Fair Isle vs. Intarsia

Back in 1994 I crocheted a Precious Moments afghan for my parents. Up until this project I thought one only used one color at a time when crocheting. However, I wanted to make the afghan with multiple colors. I simply cut and tied together the colors as they came up. I had never heard of Fair Isle or intarsia. If only I had! I probably could have finished the project a little faster, though the end result would have been much the same.

What are Fair Isle and intarsia? They are forms of changing colors while knitting or crocheting. More commonly associated with knitting, Fair Isle and intarsia can be used successfully with single crochet. Though both result in projects with images or patterns, how the color is changed is different. The Precious Moments afghan was done in a format similar to intarsia though not in true fashion since I cut the yarn and tied on the new color at each color change.

Fair Isle crochet scarves for 2011 Special Olympics

Fair Isle

In Fair Isle knitting or crocheting, two or more colors are used and carried along to be used as the pattern calls for it. It is carried loosely in the back when knitting and crocheted over/on top of when crocheting. Traditional Fair isle uses two colors per row or round. Two colors for knitting leaves only one color “stranded” alongthe back/wrong side. Two colors for crocheting means only one strand of yarn is hidden or crocheted over. The disadvantage of carrying multiple strands when crocheting is that it gets harder to to hide multiple strands as the stitches gets thicker around. This can also distort the size of the row.

Fair Isle knit skull hat

Intarsia

Intarsia is the use of multiple colors on multiple balls or bobbins. Each color is used and then dropped when the color is changed. The appropriate strand of yarn is picked back up and used on the way back across the row. For knitting, this requires picking up the new color from under the old color so the yarn is twisted together and a hole is not formed. For crocheting, the color may still need to be carried on a previous row a stitch or two like in the Fair Isle method if the color does not resume right above the previous row.

Crocheted Fair Isle and Intarsia Pillow

Fair Isle and Intarsia often use charts rather than detailed row by row written instructions. These charts can be used for knitting and crocheting. The stitch sizes in knitting and crocheting are slightly different, but will still work well when single crocheted. Half double and double crochets elongate the stitches which will distort the image. There will also be longer strands made when picking up “dropped” yarn from previous rows.

Fair Isle and intarsia designs can be made from any graph. If you can graph it, you can knit/crochet it. The sky truly is the limit. Check out the Graph It post for some ideas on making your own graph.

Yarn Bomb Bolivia

A friend sent me a picture of a tree that was yarn bombed in La Paz, Bolivia. Naturally nothing like that happened while I was living there. Thankfully my friend knows how much I love to knit and crochet. She just had to send me this picture.

I think whoever did this did a beautiful job. I especially like how many branches were covered. I also think the pom poms hanging from the branches are a crowning touch.

It’s winter around here. I think a few trees in my area could use some sweaters! Actually, I have a tree in my yard that split. I wonder if a wool sweater/cozy would help protect it during these cold months. I need a tree doctor’s advice on that!

Christmas Yarn Bomb – Pillar Cozies

While my sister was out of town I decided to yarn bomb her house. She was going to be out of town quite a bit during the holiday season and I didn’t want her neighbors to feel slighted that she didn’t do her part to bring holiday cheer to the neighborhood!

I initially put buttons on them to secure them to the pillars but they were spaced to far apart. I ended up tying sections together between the buttons on one and sewing the other one closed.

The red and white one was supposed to look like a candy cane but I’m afraid I didn’t make it slanted enough.

I used the largest knitting needles I had, which are about size 16 (12 mm).

Sock Monkey Ski Helmet Cover

Want to stand out on the ski slopes and have a little fun? Try crocheting a sock monkey ski helmet cover!

This is a simple and easy design to make, even if you’ve never made something without a pattern. For the best results it’s best to have the actual helmet on hand so you can make increases and decreases as necessary.  Below are some pseudo directions on how to make a sock monkey ski helmet cover of your very own!

