Featured Artist: Noelle Lewis

Pretty handmade stitch markers, storage tins and crochet hook handles from Noelle Lewis Art

One of the things I really like about knitting and crocheting is that they don't require a lot of complicated tools. Of course that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some pretty tools while you stitch.

This month I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Noelle from www.noellelewisart.com. She recently added a new collection of handcrafted knit and crochet tools to her shop that you will definitely want to get your hands on.

Who are you and where are you from?

I'm Noelle, an artist/crafter from California. I've been creating since I was a little girl, from markers and beads to paint and clay. I started an Etsy shop shortly after high school, which grew very slowly while I worked and took college classes. Then I spent a lot of time developing my skills during my husband's deployments with the Army. Now we live a pretty quiet life with our two cats in Tennessee, where he runs a gym and I've started a website.

What do you create?

My work continues to evolve over time, but I mostly make paintings and jewelry. My paintings are acrylic on canvas, usually realistic landscapes, ranging in size from miniature to large. I make my jewelry with polymer clay, a durable and colorful medium with almost infinite possibilities. My favorite technique is probably caning, a method of piecing different colors of clay together to create an image, which is then reduced, sliced, and used for various projects. Because clay is so versatile, I can also use it to make other items like home decor and crafting tools.

Pretty handmade stitch markers, storage tins and crochet hook handles from Noelle Lewis Art

What inspires you?

Visually, I am inspired by my favorite things in nature. We have lived in some beautiful places, and looking at the trees or the mountains or the stars makes me want to create beautiful things. I'm always taking pictures of interesting flowers and animals too, and it's fun to get ideas from what other people like. Personally, I am inspired by my favorite stories - I'm a big fantasy nerd - and real people who pursue their passions, whether they're people I know or the great artists, thinkers, and entrepreneurs of the past.

What is a typical day for you?

I generally start my day with catching up on chores, going for a walk, or maybe getting some projects started. But I'm a night owl, so after dark is when I really get going. That's when I tend to work on orders, new product designs, and updating my shop and website. Working on creative projects every day keeps the ideas flowing, but sometimes I need breaks too, so I like to watch Netflix at the end of the day.

Pretty handmade stitch markers, storage tins and crochet hook handles from Noelle Lewis Art

Tell us about your product line especially for knitters and crocheters.

It started with a suggestion to make some sheep stitch markers, since I was already selling sheep earrings. I ran with it and ended up making several sets of stitch markers and crochet hooks, and even some little storage tins. Some of the designs are inspired by knit and crochet slang, some have classic yarn themed patterns, and some are just cute and fun. I've improved my sanding skills to make sure the hooks are smooth and comfortable to hold. Each item is designed to be both beautiful and useful.

Pretty handmade stitch markers, storage tins and crochet hook handles from Noelle Lewis Art

Do you accept custom design orders?

Yes! I love working with customers to create something special I might not have thought of. I can make changes as simple as color and size, or as complex as sketching up a whole new design.

Pretty handmade stitch markers, storage tins and crochet hook handles from Noelle Lewis Art

Stay connected with Noelle






Crochet Pattern: Hazy Daze Hat

Stay cool this summer and block the sun with an easy crochet hat pattern.

We're expecting temperatures near 115° today in Tucson. Even I have a tough time getting excited about fiber crafts when it's this hot. But I have a super cute crocheted summer hat pattern that I think you are going to love.

The hat is made with a cool cotton, linen, silk and nettle fiber yarn. It's generously sized (22 inches in circumference) so that you can comfortably wear it with a ponytail or hairclip.

Materials

  • 1 50 g/218 yd ball of Plymouth Yarn Nettle Grove (shown in Seashell)
  • US size E (3.5 mm) crochet Hook

Gauge


6 sts or 2 rows of dc = 1 inch

Special Stitches


Cluster (CL)
- Holding back the last loop of each dc on hook, 2 dc in same st or sp, YO and draw through all 3 loops.

Beginning Cluster Shell (Beg CL Shell) - Ch 3, dc in same st or sp, ch 2, CL in same st or sp.

