Tunisian Crochet in Stardust

I thought I would be very efficient and try two new things in one go. I know almost nothing about Tunisian crochet and I have not yet worked with the new Scheepjes yarn Stardust. I want to change both of these things so it was a no-brainier when I saw a new Tunisian crochet CAL starting in December. I am totally on this!

discover-the-seasons-cal-yarn-stardust-1

Stardust is a fiber blend containing mohair, wool, premium acrylic and a splash of metallic polyester. Especially the metallic polyester is true genius. Usually metallic glitter in yarns are hard and can be really scratchy, but this yarn (and I have no idea how they did it) is soft and fluffy and just gorgeous. Stardust is worked with a 3.0mm to 3.5mm hook and has an impressive 540 meters running length per ball. Stardust is available in 9 solid and 5 long variegated shades, each named after star constellations. You can get Stardust from Deramores, Wool Warehouse (expected) or your local Scheepjes Stockist.

scheepjes stardust all colors

I am going to use 4 shades of Stardust to participate in the “Discover the Seasons” CAL, a Tunisian crochet CAL designed by Marjolein Kooiman using Scheepjes Color Crafter. Each week the pattern will be shared in the dedicated Facebook group and will be available in English, Dutch and German. At this point it’s still a mystery, but this I know so far. The CAL will last 26 weeks and we will be making a blanket that is about 150cm x 200cm. It is best to use 4 colors and choose one of these colors to be repeated in the border. And that is all I know. I am going into this one pretty blind. Exciting!

discover the seasons cal in scheepjes stardust

I know this might disappoint some of you, but this time around I am only going to follow along with the CAL, no videos or anything. Just me learning Tunisian crochet. I am really looking forward to it because other that the simple stitch I have never done Tunisian crochet before.

I have made a sample swatch using Tunisian simple stitch (the only stitch I know how to do) to determine the best hook size to use. I bought myself a set of Tunisian hooks a while back and I am really glad I did because now I can easily make test swatches and go up or down a hook size without having to buy just one new hook. I am going for a 5.0mm hook as my reference hook for this project. The 5.0mm Tunisian hook size is significantly higher than the recommended crochet hook size for the Stardust, but totally normal for Tunisian crochet. Due to the way the fabric is worked you need to go up a few hook sizes to be sure that the fabric is soft and flowy. Otherwise you are only wrestling with your stitches and the fabric looks more like a surfboard than anything you would like to use close to your skin. In addition to the reference Tunisian hook size, I will also be using a hook size smaller (4.5mm) and larger (5.5mm); the pattern will stipulate when to go up or down a hook size. I am already loving the feel of my swatch and I have not even started the CAL yet!

tunisian crochet swatch

The Discover the Seasons CAL starts December 9th. I promise I will keep you posted on my progress. Really looking forward to this project.

With love,

Esther

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Demelza Blanket – video tutorials, colorway and yarn amounts

The time has once again come when a beautiful project we have been working on for quite some time has reached its completion. With happy feelings I look back om making my Demelza blanket using Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn.

demelza-crochet-blanket-completed-1

The Demelza blanket is designed by Catherine Bligh and is accompanied by a photo tutorial in English and Dutch. There is also an update available with UK terms. The design is inspired by the character Demelza from Poldark, a series of novels written by Winston Graham in the 20th century and adapted for television by the BBC.


Video tutorials

You can find all the videos for making each of the squares, the join and the border for the Demelza series on my dedicated page here on my blog or on my YouTube channel.

demelza crochet blanket completed


Colorway and Yarn amounts

I used 13 colors of Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn with a 3.5mm hook to make my Demelza blanket. All details for when I used which color for the squares as well as the join and border are given in my color chart.

I used 28 balls of Stone Washed in the following colors: 3 x Moonstone (801), 3 x Boulder Opal (804), 2 x Canada Jade (806), 2 x Red Jasper (807), 2 x Corundum Ruby (808), 2 x Deep Amethyst (811), 1 x Lemon Quartz (812), 3 x Amazonite (813), 2 x Green Agate (815), 2 x Coral (816), 2 x Citrine (817), 2 x Lilac Quartz (818), and 2 x New Jade (819).

