The Cotton Club!

While it is true, I am a cozy vibe, snowboard loving, scarf making kind of gal, anyone who knows me knows I am truly an ocean loving Pisces to the core. Nothing gets to me like the fresh waves and salt air. When I lived in Australia, there wasn't a single day that went without a dip in the South Pacific, of course it helped that I lived and worked a short walk from the beach. With this in mind, it was probably only a matter of time before my two passions (yarn and ocean) collided.

beachside-knittng

About two years ago, while on location in Florida for a shoot, I got the idea to make myself some lightweight cotton garments to wear. But while on location with super long shooting days, and still prepping for the Chicago One Of A Kind Show... well let's just say such an undertaking would have to wait.

Last year, while in Miami for several weeks, the idea reignited and so the journey began. Over the last year I have experimented with various fibers and cotton was always the winner for this idea. Like the commercial says, it is the "fabric of our lives" after all. I began my process of swatching and sketching and found the old ideas I had tucked away coming to life again. In the process, I quickly fell in love with a few specific cottons that lent themselves in both color and texture to my vision.

Thus my first Summer Cottons Collection was born.

cottons-design-process

Within a few weeks I had edited it down to a variety of looks I would want in my own closet. I drew inspiration from the many coastal places I have been and created pieces that spark a memory from each place they are named for.

I have put my heart into my first Summer Cottons Collection. This collection features garments made from some of the softest cottons and breathable for those summer days. Garments I enjoy both making and wearing. And I hope they are garments many others will enjoy both making and wearing.

The collection is made up of 20 new designs for makers to enjoy and be inspired by and a handful of made to order garments available here. And you can try the Inwood Summer Beach Top free pattern here.

For a deeper look at the fibers, read on to learn about the materials. (disclosure: the following contains affiliate links where I may get credit or commissions but these are not sponsored posts and opinions are my own).

Wool And The Gang Shiny Happy Cotton
Ok... this is by far the most superior cotton of all the fibers I have used and tried gearing up for this collection. Yes, I work with WATG often, no they did not pay me to say that. My order receipts can be proof enough how much this material factors into my designs and offerings. Why is it so special? First of all, it is just a wee bit thicker than most other cottons on the market. It has that few added strands that makes a difference in how it holds structure of my stitches. And still, it does not sacrifice drape effect for being a wee bit thicker which is awesome because when designing with lightweight fibers drape matters!  Last, I do not know what their color process is but this cotton has a sheen like none other. It truly is Shiny Happy Cotton and I love it! And because WATG is awesome, you get 15% off with code WATG144S through 6/9/17!

Betta Knit Pima Cotton
I discovered Betta Knit last winter when I collaborated with them on the Stella Jumper design and fell in love with their chunky wool. I was thrilled to discover they are offering Pima Cotton for summer. This cotton is great for those drapey and lacey designs. It holds the stitch structure well for a finer fabric. This is technically a category 3 DK yarn but in truth it works up like a sport weight and I just love it. I designed my Megan's Bay Shrug specifically for the way this fiber drapes. And... Betta Knit is giving you 20% off with code 144XBK through June 30, 2017 WOOT WOOT!

Lion Brand Yarn 24/7 Cotton
Lion Brand continues to deliver for affordable yarn options. The 24/7 Cotton is mercerized adding a sparkle and sheen even after multiple washings. Trust me, I tested this claim out and it passed the test! This fiber is interesting because it is a little bit "rope-like" for lack of a better term. It was interesting to work up and I quickly fell in love. It is perfect for my Saratoga Shrug design! I loved it so much I reached out to Lion Brand and we teamed up to collaborate on a design specifically for this collection and this yarn. More coming on that very soon!

Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme
The name says it all. It truly is Cotton Supreme. One of my favorite things about this fiber beyond the awesome texture is all the colors they offer. You can get so many blends and without much effort in yarn change, your garments will have style and color all their own. This is a heavier weight cotton, definitely more category 4 worsted. And yes still gives you the soft drape of the finer fibers. It is ideal for garments like my Manchester Tunic where you can let the yarn do the color work for you!

DebbieBlissCottonDK

Debbie Bliss Cotton
I discovered Debbie Bliss Cotton well into this project. In fact, most patterns were already out for testing when I came across this gem. I discovered it while checking out a new Local Yarn Shop Wool & Company that opened about 15 minutes from my home. (More on them in a future post). This fiber is delicious! In colors and in texture, I was delightfully surprised. It says it is DK, but more of a sport weight for sure. You can order from them here and they provide free shipping in the US!

