12 January 2018

Free crochet pattern: X-Stitch Neckwarmer

I love cowls. I didn't even know what a cowl was before I started crocheting - I'd heard the terms "snood," "balaclava," "infinity scarf," but never cowl. My first crochet pattern I termed an infinity scarf because it was long and could be wrapped several times, and I was quickly corrected by the crochet and knit community. "My dear," they said (because yarn-lovers are invariably sweet). "My dear, that is not an infinity scarf because it does not have a twist. It is, in fact, a cowl." Of course they were right, but when I created this pattern I was still not comfortable with the term, so I called this one the X-Stitch Neckwarmer. Ha! I've come around and correctly title my patterns now, but this one is special - my one and only neckwarmer pattern. I think I'll keep it that way.

One note on this wool: swoon! I received an amazing haul of yarn from a fellow member of the Buy Nothing community (if you aren't a member, check it out! There are groups all over the world!) I immediately fell in love with this ball because although there was no label, it was clearly all wool (but not scratchy!) and hand-dyed. Such a generous neighbor, and I still have some of the lovely yarns she gifted me.
I designed this cowl to fit snuggly for optimum warmth in cold months, but you can easily add stitches (in multiples of 2) to make it less snug. If you prefer a printable pattern, you can purchase the pdf for $2.99 at my Ravelry store, which also includes a photo-tutorial for the special starting chain.

And if you don't want to make your own, this very cowl is available for sale in the shop too! But for the free pattern, click to keep reading.

28 December 2017

Free pattern! Riffles and Runs Cowl

I promised it would be coming, and here it is! The endlessly squishy cowl pattern with texture for days.

You know, before I started crocheting, I had no idea what a cowl was. I knew about infinity scarves, and when I wrote my first pattern that's what I called it. The Riding the Rails Infinity Scarf. But one of my pattern testers let me know that infinity scarves technically have a twist in them. Like a figure 8. An infinity scarf with no twist is a cowl. Who knew! Since then I've written a slew of cowl patterns because I love how simple and cozy they are. Slip one over your head and you're instantly warm and look put together.

I love this pattern because it whips up in just a couple of hours, works best with super squishy yarn, and slips over the head easily to warm you up endlessly. I worked up the pattern while on a flight - I figured out the stitch pattern on the way there, and then finished the cowl on the way back. I love crochet on airplanes ~ the time flies by and I can ignore the turbulence by focusing on whatever lovely thing I have in the works. Of course, there are always the inevitable dropped hooks and yarn balls that roll under the seat. I suppose I should invest in some project bags...

Just look at the texture on that! 💝 The key is to keep your tension quite loose so that lovely horizontal bar from the dc3tog puffs out a bit. Practice on a swatch, and if you don't get the puffed bar, move up a hook size. Another key to making a soft and squishy cowl - use really soft an squishy yarn! I used Bernat Alpaca for this, which has sadly been discontinued, but as long as your bulky yarn is of the soft and squishy variety, you should be fine.

Here is the free pattern! And of course, don't forget about the free matching beanie pattern!

If you prefer a version formatted for printing, you can get a printable pdf for $1.99 at my Ravelry shop, The Ivy Killers Ravelry Store, too.This helps offset my expenses for pattern development and helps me keep offering free patterns!

Brooke A. Cassell @ The Ivy Killers

Supplies and Specs

Yarn:  Bulky(5) yarn -  200 yards (183 meters)
Tools:    Size M/ (9.00mm) crochet hook OR Size N/P (10.00 mm)
              Darning needle (for weaving in ends)
Completed Size: Circumference: 25” (64 cm), Height: 11” (28 cm)
Gauge: Gauge isn’t really important, because you’ll be squishing this cowl on when you wear it anyhow, but to achieve the above size, gauge is approximately 2.5” for a single set of 3dc/dc3tog and 2 rounds in 2”.
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate
TIME TO COMPLETE:   3 - 5 hours
Stitches and abbreviations (All instructions use American terms):
Stitch/es (st/sts)
Chain (ch)
Slip Stitch (ss)
Double Crochet (dc)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Special Stitches – See Special Stitches section for instructions
Foundation Half Double Crochet (fhdc)
Double Crochet 3 Together (dc3tog)

21 December 2017

Riffles and Runs Beanie - Free Crochet Pattern!

Ahhhhh, crochet. For the last few years, most of my non-academic hobbies have fallen to the wayside in favor of a set of hooks and tons of luscious yarn. As I've been writing my dissertation, I decided that I needed to set the yarn aside and really focus, but honestly, I realized that the creative energy I generate by making and designing hats, scarfs and gloves actually helps to supplement the creative energy I need in order to think about my research and write well. So... back to the yarn! (Thank goodness - that was a boring few months!)

Recently, I realized that I didn't have a Christmas present ready for my step-mom and looked over my stash and patterns. Last year I designed a cowl called the Riffles and Runs cowl (pattern to be posted soon!), and hooked up in soft and squishy Bernat Alpaca and in a gorgeous plum color it's the perfect gift for her! So I whipped that up in a couple of hours - it's a super easy pattern. It needed a matching hat though, and for that I needed to come up with a pattern. The things I wanted: The signature riffles and runs texture, a bottom-to-top pattern with smooth decreases to shape the top of the hat, and a super-stretchy band for ultimate comfortableness.

I ended up with a fantastic hat! And I'd hate for you not to have one of your own, so here is the pattern for ya! (You can also download this in pdf format from my pattern shop, The Ivy Killers Designs, at Ravelry.com for $1.99. This helps offset my costs for pattern development and helps me keep offering patterns for free!)  There is a "messy bun"/ponytail version and a full beanie version. And add a pom pom on top if you want!