Take a favorite yarn and shift your creative efforts in a new direction. I started my blogging journey with luscious fringed Homespun shawls Homespun Yarn, manufactured by Lion Brand is a silky beautifully colored, textured yarn that works up quickly. Both the regular Homespun in bulky weight #5 and Thick and Quick Homespun in superbulky weight #6 enable the fiber artist to produce pieces with a wonderful finish. My early projects were knitted in garter stitch on large needles. (Size 10.5 for homespun weight #5 and size 13 needles for Thick and Quick #6). The heavily textured yarn obscured the fact that the entire shawl was knitted with such a simple stitch. However, as much as I enjoyed this rich fiber, I had been stuck in a knitted rectangular prayer shawl rut for too long. I imagined that there must be other ways to explore this yarn's creative potential. Then, on a recent browsing trip to a favorite megacraft store, I spied Quick Styles For You by Leisure Arts. With a closer look I realized that the book was dedicated to my favorite Homespun yarns. My excitement built up when I realized for the first time I had a crochet option in the 10 patterns. I could not wait to begin.
Since I wanted a project that was interesting and different, I selected the Two-toned Shawl that called for 2 skeins of of regular homespun for the main part of the shawl with an additional skein for the wide border. I had already purchased Baroque and had remnants fo Barrington left from a previous shawl. A wonderful quality of the Homespun yarns is additional threads that run through the main color. Baroque was predominantly raision, but it was blended with blues,grays,whites, and other hues. The predominantly blue Barrington made for the perfect accent. The pattern intrigued me with a mix of Double Crochet, Large and Small Shells, as well as Front and Back Post Double Crochet.
As I was crocheting this shawl, I learned a valuable lesson. A common problem with triangle shawls is that the ends of the triangle sometimes angle up like wings. After frogging the piece when it was almost half done. I discovered that I could overcome this problem by making sure that the initial and final chains in a row were loosely crocheted. This strategy allowed the shawl to relax and lie flat. While I had plenty of yarn for the body of the shawl, I realized that my remnants were not quite enough for the entire border. Therefore, I eliminated row six and altered the final row with five single crochet between picot stitches.
The completed shawl met all of my expectations. The project was unique and attractive. The feature that I liked best was the raised rows of stitches that met in a V along the back. They occurred in 5 inch intervals and were produced by repeated rows of the Front Post Double Crochet. The shawl can styled in several ways. Traditionally, the deep V would fall down my back with the narrow ends falling in front. I actually prefer to angle the shawl over one shoulder and tie ends at the opposing side. An attractive shawl pain can also be used to secure the ends in place. This piece will be the perfect accent to my denim jackets, jeans, and skirts.
The next piece I tackled was a simple crocheted cowl that called for super-bulky Thick and Quick Homespun. The Pearls skein in the book photograph was a soft off-white blended with light shades of taupe. While it is challenging to find the holes for inserting knitting needles, I found it an even more difficult job to crochet the superbulky yarn. Again, it was essential to crochet loosely, or this process could be stressful. The pattern called for single crochet through the back loop. This stitch produced a lovely ridged pattern that could be mistaken for knitting. The pattern listed the cowl's measurements as 13 inches high with a 33 inch circumference. Since I had some extra yarn, I crocheted until I had 36 inches before slip stitching the short ends of the rectangle together. The extra couple of inches gave me stylish option as I was able to bring the bottom of the cowl over my shoulders, much like a caplet.
Although I crochet many hats, I can only wear hats that fit comfortably and loosely around my head. The hooded cowl pattern was the answer to my comfort problem. The piece could be worn around the neck or picked up as a loose hed covering in extremely cold weather. The light grayish blue and light grayish taupe bands would coordinate well with my black winter coat.
When I was finished with the shawl, cowl, and hood, I still needed to find a way to keep my hands warm. I was able to adapt a favorite simple fingerless glove pattern that called for worsted to my bulky yarn by reducing the number of stitches.I used the bluish gray from my hood for the cuff of my first glove, the raisin yarn with gray threads for the hand, and the taupe for a two row top accent. These gloves were slightly mismatched. The second cuff was more taupe, but I followed the same procedure.
After further research, I found a fingerless glove pattern for Homespun yarn. The glove has a shorter cuff and features a thumb gusset. See: http://www.imfrayedknot.com/2017/06/24/homespun-fingerless-gloves. The same pattern is available as a paid pattern on ravelry.com. See: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/homesspun-fingerless-gloves
Normally, I do not look forward to the cold weather, but with my new Homespun fashions, I am all set. As Homespun works up so quickly, I was able to finish all of these pieces in about 10 days. Please share your photos and experiences with Homespun yarn. I would love to see your creative efforts with this wonderful fiber.