I know there are endless other cottons out there and have tried many. But these are the ones that inspired and are featured in this collection and I encourage you to try them out. Do you have a favorite cotton you want us to know about? Share in the comments below. And tag #stitchandhustle on social media so we can see your summer cotton projects. Happy summer and see you in the Cotton Club!

And to celebrate.... I am giving away the whole collection of designs. Yep - ALL 20 PATTERNS could be yours! Enter below

Manos Del Uruguay Milo & The Naples Shrug

Ok ... so I could hardly contain my excitement when I was told Manos Del Uruguay would be sending me their new Milo fiber to try and review ... and what colors would I like. Um... ALL OF THEM? Can that be an option?

No but seriously, even though the palette of this fiber is more muted than the vibrant colors I typically work with I wanted them all.  They are so fabulous and so enticing it was hard to choose.

As I looked at the colors I had this instant image from the Florida beaches on a full moonlit night. I selected to make an ombre item that would be like the shoreline beach up to the dark sky.

The colors I chose were:
Natural
Potosi
Lisboa
Indigo
Manchester  

Can you see it? Beach to night sky? Ah - PERFECT!

When the yarn arrived I was ecstatic about my choices once I saw how truly perfect they worked together. It was exactly the blend I envisioned.

Now, the yarn states that it is "fingering weight" but in truth it is closer to sport weight. Ish. You know how it goes... no strands are ever quite exactly the same. Either way - it was definitely thinner and lighter than my normal chunky yarn vibe. I worked up a couple of swatches and I knew a shrug would be perfect. I pulled out an old motif and got ready to put a new twist on it.

The Milo works up so quickly and so smoothly. It has an interesting texture because of the linen blend but it is not stiff with that starch-like feeling so many other linen blends that I've used have.

I could not be more please with this yarn and am already starting another project with it! because yes.. it is THAT GOOD! I want to make so many things with it. 

Thank you so much to Fairmont Fibers & Manos Del Uruguay for sending me this yarn to try. I am definitely a new fan.

You can get the Naples Shrug pattern here to make your own.

Webs Yarn has Milo in stock and also if you buy a certain amount you get their club discount. I love their customer service - here is the link. (nope - not an affiliate link - I just like shopping with them).

 

 

Disclosure: Fairmont Fibers & Manos Del Uruguay sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this review and collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

Say Hello To The Augustine Throw

I was so excited when We Are Knitters wanted to collaborate on a blanket pattern. I mean just the thought of all that chunky squishy wool made my heart pitter patter with cozy vibes. I retreated to my cozy corner with this big basket of squishy and started creating.

First I had to decide to Knit or to crochet? It was not an easy choice.

 

I have wanted to knit a throw for quite a while as my knitting skills keep expanding. I see so many wonderful inspiring designs on instagram that give me so many ideas. So it was a tough decision. But this blue they sent reminded me so much of the rich tropical ocean like when I was in St. Thomas, that it inspired me to do an open crochet variation of "shells" throw. It inspired me to create something I imagined I would use while on the beach bungalow deck when I was there not too long ago.

Truly making this blanket brought me back to those wonderful breezy nights and ocean waves crashing behind the bungalow.

The yarn worked up so well for this pattern, no frogging involved! It just flowed which is another sign it was meant to be a crochet blanket. I could not be more thrilled with the final outcome.

You can get the free pattern here.

And you can enter below to win all the yarn to make your own! Yup - that is right: We Are Knitters will send you all the yarn you need to make this blanket in the color of your choice. Enter below.

Disclosure: we are knitters sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this pattern collaboration and giveaway. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review and design are completely my own.

The Holiday Bear Project

A little known fact about me is that I used to be the Prop Master for Sesame Street Live World Tour. It was beyond amazing traveling the world building and maintaining props. It was also incredibly fun to explore supplies and techniques all over the world. I must say I found some amazing finds in little known corners of the world.

The experience kept my creative juices flowing in full effect. Building giant toys and painting and basically playing super-sized arts and crafts all day was a dream job.

