23 October 2011

Dublin Bay extended

Having finally added the longer version of Dublin Bay shawl to the pattern, I'm celebrating with a few photos of the ACTual Bay of Dublin from a few days ago in the biting October winds.

I love that this is a sight I am greeted with often, and I count myself very lucky that I have such beauty within a short distance from the new Yarn Towers site. It really makes me pause for thought to think that people have been sailing in and out of this stretch of water for millennia, and that it was the gateway for the establishment of Dyflin, the Viking word for Dublin over 2000 years ago. It really humbles me to think of the sheer volume of lives that have been affected by this bite out of the land.

The first photo is looking north from Booterstown, on the lower end of the bay. The edge of Dublin City is visible in the lights to the left.

The second photo is again, from Booterstown, but looking south, towards DĂșn Laoghaire and Bray's pier beyond as the watery, winter sun slowly crawls into the sky over low tide. 

Dublin Bay is my first pattern to feature what I am calling Tunisian Lace techniques. If you can do basic tunisian stitches, or if you are familiar with crochet linked stitches, then it, and my other shawls, will be a piece of cake to you. If not, I've gone and added links to video tutorials on how to read my charts, and how to work the stitches, to be sure.

10 October 2011

A life of testing...

...appears to be ahead of me as a designer, but as frustrating as it can be at times, it is clearly the better choice for me.

I have spent the last year and a half on and off looking for an editor with which to start a meaningful relationship. Someone I can turn to, give money to, and in return be confident that the pattern text I get back is safe to publish, and clear enough that customers can read through it and understand what I meant to say without confusion.

It seems to me that this shouldn't be too difficult to do on the surface, but, as many before me have undoubtedly found, a good editor (especially in crochet) is as hard to find as hen's teeth.

So! I have decided after several heartbreaks, to go down another road. I'm relying on the generosity and sharp eyes of a wonderful group of testers. What brilliant people! In exchange for a free preview copy of a pattern (and the eventual fully-edited version), these goddesses are happy to work out the kinks in tandem, to ask pertinent questions, suggest re-wordings, and generally check spelling, stitch numbers and garment fit.

Now, naturally, there's a lot more work for me to do; I'm not just flinging text at a bunch of people and expecting them to "fix" it. I'm far more involved in the process, checking up daily if possible on everyone's progress, answering questions and explaining myself further, but they're so patient! I've been swallowed up in my own mathematics a few times in the course of the last few tests, but my testers have been so helpful in detangling me.

 I'm in love with my regular core group of testers at this stage, after they worked me through Ruadh, Dublin Bay, Solas and lately, Lop and Honeymeade. Now, a group of 9 are embarking on my newest pattern set: Liffey Swim: A hat, fingerless glove and mitten set, just in time for the weather to turn.

The bonus of this for me, oddly enough, is that I gain a much better understanding of the pattern in question, too. No longer do I find myself writing out instructions, only to have them fall out my ear while I sleep. Now, when a customer asks me why I did something the way I did, or if a pattern could be modified in a certain way, I'm much quicker off the mark. This pleases me, and I hope it pleases the questioner, too.

So, fellow budding designers, I cannot highly enough recommend the Testing Pool in Ravelry's groups. For us minnows in a sea of giants, it's the only way to go!

14 September 2011

Do you remember that dude, in the movie "Almost Famous", the guy who seemed to be everywhere along the tour, jumping occasionally in and out of shot. Always up to ninety, babbling on and on about catching a glimpse of "Mr. John Paul Jones" or "Mr. Bonham" or proclaiming that "It's all happening", like he was having a near-religious experience?

I used to think he was a reflection of the over-enthusiastic fans all bands have to deal with; a mix between reverence and obsession, but while I'm not as intense about it, I find myself waking up these days with that very thought on my lips; "It's all happening".

I've met, shook hands with, and in some cases had lunch with Carol Feller, Laura Hogan, Kate Davies, Debbie Bliss, Kieran Foley, and they have all, to a person, been very kind, cool and amazingly calm. I hope someday to inspire the excitement in others that they inspire in me, (Debbie gave me a hug when I told her I hadn't slept a wink the night before 'cause I was excited to meet her) but when that day comes, I seeeriously doubt I'll be as collected and groovy about it as they are.

14 May 2011

Announcing; AoibheNi.com

Well, haven't I been a bit quiet lately!
Yes, yes, I have.

But it has been with good reason, 'because I have managed, through no small effort, to design, code and launch a spangly new website! I'm delighted with how it has turned out.

