Maia Shawl- is now released!

Maia Shawl

The Maia Shawl is now released. I had started this shawl so long ago, and then between surges of other shawl ideas and such, I finally finished this one. The edging took a few tries. The first couple, I would  work out, take a photo and show the testers, and would get yays or nays. Well, the third one was a charm- and it fit. It complements the body so well!

EDIT: I am editing this to let everyone know that Cerdeb of Ravelry has started a CAL for this shawl! Click here for Ravelry Maia CAL!

The yarn I used was called Jaggerspun Zephyr. It is 50% Merino and 50% Tussah Silk. While it has a low plush-factor (which is my term for billowy, stretchy, plushy), which is due to the silk, it lends itself well to this stitchery. It comes on a cone, so if you are thinking of getting it, at least where I got it from – Webs, so you will not need to worry about having to wind it on a ball winder using a swift. The yarn blocks incredibly well. So well, I purchased about 8 more cones of this yarn! (Shhh more shawls are on the loose). In the gallery of photos below, you will see photos before blocking, and then after. You will see, that it is normal for lace yarn to have the *crumpled* look, as I call it. It is bunched up.. and as usual, only has a small resemblance of the final piece.

The magic is in the blocking! I think of blocking like hairspray. Remember the 80s? I am an 80s child. I do not think my hair resembled anything like it did before an evening of hairspray :) And this is also where a little bit of art comes in. I know how lace behaves. So when designing, I will make little peaks and valleys, which will be my points I know I want to emphasize. After a good soak in lukewarm water, for say a couple hours, I gently take my shawl out, wrap it in a towel (never wring or make any friction – you may felt your work)! Unwrap it, and then stretch it out. Weave in wires along each side. That the work of setting the spine for the shawl. Now the detailed part of the work begins- pinning all of the points.

So you look at the before final, and say hey! I do not see the lovely fine points like I do in the final photos. That is because they are blocked out. That’s the hairspray. If you want a certain point to stick out, take a pink, stretch it out to where you want and pin it down. Do this do every single point (the pinning is hairspray)! Allow this to dry at least over night. (Note: Do not use *real* hairspray)! Once you take your pins off, you will see each point is where you pinned it- magic! It may be hard to grasp, until you have actually blocked a piece of lace yourself. If you look at the gallery photos of the shawl being blocked, you will see I first run 2 long wires along each side of the shawl. I then pin out each little peak, because I purposely want those to come to a point. You do not necessarily have to do this, but it sure makes it look gorgeous. Look closely at the before and after photos, and look where I placed my pins. Isn’t blocking amazing?

When I want to create an edging, I usually sketch it. I know what I want it to look like. See the nice fans in the edging? They have a convex shape. Same with the flowers in the innermost part of the body. They too are convex. I could have gone too with a convex like edging, but I wanted something that would stand out. So what I did, was used the little flower *spokes* like the innermost part of the body, placed them too in the edging, but made triangular scallops with them, and then made little sharp points in the trim. And voila, we have a striking ensemble of stitchery. Well, to my eye that is.

I do not yet have a stitch chart available for this pattern. But I will! I switched over programs, and am quickly trying to grasp the ways of the new program. As soon as this is done, there will be a chart available for this. If you purchased this pattern at the Crochet Garden, then all you will need to do is go into your account and download the pattern again. I will make an announcement here, as well as in a newsletter, so be sure you are subscribed!! If you purchased the pattern on Ravelry, you will receive a note saying there is an update available. If you purchased this pattern on Etsy, or through some other venue, be sure you are subscribed to the newsletter at the Crochet Garden. All you will then need to do is drop me a note with your receipt number, or whatever information you have from your purchase, and I will email you the updated pattern.

There is also now a Support Forum for the Maia Shawl, in case anyone runs into trouble, or wants to post their photos!

I really hope everyone enjoys this shawl!! Please let me know what you think. Also, I am on a lace binge – do you have a favorite lace yarn you like to use? Please do let me know about it, and I will see about getting my hands on it and create more designs in lace weight yarn! :) Thank you too, for the fantastic response to this shawl. I really hope it meets your expectations. If you find anything that would make my patterns or designs better, please, please do let me know. I design for all of you!

The Juliet Dress

Juliet Dressjuliet_01Today I have released the Juliet Dress! When I started this set, I did not know what to expect. It started out plain, with no character… just a plain Jane. Little did I know that a beautiful Juliet was awaiting. And if you are planning on ordering it- here is a coupon for a dollar off! This will be good for a week (through July 15). Code: 3c290353b5

There are so many sizes! I actually started out with just child sizes. Then testers asked for baby sizes – that it was just too darling for the wee little ones too! And so this dress now spans 6 months to 10 years! All sizes are included in the pattern. The flowers’ center is a large button – isn’t it always fun to shop for notions? The sunhat brim uses a wire to give that Audrey Hepburn look.

Unlike many of my other dresses, this one uses a sport weight. I used Knit Picks Comfy Sport Yarn for this. Quicker to work up – and with so many sport weight yarns available, the color combos are endless. I could not be any  happier with the yarn choice.  The colors are Flamingo, Silver Sage, and Ivory. It looks like Silver Sage is about to be discontinued- so hurry and get it while you can! If you are not able to get the Silver Sage, I think the Honey Dew or even the Crème Brulee would make wonderful substitutions.

The yarn was great to work with- and even better machine washable! That means kid friendly. Sometimes cotton yarn gives me a dry feeling in my  hands, and then later I need to apply lotion. Working with the Comfy gave me no problems. It was very soft, and the drape is fantastic. Definitely a choice I will pick  again and again when I want a cool, breathable, practical yarn for a garment, or even an afghan!

PS – The Maia Shawl has been released! (The little sneak peak I gave you the other day). It is up on the website and available for purchase. It is not yet on Ravelry, at least at my time of writing this, but the Juliet Dress is up on Ravelry!


Something New, This Way Comes…. (shh)

sneakA while ago, I mentioned that I had been working on more lace shawls. Since the Dragonfly, and now the Midsummer Night’s Shawl… I will be releasing a new lace shawl, but on the Crochet Garden website. The only thing waiting, is a name. I am so pleased with how this came out! This is one of the numerous shawls I began working  on since my move. In a surge to feel and touch every lace out there available, and to really explore the properties of all the different fibers with crochet lace, this new shawl and yarn used met my expectation, and then some! I will be able to tell you more, as well as blocking photos I have, once I release. I really need to figure out a name, so that I can let this baby free! Hmm, Baby Free?