So when I was recently commissioned to create the accessories for the Winter Wonderland at the Javits Center in NYC I was both humbled and thrilled. I mean it was perfect bringing my current creative world full circle back to my supersized prop creating past.

Let's do it!  I selected Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick yarn for two main reasons: it works up great and is chunky enough to be both cozy looking and proportional for the garments I was making. It also came in the perfect shade of blue and fisherman ivory for the Winter Wonderland scene.

 

Now for the patterns. The key character is a 8 ft tall winter bear. The bear's head has a circumference of 58". I am about 61" tall so that is a reference point for you for size: he has a BIG head. The scarf needed to be 16 FEET long, with fringe and wide enough to be proportional. The client was very clear about the look they wanted: Cozy, winter and hip. I had two patterns that i just knew could easily be modified for this giant bear perfectly. I also chose to both crochet AND knit for a nice texture variety. The bear should be fashionable after all.

For the Hat I chose to knit for the texture and modified my Birmingham Hat pattern to be super sized. I used Premier Yarns size 19 15mm 47" circular needles. I love how these feel in my hands and normally use them for my Harbour Cowl but they worked perfectly for this giant hat too. Since my normal cast on for this hat is 40 and fits an average 21" head I just tripled the cast on. Then I knit... and knit.. and knit some more. Then I kept knitting. Eventually I had to start decreasing and create the peak. I altered my decrease from the pattern to be more beanie than slouchy and knew the pom pom weight would add slouch. I made 4 pom poms using the Clover Giant Pom Pom maker and then tied them together.

For the scarf I chose an to do an oversized variation of my Roma Traveller Scarf. Then I added fringe. Lots and lots of fringe. The scarf itself ended up being 14' long and with fringe hit just over 16 feet. The fringe needed to proportional in bulk and length. It always comes back to math lol.

I chose to go back and forth between knitting the hat and crocheting the scarf to give my hands a break and also keep the project lively and interesting. I could not be more pleased with the result and the client loved it. I took a minute to have some fun with the giant scarf before shipping it off to New York city and you can see the complete Winter Wonderland scene below.

Tone on Tone and The Chapen Shrug

I love hand dyed or hand-painted yarns. I have been a fan for years. The colors and tonal shades are just magical. I also love Lion Brand Wool Ease series - it is a staple in my arsenal of yarn. So when I heard that Lion Brand was coming out with a line of Wool Ease Tonal, based on hand dyed coloring, I have to admit that I was both excited and skeptical.

The Chunky Everest, Amherst & Capeside Beanies- all designed for Wool Ease Tonal

I tried not to be bias when my sample box arrived from Lion Brand and not compare it directly to hand dyed fibers. And I was not disappointed. The subtleties of the tone on tone in each colorway is what makes them so special. There is a true 'natural" appearance to the color blends. And Wool - Ease? I mean come on... I just love it. Works up quick and has that chunky Wool Ease feel I love so much.

The yarn is perfect for my chunky hats and I even created a new set based on the subtleties of this yarn. The Amherst Beanie works up fast and picks up the accents of the colorway.

The combination of the yarn and getting into fall weather,  inspired me to create something new and fabulous. Something that really played with the shades of the Tonal. I created this Chapen Shrug.

The Chapen is my own fun twist on the traditional granny. It is misleading because it is not a granny at all! I created a graduated color scheme with the grey-scale Tonal shades. The yarn works up so well, and really lends itself to this kind of design.

And now you too can try this new delightful cozy yarn. Lion Brand is sponsoring the ALL You Need To Make This Giveaway. You win the yarn, the pattern, the hook, the yarn (did I say that twice? Because it's THAT GOOD)- the whole kit. Yup - how AWESOME is that?!?!  Enter below.

Can't wait to see if you win? You can buy the pattern here or in my Etsy shop here

Disclosure: Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

Hot Off The Hook: The Riley Scarf (with Giveaway)

I have been on a roll with new designs this summer. I started the summer with some travel and a road trip and have been experimenting with new fibers. So much inspiration flowing I just love it. When I got my yarn delivery from We Are Knitters, it spoke to me and I was in squishy yarn heaven. Creativity was FLOWING! One new design is the Riley Scarf. If you follow me on Instagram you have seen some of this process. It has not all been pretty but it is my favorite part of what I do: bring an idea to life.

