Cumulus Cowl

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(C)Interweave Crochet

Today I have the pleasure of showing you one of my latest designs, "Cumulus Cowl" published in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2015. I seriously cannot wait to get this sample back from the publisher. I'm hoping I'll have it back before winter sets in. This cowl is so warm!

(C)Interweave Crochet

Now, you can see that the stylist decided to have the model wear this as a stole, and that can work if you are fairly small, and believe me it will be cozy. I did, however, mean for this to be a very chunky cowl, so I guess it is a very versatile piece that you can wear many ways. In addition to doubling as a stole, it has an interesting texture on both sides, so it is reversible as well. The top two pictures show it on both sides. If you can zoom into those, you'll see the difference. The next photo just below shows one side closer, and the bottom photo shows the other side closer.

(C)Interweave Crochet

The yarn used is Cascade Yarns Magnum, which is super bulky 100% wool that comes in 123 yd skeins. You'll need 3 of these deliciously soft skeins and a 15 mm/Q hook to make this fast-finish accessory. Start today and you could have it finished before the week is over.

(C)Interweave Crochet

In this last photo you can see the very visible diagonal join. While making this, I thought about trying to find a less-visible way to join the rounds, but I decided I rather liked this feature. I'm guessing that the publisher liked it as well since they decided to photograph it. I can see wearing this cowl with the join showing since it adds another interesting line to the piece.

When you finish yours please share your photos on my Facebook page and/or Ravelry! I love seeing photos of finished projects from my patterns!

Happy stitching!


Flyover Scarf - FREE pattern

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Today I have another free pattern for you dear readers! I put this scarf together from some partially used skeins of sock yarn. It's nothing complicated, or challenging. (Hence the reason it is a free pattern). Surely others have some partially used skeins of sock yarn hanging around. It's not just me, right? Please tell me I'm right. So, since we all have this problem, I offer a solution.

Flyover Scarf
Design by April Garwood

Difficulty Level Easy

Finished Measurements 54 ½” x 9” [138.5 cm x 23 cm]

(A) Abt 340 yds [308 m] Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk #5607 Red
(B) Abt 130 yds [119 m] Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Flames
(C) Abt 220 yds [200 m] Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine #1293 Brown

Notions clips or locking stitch markers to hold while seaming, yarn needle

Gauge 5 patt rep x 13 rows = about 4” [10 cm] in patt st.

Pattern Stitch
Ch 22
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, *sk next ch, 3 dc in next ch, sk next ch, sc in next ch, repeat from * across, turn – 21 sts.
Row 2: Ch 2 (does not count as a st), 2 dc in first st, *sk next dc, sc in next dc, sk next dc**, 3 dc in next st, repeat from * across, ending last rep at **, 2 dc in last st, turn.
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, *skip next dc, 3 dc in next sc, sk next dc, sc in next dc, repeat from * across, turn.
Alternate repeating Rows 2 and 3 for pattern.

Stitch Guide
Puff st: *Yo, insert hook in designated st, pull up a lp, elongate lp to height of dc, repeat from * 2 more times, yo, pull through all lps on hook.

Section A
With A, Ch 50
Row 1(RS): Sc in 2nd ch from hook, *sk next ch, 3 dc in next ch, sk next ch, sc in next ch, repeat from * across, turn – 49 sts.
Row 2: Ch 2 (does not count as a st, now and throughout), 2 dc in first st, *sk next dc, sc in next dc, sk next dc**, 3 dc in next st, repeat from * across, ending last rep at **, 2 dc in last st, turn.
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, *skip next dc, 3 dc in next sc, sk next dc, sc in next dc, repeat from * across, turn.
Rows 4-81: Alternate repeating Rows 2 and 3. Fasten off.

Section B
Row 1(WS): With WS facing, join B with sl st to first st, ch 2, dc in first st, *ch 1, sk next st, puff st (see Stitch Guide) in next st, repeat from * across to last 2 sts, ch 1, sk next st, dc in last st, turn – 23 puff sts.
Row 2: Ch 2, dc in first st, *ch 1, sk ch sp, puff st in next st, repeat from * across, ch 1, sk last ch sp, dc in last st, turn.
Rows 3-22: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off.

Section C
Row 1(RS): With RS facing, join C with sl st to first st, ch 1, sc in first st, *sk next ch, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, sk next ch, sc in next st, repeat from * across, turn – 37 sts.
Row 2: Ch 2, 2 dc in first st, *sk next dc, sc in next ch sp, sk next dc**, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, repeat from * across, ending last rep at **, 2 dc in last st, turn.
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first st, *skip next dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next sc, sk next dc, sc in next ch sp, repeat from * across, placing last sc in last dc, turn.
Rows 4-72: Alternate repeating Rows 2 and 3, ending with a Row 2 repeat.

