Friday, November 21, 2008

Veritas, Equitas pattern for sale on Ravelry

I'm not sure how the wondrous Camanomade manages to be so wondrous. She created this awesome book which boasts about 30 fabulous patterns and articles. My Veritas, Equitas fingerless gloves have the honour to be in there. And somehow she has given us all permission to sell our own patterns individually as well. I was very loth to do this for a long time. To me it seems this practice can only hurt book sales. However, seeing so many of the book's designers selling their patterns as Ravelry downloads, and the book continuing to sell just fine, I can only conclude that Camanomade is protected by angels, as she deserves to be. I asked her permission anyways, just to be sure.

She very happily gave it. So I set up my Ravelry pattern store. It costs 5€. Also I posted a tutorial which is free. Here's the link to both: .

These would make a perfect Christmas gift, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tracery FO!

They're both done at last and I'm thrilled with them. They are such a perfect fit! One day I'll try to write a pattern for them. I have to say that this is the most difficult project I've done to date. The fingers are very fiddly to make. But worth every fiddle!

Now that my hands are warm, I'm ready to start making the Gryphon Cowl out of that awesome liquid gold yarn from the Sanguine Gryphon. I worry that this may fall into the category of Pleasures Not Meant for Mortals.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Quintessence of Delight

Comparable only to the aroma of baking bread. My Gaia DK from Sanguine Gryphon arrived. No photograph can capture the magic of this yarn. Touching it is like kissing the top of a baby's head. The colours are infinitely complex, deep and compelling. And it shines like gemstones.
O come, let us adore it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Love of Glove

I am over-the-moon in love with this glove! It has fingers! And they fit PERFECTLY! And it's pretty, and soft, and green!

Don't laugh guys, but I've been working on this for months. I've tested 4 or 5 different methods for making fingers and thumbs with jacquard before achieving this. Sideways, backwards, intarsia, jacquard, fingers-first, cuff-up...and the winner is: cuff-up, intarsia.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Holding Pattern

Well, this is the pattern for people who have no time to invent patterns.

1. Ch 108, join to form a ring. (or however many sts goes over your head comfortably)

2. Work whatever motifs take your fancy.

3. Fasten off.

And there you go, a Cowl. I got the graphics from this great book, Celtic Charted Designs by Co Spinhoven. Also a must-have for people with no time left to think.

Before I leave you, however, I have to share my greatest discovery of the decade. If you love beautiful clothes, Go Here. I haven't bought anything yet because I'm afraid if I start I won't be able to stop!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Here's the finished cowl, and I've christened it "Gryphon" after Sanguine Gryphon Yarns. If all goes well, I'll soon be making it again out of her incredible Gaia in silk/cashmere. And then if everything continues to go well, she'll be selling the pattern and kit on her site! I'm so impatient to get started, and having hissy fits every time the postman fails to bring my samples. This is such an exciting gig!

And here it is being modeled by my beloved Jones, who is a 1977 Sakurai guitar, the best guitar in the world.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last Project

Tomorrow I start work, and so this is it. School starts in 2 weeks and things will go very badly for yours truly if all is not in place on the 15th. I'd better not even think about crochet. I have to finish this today or forever hold my peace.

I've made a couple of other things which will have to remain a secret until further notice, but this cowl is a prototype for many more, I hope. I love it and I foresee having to make them for all my friends and family. This is the first time I've tried to stick to one yarn for a whole project: because it's so close to the sensitive skin on the face and neck, I made it entirely out of Drops Alpaca. Who wants a scratchy cowl? Actually I'm telling a lie here: some of the red stuff is Posh Yarn Sophia, pure cashmere! If I had cashmere in dozens of colours, I'd do the whole thing in that, but cashmere seems to be a rare and expensive commodity.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cloister Gloves

I was in the cloister of Santa Anna in Barcelona the other day at dusk. I love these gloves, but I promise the cloister of Santa Anna is more beautiful.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Homage to Blueberries