Basic Instructions

Materials

Yarn: acrylic, wool, or any type desired.

Colors: Red, off white, black, brown and white variegated. You can hold one brown and one off white strand of yarn at the same time while doing the main portion of the monkey to get the variegated look.

Hook: size H or any preferred size. Smaller hooks will require more stitches but hold more snuggly.

Needle: large needle for sewing the various parts to the basic cover.

Abbreviations: dc = double crochet; hdc = half double crochet; sc = single crochet

To begin, if your helmet is more round you can start with a circle at the top. If it’s slightly more oval in shape, start with a short chain strand. The helmet cover I made was for the larger silver helmet. It is oval in shape so I started with a chain of about 8.

Off-white Color: Chain 8, dc in the 4th chain from the hook, then dc in the next 3 stitches, 5 dc on the end, 3 dc on the other side of the original chain spaces and an additional 4 dc on the other end.

**Join each round to keep the circles symmetrical. Chain 3 at the beginning of each dc round to act as the first dc.**

Altogether I made 4 dc rounds in off white. There is one dc for each stitch on the sides of the oval, and additional dc stitches added at the ends in a frequency to keep the oval flat.

Red Color: Sc for 2 rounds. Again, 1 sc for each of the side stitches and additional sc stitches on the ends to keep the piece flat.

Brown/Off-White Color: dc 6 rounds. The first 2 rounds you may want to add extra dc stitches at the ends to keep increasing the size. The last several rounds you should dc the same amount so it curves around the sides of the helmet. Check the size of the cover on the helmet periodically to make sure it is fitting correctly. Decreases (crocheting 2 stitches together) may be made to help conform as necessary.

Rounds 7-8, dc around until you get to the goggle area. If you want the helmet goggle holder to go over the helmet cover, you need to make an opening. To do so, simply stop at the goggle area and turn your work and dc in the opposite direction. Dc all the way back around to the goggle area leaving about 6 dc stitches unworked.

Rounds 9-10, dc around except under the front lip of the helmet. Sc decrease across the front of the helmet to cause it to curve around the body/lip of the helmet. This will naturally keep the cover attached

to the front of the helmet. Dc to the goggle area. Turn and work back around changing to sc decreases for the front lip of the helmet. At the end of the 10th round you should be back to the goggle opening. Chain 5 and join to the other side with a slip stitch. The goggle strap should help keep the helmet cover on in the back. Cut yarn and weave in end.

A few more dc rows may be added, but they do not go all the way around. Put the helmet cover on to see where to start the dc rows on the sides. Dc around the sides and back decreasing if you want more snugness.

*Note: The goggles will be strapped in this area. The helmet cover may make the goggles slip a little. You may not want the helmet cover to go all the way to the bottom of the sides/back of the helmet.

Sock monkey features:

Eyes/Black: (Make 2)

Round 1: Chain 2, 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook.

Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch around.

Round 3: *1 sc, 2 sc in next stitch* around. Join with a slip stitch. Cut yarn leaving a long tail to sew the eyes to the head.

Mouth/Red & Off-White:

Round 1: (Red) Chain16, sc in 2nd chain from hook. 3 sc, 1 hdc, 5 dc, 1 hdc, 4 sc, 3 sc in last chain space. Working on the other side of the chain, 4 sc, 1 hdc, 5 dc, 1 hdc, 4sc. Join with a slip stitch. Cut yarn; weave in end.

Round 2: (Off-white) Starting at the end of the mouth, dc in all the sc stitches, hdc in the hdc stitches, and sc in all the dc stitches of the previous round. Make sure there are 5 dc on each end.

Mr. and Mrs. Sock Monkey

Note: You can make the round 3 dimensional or flat. A flat mouth will make it easier to put the goggles up on the front of the helmet. A 3 dimensional mouth makes it look a little more like sock monkey. A 3 dimensional mouth is shown in the picture above.

