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Wee Pebbly Stitches 

Grit, Granule, Crunch, or Crumple? 
In this 95-degree heat I’ve been lounging with my crochet stitch dictionaries. With an icy drink, it’s my ideal summer activity! I'm revisiting a 2007 stitch sampler in thread (below) that I made to compare ways to make tiny fine-grained stitch bumps. Each type of pebbly stitch is set off with a few rows of single crochet.

Berber Carpets, Brocades, and French Knots: at the time that I first switched to a professional design sketchbook (blogged it http://bit.ly/mjV3jo), I was seeking the ideal way to crochet a fabric with densely-packed tiny bumps on the surface. I filled the first three pages with notes about the options I sampled. I had in mind “berber” carpets, brocades, and French Knots, the embroidery stitch. I’ve always loved a lion that my Mom embroidered in the late 1960’s using hundreds of French Knots in different colors.

Meanwhile this week, someone tweeted a link to a 2010 blog post about crocheting little makeup remover squares. I decided to turn my little pebbly swatches into makeup remover squares too. (It’ll be a good free crochet pattern for my blog; for now, see below. Links to two similar free patterns are at right.)

It's a fun, easy way to compare each mini-bump stitch pattern in thicker, softer yarns. I want to know:

- How well the stitch creates a simple square shape. Some look distorted or unstable; for example, the olive green swatch in the upper right corner looks sort of flat but it bows outward and feels too mushy. (See this photo and others enlarged in its Flickr photo set: http://bit.ly/irGGBP)
- If the stitches are cute and evenly cover the surface. Surprisingly, many don't. Some line up in rows too much. In the small olive rectangle next to the blue square, the bumps settle into rows of unevenly oblong bumps with gaps between the rows. 
- How enjoyable it is to crochet.
- How it feels on my face dry vs. wet. Some little bumpies are hard, others are cushiony soft.
- How it washes and machine dries.
What better way than to feel subtle differences between stitch types, while pampering myself?

The Pebble Square My Face Favors, So Far

(a free, untested pattern) See pattern abbreviations below.
The two green ones are made with light worsted weight cotton yarn and a G/6/4mm hook. I like how the pale spring green one feels and how stable the fabric is. The smaller blue one is fingering weight linen and cotton yarn with an E/5/3.5mm hook. I like how it feels but would make it a bit bigger and work it flat like the others, not in the round. I'll be adding more details to its Flickr photos http://bit.ly/irGGBP.

Ch 12. (Add or subtract 2 chs at a time to change the finished size.)
Row 1: Sc in the 2nd ch from the hook and in each ch across: 11 sc. Ch 1, turn.
Rows 2-11: Sc in each sc across, ch 1 to turn.
Row 12: Ch 12. Sc in the 2nd ch from the hook and in each ch across: 11 sc. Ch 1, turn.
Row 13: Sc in first sc, [sc in next sc, ch 3, sl st in top of sc just made, sc in next sc] to end. Ch 1, turn. 
Row 14: Sc in 1st sc, sc in next sc, [sc in next sc, ch 3, sl st in top of sc just made, sc in next sc] to last 2 sc, sc in last 2 sc, ch 1, tun. Push all bumps through to the right side.
Rows 15-21: Repeat Rows 13 and 14 3 times, then Row 13 once more.
Row 22: Sc in each sc.
Seam together so that the first and last rows of each square form the sides of the pocket. I like having the seam on the outside of the pocket for mascara-removing texture. If desired: ch 7 tightly and sl st to nearest sl st to form a hanging loop; sl st around pocket opening to fit more snugly. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Abbrev's: ch=chain, sc=single crochet, sl st=slip stitch.


That's it for now! 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: http://eepurl.com/XwQk ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti
Exfoliating Experiments with Pampering Pebbles
(sample pattern at lower left)

That's the hand of my mannequin Lindsay. She's going to use the smooth side because she has no pores.

The scrubbing pebble side is also Tawashi-ready (Japanese-style dish scrubbie). There's a "Tawashi Town" group in Ravelry.

Step 1: Rows 1-22 completed. For each color, the flat square and the pebbly square are connected at one corner. On the right I tried the ridgy sc in the back loop only, and don't like it as much. For bumps I tried Bent Trebles (1 treble alternated with 1 sc in each row). I like some things about it.

Step 2: The two pieces of each color have been rotated so that they can be seamed quickly. (See left column for more.) Fold them where they're joined with one ch, either back to back or front to front.

Here's the tweeted Makeup Removal Squares link (free Tunisian crochet pattern) described at left: http://ow.ly/5gYyd
I found another simple free pattern for makeup remover pads iin Ravelry. Heldap123’s is quick regular crochet worked in the round: http://bit.ly/m3k4qz

Links I Enjoyed This Week
I have very fond memories of spending time with Jean Leinhauser at CGOA events. Here's an interview from the Buffalo conference: http://bit.ly/koukYV
Also see Doris Chan's blog post about Jean: http://bit.ly/kzjs4D  and Margaret Hubert's post http://bit.ly/jyq7pY
 
Milky Robot http://bit.ly/kvCqJW is an avid crocheter of fine-gauge amigurumi, and is featured on the cover of a new free ezine, Tiny Feet (same link).

DesigningVashti News
By the time you read this, one or all of these blogs may be updated:
 
DesiginngVashti http://bit.ly/8X30hh, 2 posts:
1. TNNA Show discoveries, results, and a Great Wall of Yarn report
2. Free makeup Remover and Tawashi Pattern

Two Crochet Pattern Companion http://bit.ly/9mp31H posts:
1. Crocheting Triangular shawls point to point
2. Dealing with knots that lurk in yarn skeins
The Eva Shrug had a great time at TNNA! Jonette Beck of SWTC (soysilk.com) tried it on and loved the wide slip stitch ribbing.
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