So here I am in bright, bleached Spain, but my mind is still filled with images of Georgian Bay: dark river, lichens and mosses in a thousand greens, blueberry bushes and the sweet smell of forest. And a whole month of crochet time ahead of me! Joy! I've started working on patterns for mittens to send off for submission, but this is not one of them. This is a laboratory of experiments, some of which will be used, some not - some of them were way too complicated and not worth the effort! - but it was fun to try to recreate the North.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Holiday Snaps

That was so fun. I have a great sister. I keep mentioning my Mom and how extraordinary she was, but did I mention that I have an equally extraordinary sister? All the women in my family are awesome. Brilliant, beautiful, creative...extreme cooks, artists and gardeners . We invented the Stash Expedition decades ago, and although our mother has been gone for 15 years, we're still keeping the faith. Anyways, before I wax emotional, on to the pics:

As you can see, I wasted no time. I went to 3 LYS in Toronto: Romni Wools on Queen St, which is my favourite LYS to date, Lettuce Knit in Kensington Market, and The Naked Sheep in the Beaches. This picture is about half of what I came away with. Am I ashamed? Not in the least. It will all get used!

After Stash Ex. #1, we headed up North to Georgian Bay, specifically to a tiny island on the Naiscoot River where my sister has a beautiful cottage. Here's my DS driving the boat, supervised by my sis:
Me being driven!
We picked blueberries. I could make a pie out of these colours alone. We did make pie. It was the world's best blueberry pie. And here it is along with my Georgian Bay project. I made Troubador Socks for my sister, using this beautiful Noro sock yarn.
Back in the city I finished these Veritas Equitas for my stepmom. She has Reynaud's Syndrome where your hands get cold and turn white, so she needed these: in fact, she's been at the back of my mind since I first started making wrist warmers. They turned out prettier than in the photo, but I didn't have a chance to take FO pictures before coming home to Spain.
I wish I had stayed much longer. Sis and I only made 4 pies (sour cherry mmmm accounted for 2 of them) and we bought beads but never got around to beading, stepmom needed more cheering up and more fattening up, and Toronto was a symphony of greens that made me catch my breath about 8 times a day. My Dad needed my DH who always cheers him up, but sadly DH was home in Spain, poor lad. I returned home to find him very skinny. What is this, nobody eats unless I'm watching?

On the other hand, I gained 2 kilos in 2 weeks and would have gained a few more by now if I'd stayed. In my family we are seriously good cooks. And I would have had to send my stash by boat if I'd been allowed anywhere near another LYS.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Queen's Work.

Now then, would anyone like to make Laracroft really and truly angry? It's not easy, but if you have what it takes, I will show you how. Are you armed with righteous fervor? Have you girded your loins with disciplinary zeal? Are you wielding your rod, and not afraid to use it? Then come along, for there is the Queen's work to be done.
Where are we going, you ask? To PicasaWeb, also sometimes referred to as a Den of Vermin.
And here we are, at the page of , insert name in Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Ukrainian Korean Chinese Greek or whatever. And oho, what do we have here? Why, dozens of magazines with patterns, scanned and posted - for free, no less! - on this vile person's page. They are in Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, etc (see above). No matter, for as we well know, this is Illegal. They are long off the stands and long out of print. No matter, it is still Illegal. Anybody who thinks that spending hours scanning unavailable magazines to share with the rest of the world is a Good Deed, is about to learn the error of her ways. It is not a good deed. It is a Violation of Copyright.
Simply click on the button reading "Report Inappropriate Content". Snap! No more page, no more unavailable crochet magazines for the other Vermin to read. With a little practice, I'm sure you could turn the offender to stone like Tumnus.

See how easy it was? To make Laracroft truly angry? Since this just happened to 2 of my favourite pages in one day, I just can't contain myself.

