Little yarn balls & Tunisian Cowls

 

In my preparations for moving the studio, I recently came upon a little treasure trove of yarn samples.  Most were upper end yarns but none of the yarn quantities were enough to make more than a swatch.  What simple, fast project could I make that would combine them to result in a celebration of different colors and textures?


sandstoe cowl

My go-to technique for this kind of thing is 3-Color Tunisian Crochet as epitomized by the Stashbuster Blanket design I did several years ago.  No need to rethink things, I thought, so this time I just used the technique on a much smaller scale with a smaller hook and smaller quantities of yarn.

 

I wanted to make something small that would use about 12 mini-balls or so, and nothing made more sense than the ever-popular cowl. Using a P Tunisian Crochet hook, I started with 15 stitches and worked even in 3-color-Tunisian until my work measured about 22”, then whip-stitched my starting chain to my Tunisian bind-off stitches.  I finished the project by working single crochet in the round very loosely with the same hook around the vertical bars at each edge.


sandstone cowl on mannequina

For my Sandstone Palette Cowl, I just worked single-stranded for the entire project, even though my yarn gauges differed slightly.  With 3-color-Tunisian, the width of the work will vary if all 3 of your working groups of yarn are not the same gauge, but in the case of the yarns in this palette, the gauge variation was small enough, and the width of the project was narrow enough (less stitches in width = less total potential width variation), that the slight variations in width in the work are negligible.

hibiscus cowl

For my Hibiscus Palette Cowl, I had some pretty bulky yarns in the palette, so I needed to hold some of the finer yarns double-stranded to avoid too much variation in the cowl width.

 

Working the 3-Color-Tunisian technique really does feel like painting with your yarn stash. It can be a really fun and intuitive approach to crochet. It feels like you’re sketching with fiber! Just remember to keep that hook size large in relation to your yarn. Tunisian has a tendency to create a thick fabric and no one wants to wear a stiff fiber ring around their neck.

 

If you want to try this technique too, check out our free 3-Color-Tunisian Tutorial. You can get more details on mixing and choosing yarns in our Stashbuster Blanket pattern.  And if you don’t have the stash, or want help choosing a color palette, you might be interested in one of our Coordinated Yarn Palette Packs.  Although yardages in these packs are not guaranteed or specified, I had more than enough yarn (with leftovers!) in the 2 cowls that I made, and chances are that you have at least one yarn in your stash that coordinates with these packs in case you need a little more yardage to get to the last stitch.


 

Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

Are you Color-Challenged?

Mar 3, 2015 2:32:12 PM

yarn color palettes

 

I'm just back from our show at Stitches West 2015, and as usual it was such a blast meeting and talking with the knitters and crocheters who came to our booth. It is always a thrill to see projects worked from our patterns and to demonstrate techniques one-on-one to those who come and visit us.

Probably the most common question I receive, after technique-related questions, has to do with choosing yarn colors. More often than not, a knitter or crocheter choosing yarn colors asks my advice on what colors go together, or they bring a friend that can offer advice.  

Or they just fall into the pattern of choosing the same colors, and they complain about it.  I can't count the number of times I heard that someone's stash was full of greens or purples or whatever the particular person's favorite color might be and that they are tired of always choosing the same colors but they just can't seem to break free of the pattern.  Or of course, there is always the person who has an almost-entirely black wardrobe and is always struggling to choose colors to liven it up.

I teach a Craftsy class on colorwork with Tunisian Crochet, and one of the video lessons is devoted to helping people choose their own color palettes using colors in photos that they love.  Although only tangentially related to the technique, I probably get more positive feedback on that lesson in the class than any of the other class lessons.  It's a very hands-on, practical method of choosing color that has nothing to do with theory or color wheels, just taking a look at what works in the environment around us and extracting the color elements out of these successful examples to use in one's own work.  It's about mimicking the beautiful color in the world around us.  And it's the approach to color that has helped me the most in my work as a designer.

So many of us just have a general lack of confidence when it comes to colors and how to combine them. 

If you consider yourself a color person, what usually inspires your to choose the colors that you do?  If you're not a color person - what color ruts would you like to break out of?