Round 3: For a 3 dimensional mouth, dc around not increasing or decreasing around. Join. Leave a long tail for sewing on to the head. Add 2 little black lines with black yarn to indicate the nostrils. Stuff lightly before sewing. (For a flat mouth, sc around adding a few stitches on the ends to keep it flat. Do no stuff. Add two black nostril marks and sew to head.)

Ears/Brown/Off-white Color:

Row 1: Chain 6. Dc in 4 chain from hook. 2 dc in same stitch. 1 dc, 3 dc in last stitch.

Row 2 and on: Dc in each stitch with extra dc on each end. The ear will curve if you do the same number of stitches or decrease at the top parts. Continue until the ear is the size you want. Sew to sides of the head above wear your ears would go.

Pom Pom: The pom pom can be made as full and long as desired. There are pom pom makers for sale, but one can be made quickly on one’s hand. Simply wrap the yarn around the palm of your hand. To make longer strands spread your fingers apart and wrap around those. (The more times you wrap the yarn around your hand the fuller the pom pom will be.) Tie a piece of yarn around the middle of the bundle of yarn. Cut the loops on the top and bottom and you have a pom pom. You may want to trim the ends if they are very uneven.

Sizing and Gauge

Ever make a hat that would only fit a giant or a sweater so tight that it would only fit a kid? If you are like me, sometimes the items made by the designers are so much cuter than mine because they knit or crochet tighter or looser than I. Sometimes this can be resolved by using larger or smaller needles and hooks to get the correct gauge. Sometimes that won’t make a difference. But not all is lost!

Tip #1: Check the gauge.

If the size will matter, make a practice swatch, or check your *gauge after you’ve started the project. It’s better to tear it out at the beginning than to finish a project you can’t give to the intended receiver! Please don’t complain to/about the designer/project if you didn’t make adjustments to match the gauge!

Tip #2: Compare the parts of the project to one another.

Sometimes projects have several parts that have to be sewn together. For some reason the underbelly of the dragons I made never matched the main part of the dragon. Because it’s a long time-intensive piece, I would hold it up to the main part to increase and decrease rows as necessary. Keep the vital parts of the project handy and compare often if you want to avoid tearing out your work (and your hair!)

Tip #3: Read reviews about the pattern.

Some patterns are listed on websites or forums that allow users to post comments. Ravelry is a great forum for seeing what others thought about a pattern. It shows the projects others have made from the project and what they thought about the pattern directions and results. A quick visual of the finished projects gives you an idea of how the pattern may generally be expected to turn out. They often show modifications people made which can inspire you as you work as well.

*Gauge is the measurement of stitches and rows. To get the size of object the pattern indicates your stitches should be the same size as the designers. If a gauge is included it will indicate how many stitches equals a certain number of inches or centimeters.  It should also say how many rows equals a certain number of inches or centimeters.

Android Hat

Want to be the man in the machine? Now you can with this crocheted Android hat! I designed this hat for my brother-in-law who is somewhat of an expert on Droid. (You can check out his website, Use My Droid, for lots of tips and tricks.) This hat can be made with or without arms, and though I added a lining, one is not required.

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The directions for the crocheted version of the Android hat are written below. Click on Android Hat for the PDF version.

Materials:

85 grams Red Heart Soft Guacamole yarn

Remnant Red Heart Soft Off White yarn

Or medium worsted weight yarn of your choice

Size H hook (5 mm)

Abbreviations:

Ch = chain

Dc = double crochet

Dec = decrease (crochet 2 together)

Hat Directions

Using green color

Chain 2

Rnd 1: 6 sc in second chain from hook. Join with a slip stitch.

Rnd 2: Chain 3 (count as first double crochet), dc in same stitch. 2 dc in each stitch remaining. Join with a slip stitch.

Rnd 3: Chain 3, 2 dc in next stitch. *1 dc, 2 dc in next stitch* (repeat pattern in * around). Join with a slip stitch.