Watch as it spangles!

It has info on all my patterns so far, with payment methods right there on the site; it also has this blog encorporated right into its very matrix, and a list of all the events and classes I'll be giving over the next few months.

It took a lot of work, a lot of coffee, and a lot of ignoring my poor blog, but I think it was worth it! I hope you think so too.

03 May 2011

The Queen's Visit

There was no fan fare, no security, no carriages, entourage or flags. Just the Queen, sitting on my balcony. I could even have missed her visit, so unremarkable was her arrival.

But I'm glad I looked out and spotted her, sitting on the trellis, warming herself in the late morning sunshine.

The Queen's Visit, Queen Bee, Gardening photos, Bee, Bumble Bee, Buff-tailed Bumble Bee, Irish insect, April in ireland

18 April 2011

Is that a goose in your pen, or are you just quacky to see me?

Yesterday was a day as idylic as they get for me.

I took the day off crocheting (mostly) and went home to see my family on what is slowly but surely becoming a farmyard. I spent a very happy hour and a half, weeding the flowerbeds (Which, at home is called "herding the spiders" as there are so many among the stones, it seems most of your time is spent watching spiders flee, and very little time is spent actually pulling up the intermittant weedlings).

My Mam came out and helped a bit, and my cousin dropped in to say Hi to her Dad, who was helping my Dad put a stairs into the shed's loft, and she helped a bit with the weeding, too. I know, sometimes, it really feels like we're Amish or something!

But! The big surprise at home was the arrival of 6 new siblings. I am now the eldest of 9 children, with the addition of 6 fuzzy, fluffy, tweeping little goslings.

Introducing Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch:

They are farmyard geese, which, apparently means that they won't grow normally huge wings, but will be naturally small-of-wingspan, ensuring they won't fly away and get hurt on the road or anything. They currently occupy a section of the wooded copse beside my parent's house, have lots of lovely grass to run around in:

A small bath to splash in:

And a Mom, Nell, to look out for them. She's actually been very good so far. She barks at them occasionally, has had her inquisitive nose nipped a few times through the wire, but I reckon they'll all get on like a house on fire when they get the run of the whole copse:

They love, LOVE to be fed by hand. This is my gloved hand, having picked some grass at my feet. It's amazing how instantly interesting it becomes, just 'cause it's being offered. And just look at those fuzzy wuzzy little heads!

And they are as interested in EVERYTHING:

I wasn't inside the pen two seconds when they started to peck at the buckle on the side of my wellies, when I bent down, I had a goose attached to each sleeve, and a third trying its hardest to get at my hair.

So, yea, this is fair warning. I will be all about the geese for the next few months.

11 April 2011

Ode to some lost Malabrigo

I know you're in here somewhere, inside this messy flat,
I'm bound to find you someday; you're not as lost as that.

But where you are eludes me, it's come as quite a shock,
I put you down, and now you're gone, my Malabrigo Sock!

You're meant to be a shawl, you know, purple, big and smart,
It's half-done and already it's quite the work of art.

I can't get any more of you; the shop is all sold out,
The loss of you has made me blue, I have to scream and shout!

If you want to tell me where you are, that would be so much betta',
I miss my lovely colourway: Africana Violetta!

07 April 2011

How To Make - Hill of Tara Shawl Pin

I got my copy of Inside Crochet 17 this morning, and, sitting down, in my dressing gown, with a cup of coffee, I whiled away a lovely hour or two reading it, and occasionally feigning surprise when I came across one of my patterns therein.

But, I did notice that the magazine hadn't had enough room to include the photo tutorial I had sent in on how to make the willow shawl pin I had used to pin Hill of Tara in place.

So, to save everyone from frustration, I have decided to add it here.
I hope it helps.

Hill of Tara Shawl

The best wood to use for a simple brooch like this is willow. I have used weeping willow for this tutorial, but any willow will work, if you learn to handle it correctly.

An important thing to remember before you begin, is that willow grows wild in many areas. Please don't harvest wild willow. As with many trees, it is very easy to introduce diseases to a tree if it's pruned incorrectly.

The best time to select and cut your willow withy would be after the leaves have all dropped, and before the buds begin to appear again. This is when the sap has retreated back into the heart of the tree and the branches will be less brittle, but this is not essential.

