Monday, October 2, 2017

Planned Pooling with Variegated Yarn

Planned Pooling is the intentional grouping of same colored stitches to create an offset pooled effect. Specifically, in crochet it's used to create an argyle effect.

This is why the previous name of this technique was called Argyle Crochet. I was first introduced to this technique years ago from the book Crochet Dynamite: Argyle Crochet by Jaime Eads Maraia (2013). I purchased it from Amazon, through the kindle store. In her book, she outlines the technique of purposely crocheting tighter or looser in order to get the correct color portion of the multi-colored yarn in the correct place. Here is a picture of my original swatch done from her book:

She used single crochet stitches, and it was really fiddly and difficult to get the colors to line up where you wanted them to. This technique was originally invented/used in knitting, which is where Jaime got her idea I believe. Then, in the last year or so, it came roaring back into fashion using the moss stitch instead of the single crochet stitch. The first picture posted above is the swatch I made using the moss stitch.

Now hopefully, you can see the improvement in the technique. Lines are crisper, and the argyle is more pronounced. In addition, technique-wise, it's way easier and faster to do. The moss stitch is comprised of a single crochet stitch followed by a chain, and then repeated across the row. On the way back, you place your single crochet stitches in the space created by the chain you made on the row below. The stitches themselves are off-set, instead of on top of each other.

What makes it faster and easier is the chain space between each stitch. To make the stitches line up where they need to be, I can make that chain tighter or loser. It really helps combat the issue of not all sections of color being the same length as its previous instance. For example, when I first hit yellow, it might be 4 " long. Then when I hit it again, it might be 4.25" long. That may not seem like much, but it can really mess up what you are going for in this technique. And, doing a chain stitch is faster than doing a single crochet stitch, so you are doing 1 single crochet stitch in moss stitch for every two single crochet stitches in the original Argyle technique.

I really enjoy doing this version of planned pooling, and now I am not so intimidated by imagining doing a whole blanket with this technique. You should know, that not every variegated yarn is appropriate for planned pooling. For example, Red Heart in Monet

or Aspen Print

is not appropriate because the color changes happen every inch or two, and a single crochet stitch requires that much alone. So you'd have at most, one single crochet stitch in each color. Not to mention the fact that these fast changing colored yarns also do not change color consistently. So it may go, blue teal green tan, then teal green blue tan, and so on.

Planned pooling requires that you have enough of each color to do more than one stitch, and that they repeat exactly the same throughout the skein. The color I used above in the first two pictures is Red Heart Mexicana. Next I have Caron Sayelle in Indian Summer Ombre:

Then I have Red Heart in Ocean:

And Caron in Country Basket Ombre:

You may recognize the last one as the same yarn I used for the ribbed ripple class I taught:

Same colorway, different dye lots. While this color looked interesting in the ribbed ripple, it looks outright fantastic in planned pooling. Since I only had one skein left of this yarn, I opted to turn it into an infinity scarf (completed in a few hours):

See? Fantastic. This is the stitch it was made for. If you are interested in planned pooling, I recommend Marley Bird's repository of planned pooling tutorials found here. She is a big name in crochet, who really helped push planned pooling into crochet fame.

Hug some yarn for me!


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Casting on in Crochet

I've ripped out the Diana Bobble Blanket I was working on. I played with crochet cables for a bit before I realized that this light blue yarn I'm working on would be perfect for it. So I'm back starting the Diana blanket again, this time in blue. I'm also hoping that this color will be easier to match when I need more.

I was working with foundation stitches for this and the cabling I was practicing. The foundation stitches in crochet are really useful and make the beginning of a blanket much easier. The stitches however, are just so loose and prone to large holes. The foundation row therefore is very obvious from the rest of the stitches.

I found a description of these troubles in single crochet on Vashti Braha's blog. She uses a foundation that is basically foundation slip stitch rather than foundation single crochet. This makes the foundation row much smaller and compact. It does not however, remove the problem with the holes making the foundation look much different from the rest of the piece. Then I had an ah-ha moment.

A little while ago, I made a foray into the world of slip stitch crochet; the kind that mimics knitting. They use the long tail cast on that knitting uses, and instead of keeping the loops all on the hook, you basically bind off each stitch as it is added. Specifically, I learned it from Carter Bendy's book Knit 1, Purl 2 in Crochet. But you can look up any instructions on the long tail cast on for knitting and just use the hook.


This cast on is especially good for crochet as it only requires one needle, or in this case, a hook. You start with a loop already on the hook. Work the long tail cast on to put a second loop on. Then pull that second loop through the first one to bind it off. Rinse and repeat.

This creates a very tight foundation. It's especially good for slip stitch crochet, because you only need to work into the back loop when you start the first real row. For me however, I need to work into both of the top loops, because I am working with single crochet stitches.

