That Pineapple Crochet Jacket

The release of this design package had to wait until I could address a serious issue. As visitors to my CGOA Conference fitting labs can tell you, there is so much to be learned from seeing garment samples on different bodies. Last month in Charleston I threw the shrug (Carbonite grey) and jacket (Emerald Deep green) versions of this design on as many victims… uh, volunteers… as walked past the DesigningVashti exhibitor booth and decided there should be a larger, roomier version (Dark Roast brown).  Done.

Curacao stack

Lotus Curacao Jackets

DJC: Lotus Curacao Jacket in three versions is now ready for your perusal in the pattern shop at DesigningVashti.com.

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In preparation for that July 2016 conference, in keeping with the event theme of crochet pineapples, I considered my relationship with the stitch (see previous post) and cast my thoughts back to the one pineapple design deserving a reboot. This is the original Blue Curacao Shawl as published in Amazing Crochet Lace (Potter Craft, 2006), my first book now out of reach.

Original front

Blue Curacao

See how the winged shape of the shawl drapes over the shoulders in such a way that the sides want to form sleeves?  Already resembles a jacket, huh?  So why not just do it that way?  To create a season-spanning garment, I swapped out the original DK weight fluffy wool blend yarn to now use DesigningVashti Lotus, a sleek, luminous sportweight blend of cotton and rayon.  To make the armholes, there are very simple and totally optional attachments at the underarms, made while crocheting the final row of trim.  Although each of the three versions is only one size, each garment can accommodate a range of bodies in different ways, so most everyone can have a Curacao Jacket that fits and flatters.

Updated with a few design tweaks, revised instructions, detailed photography and fresh diagrams, this pattern set also includes instructions for making the original shawl bigger and longer, something not offered in the book design but often requested by readers. Requiring from two to five balls of Lotus, and otherwise perfectly doable with any yarn or combination of yarns that gives you the fabric and dimensions you desire, DJC: Lotus Curacao Jacket just might be the pretty little layer you should crochet for yourself this season.

Please visit DesigningVashti.com for the latest products. Vashti has a staggering array of Tulip brand crochet hooks, including Etimo cushion grip hooks in sets and individually, plus Chiaogoo bamboo Tunisian hooks, straight and circular, in hard-to-find sizes and lengths. Oh, and that strange Jelly Yarn, too.

Happy Jacketing!

 

Crochet Hall of Fame

It is with ineffable pleasure and pride that I share this announcement. The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)  and has just bestowed upon me that organization’s highest honor, induction into the CGOA Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame.

WOWSERS!

My initial reaction to the news is one of disbelief.  I should not think myself worthy and, however disingenuous it sounds, I truly am shocked and surprised to have been voted in.  Ah, but my next and more abiding reaction is most telling.  I regard the Hall of Fame award as the icing… no, wait… it’s merely the dusting of gold sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake, the chocolate cake that represents my association with the CGOA.  Of course it is wonderful, astonishing to have my work recognized in so public a way. But it all pales compared to the immeasurable personal rewards I have already received over the years through guild membership and participation.  In other words, for twelve years I have been gorging on CGOA cake and my head is not about to be turned by a few new glittery bits on top.

Would my life and career be the same today had I not joined CGOA? Don’t think so.  I’d still have chosen to pursue crochet designing.  But my experiences through 16 conferences — being welcomed into this vital community, meeting others who speak the language of crochet with as much fluency and reverence as I do, bonding with the crocheters who would become my best friends — showed me that I do not design in a vacuum.  Sharing my craft with this crew of talented, creative, slightly mad, often rowdy but always loving crocheters reminds me why I do what I do and keeps me honest.

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I never enjoy talking about myself and am finding it difficult to produce my presentation/acceptance speech for the formal induction ceremony, to be held during the 2016 CGOA Conference at North Charleston, SC, July 13-16. But, hey, I’ve got some time here to mess with it.  And ready or not, to all who plan on attending the conference, I want to see you on Friday evening for the festivities.  And if you’ve crocheted for yourself anything I’ve designed, please bring or wear it that evening and share the pride along with me.

Launching My Crochet for WEBS: The Designer in Residence Experience

Logo DiRWEBS, America’s Yarn Store. WEBS, my Yarn Store. They opened wide their doors and their hearts to me and I stumbled in. Kid in a candy store, only I emerge not with a face smeared with chocolate and pockets crammed with Jelly Babies, but with an entire catalog of WEBS Valley Yarns to feed my crochet design engine. I can only assume/hope that Kathy Elkins and Sara Delaney (WEBS owner and marketing coordinator, respectively) know what they’re doing, inviting me to serve as their crochet designer-in-residence for 2015. Although they are majorly supportive of crochet, appreciative of my work, and tell me anything goes, I fully understand that this means anything within reason.