Cluster Shell (CL Shell) - In same st or sp work (CL, ch 2, CL). 

V-Stitch (V st) - In same st or sp work (dc, ch 2, dc).

Directions


Ch 8 and join with sl st to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 23 dc in ring, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 24 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in next dc, [ch 3, holding back the last loop of each dc on hook, dc in next 2 dc, YO and draw through all 3 loops] 11 times, ch 3, sl st in 2nd dc. 12 ch 3 sp

Rnd 3: Sl st in ch 3 sp, [ch 5, sc in next ch 3 sp] 11 times, ch 5, sl st in beginning sl st. 12 ch 5 sp

Rnd 4: 2 sl st in ch 5 sp, Beg CL Shell in same sp, [ch 3, CL Shell in next ch 5 sp] 11 times, ch 3, sl st in 1st CL. 12 CL Shell

Rnd 5: Sl st in ch 2 sp, Beg Cl Shell in same sp, [V st in ch 3 sp, Cl Shell in ch 2 sp of next Cl Shell] 11 times, V st in ch 3 sp, sl st in beginning CL.

Rnd 6: Sl st in ch 2 sp, Beg CL Shell in same sp, [ch 1, V st in ch 2 sp of next V st, ch 1, CL Shell in ch 2 sp of next CL Shell] 11 times, ch 1, V st in ch 2 sp of next V st, ch 1, sl st in beginning CL.

Rnd 7: Sl st in ch 2 sp, Beg CL Shell in same sp, [ch 2, V st in ch 2 sp of next V st, ch 2, CL Shell in ch 2 sp of next CL Shell] 11 times, ch 2, V st in ch 2 sp of next V st, ch 2, sl st in beginning CL.

Repeat Rnd 7, seven more times.

Rnd 8: Ch 3 (counts as first dc in this and all following rnds), 2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in CL,[(2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in dc) twice, (2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in CL) twice] 11 times, (2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in dc) twice, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 144 dc

Rnd 9: Ch 3, dc in 10 dc, 2 dc in next dc, [dc in 11 dc, 2 dc in next dc] 11 times, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 156 dc

Rnd 10: Ch 3, dc in 5 dc, 2 dc in next dc, [dc in 12 dc, 2 dc in next dc] 11 times, dc in 6 dc, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 168 dc

Rnd 11: Ch 3, dc in 12 dc, 2 dc in next dc, [dc in 13 dc, 2 dc in next dc] 11 times, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 180 dc

Rnd 12: Ch 3, dc in 6 dc, 2 dc in next dc, [dc in 14 dc, 2 dc in next dc] 11 times, dc in 7 dc, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 192 dc

Rnd 13: Ch 1, sc in same ch as joining, ch 3, [skip 1 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3] 95 times, sl st in 1st sc, fasten off. 96 ch 3 sp

Flower

Rnd 1: Starting with a magic loop, ch 3 (counts as first dc), 15 dc in loop, tighten the magic loop, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch 3. 16 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same ch as joining, [ch 3, sc in next dc] 15 times, ch 3, sl st in 1st sc. 16 ch 3 sp

Rnd 3: Sl st in ch 3 sp, ch 1, sc in same ch 3 sp, [(hdc, dc, 2 tr, dc, hdc) in next ch 3 sp, sc in next ch 3 sp] 7 times, (hdc, dc, 2 tr, dc, hdc) in next ch 3 sp, sl st in 1st sc, fasten off.

Attach the flower to the hat and you are ready for some summer fun.

A printable version of this crocheted Hazy Daze Summer Hat pattern with additional sizing options is available in my pattern shop.






Knitting Technique: 3 Ways to Weave in Loose Ends

Knitting Techniques: 3 ways to weave in the yarn tails on sctockinette stitch - duplicate stitch, zig-zag and diagonal methods

I have yet to meet a knitter that enjoys weaving in the loose ends. But after spending hours, days or even months creating a knit piece, neatly tucking in those yarn tails is necessary to give your work that finished look.

