Saturday, December 3, 2011

Two New Slip Stitch Cowl Crochet Patterns

Thaxton Hooded Cowl in thermal Slip Stitch Crochet
The roasty-toastiest cowl I've ever crocheted is also my first cape-like hooded crochet cowl ("snood" by recent definition). It's for practical reasons: the Thaxton Hooded Cowl design came to mind after a bitter cold front last winter made my favorite Orbit Cowl feel like mere springtime lace

Undaria: one of many ways of wearing 

The Thaxton downloadable crochet pattern is $5.99. The pattern includes two ways to seam it, and two sizes for using less yarn if desired. 
Thaxton seamed 2nd way: tall cowl quadruple-rolled

Thaxton is so warm because it's: 
  • densely ribbed, and 
  • stretchy-snug, and 
  • half alpaca fiber. The alpaca content of the yarn I used piles on even more warmth, much like angora would. (Alpaca and angora are both warmer than wool.) 
Isn't the raspberry color delicious?

Undaria as 2-skein long twirl scarf
The other cowl, Undaria FlutterScarf, is a one-skein neckwarmer, and also a two-skein project if you prefer a standard-length long twirl scarf. Scroll down for more views of this versatile draping-fluttering-thing!

Draping Undaria 1-skein
Wondering where the name comes from? Well, I saw a softly rippling knitted scarf, and thought of how fun it would be to use slip stitch crochet in short rows to create that look. 

One of many ways to drape
Undaria 1-skein
With the gentle sea-green color shifts of the Mini-Mochi yarn--which I enjoyed buying at my friend Sheryl Means' yarn shop Yarntopia--I kept thinking of the soft ripples of Wakame seaweed in miso soup. Undaria is the botanical name for a type of seaweed. I also like that "Undaria" sounds similar to "undulating."

See all of my Slip Stitch Crochet designs. Slip stitches are so fun to design with.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten Crochet Cowls for Men!

Photo ©Patrick Hassel-Zein
Run right over to CrochetBlogger's Crochet Concupiscence blog post for a great photo series of ten men in manly crochet cowls

To whet your appetite, an eleventh is pictured at left: Robin's Hood, a hooded Tunisian crochet design by Patrick Hassel-Zein. 

Patrick is a 2011 nominee for the Crochet Liberation Front's Flamie Awards for Best New Crochet Designer and Best Crochet Designer of Mens Wear. 

Robin's Hood is part of a Tunisian crochet pattern book in English here, in Icelandic here, and in Swedish here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Crochet Cowl to Offer Comfort

Drew Emborsky designed a new crochet cowl wrap! The pattern is now available as part of The Crochet Dude's brand-new book, Hug It Out: Nine Crochet Designs to Offer Comfort. (see book cover below.)

I know from previous cowl blog posts that a soft, generous-size mobius is a very popular cowl style. It can be worn several ways with effortless grace to warm the neck, shoulders, and more. Its comfort adds easy style.

 See Hug it Out at
I asked Drew to tell me more about his new cowl design. 
He wrote, 
"I created this cowl because of all the great ways it can be worn. Especially for someone with mobility issues, it's nice to be able to wrap the shoulders without the bulkiness of a shawl, have a fluffy scarf just by pulling it up around the neck, then going right to a hoodie if the need arises - all without having to swing a crocheted garment around themselves. And even with all that function, I hope it makes her feel pretty too!!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Perfect Stitch for Fall Crochet Cowls!

- - Free Crochet Pattern Alert! see below - -

Slip Tectonics Cowl combines two kinds of slip stitches so that it
is self-shaping. This gives it easy-chic looks and comfort.
Thaxton Hood Cowl

I'm in love with my new cowls made with the super stretchy, warm, soft, snug, and stylish crochet slip stitch rib short rows. So, I've created a free crochet pattern called "Slip Slope Scarf" to help introduce this technique, see below.

