Monday, February 27, 2023

Looking Up

The weather here has been a real rollercoaster of late. For two weeks in a row we've gone from comparatively warm days (complete with birdsong, nestbuilding, flyovers by geese and blackbirds, and even a robin-sighting), to heavy snowstorms (some with bonus ice!), to rain. Rinse and repeat. I rejoice at the snow, marvel at the birds, and am unenthusiastic about the rain as it turns everything to muddy slush, but there's no doubt that spring is putting out tentative feelers, testing winter's strength, and teasing us all with hints of an early thaw.

Today is of the grey-and-rainy variety, but yesterday was gloriously blue-skied and sunny - perfect for an afternoon walk. Clouds and contrails made a dramatic backdrop to the trees and fields:

A half-moon floated above bare branches:

In the intervals of looking up, I couldn't help snapping photos of dried wildflowers (the ruling passion). These looked like little brown mop heads:

Goldenrod stood guard along the trail:

And horsemint on a snowy bank:

Above the flowers, a hawk wheeled and swooped:

At one corner of the field, a venerable chestnut bore fuzzy buds:

On the far opposite corner, another hawk (or perhaps the same one?) alighted on a telephone pole:

Overhead were more contrails, like giant lacy scribbles across the sky:

Time to turn westward, where the sinking sun was caught in the branches of a favorite oak:

Then home to an early supper and an evening of crochet.

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How is your weather? Any surprise snow lately?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Corded Hdc Edging

Here's an easy textured edging I recently developed for an upcoming free pattern:

Corded Hdc is a simple variation of the half double crochet stitch. It makes a stretchy, sturdy edging with a corded/cabled/braided look that's attractive on both sides. It's especially effective when combined with slip stitch or yarnover slip stitch:

This scarf is edged with a round of yarnover slip stitch followed by a round of Corded Hdc.

Corded Hdc Edging Videotutorial:

Corded Hdc Edging Phototutorial:

1. Hdc in the stitch where you want your edging to start.
2. Insert your hook down through the front loop and the front horizontal bar (the strand just below the front loop) of the hdc you just made, yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops now on hook).
3. Insert your hook in the next stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops now on hook).
4. Yarn over and pull through all the loops on your hook.

Repeat Steps 2-4 around your project, ending in the stitch just before the starting hdc. Finish with an invisible join (see video tutorial for details).

Corded Hdc Edging Tips
  • When inserting your hook into the previous stitch's front loop and front bar, you may want to place a finger onto the working loop to keep it in place.
  • Consider using a hook one or two sizes smaller when working this edging.
  • For corner spaces, 2 Corded Hdc may be enough. Experiment to see what works best for your project.
  • Since the back of the stitch is so attractive, consider working the edging with the project's WS facing you.
Can Corded Hdc be used to make crochet fabric? Yes, but the fabric may be rather stiff. You'll also have to decide which loops you want to work into: top loops or double top loops? Front loop and front bar, or back loop and back bar? Each will give a different appearance. Have fun trying!

Coming soon: a free scarf pattern that features Corded Hdc edging.


There's not much new under the sun, including crochet stitches. I developed this one myself, while experimenting with yarn and hook, but if you've seen it somewhere else under a different name, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

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Monday, February 13, 2023

New (and New-to-You) Patterns

I may have slacked off from blogging for nearly a year, but I didn't stop designing. So this post is a bit of a catch-up to highlight my two latest patterns, and show you two more that were published last year but never blogged.

We'll start with the newest first. (Note: All links will take you to my Ravelry store. You don't have to be a Ravelry member to buy a pattern there. If you're not comfortable using Ravelry, and you live in the US, you can contact me using the form at right to arrange a purchase through Paypal.)


Rhyolite Hat

Like the stone it's named for, the Rhyolite Hat features a fascinating combination of textures, from the smooth and stretchy linked-stitch crown, to the cushiony, crystalline-looking star stitch band accented with drop stitches. It's also reversible, so you can wear it inside out for a completely different look.

Rhyolite looks best in a solid, tonal, or lightly speckled yarn. Light to medium colors will let the stitch pattern shine.

The pink Rhyolite sample was worked in Emma's Yarns Simply Spectacular DK, 100% superwash merino, color Glamping. This yarn was lovely to handle and work with, though just a tiny bit splitty here and there. Based on its yardage and size, it seemed more like a light worsted than a DK weight, so I used the same size hook (US H/5mm) as I did for the green worsted weight version.

The green version was worked in Misti Alpaca Best of Nature Worsted, 100% alpaca, color Spring Bud. This yarn is beautifully silky to the touch, and held up well to lots of frogging and re-working as I developed the pattern. The finished hat feels soft and luxurious, with a wonderful drape.

