Free Crochet Pattern – Two Tone Mitts

I love these fun two-tone gloves, each glove with colors opposite from the other.  The pattern is by Pollyfoofoo and her website is pollyfoofoo.blogspot.com.  Her pattern calls for a bulky yarn, but I’ve chosen our Astral Yarn, a dk weight yarn, which comes in some gorgeous colors.  I think you could mix-n-match almost any two colors of this Alpaca/Merino/Tencel blend yarn and be pleased with the combination.

astral-fingerless-gloves2

Stitches Used:

SC- single crochet
SC BLO – single crochet back loop only
SC FLO – single crochet front loop only
HDC BLO – half double crochet back loop only
HDC 3rd LIF – half double crochet through 3rd Loop In Front
DC – double crochet
TR – treble crochet

Astral Two Tone Fingerless Gloves

HOOK

4.0 mm (G)

MATERIALS

Astral Yarn – 1 skein of two colors, approximately 191 total yards

Yarn Colors – 1st Picture:
Copper Penny, Aries

Yarn Colors – 2nd Picture:
Gold Rush, Virgo

Yarn Colors – 3rd Picture:
Aries, Pavo

NOTES

The arm is worked first, then you turn your work ¼ turn clockwise to work the hand. The thumb is created by skipping stitches and making a chain as a bridge over those stitches. These mitts are worked flat and seamed when finishing.

Do not skip the first stitch of the row when doing HDC. Treat it like a SC, to keep edges tidy and less holey. Even though you will be seaming the edges, it’s not a place you want holes.

Ch1 for turning chain on HDC.

The last stitch of every row is worked as you normally would (under both loops/legs). This keeps your edges tidy and less holey.

The stitches for the arm are SC but worked in BLO and FLO. The hand portion is mostly HDC, but worked in either the BLO or through the 3rd loop in the front (LIF).

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

 

Astral Two Tone Fingerless Gloves

DIRECTIONS

ARM:

Foundation Row: Chain 25 (or if you do chainless foundations, FSC 24, turn and go to Row 1).  Starting in the second chain of your hook, SC 24 stitches turn.

Row 1 (RS): – ch 1, SC BLO 23, regular SC in last st, turn (24)

Row 2 (WS): – ch 1, SC FLO 23, regular SC in last st, turn (24)

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have 25 rows. (End with a RS row)

For gloves bigger or smaller than pattern, you can make adjustments by making more or fewer rows, but please note that you will also have to make adjustments when time to do the hand portion by making more or fewer stitches.

HAND:

If you are going to make your hand with a different color, cut your arm yarn now, leaving an 18 inch tail for seaming later. If all one color, don’t cut.

With RS facing, turn work ¼ turn clockwise and attach new yarn color in the upper right hand stitch.  Work 27 HDC evenly into this edge, turn.

Row 1 (WS): – ch 1, not skipping the first stitch, work HDC into the 3rd LIF for 26 sts, and work the last HDC as normal, turn. (27)

Row 2 (RS):((thumbhole row)) ch 1, HDC BLO 8, DC 1, Tr 1, make a chain of 6, skip the 6 sts under them, Tr 1, DC 1, HDC BLO 8, HDC last st, turn. (27)

Row 3 (WS): – ch 1, not skipping the first stitch, work HDC into the 3rd LIF 11 sts, HDC into the back bump of each ch st (6), HDC into the 3rd LIF 9 sts,  and work the last HDC as normal, turn. (27)

Row 4 (RS): – ch 1, not skipping the first stitch, work HDC BLO 26 sts, and work the last HDC as normal, turn. (27)

Row 5 (WS): – work as Row 1

Row 6 (RS): – work as Row 4

Repeat rows 5 and 6 until hand portion reaches 2 inches tall and ending on a RS row. Cut yarn, leaving a tail to seam with. Give yourself 24 inches or so tail to seam with if you used 1 color for your mitts. If you did hand in different color you only need 10 inches or so to seam it, and then you’ll pick up your other color tail to seam the arm portion.