PicasaWeb is not about getting patterns for free. It's about access. Pattern magazines should not be printed on paper and sold in newsstands. For the obvious reason that we are running out of trees, but also because we crocheters would buy them if we could. Publishers could make a fortune: printing costs would not exist, and individual patterns could be sold online for the price of the whole magazine.

I have a pattern published in Interweave Crochet. Once that issue is no longer available, that's the end: nobody can legally make my pattern ever again. Woe betide me if I dare to make a copy of it for a friend. So, unless one of those morally reprehensible insurgents dares to post it on their Picasa page(which they won't: even they are not so foolish as to post an American magazine!), it will be dead and buried. And I as a designer should be happy about this?

A while back on Ravelry, a whole group of indignant, politically correct ladies resolved to make a habit of visiting PicasaWeb pages for the sole purpose of shutting them down.

Making Laracoft truly angry.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


It's not for nothing that we Tapestry Crocheters love Sriyana. Personally, I would lay down my life for her. She won my heart the first time I saw this:

How to win the heart of Laracroft: beauty, geometry, thoughtfulness and phenomenal technique. How to further win the heart of Laracroft:

With a light heart - of the kind that makes Portraits of Hens - and phenomenal technique. I hope you all realize that this is as difficult as Tapestry Crochet gets: worked flat (in Mensa Stitch!) with up to 8 strands at a time! And in case one were to get bored with that, there's a few days' worth of bullion stitches in those leaves. And all for the love of one little hen.

And then, this J.S. Bach of crochet offered to test my Veritas, Equitas pattern for publication. The mind boggles. Herr Bach, would you mind proofreading my latest tune?

So I am very proud. They look so beautiful it's hard to believe I designed them. Thank you, Sriyana!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Paradise Regained

Did I mention that I love holidays? I finished up at work on Tuesday at 2pm, and by 3pm I was working on this secret project again, on hold since Easter. This is the life. A little food, a little walking, all the rest is crochet. I can hear my sister's admonishing voice: "Have you crocheted yourself a cocoon then, dear?" Hah. She's just jealous.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Arrows by Annette Petavy, and I've been tagged!

Arrows is finished and I'm in love with it. It was so interesting to make, and the Malabrigo was so soft, the colours so dark and intense, that I'm considering making another one just like it. But no: one more week and I'll be free to work on my own stuff again, which I miss terribly.

But wait! I've been tagged by Skamama! That was over a week ago, so here goes:

The rules; Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. What was I doing ten years ago?

More or less what I'm doing now! Living in this house which I love in this village which I love, only it was smaller then. Playing concerts, teaching and conducting. DS was five then so I was still in Mommy mode. I wasn't directing a school (oh, happy days...) but neither was I crocheting, so I didn't know what life was about.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

Take rugs to dry cleaner. (done.)
Pay for airline tickets to Toronto. (done.)
Take pics of Arrows Stole. (done.)
Update Blog. (doing.)
Prune front garden.
Make sour cherry pie. My sour cherry tree has produced its first crop this year: about 25 cherries. Enough for a very small pie.
Choose a crochet project small enough to keep my mind healthy for just over a week.
Do NOT think about my to-do list for Monday.

3. Snacks I enjoy.

Pa amb Tomaquet, the crowning glory of Catalan cuisine: Toast (or even better, grill) a slice of country bread. Rub lightly with a cut clove of garlic. Halve a ripe tomato and rub it all onto the bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a bit of good olive oil. Unbeatable, addictive, very good for you.
Mmmm cheese. But not goat cheese.
Spiced sunflower seeds, another great Spanish invention. The shells are covered in salt and spices. You suck on them until all the good stuff is gone, then crack them and eat the seed.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire.

No idea. I can't even imagine it. Classical musicians just don't become billionaires! It's like that joke, what's the least-used sentence in the English language? A: "Isn't that the banjo player's Porsche?"But I know what I'd do if I had 200€ to spare: buy a dressmaker's dummy.

5. Places I have lived.


6. Jobs I've had.

Waitress. Worst waitress in the Greater Toronto Area.
Plant-Waterer in fancy office buildings.
Sandwich girl.
Picture Framer.
English teacher.

