Happy Clappy Crochet

Celebrating Crochet with a Positive Spin

New Patterns Released for Cascade

It has been a while, but I’m happy to say that two new patterns that I designed for Cascade Yarns have been released, and I would like to share them with you here.

The first is the Bloomfield Shawl.

©Cascade Yarns 2016

  ©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bloomfield Shawl is a half circle shawl which alternates solid rows of double crochet stitches with increasing bands of lace stitches to create an airy, swingy shawl. The pattern uses Heritage Wave by Cascade Yarns, a fingering weight yarn with color transitions. The yarn does all the colorwork and you just have 4 ends to weave in.

 

The second pattern that was released is the Easy Cable Lace Stole.

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

©Cascade Yarns 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Easy Cable Lace Stole is a quick project where the crochet stitch pattern give you lots of bang for your buck! The post stitch cross over gives a great texture to the fabric you create, and the nature of the stitch allows for lots of different blocking options, from a tighter stitch to really open and lacy. The project in the picture used a medium block – wanted some openness but didn’t want to lose the texture of the post stitch. You can see the light coming through on the second picture, so you can see how open it is. The yarn used is Longwood Sport by Cascade Yarns, a sport weight yarn with lots of spring. I really liked using this yarn and will be using more of it in the future.

So there you have it – this brings the total number of patterns I have had published up to 30! Thanks for celebrating with me! I can’t wait to see what you crochet!

 

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Fruits of Labor

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to design accessory patterns for Cascade Yarns. That designing opportunity led to something else; something much cooler in my estimation.

At the start of the year, Cascade Yarns contacted me with a project. They were looking to add crochet stitch gauge information to their website, and in the future, to their yarn ball bands. They asked if I would be interested in doing all the swatching to come up with the gauges. I said that I would. So, since the end of January, I’ve been creating lots and lots of swatches in Cascade Yarns.

Small sample of said swatches in progress. © 2016 Laura Krzak

Small sample of said swatches in progress.
© 2016 Laura Krzak

So far, I have completed swatches for 18 different yarns produced by Cascade Yarns, and another batch of 5 more yarns should be shipped by the end of the week.

What goes into gauge swatching? I decided on a set number of stitches across and a set number of rows to complete in order to give me multiple spots to take stitch count measurements of 4 inches. Next, using yarn weight information from the Cascade Yarns website, guidelines on hook sizes from the Craft Yarn Council, and my own experience of stitching with that weight of yarn, I choose three hook sizes and create a swatch of single crochet stitches with each hook. After crocheting each swatch, I tag it with one of the bead letter markers I created (see Taming of the Swatch for more info), and go on to crochet the next swatch with the next hook. After all the swatches are crocheted, they get wet blocked. I don’t stretch out the swatches when I block them, because my goal is to not distort the stitch count. Rather, I wet block them to clean any oils from handling them as well as to relax the yarn. I pin the corners in hopes that they won’t curl (still get some curl, but that is most likely due to the denseness of the single crochet stitch), and once everything is dry and ends are woven in, it is time to measure. I will measure in several spots on the swatch and use the number that most often appears. I record the measurements, then go onto the next swatch. The final step is typing up my findings to send to Cascade Yarns, as well as tagging each yarn with its yarn name, hook sized used for that swatch, and the number of single crochet stitches that equal 4 inches.

I’m pleased to report that Cascade Yarns has started posting the crochet gauge info on the website for the yarns I’ve already done. I was really pleased to note that they used ALL of the stitch information I provided, so you will see crochet stitch count info for all three hook sizes that I used. Please check out Sunseeker and Cherub Aran for a couple examples. Other yarns, like Cascade 220, have the place marker on the website for crochet hook size and crochet gauge, and that information will be filled in when that yarn is swatched.

I’m really proud that Cascade Yarns is working to become more inclusive of crocheters. They have invested in providing more crochet patterns over the past several years, and the current count of crochet patterns is at 100 free patterns, with more patterns added monthly. With adding crochet gauge to their yarn lines, they are really making an effort to say that Cascade Yarns is a crochet friendly yarn company. I’m very proud to be helping with this effort.

