Crochet, Lace Making

Homespun Comfort Shawls

crochet shawls

This review has been a bit delayed, but that has turned out to be a good thing. I like to be able to include my own photos when I am doing a review and the delay has allowed me to use much better ones than I had originally intended.

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This book of “Comfort Shawls”, made using Lion Brand Homespun yarn, is very relevant for me at the moment as we are in the middle of winter here in New Zealand. As with previous Leisure Arts books I have reviewed, I was again very impressed with the range of different styles included in this book. There should be something to appeal to everyone.

Homespun Comfort Shawls

The pattern I was drawn to when I first looked at the book was the “Broomstick Lace Shawl” (the third photo above). I had heard of this technique before but had never had the opportunity to try it out. Fortunately one of our local yarn suppliers had the Lion Brand Homespun yarn on sale just when I needed it, this being the reason that the delay was a good thing for me.

IHomespun Comfort Shawls had originally planned on getting a light colour for my shawl, but was really taken with the wonderful rich colours in this darker one. While I still love the colours, I have found this yarn a bit of a challenge to work with. The dark colours and the boucle effect of the yarn make it difficult to see and count the stitches, particularly the setting up chain stitches, so it required a lot of concentration at the beginning. Having said that, I really like the way the garment is turning out, and the lovely soft, warm feel of it.

The instructions in the pattern I am using are very clear. I have found a bit of discrepancy between the instructions and some of the diagrams given, but I have found that sticking to the instructions has produced a good result. The book contains clear instructions and diagrams for all the patterns as well as a number of stitches and techniques, for example fringes.

This yarn and these patterns are a lot different to my usual projects, but I have enjoyed the challenges and learning some new techniques. For more pictures of these lovely shawls please check out the Leisure Arts website.


Cross Stitch, Karen's Korner, Knitting

A Comparison of Pattern Grids

A Comparison of Pattern Grids

Last month a friend of mine gave me a special book on knitting. It is called “Knitologie” by Lucy Main Tweet, and contains some pattern grids which I found really exciting. I have quite a variety of cross stitch alphabet patterns, but this book has two different sized knitted alphabets, one being 14 rows high and the other 28 rows high. This seemed to provide the perfect opportunity to do a comparison of pattern grids for knitting and cross stitch.

Knitting patterns are often published on square grids, but knitting stitches are not actually square. Tension guides indicate that the width of three stitches is equivalent to the height of approximately four rows. This means that a pattern represented on a square grid will appear shorter and wider in the knitted work.

I decided to use the 14 row knitting grid, then chose a fairly plain 14 row cross stitch grid to use as a comparison. The cross stitch was worked in red on some scraps of white 14 count Aida that I had, and I found some balls of acrylic yarn in red and white to create a similar effect.

A Comparison of Pattern Grids
The Knitted Samples
A Comparison of Pattern Grids
The Cross Stitch Samples

The letter “O” seemed to be a good one to demonstrate the differences in shape, so I worked the capital version of that letter from both alphabets and in both mediums. This meant I ended up with four red “O’s” on white backgrounds. I have taken a number of photos to illustrate the different results created by knitting and cross stitch. It was great to be able to create such a clear illustration of something I had known the theory of for some time, but had not had a good mental picture of.

A Comparison of Pattern Grids
Comparison for Knitting Grid
A Comparison of Pattern Grids
Comparison for Cross Stitch Grid

So what does this mean in practical terms? Is it possible to transpose knitting and cross stitch patterns to create your own unique projects? The short answer is “yes” but you do have to be aware of the distortion factor. You may be happy to accept the result of the pattern without any alterations, or you may want to try to compensate a little.

To modify a cross stitch pattern for knitting you will need to either insert a few rows evenly up the design (roughly one for every three rows of pattern), or decrease the number of stitches evenly across it (taking out approximately every fourth stitch). Obviously you will need to make these changes in a way that doesn’t change the overall look of the design.

To modify a knitting pattern for cross stitch you will need to use the opposite of the suggestions above. In other words, you will need either fewer rows or more stitches across.

Good luck and I hope you have fun experimenting with your patterns!



Crochet – Convenient and Versatile

Crochet - Convenient and Versatile
Image courtesy of Google

Crochet is a French term meaning “small hook”. Whereas knitting uses two or more needles to form yarn into a fabric, crochet is done with just one hook. Instead of working with a row of stitches, each stitch or cluster in a row is completed individually before moving on to the next.

I think most people immediately associate the word crochet with “Granny squares” and rugs or throws. Granny squares are great ways of using up odd balls and scraps of wool. They can be made separately and joined together in whatever combination or size you want to do. The fact that you are doing just one at a time means they are easily tucked into a bag to take with you if you know you are going to be sitting somewhere waiting for a while.

While these are all very handy features of crochet, there is so much more you can do with it. Projects can range from fine cotton delicate lace to chunky yarn floor rugs or cushions. You can make clothing, accessories, home wares and even jewellery.

My grandmother did a lot of fine cotton crochet and I still have some pieces of her work. I probably took my inspiration from her as this has been the form which has appealed to me the most. There is something special about a handmade table cloth or dressing table set, as opposed to mass produced machine made ones.

There is a great range of versatility in crocheted garments as well. You can use basic yarns, stitches and motifs to make practical everyday wear, or fine luxury yarns and intricate lacy patterns to make stunning special occasion pieces.

The internet has provided a great forum for sharing patterns and tips in recent times, and also gives access to a huge online market for purchasing patterns, yarns and accessories.