I have to specify each of those words in bold because short rows and slipped stitches are both much more common in knitting than crochet. 
Slip Slope Scarf (free pattern)
Pattern includes guidelines for
making a loop scarf and
moebius-style infinity scarf

Not only that, in crochet, combining slip stitches and short rows is rare. When I do see crochet short rows, it's more often for "soakers" (diaper covers) in regular crochet, and for Tunisian crochet. 

The few short-rowed slip stitch designs I've found so far have been for hats--and I can see why! What a fabulous fabric for toasty hats that keep ears covered!
Side view of the self-shaping  
Slip Tectonics Cowl  

(For some examples of these non-cowl short row designs, see my Crochet Inspirations Newsletter Issue #29.)
Slip Slope Scarf
as scarf

Personally I prefer to wear cowls as hats when I need them. Also, right now I'm loving the new textures and color patterning I can do with crochet slip stitch rib short rows worked flat, rather than in the round as hats usually are. That's where I'm at in my crochetin' journey.

Below is a photo from my free online tutorial. It shows the slip stitch short rows in progress. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fast, FREE Crochet Cowl Pattern, for a Limited Time?

I stumbled on this free downloadable pdf just now, and am announcing it here a.s.a.p. because I don't know how long it's available at the link below!

Beginner's Luck by Allison Weldon is a new crochet cowl that you could whip up in an hour or less, even if you're a new crocheter! It's the Featured Pattern of the new December 2011 issue of Crochet World magazine. 

In Ravelry.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Crochet Cowls for Fall

Here are two very new crochet designs for cowls that I'm seeing around the 'net. They're just right for early Fall:
Red Circle © Bernadette Ambergen

Doesn't Bernadette Ambergen's Red Circle look like fun to crochet and to wear? Her downloadable pattern PDF is available for $5 in her Etsy shop, Berniolies Designs

Tuni Trio Cowl © Caron International
Cari Clement designed Tuni Trio Cowl, an easy Tunisian crochet cowl. Its fun colorwork method looks stylish for Fall. Not only that, it's a free crochet pattern

I've done this three-color Tunisian crochet method, and it's addictive. This is a great time to get hooked on it if you haven't tried it yet.
Happy crocheting everyone!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Both Sides Now Infinity Scarf (Cowl)
Follow the link for my latest Cowl-ly design. I designed this to be pretty on both sides, so no matter how you wear it, it looks great! Be sure and check out all the different ways that it has been styled, and happy hooking!

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Have you seen the Autumn issue of Crochet! Magazine? Follow the link to see my Misty Blues Lace Cowl. Get yours now! 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jean Leinhauser in Loving Memory

It has been a long while since I wrote a blog post, life has a habit of getting in the way. Some things that we think are very important, take over and we let them consume us. Yesterday, I opened my email to the sad news that Jean Leinhauser had unexpectedly passed away. So many emotions flashed through my mind. I could not believe this news, it was not registering in my brain. This cannot be true, didn't I just get an email from Jean 2 days ago? When Jean's great friend and business partner, Rita Weiss confirmed Jean's death, I was devastated.

I cannot remember the year that I actually met Jean, but I remember the meeting. I introduced myself, so happy to finally meet her, and she took my hand and said "Margaret, I know who you are". I was so blown away by this that I was speechless. A few years ago, Jean and Rita presented me with a sparkly, rhinestone pin that says "Old Broads Rule" and officially inducted me into the OBC (Old broads club). It has been a running joke and great fun at conferences when we wear our pins.

Jean was to be honored next month at the Crochet Conference in Minnesota for being voted in as the first member of the Crochet Hall of Fame. Her lifelong achievements in designing and publishing are so numerous that it would take a book to list all her books. Now in addition to honoring Jean, we will be remembering her and all the great things that she accomplished.

Jean was a legend in the world of crochet and she will be sorely missed. So many wonderful things have been written about Jean, she touched so many lives, I for one will feel her presence every time I attend a conference. I know that she will be with us and making sure that I am wearing my pin, and encouraging all the OBIT's (Old Broad's in Training) to keep on trying for excellence in their work, and to keep on submitting their designs.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Lacy Crochet Cowl for Spring

Trellis: Tonal DK-weight yarn version
I've got crochet lace cowl scarves & wraps on the brain. I can't think of anything more beautiful to drape around one's head, shoulders (or dare I say décolletage) at this time of year! And they're so easy to crochet.

