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Bliss, my Woolmakers spinning wheel

For ages I’ve had dreams of getting a spinning wheel… someday.

We didn’t have enough room (and yet already so many craft supplies!!) and not quite the budget either. I would spin every now and then either on my handmade spindles, or my kick-spindle.

bliss1 Bliss
Then a few weeks back, Heike invited me to her studio to try her several wheels and carder. WOw. I loved spinning on her Fantasia and Bliss. So smooth, so silent. Easy to use, … and sooooooo fast compared to spindles !!

carding a batt Bliss3 carding a batt
I also fed some of the fibers I had brought along into her carder. Yum, exquisite fluffy batts !!!! Just fantastic !
MIxing fiber on the hackle MIxing fiber on the hackle
Heike tried my hackle and made lovely buns. She seemed to like it (the result is way different from carded batts) and plans on making one herself. She also tried the kick-spindle, but if you can have a wheel a kick-spindle is not so exciting… ;-)

At the end of the day, I had drastically changed my priorities. The carder could wait, but I needed a wheel, if only because I could spin the singles and ply it all in one afternoon instead of the full week it usually took me…! And the Bliss looked like the best option for me : double treadle option, quite cheap (starting at 270 Euros w/ shipping included), super easy to use and adjust, and apparently needing hardly any maintenance. Oh, and I loved the look of the bobbins along the left leg of the wheel.

A few days later (it was a thursday), I placed my order for double treadle wheel with extra bobbins while at it (buying them later means nearly doubling their price with the additional shipping). I did read other people received it in 3 days…
Bliss wheel assembly - woolmakers spinning wheel Bliss wheel assembly - woolmakers spinning wheel
But was really surprised to see the large box delivered on monday morning ! Of course I couldn’t resist and started assembling it right away. Really doable with the manual, and I loved the fact that they even included the screwdriver in the tools! No need to run around the house for one !)
first spinning on my Bliss spinning wheel by Woolmakers my daughter's first spinning on Bliss spinning wheel by Woolmakers
About an hour later, I sat on the side of the couch and started spinning with some ugly training fibers. Then spun pretty rovings into singles, and plied some…
Even my older daughter begged to try the wheel. She didn’t do too bad for a first time too ! (and said I was a good teacher. when all I could think of was my new wheel and what I’d be spinning next. she’s so nice !)
Single spun on my Bliss spinning wheel by Woolmakers Yarns spun on my Bliss spinning wheel by Woolmakers
Here are some of the yarns I’ve spun on it so far. The purplish single spun from the above batt… and later plied in a 2-ply. And various other yarns…

Since then, I am having the best time re-reading all my spinning books, and getting a couple new ones. Experimenting to get the hang of true worsted spinning, and long-draw woolen… So much fun. I could do this all day… yet I need more time. And more fiber !

Next week if only !!!! of course I meant YEAR I may get the Hero carder (or maybe a classic carder if I can save enough…)

Here’s a second pattern for 13″ dolls such as Les Chéries by Corolle, or Hearts for Hears dolls ect…
Zoé crochet pattern for 13" dolls such as Les Chéries Corolle by Sylvie Damey - ChezPlum

The pattern includes:
-a long sleeved cardigan worked top down in one piece with faux cables around the yoke, and a pretty picots edging along the bottom edge and wrists. It closes with 2 buttons.
- and a matching beret, with the same faux cables running around the hat, which is crocheted in the round.

Zoé crochet pattern for 13" dolls such as Les Chéries Corolle by Sylvie Damey - ChezPlum

You’ll need 1 ball of fingering weight yarn, and a 3.25 mm (D) hook. I used Phildar’s “Lambswool” for this orange set.

Zoé crochet pattern for 13" dolls such as Les Chéries Corolle by Sylvie Damey - ChezPlum Zoé crochet pattern for 13" dolls such as Les Chéries Corolle by Sylvie Damey - ChezPlum

This pattern is now available in french & english on Etsy and Ravelry.

Find more patterns and tutorials for 13″ dolls on my Doll blog !

