Crochet – OMG Yarn (balls)

Crochet

Free Pattern/Recipe: Rhonda’s Crochet Fingerless Mitts

November 2, 2017




What I love the most about crochet is that you can free form design things. Knitting involves a lot more math and a lot more plotting before you get started.

That’s definitely what you get when working with the pattern that Rhonda Green sent me to use as a free pattern on the site.

With Rhonda’s  Fingerless Mitts pattern, you can use any yarn and the hook size that the yarn calls for. The instructions are more of a recipe for what to do to make these mitts.

What You’ll Need:

  • One 100g ball of your favorite weight yarn (for our mitts, I used OMG Rushmore, a sport weight yarn)
  • One E/4 (3.5 mm) crochet hook or size suited to yarn
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry Needle (for weaving in ends)

Gauge/tension is not important here, since this is a recipe for any weight yarn you choose.

Crochet Techniques You’ll Use:

  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • dc2tog – double crochet two together
  • sc – single crochet
  • sl st – slip stitch





Skill Level: Beginner

Rhonda’s Crochet Fingerless Mitts

Ch 35 or enough to go around your wrist. Join into ring, careful not to twist chain.

Hand/Wrist

  • Round 1: Ch 2. Dc in each ch around, sl st into top of beginning of round ch.
  • Round 2: Ch 2. Dc in each dc around, sl st into top of beginning of round ch.

Repeat Round 2 to desired length.

Thumb Shaping

  • Round 1: Ch 2. 2dc in first 2dcs, dc in every dc around to last 2 sts, 2dc in each of the last 2 sts, sl st into top of beginning of round ch.
  • Round 2: Sl st over first two sts. Ch 2. Dc in every dc around until 2 sts before end of previous round, ch 5 (or as many as needed to fit around thumb), sl st into top of beginning of round ch.
  • Round 3: Ch 2. Dc in every dc around, dc into each ch from previous round, sl st into top of beginning of round ch.
  • Round 4: Ch 2. While making a dc in each dc around, decrease the number sts needed to reach original stitch count evenly across the round using a dc2tog to decrease one stitch, sl st into top of beginning of round ch.
  • Round 5: Ch 2. Dc in every dc around, sl st into top of beginning of round ch.

Repeat Round 5 until mitt is the desired height.

Secure and cut yarn. Weave in ends.

Optional Thumb Instructions

You can include as many rounds of sc stitches around your thumb hole if you prefer. Rhonda usually makes them with a long thumb, in mine I made only 2 rounds of sc sts, because that was my preference.

I love the yarn Rhonda used here! As you can see, you can make the thumb as long as you like. 🙂

Enjoy!




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Let’s Do a Yarn Study: Alternatives to Wool Blends for Crochet Shawls

August 28, 2017



Oh my goodness! Why would I even do a write up about yarn that isn’t mine?!

Well, I’m a small-ish independent dyer, designer, and fiber arts business owner and I certainly am not at the point where I have all my bases covered yet (see what I did there?). That means I have friends and family that may not be able to use my yarn due to wool allergies, cost, etc.

It doesn’t mean that these people cannot get the most out of my patterns or even patterns that I highly recommend for my yarn or a good alternative.

I’ve decided that, since I am a former yarn shop owner, and like to be inclusive of everyone, even people who aren’t using my yarn for whatever reason, I want to pass on my recommendations. I do it for the love of yarn.




What do I mean by a yarn study?

Sometimes you see stitch samplers for crochet, knit, cross-stitch, which are basically studies on different techniques.

In this case, I’m working the same project in different yarns and comparing the qualities of each yarn in the hopes to better understand different fiber content, stitched fabrics, and thus inspiring new designs in various yarns.

For this yarn study I chose the Swagger Shawl by Barb Mastre Stanford because it’s a quick crochet project and with less experience designing for crochet, I felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to play with different yarns for crochet projects. And she so graciously designed it for OMG’s expansion back in 2014.

The yarns I chose are:

  • Caron Cotton Cakes
  • Lion Brand’s 24/7 Cotton
  • Knit Picks’ Shine Worsted

The yarns I chose are good Worsted weight cotton alternatives to OMG Liberty, which is what the Swagger Shawl calls for.