I just added a new downloadable Doris Chan crochet pattern to the crochet site. Trellis has turned out to be one of those make-it-now-and-get-addicted-to-making-more lace patterns. That's what happened to Doris, according to the story she blogged about it. So, the pattern PDF includes THREE shapes of Trellis to crochet, and in a whole range of yarn types. 

I like what Doris said about using color-changing yarn for this design: "Inexplicably, Trellis is also happy in tonal shaded yarns and in long-repeat colorways, which hardly ever happens with crocheted lace." 

It's true, all bets are off if the stitches are lacy, so it's one of those pleasant discoveries about a design

Trellis: Color-Changing Worsted Wt. Version

I love self published crochet patterns! Not only does the designer choose the yarn, s/he is also free to play with other yarns for the same design, and then share the results! 

One of the highs of independent crochet designing for me is discovering how a design turns out to have special versatility and hidden strengths. 

Indie crochet designers are free to "run with it," and explore intriguing parts of a design. How are related variations (in yarns and shapes) not going to happen? Why shouldn't a designer include them in the pattern PDF and share the excitement? So I love to see it happen for Doris too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy Style: Crochet "Brioche" Stitch Cowl (free pattern)

Sometimes a crochet stitch pattern like this one is just so perfect, and a cowl is the perfect way to show it off. 

Cami has a blog called Art, Like Bread. I love this from her blog: 
In the Winter 2011 issue of the free online magazine, Tangled, editor and professional designer Tracy St. John offers a crochet cowl pattern called Radicowl
It features a reversible crochet "brioche stitch" pattern that is one is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it fast and easy, it's super fun to see what happens when you change colors! 
I agree with Tracy, it has the charm of knit brioche with all the added benefits of being crocheted
I've met new crochetin' friends in Twitter, and Cami (aka Caissa McClinton) is one of them. Check out her completed Radicowl: 
"The world is beautiful and art, like bread is for everyone."
You can also see her portfolio and website here: . If you're in Ravelry (it's free to join) clicking here will take you to Cami's project page for the Radicowl. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Versatile Cabled Cowl by Mary Jane Hall

As a Neck Warmer
As a Hood
I have always been the kind of designer who says, “What else can I do with this?” I love playing around with a crocheted piece and sometimes my mind just goes crazy. It all started with a design in Crochet That Fits, where I have 6 designs all from the same exact shape. 

As a Capelet
As a Skirt

I didn’t start out planning to do the same with this cowl, but after it was finished, I was not satisfied with just one way to wear it!
As a hood
My model, 24 yr old Mihaela Vaduva from Romania, so patiently allowed me to manipulate this cowl all over her body.

There are several ways you can wear this cowl, so it's really 7 patterns in one!

They are:
1. As a Cowl - neck warmer
2. As a Hood - over your head
3. As a Capelet - around the shoulders
4. As a Skirt
5. As a Tube Top - to wear under a jacket
6. As a Tote Bag
7. As a Throw Pillow 

 Of course, if you wear this piece as a skirt, you may need to weave in a chain tie through the waist to help keep it on your hips. And if you use the pattern as a tote bag, you'd need to crochet a rectangle shaped bottom, sew on handles, and add lining and a stabilizer to help keep its shape.

For those of you who are fairly new to crochet, you may look at the stitch pattern and think it looks complicated. But it’s not at all. Believe me, I try not to do real difficult patterns.

If I can’t figure out a stitch pattern in a few minutes, I’m done with that one, and go on to try another. I am known to design easy patterns, and this textured cable and aran stitch won’t disappoint you. It’s not the quickest pattern, but well worth your time.  The stunning texture resembles knitting from afar. BTW, I would never advise anyone to wear a crochet sweater, such as this, (at left) with the crochet cowl. I had been taking pictures of Mihaela in crochet pieces I found at the thrift store and was in a hurry! A post called "Thrift Store Finds" can be found on my blog here.