Before you do your seam, however, weave in your ends. It’s just easier that way.

SEAMING:

Then, fold WS together. Using clips/locking stitch markers to line up the stitches and hold your work together while you seam is a good idea, removing as you approach them. Use them as checkpoints to make sure you are seaming equally so your mitt seams won’t be lopsided. A mattress stitch works quite nicely.

Weave in your seaming yarn tail ends.

Astral Two Tone Mitts

To print pattern, click Two Tone Astral Mitts Crochet Pattern.

Needle Felting Ornament Kits and Videos

Needle felting has taken off in our area.  Even those who don’t think they have the skills required or aren’t creative, have been enjoying felting classes in The Fiber Studio here at the farm, and going home with projects they are pleased with.  There is no need to have to pay attention to a pattern, such as with knitting or crocheting, so felting is a fun craft to do with a group of friends or in the evening while watching TV.

Needle Felting Ornament Kits

Just in are some new felting kits!  Among them are a variety of felted ornament kits, with instructional videos to follow.  Keep scrolling to see the videos.  Click on the images below if you’d like to order the kit.

     

Happy felting!

Be sure to check out the pictures from some of our felting classes!

Free Knitting Pattern – Seed Stitch Knit Scarf

Seed stitch, also known as moss stitch, is a basic texture stitch. It is made up of alternating knit and purl stitches.

Seed Stitch Knit Scarf

The fabric is firm, does not curl, and looks the same on both sides. It is ideal for small knits, scarves, cowls, mittens, gloves, and knits up into super cute baby items!   This is a stitch you will want to learn!

Textured Snuggle Scarf

For this scarf, I used big needles and our bulky Snuggle Yarn.  It is a very simple pattern and the texture is so pretty!

IMG_6022 (480x640)

SKILL LEVEL

Easy

NEEDLES

Size 15 (10.00 mm)

MATERIALS

157 Yards of Snuggle Yarn

NOTE

An odd number of stitches is required for seed stitch.  The trick to the seed stitch is knowing when to knit and when to purl.  You will be knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches.  Starting with an odd number of stitches you will always be starting and ending the row with a knit stitch.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 6” wide x 60” long

IMG_6028 (446x640)

DIRECTIONS

Cast on 19 sts loosely.  Work in seed stitch, as described below, for 60 inches or to desired length. Bind off stitches.  Weave in ends.

Seed Stitch
Every Row: K1; *P1, K1; repeat from * to end of row

IMG_6029 (480x640)

 This scarf is available for purchase in any of the pretty Snuggle Yarn colors!  Click here to purchase.  To print pattern, click Seed Stitch Knit Scarf Pattern.

IMG_6034 (426x640)

Be sure to check out the FREE Knitting Tutorials from Craftsy!

Knitting Stitches You Need to Know
Knitting Stitches You Need to Know

from: Craftsy

You might also want to check out 10 Easy Scarf Knitting Patterns for Beginners and more Free Knitting Patterns on this website.

Free Crochet Pattern – Butterfly Shawl

This crocheted shawl starts at the neck and is crocheted back and forth, from the top down.

Butterfly Crochet Shawl

 I have used one of our Swizzle yarns, 100% alpaca, from The Alpaca Yarn Company.  The color is Totally Teal.

Swizzle Yarn - Knit Swatch

This is a knit swatch from this colorway, though lighting makes it look a little more green than it is.

IMG_3121 (465x640)

HOOK

4.0 mm (G)
5.0 mm (H)

MATERIALS

528 Yards or 2.5 skeins of Swizzle Yarn

NOTE

This piece is worked back and forth from the top down, starting at the neck. After each row, turn work.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

This alpaca shawl measures roughly 60 inches/ 152 cm across the top and 84 inches/ 213 cm around the bottom edge.

IMG_3122 (517x640)

DIRECTIONS

Begin using G hook.