Cotton Yarn: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Cotton yarns that are wallet-friendly are notoriously rough and not always the first choice for a shawl that you would wear next to your skin.

When you are lucky to find a good cotton yarn that is soft AND relatively inexpensive, you notice that it has a wonderful drape, but can lack “memory”, meaning it doesn’t always bounce back from stretching.

It is because of its drape that cotton yarns can be good for shawls and other accessories including home décor items.

So here we go!




OMG Liberty (Pictured at the top)
Fiber content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Put up: 220 yards per 100 gram skein

  • Pros: OMG Liberty is fluffy, takes up dye very well, and has excellent stitch definition. When crocheted for the Swagger Shawl it maintained its springiness and drape.
  • Cons: As I mentioned in my introduction, price for larger projects with OMG Liberty might make this yarn cost prohibitive for some. That’s exactly why I did the yarn study. It’s $22 per skein, so you’re talking 66 bucks to make this shawl, plus the cost of the pattern.

Here are my recommended alternatives if you absolutely have to make this shawl (or any other project that might call for OMG Liberty).




Caron Cotton Cakes
Fiber content: 60% Cotton, 40% Acrylic
Put up: 211 yards per 100 gram ball

Added on at the last minute after discovering this new yarn at my local Michael’s store, I included Caron Cotton Cakes, because I thought that Swagger would look pretty awesome using this new yarn.

  • Pros: Pricewise, you’re only talking $4.99 a ball at Michael’s (or less since we’re nearing the end of cotton yarn season in the US). This yarn feels like chenille or microfiber fabric, so it is amazingly soft. I also like cotton/acrylic blends because it adds a little bit of memory to your stitches without losing any of the drape from cotton and this yarn certainly lives up to that. The self-striping aspect of the yarn made the shawl itself look unique compared to the other samples I crocheted.
  • Cons: The only issue I saw with this yarn was one ball had a knot in it like it had been cut and tied to complete the ball. This is something that occasionally happens with all yarn companies, so not necessarily a con per se.




Lion Brand’s 24/7 Cotton
Fiber content: 100% Mercerized Cotton
Put up: 186 yards per 100 gram ball

  • Pros: Pricewise, you’re only talking $5.49 a ball at JoAnn Frabrics (or less since we’re nearing the end of cotton yarn season in the US). I like mercerized cotton yarns for baby items, so this Lion Brand equivalent was screaming my name. It has a beautiful shine and drape in the finished shawl. I am loving wearing it around too.
  • Cons: It’s a little rough to touch, but it is hard wearing. With blocking, the yarn softens up a bit.





Knit Picks’ Shine Worsted
Fiber content: 60% Pima Cotton, 40% Modal
Put up: 75 yards per 50 gram ball

  • Pros: At $2.99 a ball, this yarn is at a great price point as well, but you will need 6 balls of this to make the Swagger Shawl. It is soft, shiny, and the drape is magnificent. This is the softest cotton blend I’ve found so far, and I’m happy that I tried it out! The yarn blocks well and even held up to me ironing it.
  • Cons: With a 50 gram put up, it means more ends to weave in. Other than that, I experienced one knot, but as I said earlier, I know that’s normal so it’s not a con for me.

Since gift season is quickly approaching, I’m sure you’ll want to use some of these good alternatives on your Swagger Shawl.

Here’s a link to the pattern: Swagger Shawl by Barb Mastre Stanford

Let me know how you like the pattern and feel free to tag OMG Yarn on FB or Instagram when you make yours!




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Quick Crochet Tutorial: How to do a Standing Double Crochet

July 5, 2017




You know I love to do ALL things fiber arts, right? That includes crochet.

I’m always knitting and always crocheting and sometimes things don’t always work out how you like them to, so you learn to fudge it, scheme it, or just plain make it work.

The goal of the site is to help cut out some of the scheming to make your projects look better by actually teaching some of the complicated stitches you might come across in your patterns.