You can buy Scheepjes Stone Washed from Wool Warehouse (UK/Int), Deramores (UK), Paradise Fibers (US/CA), Bol.com (NL), or your local Scheepjes Stockist.

Demelza crochet blanket completed


If you would like to look back on the road we have traveled to make Demelza; we started with 16 small corner squares, flowed by 8 flat flower squares in first one and then a second design, after which we then made 4 3D flower corner squares, the rectangular panels and finally the center square. Joining all the pieces was a lot of work and the cherry on the cake was the border.

Demelza crochet blanket

This brings us to the end of another beautiful project. For the short term I have no new CAL’s planned, but I am working on several projects for the new year. When the time is right I will tell more.

With love,

Esther

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Joining Demelza blanket

Today is an exciting day, we can join all the elements from Demelza, designed by Catherine Bligh, that we have been making over the past weeks to make a beautiful blanket. My post this week is short with only a few photo’s because I want to show you my end result next week when the border is complete also.

joining demelza blanket


Video tutorial

You can find the video link for the the join, along with all other parts of the Demelza video series on my dedicated page here on my blog or on my YouTube channel. I don’t show the entire joining of the blanket, but just the different elements involved.

You will note that the photo’s of my Demelza show a single crochet join with the stitches on the top side of my blanket. This is different from the original pattern in which the single crochet stitches are on the bottom side of the blanket. In the video I show you how to do the border according to the original design.

joining delemzal blanket

I have a small tip for you to help you get a clean edge and crisp join on the panels. I worked a slip stitch edge on the sides of my panels before joining and used these slip stitches to join the panels to the adjacent squares. If you want to do this also, I have a short video showing how to work these slip stitches on an uneven edge as part of my Crochet Fundamentals series.


Layout of my blanket

I have been making more color variations than in the original design. This automatically means that I need to tell you how I made the layout of my blanket. Here a schematic showing where each square is positioned. I have numbered the squares according to the weeks that we have been working them in and the letter represents the various colorways. As an example, square 2B is the flat flower square we worked in week 2 and in my case colorway B.

demelza-blanket-join-layout

Colorway and Yarn amounts

I am using 13 colors of Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn with a 3.5mm hook to make my Demelza blanket. I haven used Corumdum Ruby (808) to join the small squares and Moon Stone  (801) to do the other joins.

I am using New Jade, Boulder Opal, Coral, Red Jasper, Deep Amethyst, and Lilac Quartz for the border. If you want to use a different color for your joins or border feel free to do so. This is just to give you an idea of what I will be showing you next week.

I have already completed my blanket and these are my yarn amounts in full balls: 3 x Moonstone (801), 3 x Boulder Opal (804), 2 x Canada Jade (806), 2 x Red Jasper (807), 2 x Corundum Ruby (808), 2 x Deep Amethyst (811), 1 x Lemon Quartz (812), 3 x Amazonite (813), 2 x Green Agate (815), 2 x Coral (816), 2 x Citrine (817), 2 x Lilac Quartz (818), and 2 x New Jade (819).

You can buy Scheepjes Stone Washed from Wool Warehouse (UK/Int), Deramores (UK), Paradise Fibers (US/CA), Bol.com (NL), or your local Scheepjes Stockist.


demelza-blanket-join-1

Next week I will show you my completed blanket and I will also release the final video in the series; the video showing the border. See you then.

With love,

Esther

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Planned Color Pooling with long color changing variegated yarn

Yarn pooling is an interesting phenomenon which can be both a wonderful blessing and a massive bother, depending on what you are doing. With this post I am aiming to lift the fog around color pooling a bit.

Op verzoek heb ik deze uitleg ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar. 

Huh? Color pooling? What’s color pooling?

If you have never worked with color changing yarn before you might not know what color pooling is. Color pooling occurs in a fabric worked with a color changing yarn when the same colors from different parts of the yarn line up over several rows or rounds of the pattern. Usually this is an unwanted phenomenon because most people use a color changing yarn to get random colors. But you can use this phenomenon to create some pretty awesome effects too.

argyle-socks-1178646_1920

How planned color pooling works

Color pooling is based on the principle that when a color changing yarn is manufactured it is done with a steady rhythm in the colorway. For example, the yarn will be repeating the colors redgreygreenblueorange. So when the strand comes to the end of the orange bit, it starts again with red and the sequence is again redgreygreenblueorange. The color cycle keeps on repeating and it is this repetition which we can use to our advantage.

