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New Crocheted Shawl – A Spine of Skulls

A few months ago, I came across an acrylic yarn with a metallic sheen to it.
I’m not one to necessarily buy loads of acrylic yarn but the glossy, polished look of this yarn drew me in and I find myself going home with a number of metallic black skeins.  I had no plan in mind…
***My fellow fibreartists, I KNOW you have been there too! “Ooooh, pretty!  I’ll just pick up a couple of skei-….No, probably should grab four-….five!  Five!  To be sure I have enough for whatever I decide to do with it.” Your head is nodding along to this…right?  I’m not alone here!***
…so, no plan in mind but I figured I’d come up with something.  Eventually.
Some time later, I was visiting Len’s Mills in Kitchener with a friend and we came across a variegated version of the same yarn:  black with shades of silver grey and splashes of a metallic grasshopper green.
I admit that description doesn’t make it sound all that great but it isn’t as bad as all that.

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Close up of the variegated yarn

But my friend dared me to grab a couple of skeins and make something with it.  So of course, I did.
***It was a DARE!  I HAD to! (Because you know, it takes a lot (read: a wee bit) of convincing to get an yarn addict like me to buy more yarn.)***
Both colourways sat in my craft room for a time until I finally decided to tackle a new skull shawl project.
I knew I didn’t want a shawl made completely of the variegated yarn.  It’s incredibly busy and I find it camouflages any pattern you try to make.  Your eye can’t focus on the overall shape because the colour splashes are too intense.
But as granny skull squares within a body of black…I like it.
The skulls in this pattern are based on the Skull shawl pattern by kungen ooh marks but the rest of the shawl is from my brain and I haven’t written it down…yet.
In case you do wish to try your own version, I used three skeins at the same time, one black skein on either side and the variegated skein for the middle portion.  So each row had me switching between all three and back again.
I’m really happy with how this shawl turned out.  It’s pretty sharp and, in addition to functioning as a lovely shawl, it works well as a extra layer, for those of us who like to dress a bit more bohemian with tons of layers 🙂
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Modeling it over two long  full skirts and a pair of Docs.

It’s somewhat large in size (84″ across the top and about 38″ from top to point) but I like the flexibility the size gives to its function…it can be worn so many different ways and drapes so nicely!
I considered keeping this one…but it’s headed to my Etsy store today!

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Solid Skull Scarf Crochet Pattern – Now available en Français!

 
IMG_8254If you haven’t yet seen my online free pattern for the above scarf, it was posted in English earlier in 2015 in this blog.

It has proven to be quite popular.  Popular enough that a fellow Raveler offered to translate it into French!

The French version can be downloaded here.

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Skull projects! Are we surprised? Nah.

The past few weeks have been an awesome and yet ridiculous and blurry mishmash of back-to-back work assignments, custom orders, teaching crochet and a last-minute trip to Florida.
Not necessarily in that order.
I’m not complaining at all!  I like to keep busy and Florida…well, there was no snow…
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….’nuff said.
And I had a ton of time to work on some knitting projects, so overall, pretty happy with how things are progressing.
The fall out to being so busy is that I don’t update my blog nearly as often as I should.  So, for this post, I thought I would show a few of the items I have completed over the past couple of weeks.
They are all skull patterns.  I know.  You’re not surprised! 🙂
I’m especially proud of the acrylic version of the Solid Body Skull Scarf that I made as a custom order.  (Pics and description at the bottom of this post!)
Believe it or not, I do have some other projects on the go as well…but they’re works-in-progress and there isn’t much to show…yet.
The weekend that I taught crochet in Cambridge (see my blog post about that here), I also completed a few skull shawls for Black Orchid Designs to sell in their shop.  They had requested a few more shawls so the week leading up to the classes, anywhere I went, I was crocheting.  On the subway, in a waiting room, getting my hair done, even while walking…hooking, hooking, hooking!
The extra awesome thing about selling with Black Orchid is that the owner, Kerri, is willing to ship the items if they sell online, so they are also listed in my Etsy shop.

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I haven’t made a light white/grey variegated shawl in a while. While on a shopping trip with Kerri, we came across this yarn and it was just begging to be made into a shawl. With fringe of course, for some extra movement! Available in my etsy shop.

 
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I crocheted this shawl with super bulky acrylic yarn…skulls as big as my hands! Available on Etsy.

 
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We HAD to have some red happening! This shawl I started awhile ago and then it got lost in the never-ending drawers of yarn in my craft room. Quite an interesting yarn with glittery, shimmery sections that seem to make this shawl a tad more formal than the others. Available in my etsy shop.

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In addition to shawls for Black Orchid Designs, I have also been working on a couple of custom orders.
The first one was so much fun to make…mainly because it is made from alpaca and I LOVE working with alpaca fibre.  The black base is a worsted 80% alpaca/20% acrylic brushed fibre, twisted with a teal alpaca/silk lace weight yarn. The awesome part is that it weighs practically nothing!
The black base is a worsted 80% alpaca/20% acrylic brushed fibre, twisted with a teal alpaca/silk lace weight yarn.  The awesome part is that it weighs practically nothing!
The second custom order was a bit more challenging.  The customer wanted a skull scarf that was similar to the original red/burgundy/grey/black wool scarf that I made a few months back, see the picture below. (I also provide the free pattern here.)  
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But… she wanted it in acrylic so I had to spend some time visiting yarn shops and trying to match the colours.
Eventually I found some balls of lace weight acrylic that seemed to do the job.  I had to use a smaller crochet hook than for the wool scarf above and it took me quite some time due to my schedule…but it is complete and on its way to Scotland!
And here is the completed acrylic version!  The colour changes are somewhat sharper as the wool yarn (above) is variegated and the acrylic scarf was made with four separate skeins, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!
Skull scarf in acrylic....It was hard to match the colours and I had to create the colour changes myself...but not too shabby if I do say so myself! :)
Skull scarf in acrylic….It was hard to match the colours and I had to create the colour changes myself…but not too shabby if I do say so myself! 🙂

So yes, incredibly busy these days…but still creating and playing with yarn!
In other news, I have been teaching myself brioche stitch…now THAT is an adventure in patience and soon to be its own blog post!
Ciao!
 