Standing Double Crochet: A Brief Tutorial

I came across the standing double crochet while working on a cute little crochet sweater for Sharky two Christmases ago.

Even with almost two decades of crochet experience under my belt, I had never heard of this stitch which was being used to start rows of stripes along the front of his sweater. Sorry, I just remember what pattern I was using.

I initially shared the short tutorial on Instagram back in 2015, but it’s time to put this all in one searchable place that both you and I can come back to for reference. So, here we go:

Using the photograph above as a guide, complete these steps…
1. Yarn over hook twice. 2 loops on hook.
2. Insert your hook into the stitch, draw up a loop. 3 loops on hook.
3. Yarn over and pull through two loops on hook. 2 loops on hook.
4. Yarn over again and pull through two loops on hook. 1 loop remains and you’re done!
5. Once your next stitch is completed, your tail is tucked into the work.




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How to Choose the RIGHT Yarn for Your Next Project

April 5, 2017




Having good results with any knit or crochet project depends a LOT on the yarn you choose to work with. It can make or break a design and it can determine how much you (or a lucky recipient of your hard work) love to wear the completed item.

As a yarn shop owner, I always enjoyed helping customers pick out yarn for all kinds of patterns: sweaters, shawls, afghans, mittens, you name it. I know some shops like to make the sale, but I liked happy customers, and nothing made customers happier than getting the right yarn every time (or most of the time…). My quaint little yarn shop depended on repeat customers who depended on what I’d picked out for them. Let’s just say that I had a couple repeat customers who had such amazing taste in yarn, I couldn’t wait for their next visit to sit down and page through my catalogs and samples to find just the right yarn that I had available through suppliers (Dear Skacel, your yarn catalog was my favorite to page through and fawn over).

To be honest, I’ve even walked through my local JoAnn’s and helped people select good yarn for a project there – I mean, that’s the kind of yarn I had access to before I was introduced to yarn shops. When you don’t have someone to help you look through yarn or who is pushing the sale of yarn you don’t need or want (yes, there’s such a thing), you need to know what you should consider when picking the right yarn for your next project. So let’s take a look, shall we?

The Project

Of course, the first question I asked was, “What are you making?” Is it a sweater/jumper? Is it a shawl or scarf? Is it meant to be worn next to the skin? Is it meant to be worn over or under something? All of these are important questions. I mean, would you want to wear a scarf next to your neck that has itchy or tough fibers that poke at your skin? Probably not.

Budget

Believe me, I know budgets can be tight too. If you don’t have a big box store nearby, your local yarn shop is the answer, however, those boutique level yarns can get pricey. Not everyone can make a sweater or afghan out of yarn that costs $20 for each 100g ball. Remember, though, you get what you pay for with “economy” yarns.

The small print to read here though is: even expensive yarn can have poor manufacturing, so make sure you read reviews if you can before you buy. I won’t blast any yarn companies in particular, but nothing peeved me more than yarns from manufacturers with poor quality control. Self-striping yarns at $15-$25 per ball with knots in them, abrupt color changes, or out of sequence color changes can totally throw off your project’s aura in a heartbeat.




Yarn Composition and Characteristics

The same yarn may behave differently for different knitters/crocheters AND can behave one way for a knitter but another way for a crocheter.

Ahem, BIG CHUNKY FURRY EYELASH YARN IS NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO CROCHET WITH! Well, at least for me anyway. The fur hides the stitches and they’re sooooooooo difficult to keep track of. I always ended up with weirdly shaped scarves.

If your project needs some drape to it, like for a scarf, shawl, skirt, or dress, you will want to choose a yarn that will do that. Plant or non-animal based fibers are always good for those types of projects (think cotton, bamboo, silk, tencel, etc.).

If your project needs to insulate or keep someone rather warm, choose animal-based fiber blends. Alpaca fibers, in particular, are hollow and thus insulate really well, so you’ll notice that projects made from this luxury fiber will keep you warmer. You might want to avoid alpaca for summery shawls or accessories.