This cowl pattern is now available for sale on my blog here.
As a Tube Top
As a Tote Bag
As a pillow

Each piece you see in the photos is the exact same piece. (the original cowl) My model is a size 4-5, but as a skirt this would also fit a size 1-2.

If you need to make a larger size skirt or capelet, all you'd have to do is add more rows.
For the pillow at right, I sewed up one end, put a pillow form inside, then sewed up the other end on the outside.
Maybe you have another idea of how this pattern can be used, and if so, I'd love to hear about it! Details of the pattern (price - shipping options) is here. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Loken Cowl

I am so pleased to be able to talk about the Loken cowl that I designed for Berroco yarn company, as part of their eBook of patterns featuring their new Flicker yarn.

The brief I was given, was basically, to design an oversized cowl featuring crochet motifs.  I wanted the motifs to be unique, and I achieved this in the way that they are joined together.  This cowl is completely seamless and begins by crocheting 2 strips of motifs.  Then, the top and center motifs are made separately and incorporated into the spaces in the cowl by crocheting around edges of the previously joined motifs and into loops of the center or top motifs, simultaneously.  This creates bold thicker areas around the motifs which gives them an interesting texture, because the edges stand up and away from their centers.

When the bottom portion of the cowl is complete, you are rewarded the fun of crocheting the lovely shaped cowl neck in rounds above the motifs.  Working these chain stitch rounds is something I could do for hours on end!  It grows quickly and it is easily shaped by increasing or decreasing the number of chains.

It can be worn either loose around the neck or pulled down to cover the shoulders as in the photo above. It could also be made into a larger or smaller size by adding to or subtracting from the motif repeats, and altering the number of chains in the neck to fit.

There is more about my design process and some additional photos of the cowl here, on my blog, if you are interested!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two Crochet Cowls by Kristine Mullen

Kristine is the crochet designer of Ambassador Crochet, an Etsy shop based in Connecticut (northeast USA). She contacted me a few months back to let me know that her Yin Yang Contrast Cowl pattern was available in her shop. I can't believe how behind I got in posting about new crochet cowls! In the meantime, Kristine has designed another crochet cowl (both are pictured below). I can post about both of them together. 

The Yin Yang Contrast Cowl looks like a quick and fun cowl to crochet right now for instant warmth if you live where the winds are still wintry blasts. It uses super bulky yarn. (As I write this, I hear that a big new nasty storm is expected from Louisiana to New York.)

In contrast, the Elegant Infinity Cowl crochet pattern is a bit lighter and still plenty warm for these months of variable winter-to-spring temperatures. Kristine says it's a suitable pattern for a beginner. I've only shown one image here, but be sure to click on its name to see the other four photos of how she has draped and styled it. The one shown here reminds me of a dollop of whipped cream. 

If you visit Kristine's Ambassador Crochet Etsy shop you'll also see a stylin' array of beanies for kids! She states in her shop that you can sell any items made from her patterns for profit. (Please link to her if you do.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Fanfare Cowl

I am so thrilled to be able to share my cowl here, and be a part of the design team!

This cowl was designed for the UK magazine, Inside Crochet, issue #8.  It is made up of simple stitches, and finished up with a little surface crochet  to define the "pleats".  I think this detail is its crowning glory.  Surface crochet is one of my favorite crochet techniques, and I use it often in my designs and freeform work.  This pattern is a great introduction to this technique if you have never tried it.

It is a versatile pattern that could be used to make a belt, by adjusting the length and width of the cowl and the tie.  You could also weave satin ribbon or a skinny silk scarf through the cowl, instead of the crocheted tie, for an instant transformation to match a particular outfit.

Skill level:  Intermediate

(Written in US crochet terms)


Yarn:  Berroco Inca Gold, 80% 
merino wool, 20% silk, 50g/ 113m/ 
122yds, WPI 9. 
Color A: Verde Azulado, #6418 
(one skein). 
Color B: Purpura, #6409 (one 
Hook size:  (G) 4mm, or size to 
obtain gauge. 