A couple weeks ago, a customer asked me questions about those french dolls featured in “Marie Claire Idées” magazine.
A few hours later … I hadpurchased my first Les Chéries doll: Atsuko-Capucine.
Les Chéries dolls by Corolle, Capucine - 13" french doll

Some of the wee miniature sweaters I had made before did fit her, yet I wanted something scaled down to her size.

Adelie cardigan and hat for 13" dolls, free crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
I bought new smaller Susan Bates hooks, grabbed some beautiful “Just plum” sock yarn saved for a good occasion… and Ta Dam !

Adelie cardigan and hat for 13" dolls, free crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
The little doll now has a pretty new short-sleeved cardigan and matching pointy hat. The cardigan is worked top down in one piece, closes with a ribbon weaved through the waist’s eyelets. And a row of shells makes a pretty edging.

This FREE crochet pattern for 13″ dolls is now available in french or english here. It should fit most 13″ dolls such as Les Chéries, H4H, Little Darlings by Diana Effner, Minouches… I have yet to try it on my daughter’s Groovy girl to see how it fits too ;-)

For more details or to see the other garments I’m sewing and crocheting for this doll (& the 2 other Chéries dolls my daughters will be getting for their birthdays very soon!), you may have a look at my new Chéries doll blog..

Enjoy !

More hoods, and Gallery pics

So many WIPs, but I always feel like I don’t have much to show lately.

Pointilles cardigan, sylvie Damey chezplum.com
Old designs set aside until I figure out how to fix a particuliar issue.

Noro Kureyon Hood, by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
New designs set aside until I figure out which yarn to use.

Rond poholders, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
Very old designs finally written down and pattern being tested…

Jehannehooded cardigan, in progress, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
Meanwhile, I’m making another Jehanne hooded cardigan for a commission order. It looks SO tiny there must be something wrong with my gauge. Might have to frog up to the hood and change hooks. Can a person change totally their style of crocheting, so much that they need to change the size of hooks to make the same garment ? Time to take some measurements and we’ll see …

Finally, here are some picture graciously shared by customers :

Ermeline hooded cardigan, crocheted by Julie, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com Ermeline hooded cardigan, crocheted by Julie, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
Julie sent those pictures of her crocheted Ermeline hooded cardigan:
Hi, bonjour, I bought your sweater pattern to make sweaters for my triplets and I just thought I would share it with u. It was fairly easy to follow. I did make some few changes to the pattern just to make it make the hat a little longe and I added thumb holes for the sleeves, but the base was from the purchased pattern bought off your etsy page. Hope you appreciate the results and thank you for your detailed pattern. I look forward to seeing more ideas in the future. Julie, Ontario, canada

PadCl-Etsy made using sewing pattern by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com
Cl. made here very first washable pad using my sanitary pads sewing pattern : “Hello, I just made my first washable pad from your pattern. Very chuffed. The fabric is the remains of some that i used for my eldest child, to make a babygro – when she was 7 months old. she’s now 19 years old. Thanks

For the last couple years I have started publishing my patterns also in french.
Last week 2 finished hooded cardigans popped on lovely french blogs:

Ermeline hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey chezPlum.com, made by Barjolaine
Barjolaine whipped this Ermeline kids hooded cardigan in 2 days. It’s made in icelandic Lett Lopi yarn in super pretty pink and green shades, purchased as a kit with the Ermeline pattern (french or english) and yarn.

Ermeline hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com, made by Barjolaine Ermeline hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com, made by Barjolaine Ermeline hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com, made by Barjolaine

Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com, made by l'aiguille étourdie
L’aiguille étourdie made the adult version, the Jehanne cardigan, in colors that say “Spring” allover, with daisies to cover up the granny triangles …

Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com, made by l'aiguille étourdie Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com, made by l'aiguille étourdie

For more pics of finished garments made using with my patterns, have a look at the Gallery.

It’s spring folks ! It’s been sunny for at least a week and we’re eating outside every day. Makes me so happy :-)

How is the weather in your corner of the world ?

