cotton – OMG Yarn (balls)
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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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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!




How to make a Boho Chic Headband: A Crochet Tutorial

February 9, 2017

Ola’s Boho Chic Headband

Like most people these days, I spend a lot of time looking on Pinterest for projects, inspiration, and development. Usually when I’m searching for crochet projects, I come across some gorgeous lacy design that’s just a chart or a picture linking to a website in Portuguese, Spanish, or Russian. Although I’m fluent in Spanish, the other two languages are just too far off from it that I can’t decipher what anyone is trying to do.

This time, I came across a simple chart with no explanations, no project linked to it, nothing. I thought, “That would be a really cute headband for Ola!” So I sat down and muddled through the diagram and figured out how to make something similar looking and thought I’d share the project.

 

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)
  • A poly/clear ponytail band

 

Gauge isn’t important here though, because the length of the headband will depend on the size of the head you’re making it for. Ola’s little head is about 17″ around (for now).

 

Crochet Techniques You’ll Use:

  • ch – chain
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • tr – treble crochet

 

Instructions:

1. Ch 10 sts.

 

2. Join in ring.

 

3. Ch 4 sts.

 

4. Treble crochet through center of ring.

 

5. Treble crochet 3 more times in center of ring. Total 5 tr (includes your starting ch 4).

 

6. Right from that last tr, Ch 10.

 

7. Join in ring.

 

8. Ch 4 and attach it to starting ring with a sl st.

 

9. Turn.

 

10. Make 9 tr in center of the ring you just made.

 

11. Ch 10.

 

12. Join with sl st to form a ring.

 

13. Ch 4 and attach that to previous ring with sl st. Turn.

 

14. 9 tr in ring. Keep repeating steps 11-13 until about 4″ shorter than desired length. Keep in mind, with the nature of the stitch and how it’s worked, it will have a little stretch to it too. It may take a little trial and error before you get the right length. You want the total length of the headband (including the poly band) to be about an inch or two smaller than the circumference of the head it will go on.

 

15. With last ring, 5 tr and finish off.

 

Attach both ends of your work to a poly band however you’d like and that’s it!

 

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