What have I been up to? / Cosa ho combinato nel frattempo?

It’s been a while, once again.

What have I been up to during all this time away from my blogs? Well, I won’t lie, I’ve been busy.

First of all, I’ve had the honor to join the editorial staff of Italian blog Maglia-Uncinetto.it! I’m still excited about it: I can’t believe these talented ladies asked me to join them! Of course I’ll write mainly about my greatest crafty passion, Tunisian crochet, as you might have guessed. I plan to translate at least some of my posts and share ’em on my blogs for my international readers, so keep in touch if you’re curious. 🙂

Other news? Well, yes: I tried knitting once again, this time following a great teacher (which is one of my blog colleagues, too), Alice Twain. She’s an amazing knitter, and she published a book specifically for knitting beginners, “Ai ferri corti”. Thanks to her book, I finally managed to understand how the heck you knit! And not only that: she’s had lots of patience, answering tons of silly questions, and guess what? Yesterday I finished my first knitted item – well, the first of this new phase of knitting, the first that’s not a rectangle, lol. Said item is her “Polymorphous” hat, and it took me just 3 days to complete. I can’t wait for the hat to dry and be ready to be photographed, so that I can show you how pretty it is!

Last but not least, I released a couple more Tunisian crochet patterns, both neckwarmers/cowls. First one, “Gobelin“, is free and absolutely perfect for beginners. Second one, “Olidin Olidena“, uses two different stitches to create ribs, which are all the more interesting if you use a self-striping yarn.

E’ di nuovo passato parecchio tempo.

Che cosa ho combinato mentre me ne stavo lontana dai miei blog? Non mentirò: sono stata parecchio impegnata.


Prima di tutto, ho avuto l’onore di unirmi alla redazione del blog Maglia-Uncinetto.it! Ancora non ci credo: delle persone così talentuose hanno chiesto a me di unirmi a loro! Ovviamente scriverò soprattutto della mia grande passione, l’uncinetto tunisino, come avrete potuto immaginare. 


Altre novità? Sì: ho provato a riprendere in mano i ferri, stavolta seguendo una grande insegnante (che è anche una delle mie colleghe di blog), Alice Twain. Se non la conoscete, rimediate: è una knitter favolosa, e ha pubblicato un libro dedicato ai principianti, “Ai ferri corti”. Grazie a questo libro, sono finalmente riuscita a capire come tenere in mano i ferri! E non solo: grazie alla sua pazienza nel rispondere ad un sacco di miei dubbi, ieri ho finito il mio primo capo a maglia – almeno, il primo di questa mia nuova avventura, il primo a non essere un rettangolo. 🙂 Il capo in questione è il cappello “Polymorphous“, sempre di Alice Twain, e mi ci sono voluti solo 3 giorni per finirlo. Non vedo l’ora che asciughi per poterlo fotografare e farvi vedere quanto è bello!


Ultimo ma non meno importante, ho pubblicato un altro paio di modelli ad uncinetto tunisino, entrambi scaldacolli. Il primo, “Gobelin“, è gratuito ed è perfetto per i principianti. Per il secondo, “Olidin Olidena“, ho utilizzato due punti diversi per creare delle coste, che diventano ancora più interessanti se abbinate ad un filato auto-rigante.

Happy Holidays!

A very, very quick post to wish all my readers Happy Holidays!
My Holiday gift for you this year is a new free TC pattern, named “Cheiron“. As you can see it’s for a neckwarmer that suits both men and women, worked in the round in two different colors. If you wish to try your hand at TC in the round, this might be the item for you.
Besides this small present, I wish you all a marvelous time these next days, and a bright 2017!

Un post velocissimo per augurare Buone Feste a tutti i miei lettori!
Il mio regalo per voi quest’anno è un nuovo modello ad uncinetto tunisino, “Cheiron“. Come potete vedere si tratta di uno scaldacollo adatto sia agli uomini che alle donne, lavorato in tondo con due colori. Se volete cimentarvi con l’uncinetto tunisino in tondo, potrebbe fare per voi.
A parte questo regalino, vi auguro di passare giorni stupendi in queste feste, ed un buon 2017!

A “TC Pfeilraupe” Fall

Our “TC Pfeilraupe” pattern has become incredibly popular: it’s now in the Top 10 Hot Right Now Tunisian crochet patterns on Ravelry, and Brunella and I are so proud of our little one, and so so glad all these fellow crocheters enjoy it this much.

I’ve been busy making some of these scarves for friends these last weeks, and I thought it’d be nice to show them all in a roll to you. So, there you go, all my “TC Pfeilraupe” scarves:

What do you think? Are they pretty enough? 🙂

Time to think about presents already? / Già tempo di pensare ai regali?