 

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Contest #1 Winner

And we have a winner for Contest #1 – Congrats to Sarah L!  Sarah has won one skein of Roslyn yarn by Cascade Yarns, along with a signed copy of the Ginger Snap Scarf. I hope you enjoy it, Sarah.

© Cascade Yarns - used with permission

© Cascade Yarns – used with permission

It isn’t to late to enter the contest for either the Esme Scarf or Friendship Shawl – complete kits with pattern and yarn! Deadline to enter for Esme is 3-19-2016, and deadline for Friendship is 3-31-16. Please follow directions for entering the contest on this post https://happyclappycrochet.com/2016/03/13/pulling-into-the-station/

NOTE: Commenting on THIS blog post WILL NOT enter you into the contests. You must enter the contest on the “Pulling into the station” blog post! Thanks!!

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Pulling Into The Station

Welcome Riders of the Crochetville Express! This is stop # 38 of the tour and I am happy to have you here.

Since this is my second year on the blog tour, I wanted to do something special to celebrate being a crochet designer. That not only meant designing something awesome, but also finding the perfect yarn. Luckily, I know a gal who does a great job with hand-dyed yarns.

I contacted my friend Julie, of Happy-Go-Lucky Yarns, and we got together one Saturday afternoon and created this.

HGL Glittery in the colorway Gaia ©Happy-Go-Lucky Yarns; Used with Permission

HGL Glittery in the colorway Gaia
©Happy-Go-Lucky Yarns; Used with Permission

Isn’t it beautiful!!! We picked a fingering weight base with some silver metallic in it, and it adds the perfect amount of sparkle! I knew I wanted the colors to transition from greens to blues, and that I would need two skeins of yarn to create the shawl design idea I had in my head. We had a lot of fun that afternoon and I absolutely adore the yarn colorway we created.

So now I had the perfect yarn; I just needed to come up with the perfect pattern. Using a technique I learned from a class I took with Myra Wood, I started with a partial motif and worked from there. Originally, the shawl was going to be all one lace pattern, but after talking with friends, I decided to change things up and go with a couple different stitch patterns, each separated by a band of solid stitching. It took several sessions of stitch and rip, but I found a rhythm that worked with the color changes within the yarn. After several weeks, the Terra shawl was born.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

I’m just thrilled with how this shawl turned out and I’m very excited to share it all with you. And in honor of National Crochet Month and my 2nd year on the blog tour, you will be able to get the shawl for $2.00 off the published price. Just enter the Promo Code DCDHGL2016 after you add the pattern to your Ravelry cart and you are good to go! Coupon code is only available until March 20th, so make sure to act quickly!

 

I wouldn’t be part of the blog tour as a designer if it wasn’t for Cascade Yarns. They have really invested in offering free crochet patterns on their website, and I am honored to design crochet patterns for them. To celebrate that partnership, I am offering THREE contests for NatCroMo!

Contest #1 – You will win one skein of Cascade Yarns – Roslyn in the 04-Orange colorway, as well as a signed copy of the Ginger Snap Scarf pattern.

Contest #2 – You will win two skeins of Cascade Yarns – Avalon Multis in the 314-Blue & Green colorway, as well as a signed copy of the Esme Tunisian Scarf pattern.

Contest #3 – You will win four skeins of Cascade Yarns – North Shore in the #11-Coral colorway, as well as a signed copy of the Friendship Shawl pattern.

Contests are open to EVERYONE – worldwide! Yes, I will ship winning yarn internationally!

HOW TO WIN:

Comment on this blog post with your name and country, and let me know which contest you want to enter. Please only enter one so everyone has equal odds.

Contest #1 needs to have all comments entered by March 19th. Winner chosen by March 21st.

Contest #2 needs to have all comments entered by March 26th. Winner chosen by March 28th.

Contest #3 needs to have all comments entered by March 31st. Winner chosen by April 3rd.