Select a withy no shorter than 1.5 meters, and no thicker than a pencil at the top. The tip should not be dead wood, either. With a sharp seceters, cut the withy diagonally across. If you can, cut a few withys in case your willow cracks.

willow brooch, step 1, how to make a brooch

Making the brooch:
Starting at the thicker end, create a simple knot, taking care not to over-stress the wood. You may find it easier to gently bend the withy gently several times in the direction you will be knotting it before you attempt the knot.

willow brooch, step 2, how to make a brooch

Thread the tip through the knot, twisting it around the ring formed by the knot. Continue to do this until one round is completed. This should take about 3 wraps.

willow brooch, step 3, how to make a brooch

From here, it's just a case of following the wrap around again, and again until you are left with approx. 6 inches of thin wood at the tip.

willow brooch, step 4, how to make a brooch

willow brooch, step 5, how to make a brooch

Holding the live wood with your thumb, wrap the tip gently but tightly in a ring over all the wraps. Secure the tip in place by threading it under the ring and ensuring it's tightened. Pull gently but firmly to ensure a tight knot. The willow will dry out and contract over time, so a tight knot now will ensure it doesn't become loose later on.

willow brooch, step 6, how to make a brooch

willow brooch, step 7, how to make a brooch

willow brooch, step 8, how to make a brooch

This can be used straight away, but it is recommended that it be left to dry out and “set” before the tip and top are neatened up with a seceters.

willow brooch, step 9, how to make a brooch

willow brooch, step 10, how to make a brooch

How to use the brooch:
To hold brooch in place, take a wooden hair stick, push through the centre of the brooch, into the fabric of the shawl.

Thread the stick out the fabric of the shawl and across the opposite side of the brooch. The weight of the shawl should hold the stick and shawl together.

willow brooch, step 11, how to make a brooch

06 April 2011

Name the Shawl

I have had my nose stuck in the first sample of a new pattern for the last few days. I'm designing it with the express purpose of ensuring I look classy as all hell at a wedding I'm attending this year, and what, I ask you, is more glam than a dove-grey shoulder shawl, designed and crocheted by the wearer?

I trust this will help "dress up" whatever slightly barmy and colourful dress I end up buying for the occasion. (My mother is always so polite about my choices, but I can tell she'd rather I just found a little black dress and stuck to it!)

lace shawl, crochet lace, free pattern competition, Rialto 4-ply, dove grey

I'm really pleased with this so far, actually. The lace trim is coming out nicely in a fan shape, the picots are looking plentiful and cheerful, and the main body, once blocked will be full of holes (intentional) and will look impressive with the right shawl pin added at the shoulder. I can't wait until I get it finished and blocked. The lace just unfolds to nicely!

But, what I don't have, yet, is a name. Usually at this stage, I have it pinned down (pun, unindented, but welcome), but this is e-luuuu-ding me something awful. I'm therefore hoping that you guys have more luck with the inspiration.

As a guide; references to poetry, places and people are all welcome. Something kinda grown-up without sounding boring, is what I'm in the market for. And, of course, the winner will recieve a copy of the finished pattern, including lots of gloriously clear charts, and a pick of one of my other patterns, too*.

lace shawl, crochet lace, free pattern competition, Rialto 4-ply, dove grey

Competition will be open for one week, so tell all your friends!

*excluding those recently published in magazine-form. I don't have the rights to them back, yet...

Note: Enter as often as you like. Entries must be posted in reply to this blog post, so I can keep them all together.

01 April 2011

What a Day!

As you may, or may not have noticed, it has been an exceptional few days here at Yarn Towers.

Firstly, my free crochet top pattern Happy Monday was picked up by Crochet Pattern Central, resulting in a HUGE influx of visitors. I mean, seriously enormous.

blog stats

Secondly, I discovered that I am now the proud author of not one, but two patterns in Issue 17 of Inside Crochet

There is Tessera, a motif-based cami which oddly enough, was originally inspired by my watching way, way too much Legend of the Seeker in a short space of time...

Tessera, crochet top, cami, motif, grey, magazine, Naturespun Fingering, 4-ply

And Hill of Tara, which is a simple pattern, perfect for beginners looking for their first big project and which actually works up very fast.

Hill of Tara, crochet shawl, magazine, simple pattern, stripes, colourful, colorful, self-striping yarn, Aran

I had a great time designing both of these, and I'm so immensly pleased to see them side-by-side in the magazine.

27 March 2011


A week or two ago, the world seemed to slow down for a few moments as word went around the small crafting community in Dublin that one of our good friend's husbands had been diagnosed with a serious illness. He was to be in and out of hospital for the foreseeable future, fighting a formidable disease.

