Monday, August 21, 2017

Two Patterns Published, and a Tutorial for the Apple Dumpling Hat Join

It's hard to think about Autumn when summer is still at its peak - which is probably why I didn't blog about these patterns when they first came out last month. (It couldn't, surely, be anything to do with lack of organisation on my part. Oh no.)

Now, with goldenrod marching across the fields and September breathing down our necks, the time seems right to mention Love of Crochet's Fall 2017 issue, in which are appearing the...

Photo courtesy Love of Crochet

and the...

Photo courtesy Love of Crochet

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The Apple Picking Mitts feature double rows of mock cables at tops and cuffs, with back loop only, front loop only, and crossed stitches giving plenty of interest and texture. A simple hdc body with built-in thumb gussets makes this project quick, fun, and well-fitting.


The Apple Dumpling Hat uses simple rounds of extended hdc, worked in the back bar, for stretchy texture:


It's topped with a darn cute stem and leaf (though I says it as shouldn't):


Click here to check out all the lovely patterns in Love of Crochet Fall 2017. Both digital and print issues are available.

Image courtesy Love of Crochet

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And now, the Apple Dumpling Hat join.

Any variation of hdc worked in the back bar makes for a striking stitch - but how do you keep those raised ridges flowing smoothly at round joins? Visible seams are a pet peeve of mine, so I developed a special join just for this project. It's a hybrid of the Slipped Slip join and the Mock Invisible Join, with some travelling join vibe thrown in for good measure.

The magazine pattern calls it a "Modified Join". Here's how to make it:

1. Start with a round of hdc foundation stitch. (The first hdc made in each round will be called the "starting hdc", and the last one will be called the "ending hdc".) Bring the two ends together, RS facing outwards, to form a ring. Pull up working loop to about 3/8" tall and remove hook from loop. (The arrows in Photo 1 show where the loop is about to go.) 
2. With working yarn above and behind work, insert hook from WS to RS through top loops of starting hdc.
3. Place working loop back on hook and pull it through to back of project.


4. Drop loop again, turn work so WS is facing you, and insert hook from bottom to top through the back bar and back loop of the ending hdc. (I'm calling them the back loop and back bar because that's what they would be if viewed from the right side. Slightly confusing, I know.)
5. Place working loop back on hook, and ...
6. Draw it down through the other two loops.

 
7. Turn the work again so the RS is facing you. Pull the working yarn to tighten the join. The top of the starting hdc should "merge" with the top of the ending hdc as in photo below.


8. To start the next round, chain 4 (does not count as stitch), skip 1 stitch, ehdc in back bar of next stitch.
9. When you get to the end of the round, make the ending stitch in the back bar of the skipped stitch, keeping the ch-4 behind the work. The round start/end has now shifted one stitch to the left.
10. Ending stitch made and Modified Join complete.


This combination of sneaky join and shifting round start makes the seam much less noticeable. Here's how it looks after several rounds, wrong side (left photo) and right side (right photo):


Pretty subtle, huh? But all is not perfect. See the little arrow in the right-hand photo above? It's pointing to the last stitch of Round 3, which has developed a gap.

There are two ways to avoid a gap like that: pull yarn tail very firmly in Step 7, and make the first chain of the next round very tight to "lock" the join. (Be aware that if you pull things too tightly you can get a puckered seam. The road to perfect tension is not an easy one.)

The best way and time to tighten a chain stitch is after it's made: so chain 1, then press thumb against working loop to keep it from slipping. With other hand, grasp work just below the chain. Tug hook firmly upwards until chain shrinks to a fraction of its normal size (see photo below). Release thumb and gently pull yarn tail to snug loop on hook; work rest of chain stitches normally.


Whew! Making this join is much quicker and easier than writing it out. :) If you have any questions about the technique, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

I hope you'll find this join useful for making an Apple Dumpling Hat of your own, and for other projects too.

You may do whatever you like with objects made using this technique, but you may not reproduce or re-post the text or photos without permission. (Links to this post are welcome.) If you do reference this technique, please credit the author.

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

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P.S. Are you ready for Fall? Or (like me) still loving Summer?

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Snapshots from the Chain Link 2017 Design Competition


One of the best parts of attending a CGOA conference is seeing what other people are making. (And wearing!) Being surrounded by so much creativity is inspiring, and nowhere is the creativity more evident than in the Design Competition.

Here are some highlights of this year's entries....

Each of these three pieces won a prize. The lovely wrap on the right was constructed
entirely from chain stitch and single crochet.

This amazing wall hanging won the People's Choice Award.

Another prize winner - a beautifully creative combination of beadwork and crochet
by Hazel Furst. Notice that many of the capital letters are musical notes, and the
hangers are made from conductor's batons.

That gorgeous shawl in the foreground was designed by Susan Lowman.

Never heard of this designer.... (cough)

A stunning Tunisian capelet by Juliette Bezold, who used contrast stitches to highlight
the increases and decreases. Sweet!

"Rainbow in Cloud" - this adorable blanket took first prize in the Home Decor category.

Peacock-feather detail from an amazing outfit. I wish I could have
gotten a good shot of the entire project.

Fabulous hairpin lace tunic by Annette Hynes.

Detail of a lovely freeform crochet wrap by Kristin Lynn. Star stitch, Solomon's knots,
and bullion stitch are just some of the interesting techniques used.

"Rock Steady Seasons of Indiana" by Gwen Blakely Kinsler. How creative is this!

I know you've seen this project already,
but check out the ribbon! I won a prize! :D

There were so many beautiful entries - I wish I could have gotten photos of them all. (A complete album should be available soon on the CGOA website.)

Next year's conference is in Portland. Start making your travel plans!

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