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Such wonderful memories in this chalet with my friend Sophie.
For several months I’ve been trying to organise a spinning/crochet/knitting retreat there, to share the passion and meet more amazing crafters…
(I know most of you have already planned your summer by now… Hopefully next year I’ll have all the details ready by spring!)
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Take a few days away from our daily routine, be surrounded by yarn and wool, crochets, knitting needles, drum carders and spinning wheels, meet more like-minded passionnate crafters, spend all day knitting or crocheting without feeling guilty about it, learn new techniques, explore new directions …

From thursday August 27th (2015) to sunday August 30th in MEGEVE (74), France, about 1 hour away from Geneva,
along with my friend Heike Madeleine we’ll be teaching a series of workshops in a beautiful vintage chalet
(cheap on-site accomodation possible, please enquire for details):

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- SPINNING yarn on a spinning wheel, and cleaning/carding raw fleece, with Heike & Sylvie

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This is a full-day workshop: during the morning we’ll learn to use a spinning wheel to spin yarn. How to draft, spin a consistent yarn, and even the basics of plying.
Over the afternoon, we’ll cover how to clean a raw fleece, card fiber using hand cards and a drum carder.
What we’ll learn:
– basics of spinning
– different types of drafting, and/or the difference between woolen and worsted yarns
– various fibers that can be spun into yarn
– various fiber preps: batts, rolags, combed top… and how to use them
– why spin your own yarn
– differences between various spinning wheels which you can try during workshop
– and so much more !
72 € / person, includes fiber and access to several wheels, hand cards, drum carders, hackle… (on site accomodation possible, please enquire for details)

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- Design and CROCHET the sweater/cardigan of your dreams with Sylvie Damey

wip1r Jehanne hooded cardigan Bulky4 (2) backWhite Ombeline cardigan, http://SylvieDamey.com

During this 2-day workshop, you will design and crochet the sweater or cardigan you’ve always dreamed of. Short or long sleeves, fitted or boxy, striped, lacy or solid, with your all-ime favorite stitch pattern… Using my basic top-down yoke design, we’ll learn how to crochet directly using only your body as a guide.
What we’ll learn:
– basic principles of top down construction of a sweater
– how to add drape to your crochet
– managing the rythm of increases/ decreases
– a clever and innovative way to work the under-arms
– how to determine how many sts to chain at the beginning
– pros and cons of top down construction versus other methods
– how to fix mistakes along the way
– using edgings to finish a garment with style
– and so much more !
95 € / person for both days (bring your hooks and yarn, at least worsted weight so we get better chances to finish it within both days…) – (on site accomodation possible, please enquire for details)
OR
140 € / person for both days with 400g of gradient yarn included and a set of 6 “Susan Bates” hooks. (you choose your colors)

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- Toe-up sock KNITTING, with Heike Madeleine (details to come)

- Knitting with beads, with Heike Madeleine (details to come)

- More spinning techniques: core-spinning, with Heike Madeleine (details to come)

I hope to see you there soon !! Please feel free to contact me for details.

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Summer is that time of the year when you feel free to wear any cray and fun clothes ! This is the spirit of my “Bertille hooded bolero”. Made for a festive and fun summer with friends and family.

Cropped shape to keep it light for the summer, but with a super long hood just because!
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Easy and quick to crochet in one piece from the end of hood down to lower back edge, with a shapely slanted cut in the back.
I made the hood extraaaa long on this one, but you’ll find notes in the pattern to make it shorter super easily.

As usual, pattern is detailed with step by step pictures and tutorials at the end.

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Made with aran-weight Magic wool deluxe by Ice yarns: a pretty pure wool gradient single yarn, much softer than Noro Kureyon and with lovely colors. (and doesn’t seem to pill so far)
Gauge: 17 stitches and 8 rows = 4 inches in dc in the front loop (US crochet terms)


You’ll find this pattern on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.

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I have just finished another one for my younger daughter (if all goes well, trying to release this also in teen sizes), with contrasting pink bobbles. So many possibilities !!

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And special thanks to my amazing teams of testers (Galina Dolgova-Ivanova, Trish Jones, Piperredfern) for their help and beautiful photos !

I’ve had requests for larger sizes for my patterns ever since I published Loup. Seemed like a good idea… except I didn’t know where to start, having heard many times you can’t just keep on increasing the sizing exponentially. Plus sizes are specific, and while my designing method is usually to create the garment directly on myself so it fits perfectly… I didn’t have anybody on hand to do that for larger sizes.

Then when a lovely lady kept insisting, I asked her if she’d be ready to take the risk of testing a larger size AND help me refine the sizing. Merci Fierdre !!! My sizing survey also helped me have a better grasp of actual measurements of larger bodies.

Thanks to her and other amazing crocheters who volunteered to help with the test, here’s my very first crochet pattern available in PLUS SIZES, including XL, 2XL, 3XL.