Yarn “Memory”

Projects that require some bounce-back or memory – think projects with ribbing like socks or sweaters – you want to use fibers/yarns that will meet that challenge. Most cotton fibers will create loose, drapey fabrics, so they will lose their shape with wear or added moisture from sweat. As a result, I don’t usually suggest cotton for socks or sweaters.

Notions and Tools Needed

You also need to consider whether or not you’ll be able to use that yarn with all the notions and tools you’ll use to complete the project. If your project needs buttons or zippers, avoid single plies or lofty fibers that will get caught or tangled.

The Wearer

As a mom of three, I LOVE to make little sweaters and things for my kiddos. When you need to knit or crochet for babies and kids, you have to remember that they will fidget, cry, or rip off any clothes that are not comfortable. That’s why I don’t like to use wool for their projects. If I do need to use wool or that’s my absolute only choice, I pick merino wool, which is the softest to work with.




You will also need to consider if the person you are making the project for has any allergies. If they have allergies to specific dyes, like from hand dyed yarn, or to wool, you will need to use alternative fibers that are a good substitute for what you cannot use. Cannot use wool, but need something with memory to it? I am a big fan of Kraemer Yarn’s Tatamy yarn – a cotton/acrylic blend that comes in worsted or DK and is soft, hard wearing, and not quite as memory-free as most cottons.

The Case of Hand Dyed and other Novelty Yarns

Big shocker, I’m going to add a special section about hand dyed yarn. When working with hand dyed yarns or intricate novelty yarns, you want the yarn to speak for itself in the project. So if you’re looking at these kinds of yarn without a project in mind, pick the project to show off the yarn. Most simple, beginner-friendly projects, are GREAT for these kinds of yarns. Single stitch scarves, mostly stockinette stitch sweaters, non-lacy items, those would be the best to choose. If you have a beautifully mosaic dyed sock yarn, vanilla socks are the way to go.

I hope this helps the next time you’re stuck on what yarn to use for your next fiber arts endeavor. Let me know how it goes!




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Free Crochet Pattern: Make This Beginner Friendly Shawl in a Weekend

April 3, 2017

No matter what it is we like to do, every single one of us has a go-to project for when we just need to mindlessly keep ourselves busy while practicing our craft. When I knit, it’s usually my toe-up sock pattern that I make. When I crochet, it’s this cute little shawl, and I’ve decided to share my little pattern with you!

The Mesa Shawl is a basic, beginner-friendly crochet shawl pattern that is worked from the top down. The edges on the sides of the shawl is inspired by the carved landscape of the Mesa Grande Ruins in Mesa, Arizona.




The subtle texture of the shawl, combined with it’s simple construction make this my favorite project to make when I absolutely have to knit or crochet, yet do not want to focus so intently on an intricate pattern. It is great to work on while relaxing in front of the television or keeping an eye on the kiddos.

As an accessory, the Mesa Shawl can be worn around the shoulders to keep warm on a breezy spring or summer night, or bundled around the neck in fall or winter.

The free pattern only contains instructions for the smallest size. The paid version of this pattern is available on Ravelry here, which includes all three sizes and zero ads.

What You’ll Need:

  • One 100g ball of your favorite Fingering Weight Yarn (shown here in ontheround’s Everyday Fingering Lite – 425 yards/100g, 100% Merino Wool)
  • One Size 7 (4.5mm) or H/8 (5.0mm) crochet hook
  • Scissors

As with most shawls, knit or crochet, gauge is not important here, but you want the stitches to be loose enough to create a fabric with a good drape to it.

Crochet Techniques You’ll Use:

  • ch – chain
  • hdc – half double crochet
  • sc – single crochet
  • sl st – slip stitch

Skill Level: Beginner




Mesa Shawl – Smallest Size Only (Wingspan approximately 60″ and Depth 6 1/4″)

Ch 276.

Row 1: Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and all the way across. Turn.
Row 2: Sl st in 1st 5 stitches, ch 1, sc in back loop only in next stitch and all the way across to 5 stitches before the end of the row. Turn.
Row 3: Sl st in 1st 5 stitches, ch 2, hdc through both loops to 5 stitches before the end of the row. Turn.

Repeat Rows 2 & 3 until 15 stitches remain. Fasten off.