Row 1: Ch 4, (dc, (ch2, 2dc)twice in 3rd ch from hook.

Row 2: Ch3, dc in sp between last two dc of prev row, (2dc, ch2, 2dc)in next two ch2 sps, 2dc in sp between last 2 dc of prev row.

Row 3: Ch3, dc in sp between last two dc on prev row, * sk next dc, 2dc in sp between sets of 2dc on prev row, (2dc, ch2, 2dc) in ch2 sp* repeat * – * once more, sk next dc, 2dc in sp between sets of 2dc on prev row, sk next dc, 2dc in sp between last 2 dc of prev row.

Row 4: Ch3, dc in sp between last two dc on prev row, * sk next dc, 2dc in all sps between, (2dc, ch2, 2dc) in ch2 sp* repeat once more, sk next dc, 2dc in all sps between, sk next dc, 2dc in sp between last 2 dc of prev row.

Row 5-20: repeat Row 4. There will be 20 sets of 2dc. Switch to H hook.

Switch to H hook.

Row 21-26: Repeat row 4

Row 27: Chain 8, sk 1 space, (sc in next sp, ch8) repeat, ending with sc in space between last 2 sts

Row 28: Ch3, 3dc, ch2, 4dc in ch 8 sp, (4dc, ch2, 4dc) in each ch8 sp

Row 29: Ch3, slst in ch2 sp, (ch8, sc in next ch2 sp) repeat around

Row 30-33: Repeat rows 28 and 29 two more times

Row 34: (Sc in sp between next dc)3x, 3dc in ch2sp, (sc in sp between next dc)3x, skip next space, repeat across row, pull tail through and weave in ends securely. This piece can be made longer by repeating either section.

Make sure to purchase enough yarn to complete your project

To print pattern, click Butterfly Shawl Crochet Pattern.

IMG_3125 (463x640)

The half-hexagon shape allows for many fun ways to wear it.  Check out a few of them here.  It drapes well and is quite versatile.

IMG_3126 (474x640)

ch chain (yo, pull through loop on hook)
sc single crochet (pull up a loop, yo, pull through two loops on hook)
dc double crochet (yo, pull up a loop, [yo, pull through two loops on hook] twice)
sp(s) space(s)
sl st slip stitch (pull a loop through stitch and also through loop on hook)
yo yarn over

IMG_3128 (463x640)

Acknowledgements

Garment design by Nancy Nagle for Nangellini Designs

How To Use A Ball Winder and Swift

Anyone that plays with yarn will be interested in two great tools, a Swift and a Ball Winder.

Swift                  Ball Winder

Otto and Joanne Strauch, owners of Strauch Fiber Equipment and makers of fine tools for spinners, demonstrate how to make a center-pull ball using these two must-have tools.

How to Remove Fiber from Strauch Carder

Strauch Fiber Equipment not only makes quality products, in the USA I might add, but they provide quality support, tutorials, and helpful advice.  They have a number of helpful videos, this being one of them, to help you use and enjoy their products.  Watch Otto Strauch’s video on his technique to remove all of the fiber from the large drum, useful when you want to prevent contamination of the next batt.

According to Otto, “Because of the fineness of the carding cloth, there will always be fiber left on the drum after you pull off your batt.  The amount of fiber left is usually the same quantity. So if you’re only putting on a small amount, say one-tenth of an ounce, percentage wise, a lot of it will remain on the drum. If you fill the drum with one ounce of fiber, the same amount stays on but the percentage of fiber coming off will be much greater.

Cleaning out this fiber after each batt removal is too time consuming. So, here’s what I do: After the first batt is removed, I leave the left-over fiber on the drum. I then card another batt, remove it and card the third batt. Keep doing this until you’ve made the number of batts your looking for. Now clean off the fiber still on the drum. I don’t clean the drum until I am either finished using the carder, or switching to carding a different color or type of fiber.

