Preparing for Knit Eat & Co !

I’m preparing for the first show this autumn – the Knit Eat Festival in Lyon this weekend (23rd – 24th Sept).

This year the show takes place in a new, larger location, and it’s extended to be Knit Eat & Co. On top of the habitual knit and crochet theme, the show this year includes also garment sewing and contemporary embroidery.

Both exhibitors and visitors are travelling from afar (Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland …), and this is definitely a show to put on your list to attend, even if it means you need to take a trip !

Marie-Galante – a special kind of ripple

Ripple or chevron stitch patterns, those lovely zig-zagging waves are among the most classic crochet stitches. But this is a special kind of ripple!

When making Marie-Galante you will learn how to work ripple stitch on the bias!

Just make sure to take a good look at the chart or written instructions at the beginning and end of each row. The rest is worked just like any chevron pattern.

I got this idea when I was looking at crochet patterns using ripple stitch, and a question formed in my mind: Would it be possible to increase and decrease in a chevron pattern at the selvedge? I looked and looked at many patterns. All the projects were rather simple in shape, some had increases, but I couldn’t find one where the shaping occured at the edges of a project worked flat. Was this even possible to do?

Well, of course it was, because in crochet almost anything is possible. After many failed attempts, I ended up finding a system I liked – and the stitch pattern for Marie-Galante was born!

For this ripple stitch on the bias, I needed a yarn that would show it off. The choice of Whirl was very easy. With its changing colours, this yarn will hold your interest to the very end of a project. Once your stole finished, it will be a lovely complement to your wardrobe – I’m sure you can find a colourway to suit you.

I used the colour 778 Turkish Delight
This and many other colours of Whirl are available in my shop.

Whirl is a soft and lightweight yarn. The lightness is important here, since the stitch pattern is almost solid and therefore quite dense. Worked up in Whirl, Marie-Galante is also a pleasure to wear.

Marie-Galante worked in Zauberball 100 col Sphinx by Josiane S.

For a winter version, you could use a yarn such as the Zauberball 100. The crocheters who have made this substitution have found that the measurements remain very close to the original version.

Marie-Galante is now available in three languages: English, Spanish and French. You will find it in my webshop as well as on Ravelry.

Mittemellan – crochet infinity scarf

Mittemellan … the Swedish word for “in between”. This infinity scarf was designed precisely for these in-between moments, between summer and autumn, when the mornings are chilly but wool is too warm.

Crocheted in cotton and worn in one or two loops around your neck, Mittemellan is exactly what you need for those chilly mornings and evenings in autumn and spring.

Worked in a two-colour reversible stitch pattern which is so much easier than it seems, Mittemellan is a very versatile accessory!

Check out the Mittemellan pattern here:

Cotton denim, a special yarn

My cotton denim yarn is slightly mottled by a touch of white running through the main colour. The effect is very similar to a denim fabric, it’s like jeans in a ball of yarn.

The cotton denim range currently includes four colours: chambray, regular, raw and the latest addition, black jeans.

The cotton denim yarn is a perfect match for my solid-coloured organic cotton as well as the multicoloured version and the gradient organic cotton – yet another way to increase the number of possible colour combinations!

Click the button below to check out the cotton denim yarn in the shop:

On the Beach – crochet a summer shawl!

Come and join me On the Beach!

The pattern for this semi-circular shawl is now available in both English and Spanish.

Let’s hang out together on the beach, crocheting shells, pebbles and waves under the beach umbrella.

Delve into the various stitch patterns that will keep you entertained all summer long. The stitch patterns are smoothly integrated into the shawl shape thanks to a modified half-pi construction – increases made simple!

This shawl is worked with one ball of Scheepjes Whirl, with so many beautiful gradient colourways to choose from, and one ball of its’ single-coloured sister yarn, Whirlette.

Choose your colours to go with your most beautiful summer outfits. On the Beach will drape over your shoulders to keep them from the sun or the evening chill.

The pattern is available in English and Spanish, on Ravelry and on my own website.

Spanish translation by Suset Suarez.

Pattern on Ravelry (both Spanish and English):—sur-la-plage

On my own website in English:

And in Spanish:

See you On the Beach!

The Maya cowl – a fun and quick project!

Interested in inlay mosaic crochet – but perhaps not wanting to make a blanket to try out the technique?

The Maya cowl works up quickly – and if you want to make the pleasure last longer and your cowl to be higher, just repeat the stripes and the mosaic panel once or twice more!

I made my Maya cowl in Pascuali’s Puno yarn. It’s a very nice and unusual blend of cotton and alpaca. But of course, if you want to use another fingering weight yarn, it will work, too!

The pattern is available both in English and Spanish.

Ease into mosaic crochet with Maya

Maya cowl – pattern available in English and Spanish

Please welcome the Maya cowl! The pattern is available both in English and in Spanish.

This cowl is worked in the easy technique known as inlay mosaic crochet. This is mosaic crochet worked in two-row stripes, carrying up the yarn along the selvedge, yielding only a few ends to weave in.

The pattern is achieved by working simple stitches (chains, sc’s and dc’s), using only one colour per row.