Right now, select colors of our DK Cotton Tape yarn are on sale (this yarn is available in cones as well!), and in an effort to help the "color challenged" in the crowd feel confident choosing a color palette, I've come up with 12 sophisticated palettes that I feel are wearable even for the more color-timid.  I hope they inspire you to combine colors in new ways!

palette 1

Palette #1:

(left to right) Rust, Mustard, Orange

palette 2

Palette #2:

(left to right) Navy, Grey, Brown

 Yarn Color Palette 3  

Palette #3:

(left to right) Cerise, Gallant Red, Fuschia Red

 color palette 4  

Palette #4:

(left to right) Chocolate, Cream Tan, Tan

 Color Palette 5  

Palette #5:

(left to right) Gold, Musty Orchid, Chocolate

 Color Palette 6  

Palette #6:

(left to right) Purple, Chateau Rose, Chocolate

 Color Palette 7  

Palette #7:

(left to right) Grey, French Blue, Lilac

 Color Palette 7  

Palette #8:

(left to right) Musty Orchid, Grey, Teal

 Color Palette 9  

Palette #9:

(left to right) Purple, Gold, Tan

 Color Palette  9  

Palette #10:

(left to right) Cream Tan, Chateau Rose, Gold

 Color Palette 11  

Palette #11:

(left to right) Tan, Brown, Cobalt

 Color Palette 12  

Palette #12:

(left to right) Mustard, Brown, Musty Orchid

Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

Summerfest Bracelet with Lucet

May 23, 2014 12:26:23 PM

Sailor's knot bracelet lucet turk's head bracelet

Here’s a fun little lucet project that I’ve just whipped up.  

You could use any kind of lucet cording (Basic, No Turn Method, or with a Single Gimp), but I made this project to showcase a cord I made for a new tutorial: How to make Lucet Cord with 2 Gimps. Take a look at the technique below:

 

 

The technique is simple, and I think an armful of these in different colors would be an absolutely beautiful accessory for summer.

 

Here are the steps:

 

Lucet project materials

What you will need:

 

Measure your hand

Calculate required lucet cord length

 Tuck your thumb to your palm and measure around your hand. Multiply this number by 6.1. So, for example, my measure is 8” around my hand, so my required lucet cord length is 8" x 6.1 = 48.8" or just 49” with rounding.  

 

Double Gimp Lucet Cord

Make a lucet cord to length

using any of the lucet cord methods mentioned above and make sure to have at least a 7” starting tail on the yarn you use for your lucet cord.

 

 

Make a “Turks Head Knot”

 Take a look at the video above and the super helpful step-by-step photo tutorial at http://www.animatedknots.com/turkshead/.  

 

Beer Bottle

Try a Beer Bottle

I found that a beer bottle was PERFECT to use as a form to create my bracelet - and if you are a woman with a medium-sized hand, you might want to try it!

 

Secure back of bracelet

Secure the Ends

On the back side of the bracelet, snip the end of the cord so that there is just a ½” overlap and use the 7” starting tail to sew the edges together as pictured.

 

Want to make your own bracelet just like this one? Get the kit!

 

Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen

Upcoming Classes!

May 8, 2014 6:45:58 PM

Classes with Jennifer Hansen

Have you ever been to knit/crochet conference?  

If you have - then you know how fun it is to be around other people who love to knit and/or crochet as much as you do. If you are an avid knitter or crocheter and you have never been to a conference before, well then - the discovery of a profound new pleasure is waiting for you!  

What makes attending a conference so special?

For a lot of us, we are the only knitters or crocheters that we know in our day to day life.  Maybe we've made connections on Ravelry, or attend some kind of stitch-and-bitch group from time to time. But busy schedules and limited real-world contacts can sometimes leave you feeling a bit isolated. It's not that online connections can't be meaningful, it's just that there is real power in seeing a lot of people doing what you love, all hanging out 'in the flesh' in the same place, all excited to share what they are doing and what they are learning with each other.  That is how it feels to go to a conference.  I still remember the first time I went to a conference as an attendee, it was just so cool to see people all around the hotel knitting and crocheting, talking and laughing, and thouroughly enjoying sharing the experience.

I'll be teaching at the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH, July 23 - 27 2014

and I hope you can make it there.  I am developing a new class for teaching the lucet and I am excited to be teaching it for the first time at the show.  

Here are the classes that I'll be teaching at the show:

Lovely Lucet Class

Lovely Lucet

July 23, 2014, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Want to learn an alternative to I-cord, twisted cord or crochet chain cord? Learn to use this medieval tool to create a whole new kind of corded embellishment for your projects. We will create a composite reference cord in class using several different methods, starting with the conventional turning method, then using a no-turn method, cords with multiple threads, beads, loops and more. Whether you need a cord to finish off your knit and crochet projects or just want to create your own shoelaces or macrame jewelry, this is a class for you. Sign up on show website.

Beginning Hairpin Lace

Beginning Hairpin Lace

July 24, 2014, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Hairpin lace creates beautiful open fabrics that look complicated and impressive! The dirty little secret is that this technique is so simple, even a beginning crocheter can do it! I will teach you the basics of creating a hairpin lace strip and then provide a quick overview on how to join them. Take the add-on class to this workshop: Beginning Hairpin Lace: Join Workshop for a more comprehensive introduction to joins. Sign up on show website.