If you are dealing only with a small amount of fiber and need to get it all off at one time, here’s the technique I use. It’s illustrated on a one minute video entitled “Removing all the fiber at one time from the large drum”.  As you watch it you’ll see how the doffer brush is used to remove all the fiber on the drum while pulling off the batt. (The doffer brush is the brush that came with your carder and used to clean off the large drum)”.

See our selection of Strauch Carders available through our online store.  I will be posting more videos from Strauch Fiber Equipment Co, so do check back!

See How to Use Hand Cards

First Sale Ever At Strauch Fiber Equipment

Big Sale on Fiber Equipment

Strauch Fiber Equipment is offering 10% off on on their products, now through July 31st, 2015, and I am passing on this savings to you!

Strauch Fiber Equipment tends have substantial price tags attached, but well worth the price being asked because it is quality equipment, AND it is made in the USA.

This is the first sale ever that Strauch has offered – think of it as Christmas in July!  Use Discount Code DJ0XAE4N0A81 when checking out to receive the discount.  If you’ve been contemplating the purchase of their Jumbo Ball Winders, one of Strauch Carders, or a Swift/Skeinwinder, now is the time!

Free Crochet Pattern – Half Moon Shawl

Featuring a bobble stitch, this pretty Half Moon Shawl has a bit of a textured look with lacy, open stitches, a luxuriously soft feel, and an elegant sheen that will make you feel like a queen!

Half Moon Shawl, Astral Yarn5 (640x538)

Adapted from a pattern from the Lion Brand Yarn website that calls for a super bulky yarn and Size N hook, I’ve used yarn from our Astral line and a Size J hook.

Ha

The rich, beautiful color I chose is called Gemini.

Half Moon Shawl, Astral Yarn2 (480x640)

SKILL LEVEL

Easy

HOOK

6.0 mm (J)

MATERIALS

625 Yards or 3.2 skeins of Astral Yarn
I think I’ll use a smaller hook next time to see if I can’t get the yardage down to three skeins.  The thicker the yarn, and the bigger the hook, the more yarn you’ll need so stepping down a few sizes should help to cut the yardage.  I will keep you posted.  On that note,  How Much Yarn Do I Need from the Fresh Stitches blog is a very helpful post for trying to calculate yardage required for different weights of yarn.

STITCH EXPLANATION

*Bobble Holding back last loop of each dc, work 5 dc in next st, yarn over and pull through 6 loops on hook.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 32 inches/ 81.28cm long and 64 inches/162.56cm across the top edge

Half Moon Shawl, Astral Yarn3 (480x640)

DIRECTIONS

Ch 3, sl st in beg ch to form a ring.
Row 1: Ch 3  (does not count as st in this row and in all following rows), 9 dc in ring, do not join.

Note: The turning ch-3 does not count as first dc in each row. This means that you should work your first dc into the very first st (at base of turning ch-3), unless you are instructed to sk the first st. When you reach the end of a row, do not work into the top of the turning ch-3, unless instructed to do so. When counting sts, do not count the turning ch.