Enjoy!




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Moving Onward and Upward: “Resist” Beanie Pattern Now Available on Ravelry

March 21, 2017

I can be fierce and I can be strong. I stand in solidarity with my re-sisters.

International Women’s Day was on March 8th, so now what? Do we just go back to the inequity, lack of support and less than human treatment from before that day or do we plunge ahead with the call to make things better for all women?




I, personally, would like to see a better world for all three of my kids, not just my daughter. I have two very intelligent, caring sons and a beautiful daughter who would all like to see a world of possibilities for everyone in their lives.

As a business owner in an industry that is characteristically female, I would like to commit OMG Yarn and myself to the empowerment of other women seeking equality.

Let’s stop marginalizing women and their accomplishments. There was nothing I hated more than hearing, “Oh your husband must be a great accountant,” when I would talk about the success of my little yarn shop and other business endeavors. I earned my Masters in Business Administration when I was 24 years old. That was after completing a 4-year education in only 3.5 years at a competitive school. Did I mention I was there on a full scholarship based on academics? Do you see how I had to qualify that?

When you look at the statistics, African American women lead the way as the most educated group in America. So yea, as a group, they’re fiercely killing it, but still experiencing institutional racism, misogyny, wage gaps, injustice in the legal system, and much more than I care to share. Not right. Right?

Let’s stop shaming women for their choices. Every day, we make choices and someone is always standing there to shame us. Whether it’s the choice to work versus be a stay at home mom or any other choice, every woman deserves support, whether you think they’re deserving of it or not. I have translated for a patient who wanted to report a domestic violence nightmare. I have held hands in support of undocumented women experiencing the horrors of escaping oppression in their home country only to witness worse here. I don’t judge anyone for what they do and that goes a long way for bridging gaps.




So let’s support women for all that they do. The single moms holding down three jobs and going to school to make a better life for their children, my hat’s off to you. The mothers marching against injustice, my hat’s off to you. The women who make our lives brighter and more beautiful in every way, my hat’s off to you.

The top of the hat is a beautiful spiral.

I’m not just saying all this either. I do what I can to raise awareness through the arts. I always have and always will.

To show my ongoing commitment to the cause of women’s rights and the craftivism movement, I created the Resist Beanie. Honestly, I was inspired by the hard work of Donna Druchunas, a knit designer I have admired for some time.

The Resist Beanie is a crocheted hat with a filet crochet brim that spells out the word “resist” in filet crochet. With spring and summer fast approaching, the need for a lighter, cotton hat to support change has come up. Though it fits the average-sized head snugly, this hat is light, comfortable, and breathable, ideal for warmer weather. A portion of the proceeds from this pattern will be used to support local causes for the resistance, including small businesses that are mostly female-owned/operated.




The pattern is on sale through my Ravelry Store here. It is my new favorite hat and I’ve been wearing it since I finished it a few days ago.

I can be fierce and I can be strong. I stand in solidarity with my re-sisters.

I am committing to making the world a little bit more awesome for the next generation, and the road will be paved with yarn.

References.

Stewart, K. (2016, May 27). Black Women Are Now America’s Most Educated Group. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.upworthy.com/black-women-are-now-americas-most-educated-group.

This Crochet Mug Rug Will Leave You Saying “OMG”

March 21, 2017




My OMG Mug Rug has been gaining some interest for a few weeks now. As I mentioned in my post post titled “Crochet Design: Let’s Talk Filet Crochet“, I wanted to learn this new technique, so I sat down with my graph paper and plotted the OMG Mug Rug. I’ve been using the finished sample for it’s intended purpose and as a photo prop ever since.

So what is a mug rug anyway?

mug rug is like a little placemat for your favorite mug, sized to include a little place for a snack to compliment your beverage of choice. Most mug rugs tend to fit in the 4×7 to 12×8 size range, but they can be as big or as little as you want.

What you’ll need:

  • A ball of “Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread” in the Classic 10 size or any lace weight yarn.
  • A steel crochet hook, size 7 (1.5mm) or whatever hook matches the gauge for the yarn you’re using
  • Scissors (to cut thread when you’re finished)

Gauge is not important here, however, you will want to crochet tight enough for the finished project to be at least 4 inches by 7 inches.

