Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Magical Pattern

  I have a great new free crochet pattern ready to go, but Mother Nature decided it wasn't going to be posted today. I delayed taking dislay photos for the pattern because of some link parties and... I've been busy making a video! Well, three videos, since my camera only takes about nine minutes of video before mysteriously shutting off... With plenty of battery and card space. Hmm...

  So, back to the subject: Mother Nature, why do you take my light away? And my electricity? Don't you know I need these things to get my pictures taken and uploaded to the blog?

  A freak - and by freak, I mean it-was-just-sunny-where-did-the-light-go-and-omg-the-wind-almost-blew-the-shed-away- FREAK thunderstorm popped up and delayed the publishing of the awesome new pattern. The final pictures are on the computer, waiting to be edited. And the computer is off due to lightning.

  So I'm hiding in the bedroom with the tablet. I had managed to get the following photos uploaded before Freak-Thunderstorm ruined everything. (And I'm not hiding because of Freak-Thunderstorm, I'm hiding because The-Other-Half-and-T.V.) I was going over the photos, amusing myself, when I decided to play a little game. Want to play along?

What will it be?

  The following are all photos of the "magical" new pattern. Who can guess what it really is? (Now... One of you has been clued in to the secret. You're welcome to guess at what you think the photos look like. But I know you won't ruin the surprise.)

A funky flower? Some sort of sea coral?

A clam? A turtle? (The Other-Half says it looks like a turtle.)

A Phalaenopsis orchid?


  It's a pattern that looks like a mess, until you magically fold it over to make what-it-is. Fold it the wrong way, and you get all of the above examples. Do you think you know what it will be?

Have fun guessing ;)

Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mayflower Lace Graph with Tutorial

  Get ready for the graph of the Mayflower Lace Scarf pattern! No, seriously, I mean prepare yourself... You're about to be subjected to my drawings, and they're probably not as good as you're hoping! Even though I often create tutorials along with my patterns, there will always be someone out there that wants a graph or chart instead. And it's perfectly okay to want a graph, but I have trouble making them. I still haven't found any affordable* software that will actually work for crochet patterns, so I practice the ancient ritual of drawing mine out on graph paper. And they usually look like hieroglyphs combined with geometry with some squiggly lines mixed in.

  So, anyway... I may be worse at drawing than sewing! Seriously, how hard is it to draw a straight line on graph paper? Um... Apparently it's really hard for me! To make things worse, I'll scribble stuff like numbers, circles, arrows and notes all over it. So, lately I've been making an effort to translate my alien-squiggle-math into something actually readable by others. I think I did an okay job this time! I wouldn't call it great, so let's call this post an experiment, okay? Instead of just providing the graph, I'll be explaining the pattern step by step. Hopefully you graph lovers will find what you need, and less experienced crocheters can understand the pattern. Hope you like it!

  Click here for the free pattern. You'll find the information you'll need like gauge, yarn, and hook size.

Psst... I eventually found a free program to create a real chart! Although this post contains helpful information for how to work the stitches, if you just want a real graph, click here.

Don't get too disappointed yet: This is just my rough draft of the design. The small lines you see are the marks that break up the sections of "flowers", but don't let it confuse you! There is only one multiple here - which is the whole width of the scarf. To add multiples, you would do so after the third Love Knot.

To explain my scribbles: Each circle represents either the single crochet of the Love Knot, or the top of a modified long single crochet. (You can probably figure out that the long line represents the long loop of the stitch.) You'll see the long single crochet later. (It pretty much looks the same.)

The beginning chain consists of five Love Knots. This only forms the base of the first row! There's still more Love Knots to make...

One more Love Knot creates the first half of the first "V" in the row. If needed, you can mark the single crochet before this knot as the first stitch you will work into.

The seventh Love Knot creates the horizontal bar of the "V" - But your project won't take this shape yet! You'll still have one long beginning chain.

Number eight represents a modified long single crochet. You will make this stitch in the second Love Knot from the hook.

To begin the next "V", make a modified long single crochet in the next Love Knot.

Number ten forms the horizontal bar of the second "V".

Number eleven closes the "V" with a modified long single crochet in the same stitch as the last.