Without twisting scarf, line up ends with RS facing each other, secure with clips or st markers, ch 1, working through both thicknesses, sl st across ends to seam. Fasten off.

Block if desired. Weave in all ends.

(C)2015 April Garwood. All rights reserved.

I've given you the yarn types, colors, and amounts that I used, and the exact instructions to make your scarf just like mine. However, you probably do not have all the same sock yarn bits hanging around that I had, let alone in the same amounts. So, I hope you'll use this pattern to improvise a way to use up your own yarns. You can make each section longer or shorter. You can make your scarf wider. You can even make fewer or more sections using the same stitches. Make it yours!

This size is long enough to double. When doubled, it isn't tight around my neck, but it is a comfortable length that keeps my neck warm.

When you finish yours, please share photos on my Facebook page or on Ravelry! I love seeing photos of FOs from my patterns!

Please remember, if you want to share this pattern, share the link to my blog instead of copying the pattern. Thank you!

Happy stitching!


Book Review: Custom Socks

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Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet
By Kate Atherley
Interweave/F+W $27.99

Today I have a great book review for you! This is Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet, by Kate Atherley. This book is going to help you solve all of your sock-knitting woes! It will help you make socks for yourself, and socks to gift to others. If you have ever found that standard sock sizes don't work for your feet, this book will really be indispensable!

Let's talk about making socks for other people. Have you ever gifted handmade socks? or wanted to? There are great charts in here that will help you with measuring a foot, or with estimating sock size based on shoe size. Or, if you have only some of the needed measurements there are charts to help you estimate the rest.

There is information about estimated yardage depending on sock size and gauge. There are recommendations for yarn types and tools. Author Kate Atherly, also discusses different construction methods like dpns or circulars, toe-up or cuff-down. She gives tips for different parts and aspects of the sock.

This book gives you options for heel stitch patterns, cast-ons, and bind-offs to keep your heels durable, and your leg-end stretchy. There are also helps for those of you that detest grafting your toes with kitchener stitch. Kate discusses the suitability of various stitch patterns to sock knitting and discusses color-work and swatching. There are great how-to instructions in this book with wonderful illustrations and diagrams.

There are 11 sock patterns in this book. There are basic patterns and cabled ones. There are patterns that are a teensy bit lacy. There are textured patterns and color-work patterns, and even a knee sock. Most of the patterns include charts.

Here are a few of my favorite patterns from this book:

"Oh, Valencia!"


"Fitzcarraldo Knee Sock"
If you're looking to dive further into sock knitting to help yourself knit better socks, you'll want to look this book over!

Happy stitching!


Edmond Sweater

Today's featured design is the "Edmond Sweater." I designed this a few months ago, had it professionally tech-edited, and have it available on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy. This is a baby sweater, designed in sizes 3 mo, 6 mo, 12 mo, and 18 mo. I used one of my favorite solid stitch patterns for this sweater. I think that "seed stitch" has something of a woven look to it. I crocheted a matching frog closure for this sweater and the instructions are included.

The yarn I used is Valley Yarns Valley Superwash dk, available at WEBS. As you can guess from the name, this is a dk weight superwash wool yarn. It is one of my favorites! I've also used this yarn for my "Sweet Little (Rounded) Mittens" and my matching "Sweet Little Hat." The pattern also uses a size I/9/5.5 mm crochet hook, or the size needed to match my gauge.

This will be a spectacular baby gift for a loved one of friend! Be prepared for lots of "awww!" if you gift this at a baby shower. Great thing is, it really is pretty quick to make, just because babies are so small. This will be a wonderful sweater to make for your own little one as well. This will make a great fall or spring jacket for him or her!

When your's is finished please share a photo on my Facebook page and/or Ravelry! I love to see photos of finished projects from my patterns! Makes my day!

Happy Stitching!


Punch Pillow

Here today to blog about one of my newest crochet patterns, "Punch Pillow". This new pattern is available in a special issue by Annie's called, From Scraps to Sensational.

This is a pillow sham design that you put over a pillow form. I used Berroco Weekend DK to make this one and that would make an excellent yarn for the base. The colorful design on the front is made using a technique called surface crochet. This is the part that can be done using scraps from your stash. You can do every stripe in a different yarn or do a repeating pattern as I did here. To make one exactly like this you'll need:

  3 hanks in #2902 Vanilla
  1 hank in #2904 Pebble
  1 hank in #2966 Turquoise
  1 hank in #2981 Seedling
  1 hank in #2982 Coast
  Size G/6/4 mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain gauge
  Tapestry needle
  Locking stitch markers
  14" pillow form

I had fun considering submissions for this issue. The thought of surface crochet came to me pretty quickly because you can use just a little yarn for a big impact. I just had to decide where to apply it. I settled on a pillow, and started swatching.

