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  • Getting the Point Across

    Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

    If you are of a romantic turn of mind (I am) and a history buff (ditto), at some time in your armchair travels back in time you will have encountered an obsolete variety of social semaphore often called The Language of the Fan.

    It was a silent language. By manipulating her folding fan, a woman could send messages that propriety forbid her to speak. Historical sources suggest that fan language emerged in the late eighteenth century, and persisted (where folding fans persisted) until just into the twentieth.

    Predictably, most of fan language is concerned with flirting (or not) and loving (or not) and being kissed (or not). For example…

    Fan half-opened, pressed to lips.

    franklin habit

    “You may kiss me.”

    Continue reading

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  • 7 Crochet Patterns to Take on the Go

    Last week we looked at portable knitting projects and single skein shawls for traveling. Today it's time for crochet to shine. As with knitting, single skein projects make great travel companions. Finer gauges and more intricate designs will also provide additional hours of crafting on the go, which means less yarn and projects to pack. (But who are we kidding? I'll pack 5 new projects for an overnight trip. Because you knit faster on the road, right?!)

    Finer Things

    These projects are worked using lightweight, CYC # 1 & 2, yarns. They require some focus, so may not be good social travel projects. However, the fine gauge will mean more time to complete. Consider these designs for when traveling as a passenger (planes, trains, and automobiles).

    1. Starlight Evening Shawl

    crochet shawl

    The Starlight Evening shawl is crocheted using 5 skeins of Vanna's Glamour in the Topaz colorway. The repeating pattern provides interest while being easy to memorize and manage while traveling.

    2. Men's Crochet Socks

    crochet socks

    Socks are perhaps the classic travel project. They are small and somewhat involved for extended crafting time. These socks are "mens" and worked in Lion Brand Sock Ease yarn.

    3. Independence Day Scarf

    crochet scarf

    This dainty triangle scarf is worked up in 1 ball of Vanna's Glamour yarn. The main body is worked in a simple stitch with a delicate border accent.

    4. Emily Shawl

    crochet shawl

    The Emily Shawl is a half circle design with repeating bands of patterning. Worked in Vanna's Glamour. Or choose your favorite Lion Brand CYC #2 yarn.

     Simplicity Is Key

    These designs are easy to knit in social situations. With basic shapes and repeating stitch patterns you will be able to chat and stitch the day away.

    5. Tilted Blocks Cowl

    tilted blocks cowl

    This easy cowl looks like you're working with several different yarn colors, but it is actually completely with just 2 skeins of Landscapes yarn!

    6. Cedar Springs Afghan

    Surprised to see an afghan on a travel project list? The right design can be made to take with you. This design is worked in panels, so you can take one panel with you and sew them together later on. Crocheted using New Basic 175 yarn.

    7.  Last Light Cowl

    crocheted cowl

    This cowl is a perfect on-the-go project. The straightforward texture pattern is a no-fuss design, so you can comfortably work and chat away. Crocheted using Vanna's Choice yarn.

    Use these patterns for inspiration and find many more in the patterns section on LionBrand.com

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  • Try This Stitch: Lace Stripes (Crochet)

    A square with this pattern will appear in the sampler afghan. To make it fit in with the other blocks, use New Basic 175 yarn paired with a "K" crochet hook. The finished size of the afghan blocks are approximately 10 x 10".

    Special abbreviation

    MB: make bobble (popcorn) -- 4dc into the next ch, remove the hook from the working loop, insert it under the top loops of the first of the dc sts just worked and draw the working loop through, prepare to cont to work right to left across the block.

    Foundation chain: Ch 32. (Increase the width by adding chains in multiples of 3.)
    Row 1 (right side): sc in 2nd ch from the hook, work 1 sc into each of the ch to the end -- 31 sts. Turn.
    Row 2: Ch 1, 1sc into each st. Turn.
    Row 3: Rep row 2.
    Row 4: Ch 3 (counts as 1dc), 1dc into the base of the ch, *skip 2 sts, [1dc, ch 1, 1dc] into the next st, rep from * 8 more times, skip 2 sts, 2dc into the top of the ch. Turn.
    Row 5: Ch 3 (counts as 1dc), 1dc into the next st, ch 1, skip 1 st, mb into the next ch, ch 2 * skip 2 sts, mb into the next ch, ch 2, rep from * 6 more times, skip 2 sts, mb into the next ch, ch 1, skip 1 st, 1dc into each of the next 2 sts. Turn.
    Row 6: Ch 3 (counts as 1dc), 1dc into the base of the ch, skip 1 st, 1dc into the next ch, *[1dc, ch 1, 1dc] into the next sp, rep from * 7 more times, 1dc, into the next sp, ch 1, 1dc into each of the next 2 sts. Turn.
    Row 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1sc), 1sc into each st. Turn.
    Row 8: Ch 3 (counts as 1dc), 1dc into each st. Turn.
    Rep rows 3 - 8 for pattern. End the last repeat with Row 7.
    Last Two Rows
    Next Row: Ch 2 (counts as 1sc), 1sc into each st. Turn.
    Last Row: Ch 3 (counts as 1dc), 1dc into each st. Turn.
    Fasten off yarn.


    CH = Chain
    DC = Double Crochet
    SC = Single Crochet
    YO = Yarn Over

    Pattern by permission from Crochet Blocks in a Box by Luise Roberts, St. Martin's Griffin, 2007


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