Winners will be contacted by email so I can get shipping information. If a winner doesn’t contact me back within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll get back to you.

I hope you enjoyed your stop! Now get back on that train and check out all the other wonderful designers, yarn stores and yarn companies that are part of the tour!

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A Nice Surprise

Yesterday, my friend Jen Lucas contacted me to let me know that I really needed to get a copy of the Spring 2016 Interweave Crochet, because Cascade Yarns had used one of my designs for their ad in the magazine.

I went to my local bookstore that evening, but discovered that the newest edition of the magazine won’t be displayed until mid-March. While there I picked up another Spring edition of a crochet magazine, Love of Crochet and flipped open the front cover to find this picture smiling back at me.

©Cascade Yarns

©Cascade Yarns

Cascade Yarns had another ad out, using the Friendship Shawl I designed for them. It was a wonderful surprise to find the ad right before the start of (Inter)National Crochet Month!

By the way, the Crochetville blog tour starts TODAY! Please click here to find out basic info. Not only are they featuring 3 crochet designers a day (each with their own special deals for tour followers), but they are also featuring crochet friendly yarn stores AND yarn companies, as well as daily giveaways! It is a crochet lovers dream month and it really worth your time to check the site on a daily basis.

12552978_10153616226019425_8395151895563909404_n

I’ll be part of the blog tour on the 13th of March, so please come back and check out what I have to offer!

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Back To School Team Spirit!

It is back to school time across the country, with families gearing up to send their kids to grade school, high school, or even college.  Back to school also means the start of Fall Sports – Volleyball, Cross-Country, and Football just to name a few. So, I thought I’d highlight a couple patterns I made for Cascade Yarns to help show your school spirit!

The first is the Spirit Wave Scarf. This is a quick crochet project, easily done in two or three colors, and perfect for flashing your school colors at any sporting event.

© Cascade Yarns

© Cascade Yarns

The second item will keep you warm when you are sitting in the stands during playoff season, or need something to wrap around yourself as you cheer on your favorite runner as they race across frost-covered fields. It’s the Spirit Wave Stadium Blanket! Once again, it can be crocheted in two or three colors, and you can decide how thick or thin you want the ripples to be.

© Cascade Yarns

© Cascade Yarns

Surprise a super fan with one or both of these items, and its sure to be a hit! Looking for an End of Season gift for an awesome coach? The stadium blanket would be something they would cherish for a long time.

Let me know how you use crochet to cheer on your favorite teams!

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Yarn Explorations For Crochet

*Warning – this post is going to have lots of pictures, so it will probably be best viewed on a computer.*

 

As some of you may know, I have had several crochet designs sold to and published by Cascade Yarns. I am currently working on a project for them which uses a multi color yarn and that made me think about color changing yarns and which ones work well for crochet.

One of the main differences between knit and crochet are the stitches themselves. While both crafts provide hundreds of different stitch combinations to create different patterns and textures, knitting does with with stitches of equal height, while variations in crochet stitch height and combinations of stitch height means a crocheter uses the yarn differently.

When it comes to color-changing yarn, this can be a problem. If the color transitions are short, stitches can create an undesired blotchy effect with the fabric, often colorfully referred to as clown barf. Face it, it just does not look pretty, and we either give up on the pattern and the yarn languishes away in a forgotten corner of the closet, or the yarn is frogged and put away, never to be used again. We’ve all been there, and it is just a part of crafting. There is a way to deal with yarns like this and I’ll bring it up in a future post. However, today I want to talk about yarns that are not a problem.

Over the past several years, yarns with long color transitions have arrived on the market, and these are great for crocheters! I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorites.