Here was my submitted swatch:

My sketch suggested 2 different ways of arranging the stripes:

You see, you could arrange stripes of surface slip stitching any way you want to make interesting shapes and patterns on the surface of your pillow cover. Editor Jackie Daugherty selected the bottom sketch.

I really enjoyed working on this pillow cover. I like surface crochet. It's fun to do. Here are some pictures of mine taken in process:

My last photo is how I envisioned it, so I was surprised by the magazine photo...it seemed sideways. It's grown on me though, and I like it both ways.

I am excited at the possibilities with this project! I can imagine some really awesome, colorful projects! I look forward to seeing finished projects on Ravelry and on my Facebook page!

Happy Stitching!


Book Review: Warm Days, Cool Knits

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Warm Days, Cool Knits: Lighter Designs for Every Season
By Corrina Ferguson
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Today I am reviewing this wonderful knitting book, Warm Days, Cool Knits, for you dear readers! I was fortunate to win this book by listening to The Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. She interviewed the designer, Corrina Ferguson of Picnic Knits. I left a comment on her show notes and won the book and a skein of yarn to make one of the projects. More on that in a bit.

As I listened to the podcast I was perusing photos of the included patterns on Ravelry. I was very impressed with the lovely projects in this book, so it really was very exciting to win the book!

Here are some of my favorites:

(C) Joe Hancock

(C) Joe Hancock

(C) Joe Hancock

Lovely, aren't they?! There are 20 patterns in the book, and really there are only a couple that I wouldn't love to make and wear!

The yarn that I won was a skein of Hazel Knits Divine (fingering weight Merino/Cashmere/Silk). It is aptly named. It is really lovely, soft yarn! This is the exact yarn and colorway for the Emmylou shawl. It is a crescent shaped shawl with an interesting cable-type pattern. It doesn't look like your typical cable pattern, but utilizes cable techniques and a cable needle.

(C) Joe Hancock

Truthfully, the first 3 or 4 cable rows had me fuming. My hands were really struggling to manage the extra cable needle. I found that, in particular, the parts that required my cable needle to hold one stitch to the front were frustrating because that one stitch was too loose to hold onto the cable needle. If I used a larger cable needle, the 2 stitches held to the back were too tight to fit on the needle. This is probably the result of my own quirkiness. I was determined and persevered, and I am glad that I did. After those first 3 or 4 cable rows, they gradually got easier because my hands were getting more used to managing it all. I am nearing completion of the main body of the shawl, almost time to begin the edging. It is looking very lovely.

This is a good thing. Not only will I have a lovely, soft shawl when I'm done, I will have learned something and improved my knitting skills, and that is worth a little frustration to me.

This particular pattern that I am working on relies heavily on charts. I think it's likely that the other patterns will as well, but I haven't looked carefully at the others to determine if this is so. If you're looking for a great knitting pattern book with lovely wearables, and you love using charts, this one should definitely be on your list!

Happy stitching!


Drop Spindle Tip

I just finished using my Ashford spinning wheel to ply this yarn. I spun the singles on this Schacht drop spindle. This yarn is special among my skeins of handspun because it is the first that I have dyed myself. It's not my most favorite yarn ever, color-wise, but good enough that I am undeterred, and will dye again. 

I stayed up rather late last night trying to get it all plied and off my spindle so that I could show you this tip, and not just tell you about it. 

Do you see the slanted stripes of clear "stuff" on the shaft of my spindle, on the end nearest the whorl? Those are SO helpful!

When I spin, I find that the cop of yarn I am building up will eventually start sliding around the shaft. This causes two really aggravating problems. First, the cop doesn't stay firmly lodged against the whorl, so as I am winding on, sometimes my strand of yarn gets between the cop and the whorl and makes for a messy and tangled cop of yarn. The other problem is even worse. As I am spinning, the cop gets pulled on and unwinds, meaning that my spun yarn gets longer from the bottom, and I can't spin very much in each length before winding on. Is that making sense? It's difficult to describe. 

So, my solution, plug in my hot glue gun and apply a corkscrew of hot glue around the shaft of my spindle, beginning at the whorl end. As you can see, I didn't do this along the whole shaft, just the part that I would begin winding around. It's such a simple thing, but it gives enough grip to the shaft to keep the cop still. Problem solved. It works perfectly.