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Crocheting Dainty Eyelets for Winter Lace 
Issue #44. I'm back from all the traveling and teaching! I can send out new issues more often now.

I had a foundational epiphany while teaching Tunisian crochet lace classes over the summer. 
Weightless Tunisian WrapIt was as if I witnessed “the birth of lace” -- lace design in seed form. The vision came together as I worked backwards from my Weightless stitch pattern to create visual aids for the class. I wanted to show how layers of choices are built into the finished Weightless lace, why it looks and drapes the way it does, and what happens when you change one little thing. 

When I tried a swatch that was only 5% lacy (just a tiny hole, or "eyelet," was added in a simple sequence to the 95% solid stitch fabric) I saw how it could make seemingly unrelated, fancier lace patterns easier to understand. (I've included a Seed-Form Lace Pattern below to try.)

Take a look at this green photo: This is the seed form of the Weightless lace pattern (shown above). It may look more plain, but several choices have already been made that put this and Weightless in the same lace family. For example, which solid and open stitches; whether staggered or stacked. In the photo of the two kinds of white Tunisian mesh, the one on the left is stacked; the other is staggered.

Given a choice of lace or no lace on a wintery day, I’d choose the lace every time, if I don’t have to sacrifice cozy warmth. Embedding wee eyelets here and there in dense (toasty!) solid stitches makes them stand out more. (Maybe it’s a no-brainer for knitters because of how knit stitches work.) Warm eyelet patterns makes me think of knitted classics, even though it’s not rare or difficult to crochet eyelets. I’m most interested in how dainty eyelets help me show others an easy way to understand the building blocks of lace.

When I add simply add a few eyelets to plain Tunisian and Slip Stitch crochet, I can see why eyelets are ubiquitous in knitting: low-riding rows of stitches create the daintiest eyelets. Tunisian and slip stitches can also provide the dense, fine-grained stitches for a subtle solid background that makes teensy eyelets really pop. 

Have you ever sprinkled in some li’l eyelets while crocheting rows of a simple, familiar Tunisian stitch? If you try the stitch pattern below, you may get idea sparks for your own variations (i.e. start designing your own custom lace patterns!), or you can try some of my sparks below.  

A Little Inspiration: Seed-Form Lace

Seed-Form Tunisian Eyelet Lace (stitch abbreviations & descriptions are listed below in blue)

Ch 17 with a smooth medium weight yarn and a Tunisian crochet hook that is 2 sizes larger than usual for the yarn and that is of any length.

Row 1, Forward Pass (FP): First loop already on your hook counts as the first st of this row and every Tunisian row. Insert hook in the easiest loop of the second ch from hook, yo, pull up a loop and leave on hook, *pull up a loop in the next ch the same way, repeat from * until you have 17 loops on the hook. 

Standard Return Pass (RP): Yo and pull through one loop on hook, *yo and pull through two loops on hook, repeat from * until one loop remains on hook.

Row 2, FP: Skip that very first edge stitch, Tss in next st, *Tyo for next st to create eyelet, Tss in each of next 3 sts, repeat from * until 3 sts remain, Tyo for next st, Tss in each of last 2 sts: 17 loops on hook. RP. 

Row 3, FP: Skip first (edge) st, Tss in next st, *insert hook in eyelet space made by Tyo, yarn over and pull up loop and leave loop on hook, Tss in each of next 3 sts, repeat from * until 3 sts remain, pull up loop in last eyelet space, Tss in each of last 2 sts: 17 loops on hook. RP.

Row 4, FP: Skip first (edge) st, Tss in each remaining st of row: 17 loops on hook. RP.

Row 5 and beyond: At this point, you could:

- Repeat Row 4 again and then repeat Rows 2 & 3 to get dainty eyelets that are spaced apart in all directions by solid Tss stitches. 

- Repeat Row 2 over and over to get columns of eyelets alternated with solid columns of Tss. 

- Substitute a different solid stitch for the Tss, for example, Tks (Tunisian Knit Stitch, in which you insert hook all the way from front to back between the vb and back vb of a stitch, yo, pull through and leave loop on hook).

- Repeat Rows 2 − 4, and try changing little things that alter the shape of the eyelet. For example, crochet into one of the strands of the Tyo instead of into the whole space. Or, try a different stitch just before and after each Tyo.

- While repeating an eyelet row (Row 2), try alternating sts: [1 Tss in next st, 1 Tyo in next st] ending with 2 Tss in each of the last 2 sts of row.

- Try a different type of yarn/fiber and/or a different hook size.

When you're done, sc in each vb and fasten off.

This is a new way of understanding myself as a long-term crocheter. Designing lacy crochet for balmy springs and summers comes easily to me, but it’s not just because I live in Florida. I’ve loved fancy lacy-lace all of my life; the more dramatic, the better. As a teenager in Maine I even offered lace repair services to antique dealers when I was a teenager in Maine. 

Aero Tunisian Filet Lace Crochet Triangular WrapWhen I first began experimenting with making Tunisian crochet lacy, tiny eyelets didn’t even occur to me! Fun effects with larger eyelets led to the Five Peaks Shawl. As with regular crochet, my natural tendency was to then progress to bigger holes for more drama; that’s how Aero happened. (Rivuline, in a book due out in the spring, has the largest Tunisian holes I’ve ever crocheted, or seen elsewhere!) 