See links below to order supplies.

Crochet Techniques You’ll Use:

  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • sc – single crochet
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • tr – treble crochet

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

You will need to be  able to follow a chart.

Make sure you read the instructions for each round before beginning each step. I detail how to do the corners after the main pattern of each round.




OMG Mug Rug
Instructions:

Body
Start by using filet crochet to complete the following chart:

OMG Mug Rug Chart (Opens a PDF file of chart)

NOTE: The chart is 28 squares wide and 20 squares tall. To begin, you will chain 88 stitches (85 to frame the bottom and 3 ch which counts as another dc). Since your first row on the chart is completely filled in, you will dc in the 4th ch from the hook and then dc all the way across and turn. 

Once you have completed the chart, you will have the base design!

Border
Now you will be working around the outside of the entire Body that you just completed from the chart.

Round 1: Ch 1 and sc around, working a [sc, ch 2, sc] in each corner. End with sl st to first stitch from beginning of the round.

Make sure you sc in every dc on the top and bottom and evenly spaced on the rows along the sides.  You should make sure that each side has a multiple of 7 stitches.

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as a dc and ch 1 at beginning of round), sk st, *dc in next st, ch 1, sk st; repeat from * around, turning corners by completing a [dc, ch 2, dc] in each corner. End with sl st into 3rd ch at the beginning chains of the round.

Round 3: Ch 1 and sc around, working a [sc, ch 2, sc] in each corner. End with sl st to first stitch from beginning of the round.

Round 4: Ch 1, sk 1st sc, and sc in 2 sc, *ch 2, sk 1 sc, sc in next 6 secs; repeat from * to end, working a [sc, ch 2, sc] in the corner. End with sl st to first stitch from beginning of the round.

Round 5: Ch 2, *tr in next ch2 space, [ch 1, tr] 5 times in same ch 2 space; repeat from * in each ch 2 space to end, working a scallop in the corner space. Ch 2 at end of Round and sl st in end of the previous round.

Fasten off. Weave in ends. Lightly steam or iron to block.




Crochet Tip: Use This Technique When Crocheting in the Round

March 17, 2017




Not too long ago, we ALL were deep into holiday gift making, right? A couple years ago, I made a few crochet stockings, but noticed something rather annoying: the stitches from the beginning of the round didn’t start at the same spot every round. They were traveling and it bugged the heck out of me! I took to asking my friend who is an avid crocheter and she told me that it was a common thing for working in the round and that she hated it too. Neither of us knew how to fix it.

When you work in the round while knitting, this phenomenon doesn’t happen. The beginning of the round stays put. It doesn’t travel or jog, it stays put. We knitters use stitch markers to mark that beginning of the round on the knitting needles and it doesn’t change. Ever.

Fast forward to 2016 crochet stockings and I found a cute pattern that also worked in the round, but noticed one big difference: the beginning of the round stayed in one spot. What was the difference?

How to Prevent Beginning of the Round Travel in Crochet

I’m eagerly working on a filet crochet hat pattern and I definitely didn’t want the beginning of the round to move with each completion of the round, it would totally mess up the design. Rather than work it flat, I used this technique:

So, this is me, working the round as usual. The right side (outside) of the hat is facing me and I’m working in hdcs (half double-crochets) in the usual right to left. We’re good, right?

 

When I get to the end of the round, I do my little slip stitch to close the round. Nothing changes from the usual, EXCEPT…

 

BOOM! Turn the project and go back in the opposite direction. You’re now working on the wrong side (inside of the hat) and still working right to left, but from the inside. At the end of the round, slip stitch to complete the round.

 

Woohoo! Look at this! Every row is lined up nicely! That means my filet crochet lace at the bottom works out AND I don’t have that diagonal line up the side where the beginning of the round moves. *Happy Dance*

Alright, do your little happy dance and keep on crocheting! While I finish up the sample for this design, I’ll be using this technique to keep things pretty. It’s made with crochet thread, so there will be plenty of rows/rounds to demonstrate that this does work!