  You guys can probably figure it out from here! Just keep making "V's" to the end of the row... So until then, you can follow the graph while I provide you with a few tips that I used to keep track of my stitches. I'll give you some technical mumbo-jumbo about multiples, too! I noticed in the next photo that I forgot to draw the symbols of the single crochet stitches. As you'll read in my tips, I'm not perfect. Do me a favor and pretend you see them there for now - I filled them in later:

Even as the designer of this pattern, I kept losing track of where I was! I wanted to make a Love Knot after every long single crochet, and had to keep pulling out my stitches between "V's".

A "V" will be a modified long single crochet followed by a Love Knot, and closed with a modified long single crochet in the same stitch.

While working the pattern I started to think "V" - then - "point"... "V" - then "point"... ("Point" being the triangle that forms between the long single crochet stitches.)

This beginning row threw me off, too! Yes, the row will increase, which will give the first row a horseshoe shape. I almost had a heart attack when my pattern looked out of shape, before I reminded myself that it will look like this.

The more you work this row, the worse it will begin to curve. Don't let it get to you! We'll decrease in the next row and it will straighten out. 

Number seventeen completes the fourth "V", which is the end of the multiple. You will need the last two chains to close the multiple. (So... If you're altering the pattern, here's where you would add more multiples!)

Remember the three sections of geometrical flowers from the first photo? Number eighteen begins the last one. Each multiple consists of two flower sections, plus one (section) to close the pattern. (The one section needs two more Love Knots, so that's why the multiple is written as 3 + 2.

If you are a master of multiples, then you can probably see that the multiple of this pattern could be changed to just "3" or even "1"... But if it was only "1", then I guess it wouldn't be a multiple, would it? Have fun with that.

Getting back to the pattern: Number twenty-one is a modified long single crochet in the beginning single crochet. But it's not the end of the row!

Make one more Love Knot to form the horizontal bar of the last "V". Every time I got distracted, I would forget to make the increase at the end of this row.

End the row with a modified long single crochet in the same stitch as the last. There will be a total of six "V's" in the row.

Here's the big picture of the whole row, if it helps!

Odd numbered rows begin with a decrease (or a "point"), so the row begins with just one Love Knot.

Turn and make a modified long single crochet (MLsc) in the next MLsc. This will be the center stitch at the top of the "point".

To make the horizontal bar of the first "V" in the row, make a Love Knot.

Make a modified long single crochet in the same stitch as the last. 

Make a modified long single crochet in the next MLsc to begin the next "V". This completes one flower section.

(Again, I forgot the symbol for the single crochet here.) Number six forms the horizontal bar of this "V".

Number seven completes the second "V".

  Can we speed it up here? I'll quit yapping and just label the stitches for you:

Number eight is a modified long single crochet in the next stitch.

Number nine is a Love Knot...

Number ten is a modified long single crochet in the same stitch as the last.

Number eleven is a modified long single crochet in the next stitch.

Number twelve is a Love Knot...

Number thirteen is a modified long single crochet in the same stitch as the last.

Number fourteen begins the last "V" of the row with a modified long single crochet in the next stitch.

Number fifteen is the last Love Knot of the row.

Number sixteen closes the "V" with a modified long single crochet in the same stitch as the last.

Number eighteen should be number seventeen... Anyways... Make a long single crochet in the last Love Knot of the row. There will only be five "V's" in this row.

And here's the big picture for you again! To continue working, just repeat the first and second rows. Remember that the pattern increases on odd numbered rows and decreases on even numbered rows. Can ya'll take it from here? 

  Whew! I know that was more informative than advanced crocheters needed it to be; I wanted to make this pattern as easy as possible to understand. I also know it's not perfect, but what do you think? (Other than too many pictures!) Did it help, or did I confuse you? I have a beginner that's attempting this scarf after just learning the stitch from the photo tutorial (tutorial no longer available), but she got lost in the pattern until I shared this graph with her. She's now working through the pattern while learning to adjust tension. Ha! I love to hear that! I'm anxiously waiting for some shared photos over on the Crochet is the Way Facebook page. You can head over there and share yours, too!

Happy Crocheting!

Monday, August 17, 2015

May Scarf of the Month: Mayflower Lace

  The Mayflower Lace Scarf uses a modified long single crochet to add texture to the already beautiful Love Knot mesh. Working these large, open stitches in worsted weight yarn gives this scarf a lacy look while providing plenty of warmth. The two-row pattern of triangular mesh creates a geometric design of six-petal "flowers". If you want your scarf to be even lacier, you could skip using the modified stitch and just make the classic long single crochet in its place! Finished size of scarf is 8" (20 cm) wide with border. Length may vary. Example shown is 62" (157.5 cm) long.