 

The first three yarns are available in big box stores like JoAnn’s, and Michaels, as well as local craft stores in your area. They are Amazing by Lion Brand Yarn (top), Unforgettable by Red Heart Boutique (middle), and Midnight by Red Heart Boutique(bottom).  All three feature the slow color changes that work great for crochet.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

  ©Laura Krzak

An example of those slow color changes can be seen in this sample I stitched for a class, using the Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable. The color change of the yarn creates a striping effect when worked in the round, with the colors blending seamlessly from one to another.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

 

Since I’ve done several crochet patterns for Cascade Yarns, I’m quite familiar with the properties of their long color changing yarns as well.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

Casablanca was one of the first long color change yarns that Cascade Yarns introduced. While in skein form it may be hard to see how the yarn transitions, but once it is wound into a cake, you can get more of a sense of how the yarn will stitch up, as seen in the picture below.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

Other yarns by Cascade that include long color transitions include, Souk, Tangier, and Pinwheel.

One of the newer yarns by Cascade that features a mid-length color change is Avalon Multi. I’m currently working on a new pattern for Cascade with this yarn, and they gave me permission to show a close-up of the stitch pattern to show you how the color change works with the stitches.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

See how that lime green seems to zig-zag among the stitches? I love the interest it brings to the pattern.  How did I get it to travel like that? Swatching. It took experimenting with total number of stitches along with different hook sizes before I found what I liked with the stitch.

It’s that swatch experimentation that is some of the best advice I can pass along when it comes to color changing yarns. You have to see how the color behaves within the fabric you are creating to make sure it is what you want. A little (or a lot) of swatching at the start can save you lots of heart-ache later down the road when you just want to give up on a pattern because it isn’t right. Sometimes you may buy a yarn thinking it is perfect for a pattern, but after a quarter way through, you hate it. It isn’t the fault of the pattern, and it isn’t your fault either. It’s just that pattern and yarn aren’t a right fit. Swatching beforehand will help fix some of that, and will help you find the right yarn for the right pattern.

Whew – that was a lot to cover, so let me break it down…

  1. Yarns with long, slow color transitions work great with crochet because the color transitions don’t fight the variety of stitches that are used.
  2. Yarns will shorter color transitions can be used for crochet, but sometimes need to be modified (topic for future post)
  3. Swatching with your yarn in the stitch pattern will help you figure out if your yarn is right for that pattern, saving you lots of heartache later on if it isn’t.

 

Let me know if you have other favorite long color transition yarns to add to the list. I know I didn’t cover them all!

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And the Blog Tour Winner is…

As part of the Crochetville Blog Tour, I did two things to celebrate being part of the tour. I offered my first indie pattern to you for free with a special coupon code, and I’m pleased to report that 94 of you took advantage of that special sale! Thank you!  The other thing I did was host a comment contest. Anyone who commented on any of my blog posts from March 13, 2015 to March 31, 2015 was entered to win three skeins of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash yarn in the colors of their choosing.  I had 41 people make comments over that time period! Using the random number generator available at Random.org, I entered my parameters and the lucky random number was #10.

I had created an Excel list with names of people who commented, in order from the first comment made on March 13, 2015, to the most recent comment received last night. I checked my list for who was #10 and I am please to announce the winner!


 

The winner of three skeins of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash is…. MAUREEN!

I have already sent her an email letting her know how to get her yarn.  Congrats, Maureen!

 

Just an FYI – I really giving away stuff, and you have three more chances to win something by participating in the WIP CAL/KAL. Check out earlier posts for more information.

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Welcome Blog Tour Readers

If you have arrived at this webpage because you read about me on the Crochetville blog tour, I’d like to extend a very warm welcome. I hope you find this blog both informational and entertaining, and that you’ll come back in the future to check out what is going on.

First of all, I love crochet. I love the feeling of calm I can achieve with yarn sliding over my fingers and looping around my hook. I love watching a pattern grow into something beautiful. I love all of the different ways you can crochet – broomstick, tunisian, hairpin, love knot, slip stitch. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish an item. I love the feeling of hope in my heart when I crochet something for charity.