If you’re using one of my crochet patterns in the future, know that I’ll be writing this technique into my patterns, so you don’t have to change a thing. If you’re using another pattern, but want to try this tip, make sure you are working the wrong side rounds backwards since you’re “traveling” in the opposite direction while working on that side.

Make sure you contact me if you have any questions. Enjoy!




Crochet Design: Let’s Talk Filet Crochet

March 15, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my cute little OMG Mug Rug by now. While brainstorming ideas for my mother’s upcoming craft blog, she tasked me with looking at the possibility of creating a crocheted mug rug. Not only had I’d never heard of a mug rug, I also immediately got the idea that it had to be personalized for OMG Yarn. How the heck would I do that?!

Then I remembered, the decorative shawls a local crocheter friend of mine always whipped out. In fact, she had made eleven matching shawls for her daughter’s wedding using yarn I had dyed for her. I had always been intrigued by filet crochet and wanted to try it. Crochet had been the first fiber art I was introduced to, so I guess it was time to beef up my skills with OMG Yarn’s new website in mind. And, of course, since I’ll be releasing a couple of filet crochet patterns soon, I thought I’d cover it in advance.




So what is filet crochet?

Filet crochet is a crochet fabric technique involving images created by double crochets and chains. Think of it as creating your own crocheted graph paper, turning customizable images into wearable works of art.

As you know, I don’t reinvent the wheel, but like to showcase other people’s work and make my own take on a style. I am a BIG fan of filet crochet because it has a vintage look to it, but can be updated to something more personal and shabby chic looking.

Making your own filet crochet project is easy.

In order to design and make your own work of art, you’ll need:

  • Graph paper and a pencil
  • Crochet thread or another yarn of choice
  • A crochet hook that works with your thread or yarn of choice (duh!)
  • Scissors

Sketch out your image, words, or whatever you want and have at it.

Turning your drawing into reality.

Each square on your graph paper represents what will end up being a square on your design. Before you start your design, Craftsy recommends determining your gauge. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Start with making three chains for every square on your design (don’t forget to include the frame around your image/words as well, your work is rectangular or a square).
  2. Chain another 5 stitches to count as your double crochet and chain 2 for the next row.
  3. Dc into the 8th chain from the hook.
  4. *Ch 2, skip 2 chains, DC in next chain; repeat from * to end. Turn.
  5. For the next row: Ch 5, DC in next DC, *Ch 2, skip 2 chains, DC in next chain; repeat from * to end. Turn. (Repeat this step until you’re satisfied that you’ve figured out your mesh gauge.

Next, it’s important to remember that one square is framed by a double crochet stitch on each side and filled in with two double crochet stitches. So when you start working your design, fill in the squares by working a DC in each of the chains from the previous row. Use the large picture above as a reference or visit the Craftsy reference below.

If it’s still confusing, don’t worry, I’m working on getting some tutorials published quickly, so make sure you follow me to see me demonstrate these techniques soon.

I’ve created a Pinterest board with some fun designs and ideas for your next filet crochet project. Don’t forget to share them on my Facebook page! And stay tuned for the OMG Mug Rug pattern to be released soon.

References.

Gutierrez, L. (2014, May 4). Filet Crochet the Day Away. Retrieved from https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/05/how-to-filet-crochet/.

From Concept to Reality: 6 Tips to Writing Awesome Knit or Crochet Design Proposals

March 6, 2017

When I design for an OMG Yarn only publication, I can just execute a design when and how I want to. That’s kind of the point, right? Working for yourself, you can design the things you want. I picture something in my head, I pull out my stitch dictionaries, and I write a pattern. I am not confident with my sketching skills, so I leave the drawing pictures to when it is absolutely necessary.

One of the hardest things we have to do as a knit or crochet designers is take a concept and describe it well enough to get someone else excited about it. Occasionally, I come across design calls that inspire some unique things using a yarn I’ve been eyeing up (the nicest thing about designing for other companies is not the money, it’s the yarn). Although each design call is a little bit different and each company asks for different elements, the basic elements of a design proposal are pretty much universal.