Sometimes designs take shape in an instant and my vision springs into life right away. And when I say sometimes, I mean rarely. Most of the time, there is a bit more work involved. I have an idea and start working with yarn on the design. Simultaneously I grab some graph paper and start mapping out my stitch work. As it takes shape I go back and forth - yarn & paper and until it is just right I keep tweaking and designing. Occasionally (read: often) I will pull apart or frog the project and start over a few times. That is how we end up with what is known as Yarn Ramen.

Once I have waded my way through a pile or two or Yarn Ramen, I can usually see the garment taking shape and coming to life. I always get so excited at this stage of the process because not only am I seeing the work pay off, it is the realization of an idea that was simply in my mind only hours (or days) before. Something so magical about that.

Once the garment is complete it is time for blocking. Ah - blocking... the love hate of so many fiber artists. I will freely admit, I do not block everything. But new designs? Garments? Things I will cultivate into collections? You bet! Block party all the way. But I don't mind. Pull out the steamer (or bucket in some cases) a packet of Soak and get to it.  All that work is worth in the end. Always so worth it.

Because then, after all that work, when I see my creation and idea come fully to realization, it is a feeling that is hard to describe. Then add to that, when people buy the pattern to make their own or when they buy the completed garment to keep cozy it only adds to the magic.  I am IN LOVE with this new Riley Scarf and I think you will love it too. And since I know I have both customers who wear my work as well as customers who make their own from my designs, I am launching the Riley with a VERY special giveaway: Enter below to win either the completed scarf or a kit to make your own. WHAT? Yup - that is right. Select your preference and enter below before the pattern or scarf are even released!

Both the pattern & scarf will be available after the contest for purchase here.

Shrug It Off With We Are Knitters

I am so incredibly excited to share this with you guys. If you follow my personal Instagram, you know I have been on a weight loss journey and am down 34 lbs so far. While this is awesome, it creates some fashion challenges. See, I have an oversized shrug from Anthropologie  that I LOVE but it is just huge now. I swim in it. It is my Go-To spring and summer item so I am having a hard time parting with it without replacement. Then I looked at it and thought... Wait! I can make that.

Right about the same time, I had just frogged my 4th version of a baby blanket pattern I was developing in partnership with We Are Knitters (don't you just love them?). I was sitting there, staring at a pile of amazing Cotton Wool and it hit me... scrap the blankie and make a shrug. I let my WAK contact know my plan and they were also excited. Because... who doesn't love a shrug? Brilliant!

It came together perfectly. And we all know that rarely happens so I just know it was meant to be. Like my friend Amy says, "sometimes the yarn just speaks to you and tells you what it wants to be". She is so right!

I wanted to create a shrug that would be both fashionable and functional. Perfect for cooler evenings, over a swimsuit or as just a cozy accessory. An all season go-to staple item for my closet. I also wanted a pattern that would work for any size or shape, because we woman come in all shapes and sizes right :-)

It has been a blast designing this and I shared some of the process and progress on Instagram. This pattern is so much fun and I could not be happier with the outcome.

And now just for our community get this: The amazing team at We Are Knitters are sponsoring a giveaway. Enter below to win EVERYTHING you need to make this Shrug yourself. Seriously! All the happiness of a shrug in a WAK Kit. YEAH!!!!

That's not all, if you don't want to wait, you can now buy the pattern here and get 20% off your Cotton Wool from We Are Knitters with code WAK144Stitches. I mean, COME ON!!! If you were looking for your amazing next summer project, this is it.

BIG THANK YOU to We Are Knitters. This has been an amazing collaboration experience. And Enter blow to win the Kit!

Taking A Trip With Super Traveller

Me & Kate in the Dragonfly Fibers booth

I attended my first Stitches Midwest event in 2013.  I had no idea what I was in for though. I arrived early the first day to check out the market place before my class. It was instant sensory overload of the most magnificent kind. Yarn, tools, supplies, more yarn and so many wonderful people. It was fabulous.

Though a bit overwhelmed, one Fiber Artist's booth stood out. I was drawn to the amazing vibrant colorways of Dragonfly Fibers. And once I started touching and felt the texture of the merino... well, thankfully I was in my element or I would have gotten strange looks I bet.

Kate Chiocchio, the artist is a wonderful woman and I knew I had to start working with her in an instant. Within a week I placed my first order and have been placing more orders since.