I also believe that crochet can equally co-exist in the crafting world with knitting. Neither craft is “better” than the other. Both create amazing works from incredible designs and should be appreciated for that artistry. Plus, we all like to play with yarn, so why should there be a problem 🙂

I hope you will take a little time and look at previous posts, and that you will share your crochet journey with me in the comments section. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

Okay, now to the stuff you have been waiting for. Last week, I released my very first indie pattern on Ravelry – the What’s Behind the Ivy Cowl. In honor of being part of the Crochetville Blog Tour for the very first time, I am offering this pattern for free for a limited time. Between March 13-31, you can purchase the cowl for free on Ravelry with the coupon code “birthday” – because today is my Mom’s birthday. You may only use the code once during this time period, and after the 31st, it will go back to its regular price.

In addition, anyone who posts a (non-spam) comment on any of my blog posts from today to the 31st will be entered into a drawing to receive three (3) balls of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in the colors of the winner’s choice. The yarn will be enough to make the cowl pattern I designed.

That’s it for today. I’m really glad you checked out my blog, and I hope you will keep coming back.

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Quick Holiday Gifts to Crochet

It’s that holiday time of year, when last-minute gift making is in the air. Maybe you need one or two more gifts for Hanukkah celebrations, a quick teacher gift as a thank you, or extra gifts to have in reserve for that surprise gift exchange that comes out of nowhere.  If any of these sound familiar, please check out the quick crochet pattern links below. Most take only one or two skeins. All were designed by me for Cascade Yarns, and all are free downloads.

©Cascade Yarns

  ©Cascade Yarns

©Cascade Yarns

©Cascade Yarns

First, let’s look at a couple of one skein hats. The Diamonds Hat is on the top, and the Arches Hat is on the bottom.

Diamonds is great for a beginner stitcher, using single, double and half-double crochet stitches to create an openwork pattern of diamonds for the body of the hat. You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/FW195_UltraPimaFineDiamondsHat.pdf

Arches is a little more advanced, starting with a row of foundation single crochet stitches, then using front post double crochet stitches to create a textured hat that is great for men and women alike. You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W543_SateenWorstedArchesHat.pdf

cloudgate

©Cascade Yarns

W538a

©Cascade Yarns

Looking for a cowl? Here are two that might fit the bill. Cloudgate Cowl is on the top and Three Season Cowl is on the bottom.

Cloudgate is a single skein cowl created with a textured ripple stitch. The texture is created using front post single crochet stitches. If you are looking to change things up, try two colors, alternating the second color for the front post single crochet rows to create a great striped effect. Get creative! You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W477_CloudgateCowl.pdf

The Three Season Cowl is really two patterns in one. You can make a close-fitting cowl with just one skein of yarn, or one you can loop around with two skeins. Once again, you can change things up – use one skein each of two different colors (think favorite team colors, or a neutral along with a bright color) and you can create a great color-blocked cowl. Want color changes without a lot of thought? Use a yarn with slow color changes, like Casablanca or Tangier from Cascade, and the cowl will pattern itself.  You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W538_SateenWorstedThreeSeasonCowl.pdf

W522a

©Cascade Yarns

W551b

©Cascade Yarns

Finally, here are a couple scarves to finish things up. The Guinevere Scarflette is on the top, and the Spirit Wave Scarf is on the bottom.

Guinevere is a double duty piece. Scrunch it up and it works great as a scarf. Need a little shawl to throw over that little black dress for the office holiday party? Gwen is your girl! The pattern is easy to customize in length, and the mesh stitch makes it a breeze to crochet, using only two skeins of yarn.  You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W522_GuinevereScarflette.pdf

If you have a sports fan on your gift list, then the Spirit Wave Scarf would be perfect! Use either two or three team colors (pictured scarf uses two main team colors divided by and accent color), an easy to follow ripple stitch pattern, and in no time at all, you’ll be ready to cheer “GO TEAM GO!” You can download the pattern at  http://www.cascadeyarns.com/patternsFree/W551_SpiritWaveScarf.pdf

So there you have it – six free patterns for six quick gifts! I’d love to hear what you think.  Next week, I’ll share some quick crochet gifts from some of my favorite designers.

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