As you would expect, we all reached out with messages of love and support, but there is little else you can do when you don't live nearby and can't just drop over food and be available to dispense liberal hugs and offers of lifts. In all honesty, I felt useless. I could only imagine how they both felt.

A little while after hearing the news, we were all asked not to send Get Well flowers, as they weren't allowed in the ward room. That's when it hit me. We can't send REAL flowers, but boy, could we MAKE a bunch to liven up the room and to remind them both how much support they had behind them.

I put out the call (in secret, of course!) and was soon being inundated by blooms. There were tiny knit ones, big crochet ones, leaves, stems, roses, daffodils, carnations, a spider... The list went on and on. I even discovered that a long-time knitter had learnt to crochet just so she could add more to the bouquet. How great is that?

irish cancer society, knit flowers, crochet flowers, gift for a friend, Get Well Soon

In the end, I gathered them all together, bunched them up in some tissue and cellophane, added the card with many messages of support and love, and handed them over to another friend who was to see it safely to a FFF meet-up which was especially planned around our friend's now super-busy schedule.

It really warms my heart to see how many people answered the call, the effort everyone put into making their flowers anatomically correct (seriously... calyxes, stamens and everything!), and to know the flowers were appreciated.

irish cancer society, knit flowers, crochet flowers, gift for a friend, Get Well Soon

I have been told they now grace the windowsill in the hospital room and are being commented on by many.

In light of Daffodil Day being only a few days ago, I'd like anyone who has means, to please click and to give whatever they can to the Irish Cancer Society. Their work is truly invaluable.

26 March 2011

Join the Yarn Party!

Oh, yes! I'm now available for Crochet and Knitting Parties in your own home!

For a few bob, you can spend 2 gloriously fun hours with your friends, some free yarn, hooks or needles, lots of class notes and my undivided attention!

And the best bit? The hostess crafts for FREE!

Free materials,
Free tuition,
and Free notes!

See below for more info. : )

Learn knitting or crochet from an experienced, patient, published teacher/designer, who will take you and your friends through the basics, and teach you all the tricks you’ll ever need.- only €20 for 1st, 2-hour class per person, including materials;- or €15 per person for every 2-hour class thereafter.- Find 3 or more friends to share the class,  and the host learns for free!- Absolute Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Crafters welcome.

24 March 2011

A day for butterflies

As I pottered around on my plant-crammed balcony today, I spotted several, beautiful, vibrantly-coloured Red Admiral butterflies fluttering around on my hanging baskets.

Photo Credit: www.irishbutterflies.com

They must have been attracted by the last flush of petals on my mini-daffodils and they were a welcome visitor, I'll tell you.

Etain Shrug, Crochet shrug, summer crochet, Irish yarn, blue shrug, simple crochet pattern

In celebration of these tiny, pretty little visitors, I have finally gotten around to putting my Etain Shrug up on Ravelry for sale. It featured in a long-past issue of Inside Crochet, but as it's well and truly mine again, I thought now would be the opportune time to make it available.

So, if you fancy a pretty little butterfly of your own, you now can!

Etain Shrug, Crochet shrug, summer crochet, Irish yarn, blue shrug, simple crochet pattern

23 March 2011

Happy Monday - Free Crochet Pattern

Happy Monday
A free crochet pattern from Aoibhe Ni.
Find it on Ravelry here.

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

3.5mm hook, or size required to achieve tension,
1 ball Noro Silk Garden Sock (Yarn 1)
4-6 balls Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply (Yarn 2)
darning needle (for weaving in ends)

28 tr sts = 4in/10cm
9 tr rows & 9 dc rows = 4in/10cm

2 cute buttons, approx 1.5cm in diameter.

Pattern written for bust sizes: 32" (34"/36"/38"/40"/42"), and is written in UK stitch language. For a handy translation sheet for US stitch names, please click here.

Abreviation Key:
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
dc-blo = double crochet backloop only
tr = treble crochet
st(s) = stitch(es)

Note: Turning chains (1ch) and instances of ch1 within pattern, do not count as sts
Turning chains (2ch) counts as 1st tr st.

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

With Yarn 1:
Make 155 (158/161/164/170/173) chain.

Row 1. 1dc into 2nd ch from hook, 154 (157/160/163/169/172) dc-blo, ch1, turn - 154/157/160/163/169/172 sts

Note on buttonholes:
Follow the pattern as written to add buttonholes.
If you'd rather “cheat”, just work Row 2 as Rows 3-5, ignoring buttonhole chains and work Row 14 as follows: Row 14. 26 (27/28/29/31/32) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 48 (49/50/51/53/54) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 26 (27/28/29/31/32) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 186/189/19/195/201/204 sts

Once you are ready to add buttons to top, just sew them through both layers of collar fabric as if there was a buttonhole. You won't be a ble to “unbutton”, but it's a handy way of avoiding frogging what you've made if you do forget to add holes along the way!