Hairpin Lace Join Workshop

Beginning Hairpin Lace: Join Workshop

July 24, 2014, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Do you know how to make a hairpin lace strip but just need help understanding how to join them? Join  me to learn the basic categories of hairpin lace joins, and create a pretty little bag using strips created as homework (or created in the optional “Beginning Hairpin Lace” morning workshop). Sign up on show website.

 Rebellious Hairpin Lace

 Rebellious Hairpin Lace

July 25, 2014, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Everything you learned is wrong!  Well, not really, but if you’ve learned hairpin lace before and worked a few projects with it, chances are you’ve learned the standard way of doing it.  In this class, we will turn those ideas AROUND. First we will explore alternate ways of creating a hairpin lace strip – going way beyond working a sole single crochet stitch in each loop.  Then we will explore very innovative ways of joining strips to create new and unexpected fabrics with the strips you’ve created as homework.  Your handouts will include a mini-reference for creating these new stitch types and a mini-project for you to tackle with the skills you will learn in this class. Sign up on show website.

Beyond Basic Broomstick Lace

Beyond Basic Broomstick Lace

July 25, 2014, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Are you already familiar with the basics of broomstick lace?  In this class, we explore non-traditional stitch patterning, borrowing from hairpin lace the art of working broomstick loops in fresh new ways to create stunning, airy fabrics that are very quick to work up.  We will work on a stitch sampler in the class to practice technique fundamentals, and also explore mixing broomstick lace with traditional crochet stitches to learn how to use broomstick as an embellishment technique. Sign up on show website.

Can't Make the Conference?

If you can't make the conference, I offer a couple of classes you can take any time and any where you'd like, via Craftsy.

The great thing about online classes is that you can take them when they fit into your schedule and you can watch and participate in them anywhere you have an internet connection.

Both of my classes are suitable for any beginning crocheter or knitter who has done a little bit of crochet. I will teach you the rest! (Need a beginner, beginner class? Take Vickie Howell's Crochet Lab)

Currently on Craftsy:

Broomstick Lace On Craftsy

Learn Broomstick Lace


Broomstick Lace is fast, beautiful and any beginning crocheter or knitter who has done a little bit of crochet can learn! 


Take the class for hours of instruction - you can set the schedule and the pace to suit your lifestyle.


My Broomstick Lace Class is especially suitable for knitters wanting to incorporate crochet into their work. Read my blog post to learn why.

 

Learn Tunisian Crochet

 
Tunisian Crochet is a hybrid of knitting and standard crochet and it provides opportunities for colorwork that aren't available in knit or crochet alone. 


You don't need to be an advanced crocheter to learn this technique - any beginning crocheter or knitter who has done a little bit of crochet can learn! My class Tunisian Crochet: Revolutions in Color and Style is available online and provides hours of instruction - you can set the schedule and the pace to suit your lifestyle. 

Tunisian Crochet Class
Comments | Posted in News By Jennifer Hansen

Lucet Bracelet

Make this very simple bracelet with a lucet cord and a decorative button.

For this cord we used a lucet cord with a decorative gimp.  Don't know how to do it?  Take a look at the how-to-video below to learn how.  You can use a lucet cord with a gimp for this bracelet, or just use any kind of lucet cord that you'd like. (See our Lucet Cord Tutorials for other cord options.)

To make the bracelet with your finished lucet cord, just take a look at the phototutorial below.

What you need

Materials for bracelet

Here's what you will need:

A finished lucet cord of about 54".  Make it shorter or longer based on how many times you'd like to wrap it around your wrist.  Leave at least 4" beginning tails and 20" ending tails so that you can use the tails to complete the bracelet.  For the featured lucet cord we used the Wool Tree Mill Lucet, Lucci Rayon in color Periwinkle for the working yarn and DK Cotton Tape in Color Beet Red as the Gimp.


A decorative button.


A tapestry needle appropriate for your lucet cord yarn.

 

Make the Button Loop

Pinch the loop

Pinch the end of the lucet cord that has the longer 20" tails into a loop that will accomodate your button. Make it a little larger than your button as you will be making the loop opening a little smaller by wrapping the tails in a subsequent step.

 

Make the loop

Thread the 20" tails (Gimp and working yarn) through the tapestry needle and then through the lucet cord in order to secure the loop.

 

wrapped loop

Wrap the tails around the base of the loop as well as around the part of the lucet cord just before the loop.  Once you are satisfied with the wraps, poke the tapestry needle through the wraps and underneath them to secure them.  Once the tails are securely woven in, trim off the excess.

 

Sew on Button

Sew on button

Use the tail on the opposite end of the lucet cord to attach to the button.  Use tapestry needle to weave excess tail through the lucet cord in order to secure it then cut off excess tail.

 

That's it!

lucet bracelet

It's just that easy. Now wrap the cord around your wrist and enjoy your new bracelet.

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Comments | Posted in Techniques & How To By Jennifer Hansen