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

The Aalto Basket & Me

Ah Betta Knit. If you follow me on social media you know I'm such a fan of their product and company. I mean I just love their squishy yarn and friendly service! So when they wanted to send me a kit to review & host a giveaway as part of March Maker Madness I was beyond stoked.

Now when the Aalto Basket Kit arrived I was a little taken aback. I mean it is designed by crochet design ICON Molla Mills AND is calling for tapestry crochet! TAPESTRY CROCHET??? A little intimidating but also, "I don't KNOW tapestry crochet" I thought loudly. A quick google and video and I was good to go - and realized I did in fact know Tapestry Crochet just not what it was called. Ok now I'm definitely in!

The Kit comes with their Fettuccine yarn, which was also new to me. At first was thinking, this is quite wide and strange and, well, yes reminds me of Fettuccine - now I'm hungry. Anyway... I had to fight the natural urge to want to keep flattening the yarn but once I got over that my swatch worked up quickly and I really liked the texture. I also like that it is 100% cotton. It works up super easy. Like I said, it takes a minute or two to get used to for sure but by the time the base of the basket was done I was well on my way.

The pattern instructions are easy to follow and they come with an awesome chart to know exactly which color should be worked where. Even a Tapestry Crochet newbie like me had no problem sorting out the pattern to follow along.  My basket was done in no time once I got the rhythm of tapestry and comfortable carrying the extra yarn across.

Truly - this kit is a great afternoon project!

I absolutely LOVE how the finished basket came out. I added an extra finishing row to the top just to suit my own style and added my branding tag as well. Now I'm hooked (pun intended) and expect you will see lots more tapestry crochet baskets from me in the future. 

If you've wanted to try tapestry crochet or already a pro at it, I think you will love this kit. You can grab one here and use code 144XBK for 20% off and, as part of March Maker Madness, you can enter below to WIN an Aalto Basket Kit!!!

 

 

 

Disclosure: Betta Knit sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review & collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.

One Love With Wool And The Gang

I was pretty excited when Wool And The Gang wanted to send me a Project Kit for review. And even more excited when my One Love Top Kit actually arrived.  I had a few other projects and customer orders to finish before I could start on it, so it sat in my studio for a few days. I admit, I looked at it often. The color of the Shiny Happy Cotton Land Of Oz Green in person is beyond magnificent. It's like no emerald green I've seen.

The pattern itself is easy enough to follow and with this awesome cotton it worked up pretty fast.  The pattern doesn't offer sizing but it is quite easily adjustable to suit any size with a little math. I followed the pattern to the letter for the back panel.

I tweaked the front panel pattern based on my own preferences for my body. I added an armhole slant where the lattice rows started by doing symmetrical decreases on the first two lattice rows. I also altered the last two rows of the top for more of a scoop neck than boat neck look to show off a little collar bone ;-)

I'm thrilled with how it came out and will definitely not only make more of these but likely offer them in my shop next spring for my customers. If you would like to try a Wool And The Gang Project shop here and use code WATG144 for 15% off all through March 31, 2017. 

 

Disclosure: Wool And The Gang sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.