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The Floralie cardigan can be made with long sleeves and wool blends for the winter, or short sleeves and cotton blend yarn for the warmer months. A wide neckline and no waist shaping means clean and simple lines, making it a classic sweater you’ll love wearing every day.

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Made with bulky yarn, the delicate floral motif around the yoke keeps it light and stylish. I love the idea of those stripes too !!

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I can’t resist sharing the super kind words of Trish who made the above cardigan: “I am so glad that you care to accentuate a woman’s figure regardless of size in your designs. More fabric doesn’t make a woman look more attractive – accentuating the pluses of our figures does. Thank you for caring about those of us who aren’t thin. I was thin once and dressing the thin body is easier than trying to look or feel attractive when you have curves. Thank you for understanding and not just adding more fabric to mask our bodies in your designs!”

You’ll find this pattern on Ravelry and Etsy in 2 separate files, one including sizes XS to Xl, the other one including sizes XL to 3XL.
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Are you interested in more Plus Size crochet patterns ? Which pattern would you want me to upsize in priority ?

Turquoise for me please

Funny how I used to loathe the color turquoise as a teenager.
Turquoise was everywhere at that time, THE hot color ! Bracelets and jewelery, t-shirts and whatever. It was too much and I kind of swore to myself I’d never wear turquoise.

BUT. This is precisely the reason why I try never to say never. Right now I have a longing for this color. First wanted turquoise yarn for my Lutine des Fleurs, but was afraid it would be too bright for my complexion (later regretted this choice. Color I chose online is super lovely but not saturated enough for my taste)

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Then bought this yarn from Ice yarns. Magice wool deluxe in mixed grays, coal, blues… and TURQUOISE !!
Perfect for a little cropped bolero with long hood I had in mind too. Worked on this on and off since march, while finishing the testing/editing of Floralie.

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Finally it’s finished…can I just say it’s perfect ? Perfect for the weather we’re having now in the french Alps (warm enough to wear t-shirts and sandals, SO neat !), perfect to wear this summer at the “Lot et Laine” wool festival,
… and perfect colors of course !!

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Both my daughters have already requested I make one for them. And our special young friend Lis. wants one too. Thank god they’re quick to make ! Might take this opportunity to try and size it also for teens for once, now that my daughters are growing.

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First had a more lacy edging in mind, but didn’t out as planned so Bobbles appreared instead…
While I love that extra long hood (it’s even longer than on my previous long hoods !!), I’ll try and make it slightly shorter for the girls.

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A new hood, for a cropped bolero thought for chilly summer festival nights …

Yarn is very “Magic wool deluxe” from Kuka/Ice yarns. 100% wool, single with long color repeats reminiscent of the Noro but softer hand.

Loving it, can’t wait to have more to show :-D

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Because we live in altitude in the french Alps, warm woolens are a must in my wardrobe. Always looking for the perfect balance between warmth and style, I got tired of the traditional boxy sweaters and funnel necks.

Playing with this floral motif for various other designs, I had the basic idea for the “Floralie cardigan” ages ago: a taller and wider version of the same motif, but with incorporated increases that would replace the traditional way of increasing for the yoke.
But finding the proper bulky yarn took time… Until I stumbled upon those pretty cones of yarn, perfect color and content !

bulky2 DetailBas

Made with bulky yarn, the delicate floral motif around the yoke keeps it light and stylish. A wide neckline and no waist shaping means clean and simple lines, making it a classic sweater you’ll love wearing every day. (at least I do !!)

BoutonsJaunes2 BoutonsJaunes4

Or.
Skip the sleeves and use a cotton blend yarn… and you’ll get a lighter version for the warmer months too !!

TECH:

Because of the weight issues with bulky yarn, I highly recommend using acrylic blends for this sweater. (acrylic being much lighter than wool or cotton)
I used 2 strands of yarn for my winter version, making it a wool & acrylic blend.
I used the now discontinued “Goa” by GGH yarn for my summer version, which is a cotton & acrylic blend.

Size: XS-S-M-L-XL
for Bust: 71/76 – 81/86 – 91/96 – 101/106 – 111/116 cm 28/30 – 32/34 – 36/38 – 40/42 – 44/46 inches
Finished bust dimensions of cardigan: 76-86-96-106-116 cm 30-33¾-37¾-41¾-45½ inches

Materials:
– Approx 650-700-780-850-910 m of Bulky yarn for long sleeves version.
OR Approx 475-540-610-675-740 m of Bulky yarn for short sleeves version
– 6.5 mm (K) hook
– 8 large coconut shell buttons (enameled or natural), 3 cm (1¼ in) diameter.
– removable stitch-markers (optional)

Gauge: 12 sts and 6 rows = 10 cm/4″ over double crochet in front loop

Price: $6
– Available on Etsy, Ravelry or Craftsy.

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I’m so glad to see how so many people also love those super long hoods. Somewhere between dreamland and Woodland… Cozy to wear, but also fitted and feminine.