Price:  $2.95

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Transitional Mobius Cowl According to Doris Chan

Snow Day as Snood (Hood)
Snow Day as Loop Scarf

A Doris J. Chan Cowl

Ms. Doris caught the cowl-crocheting bug and check out the result: it's the perfect transitional neckwarmer-shoulderwarmer-snood/hood, as practical in a wintry cold snap as it is pleasurable during a Spring thaw. Read about her inspiration for it here.

True or False: Möbius?

Moebius geeks purists connoisseurs please note: it's a true möbius (deserving of the umlaut ö). 
Snow Day is the newest addition to DJC, the new indie crochet patterns designed by Doris Chan. She also has another pattern line just for girls called DJC2, and will be adding a new design in a week or two. I'm proud to be able to offer both of Doris' indie pattern lines at my own online shop for downloadable crochet pattern pdf's.

One of the things I personally like about Doris' style of pattern publishing is how she builds in a lot of choices and swatch results in fibers and yarn textures so that you can make informed choices about the yarn you use. 

Stay in the Doris Chan Loop

Snow Day as Mobius Wrap
Keep up with all new Doris Chan crochet pattern releases three ways: 

1. Check Doris' blog Everyday Crochet

2. Check in with her Ravelry group, Doris Chan: Everyday Crochet

3. Subscribe to the DesigningVashti Crochet Inspirations Newsletter, then sit back and wait for a new issue to arrive by email every month.
Snow Day shown in a Silk-Cotton-Rayon blend yarn

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Nine to Five" Convertible Crochet Cowl

Designer Janet Brani of OneLoopShy Designs emailed me in January to let me know of a crochet cowl pattern that's available as a FREE pdf download at her Ravelry store.

Some notable details about Janet's cowl are:
  • A detachable buttoned tab of Tunisian knit stitch
  • Pattern includes a crochet flower than can be buttoned onto the tab as optional embellishment (see third photo below)
  • A two-hour one skein project using a US G crochet hook
  • Yarn shown is Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold, which seems to be popular--several designers have used it lately. One skein has 192 yards (175 meters), in case you wish to substitute with yarn in your stash.
Janet Brani holds the copyright to all 3 images.

I'm just now getting back into the blogging swing of things, so be looking for more blog posts soon! Thanks for visiting -- Vashti

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some really COOL cowl wrapping ideas

I know this pattern is knitting, BUT  look at some of the really NEAT ideas they have to wear one of the longer cowls.  I really like the shrug look!

Here is the pattern

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Simple Tunisian Crochet Cowls in Alpaca Yarns

I found a blog today that is written in Norwegian. I wish I could read Norwegian, but Google Translate gives me a good enough sense of what the blogger, Stella Marie Tveter, has to say about her Tunisian crochet designs.

Try this link if you'd like to see what I mean. In the original language, here are all of her posts tagged with "hakkekrok," which seems to mean "Tunisian crochet."

Don't you love the beauty of the handpainted colors when worked in Tunisian Simple Stitch? And when worn as a head scarf, the alpaca yarn in this cozy gauge and stitch surely keeps ears warm.

Stella designs for Du Store Alpakka, and I found some Tunisian crochet on their blog. Here are their posts tagged with "Hakking."

Du Store Alpakka produced a wonderful book teaching a variety of crochet techniques, all shown in luscious alpaca yarns. You can see the Google-translated description here. Look at the end of the post for links to more information in Ravelry.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Child's Crochet Cowl & Wristlets, A Free Pattern

Happy Week Two of 2011! Yes, I'm slowly recovering from the holidays. How about a free crochet pattern to kick off the new year?
Kristine Mullen has designed Snow Princess Cowl & Wristlets and the full pattern can be found at her blog, Ambassador Crochet. It's sized to fit preteens and younger. Kristine notes that it's an easy enough pattern for beginning crocheters too.

Isn't this a great photo of a Snow Princess with her own crochet cowl and wristlets set?