Since many of you seem to like to make matching garments in children’s and women sizes just as much as I do, I combined 3 of my most popular patterns:

the 3 matching crocheted cardigans with long hoods: Jehanne, Armel and Ermeline. That’s 3 patterns for the price of 2 ! :-)

3 crochet patterns for matching cardis with hood by Sylvie Damey chezplum.com

Price: $12

You will find this Ebook on Ravelry, on Etsy sylvchezplum or Etsy FrenchStyleCrochet, & on Craftsy.

The 3 crochet patterns included are:

Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com
The Jehanne cardigan with super long hood uses worsted weight yarn (shown in PINK Cascade wool 220), and includes women’s sizes from XS to XL.

Armel hooded cardigan for boys, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, chezplum.com Armel boy's cardigan with hood crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com
The Armel cardigan, with hood and front pocket is crocheted with aran weight yarn (shown in GREEN Gedifra Fashion trend) and includes children’s sizes from 2 to 8.

Ermeline, crochet pattern for cardigan with hood for children by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com Ermeline, crochet pattern for cardigan with hood for children by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com Ermeline, crochet pattern for cardigan with hood for children by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com Ermeline hooded cardi, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com
The Ermeline cardigan, with super long hood and more hip shaping, is crocheted with aran weight yarn (shown in BLUE Gedifra Fashion trend) and includes children’s sizes from 2 to 8.

Round Rainbow Rug, a free crochet pattern

Round Rug, free crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com

This super bulky yarn was sitting in my stash for nearly 20 years. I first tried making a hat. But it was so thick it looked like a helmet.. which wasn’t the look I was looking for.

I crocheted a rug instead. Maybe you have a large stash too… so here’s a free pattern to crochet a colorful rug:

Materials:
Super bulky yarn in 3 colors. Choose wool yarn as you’ll need to be able to block it flat. I used red, blue and green.
10 mm (N/P) crochet hook

Finished size: mine measures approx 58 cm (22 3/4 in). Size may vary depending on weight of yarn used.

Round Rug, free crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rug is worked in the round. I’m using US crochet terms.

With color A (red), ch3, sl st to 1st ch to close round.
R1: ch3, 11 dc in round. Close with a slip st to top of initial ch3. (= 12 sts)
R2: ch3 and work 1 dc in same st, work 2 dc in next st and in each foll st. Close with a slip st to top of initial ch3. (24 sts)
R3: ch3, *work 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st *, rep from * to * around, end with 2 dc in last st. Close with a slip st to top of initial ch3. (36 sts)
R4: ch3, *work 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts *, rep from * to * around, end with 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in last st . Close with a slip st to top of initial ch3. (48 sts)

Join color B (blue), but do not break first color. I let the unused color run in the back of the rug until next time I use it.

R5: with color B, ch1 and work 1 sc in same st, work 1 sc in each st around. Close with a sl st to first sc. (48 sts)

Join color C (green), but do not break color B.

R6: with color C, ch3, *ch2, skip 2 sts and work 1 dc in next st *, repeat from * to * around, end with ch2, skip 2 sts, join with sl st to top of initial ch3. (24 dc and 24 ch-2 spaces)
R7: ch3, * work 2 dc in next ch-space, work 1 dc in next dc *, repeat from * to * around, end with 2 dc in last ch-space and join to top of initial ch3. (72 sts)
R8: ch3, * 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 5 sts*, rep from * to * around, end with 2 dc in last st, join to top of initial ch3. (I stopped counting sts at this stage..)
R9: ch3, * 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 6 sts*, rep from * to * around, end with 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in last st, join to top of initial ch3.
R10: ch3, * 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 7 sts*, rep from * to * around, end with 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in each of last 2 sts, join to top of initial ch3.

Change back to color B (blue).

R11: With color B ch3, *ch2, skip 2 sts and work 1 dc in next st *, repeat from * to * around, join with sl st to top of initial ch3.
R12: ch1 and work 1 sc in same st, *work 1 sc in ch-2 space, work 1 sc in top of next dc *, repeat from * to * around, join with sl st to first sc.

Break color B.