To get planned color pooling to work you need to work in sync with the color rhythm of the yarn. This implies per definition that working in the color rhythm means that your rhythm will be unique because each one of us has a unique tension and way of working. But, before we get into dealing with personal differences, lets first look at how to apply color pooling.

Take a look at the image below. Each square represents a stitch, this can be any stitch, a single crochet, a double crochet, or a group of stitches, doesn’t matter. But what is important is that the stitch is the same for each square. Now let us assume that we are using a color changing yarn that consists of 5 colors of an even length in the color sequence redgreygreenblueorange and let us assume that it takes 5 stitches to work each color. This means that if we start the first stitch of color 1 (stitch A1) after working 25 stitches we will be at the end of the sequence (stitch Y1).

For row 2 we turn our work and repeat row 1. This means that row 2 will  be exactly the same as row 1, but in reverse order. To make it more easy to follow I have added arrows to the graph to indicate the working direction.

Row 3 is again a repetition of row 1 and 2, but now a bit of magic starts to happen in the colors. As you see in the graph, the colors for row 3 line up EXACTLY with the colors from row 1. It is this intentional alignment that we call planned color pooling. When you keep on working more rows according to the graph you will see that for every second row the colors align and this gives stripes over your work and you have created a planned color pooled fabric.

Color Pooling in yarn

How argyle color pooling works

Now that you know how planned color pooling works, you can take it to the next level; argyle color pooling. In essence argyle color pooling is the same process, but now you are both aligning AND moving the color sequences to get the characteristic diamond shapes associated with argyle patterns. Please, don’t stress. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Let me take you through it step-by-step.

Assume we are using the same yarn as in the example above, so a color changing yarn with the sequence redgreygreenblueorange and we again work a row of stitches starting with the red and the last stitch is an orange stitch.

BEFORE continuing with row 2, remove stitch Y1 and then continue with row 2. This means that the new pattern will be one stitch shorter than the previous example, and it is the one stitch that causes the colorway to shift over. You will notice in the graph below that there are no stitches in column Y; this is the shift I am talking about.

Stitch Y1 is now worked at position X2, which means that all the consecutive stitches in row 2 have to move one position also. By the time you get to the end of row 2 and move to row 3, the shift becomes 2 stitches. This steady shift of 2 stitches per two rows causes the colors to move. In the middle of the fabric the colors will cross over and this can look a bit muddled, but the argyle diamond will be present moving outward and inward repetitively. In this pattern the blue diamond is the most pronounced.

Argyle color pooling

Requirements for the yarn

In theory color pooling and argyle color pooling should work for any yarn that has a color change, but there are a few things that I have found work, and a few that don’t. I have tried 7 different yarns and investigated different methods looking for what does and does not work. My conclusions:

  1. The yarn must have clear and distinct color changes. This means that yarns that show a gradual color change will not work. You need that sudden change from one color to the next to be able to identify when you have completed a color sequence.
  2. There must be a steady rhythm to the color sequence. The amount of colors in the sequence is not important, it can be 3 colors or 10 colors, but they must be organised in the same repetitive way. So for example Color A, Color B, Color C repeated in a sequence will mean the yarn is A-B-C–A-B-C–A-B-C etc.
  3. I have found that the length of each color in the color sequence is not critical, but color pooling is easier if the color segments are shorter rather than longer. The longer a color segment is, the more important consistent tension becomes to obtain the planned color pooling effect. Color pooling is most easy if the color segments in a colorway are about 10 to 20cm each, but I have managed to get color pooling to work with color segments up to 2 meter. Tension is key here.
  4. If your total color sequence is over 20 meter, don’t try color pooling. Trust me on this.

