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.)