Sunday, February 10, 2013
The other day, I discovered Pluscious by Cascade at SueDee's, my local yarn shop. It is a nice, soft chenille. Now chenille is not made for the ages. It is just very thin strands holding a lot of fluff in place. It is fun while it lasts. These are basic instructions for a pillow cover and a beret - and any bulky weight yarn should work fine. This yarn caught my eye, so I made a couple of one-skein amusements, and here they are:
Little Pillow, or an owl
1 skein Pluscious yarn, by Cascade
4.5mm hook/H (I used this hook because that is what the label suggests. I switched to a K/6.5mm hook for the beret, below, and stitched in half double crochet, and that worked just fine, too)
10-inch pillow form
Eyes and beak, if you want an owl
Measure out 1-2 yards of yarn from the end of the skein, to reserve for finishing. Tie a slip knot and attach a marker to the knot. Wind that back into the skein. Starting at the other end of the skein:
Chain (ch) 3, slip stitch (sl st) to form a ring.
Round (rnd) 1: ch3 (counts as 1 double crochet (dc) and 1 ch). (ch1, dc1 in ring) 7 times. Join with sl st to ch space (sp) at beginning (beg) of rnd.
Rnd 2: ch2, *dc in next ch1 sp, dc in next dc, (dc, ch, dc) in next ch sp (corner made), ** dc in next dc. Repeat (rep) from * 3 more times to set up 4 corners, ending at ** in the third repeat. Join with sl st to ch sp at beg of rnd.
Rnd 3: ch2, *dc in dc to ch1 sp at corner. (dc, ch, dc) in ch sp. Rep from * around 3 more times, then dc to end of rnd, and join with sl st to ch sp at beg of rnd.
Repeat rnd 3 until you reach the marker, ending at the end of a round. Fasten off and cut yarn.
Thread the remaining yarn into the yarn needle.
Place the pillow form in the center of the crocheted piece, with the corners of the pillow pointing to the middle of the sides of the crocheted piece. Fold up the corners of the crocheted piece to meet at the middle of the pillow form. Run the yarn needle through all four corners and knot to secure the center. Cut the yarn. Sew the diagonal seams with a running stitch: Starting at the center, sew to the corner to join two sides together. Running stitch allows you to adjust the tension of the seam. Remove the needle, leaving a tail of a few inches for finishing. Thread the other end of the yarn into the needle, and work a running stitch to the opposite corner. Leave a few inches for finishing, and cut the yarn. Repeat for the other diagonal. Secure and tuck all loose ends to the inside.
1. Because you are increasing 8 stitches per round in double crochet, the piece will not lie flat – double crochet lies flat if you increase about 12 stitches per round. With a 10-inch pillow form, there will be excess fabric. Wrap a bit of yarn around a corner, a few inches in, to make what might be considered an ear or a tuft or a little foot. Knot and cut yarn, tucking loose ends to the inside. Repeat for other 3 corners. Because your square did not lie flat, these bits will be on one side of the pillow.
2. If you use a 12-inch pillow form, there will not be excess fabric.
3. This piece is stitched loosely, so you might not want to use stuffing without a case – the stuffing would just come through the crocheted fabric.
4. If you used half double crochet instead of double crochet, the piece will lie flat and be a bit more solid. But you would also need more yarn.
5. To make it be an owl, attach eyes and beak.
1 skein Cascade Pluscious yarn
6.5mm (K) hook
To start: chain (ch) 3, slip stitch (sl st) to form a ring.
Round (rnd) 1: ch1, half double crochet (hdc) 8 in ring. Place marker to indicate last stitch (st) of rnd.
Rnd 2: continuing in a coil, 2hdc in each hdc around. Move marker to last stitch made at the end of each round - this is for orientation more than anything else.
Rnd 3: (1hdc in next st, 2hdc in next st) around.
Repeat (rep) rnd 3 until piece (pc) measures 6” across – this is not an exact number. If the pc measured 5.5 inches the last round, but then is 6.5 inches at the end of the next round, better to have it a little bigger.
Next rnd: work even, with no more increases.
Repeat this round until the pc measures 12 inches across. Again, if the pc measures a little less after the last round, but is a bit big after the next round, better to have it a little bigger.
Decrease rnd: *hdc in next 3 sts, skip next st. Rep from * around once.
Band: Next rnd: (ch1, skip 1, single crochet (sc)1) around.
Continuing in a coil, (sc in next ch sp, ch and skip the next sc) around until the band is about 3 inches wide.
Sl st in each of the next 2 sts, and finish off.
Weave in loose ends.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Variegated yarns can be great because they make a design in the fabric just by doing a basic stitch.
Then the pattern gets interrupted, sometimes by shaping in the construction, but also sometimes by breaks in the yarn, when there are knots. Then the piece can come out looking goofy.
One solution is to control the color changes, breaking the yarn as needed to place the colors where I want them. I am not going to do that for two reasons: first, it involves too much micromanaging of the yarn, and second, it ends up wasting a bunch of yarn. So what else could I do?
I turned the project on its side, starting at the side seam, working back and forth with all the shaping on one edge, and the other edge (the bottom edge of the vest) with no shaping at all.
Suddenly, the colorwork turned into something like ikat, with lots of vertical lines. The disruptions caused by the shaping became irrelevant. And the vest turned out just fine.