would look like. 

I bet I know why this beautiful item, knitted or crocheted by a talented fiberartist who knows what they’re doing, in the most scrumptious yarn, fails to impress. I bet it’s due to a shoddy blocking job, or perhaps it hasn’t been blocked at all! So we’re going to talk about blocking today. See that picture above, with the colorful top next to the black top? That is the exact same top. Same yarn, same size. The colorful one has been blocked, and the black one has not (yet.)

A Big Difference

Take a look at the picture on the left. This gorgeous doily was crocheted by a very talented fiber artist on Ravelry (click the pic to see her project.) She did an amazing job crocheting it, and then lovingly and painstakingly blocked it, pinning all the little points and scallops. Isn’t it amazing?!

But look at the difference between the top slice and the bottom slice. See how the top slice looks bunched up? That’s before blocking. And the lacy and open bottom slice is after.

Just imagine if they had left this gorgeous doily unblocked. Would it ever have laid flat? Could you even see all the special stitches and lacy spaces there toward the center? The points and loops on the outer edge wouldn’t even be noticeable! The stitches for them are, but you can’t see them. THIS is why we block. Maybe not so much for things like dish cloths or mittens, but for anything with a stitch pattern, yes, you really should block it.

Getting your Block On

Just so that you are aware, blocking is not a difficult thing to do. It does, however, take some supplies, and usually a good bit of time if you’re going to do it right. See these three pictures on the right? They show the transition from a bunched up swatch of yarn, to the blocking mat, and finally to the absolutely stunning shawl that this artist knew they were making all along. I’m sure it took a lot of faith in the magic of blocking to continue on knitting this lace shawl when the whole time it was looking like the top picture!

So let’s get ready to do some blocking! 

Then first thing you’ll need is something to block your item on. Some people, like me, have special blocking mats we like to use. They are made of dense foam, and they interlock to form a surface as big as you need. The middle picture here shows interlocking blocking mats. The ones I have are smaller, and I have two sets so that I can put together a mat for unusual designs, such as crescent or asymmetrical shawls

You’ll also need some rust-resistant pins, and if you’re blocking lace, some blocking wires. I just use guitar strings.

You’re going to soak your item in a warm bath for a little while, then squeeze or spin as much of the water out of it as you can. Block damp, not saturated! Lay your item out on the blocking mat in the form it should be when it dries. Pin it liberally, taking care to get all the little points. There are never too many pins when you’re blocking a piece! Once you’ve pulled it out into the correct shape and pinned it, let it dry and you’re good to go!

It's Not Just for Lace!

While blocking is, of course, necessary for lace projects in order to open them up, I am a firm believer that a good blocking equals a better finished, more polished piece of knitting or crochet. This before/after of a sweater shows how even cables can benefit from a good blocking. 

Blocking helps any item go from “homemade” to “handmade” and is the final touch that I would encourage you to add to all of your projects.

Are you first time blocker, looking to give it a try? Show us! I’m dying to see how it goes for you. I bet you’ll love it, and will block from now on. Share your before/after pics on social media and hashtag them #RowsAndRosesBlocking so we can all see your masterpiece! And as always, if you have found value in anything set forth in this blog post, please consider sharing, pinning, tweeting, or otherwise helping to get it out there for others to use ♥

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