The mosaic panels are explained both with a chart and with detailed written instructions. It’s a great first mosaic crochet project if you think charts are daunting! (And check out the link to my ebook below!)

If you want to know more about inlay mosaic crochet, download my ebook Understanding Inlay Mosaic Crochet. It contains all the information you need to read and work any inlay mosaic chart!

4 tips for crocheting without pain

Oh, how we love to crochet! We do it as often as we can, for hours on end!

But sometimes, our body suffers from our enthusiasm. Our fingers hurt, our shoulders tense up, and tendinitis makes it hard even to hold the hook.

How can we crochet without pain? I am not a doctor or a physiotherapist, but I have been crocheting a lot for decades – and I have 4 tips that I hope can help.

Please note that this is all about prevention. If the damage is done and you are already hurting, please see a doctor!

Manage your time

You’re back home from work, dinner is finished, and you can at last settle down and crochet for hours until you go to bed!

But that might not be such a great idea…

Crocheting means repeating the same, tiny movements over and over again. When you do this for hours on end, you can end up hurting a lot from repetitive strain injuries.

My tip: intervals. I suggest that you take regular breaks.

To help me remember to take breaks when I delve into a fascinating project, I use a timer. When it goes off, I put down my hook and go do something else for a little while.

How long you can crochet and how long your pause should be depend, of course, on your specific situation.

I personally try not to crochet for more than 45 minutes at a time, and then take a break for at least 15 minutes. This enables me to continue crocheting after the break without injury.

Of course, it is frustrating to have to stop, but I tell myself that in the end, this enables me to crochet more. Crocheting in intervals means that I no longer have to refrain from crocheting for days or weeks because of tendinitis.

Manage your posture

Yes, I know, she’s knitting … But it’s pretty close!

How are you sitting while you crochet? Slouching on the couch? With your shoulders pulled up to your ears and your work right under your nose?

Take notice of your posture, and modify it according to the needs you observe. Perhaps the slightly firmer armchair will be better. And perhaps your back will get better support if you simply slide a cushion behind it.

When you concentrate on your stitches, it’s so easy to tense up, tighten your shoulders and bring your work close to your eyes. When you do this for a long time, you put a lot of tension on your muscles. Try to remember to lower your shoulders and relax your arms.

I’m nearsighted, and I often find myself holding the work very close to my eyes. When I deliberately lower my hands, I almost always realize that I can see my stitches perfectly well even with my work on my lap.

If your hands, arms and shoulders feel tense, it might be a good idea to use your break (when that timer goes off!) to massage yourself and do some stretching. You don’t necessarily need to do anything very complicated or specific, but if you want to dive a bit further into this, there are plenty of exercises to be found with a simple search on the Internet.

Manage your activities

Always making the same, small movements puts a lot of strain on our muscles, joints and tendons. So, having lots of hobbies is a good thing!

Do you have something else you love to do? Knitting, sewing, baking, woodworking? Changing activity to do something else means that some parts of your body will get a well-deserved break, while you stay creative.

You can also vary your crochet projects. Working with a big hook is fun and gets quick results – but it can also be quite a strain on your hands. If I have an ongoing project using a 6 mm (US J-10) hook or bigger, I try to also have one going with a 3 to 3.5 mm (US D or E-4) hook. I find that using the smaller hook is more comfortable – it might be the opposite for you!.

Manage your hands

Once more, it’s time to have a good look at ourselves!

Let’s start with the tools – what kind of hook do you use? A thin metal hook, or one with an ergonomic handle? I find that the latter puts far less strain on your hands.

There are many brands and shapes of ergonomic hooks. At the moment, the ones I find the most comfortable are the Tulip hooks – they are also the ones I sell in my shop.

The material of the hook itself also matters. There are hooks in metal, wood, plastic…. Perhaps you will find that warm wood or lightweight plastic is exactly what you need.

Changing hooks is not too complicated. However, the way you hold your hands also counts.

For example, how do you tension your yarn? Do you pull with your index finger, lift your little finger or weave the yarn around all your fingers? There are so many ways to do this. We tend to always use the same method, but it can be very useful to try another one.

Changing the way you tension your yarn isn’t easy, but I think that it’s even harder to change the way you hold your hook. Nevertheless, that’s what I’ve done.

Like many crocheters in Europe, I learned to hold my hook as I hold a pen, and I crocheted in this way for many, many years. One day, I had to face the facts: if I crocheted for more than 15 minutes, my hands started to hurt intensely. I realized that I had a choice to make: change the way I hold my hook, or not be able to crochet at all.

It was very hard for me, in the beginning, to hold my hook like a knife. This is what is natural for many crocheters in the US and for people doing Tunisian crochet. But I felt extremely clumsy, as if I were just learning to crochet – a very uncomfortable situation for an experienced crocheter like me.

I kept working on it and managed to change how I hold my hook. At first, it was slow, uneven and, honestly, very frustrating. But it was worth the while. Today, I can crochet without pain.

So, there you have my 4 tips:

  • – manage your time
  • – manage your posture
  • – manage your activities
  • – manage your hands

How about you? Do you have any ideas on how to make crocheting more comfortable or more ergonomic? Or do you have a specific problem when you crochet? Let me know in the comments!