I found that while I can insert the hook into the correct place, it is a very tight fit. So I decided to use a hook two sizes too big. That way, I will be able to work my first row with much more ease. I've decided it's going to be my go-to foundation for single crochet stitches. The resulting foundation looks more like you simply worked into the back loops of a chain. At least on the right side. The other side looks almost purl-like.

I decided to flip it like a chain and work through the back loops. You might ask why I bother casting on at this point if it is much faster to make a chain. I reply by pointing out to you that this "chain" is much easier to work into and less fiddly, and also more firm in size. A normal chain can be much looser than the stitches worked into it.

Who knew that you could use so many knitting techniques in crochet? Pretty awesome if you ask me. With single crochet stitches, the foundation almost disappears. It looks just like working into the back loop of a regular chain, without the downsides. Magnificent.

Hug some yarn for me!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Crochet Surgery: Cutting up a project to fix a mistake

Today I'm attempting to do some crochet surgery. The bobble blanket I've been working on is my patient. I ran out of the darker green color, and although I searched high and low for a match, I can't find one. So, rather than rip the whole thing out, I thought I'd first try to replace the bobbles with a new color. I'm working on the gauge swatch I did for the blanket first, so that I can practice, and maybe try out a few colors.

First, I'm going to push the bobble a bit to the back so that I can see all of the connections. You may not be able to see it clearly from my picture, but I've put arrows on the 4 places it connects to the other stitches. The bottom is a given, since that is the place where the bobble stitch goes.

Next, I've threaded my needle with a contrasting color, and I'm going to put a lifeline into all four of those spaces, to save them from unraveling when I cut out the bobble (the coloring on the following photos is off, but I was too lazy to correct it on every one but the first two above).

Cutting time! With a deep breath, I cut the bobble where the tie off knot is, and unravel it. Oh boy, that was scary! My lifeline seems to be holding it all together still. Now for a new color. I think I'll start with another green.

This stitch starts in the first two loops of the last sc, and works over the light green that I carried. Then finishes it with the new color. If I insert my hook like so, pulling out the lifeline from those three loops,

I pull up a loop to get started, pushing my tail to the back to be worked over.

Then I put 4 partially completed dc stitches on, and pull through.

Then I take the hook out, and put it into the top row, where a sc will be made into the top of the bobble. through the two legs of the sc above, and then I grab my working loop and bring it through the top.

I take out the hook and re insert it right side up. Then I need one more yarn over to complete the bobble. Now I've got to get this loop on my hook, through the last space.

I think the best way is to cut my yarn, leaving a tail. Then I'll pull the loop up, taking the tail through.

I'll switch over to my needle, and go around the last light green loop space, and back towards the reverse side.

Surgery was a success! I'm not sure about this color though. It's a bit too dark.

Here are a few other bobbles replaced with new colors. We have an aspen print:

Unfortunately, it seems that the colors of the aspen print melt into the background. So that's also a no. How about an off-white?

Hmmm. I just don't know about the high contrast. I'm warming to the dark green though. Well, I can't really think of any other colors that go with the light green background. I have pinks, and purples, tans and browns, reds, and blues, orange and yellow, black and white and grey. But my green is down to just dark green. I do have one medium that might work. It's a bit more green and less blue than the picture, but I'm not sure I can get more if I don't have enough. Let's see:

Well I'm not sure about that either. I think I'll wait for a few votes on which one to use if any. I might have to switch colors altogether if I can't find one to fit. What a lowering thought. Ah well. If you have an opinion, please feel free to voice it.

Until next time, hug some yarn for me!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Back Again

Well it's been a year since my last post. I'm trying to remember all of the things I finished during that time. Lets see:

I'll start with the Southwestern Mosaic Cross Throw I wrote up a pattern for

Pattern Here:

Then there was the Turtle Tracks Blanket from a pattern in a magazine:

I charted a filet blanket called Eternal Hearts, and put up the chart on ravelry

Chart Here:

I also finally finished up my original design called Raspberry Pi Mosaic Throw:

Pattern Here:

Next up is the Beautiful Shells blanket Pattern from Ravelry:

After that was the Carpenter's Wheel C2C throw from a group on facebook:

I put together a blanket from panels of Interlocking Crochet from Tanis Galik's book:

I made up a blanket from the full star stitch:

I made a cool hat for Luke from slip stitches from a pattern on you tube:

Using the same pattern as a base, I also made Benny a Pikachu hat:

Then when I was playing around with the waistcoat stitch, I made a hat with a slip stitch brim:

Phew! I think that covers last year, and everything up to now that's finished. I'm currently working on a bobble stitch blanket I designed. 

But I ran out of the dark green, so I had to stop until I buy more. 

I also finally picked up a knitting project again. It's the mosaic welsh blanket from Debbie Bliss:

Hug some Yarn for me!