Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Update on Slip Stitch Crochet Sweater Design

Would you like a sneak peek? Well, I'm the publisher, so we don't have to sneak around anymore*, right? I should call it a preview. This "Eva Shrug" crochet sweater pattern is so close to becoming a proper downloadable PDF.

*still breaking that old habit from freelancing days, when a designer had to be careful what s/he said about a design, months before someone else did the big reveal!

You're looking at the final draft of the cover page. I'll probably make that 3rd photo a bit smaller and make room for more text.

What do you think? I'm excited about the Eva Shrug because this big experiment worked out! I wanted to make a sweater by starting with the ribbing and then filling in the rest. That's like crocheting the edging, then filling in the middle to make it 3-D. Or it's like drawing something and then coloring it in.

Turns out this new experience is fun and it works and it's easy. Not to mention that this is one shrug that stays on my shoulders without binding anywhere.

Something else happened too. I'm more deeply hooked on this slip stitch ribbing than ever. It takes me by surprise because I didn't like wearing the knitted ribbed tops of the 1980's! I always wanted to cut off the ribbing. This crochet ribbing is different. It feels luxurious to make and wear, and cozies up to you without being annoying.
Isn't it beautiful when combined with other crochet stitches?

I want to design some summery things next, and am actually considering ways to use slip stitch ribbing in summery ways. That's how hooked I am. I don't know yet how plant fiber yarns like cotton, linen, or bamboo will work for this ribbing. I might look into those cotton yarns that have some lycra content. We'll see.

One thing I've noticed as I swatch this ribbing with a range of crochet hook sizes: there comes a point when my hands sigh blissfully and melt into the fabric. That's when I know the crochet hook is large enough. Until that happens, the slip stitches can feel unremarkable, like generic machine-knitted ribbing, or even feel a bit tough. Trying larger crochet hooks is important because slip stitches are passionately responsive little creatures. Each pairing of hook size and fiber blend is unique. I can't rely on traditional yarn weight and hook or knitting needle size guidelines.

Another thing I've noticed about this slip stitch crochet is that I need a good number of rows before I can see and feel the ribbing accurately. I need at least 6" of stitches x 6" of rows to judge the optimum crochet hook size.

I titled this post an "update" because this design was first mentioned in "Slip Stitch for Style" (issue #9 of my newsletter): Vashti's Crochet Inspirations . You can subscribe here if you haven't already (it's emailed every other Thursday.) It's an easy way to be alerted when I add new crochet patterns to my site.