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, (dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) twice, bobble* in next dc, (2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc) twice – 13 sts.
Row 3: Ch 3, turn, (2 dc in next st, dc in next st) across, end dc in last dc – 19 dc.
Row 4: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in next dc, (ch 2, sk 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc) across – 6 ch- 2 sp.
Row 5: Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2), turn, (3 dc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2) across, end dc in top of ch-3 – 7 ch-2 sp.
Row 6: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 3 dc in next ch-2 sp) across – 6 ch-2 sp.
Row 7: Ch 3, turn, skip first dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, (4 dc in next ch-2 sp, dc in each of next 3 dc) across, end last dc in top of ch-3 – 44 dc.
Row 8: Ch 3, turn, dc in each of next 3 dc, (bobble in next dc, dc in each of next 8 dc) to last 5 dc, end bobble in next dc, dc in each of next 4 dc – 5 bobbles.
Row 9: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg dc, dc in each st across to last dc, 2 dc in last dc – 46 dc.
Row 10: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg dc, (ch 2, sk 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc) across – 15 ch-2 sp.
Row 11: Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2), turn, (3 dc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2) across, end dc in top of ch-3 – 16 ch-2 sp.
Row 12: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 3 dc in next ch-2 sp) across – 15 ch-2 sp.
Row 13: Ch 3, turn, skip first dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, (2 dc in ch-2 sp, dc in each of next 3 dc) across, end last dc in top of ch-3 – 77 dc.
Row 14: Ch 3, turn, dc in each of next 2 dc, (bobble in next dc, dc in each of next 8 dc) to last 3 dc, end bobble in next dc, dc in each of next 2 dc – 9 bobbles.
Row 15: Ch 3, turn, dc in each st across, inc 2 dc evenly spaced – 79 dc.
Row 16: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg dc, (ch 2, sk 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc) across – 26 ch-2 sp.
Row 17: Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2), turn, (3 dc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2) across, end dc in top of ch-3– 27 ch-2 sp.
Row 18: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 3 dc in next ch-2 sp) across – 26 ch-2 sp.
Row 19: Ch 3, turn, skip first dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, (2 dc in ch-2 sp, dc in each of next 3 dc) across, end last dc in top of ch-3 – 132 dc.
Row 20: Ch 3, turn, dc in each of next 2 dc, (bobble in next dc, dc in each of next 8 dc) to last 4 dc, end bobble in next dc, dc in each of next 3 dc – 15 bobbles.
Row 21: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg dc, dc in each st across – 133 dc.
Row 22: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg dc, (ch 2, sk 2 dc, 3 dc in next dc) across – 44 ch-2 sps.
Row 23: Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2), turn, (3 dc in next ch-2 sp, ch 2) across, end dc in top of ch-3 – 45 ch-2 sps.
Row 24: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc in beg ch-2 sp, (ch 2, 3 dc in next ch-2 sp) across – 44 ch-2 sps.
Row 25: Ch 3, turn, skip first dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, (2 dc in ch-2 sp, dc in each of next 3 dc) across, end last dc in top of ch-3 – 222 dc.

Fasten off.

FINISHING
Edging

From RS, join yarn at any edge of shawl.
Work [sc in next st, dc in each of next 2 sts, tr in each of next 2 sts, dc in each of next 2 sts] evenly around Shawl.
Weave in ends.

To print pattern, click Half Moon Shawl Pattern.

Half Moon Shawl, Astral Yarn4 (469x640)

This Half Moon Shawl is available to purchase, just click here!  Custom orders are welcome in any of the pretty Astral colors available.

Tips for Purchasing Suri Fiber for Doll Hair

We offer our raw suri fiber in two different forms.  Our Natural Suri has been carefully skirted, tumbled, and washed. Suri Locks have been taken one step further in that the individual locks of fiber have been separated from the rest of the fleece.

Natural Suri          Suri Locks

Doll makers are finding that suri alpaca makes beautiful doll hair!  There is some fiber terminology that may be helpful for doll makers purchasing suri fiber for doll hair.

Blythe Doll by Chris Hegarty

Purchasing the Natural Suri is the most economical way to purchase this silky, lustrous fiber.  There is a huge cost savings if purchasing an entire fleece, but this is usually way more fiber than needed for doll wigs.  Separating Suri Fiber into Locks is not difficult, but it is more expensive to buy fiber this way because of the time involved.  See How to Separate Locks of Suri Fiber.

Alpacas in the Pasture

The Terms:

Fiber is the hair of an alpaca.

Fleece is the coat of an alpaca, after having been sheared, but before being processed into yarn or thread.

Micron is the unit of measurement used in assessing the diameter of a fiber.

Micron count is scientifically devised by measuring the diameter of several individual fibers and determining the average. The lower microns are the finer fibers.  The larger the micron count, the courser the fiber.

