Saturday, December 24, 2016

Now LIVE: Star-Over

We are very excited to announce new addition to our ever-growing Cup of Stitches collection of garments! 

Meet Star-Over, an oversized poncho-style top which features a boxy shape with a boat neckline, dropped shoulders and cute cuts at the sides. 



The colorwork and unusual construction ensure a satisfying level of challenge while crocheting it up! Happy crocheting!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Little Grey Top

We are excited to introduce a brand new crochet pattern from Yuliya: The Little Grey Top!

Clean, minimal and chic, this simple straight top will take the place of “the little black dress” in your wardrobe.

It will become that ultimate sleeveless top which can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Make it any colour you fancy and add it to your favourite outfits as a third piece and an extra layer of warmth.

The pattern will give you plenty of guidance to make sure you create this top to a high standard of craftsmanship and get those all-important seams and edgings just perfect so you can wear your handmade garment with pride.





Read more about this design:


Thursday, December 1, 2016

My shades of white

Every time I see a granny square project, with bright colors against a white background, I am amazed how gorgeous and cheerful it looks. It seems that there is no better color than white for pairing and bringing any bright colors together. Any color you pick for your project will work great on a pure white background.

However, every time I finished my own project with white as the background color, I felt disappointed with it. It didn't fit me or my living space. It looked like a foreign object, an eyesore. It took me some time to realize, that as great as this combination was, it didn't work for me.

There are many factors which put me off using white as a background color. Speaking of garments and accessories, the color theory of four seasons, which places each person into one of the four seasonal types (and their subtypes), doesn't recommend using white for those who belong to Spring and Autumn types. We, spring and autumn girls, need other neutrals, not as clear and crisp as white.

The high contrast created when white is combined with other colors is another issue. Style is all about harmony and balance, and dressing according to your natural contrast is important. Wearing high contrast items with low contrast face (or vice versa) creates an imbalance in the overall look. I didn't pay much attention to this, but the feeling that something was wrong was enough to make me put my newly crocheted scarf on the shelf.

Speaking of home crochet items, I realized that projects with bright colors on a white background needed much more work and taste to make them fit my room. This color combination is as beautiful and cheerful, as it is naughty and demanding. It emphasized the flaws of my room instead of making it look better.

Now, whenever I am about to start another colorful project, I force myself to forget about oh-so-cheerful-white color and pick some other quite boring neutrals: light grey, soft beige or cream. And this makes wonders.

Colors still pop, but in a subtle way which compliments my appearance and fits my home. Here are three examples of when I switched to another neutral color:

After Rain (pattern on Ravelry)

Granny Fish (pattern on Ravelry)

Sunset Echo (pattern on Ravelry)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gift-A-Long 2016!

We are happy to announce an exciting event which has just started on Ravelry!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a two-month-long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. Join this Ravelry group to participate.

From November 22 - November 30, 2016 more than 300 of indie knit and crochet designers will be discounting between 5 - 20 of their patterns for this event.

Both of us, Lena and Yuliya, are also offering 25% off select patterns this week. Simply enter "giftalong2016" as the coupon code to get money off the eligible patterns.

Find 38 patterns included in this sale from both of us in our bundles:
Lena’s bundle
Yuliya’s bundle

Happy gifting!





Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mental Vacation: Zzz Top

by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravlery)

This summer my inner introvert went through some tough times and to feel fresh again all I could do was to jump into the sea, lie on my back and mindlessly look at the sky. This relaxed me and made me feel fresh and calm.

Imagine this. The hot summer air makes everything look shaded and soft. The sky is grey, the water is teal. Nothing like crystal spring colors, or bright saturated autumnal colors. Your body weighs nothing, your ears are covered with water, you can barely hear anything. These were the best moments of my summer!


With these memories in mind, I created the Zzz Top, a new design within my Mental Vacation collection:


This pattern is written for three sizes (S, M and L) and has lots of possibilities for custom sizing. It also is a perfect “be your own designer” pattern, because of all the possible modifications which can be done easily and without any complicated calculations.

  • the construction (a top-down raglan) allows making this top as wide and long as you wish on-the-go (simply put it on and stop once you are happy with the length).
  • working from the top down also makes choosing yarn easier: pick the yarn you prefer to work with and work to desired top dimensions. Only you decide whether you want it to be a light-weighted top or a cozy thick sweater.
  • create a unique look by choosing your favorite colors and use them for one, two, or more rows (an empty grid for sketching is provided, as well as a couple of coloring examples).

Happy crocheting!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Crochet Looks

It is September, but if you are still enjoying a hot summer weather, here are a couple of our fresh Polyvore sets, which we hope you find inspirational. Feel free to grab any of our items off our Pinterest board, if you are contemplating making them and would like to give them a virtual wardrobe test-run on Polyvore.