Rnd 4: Chain 3, dc, 2 dc in next stitch. *2 dc, 2 dc in next stitch* around. Join.

Rnd 5: Chain 3, 2 dc, 2 dc in next stitch. *3 dc, 2 dc in next stitch* around. Join.

Rnd 6: Chain 3, 3 dc, 2 dc in next stitch. *4 dc, 2 dc in next stitch* around. Join.

Note: To make a larger hat, continue the pattern of increases until you get the circumference desired.

Rnd 7-15: Chain 3, dc around. Join with slip stitch. (Do as many rounds needed to get the length desired.)

Rnd 16-17: Switch to off white yarn. Chain 3, dc around. Join with slip stitch. Cut yarn. Weave in end.

If more length is desired in the back, a few short rows can be added. Using green, connect it to any stitch:

Row 18: Chain 3, 41 dc, turn

Row 19: Chain 3, dc dec, 38 dc, turn

Row 20: Chain 3, dc dec, 36 dc. Cut yarn and weave in end.

Antennae (make 2)

( Leave a long tail in the beginning for sewing the antennae to the hat.)

Chain 7. Join with a slip stitch to form a ring.

Rnd 1-7: Sc around. Do not join with a slip stitch, rather continue sc around until the antennae is about 1 ½ inches tall (3.5 cm) or height desired.

Rnd 8: 3 dec. Finish with a slip stitch. Cut yarn, pick up each stitch to pull tightly closed. Knot and weave in end.

Eyes (make 2)

Chain 2

Rnd 1: 6 sc in second chain from hook. Join with a slip stitch.

Rnd 2: chain 3 (count as first double crochet), dc in same stitch. 2 dc in each stitch around. Join with a slip stitch. Cut yarn leaving a long tail for sewing.

Arms/Ear Flaps (make 2)

Chain 13

Rnd 1: Dc in 3rd chain from hook. Dc in each stitch until the last one. 6 dc in last stitch. Working on the other side of the chain stitches dc across. 5 dc in same stitch as the original chain 3 space. Join with a slip stitch.

Rnd 2: Chain 3. 11 dc, 2 dc in next two stitches, 3 dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next two stitches, 11 dc, 2 dc in next two stitches, 3 dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch, dc in same stitch as chain 3 stitch. Join. (Add or subtr

act dc stitches on the ends to keep the arm flat as needed.)

Rnd 3: Chain 3. 13 dc, 2 dc in next seven stitches, 13 dc, 2 dc in next seven stitches. Join. Cut yarn and leave a long end for sewing on to hat.

Placement

Eyes: The eyes are somewhat wide originally, but when the hat is worn, the eyes seem farther apart. Sew them on approximately two rows above the white and 6 stitches apart.

Antennae: They are sewn on round 5 at the midline.

Arms: These can be sewn on the ends of the extensions of the hat or on the white band. For best results, the hat should be tried on and the arms sewn where the ears line up.

Optional: A fleece lining can be sewn inside.

Graph It!

Why does it seem that knitters have more fun with grids and intarsia? Pictures, patterns, and color changes are fun and easy with crocheting as well. Simple designs and more complex pictures can be turned into graphs and made into scarves, blankets, hats and more.

After seeing Peggy Jean Kaylor’s Special Olympics logo scarf on Ravelry and Crafty Knit Chick’s  star scarf, I decided to make my own chart using grid paper. I chose a snowflake since I wanted to make a scarf for the Special Olympics winter games.

My first pattern was tested by my sister and was a disaster! I designed a pattern with lines that were only one stitch wide. It made it hard to see the design clearly.

Tip 1: Patterns and lines are easier to see if they are at least two squares/two stitches thick. That doesn’t mean you can never do things one stitch thick. It just means be careful with the width of designs.

I worked up the second design with thicker lines. It turned out much better. Check out the pattern on the Intarsia for Special Olympics post.

Many shapes can be turned into charts using grid or graph paper. Here’s a few tips to make it happen.