Although some people would strongly disagree with what I'm about to say, there's no single "right" way to weave in the ends. It depends a lot on what you have made, the stitches in your design and the type of yarn you have used.

No matter how you choose to weave in the ends, there are three important guidelines to consider:
  • The yarn ends must be secure so your work doesn't unravel after the first wash.
  • The yarn ends must be inconspicuous so they don't detract from your design.
  • The yarn ends should be woven in so they do not interfere with the elasticity of your fabric.
When you are knitting a pieced garment, like a sweater, it's not unusual to weave the loose ends into a seam. For items like hats, scarves, blankets and socks, it can be a little trickier.

I knit up a little stockinette swatch to demonstrate three different ways to weave in your yarn tails - the Duplicate Stitch method, a zig-zag method and a diagonal method.

Duplicate Stitch

Many experienced knitters will tell you that using the Duplicate Stitch is the proper way to weave in the ends. The idea of the Duplicate Stitch is to copy the path of one row of stitches, on the wrong side of your knitting, as you weave in the end of the yarn, hence the name.

For demonstration purposes I knit one row of my white swatch in a green so you can easily see exactly which stitches you need to duplicate.

When I stretch my work out a little bit, you can see the path of the stitches. If you look at the non-horizontal strands of the green stitches you can see a pattern, that looks something like this / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ .

Notice there are two (white) rows of horizontal bars between the top an bottom of my green stitches. That's where the magic happens.

Slip your needle diagonally up and to the right
You are tracing the / part of the stitch.
Slip your needle down and to the left.
That's the \ of the stitch.
Again up and to the right.
Another /.
Down and to the left.
So far you have \ /\ / .
Continue in the same pattern for a few stitches until your yarn is secured.

This is the wrong side.
Even though I used a contrasting yarn color, you can hardly see the duplicated stitches on the right side of my sample.

Zig-Zag

The Zig-Zag is my favorite method for weaving in loose ends because it is very inconspicuous and does not add as much bulk as the Duplicate Stitch.

I have placed my needle next to the strands that I'll be working into.
Lifting one horizontal strand at a time, pull the yarn diagonally through about 4-6 stitches.
Then do the same going down in the other direction. In a real piece of work I would continue my zig-zag on a little farther.

Again, this is the wrong side.
And this is the right side. I have framed the zig-zag with my fingers and you can see the contrasting yarn barely shows.

Diagonal

This method is very secure, but it is a little more bulky and noticeable than the other two methods.

Like the zig-zag, you want to pull your yarn diagonally through the horizontal strands.
However, instead of going under every strand on the diagonal, pull the yarn through every other strand.
Now, pull the yarn back through the skipped strands.

The tension of the fabric holds the yarn tail very tightly.
On the right side the weaving is somewhat visible, but this would not be as much of an issue when you are weaving in the end of yarn in the same color.
Now finish up those WIPs and UFOs and don't forget to weave in your ends. Happy knititng!




Stitch of the Month: Brick and Mortar Stitch

Learn how to knit the Brick and Mortar Stitch

This month I'd like to share a simple colorwork stitch that looks almost as cool on the wrong side as the right side.

The stitch is called the Brick and Mortar Stitch, aka Brick Stitch or Brick Wall stitch. It is worked in two colors across a multiple of 4 sts +1.



Row 1 (RS): With Color A, k all sts.
Row 2 (WS): With Color B, [sl 1, p3] to last stitch, sl 1.
Row 3: With Color B, sl 1, [k3, sl 1] across.
Row 4: With Color A, p all sts.
Row 5: With Color A, k all sts.
Row 6: With Color B, [p2, sl 1, p1] to last st, p1.
Row 7: With Color B, k1, [k1, sl1, k2] across.
Row 8: With Color A, p all sts.

Repeat Rows 1-8 for the desired length.
This is what the stitch looks like on the wrong side. There's a very subtle texture.

The "wrong side" of the knit Brick and Mortar Stitch

Ready to try a pattern incorporating the Brick and Mortar Stitch? You may enjoy "1 Sock, 2 Sock, Red Sock, Blue Sock" from my pattern shop.


Happy knitting!