7. Peeps I want to know more about:

All of these are fantastic crochet designers and bloggers from around Europe.

Annette Petavy, only once again I can't seem to access her blog.
Pyogazel (turns out she's already been tagged!)
Since Pyogazel is already spoken for, I tag the talented Pimpampum!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stayin' Alive?

By a thread. But Lord, what a thread! This is Malabrigo Lace in the VAA colourway. It's so perfect.
Life these days is simply horrid. Yes, it's just my old whinge about this job and its attendant stomachaches. What is a musician doing waging war against local politicians? Like this has something to do with me? The world of local politics is revolting, boring, shocking, and under normal circumstances any sane crocheter or musician would simply refuse to acknowledge it. Here's how I put it to myself so that I am still me: I'll be Saint George, pledged to seven years' service to the Faerie Queene fighting Evil. They can be the Dragons. I don't do reality!

Appropriately, I am making a piece of Weaponry. This stole is named Arrows, and is the masterpiece of Annette Petavy. The pattern can be found in her shop.

Absolutely no question of working on designs of my own. My brain is on hold!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


This design for baby moccasins by Sylvia Schuchardt is just delightful. It's available on her Etsy store. But:

How do you block a bootie? Being of inventive mind, I just devised this method:

1. Cut a bootie-sized potato in half lengthwise.

2. Shape cut half of potato to desired shape of bootie sole.

3. Cut top of potato to desired shape of bootie upper.

4. Insert potato in plastic bag. Important: do not omit step 4.

5. Insert potato in bootie. Spray lightly with water and let dry.

When these are dry I'll report back and show you how they turned out.

They turned out like this! Blessings on the humble Potato!

7. Dice and fry up potato.
6. Remove potato from plastic bag. Important: do not omit step 6.

Thanks Amy!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Veritas, Equitas II, FO

Good. Now I can wash the other ones.

Actually, I have a sinking feeling about these. My best friend Meng has threatened to confiscate them for her own use, and I'm seeing Meng this evening. Which is why I had to take this picture one-handed and not wait till tomorrow when Mr.Croft could do some proper ones. If I do manage to hold onto them, I'll add more pics tomorrow.

And here they are. Farewell, Veritas Equitas II - you're going to a good home!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Vaasa is up!

Today the Spring issue of Black Purl magazine came out, and the pattern for Vaasa is in there, free for anyone with the courage to try it! There's a pretty melange cardigan by "LaVonne" Angela Best(seeing my name beside hers was worth the whole dpn ordeal!), and one of Wanda Blount's (funkycrochetdiva on ravelry) very funky hats. (Carol Ventura has a blog post about this fantastically creative tapestry crocheter, don't miss it.) There's also a good article on Korsnäs sweaters, and another one on the ethnography of Haitian ceremonial flags. This is a really interesting magazine, both scholarly and fashionable, and I have a great deal of respect for L'Tanya Durante, the editor. It's a privilege to be a part of it.

I really do feel for the poor brave souls who take on Vaasa. So I promise 2 tutorials here, one for knitters and one for crocheters. For knitters we will discuss how to do Crochet Jacquard with 3 strands: this is a lesson in Zen self-mastery, as Sriyana who works with 8 strands (!!) recently pointed out. For crocheters we will discuss Double Pointed Needles, Knitting Thereupon. It will be called "dpns and their puta madre".

This is what my blue Veritas, Equitas looks like to date before weaving in. And I still don't quite know how to explain the thumb gusset decreases in a written pattern.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

All my green clothes are in the wash.

So I need a pair of Veritas, Equitas gloves to wear with jeans. I've been wearing the green ones practically every day, and they're now filthy dirty from driving while eating sunflower seeds. Anyways, I can't wait to have these done so I can finally wash the first ones. The thought of living for a couple of days without them is unthinkable. In passing, I'm rechecking the pattern for mistakes, and using up my crochet energies while waiting for my yarn to arrive from England...for my secret project. My secret project is a secret because if I can't pull it off I'll be embarrassed forever for having raved about it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


These are FO at last! No more knitting for awhile, thank you very much! This weekend I hope to send in the pattern.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Unveiling!

