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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 !)

Back in 2005 when I started publishing my own patterns, a strict limitation of rights on knitting and crochet pattern seemed to be the mainstream standard.
It also seemed natural to me. You know, being over-protective of your new baby. Plus the fact that as a designer I would never have felt comfortable selling things I made using somebody else’s pattern.
And to be fully honest, I didn’t want people to take all the credit for my designs when selling their items on fairs, markets ect…

But times change. I don’t understand the music industry and their useless (and counter-productive) limitations. And I started wondering whether I should change my policy. This blog helped me think about it again, and today I decided to change the copyright policy on all my patterns.

From now on, you will be able to SELL items made using my patterns,

- provided you make the item yourself
- & credit my name and pattern
.

Of course, you still can’t re-sell my patterns. I guess this part goes without saying ;-)

I’m currently changing the footnotes on all my patterns, but it will take a while until I update all the patterns on Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy. The new policy does take effect now though. :-)

There’s this thing I read once about Facebook which I loved:
the one best way to make money with Facebook… is to close your account !!! ;-)

Yet it’s also been a good way lately to meet other similar minded people here in France. Including Christine.
There’s this great french online store, run by Christine and called Triscote. She’s an expert about anything icelandic. Goes there quite often, runs workshops about icelandic knitting… She also sells all sorts of beautiful icelandic yarns and wool (this is where I bought the icelandic carded wool to make my felted hats and wristlets this winter).

Ermeline hooded cardigan, pattern by Sylvie Damey, crocheted by Triscote Ermeline hooded cardigan, pattern by Sylvie Damey, crocheted by Triscote
And she just finished crocheting an Ermeline hooded cardigan using the super popular Lett Lopi yarn…. just to show that icelandic yarn is also great for crochet … couldn’t agree more !!!

Ermeline hooded cardigan, pattern by Sylvie Damey, crocheted by Triscote
For any of you going to “l’Aiguille en fête” in Paris (porte de Versaille) from the 6th to 9th of February, Christine will display this sample on her booth (stand A16.2) and you’ll be able to buy both the pattern for the Ermeline and yarn to make one too !! I’m so chuffed :-P

Dancing poppies baby bolero, Sylvie Damey, ChezPlum.com, from book "101 one skein crochet projects" 101 one skein crochet projects, with Dancing poppies bolero by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com
Remember that cute little baby bolero, published in the book “101 crochet one-skein wonders” last year ? Well I finally took the time to edit the pattern and add more sizes to it.

This pattern is now available in digital format (PDF) and immediate download, with instructions for 4 BABY SIZES using worsted weight yarn : 3/6 months, 9/12 months, 18 months and 2 years old.
This new version was thoroughly tested, thanks to my wonderful testers !

This baby bolero is worked seamlessly from the top down and has two mesh rows at the bottom leading to a lovely edging of poppies. It closes with pretty crocheted ties rather than buttons.
Since the edging is worked directly around the bolero, there is hardly any finishing at all involved in this project.

Very easy and fast to make, it will make fantastic last minute baby shower gifts… and is an ideal way to use up small amounts of yarns from your stash: You can make a baby bolero with just one hank of Cascade yarns Wool 220 !

Dancing poppies baby bolero, by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com Dancing poppies baby bolero, crocheted by Confiturealamure
Recommended materials: Cascade 220 wool: 1 (2, 2, 2) skeins in cranberry (8415)
5.5 mm (I) crochet hook, darning needle

Oh, &… want to know the best part ?
If you work this pattern with chunky yarn and a larger hook (as detailed in the sizing notes), you’ll be able to work this little number in KIDS SIZES : 4/6/8/10 years old !! I need to try and make one for my daughters ! :-)

Dancing poppies baby bolero, crocheted by Marjoleinf Dancing poppies baby bolero, crocheted by Confiturealamure Dancing poppies baby bolero, crocheted by DesiLoopbySSK Dancing poppies baby bolero, crocheted by Marjoleinf  Dancing poppies baby bolero, crocheted by Marjoleinf
And here are the cute Dancing poppies baby boleros made by some of my wonderful testers Confituralamure, Marjoleinf and DesiLoopBySSK. Nice to see it worn by an actual little one too ! :-)

You can find the pattern on Ravelry, Etsy here & here, Craftsy….
& soon to come : french version ! :-)

Buy the pattern: $6

Happy new year, and best wishes to you !! I hope you’ll have a healthy and creative year !!

This year I made the presents for my daughters. Can’t say I was very organised though. Because of the Xmas markets and all the preparations ahead, it only occured to me 2 days prior to the big day that I wanted to make things for them.

Not to worry though. I locked myself in my new crafting studio, and let the sewing machine roar. Here’s what I made :
night gown from repurposed tshirt, by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com night gown from repurposed tshirt, by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com night gown from repurposed tshirt, by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com
For my older daughter, I transformed a plain t-shirt into a pretty nightie. Added fun ruffles to the (priorly cut for some Barbie clothes I guess) sleeves with funky orange/fushia striped jersey knit. Used this pretty raspberry vintage fabric for the skirt, from my grandmother’s stash of fabrics. And added some mushroom and owl appliqués. Of course she loved it !! And I was quite proud too.. always this moment at the beginning of such a project when I have NO idea of what I’m making… but excited to see what will come out of it !!

tablet cozy by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com tablet cozy by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com tablet cozy by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com
The younger daughter was going to have a tablet this year (I know, crazy !! I finally let my geeky husband have the last word.. and the worst is I’m now glad I did, those tablets are cool toys !).
So I made her a tablet cozy. Used a padded ecru skirt, also from my grandmother’s, double-layered with some thick-but-ugly fleece. Added some striped grey and neon pink jersey knit and a pretty heart for decoration, along with my favorite Liberty fabric to cover the edges.
A bit of plum leather with press studs made the closure, and a leather belt got repurposed into a cool and sturdy shoulder strap.
Now she can run around the house safely carrying her tablet… And again, I’m so very proud of the result !

Men's felted fingerless wristlets, fingerless gloves, by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com
And last but not least, when my brother came to say hi on one of the craft-markets, he said he’d love a pair of felted mitts to play the saxophone during their outdoor events. We agreed it’d make a nice present. So here’s the pair I finally found the time to make him on the 28th, just in time for our last family meetup : turquoise, with a dash of neon green, orange and red. Full of colors, as per his request !
Men's felted fingerless gloves by Sylvie Damey, http://chezplum.com
Because I had only made women’s felted wristlets so far, I enlarged the template playing it by ear… and it worked !! So happy I may make more. :-)

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