  Need some help? There's now a graph available with an additional tutorial!

Skill level:

You can use any worsted weight yarn you like! But...
I used Caron One Pound in Lilac
Crochet hook size I/9 - 5.50MM or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn needle or smaller hook to weave in ends
Stitch markers *optional* -If you have trouble keeping track of your turning chains, you'll want them!
Measuring tape or ruler *optional* - For consistency of long loops

In 4" by 4" (10 cm by 10 cm)
4 rows (two pattern repeats)
3 Love Knot stitches across

Pattern is written in multiples of 3 + 2, over two rows.

Pattern increases on odd numbered rows and decreases on even numbered rows.

Stitches and abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)

Beginning Love Knot (Beg LK) - Instead of explaining this stitch here, I've written it into the pattern.

Love Knot (LK) - Pull up a long loop to about 1" (2.5 cm). Yarn over, pull through long loop. Insert hook in base loop of long chain. Yarn over, pull up a loop (2 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through both loops.

Modified long single crochet (MLsc) - Insert hook, pull up a long loop to about 1" (2.5 cm). Yarn over, pull through long loop (2 loops on hook). Insert hook from [right to left for right-handed] [left to right for left-handed] behind all three strands of the long loop. Yarn over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through all three loops.


Begin with a slipknot on your hook. Chain 2. Insert the hook in the farthest ch from hook, make a sc. Pull up a long loop. Yarn over, pull through the long loop. Insert hook in base loop of long chain. Yarn over, pull up a loop (2 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through both loops. (Beg LK complete.)

Make 4 more LK to complete the beg ch of 5 LK. Make 2 more LK to count as the turning ch.

Row 1:
Make MLsc in 2nd LK from hook. *Make MLsc in next LK. Make LK, MLsc in same as last.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. (6 "V's" in row)

Row 2:
Make LK, turn. *Make MLsc in next MLsc. Make LK, make MLsc in same as last.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Make MLsc in next LK. (5 "V's" in row)

Row 3:
Make 2 LK, turn. Make MLsc in first available MLsc. *Make MLsc in next MLsc. Make LK, MLsc in same as last.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. (6 "V's" in row)

Repeat rows 2 and 3 to desired length. Example shown has a total of 66 rows (32 more repeats) for a finished length of 61" (155 cm), without border.

You can see in the pictures that this scarf is beautiful as-is, so you can bind off and weave in ends now if you wish. Before you decide to do that, here's a few reasons why I added the border:

  • Contrast. That's it. I just like the contrast of the lacy body with the solid stitches of the border. I think it makes the lace "pop" more. 

  • The solid stitches of the border make a great place to weave in the ends. Usually with a super-lacy fabric like this, I would get out the needle and matching sewing thread to hide those tails and firmly secure them. If you follow the blog, then you know I hate sewing. Borders help me avoid sewing more than I already don't want to.

  • Stretch! This lacy pattern made in worsted weight yarn pulls itself out of shape when hanging. Although it looked awesome when I tried it on minus border (kinda bo-ho chic style), the geometric design was lost in clumpy loops. The border helps the lace hold its shape and stops the fabric from stretching.

  So, if you decide to skip the border, you're on your own for weaving in the ends. I don't cover that in the tutorial - But if you're tackling this pattern, you've probably got that handled anyways, right? Enjoy your lacy scarf, and I'd love to see photos shared!

Now, in case I've convinced you to add it, on to the border:

  The Love Knot is a stitch that can vary in size depending on how you make it! My LK might be exactly one inch, but yours might be a tiny bit bigger or smaller. The following pattern for the border is simple to follow. I've simply placed my number of stitches in parenthesis ( ), so if your gauge varies from mine, you can easily replace the number I've used with a number of stitches that works for you.

Working down the length of the scarf: Make (3) sc in the first available LK side-post space. Make (3) sc in each side-post space to the end. Ch 2, make (3) sc in the long loop of each LK across. Ch 2, make (3) sc in each LK side-post space up the length of the scarf. Make (3) sc in the long loop of each LK across the final side. Ch 2, join with a sl st to the beg sc of border.

Bind off, weave in ends.

Happy Crocheting!

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