Spoiled for yarn choice and reeling from the responsibility, I have no idea what this year’s six designs will bring, except for #1, obviously, because it is launching right now. New this season to the Valley Yarns Superwash family, Superwash Bulky lends itself perfectly to a super-exploded lace stole with a shawl collar.

Shawl Collar Stole back Shawl Collar Stole front

I forget who first described it as meltingly soft. Anyone who has wrapped this baby around the shoulders does not want to take it off. Truth be told, I enjoyed the lush softness of the piece while I was creating the sample; this from a crocheter who has allergies, among them wool. Thick yarn, big hook, zero finishing, quick work, nearly instant gratification. The pattern is available as a printed copy or digital download here. Sara has already blogged about the launch, the program and leaked my answers to a few designer questions on the WEBS blog here.

What comes next depends mostly on how the yarns speak to me. I will definitely be playing with two Valley yarns I have come to know and love: Goshen, my go-to non-wool worsted weight favorite, and Charlemont, a sock weight beauty.

Doris Chan DiR FebruaryIf you have any thoughts about how I should fill in those question marks, I’d enjoy hearing about them and might even pay attention. Visit the Valley Yarns pages at WEBS to peruse the materials I have at my disposal, and let me know if there’s something specific (within reason!) you’d like to see in crochet design by leaving a reply to this blog. And please follow here as my year-long Designer in Residence adventure unfolds.

Introducing DJC Lotus Wings: A Set of Crochet Pretties

Lotus P Wing

Lotus P Wing

May I tempt you with these three projects created for DesigningVashti Lotus yarn, gathered into one collection, DJC: Lotus Wings.

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One can’t quite call these little beauties shawls; each using just two balls of Lotus, they’re not designed for full coverage. Besides, in this stunning, drapey, luminous fiber they will not keep you warm as you might want from a full-sized shawl.

Think of these pieces as accessories, wardrobe accents, like generous scarves or really big jewelry. As such they have three excellent attributes:

— Quick to finish (actually requiring little to no literal finishing),
— Shaped to stay on the shoulders, and
— Make you feel special (in the most wonderful way).

Oh, there is another brilliant thing about Lotus Wings. They make exceptional gifts if you can bear to part with them.

Will you be adding a Wing or two to your crochet marathon this season?🙂

Gifting Crocheters: Win Clever Crocheted Accessories

A woman of my word, I am keeping to my policy, actually more of a guideline, of not burying the lead.  At the end of this post you will discover how you can enter to win a copy of the new book, Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects (Interweave Press, 27 November 2012) edited by Brett Bara. Now back to fluff.

There’s something about Christmas that brings out the best (and occasionally the worst) in people. Crocheters who participate in the yearly hand-made gift crunch can become heroes on Christmas morning. We can also turn into zombies. The two outcomes are not mutually exclusive. I truly enjoy the holidays and over the years, during those few brief lucid moments before the onset of total brain death, I have written about it ( see Crochet Marathoning). I have also offered a cute little Mini Stocking pattern. For civilians (non-crocheters), figuring out what sort of holiday gifts would be appreciated and cherished by crocheters can be a daunting endeavor.  In the past I have written some helpful hints (see 2008, 2010) and even shared a recipe for smelly ornaments. This year I have an idea that will cover all this ground.Released today, the new book from my crafty friend Brett Bara makes a brilliant gift for yourself if you are a crocheter… or for a civilian to give to a crocheter who enjoys crocheting gifts to give to you.  Too meta?  Brett is one of those editors who is real good at herding cats, a skill that served her well in gathering the rock star designers who contributed to this pattern collection. From the first project, Saturday Beret (on the book cover), designed by Ellen Gormley, to the last, my own Chunky Capelet (in super-fast broomstick technique), Clever Crocheted Accessories is a happy guide to making quick work of your gift list. I’m going to have to refer to Ellen as my bookend friend from now on. 🙂

Click here for a look inside the book, or see this slideshow of just some of the designs, please to maintain composure and resist drooling.

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You’ll find Clever Crocheted Accessories at bookstores and yarn shops, or you can order from Amazon and from Interweave Press.  Thanks to Brett and Interweave Press you can also enter to win a copy right here right now. Leave a comment to this post below and I’ll choose a winner at noon EST on Friday, 30 November. Please keep your replies brief.  Sucking up to me will not help your chances at all.  Happy happy joy joy to all and best of luck.