The items I create with Dragonfly Fibers are always well received in my shop and everyone loves the colors. They are some of my biggest sellers at the Chicago One Of A kind Show each year.

Bags Of Yarn Make Me Smile

In 2014, when I visited Kate again at Stitches Midwest to pick up my most recent order, I got the idea to design patterns for the Super Traveller which is my favorite of her offerings.  I just cannot get enough of it. It is a super wash merino bulky fiber that works up so wonderfully. The rich colors come alive with each stitch. I wanted to bring the personality of the color of the fiber to life through a collection. 

Of course, you know how it goes, add an idea to the To Do list and get back to work on other projects and eventually try to get to that idea on the list of many.

Rockin' The First of The New Roma Traveller Puff Stitch Hats

 

Then, about 8 weeks ago I got my latest shipment of Dragonfly Fibers Super Traveller and it spoke to me. The colors, the texture... So inspired, it stopped me in my tracks and I got to work on some new patterns right away. No more delay!

I had been working with the Puff Stitch (one of my favorites) when my yarn arrived and I knew it would lend itself so well to the bulky texture of the Dragonfly Super Traveller.

I started with a new beanie. It is actually an update on an old pattern of mine that I never really loved. It worked up so quickly and so perfectly it was like magic. Now, it is my fave hat instantly!

And, that magical combination led me to design the Puff The Magic Stitch Collection. It is divinely cozy, works up so well and takes you on a trip through the rainbow of color with variations on a stitch.

So, pick a pattern, get some Dragonfly Fibers Super Traveller and you too will fall in love. They are available on Ravelry, my site and Etsy pattern shop.

 

Introducing: Savannah

This scarf was born from a mistake I made while making a basic striped  hoodie. I soon realized my "mistake" was divine design intervention and with just a few more tweaks it could be fully reversible so... voila.. the Savannah Reversible Hoodie Scarf Was Born!

It is a great pattern for beginners working with color changing techniques and texturizing garments. The pattern is easily adjusted in size as well, which is great because some people have a tiny head and some people have a not so tiny head.

You can order this in any color combo you want making it TRULY yours and one of a kind.

You can buy the pattern here to make your own

Two Worlds Collide: The Cornwall Shawl

As a designer, I find myself inspired by so many different things: the seasons, the scenery, sights on trips, other artists and designers, something in a magazine or boutique… it is endless. Sometimes it is all overwhelming in the most amazingly perfect way but sometimes reigning in those ideas can be a challenging process. When it all comes together quickly like magic and boom, instant success it is the most unexpected delight. Other times though,  it takes a while to marinate on a concept or idea and nurture it to life.

It's all a funny, fabulous and daunting process and in fact, One of the best parts of my job. I love the experimentation and design process.

I'd wanted to experiment with leather and "tougher" fibers inspired by some of the stylings in Highlander and the Hunger Games series. But I had yet to find the right leather to work with so this became a concept I was kicking around and marinating on for some time

… until...

At least year's One Of A Kind Show in Chicago my booth was next to Urban Gypsy Designs. The artisan, Christina hand paints beautiful leather purses and satchels and accessories. She also sells these fabulous cuffs that have both an industrial and sophisticated feel. I fell in love immediately with them and knew I wanted to incorporate them into a design.

As I marinated over all the ways to incorporate her leather cuffs into my work and mix it with the softness of my crochet wear I found myself not just accenting existing pieces but designing whole new ones. Then I found myself returning to my original notes and ideas from several months ago on the mixed texture pieces I wanted to do. YES!! It's all coming together! This is the process!

So I have been hard at work creating several new styles that will be ready for Fall 2015 and I am so excited about the variety of texture. Here is a sneak peek at that new collection: This is the Cornwall Shawl.

The shawl body is made using an exceptionally soft wool blend fiber. I am using a stitching technique that gives the illusion of being striped when it is actually not. It is an added dimension by design.

I have placed one of Christina's Infinity Cuffs as an accent to the piece giving it a flare of juxtaposition and style. The cuff is strategically placed to give the shawl so many different looks.

I am so thrilled with the Cornwall Shawl and  the complete collection will launch for Fall 2015 and I cannot wait to bring you these creations incorporating new textures and leather accents.