Here you see an example of the color sequence in a variegated yarn. This is Scheepjes Invicta Matterhorn showing the color rhythm. As you can see some parts of the color sequence are long and others are short. This is not an issue at all. It will simply means that some of your stripes will be thicker than others.

identify-colors-for-color-pooling

Requirements for your work

By far the most important requirement is consistency. Your tension needs to be as consistent as possible. The longer the color sequence, the more important tension becomes and the more prominent changes in tension are. In the worst case scenario your tension changes to such a degree that your stripes don’t shift evenly and you get jerking. This is what happened to me in my first attempt at color pooling. See how the stripes suddenly jump in the last 3 rows? I have indicated the most obvious point with arrows, but if you look more closely you will see that there are more places where the color pooling jumps. Sometimes this is due to my tension not being steady enough, but it can also be due to slight variations in the length of the color sequences in the yarn. The slight jump is almost inevitable and the longer the color sequences, the more pronounced a slight change in tension or color length will be. Personally I don’t mind, it gives my work a natural and playful look.

jump-in-crochet-color-pooling

Another important requirement is that you ignore specific stitch counts given to you by well meaning others. The number of stitches you make per color sequence will depend on the yarn you use, the lot number of that yarn, the stitch you are making, the hook size you are using, your personal tension and maybe even your mood that day. So ignore all stitch advises such as start with 10dc, ch20, or whatever. The amount of stitches you need will be unique to you. The best thing you can do is adapt on the fly. I will explain this in a moment.

My method for Color Pooling

I have devised my own method for color pooling based on what I have noticed works for me. If this doesn’t work for you, no hard feelings. Adapt and change as you need it.

  1. Investigate your yarn and find the color sequence.
  2. Make a slip knot on your hook at the start of a color sequence. Choose a point that is easy to identify, e.g. the sudden change from pink to blue. Something that is impossible to miss.
  3. Work a row of foundation hdc stitches using 2 full color sequences. This row is not part of your pattern, consider it row 0 in the argyle graph above. Stop with the foundation stitches when you have the same color yarn on your hook as you started with in step 2.
  4. Turn and work your pattern row until you have the same color yarn on your hook as you started with in step 2. This is equivalent to row 1 in the argyle graph above.
  5. Undo 1 stitch. If you are working a group of stitches which you are repeating, undo one group of stitches.
  6. Turn and work your pattern till you get to the end of the row. This is row 2 in the argyle graph above.
  7. Turn and repeat working each row. After about 10 rows you will start to see a pattern emerge.
  8. KEEP YOUR TENSION STEADY!
  9. Attach new yarn at the correct point
  10. Continue till your project is the size you want it to be. Then tie off and work away your yarn tail.
  11. There will be foundation stitches left unworked. Cut the stitches off at about 10cm from your work. Undo the stitches till you get to the start of your fabric. Work away the starting yarn tail you just created.

color-pooling-steps

Video

I have taken the liberty of also making a video showing how to work my method for color pooling. I have included this video in my series on Crochet Fundamentals. I hope this video can help to take away any final doubts or questions you may have.

Attach new yarn

Obviously, the chance that you will use more than one ball to make a project is rather high, so how to you cope with that? First of all, don’t stress and don’t panic. Follow these steps to get your yarn connection as smooth as possible

  1. Find the end point of the color sequence on the old ball. Cut your yarn about 20cm after the end of the color sequence.
  2. Find the starting point of the color sequence on the new ball. Cut your yarn about 20cm before the start of the color sequence.
  3. Knot the two yarns together at the point where the old ball’s color sequence ends and the new balls sequence starts. If you are really good at getting the joining position right you could use a Russian join, but if you are unsure, just knot the two together.
  4. Crochet over the knot and work a few stitches.
  5. Unpick the knot you just made and work away your yarn tails.

adding-new-ball-in-color-pooling

BIG NOTE: You must attach a new color sequence if you find a knot in your ball. I promise you that the pattern you are working will jerk if you just continue crocheting. Cut out the knot and attach the color sequence at the correct point.

My challenge: A Color Pooled Lapghan

I have set myself the challenge to make a lapghan using the color pooling method with Scheepjes Matterhorn. The Matterhorn has a relatively long color sequence, this means that my tension has to be steady. I have worked a set of foundation hdc, then a row of dc, pulled out 1 stitch, and then I continue to work dc’s for many more rows. I have made a small start and I am just loving the pattern that is emerging. This is super easy crochet; perfect for watching TV. I will keep you posted about my progress.

yarn-pooling-with-matterhorn-sock-yarn

With love,

Esther

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This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure and copyright policy. All opinions are my own and I only link to products I use or would use. Thank you for using the links on my blog and supporting my work.