Thursday, December 31, 2015

Seven More Triple Luxe Cowls!

Yes, you read that right. I’ve crocheted seven more Triple Luxe Cowls. Only one was for me! The others were Christmas gifts. Here’s a quick rundown of the latest seven I made:

Basic Black

Come winter, I wear a scarf all day long, pretty much every day. (My office is usually too cold for my liking.) While I love and wear the two previous scarves I crocheted for myself, I still found myself reaching for my tired old jersey infinity scarf several times a week. Why? It’s black, and black goes with everything. I knew I needed to crochet myself a black scarf, even though it’s not a fun or exciting color. Then, I stumbled across a cute local yarn store: All Wound Up. It was full of lovely, colorful yarn. However, inspired by my previous Wardrobe Architect efforts, I stuck to my resolution to make a black scarf and picked up some nice, sensible Berroco Vintage Chunky yarn in Cast Iron. They even caked it for me, which was nice. Even though it’s a bulky (5) yarn, it did not have as much body as the Lion Brand Woolspun yarn. I had to crochet 18 rows to make it as wide as my blue scarf. It was a little boring to work on, but as expected, I wear it often.

Fancy Black

My grandma is pretty glam for an octogenarian, so I knew her yarn had to be special. At Michael’s, I found this super bulky (6) Isaac Mizrahi CRAFT Carlyle Yarn that was black with gold highlights. I managed fifteen rows for this one, and then ran out of yarn. It’s super soft. Sadly, I thought I had taken pictures of it before I sent it off, but apparently I did not.

Avocado, Aquamarine, Periwinkle, Purple, and City Lights Mix

For the other five, I used the Lion Brand Woolspun yarn called for in the pattern. The various colors I chose were Avocado, Aquamarine, Periwinkle, Purple, and City Lights Mix. It’s a nice, reliable yarn and I had a lot of fun crocheting all the different colors, according to the recipients’ tastes. The City Lights Mix skeins are smaller than the solid skeins, so I did a bit of crochet math and figured out that if I chained stitched 110 instead of 120, I would have enough yarn for sixteen rows. It worked like a charm! I might do that again and any subsequent cowls, because both the Avocado and Periwinkle ones ended up at fifteen rows, because I ran out of yarn.

I still love this pattern, even after making it nine times so far. Even so, now that the Christmas giving season is over, I’m going to try my hand at a new pattern or two.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Emphasis Table Runner

Paper piecing has not come easy to me. From the first, it struck me as upside down and backwards, and my mind has struggled to make sense of it. Well, no longer! I took Carolyn Friedlander’s Emphasis class at QuiltCon 2015 and the way she explained it resonated with me. After making a few Emphasis blocks for my QuiltCon Compilation quilt, I was able to finish up the table runner I had started in the class, no problem.

Quilting this table runner was such fun! I used green Aurifil thread down the center and navy on the sides, following the angles of the piecing.

This little quilt was made 100% from my stash, which was immensely satisfying. I’m really happy with how it turned out and am actually looking forward to tackling more paper piecing as I continue to quilt my way through Carloyn’s book Savor Each Stitch as part of the Quilt the Book challenge.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Violet La Rue Mini Ribbed Cowl

Back when I crocheted in college and shortly after, I only knew of two sources of yarn: large craft store chains and small local yarn stores. Now that I’ve rediscovered crochet a decade later, I realize that there are also a wide variety of online sources as well, from independent shops, Etsy sellers and more.

I discovered Citizens of Textile because I follow Heather of House of a la Mode on Instagram. I like her quilting, but I love the photos of indie dyed yarn she shares. She runs Citizens of Textile, which is the online equivalent of a pop-up shop. You can only buy the artists’ products the first weekend of the month. I was drawn to the indie yarn, but there are also completed knitting items, unique bags and pillows, and sometimes even a quilt or two. I really like the model because it allows a variety of makers to create lovely things throughout the month and sell them without having to maintain an online store day to day. As someone who hates going to the post office, this is an idea I can really get behind.

Because of its pop-store nature, buying from Citizens of Textile is quite the experience. The store opens at 5pm the first Friday of the month, and if you see something you like, you better buy it immediately! Apparently, “cartjacking” is a thing, so if you don’t move quickly enough, someone else will buy it out from underneath you. It’s quite nerve-wracking, but worth it. Heather’s hand dyed yarns are lovely.

My first purchase from Citizens of Textiles included three skeins of Violet La Rue in Bangin’ Bulky single ply, which is a Merino wool/Nylon blend. I bought three because I intended to make a Triple Luxe Cowl with it, and I had used three skeins of Lion Brand Woolspun for that. Because I’m still learning about the world of yarn, I didn’t read the fine print and was surprised that each skein contained only 76 yards. So, no full sized Triple Luxe Cowl. I tried to make a small Triple Luxe Cowl, but the yarn wasn’t a good fit with the pattern.

In the end, I made a mini Ribbed Cowl using Purl Soho’s Crocheted Rib Cowl pattern. With the bulky yarn, it was super quick! While I was making this cowl, my plan was to give it as a gift. When I wore it to take pictures, I almost changed my mind! I loved how warm and squishy it was. Ultimately, I gave it away to a knitter friend who appreciated it. One day, I hope to make a Ribbed Cowl to keep for myself.