Now we’re going to work one last edging round with the remaining 2 colors, carrying one yarn along (you work over this carried-along yarn) while crocheting with the other color.
This last round will be worked all in the BACK LOOP to add a little relief.

R13: using both colors A and C, work as foll – * with A sc in the back loop of the next 2 sts (work over color C to carry it along), with C sc in the back loop of the next 2 sts (work over color A to carry it along) and make a picot: ch3 and sc in the same st to close picot; with A sc in back loop of next 2 sts as established, with C sc in back loop of next 2 sts *, rep from * to * around.

Fasten off and break yarn. Weave in ends.

Round rug, free crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey http://chezplum.com Round Rug, free crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com

Wet block to lay flat. And enjoy ! .. or let the cat play on the new rug :-)

I love crochet. I really do.
Yet not ALL of crochet.
Ermeline hooded cardi, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com Dancing poppies cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, chezplum.com

We’ve probably all seen “old-style crochet” which looks like chainmail: fabric so dense it could nearly stand up by itself. And heavy too because it uses up so much yarn. Totally unsuitable for garments, even more unsuitable for baby garments.

When it comes to drape and ease, knitting is usually better suited to making garments with thin fabric that moves easily to follow the shapes of your body.

Jehanne hooded cardigan, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey ChezPlum.com Yellow

Which is why I love crocheting in the front loop so much. Working in the front loop only stretches and elongates each stitch so that the resulting fabric is way thinner, much closer to knit fabric. The resulting crocheted piece is also more elastic and stretches more easily, so that it follows the curves of your body more closely.

This is the technique I use for all my crocheted garments and they always fit so well !

If you’ve never tried crocheting in the front loop yet, let’s get started:
crochet tutorial  - working in the front loop by ChezPlum.com

On top of each row (here working in dc -US terminology) you can see each stitch forming like a “V”. The legs of that V are the 2 “loops” of each stitch. We are going here to use the FRONT loop only: that’s the loop closest to you when crocheting.
NOTE: working in the back loop would totally change the end result, closer to the look of knit ribbing !

crochet tutorial  - working in the front loop by ChezPlum.com DcFrontLoop

To work a dc in front loop, insert your hook under the front strand of “V” at top of stitch. You’ll have to tilt slightly your piece to see both strands properly. Then work the stitch as usual.

crochet tutorial  - working in the front loop by ChezPlum.com

After a few rows, you’ll notice the straight lines every 2nd row. This is a fabric caracteristic of working in the front row. I find it pretty… and it’s super handy to count your rows ! :-)

I suggest you swatch with both techniques using the same number of stitches and row. Start with double crochets in the front loop. Then make another swatch in “regular” dc (ie worked in both loops). Then compare both :
The “front loop” swatch should be taller and thinner, and both sides will look the same (with the parrallel lines every 2nd row).
The swatch worked in both loops should be more compact, thicker and with a more even look. Both sides should look slightly different though, with a definite “right side” and “wrong side”.

Of course, to add drape to a crocheted piece a key factor is also to use a larger hook than the recommended needles on label. I usually always swatch first with 2 or 3 sizes of hook until I decide which is the best compromise of maximum drape while retaining a good hand. (sometimes even swatching is not enough to take that decision..).

What about you: do you crochet in both loops, front loop or back loop ? What texture do you look for when crocheting ? I’d love to know !

Oh and notice the cat ? This is Wifi, our new cat. Looks like he loves yarn too. I’m trying to educate him not to play with my balls of yarn, but not sure it’s working ;-)

Dancing poppies baby booties, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com crocheted by ConfitureAlamure

As I had JUST finished working on the added sizes of the Dancing poppies baby Bolero, a fellow french crocheter suggested I design a pair of matching baby booties…

Well I did have an unpublished design of baby booties which could easily be adapted to fit the bill so I got to work…
Dancing poppies bolero and booties, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com Dancing poppies booties, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com

& many many versions later (!!)…. Here is the pattern for the Dancing poppies baby booties !! I’m always amazed at how much work can go in such a small and seemingly “easy” design.