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Just like the baby version “Lutin Marguerite“, this new elfin cardigan “Lutine des Fleurs” is crocheted top down in one piece with worsted weight yarn. It features a super long elfin hood and flower motif inserts along the brim of hood and lower edge of cardigan.

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Closes with a zipper, because those sweaters are meant for everyday wear.

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TECH:

Size: XS (S, M, L, XL) – Bust: 71/76 (81/86, 91/96, 101/106, 111/116) cm – 28/30
(32/34, 36/38, 40/42, 44/46) inches
Finished bust dimensions of cardigan: 72.5 (82.5, 92.5, 103.5, 112) cm – 28 ½ (32 ½, 36 ½, 41,
44) inches

Materials:
– Cascade 220 “wool heathers”: 6 (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) hanks in Light Blue (MC) and 1 (1, 1, 1, 2) hank in Aster (CC) (Worsted / 10 ply yarn – 100%
Wool – 201 meters / 100 grams)
– 5.5 mm (I) hook
– 55 cm (21 ½ in) separating zipper in matching color

Gauge: 16 sts and 7.5 rows = 10 cm/4″ over double crochet in front loop

Price: $6 – Available on Etsy, Ravelry or Craftsy.

Special thanks to my amazing testers once again !! Here are some of their pretty “Lutine des fleurs”, made by CoudreDuCoeur, Starf1owr, Liaga.
CoudreDuCoeur TrishJones liaga

Local spinning retreat

  • French spinning/dying team "le Gang des teigneuses", gathered around Yurts for the week-end
  • Lovely Lily Bichette testing my Bliss wheel
  • Proof that I was there too !! (thanks to the lovely lady who graciously snapped a picture of me) Testing a friend's wheel.
  • My friend's Heike's PINK bobbins !
  • Spinning and knitting and crocheting and carding...
  • Master art yarns magician Domino (& a beautiful person)
  • Caroline trying to salvage a felted fleece with the carder...
  • When it started raining we had to retreat inside the yurts. Beautiful, but not much light inside.
  • A lesson in carding funky batts for art yarns... Fantastic to watch and listen to Domino's tips !
  • Inserting strips of glittery fabric
  • and watching it mix into the carder ( a finest from Strauch)
  • adding more fabric and fiber
  • more colors
  • (meanwhile, I had kept my spinning socks on, it was so cold !!! Not very sexy tho)
  • Removing the batt from the carder
  • Ta da !! Beautiful colors and so much texture ! I learned a lot and can't wait to experiment too :-)

Fantastic day last sunday, full of fiber and spinning wheels and drumcarders, dear friends and new friends.
We spun, carded, chatted, watched a demo of carding a super textured batt for art yarns.. And all this only 1 hour away from home in our little corner of France.
It was a joy to be among such a lovely bunch of fiber ladies !! Can’t wait for the next meetup, this summer in “Lot et Laine” fiber festival.

Peek into my studio (& new Hero !)

Big spring cleaning..
perfect opportunity to snap a few pictures before my “creativity” brings all the mess back !

Cuirs Packed away the funky leathers to make space for my cones of yarn.

Bobines

I love that this is now my direct view from my computer, perfectly distraction from emails of pattern editing..

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Lots of space on my large table for my brand new toy: the small “Hero” carder from Woolmakers !! (more about it soon)

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I LOVE that I can leave in place both the carder and sewing machine.. or the carder also fits in its own little spot right behind if I need the space !

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Beautiful carded batts and hand-dyed fiber swapped last week-end during our Yourt fiber retreat with dear friends. Just looking at them already makes me happy.

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On top of the shelves: matrioshkas, amigurumis and other lovely colorfull treasures !

Mannequin

At the other side of the room near some of the fabrics, my newest hooded cardigan design awaits the final editing before publication. (Oh if I could find a good name..)

Boutons

Buttons and bits and pieces.

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& Treasured reminders of my humble beginnings at crochet. All wonky and twisted with uneven stitches, and slanting rows because just like nearly other beginner crocheter I would skip stitches every now and then…
I just checked on Ravelry: my very first crochet projects date back to 2005. WOW !! That’s 10 years of learning, experimenting and having fun with crochet… And now I even have my own crafting studio. I’m so grateful !

WIP wednesday, and testing !

Fini2r
Bulky flower cardigan now has buttons… large enameled coconut shell buttons !! Took a moment to photograph this sleeveless version, and will now continue to add sleeves.
Only downside being that I should have remembered: Filz = felt in german/related nordic languages if I’m not mistaken… Which explains how this “Filzy wool” is not really made for non-felting projects. Oh well. It was so pretty I couldn’t resist… and I’m already planning more with more durable yarns.

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Meanwhile, progress was also made on the adult version of the “Lutin Marguerite“: testing phase of the pattern has now started !
(& you’re welcome to join us if you’d like. It’s happening on Ravelry)

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