Summer Date, featuring Gamine, a sleeveless crochet top with back buttoning (pattern link):


Summer Date


Summer Postcard, featuring Jolie, a lacy crochet top (pattern link):

Summer Postcard

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Now LIVE: Jolie and Gamine

We are very excited to announce two more additions to our ever-growing Cup of Stitches collection of garments.

Meet Jolie and Gamine, which are available both individually and as a two-pattern bundle.



For the first week, Yuliya is offering all our insiders a chance to buy these patterns at her old prices of £5 for each individual pattern and £7 for the bundle, instead of her new prices of £7 and £10 respectively. 

If you are interested in adding these garments to your wardrobe and would like to purchase either of the patterns (Jolie OR Gamine) or both (Summer 2016 ebook), feel free to enter INSIDER coupon code at the checkout and your total will be adjusted accordingly. This code will be valid until the end of Sunday, 11 September 2016 (GMT).

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mavka Dress in Progress

Sometimes when I am about to give up on a project, my team member cheers me up showing how GOOD it is! I call her my "cromometer" - crochet thermometer :) If the kitty is happy, I should keep going!





Have a nice day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Design Story: Mavka Dress

I prefer to think about my crochet obsessive-compulsive disorder (aka "using the same motif or stitch pattern over and over again") in a positive way. :)

It is so interesting to explore all of the possibilities a stitch pattern or a motif may offer: how it can be worked in rows or in the round, how increases and decreases can be made, what shapes can be created and so on.

Using the same stitch pattern or motif again doesn't bother me. It is like meeting your good old friend. You've known them for so many years, but there is always something new for you to learn about them and get closer.

However, I would not want to bother my crochet audience with a pile of repetitive designs, so I work on them at my leisure without including them in my design schedule. Just for my own pleasure. :)

Mavka Dress was started in summer 2015, right after the release of the Banana Pie pattern. I knew the top could be turned into a gorgeous dress, but I did not know then how gorgeous it could be! Clear lines, a gradually expanding silhouette and a flared skirt made this dress both playful and feminine, as well as practical.



I hate sewing, nor am I good at it, but I decided that this dress deserved its own fabric lining. I cut two pieces following the dress lines, sewed the top of the dress to the lining, so the neckline and the armhole lines connected directly to the fabric, and let the bottom of the fabric hang free.


I wasn't sure what color the fabric should be, so I first tried the dress against a few samples of different colors. Soft matching colors did not do much for the stitch pattern, while darker shades made the yarn color pop.


The dress layout uses eight motif types. Some of them are worked in the round (pentagon, hexagon and heptagon), and some are worked sideways and help shape the neckline, the armholes and the bottom of the dress.


The top part of the dress replicates Banana Pie, and if you already own this pattern, you can use MAVKA50 coupon code to get 50% off the dress pattern.

Links:
Mavka Dress
Banana Pie

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Design Story: Granny Fish Top


This story started more than three years ago, when I sketched the first draft of the fish motif in my workbook. But, as it always happens, there was something more urgent to make.

Luckily, one day it all clicked into place. I got the perfect yarn, not too thin or too thick, of the perfectly matching colors, and found room in my release schedule to make something fun and cheerful, something that has been calling me for years.

Since my goal for 2016 is to work on garments, I knew from the very beginning that I would use this motif in a top.

It all started very well. I finished the main part quickly, but soon enough ran into the first problem: the sizing.

It is very easy to make one of a kind piece for your desired size, but one of the most important designer's objective is to grade the pattern for multiple sizes. And not only that! The sizing needs to be clear, logical and consistent over all of the suggest sizes.

Eager to make this top for myself, I did not size the design from the start, but when time came, I had to face this question. At one point, I thought this design would never be published. But since there was so much completed already, I had to find a solution!

My original idea was to make the straps look like this:


They look simple, but grading for several sizes was impossible.

Large size motifs (in this case 14 cm across) always limit the layout options. Smaller motifs are a lot easier when it comes to pattern sizing. I needed to keep the fish going around the body in continuous rows and to have the exact number of fish blocks I needed. No, this was a dead end.

The second (very promising!) idea was to leave the fish body as it was and to crochet the upper part in simple granny stitch pattern.


When you crochet flat rather than in motifs, you can do whatever you want with the fabric: you can shape the neckline and the shoulder lines, and make the armhole as deep as you need. Sounds fantastic! But this was no good either. Mostly, because the flat fabric in the upper part had a different drape and was thinner than the lower portion, worked in motifs.

As small as it was, this detail was important. Hot summer weather requires comfortable clothing and this difference would be noticeable.

That was the day when I decided to give up, frog everything and re-join the motifs into a shawl.