Tip 2: Determine the dimensions required ahead of time if that’s critical.

For instance, draw a rectangle or side lines for the outer limits of your project or graph work. I wanted a symmetrical shape for a scarf only 6 inches wide so I drew a square 23 x 23 on my graph paper then worked on the snowflake inside those lines.

Tip 3: If the shape is not symmetrical from top to bottom and it is going on a project like a scarf, the shape needs to be flipped upside down for the second half of the project.

I completed one scarf before I realized the image looked upside down on half the scarf. Technically stars don’t have tops or bottoms so it was fine, this time!

Tip 4: If you don’t want the image to go all the way to the sides/ends of the project, be sure to include “blank” spaces around the shape on the graph/chart.

Sometimes you can add the extra rows or stitches on your own, but it’s easy to forget them if they are not included on the chart.

Tip 5: For larger images, each square on the graph paper may represent more than one stitch, though it would may also need to represent more than one row.

Large or intricate images may require multiple sheets of graph paper to draw out to scale. Though cumbersome, it could save time when actually making the project.

Tip 6: Patterns will work up differently if you use sc, hdc, or dc. Sc usually makes square stitches. Hdc and dc makes taller stitches and will elongate the shape.

Using hdc for the star pattern made long stars. I think it would have looked better in shorter stitches. This may turn out to be a matter of personal preference.

These tips should get you started. There is almost no limit to what you can crochet. If you can graph it, you can crochet it!

Fair Isle for Special Olympics

Many states are collecting scarves for the 2011 Special Olympics. And because I can’t do anything basic, I decided to make some scarves with Fair Isle! Thanks to Peggy Jean Kaylor and Crafty Knit Chicks for the Special Olympics logo and star graphs. Wanting to create a little Fair Isle work myself, I came up with a snowflake chart/grid, with the help of my sister. (I gave my sister the first pattern, which didn’t turn out too well! My second attempt turned out much better.)

The graph for the Special Olympics logo can by found on Ravelry. The star chart can be found at the Crafty Knit Chicks website. Though they are both written as knit patterns, they both can be crocheted using single crochet. I did the star with half double crochet, but that elongated the star a little bit.

The scarves are approximately 23 stitches wide. Per the requirements, the scarves are crocheted with Red Heart blue and turqua yarn. They are all approximately 6 inches wide x 54-60 inches long. They were made with a size H hook, though the requirements for the Olympics scarves project doesn’t mandate a specific pattern or hook size.

Not sure what Fair Isle knitting or crocheting is? Check out my post on Fair Isle vs. Intarsia.

Snowflake Scarf pattern – PDF

Basic snowflake scarf instructions

Pattern

Color A

Chain 23

Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and each stitch across. Chain 1, turn.

Row 2: (1sc, 1dc) in 2nd chain from hook. Skip the next stitch. *(1 sc, dc) in next stitch, skip next stitch* across to the last two stitches. Sc in last two stitches.

Rows 3-25: Follow the pattern on the chart using sc for each stitch. Chain 1 and turn at the end of each row. (The chart can be found here in the Snowflake Scarf pattern.)

Color A for the X’s, color B on the blank spots.

Row 26: Repeat row 2

Row 27: Chain 3 (count as first dc). (Dc, ch-1, 2dc) in next stitch. Skip 3 stitches. *(2dc, ch1, 2dc) in next stitch* across. The last dc should be made in the last stitch.

Row 28: Repeat row 2 except skip all the ch-1 spaces of the previous row.

Row 29-30: Repeat rows 27 and 2.

Row 31: Chain 3, dc across.

Repeat Row 31 until the scarf measures approximately 50 inches in length (about 76 rows).

Row 107-110: Repeat rows 2 and 27 twice.

Row 111: Repeat row 2.

Rows 112-134: follow the snowflake chart.

Row 135: Repeat row 2.

Row 136: Sc across. Tie off; weave in end.

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