The textile world generally uses six Grades of Fiber for Alpacas:

Grade 1 Ultra Fine (less than 20 microns)
Grade 2 Superfine (20-22.99 microns)
Grade 3 Fine (23-25.99 microns)
Grade 4 Medium (26-28.99 microns)
Grade 5 Intermediate (29-31.99 microns)
Grade 6 Robust (32 microns and above)

Locks
are the natural divisions in an animal’s fiber.  A single lock of suri is made up of multiple individual fibers.

Skirting is when fleece is shorn off an alpaca, the blanket or primary fleece is brought to a table where the guard hair and vegetable matter is hand picked from the fiber.

Staple is an independent cluster of individual fibers.

Staple Length is the actual length of shorn alpaca fiber.

Tumbling is when fiber is placed in a machine called a tumbler and, well, tumbled, to removed dirt, dust, vegetable matter, etc.

Vegetable Matter is the little pieces of hay, stray, dead leaves, seed heads, and sometimes burrs that find their home in alpaca fiber.

More Alpaca Fiber Terms can be found on the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of
North America, Inc. website.

Vegetable Matter

And now the TIPS:

 

1.  Be aware that there is a lot of waste when combing out the locks. Be sure to purchase up to an extra ounce for your project, to make sure you have enough.

2.  For whatever reason, the darker colors seem to work well in the higher micron range – 26 microns and up.   The fiber tends to have less static, is stronger for combing, but is still very lustrous and the fibers hang together well.

Dark Brown Suri Fiber

Dark Brown Suri Fiber Separated Into Locks

3.  On the flip side, the whites and lights work better in the finer micron ranges, say 20 – 28 microns.  Finer than 20 microns and the fibers will break.  Over 28 microns, the fiber just looks bad with no luster, the fiber looks coarse, etc.

White Suri Fiber

White Suri Fiber Not Separated Into Locks

4.  Lengthwise, the 7″-8″ fiber works the best.  That is just a year’s worth of growth for many animals, so it is easier to comb out, has less breakage, and overall has less damage than most of the two year growth animals.  Some doll makers opt for longer fiber, 9″ – 12″.  Though premium prices are charged for this longer fiber, it can be hard to comb out and tends to have more vegetable matter embedded in the locks.  Of course, it is lovely but can be more work.
Suri Alpaca Fiber, 6.5"', Medium Fawn, 2 Ounces, Simeon
5.  Stay away from fleeces of alpacas that the alpaca owner has shown extensively in the show ring.  This fiber is going to be prone to fiber breakage due to repeated stress and length of time the fiber is on the animal.
6.  Be cautious of first year fleeces.  Again, breakage due to stress of weaning can make the fleece problematic for doll hair.
7.  Buy from an experienced fleece handler who knows the doll hair market.  Many suri farms will offer their fleeces for sale in this market, but only a few will really understand the characteristics needed to make good doll hair!
 2012_634733645411868000
Thank you to Liz Vahlcamp and my doll maker friends for helping me with this post!

Other related posts:

Using Suri Fiber for Doll Hair
Doll Makers – Customer Gallery

Coming soon:

Washing Alpaca Fiber
Combing Suri Fiber for Doll Hair

Free Knitting Pattern – Drop Stitch Swizzle Alpaca Scarf

Scarf Crocheted with Swizzle Alpaca Yarn

I love how this scarf turned out!

Scarf Crocheted with Swizzle Alpaca Yarn

The yarn I used is 100% alpaca so of course it is soft and lovely!  This yarn is hand-dyed.  The color is Academy Blue, one of the nine beautiful shades in the Swizzle line from The Alpaca Yarn Company available at Alpaca Meadows.

Swizzle Alpaca Yarn Scarf

 The pattern is by Christine Vogel of Frazzled Knits.  She is right, it does look beautiful in a variegated yarn.  The horizontal drop stitch makes it fun to knit … as the yarn overs are dropped, the lacy design is created!

Swizzle Alpaca Yarn Scarf



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