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Artful Hole Shapes

Lovenotes swatch, two steeks with tweaksI've been cutting holes in a lot of stitch patterns as I get ready to teach four crochet classes this weekend. Last year I focused intensively on Tunisian crochet swatches. Lately it's non-Tunisian stitches.

Really interesting things happen when you selectively unravel stitch patterns. Some stitches and stitch combinations respond so well that you don't need to use a lifeline! Some of the unraveled holes even look like pictures. (Scroll to the bottom for a picture of a lifeline.)

Why does this matter? Why do this? Even though these photos show small holes unraveled in modest swatches, you're looking at shapes of armholes, head openings, scarf "keyholes", etc. 

I look for "easy steekers": Ideally, the rim of the new opening already looks finished, like the topmost lavender one above.

Below and above right are unravelings in series so that you can see how different "pictures" form as more stitches are unraveled.
Hole shapes of unraveled tall stitch fans

I've tried several stitch types and patterns so far but I can't try them all. If you try some, please let me know if you find some you love. It's quite liberating!

My favorites tend to be lace patterns with rows that are like simple interludes between fancy rows. I tend to like the effects of unraveling stitches in a "fancy" row, and the simpler row above and below it forms a nice looking edge around the hole. I also like steeking slip stitches and love knots. Star stitches, however, dissolve into a chaotic mess!

Misti Fondant: Ravelry project (click for more photos of other colors)This color-stacked Misti Fondant Cowl was supposed to have armholes steeked into it, but it turned out too small for me to wear as a slouchy vest.

Steeking is ideal for color pooled projects because it doesn't throw off the color sequence. Normally you might chain across stitches to create a large hole (slit), but suddenly chaining a lot would disrupt an established pooling pattern. Below is a color pooled swatch that has a "lifeline" woven through the base of four double crochets. A lifeline is needed with tall crochet stitches such as double crochets. By the way, Jelly Yarn® makes for a fabulous lifeline.
a "lifeline" in the base of double crochets
And now I must end this issue because I leave town early tomorrow. I have a lot of class materials to pack for this weekend! More details on that in the right hand column.

That's it for #83! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti         Helpful links:
Unique Steeks
Chain Loop Lace, progressively steeked (cut and unraveled)As they say in art school, "Mind the negative space!" That's what I think of when I see the pretty hole shapes that emerge as I unravel a stitch (or stitch group) at a time.
Puff lace, cut and unraveled

Below is the start of an armhole I opened up in a jumbo-gauge slip stitch lace pattern, and then the finished vest. This Zumie Lace Vest is fresh off the hook for two of the classes I'll be teaching.
Zumie Lace Vest (project page in Ravelry)Zumie Lace Vest (Ravelry project)
DesigningVashti News
If you can make it to the Chicago area this weekend, sign up for one of my crochet classes at the Mosaic Yarn Studio!
Phone: 847-390-1013
This is my only teaching event this year.

-Stacked Color Pooling: Sat. March 4, 10 am–noon
-Starwirbel Cowl/Capelet: Sat. March 4, 1–4pm
-Big Hook Slip Stitch: Sun. March 5, 9am–noon
-Steek (Cut) Crochet the Fun Easy Way: Sun. March 5, 1–4pm.

I hope to be able to attend the CGOA conference this summer, also in the Chicago area. (I grew up near Chicago so I welcome any reason to visit!)

In other news: Doris Chan and I are both in the midst of new designs using our Lotus yarn! More on these when I return from Illinois next week. Lotus pictured above: Lavender Ice, Emerald Deep, White Blaze.

HAPPY NATIONAL CROCHET MONTH! I'll be blogging on March 16 for the annual blog tour hosted by Crochetville.
Links I Enjoyed This Week
Sandie Petit of Crochet Cabana sent out a recent newsletter about charity crocheting. Lots of helpful and inspiring information.

Like Vashti's Crochet Newsletter 83: Hidden Pictures in CUT Stitches! 🔅 on Facebook
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Vashti Braha is a professional crochet designer & teacher who resides in Florida (USA) and owns

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