The booties are worked in the round (top down) in one piece and use small amounts of worsted weight yarn : for the raspberry sample I used the same Cascade wool 220 as for the Dancing poppies Bolero to make a cute set which would make a perfect gift for a baby girl..

This patterns comes in 3 sizes from newborn to 6 months.

Dancing poppies baby booties, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com Dancing poppies baby booties, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com

For this pair, I used 2 colors of icelandic Lett Lopi yarn… Using 2 colors definitively changes the look: I love the cute contrasting color soles !! (Instructions are given in pattern for this version)

You’ll find the pattern for the Dancing poppies baby booties on Ravelry, Etsy @ SylvChezPlum or FrenchStyleCrochet, and Craftsy.

This pattern is also available as a SET : the BOLERO + BOOTIES patterns for $8. (I’ll try and add this as an ebook on Ravelry)

Price : $5

Dancing poppies baby booties, crochet pattern by Sylvie Damey, chezplum.com, crocheted by Confiturealamure

Thanks again to Confituralamure both for the idea and the super cute pictures ! :-)

My Enchanted Mesa sweater

Enchanted Mesa sweater, pattern by WestKnit, knit by Sylvie Damey
I don’t knit shawls and wouldn’t follow Stephen West’s designs much. Usually don’t knit much any more either…
Enchanted Mesa sweater, pattern by WestKnit, knit by Sylvie Damey
But when a friend posted about Stephen West’s “Enchanted Mesa” sweater on FB just a few days after the release of the pattern… I fell in love ! Bought the pattern, printed it. And began to think about suitable yarns.
<mesaYarn
A quick dive in my huge stash, to dig all the thin yarns I could find in tones of plum and orange. With added light pinks to make it work. Now that got exciting ! Some super old vintage Phildar yarns, a treasured ball of Noro Silk Garden Lite, some handpainted handspun mini skeins in just the right colors… and tons of lace weight Phildar mohair (the discontinued “Aurore”) to use when yarns wouldn’t be thick enough to match the rest…
MesaWip1 MesaWip2 mesaWip3 mesaWip4
I grabbed my circular needles which had not been used for a couple years… and cast on as fast as I could ! Colors just fell into place quite naturally. I knew I wanted that rusty orange as main top color.
As for all top down sweaters, the beauty is that you can try it on as you go. I quickly realised that
- I had misread the collar directions: measurements are 10 inches, not 10 cm ! To be cut/frogged/reknit at a later stage
- Pattern direction for sleeves were perfect as they were, no need to use less stitches. Had to frog and reknit the (beg of) sleeves twice to realise this :-)
- The orange stripes I had planned at bottom of pink short row section didn’t quite work. Frogged and reknit.
- Using bits and pieces of vintage yarns means that when you run out of one color, you have to frog previous sections to make it work. “Lucky me”, I had already planned to frog and reknit the collar ;-)
Enchanted Mesa sweater, pattern by WestKnit, knit by Sylvie Damey
Altogether, I love everything about this sweater. So much fun to knit. (Re)learned several things along the way (as in, I haven’t knit for years!!). I also love the fact that I was able to use so many favorite yarns, include some of my own handspun. It took me a couple months to finish, but really you also have to consider december was a busy month ;-) And then another month or two to get a decent haircut and decent weather to take pictures…

Enchanted Mesa sweater, pattern by WestKnit, knit by Sylvie Damey Enchanted Mesa sweater, pattern by WestKnit, knit by Sylvie Damey
I also loved knitting with much finer yarns that what I have also used. Seriously considering knitting more such sweaters now. If I ever reknit this pattern, I would work only 4 wedges though (5 tends to lower the short row section way down to my elbow, which makes it sometimes not very practical especially to wear under a winter jacket). And I ended up reknitting the collar with a few rows of garter stitch to finish it off. The turned hem kept rolling the wrong way, and I didn’t like it.

Enchanted Mesa sweater, pattern by WestKnit, knit by Sylvie Damey - havin fun with PicMonkey.com
So what do you think : Crazy sweater, or Awesome sweater ? (collage made with PicMonkey, we couldn’t stop laughing !)

chezplum.com - patterns design - © Sylvie Damey
 

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