Adding 1st buttonhole:
Row 2. 1dc, ch2, 51 (52/53/54/56/57) dc-blo, ch1 & turn

Rows 3-5. 154 (157/160/163/169/172) dc-blo, ch1 & turn

Row 6. 22 (23/24/25/27/28) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 31 (32/33/34/36/37) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 40 (41/42/43/45/46) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 31 (32/33/34/36/37) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 22 (23/24/25/27/28) dc-blo, ch1 & turn

Row 7. dc-blo 162 (165/168/171/177/180), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts encountered to end of row. - 162/165/168/171/177/180 sts

Row 8. 23 (24/25/26/28/29) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 33 (34/35/36/38/39) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 42 (43/44/45/47/48) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 33 (34/35/36/38/39) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 23 (24/25/26/28/29) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 162/165/168/171/177/180 sts

Row 9. dc-blo 170 (173/176/179/185/188), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. - 170/173/176/179/185/188 sts

Row 10. 24 (25/26/27/29/30) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 35 (36/37/38/40/41) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 44 (45/46/47/49/50) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 35 (36/37/38/40/41) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 24 (25/26/27/29/30) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 170/173/176/179/185/188 sts

Row 11. dc-blo 178 (181/184/187/193/196), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. -178/181/184/187/193/196 sts

Row 12. 25 (26/27/28/30/31) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 37 (38/39/40/42/43) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 46 (47/48/49/51/52) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 37 (38/39/40/42/43) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 25 (26/27/28/30/31) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 178/181/184/187/193/196 sts

Row 13. dc-blo 186 (189/19/195/201/204), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. - 186/189/19/195/201/204 sts

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Adding 2nd buttonhole:

Row 14. 1dc, 2ch, 23 (24/25/26/28/29) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 48 (49/50/51/53/54) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 26 (27/28/29/31/32) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 186/189/19/195/201/204 sts

Row 15. dc-blo 194 (197/200/203/209/212), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts.- (194/197/200/203/209/212 sts

Row 16. 27 (28/29/30/32/33) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 41 (42/43/44/46/47) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 50 (51/52/53/55/56) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 41 (42/43/44/46/47) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 27 (28/29/30/32/33) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 194/197/200/203/209/212 sts

Row 17. dc-blo 202 (205/208/211/217/220), ch1 & turn Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. - 202/205/208/211/217/220 sts

With Yarn 2.
Remember: Turning chains (1ch) and instances of ch1 within pattern, do not count as sts
Turning chains (2ch) counts as 1st tr st.

Row 18. ch2 & turn, tr29 (30/31/32/34/35), ch1, tr45 (46/47/48/50/51), ch1, tr54 (55/56/57/59/60), ch1, tr45 (46/47/48/50/51), ch1, tr29 (30/31/32/34/35), ch1 & turn - 202/205/208/211/217/220 sts

Row 19. dc206 (209/212/215/221/224), ch2, turn. Note: add 1 dc to each st along, including over chain sts. - 206/209/212/215/221/224 sts

Row 20. tr29 (30/31/32/34/35) [3tr], tr45 (46/47/48/50/51), [3tr], tr 54 (55/56/57/59/60), [3tr], tr 45 (46/47/48/50/51), [3tr], tr29 (30/31/32/34/35), ch1 & turn - 214/217/220/223/229/232 sts

Row 21. dc30 (31/32/33/35/36), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc47 48/49/50/52/53), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 56 (57/58/59/61/62), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc47 (48/49/50/52/53), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc30 (31/32/33/35/36), ch2 & turn - 218/221/224/227/233/236 sts

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Row 22. tr31 (32/33/34/36/37), [3tr], tr49 (50/51/52/54/55), [3tr], tr 58 (59/60/61/63/64), [3tr], tr 49 (50/51/52/54/55), [3tr], tr31, ch1 & turn - 230/233/236/239/245/248 sts

Row 23. dc230 (233/236/239/245/248), ch2 & turn.