Both hats were very lightly blocked by spritzing with water to dampen, then laying flat on a towel to dry.

Rhyolite is worked top-down in spiral rounds from the crown to the band, and joined rounds from the band to the brim. Careful stitch placement and special joining techniques give the band a perfectly seamless appearance. If you enjoy unusual stitches and mindful crochet, you'll like this pattern.

The Rhyolite Hat pattern includes full written instructions for both worsted weight and dk weight versions, plus charts and a video tutorial for the special stitches and joins. Find it here in my Ravelry store, and enjoy 25% off this pattern through Tuesday February 21 with code MRSM at checkout. (This code will work for all of the patterns featured in this blog post.)

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Ashborn Shawl

The Ashborn Shawl is a shallow, elongated crescent shawl, worked side-to-side with a softly zigzagged lower edge. The simple stitch pattern and intriguing short-row edging make for a happy mix of mindless crochet with regular pops of interest. Wear it bandanna-style, or swirl it around your shoulders for layers of soft scallops. The pattern is divided into sections for easy customization, so you can make your shawl wider or narrower, deeper or shallower, by working more or fewer repeats of the desired sections.

Ashborn was designed with a gradient, but will also look lovely in solid, tonal, or lightly speckled yarns. This sample was worked in Hobbii Cotton Kings Sultan, 100% cotton, color 37 Pearl. Stranded cotton yarns like this one can really flatten with wet-blocking, so to preserve the edging texture I gave this shawl a just bit of a spritz to lightly dampen it, then let it dry flat. (The fabric worked up so nicely I could probably have skipped the blocking altogether.)

The Ashborn Shawl pattern has written instructions, full charts, and a link to a video tutorial. You can buy it here in my Ravelry store, and enjoy 25% off this pattern through Tuesday February 21 with code MRSM at checkout.


The next two patterns were both inspired by a little verse of my own, published here in May 2011 (a lifetime ago!):
Cross-legged in the grass, I watch
the rainbow growing in my hands
while lilac winds make music in the pines
Music in the Pines

Music in the Pines is an asymmetrical triangle shawl with a softly curving neckline, worked corner-out in a lacy combination of chain loops, v-stitches, and treble crochet clusters. A scalloped edging is worked in one with the rows, and an openwork section across the short end features subtle pine tree shapes:

Music in the Pines was designed with a gradient, but will also look lovely in solid or tonal yarns. (For best appearance, choose a yarn that will block well.) This sample was worked in Hobbii Azalea, a stranded cotton/acrylic blend, color 5 Persil. The yarn was soft and pleasant to handle; it responded well to wet-blocking and being pinned to shape until dry.

The Music in the Pines pattern includes written instructions and charts. Find the pattern here in my Ravelry store, and enjoy 25% off through Tuesday February 21 with code MRSM at checkout.


Lilac Winds

The sister pattern to Music in the Pines, Lilac Winds is a lush and lacy trapezoidal shawl with a softly scooped neck. Worked from the top down, it features stitch patterns inspired by lilac petals, wind, and pine boughs. An easy foundation loop row lets you customize your shawl’s relative width and depth.

Lilac Winds was designed with a gradient, but will also look lovely in solid or tonal yarns. (For best appearance, choose a yarn that will block well.) This sample was worked in Hobbii Cotton Kings Sultan Pastello, a 100% cotton stranded yarn, color 7 Beautyberry. The finished shawl was blocked by dampening and pinning to shape. 

The Lilac Winds pattern includes written instructions and charts. Find it here in my Ravelry store, and enjoy 25% off the pattern until Tuesday February 21 with code MRSM at checkout.

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Whew! All caught up now. The next pattern I post will be a free one. :)

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

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Monday, February 6, 2023

Happy Trails

I've been a bit of a slug this winter, preferring hibernation to exercise. (Wait - do snails hibernate? Apparently they do.) Weeks of gloomy weather, plus a three-week January virus (not Covid, thank God), were major contributors to my general desire for sleep and slothfulness. But a new month is upon us, the virus has receded, and the sun has shone for several days now, so yesterday I put on my winter boots and sallied forth into the great outdoors.

I wasn't the only one on the trails:

Along the edge of a field, winter winds had carved the snow into sandlike ridges:

These fascinating tracks reminded me of a lacy crochet edging:

This tiny treasure was hiding in a deer's hoofprint:

At the prairie restoration project, dried flowers caught the rays of the setting sun:

Then it was farewell to the happy trails, and homeward bound for supper.

It's good to be walking (and blogging) again.

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In other news, there's a new pattern in the works; I hope to release it later this week. Here's a sneak peek:

Happy Monday to you all!

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