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The Magic of Blocking

Over the weekend, I experienced some…shall we say….incredibly effective blocking results with a crocheted item.
I am now the proud owner of an XL skull shawl 🙂
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It has been in process for the past few weeks.  I wasn’t making it to fill an order or anything, it was more of a side project. Something that may actually end up being for me 😉 Continue reading The Magic of Blocking

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Winterizing scarves

December 13, 2015: Winterized my first crocheted scarf!  Finally!  A Dr Who scarf.  A dalek on one side, a Tardis on the other and fleece backing for extra warmth!
So, I have had a thought…and it has been bouncing around in my head for over a week now which suggests to me that it’s a good thought and should be acted on.
Many of you know that I make scarves, skull scarves specifically.  They are crocheted and whether I use large or small hooks, the one problem I find with traditional crochet is that it doesn’t create a solid fabric. Each stitch stands alone with a bit of space between it and the next stitch, which allows for air flow.
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Tunisian crochet or knit fabrics are denser but the nature of the skull scarf pattern is such that it requires traditional stitching, so one could argue that they aren’t as warm as they could be. (Especially around the actual skulls which are effectively big holes in the fabric!)
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In certain weather and during certain seasons this wouldn’t be a concern, but I live in Canada and in the middle of February you want a scarf that will block all manner of frigid air currents.
This brings me to my idea.
I’m going to try to winterize my scarves by adding a second layer, perhaps a layer of fleece, to them.
Sewing fabric to a crocheted piece is going to be challenging but I’m up for it! 🙂
Now I have to figure out the best way to attach two pieces of different fabric. Which stitch to use? Machine sew or hand sew?
If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!
December 13, 2015: Winterized my first crocheted scarf!  Finally!  A Dr Who scarf.  A dalek on one side, a Tardis on the other and fleece backing for extra warmth!

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Communal Scarves & Happy Customers: Vending at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

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Skull ornament on sale at Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

Last weekend, a friend and I had a booth at a nearby festival, the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival.
I have sold at a market once before but this time we approached it properly, as though we were attempting to set up a small pop-up shop.  We discussed displays and stock items and I ordered a Stitch Noir banner! 🙂
Having a physical presence, even for a short time, was a lot of work.  Well, having an internet presence is a lot of work too, but this was work of a different kind.
Stitch Noir booth at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival
Stitch Noir booth at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

I can work on photos and try to ensure that they really show off the product for my etsy store, but displaying product on a table or in a tent…completely different world.
Continue reading Communal Scarves & Happy Customers: Vending at the Hamilton Pagan Harvest Festival

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Fastest Skull Shawl on Record!

A few days ago I received an order from someone in the United States.  They are to be in a play and came across one of my items on Etsy that would be perfect for the character.
They wanted this skull shawl:
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…but in a variegated purple.
Not a problem as I had colour options available on my Etsy listing.
It was a rush order, as they needed it as soon as possible, so yesterday morning around 9am I started work on it.
Last night at midnight, I finished!
Variegated VioletNot sure how I managed it but I’m thinking it’s thanks to the beautiful day yesterday (nothing like sitting with some yarn and a book out on the porch!), the couple of hours of commuting I had to do for work (sometimes having to ride the subway is a productive thing), the few hours spent watching Back to the Future Part I & II last night (with friends who were cool enough to be down with my crocheting through the movie) and the fact that the shawl was made with a super bulky yarn 🙂
I think it’s the first time I have finished a complete project of this size in one day.  New record!

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The Mind's Edge – A Skull Shawl without a pattern

I just finished blocking this shawl a couple of days ago and I’m pretty happy with it.
SIDENOTE: I’m not necessarily overly ecstatic about the photos though since the yarn is closer to purple than blue and the resulting shots seem to lean too far in a blueish direction.
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Making this type of shawl is incredibly relaxing as the mesh body is a pretty simple repeat.  Not to mention, it crochets up fairly quickly.
The edging is where everything changes. Continue reading The Mind's Edge – A Skull Shawl without a pattern

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Walk Along the Skull-y Edge

A few weeks ago, I found myself brainstorming ideas for new skull shawls.  I wanted to do something a little  different and I decided to try and solidify the pattern of the body while keeping skulls along the edge.
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I think this was influenced somewhat by the skull scarf pattern I shared about a month ago.  In that pattern, I decided to create a solid body around the skulls and this shawl is a sort of extension of that idea.
I used acrylic to create this experimental piece, along with an H hook.  It didn’t take too long due to the thickness of the yarn.
I like the look of it and am curious to see how it translates into a smaller lace weight.   Granted, THAT will probably take quite some time to do.
Now I just have to decide what colours to use next! 🙂