Practical. Wearable. Charitable.
Celebrating 13 years of knit & crochet
pattern design, 2004-2017
The articles and accompanying patterns below appeared in previous issues of CGOA's Chain Link newsletter:
STASH BUSTIN’ TIME
pub'd July 2007
by Kathy North, CGOA member
Funny how what goes around, comes around….how one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure…..how simple is as simple does….ok, enough clichés, here’s the story:
I have been making and selling originally-designed hats for the past year. A friend of mine, who has excellent fashion and color sense, told me about a hat she bought at a craft fair in another state, and asked if I could make something similar. Thinking this was some kind of unusual one-of-a-kind, high-style hat, I was shocked when I saw it: a basic double crochet beanie in acrylic yarn, the kind of hat some of us have been making as charitable gifts for years. The only difference I could see was that 2 or 3 strands of thinner yarns had been combined to achieve a chunky gauge, rather than using one solid color. In an odd coincidence, shortly after receiving the hat I spent some pleasant evenings reading “The Yarn Stash Workbook” by Laura Militzer Bryant (c2006, Martingale & Company, ISBN 156477614X). While this beautiful book offers creative ways to use up stash yarn in knitting projects, the same color and design principles can apply to crochet. My friend’s hat, while nowhere near as exuberant as projects in the book, was made following a similar concept: use up leftovers in a creative way, for projects that display richer color, texture and interest. I could see now why that basic beanie had appealed to her.
With a stash that threatens a “home takeover” I decided to try a yarn blending design of my own. Since all things retro seem to be the rage, colors straight out of the ‘70s inspired the Stash Bustin’ Tote (shown below). Creams, yellows, golds, oranges and greens were sorted into a shading scheme from light to dark. I began with three strands of compatible light colors. As each color was used up, I replaced one strand at a time, changing to the next darker color. While it can be awkward wrestling three wayward strands at once at a bulky gauge on a large hook, it is great fun to see what happens as the colors change. By keeping yarn-combo projects on the small side so they’re not too heavy, you can enjoy a bit of stash bustin’ too! Have fun with this project (free pattern here)
Hats in a Hot Flashpub'd Nov 2006
by Kathy North, CGOA member
With apologies to male readers in the audience, here’s an idea for those women who, shall we say, feel quite warm and fuzzy during a certain transition phase in their life. Having reached the age of 55 last month, I have been experiencing my own set of the strange and wonderful. Enduring the record-breaking heat of summer has not helped (now I understand why women of yore were often labeled “hysterical”: there was a reason!) It can be easy for one to experience anxiety at this time of life. Try turning to the comfort of crochet to help with the transitions of your life.
If the thought of holding yarn or projects in your lap during heat spells is unattractive, you can still enjoy relaxing with crochet: with an iced drink in hand and the fan cranked up, get out your pattern books or magazines and enjoy leafing through pages of pretty pictures and technique articles, dreaming of future projects when the weather cools. When my own disinterest in hobbies hit, I took a few weeks off to pore over my personal library of craft books. After awhile the urge to hold hook and yarn in hand returned. I decided to refocus from my own discomfort to doing something for others. “Hats in a Hot Flash” were the result.
The stimulus for these hats was a $2.00 box of colorful acrylic yarn oddments discovered by my co-worker at a garage sale. The first thing I did was share the bounty with others at work, giving them the opportunity to take yarn for their own charitable projects (I already have a room full of yarn, but who can resist even more?) After co-workers chose their skeins, there was still enough left for several hats and scarves, small projects easily managed despite the mid-summer heat (and my own self-generated warmth). I grabbed a size I hook and a colorful skein of lime green to create the first double crochet hat, with accent bobbles in hot pink (shown lower right). Next came the patriotic single crochet beanie (at top), with rounds of red and white stripes finished off with a wide band of blue. Third, I chose a vivid red and orange combo to create the half double crochet bobble hat (shown left). Playing with this box of vintage acrylic scraps served two purposes: it brought me out of my current hormonal state to a place of relaxation, and resulted in gifts for children, teens, and adults.
The formula for these hats is very simple. Play with color, stripes, and bobbles using yarn from garage sales, thrift shops, or your own scraps. Create the popular beanie-style with these basic “recipes.” All of them use worsted weight yarn and a size I hook. Gauge is not that important. When the crown (top) of the hat seems big enough for the size you are making (about 48 stitches for a child, about 60-72 stitches for teen/adult), just work even on those 48/60/72 stitches until total length is 6” to 8” long, depending on the style you want. For beanies that just touch the top of the ears stop at the shorter length. If you want a turned up cuff or brim, make it longer (9” or 10”). Be creative!
Note: On these hats, each round ends with a slip stitch join, then a chain-up for the next round (ch-1 for single crochet, ch-2 for half double crochet, ch-3 for double crochet). That way the random stripes won’t form such a noticeable color jog as they would if the caps were worked continuously in a spiral.
Single crochet beanie (red, white, blue): Start with a beginning ring, ch 1, work 6 sc in ring. Increase to 12 on the next round, and to 24 on the next round. Work 1 round even, then increase to 36 on the next round. Work 1 round even, then alternate an increase round with an even round until you reach 48/60/72 sts, depending on the size you are making. Continue working even, changing colors at random or in a stripe pattern of your own choice, until beanie is desired length. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Half double crochet beanie with bobbles (red & orange): Start with a beginning ring, ch 2, work 7 hdc in ring (total 8 hdc to start). Increase to 16 on next round, then increase to 32 on next round. Keep increasing every round until you reach 48/60/72 stitches, depending on the size you want. Work even in hdc until cap is desired length. To add bobble round: hdc in first 3 hdc, work bobble in next hdc as follows: work 5 hdc in next hdc, remove hook from last st made, insert hook into first hdc of the 5-hdc group, reach over to the last hdc in the 5-hdc group and pull that loop through loop on hook, ch 1 to secure bobble. Continue around, working 4 or 5 hdc between each bobble. To finish cap: work 1 round single crochet evenly around, then 1 round reverse single crochet (crab stitch, shrimp stitch). Fasten off and weave in ends.
Double crochet hat (pink & green): Start with beginning ring, ch 3, work 11 dc in ring (total 12 dc to start). Increase to 24 dc on next rnd by working 2 dc in ea dc. Work 1 rnd even. Increase to 36 on next rnd, work 1 rnd even. Keep alternating an increase round with an even round until you reach 48/60/72 sts, depending on size. Continue working even, adding random color stripes or bobble rounds (as in half double crochet beanie above) until hat is desired length. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Have fun creating your own “Hats in a Hot Flash” (no matter what stage of life you may be in!) Good health to all.
Copyright 2007, 2010 – Designs by KN – www.designsbykn.com
For personal or charity use only. Do not duplicate pattern for commercial purposes.
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Copyright 2011 - Designs by KN. All rights reserved.