 

Here’s a few things you can do to help your design proposal stand out from the bunch:

 

  1. Describe your general concept. Obviously, you need to let people know what your idea is. Don’t just show them with a sketch, share what your inspiration was. Tell the prospective company why the project is important to you. If you were inspired by something in nature, include a picture (if there’s room). If you were determined to re-create a classic design or a design from another type of craft, share that, put your own spin on it. My personal belief is that if a design does not make me say “OMG”, it’s not worth doing. I show the reader what makes me say “OMG” and try to get them on that level as well.
  2. Be creative with your proposal, but follow the instructions in the design call. Submitting to a design call is like turning an assignment in to your teacher and completing a job interview all in one. You’re demonstrating how well you can work with others AND how well you can follow directions.

    What does that mean for a design call? Well, if they ask you to keep your proposal to one page, keep it to one page. That should go without saying. Seriously.  As a former hiring manager, nothing bothered me more than someone who could not follow the application directions. If we asked for our applicants to provide a specific thing, to save time, I literally threw out all the resumes that didn’t include that thing. I mean, why work with that person if they cannot follow a simple instruction? I have read many a design call that have that specific line item in it (if you cannot follow directions, your proposal will not be considered). Instructions are not suggestions.All that said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun with your design proposal. The picture above, I submitted with a design proposal for the Enderis Park Pullover for Holla Knits. I used my very limited Adobe Photoshop skills and showed the design in action (as per the instructions from the design call). It’s one of my favorite designs and I still wear the sample I knit.
  3. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink your design too much. Chances are, your first idea was the right idea, but make sure you can properly execute your design concept. Unless the call or the potential audience for your design demands complicated techniques, keep it simple. That does not mean you can’t try a different way of constructing your project, but you definitely do not need to make the knitter or crocheter stand on their head and work the project with their left toes only. Or do you?
  4. Know your potential audience. If your audience enjoys standing on their head and using their left toes only, THEN AND ONLY THEN should you write your pattern to call for it. Otherwise, ask yourself, Is this for beginners or is this project for more intermediate/advanced knitters/crocheters? If your design call is for Beginning Knitters Magazine (it doesn’t exist, but you know what I mean), you likely won’t be designing a complicated fair isle project with steeks, zippers, unique cast ons, or anything else requiring more advanced knitting techniques.You’ll also want to consider the basic style that the design company caters to. If they have a modern bohemian style, you want to stick with that. Also consider if the readers of that particular publication prefer a quicker project or if they will be more apt to enjoy a time consuming project (or maybe even a little of both).
  5. You do NOT always have to reinvent the wheel. This falls under a couple different categories, keeping it simple and following the instructions. Don’t think you can get away with redesigning templates or how the design company wants you to put together a design. Remember, you’re selling them on a design and you as a designer, you’re not there to tell them what to do, you’re working with their parameters on your design.

    One of the first OMG Yarn designs – Lettercarrier Mitts – I like fingerless mitts because I need to use my fingers for touch screens, but hate having cold, painful wrists.

  6. Don’t give up who you are as a designer. OMG Yarn designs is about a couple things. I have the “go big or go home” type designs and it’s also my unique style. I won’t just design something just to design it, it has to be something I feel I can wear or use all day, everyday. In some cases, I like to up-cycle or use unique materials. What is your niche? How can you prove you’re passionate about a design if it’s not something you would do (or wear)? I mean, one of the things I LOVE about StevenBe is that you know who he is just by what he’s wearing and his designs reflect that. So if you decide that all your designs have to have something orange in it. Own it. If all your designs are accessories for a specific purpose, offer that and don’t apologize for being you as a designer.

If you keep a lot of the above things in mind, you most certainly could have a successful design career ahead of you. I encourage you to be persistent as well. After all, you may hear “no” more often than you hear “yes” but that’s ok, it’s part of the process. When you finally get that “yes”, embrace it and use as an opportunity to grow.

 

Additional design tip: If you need a base to sketch on, use what is called a croqui. If you Google search a croqui, you can find a good sketch of a “live model” to put your design on. Just trace her outline.