If you would like to make your own, I have made my original design available in my Etsy shop. You can buy the pattern here

Introducing The Molly Four Way Crochet Shawl

Molly Crochet Shawl
Molly Crochet Shawl

As a designer I am always challenging myself to try new things. And as a former frequent traveler I know the need of packing light and having garments that serve multiple functions. That was what inspired me to design my new Four Way Shawl. Wear it as a shawl, a scarf, a wrap or even a sarong. I pack this one item from Chicago to Miami for it's multi function awesomeness.

This one item will truly get you through every season and is fun to create. What is special is the triangle shape and the ability to make this larger or smaller with ease. I chose a soft acrylic fiber but then moved up to a bulky weight fiber for the winter collection.

The Molly shawl is available in a variety of colors here.

The pattern is available here to make your own.

Meet Isaac!

image1.jpeg

I’m so thrilled to announce the launch of Isaac, my very first collection of 2015.

I’m always striving to combine fashion with comfort, and when I saw the Carlyle collection of fibers by Isaac Mizrahi & Premier Yarns, I knew I had to create a collection around it.

A few days later, I had a few prototypes and they turned out better than I ever could have imagined. It just so happened that my friend, Emmy winning actress and best selling author Kristen Johnston was in Chicago filming a movie at the time, and I couldn’t wait to tell her about it. I brought an Isaac hat to give her as a Christmas gift.

I had NO idea she happened to be good friends with Isaac!

Kristen says:

I’ve been a huge fan of Michele’s extraordinarily chic and insanely comfortable knitwear for a few years now. (I’m obsessed with her ponchos.) One evening at dinner, she gave me a stunning hat as a gift. As I was oohing & aahing over it, I almost didn’t hear what she was saying. When she said “Isaac Mizrahi has a new line of yarn and it’s the most incredible stuff I’ve ever seen! I’m thinking of doing an entire line, just using his yarn,” she finally had my full attention.

(Okay. I’ll admit it. I shamelessly name-dropped.)

“Michele, Isaac has been a good friend of mine for years! I’ll email him about you…he’ll love it!”

(Is it name-dropping if it’s true?)

At any rate, I emailed Isaac, and included a picture from that night.

He LOVED it! He truly loves creative people, and he was thrilled Michele has made his yarn look so stunning.

I asked if he’d be interested in emailing with her, and he immediately agreed…

As a proud owner of an Isaac hat & scarf, I get constant compliments on them.

Fingerless gloves, you’re next.

Kristen”

WOW!I am blown away and so grateful when people have that kind of reaction to my work. Especially this collection because I truly believe in it and it is from the heart.

I am madly in love with the Carlyle collection of fibers by Isaac Mizrahi & Premier Yarns. The colors, the texture: this fiber speaks to me.  The texture is both subtle & soft but still strong and bold. This fiber truly reminded me of NYC landscapes and buildings and the colors being named after landmark NYC hotels only makes me love it more.

I knew I needed to design a collection of winter accessories for the uptown gal but at downtown prices that would encompass all that this fiber represents to me. It takes me back to that city life that is ingrained in my blood.

I designed for me, for the city, for you.

The Color 'Regis' is like the city at dusk. With gold metallic woven throughout the fiber it is exactly like someone took a picture of the City SkyLine at dusk and waved a magic wand of gold dust over it. It is regal and fabulous.

The colors 'Astor' and 'Algonquin' remind me of the gritty downtown side of NYC. Not for the faint at heart. These colors both powerful in their own right. The Metallic enhancements remind me of how the city comes alive when the sun sets and the night lights take the town to a whole new level. That inspired me to design chichi accessories that suit that nightlife style.

'Plaza' is white sparkle all the way and reminds me of how Central Park would glisten after a fresh snowfall.

Being so inspired by this fiber collection, I used it to design select pieces that function as you would want winter fashion accessories to function but do not sacrifice style for the sake of warmth. Being a native New Yorker,I had that city style in mind.

Isaac by Michele Costa is full of texture, sophistication and stays true to what I myself would wear walking on the NYC streets or anywhere.

Each piece is designed to be worn as a stand-alone or you can mix and match as you please.

So wrap yourself in luxury and spend some time falling in love with Isaac just like I did!

 

The Pixie Girl Hooded Scarf

I just added my new Pixie Hooded Scarf pattern to my Etsy Pattern Shop & on Craftsy.  