Row 24. tr32 (33/34/35/37/38), [3tr], tr51 (52/53/54/56/67), [3tr], tr 60 (61/62/63/65/66), [3tr], tr 51 (52/53/54/56/57), [3tr], tr32 (33/34/35/37/38), ch1 & turn - 238/241/244/247/253/256 sts

Row 25. dc33 (34/35/36/38/39), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc53 (54/55/56/58/59), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 62 (63/64/65/67/68), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc53 (54/55/56/58/59), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc33 (34/35/36/38/39), ch2 & turn - 242/245/248/251/257/260 sts
Row 26. tr34 (35/36/34/39/40), [3tr], tr55 (56/57/58/60/61), [3tr], tr 64 (65/66/67/69/70), [3tr], tr 55 (56/57/58/60/61), [3tr], tr34 (35/36/34/39/40), ch1 & turn - 254/257/260/263/269/272 sts

Row 27. dc254 (257/260/263/269/272), ch2 & turn.

Row 28. tr35 (36/37/38/40/41), [3tr], tr57 (58/59/60/62/63), [3tr], tr 66 (67/68/69/71/72), [3tr], tr 57 (58/59/60/62/63), [3tr], tr35 (36/37/38/40/41), ch1 & turn - 262/265/268/277/280 sts

Row 29. dc36 (37/38/39/41/42), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc59 (60/61/62/64/65), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 68 (69/70/71/73/74), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc59 (60/61/62/64/65), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc36 (37/38/39/41/42), ch2 & turn - 266/269/272/275/281/284

Row 30. tr37 (38/39/40/42/43), [3tr], tr61 (62/63/64/66/67), [3tr], tr70 (71/72/73/75/76), [3tr], tr61 (62/63/64/66/67), [3tr], tr37 (38/39/40/42/43), ch1 & turn - 278/281/284/287/293/296 sts

Row 31. dc278 (281/284/287/293/296), ch2 & turn.

Row 32. tr38 (39/40/41/43/44), [3tr], tr63 (64/65/66/68/69), [3tr], tr72 (73/74/75/77/78), [3tr], tr63 (64/65/66/68/69), [3tr], tr38 (39/40/41/43/44), ch1 & turn - 286/289/292/295/301/304 sts

Row 33. dc39 (40/41/42/44/45), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc65 (66/67/68/70/71), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 74 (75/76/77/79/80), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc65 (66/67/68/70/71), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc39 (40/41/42/44/45), ch2 & turn - 290/293/296/299/305/308 sts

Row 34. tr40 (41/42/43/45/46), [3tr], tr67 (68/69/70/72/73), [3tr], tr76 (77/78/79/81/82), [3tr], tr67 (68/69/70/72/73), [3tr], tr40 (41/42/43/45/46), ch1 & turn - 302/305/308/311/320 sts

Row 35. dc302 (305/308/311320), ch2 & turn.

Row 36. tr41 (42/43/44/46/47), [3tr], tr69 (70/71/72/74/75), [3tr], tr78 (79/80/81/83/84), [3tr], tr69 (70/71/72/74/75), [3tr], tr41 (42/43/44/46/47), ch1 & turn - 310/313/316/319/325/328 sts

Row 37. dc42 (43/44/45/47/48), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc71 (72/73/74/76/77), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc80 (81/82/83/85/86), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc71 (72/73/74/76/77), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc42 (43/44/45/47/48), ch2 & turn - 314/317/320/323329/332 sts

Row 38. tr43 (44/45/46/48/49), [3tr], tr73 (74/75/76/78/79), [3tr], tr82 (83/84/85/87/88), [3tr], tr73 (74/75/76/78/79), [3tr], tr43 (44/45/46/48/49), ch1 & turn - 326/329/332/335/341/344 sts

Row 39. dc326 (329/332/335/341/344), ch2 & turn.

Row 40. tr44 (45/46/47/49/50), [3tr], tr75 (76/77/78/80/81), [3tr], tr84 (85/86/87/89/90), [3tr], tr75 (76/77/78/80/81), [3tr], tr44 (45/46/47/49/50), ch1 & turn – 334/337/340/343/349/352 sts

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Row 41. dc45 (46/47/48/50/51), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc77 (78/79/80/82/83), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc86 (87/88/89/91/92), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc77 (78/79/80/82/83), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc45 (46/47/48/50/51), ch2 & turn – 338/341/344/347/353/256 sts

Row 42. tr46 (47/48/49/51/52), [3tr], tr79 (80/81/82/84/85), [3tr], tr88 (89/90/91/93/94), [3tr], tr79 (80/81/82/84/85), [3tr], tr46 (47/48/49/51/52), ch1 & turn – 350/353/356/359/365/368 sts

Row 43. dc350 (353/356/359/365/368), ch2 & turn.