Abbrev's:
ch=chain,  FP=Forward Pass,  RP=Return Pass,  sc=single crochet,  sl st=slip stitch,  st(s)=stitch(es),  
vb=vertical bar.

Tss=Tunisian Simple Stitch (insert hook in vertical bar of next st, yo and pull up a loop and leave loop on hook).

Tyo=Tunisian Yarn Over (yarn over and skip the next stitch; the yarn over counts as a stitch, and is worked off of the hook during the Return Pass the same way as the rest of the loops are worked off of the hook).


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

Lace in Seed Form?
Oh I dearly love this swatch!

Seed-form eyelet patterns are turning out to be a useful way to explore and teach about lace design. (I used the approach to design the above eyelet pattern, and the one below.)


I get the feeling that this swatch wants to be somebody. I might try tweaking some of the stitches to smooth the holes.

And isn't this one cute? Tiny eyelets on the bias.

Try the starter pattern at lower left if this is a new way of looking at crochet lace design, especially in Tunisian or Slip Stitch crochet. 


Adding eyelets to plain stitches reveals the simple logic of lace -- the interaction of positive and negative space. Then for me the art of it soars when I can 'sculpt' the hole shapes, tweak the stitch textures, and combine different fibers, yarn types, hook sizes.

Slip Swoop Loop Ravelry page.
As you can see, I have swatches that need to become patterns! Above is a beaded Slip Swoop Loop, which is slip stitch eyelet lace. Now that I'm home, I can add the beaded variation to the pattern, then get it edited, tested, and uploaded!


Links I Enjoyed This Week

bitly.com/RKAnyv  Sue of Mr. Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness blog just posted a great step by step tutorial for “Ribbonberry” slip stitch pattern as a free cowl and mitt design. See also her invisible seaming method.

 

http://bit.ly/TvGyUG Intriguing column by Dora Ohrenstein at the Jimmy Beans Wool site about identifying and dating antique crochet. Especially see if you’re in the Madison WI area this weekend!
 

http://bit.ly/RHsQ50 A handy stitch how-to by Victoria Hillon at her Yarnroundhook blog: Beginning a new row or rounds with “standing stitches.” It reminds me of what Doris Chan calls her “air dc” and "air tr." Victoria demonstrates it with a granny square and uses UK/Aus terminology, so the trebles (tr) she refers to are double crochets (dc) in the US.
 

http://bit.ly/UgxQ2o “Positioning Amigurumi Eyes” I enjoyed June Gilbank's advice on this adorable topic at her PlanetJune blog.
 

http://bit.ly/PZBIon Andee Graves of Two Hands Healing and Creative Arts blogged about taking my slip stitch class in Reno.
 

DesigningVashti News
New pattern released: Four Peaks! 
Four Peaks Tunisian Scarf on the BiasIt's the all season, all yarn & hook size scarf edition of that self-eyeletin', corner-startin' Tunisian crochet Five Peaks Shawl. Pictured here in winter wool. Go here for more about the wool version: 

http://ravel.me/vashtirama/fpstotb2 
Newsletter readers get 50% off until Nov. 23 (EST) with coupon code WYNTERY-EYELETS at my site: http://bit.ly/RHZOlL  & in Ravelry: http://bit.ly/Z86H1H See the summer rainbow bamboo version at either link; at the Ravelry link, see tls2011's pretty pastel version and how she styles it!

 

Doris Chan's Cat's Cradle v2 pattern: Doris blogged it http://bit.ly/YR1I6g Definitely click on the first blog photo to embiggen. One design in all sizes & shapes at the same moment. I never get tired of looking at it because it also shows my crochet friends all in one place :-)
Doris Chan in her Cat's Cradle v2 design

I enabled a new customer review feature at the pattern shop this month. Our first reviewer gives
Cat's Cradle five stars: "I love this top! I am almost finished with this top. I bought the Goshen yarn from Webs and it is so nice. The pattern fits great, and I did add an extra set of the pattern to make a middle size length between crop and regular non tunic length. The lace at the bottom is turning out so well. The stitch diagrams were a big help in some of the spaces, starting the rows. I am planning to make this in another color when I get done with this one for the holidays in a brighter color. Everyone who has seen this has been full of compliments." View it here: http://bit.ly/UozCQ4
 

I have 3200 pins on 67 Pinterest crochet & design boards so far, including a board I'm building up of Doris' DJC patterns, and one for my DV patterns. http://pinterest.com/vashtibraha/

As you might be able to tell in the photos below, I had an all-out amazing, inspiring time at the CGOA chapter crochet retreat in northern IL. Stay tuned for the new crochet patterns I can start getting up on the site now. Next newsletter in 2 weeks (Thanksgiving weekend).

Above is Polly (or is it Penny?). She has a funny personality.

Vashti gets kisses from Young alpaca Emmy.
Soft alpaca kisses from Emmy!
Thanks to Bev and Janice for the photos.

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Subscribe to this newsletter. Vashti Braha is a professional crochet designer & teacher who resides in Florida (USA). She writes 100% of each issue and emails it to subscribers
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