And that was not such a bad idea, as leaving this problem for a bit and coming back to it later helped. A path to simplicity is not always as easy as we would like it to be, but bright solutions are often very straightforward. Here is where I should write something like "another month of many passed..." :)

I left the fish part as it was and added two pairs of straps, one in a regular manner and let the other one cross on the back. And finally it all clicked into place:
  • The fish now "swim" around the body in one unbroken line.
  • The grading for any size is possible with a convenient increment of one fish block size (14 cm). (Just work as many fish blocks as it needed for your bust measurement!)
  • The straps make this top very comfortable and do not constrain movement. 
  • Very feminine-looking straps balance the fun and childish fish pattern.



Granny Fish Top pattern is now live and you can find it in my store on Ravelry. The pattern includes several color options and fish layouts for your inspiration, as well as a blank schematics to colorize and create your own unique Granny Fish top.

Happy crocheting!

Links:
Granny Fish Top pattern on Ravelry



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Life Pleasures: Tata

Boats, like whiskey, are all good.

We found this boat on an empty beach. No one was around, I climbed inside and just sat there for a bit enjoying the sea view. What fun!




"A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s", even if it is just about a boat on the shore :)
Have a nice day!


Links:
Tata top on Ravelry

Friday, May 27, 2016

Life Pleasures: Morning Kvitka

Even now, when I finally have a simple life I have always wanted to live, I still get hectic days full of urgent issues I have to deal with, people to see and late evening arrivals. 

To make these days less stressful I decided to plan everything ahead, prepare my clothes and breakfast in advance and treat myself to lazy mornings before taking charge of all those pressing matters. 

We often forget about simple life pleasures and succumb to the daily routine. Take your time to enjoy your mornings.




Links:
Kvitka skirt on Ravelry

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Peacock on a Walk pattern: Crochet Technique

by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

The other day I was asked an interesting question about my Peacock on a Walk pattern:
Why was it designed this way and worked in one piece? Why not crochet the main part then the edging separately?
I had two reasons for doing this. The first one is that with this design I ticked off a new exciting technique off my "to-master" list, which had been lingering there for quite a long time.



This way of crocheting always amazes me and is such a great illustration of crochet magic powers. Can't you just do anything with crochet?!

This technique is quite popular among Asian and Russian-speaking crocheters. I have known it as "ribbon lace" technique. The idea is that you crochet narrow strips (ribbons) and create a piece of fabric by joining those strips together (quite similar to hairpin lace crochet). The main feature of this technique is that instead of working in rows all the way across, you work all of the rows within each section, section by section.

Let me explain this!

Usually, when you crochet a lace border, you work it row-by-row along a side or a base row (see pic. A).

Ribbon lace is worked perpendicularly. You work all rows withing each section (be it a scallop, a shell, a half circle - whichever it is that makes up your edging) and then go onto the next section (see pic. B). I call this method "edging worked across". But the original ribbon lace strips are even more challenging, as they are, in fact, TWO borders facing outwards (see pic. C), which are worked simultaneously.

The construction of Peacock on a Walk scarf is shown in pic. D.


I decided to start my designing challenge with a simpler item (an accessory, rather than a garment), but to make things a bit more exciting by adding a center lace panel between the borders. The stitch pattern of the center lace panel is repetitive and the width of the scarf can be adjusted by working more inner pattern repeats. The border sections remain unchanged.

Peacock on a Walk, a larger version with three inner pattern repeats.
The piece grows in length and, at the same time, in width, and both border sections face outwards, which means that they are worked mirror-like. There are actually three sections worked as a "U": the back-and-forth rows of center panel, and the back-and-forth rows for each of the two borders on the left and the right. This is definitely a challenging (although not too difficult) pattern for someone who likes crochet puzzles!

The second reason is all about the practical side and yardage. You can use all of your yarn ball without worrying about the yardage at all. Just stop at the end of any pattern repeat and voila! Your scarf is finished and ready to be worn. It is a perfect destash project, because you can use any yarn you like (creating an airy version from lace-weight yarn or a warm scarf using thicker yarn) and use all of it with no left-overs.

The yarn's the limit!

You can, however, make this scarf in two steps if that's what you prefer. First, complete the center lace part, and then crochet the borders - no problem!

But working this scarf in two separate steps makes it more difficult to calculate your yardage requirements. The border sections eat much more yarn than the center lace panel, and the yardage is also determined by the number of inner pattern repeats you decide to crochet. This is why I would highly recommend to make a swatch and to estimate how many pattern repeats you would be able to crochet before starting your scarf.

I pinned a couple of "ribbon lace" examples to my Pinterest board for your inspiration, and you can find them here:

Follow Lena Fedotova's board Crochet Technique: Ribbon Lace on Pinterest.

Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Design Story (and Video!): Pour Homme Kerchief

by Yuliya Tkacheva
(MsWeaver on Ravelry)

Last winter was not the easiest for my husband, with medical tests, followed by an urgent operation on his thyroid. He was a trooper throughout and we are hoping that “winter is not coming yet” (those of you watching “Game of Thrones” would know this phrase :).

He was asking me for a long time to make him a new kerchief, ever since he accidentally lost his Metro, and, although I hardly ever make crochet gifts (which are way too precious to be carelessly lost!), I felt that this year he deserved something special for his birthday.  Here is my kerchief “for him”:



Pour Homme is a triangular shawl worked sideways from a corner in alternating sections of textured Tunisian crochet stitch patterns. The gorgeous Malabrigo sock yarn in Eggplant is perfect to showcase the beauty of Tunisian crochet stitches and oh so soft!


For those familiar with Tunisian crochet, it should not present a huge challenge. The only thing you may find new is the way I work increases at the end of the forward pass. I have provided a step-by-step tutorial which will guide you through the first few rows and most of the stitches used are also included in my Tunisian crochet glossary. And if you prefer to work from a chart, this has been provided too.

Have you got anyone special in your life to make this kerchief for?

Pour Homme Kerchief on RavelryLove Crochet and Etsy

Friday, March 25, 2016

Design Story: Yoga Top

by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

I took just a few yoga classes in my life, but I still remember that feeling of happiness which stayed with me for days. This top remained named as a "blue-green top" in all my notes for a long time, almost a year, until the final photo shoot. Its fresh colors, relaxed fit, and matching yoga pants reminded me of those happy yoga days. Also, to have my hands free I had to push the remote control button with my toe, which was quite tricky!


Usually I am very careful with the item until the pattern is released. I immediately take it off after the photo shoot, because I never know how many times I will shoot it again and again. It needs to be in an excellent condition: no cat's hair, no coffee spills, no snagged threads. But for the first time I found myself wearing this top all day long. The fabric made of Malabrigo Silkpaca is a pure joy for the skin! The top is silky, airy and very soft. It is not too hot, or too cold, or itchy, or whatever something, it just feels like a second skin!


This top is T-shaped and worked bottom up to the armholes in rounds. The upper portion (starting from the armholes) is worked separately, side to side. Custom sizing is easy and is done as-you-go.

Since it is worked in the round, you can change the length of the top by working fever or more rounds. You can make the sleeves longer the same way by keeping crocheting each sleeve until the desired length. I regulated the width of the sleeve opening while working the last edging row by making tight stitches and skipping a few of them.


Another possible modification is the armhole depth. It is different for sizes XS/S and M/L, but you can easily change it by reducing or enlarging the total number of rows in the upper portion. Bear in mind, that in this case the neckline depth changes too, so you will need to think where to start the neckline beforehand.

The neckline can be made deeper (if you start it a few rows below) or turned from a V-shape to a boat-neck neckline. In this case you will need to work in rows to your desired neckline height and finish it the same way as the back neckline using triangular elements, which will create a straight edge.


The pattern also includes an empty layout grid to colorize and create your own top design and provides a few coloring examples. This empty layout grid can be used for custom modifications as well. Use it as a template and draw future modifications before you start.

The width of the top is changeable too. This can be done in several possible ways. If your gauge is similar to the gauge given in the pattern, change the starting number of triangular elements. Or you can use thinner/thicker yarn or smaller/larger size hook to archive smaller/larger gauge and choose a matching layout diagram with appropriate number of elements which will fit your bust circumference.

Note: It is suggested to have an even number of elements per row, so you can half it for the front and the back.

Have fun and don't be afraid to make changes and create your own unique pieces! Happy crocheting!

Links:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tunisian Crochet: Pour Homme and Yoga Top

by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

The best part of working as a team is the different ideas we come up with while being inspired by the same theme.

Last winter both Yuliya and I got hooked on a new stitch, the spike single crochet, and published three designs using this stitch: Polka Dots Mood (a kerchief and a cowl) and When Skies Are Grey (a rug). The former use spike stitches to create flat fabric and a polka dot pattern, while the latter is a flower design made of spike stitch motifs.

This spring we decided to go back to one of our all-time favourites, Tunisian crochet. Spring weather is so unpredictable and it is too early to start lacy projects, so Tunisian crochet fabric seems to be just what's needed for this in-between season.

Having this theme in mind, we designed two patterns and look how different they are!

Yuliya is known by her gorgeous textured stitch patterns. This time she came up with an asymmetrical unisex kerchief, full of interesting stitches, which will keep you engaged throughout the entire project.



And I continued to explore Tunisian entrelac, so mindless and easy (just a few stitches on the hook at a time!), and I am pleased to show you my Yoga Top:




More detail about each design yet to come!

Links:


Make sure to look for a special offer inside each pattern! 

Happy crocheting!