This is a fabulous pattern that I designed it for beginner crocheters who want to expand with trim and options, such as adding pockets and a pom pom.  When I was starting out it was hard to find patterns that expanded on the basics without jumping right over the deep end into intricate crochet. I wanted to design something to meet those needs in design elements.

The scarf hangs to just below the waist and even when wrapped you can access the pockets to keep your hands warm.

The design and structure itself is simplistic in that the yarn itself becomes the star. In this sample, my pattern tester Frenchie, chose a gorgeous variegated yarn for her primary color and a contrast color that pops.

So grab som fabulous fun yarn and let your inner pixie free with this fun new pattern.

The Chelsea Cowl n' Shrug: A Labor of Love

The Chelsea Shrug n' Cowl
The Chelsea Shrug n' Cowl

One of my favorite things to work on is custom orders.  It gives me an opportunity to work closely with a customer to create something special that I know will mean so much to them. Sure, sometimes it's a long and somewhat tedious process. But with good communication it can also be a fun process. And it is always worth the work in the end when I know my customer is happy.

Every once in a while, something really special happens where I am inspired to create a whole new product for my own shop born from that custom order process. That is the magic that inspires me. That is the good stuff as they say.

This new Chelsea Shrug n' Cowl is a product of that process. It is a lightweight shrug with a cowl / snood attached. It can be worn with the cowl flipped back like a hoodie giving the front a straight shrug look, or the cowl can come overhead like a hood. The cowl can drape around the front or overhead. This is one of the most versatile pieces I have ever seen.

The design process was a labor of love on this one.

First was fiber selection. I needed a fiber that would hold shape and structure but not be bulky. It's a shrug not a sweater! The fiber selection took some time because I was marrying two garments that have their own needs in construction. I settled on a great sport weight acrylic yarn that would work well with tighter stitching on the shrug but also work for the loose needs of the cowl.

The shrug was basic to be sure, but I needed a shrug that would carry the weight of the cowl without losing it's shape. The shrug needed to have a collar, but the collar shouldn't "fight" the cowl. The shrug should be able to stand alone, meaning without the cowl. There were a lot of requirements for the body of the shrug.

Once I had the shrug sorted, I moved on to the cowl - which had it's own set of issues.

The cowl itself is a basic lightweight cowl but I altered my design to attach it to the shrug. After some trial and error, I settled on attaching it almost as an add-on as opposed to part of the shrug itself. This allowed me to manipulate the placement of the cowl so that it could also be tossed back as a hood.

I also had to alter the design of my Spring Cowl for this piece so that the wight would not pull at the shrug collar. After lots of trial, failure, trial, mild success, trial and more failure, I finally had that design a-ha moment and changed the stitching but kept the pattern frame.

And voila! I was done.

But now, would my customer like it even half as much as I do is the big question (and the one that gives me knots in my stomach). I set up my photo shoot and then sent my customer the results. And boom! I hit a design home run.

This is why I love my job and am so grateful for these magical encounters. The entire process; concept to completion was just over 8 weeks. The process was long, laborious and fabulous all at once because I am left with a very happy customer and a brand new original design.

The Open Cowl - Box Stitch

photo-2-e1410885598114.jpg

One of my most popular patterns is the CJ Fashion Cowl, also known as the Box Stitch open cowl. It is a quick one skein pattern that works up super fast.

I designed this pattern by accident - as I find is often the case with my most popular patterns. I simply missed a stitch in the pattern I was trying to make. And I kept missing that same stitch and before I knew it I was creating something totally new and different from what I had intended. A few tweaks later and bam: I had a new design!

One of my customers sent me this fabulous photo of her creation from this pattern. I love how she added a a flower accent. And that is the beauty of crochet! Even when following a pattern, you can always make it your own.

Buy the pattern here

 

The Chalet Neck Cozy

The Chalet Neck Cozy
The Chalet Neck Cozy

I love neck cozies but I don't find them in many stores. So, of course, I found that as an opportunity to design & create my own!

Some days I don't want the bulk of a full scarf but I need the warmth. Enter the Chalet Neck Cozy.  They are also ideal for on the slopes. They keep me snuggle up warm but without all the bulk.

This was made with a faux ribbing stitch using chunky Lion Brand Hometown USA 100% Acrylic yarn and is available on my site here.

The pattern will soon be available in my pattern shop on Etsy.