I was introduced to the world of yarn through crochet. Most of what I learned came through my mother when I was a little girl. Through books, I’ve recently begun to re-educate myself on the magnificant world of crochet.
Robyn Chachula's new book Blueprint CrochetModern Designs for the Visual Crocheter is one of the most educational (and inspirational) crochet books I've read. When I learned to knit, charts were integral in my understanding of what the stitches were doing, but I didn't have the same visual guide when I learned to crochet. Blueprint Crochet’s quick introduction on the basics of crochet symbols and charts completely blew me away. It made so much sense. I greatly appreciate being able to see what I'm going to be doing before I do it, and that's exactly what the patterns in Blueprint Crochet do. The charts save you from the frustration of keeping your place in lines of text, while also providing a visual representation of what your finished piece should look like.
Blueprint Crochet begins with simple projects, which have thorough written instructions as well as charts, so we may learn how to read the charts as we read through the pattern. The more complex patterns toward the end of the book are described mostly with charts and use text only to direct how and when the charts are worked.
The 18 projects in this book include a tote bag, scarf, jewelry, sweaters and more, in stitch patterns ranging from stunning back and forth combinations to elegant motifs. Robyn is famous for her motif creations, and this book certainly holds true to her reputation. With so many great designs to choose from, I had a hard time choosing a favorite. But the Sarah Bee Dress, Rebecca Vest, and the Megan Sweater are all high on my list.
I feel that this book could be used as a teaching tool for beginning and advanced crocheters, as well as for visual knitters who have always wanted to learn to crochet.
Princess 40% merino, 28% viscose, 15% nylon, 10% cashmere, 7% angora
Cinderella might have been a better name for CEY’s yarn Princess. In the ball, its appearance and handnice as they are--only hint at the beauty of the yarn in a final project. Princess is a blend of 40% merino, 28% viscose, 15% nylon, 10% cashmere, and 7% angora. Merino, a super-soft wool fiber, has a tight, springy crimp that encourages garments to keep their shape. Viscose and nylon are long-wearing and durable; cashmere is extraordinarily soft; and angora is famous for its luminous halo. As you work with Princess, passing the yarn around your fingers and making stitches, the yarn begins to soften and bloom. And once you’ve blocked your project, you’ll find it irresistible.
Inca Alpaca 100% alpaca
Inca Alpaca, another yarn featured in Robyn’s sweater, is a classic 100% alpaca yarn that comes in both saturated solids and soft heathery shades. For the yoke of her sweater, Robyn used one of the Inca heathers to contrast with solid colors in Princess. Learn more about alpaca.
Although crocheted garments have the reputation (true or not) of being a little stiff, when worked in an open stitch and soft, caressable yarns, they’re as soft and drapey as any knitted one.
Here is the free downloadable Ashlar Crochet Cardigan pattern.
If you have difficulty downloading or printing the PDF pattern above, try these:
page 1; page 2; page 3; page 4
Using multiple yarns within the same garment can be a great way to add texture and interest. However, it can also be a bit tricky. If you are working a garment holding 2 strands of different yarns together, you can find the gauge by swatching with the 2 strands together.
If you are going to alternate yarns in different sections of the garment, it is very important that you get the same gauge with each yarns. Even a small difference in the gauge can affect the fit of the finished garment. To avoid problems, swatch both yarns individually and then hand wash and block them. Not all fibers and blends of fibers wash the same; it is important to know that the yarns will work as well together after washing as they did before.