Row 44. tr47 (48/49/50/52/53), [3tr], tr81 (82/83/84/86/87), [3tr], tr90 (91/92/93/95/96), [3tr], tr81 (82/83/84/86/87), [3tr], tr47 (48/49/50/52/53), ch1 & turn – 358/361/364/367/373/376 sts

Row 45. dc48 (49/50/51/53/54), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc83 (84/85/86/88/89), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc92 (93/94/95/97/98), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc83 (84/85/86/88/89), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc48 (49/50/51/53/54), ch2 & turn - 362/365/368/371/377/380)

Row 46. tr49 (50/51/52/54/55), [3tr], tr85 (86/87/88/90/91), [3tr], tr94 (95/96/97/99/100), [3tr], tr85 (86/87/88/90/91), [3tr], tr49 (50/51/52/54/55), ch1 & turn – 374/377/380/383/389/392 sts

Row 47. dc374 (377/380/383/389/392), ch2 & turn.

Row 48. tr50 (51/52/53/55/56), [3tr], tr87 (88/89/90/92/93), [3tr], tr96 (97/98/99/101/102), [3tr], tr87 (88/89/90/92/93), [3tr], tr50 (51/52/53/55/56), ch1 & turn – 382/385/388/391/397/400 sts

Row 49. dc51 (52/53/54/56/57), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc89 (90/91/92/94/95), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc98 (99/100/101/103/104), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc89 (90/91/92/94/95), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc51 (52/53/54/56/57), ch2 & turn – 386/389/392/395/401/404 sts

Row 50. tr52 (53/54/55/57/58), [3tr], tr91 (92/93/94/96/97), [3tr], tr100 (101/102/103/105/106), [3tr], tr91 (92/93/94/96/97), [3tr], tr52 (53/54/55/57/58), ch1 & turn - 398/401/404/407/413/416 sts

Connecting sleeves:

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Row 51. dc54 (55/56/57/59/60), sk 93 (94/95/96/98/99) sts, dc 104 (105/106/107/109/110), sk 93 (94/95/96/98/99) sts, dc 54 (55/56/57/59/60), ch2 & turn – 212/215/218/221/227/230 sts

Row 52. tr211 (214/217/220/226/229), ch1 & turn

Row 53. dc212 (215/218/221/227/230), ch2, turn

Rows 54-91. Rep Rows 52-53, ending on a tr row.

Sizes 36 – 42 only:

Row 92-93. rep Rows 52-53, ending on a tr row.

Sizes 40 & 42 only:

Row 94-95. rep Rows 52-53, ending on a tr row.

Bind off, weave in ends and block gently.

How to block:
Blocking is the process whereby yarn used in a project is made to relax and better take the shape of the project. It will often greatly improve the drape and fit of a garment, and enhance the appearance of lacy pieces.

This can be completed in a few different ways. For this project I choce to block using the submersion technique.

1. Fill a sink with cold water and gently easy garment into the water. Do not scrub, wring or stretch your crochet; just push down on it to get all the air bubbles out and to make sure the yarn is thoroughly saturated.

2. Holding onto the crochet, pull the plug and allow water to drain.
3. Carefully squeeze excess watre out of crochet, being careful not to wring or stretch. It needn't be totally water-free after thsi step.
4. Lay a towel out and place crochet on top of it. Roll crochet up into towel, like a giant swiss roll (nom nom).
5. Stand on towel to press water out of crochet.
6. Unroll towel and lie crochet out on a flat surface to dry.

This may seem superfluous, but it will cure crochet's annoying tendency to curl at the corners, and will make sure the sleeves and body drape better.

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Thanks for reading my pattern. I hope you enjoy it!

22 March 2011

Happy Monday Update

OK, OK, so the photo is terrible, but it's an upadte nonetheless.

Happy Monday, free crochet pattern, free crochet top, Noro Silk Garden Sock, Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply

Wanna see when Happy Monday barely had sleeves?

Yarn Post

A delivery of yarn sends Yarn Towers into a frenzy of excitement.

Yesterday, as I sat drinking some coffee on a well-deserved crochet break, I heard the bell go downstairs. "Package delivery!", the man on the other end of the intercom called. Excitedly, I let him in. "OOoh, great! This will be my yarn!" I squealed to myself as I skipped out to the gate. But alas, dear reader, t'was but a box containing some diabetes equipment I had registered for months previously.