The Spring preview of Interweave Crochet is up! I'm in it! If anyone wants to see Troubador Socks no.3: Chretien de Troyes, there they are. Alongside some truly lovely patterns: I'm in very good company. Congratulations to all of us!

I tried to write this post yesterday but I was sick as a dog and off to work as well so it turned out rather gloomy. Today I can really celebrate!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vaasa, a.k.a Korsnäs Consolation Prize

Remember The Sweater? It's still hibernating. I need my Mum. She could do anything. Given a sewing machine, she could have Saved the World if necessary. Not me, I can't sew and I don't have a machine and I don't trust myself to steek that sweater without her.
But then I got this great gig. Black Purl magazine was looking for a pattern using both crochet and knit, and she contacted Carol Ventura who contacted me - thanks to my frustrated efforts of last summer with the Korsnäs Sweater! So this is what I'm making for L'Tanya of Black Purl Magazine, and in passing I'm satisfying my thwarted need for Korsnäs. They're like little mini Korsnäs sweaters that you wear on your hands!
Everybody will hate this pattern: the crocheters will hate it because of the stranded knitting on dpn's (heaven help us) and the knitters will hate it because of the very difficult 3-stranded crochet jacquard. Well, I can't help it if the Korsnäs girls are geniuses, can I?

Wasn't I supposed to be Not Crocheting Until July? Well...yeah...but as Cole Porter once said, "the best inspiration is a call from my agent."
As soon as these are FO I'll ask Mr. Croft very nicely to take some pictures of them!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Choreography of Crochet Jacquard

In the last week or so I've been honoured to within an inch of my life. First I got a rave review in Lime&Violet! Crochetcompulsiv crept up behind me and wrote about me without telling me about it. She calls it "stealth admiration", so I'm warning all you crocheters that she is on the move and nobody is safe. Then I received an over-the-top compliment from Kathy Merrick, the brilliant designer of the Babette Blanket - not to mention all the totally over-the top compliments from many brilliant crocheters and knitters! Then I discovered a mention on another awesome site called Craft & Found. So here's me squee-ing all over the house and trying to decide how to return some of the goodness that's just been poured on me by the crochet community. The result is this tutorial, since I think a lot of crocheters are becoming interested in Jacquard technique. It's already published in Spanish along with the pattern for Bernat de Ventadorn on Tejemanejes. So this is the English version.

I used to get into the most horrendous tangles before I started working this way.

Added on March 1st:

OK, let's not write up any more laudatory reviews of Lara Croft, guys. It goes right to her head.

Look at this post. What was I thinking? Like, did I invent this technique? No. In the state of self-exaltation you guys left me in, I omitted to mention that I learned it from another blog. Whose blog? Why, whose do you think? Carol Ventura's blog, of course! To see where I learned this choreography, go to this page. My crocheting life is divided into a Before and After Carol's page on Tapestry Crochet in Finland!


1. Let's call red A and white B. Hold A in the normal manner, and B flat over the top of the work.

2. Insert hook in Back Loop of stitch. Pass hook under B and pick up A.

3. Draw through a loop.

4. Now change colours. Pass the hook behind A....

5. ...and pick up B.

6. and pull B through, completing the stitch.

7. Now insert hook in Back Loop of next stitch,
and pick up B from where it's lying over top of the work.

8. After drawing through a loop with B, change colours again:
pick up A....

9. And pull it through, completing the stitch.
Now you can start all over from the beginning!

I find that if I have to do a longer stretch (more than 3 sts) of colour B, it's more graceful to drop both strands and pick them up again with their positions reversed. The strand you hold in the normal manner is faster for most of us to work.

Doggy is optional but happy.