Disheartened, I sighed, thanked the nice delivery man and trudged back upstairs to my coffee cup.

Then, this morning, at about 7 (apparently)... the bell went again. Now, I'm a heavy sleeper. I never hear the bell when I'm all snuggled up in bed, so the boyfriend was pulled from his slumber instead, toddled sleepily downstairs, thinking "oooh! Great! The comics I ordered!", only to be as disappointed by the package as I had been the previous day.

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Still, there is little in this world which starts a day better than the words "You have new yarn" whispered by the man you love.

15 March 2011

Breaking the Mould

This is a piece I wrote for an issue of The Crochet Insider, a great online crochet magazine that is well worth checking out for its variety of articles on crochet-related topics.

crochet insider

I thought it was worth re-producing here:

Breaking the Mould.

When I was a young, impressionable girl of about 13 or so, I remember reading an article that aimed to explain why most of the geniuses of the past were men, with a very few notable exceptions. Leonardo, not Leonarda; Alexander Graham Bell, not Alexandria; Isaac Newton, not Isla.

The now long-forgotten author took pains to explain that the male mind was more likely to take risks, to dedicate a life to the pursuit of something which may, or may not become important. They were far less likely to have dependents who required their attention (a fair point), were better suited to innovation through a mixture of determination and bravery, and that women were more likely to take the safe option, to stay at home, make do with the status quo, and muddle through with a completely different set of skills. The author imagined that women were better suited to repetitious work, artistic or scientific reproduction, following after the trail had been blazed. This article has stuck with me in the intervening years, and every time I pick up a hook I wonder if it was a man or a woman who first knotted a piece of yarn, string, hair, into the first crochet stitch.

Unfortunately, crochet's history is shrouded in almost as much mystery as crochet itself is to some knitters. So, we may never know. But it recently struck me that it doesn't matter one damn bit.

What matters is what is going on NOW, and it's very exciting. All over the world women are taking up hooks, and needles. They're not just following patterns, they're not only repeating what they have seen done before. Many new designers are cropping up like a field of mushrooms, producing new ways of crocheting, coming up with new ideas, and showing the world that the fibre arts are not what they used to be. These designers are innovative, creative and most importantly of all, brave. They're willing to show the product of their work, make it available for evaluation and are proud of their abilities. They're starting up magazines, writing books, teaching others, making a living in their chosen field of expertise. They're standing up, and breaking the mould.

As a rookie designer, I had no idea what to expect from my peers. I had tested the waters with one or two simple patterns, just to see how it felt to design and be recognised as a designer of crochet clothing.

simple top, crochet, pattern, cheap, ribbed, treble, double, grey, red

red, green, blue, yellow, black, rockband, drunmkit cozy, spiral crochet, design, free pattern

My reception was tepid - no queues of crafters formed at my door, demanding more! better! faster! - but no-one emerges fully-formed so that didn't bother me at all. Then, I received a message asking if I'd be interested in submitting ideas for a new magazine that was hitting the UK. I was flattered, and a little blinded by my good fortune; I immediately said "Yes!". And so, I went diving face-first into the world of professional design where I have learnt two very important things:

Firstly, crochet designers, the ones who have been at it for years are so supportive of new talent. They'll give honest, and sometimes brutal, opinions, but they'll always be helpful. They're welcoming, will go out of their way to include unknowns in their own efforts and will give advise when asked. It's an atmosphere that inspires, encourages and teaches, and to me that's the best form of feminism. Competition is healthy and strong but refuses to be mean. There is little or no loud, raucous Girl Power here, just women helping women to be better. Now, that isn't to say that the men aren't well represented. Far from it! With talent like Drew Emborsky and David Burchall it's clear that not only are female designers all-inclusive, they're delighted to see the view from the other side, to embrace new ideas, to completely include our artistic brothers.

Secondly, the image that is projected by these designers in their patterns is inspiring. Many of us Indy designers don't hire professional models. We become jacks-of-all-trades by necessity. Designer/Photographer/Set Designer/Model, and it's the latter that I celebrate the most. All shapes, sizes, colours, and ages are represented. All feminine, all real. That, to me, is the epitome of the feminist ideal and what a great impression it makes on girls and younger women! Instead of stick-insects, they'll be seeing women with hips, thighs, and stomachs that are far from concave. They'll be meeting people who can not only design and model, but who can also string coherent sentences together. It's a legacy I hope will live on to inspire future designers and generations of women.

The most successful revolutions happen gradually, bit by bit over time. I'm confident that our bit is coming along very nicely.


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