Who would’ve thought? It’s December already, typically a month for presents, either for beloved ones or for ourselves. I’ve been writing about Tunisian crochet almost all year long, so of course now I have to make another post on the subject, and more specifically on TC-related presents.
If you think it’s time to purchase some long hooks and books to study and make practice, allow me to help you through the many choices out there. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m enjoying a collaboration with Italian blog “Maglia-Uncinetto.it” with my reviews and opinions about TC books and such (and in the future I’ll write about other crafty subjects, too), but I still haven’t been able to translate my reviews in English. Though, since there are many English reviews about these books, so far I’ll tell you briefly about the ones I really like, and I suggest you go and search for other reviews on the web.
Now, about the presents.
Let’t think about the hooks, first.
What catches one’s eye when they first encounter TC is the oh so pretty (“but how do you manage to hold it-that’s huge!”) long hook, or the fascinating yet odd-looking cabled one (“now, what on earth is that?”). As with other crafts, you can buy cheap instruments, or you can choose higher quality sets. I myself began with rigid hooks found at my local market, “Pony” was their brand. They were awful. The tip was so round, every stitch hurt my wrist – and oh, they were sticky. No yarn went smoothly on them. Bad experience, I recommend you not to choose these. My very first set, on the other hand, was a no-brand bamboo set of cabled hooks I purchased on Amazon. Very very cheap, but nice to work with nonetheless. They have a decent tip, and I still use them from time to time. If you like wooden instruments and you’ve never tried TC but want to without spending lots of money, I say try these. Many experts will tell you not to buy them as they’re no high quality instruments: of course they are not, this I’m aware of and I think you are too, but if you fear you might not like the technique they might be a better choice than an expensive set you might never use twice in your life.
If you have a few more money to invest in hooks, I’ll tell you my favourite brand is KnitPro (aka Knitter’s Pride), and more specifically their Trendz series. There you can choose between long and rigid hooks and cabled ones, depending on your personal taste, and they have double-ended ones too. The sizes range from 5 mm to 12 mm for all three kinds, and they’re pure delight to work with. They’re so smooth, the tip is pointed but not too much (it doesn’t ruin the yarn), the hook is deep and  therefore they’re great for both simple and complex stitches. Strongly recommended. I also like other series by KnitPro, such as Symfonie, but they’re more expensive and have less sizes, so I suggest try Trendz first, then if you fall in love with TC there’ll be plenty of hooks to buy later on.
My second choice, but just because of personal taste, are Denise hooks. They’re shorter that KnitPro’s so having rather big hands I personally find them a bit less comfortable during the first minutes of work at least: I need some time to get used to their size, but then everything is smooth. Denise hooks’ tips are less pointed than Trendz’ but that’s no problem, because they get through the stitches just as well. What makes them really interesting to me is that they range from 3,75 mm to 15,00 mm – gotta love a nice 15,00 mm hook! They also come in cute cases besides the classic plastic ones, so they might be a nice, good-looking present.
Are you bored enough? Well, enough for today. Next time, I’ll tell you about some interesting books that might come in handy to make practice with your brand new hooks.
***LETTORI ITALIANI***
Per gli argomenti trattati in questo post vi rimando al mio ultimo articolo apparso su Maglia-Uncinetto.it, “Feste di Natale all’insegna dell’uncinetto tunisino!“.

Fancy a risotto?

Well, if you do, don’t miss my brand new free pattern for a Tunisian crochet scarf, “Mushroom Risotto“: I made this scarf with one skein of bulky yarn and a 15 mm hook, so as you can imagine it grows quickly. It’s the perfect project for beginners because I haven’t used the simple stitch but other stitches that combined together create an interesting fabric; depending on how you block it the fabric can be dense or airy, almost lacey, without efforts. Also, it’s perfect for both women and men, so it might be a nice idea for some Xmas gifts! If you’re waiting for the right project to try this technique, think about this scarf: it won’t disappoint you.

“November Shades”

Well, hello readers!

Today I’d like to show you a new project, a cowl called “November Shades”, whose pattern is available both on Etsy and Ravelry. It’s made once more with Tunisian crochet but this item is worked in the round! TC in the round is lots of fun: you have to work with two strands of yarn and a double-ended hook, so if you’re an absolute beginner it can get tricky, but after a bit of practice it gets really enjoyable. Plus, if you take advantage of the double-ended hook to use two contrasting colors it creates a marvelous effect with pretty little effort.

I’d really like to hear your opinions about this item: I’ll be honest, I’m quite proud of it and how it turned out, so I hope y’all like it as much as I do.

For those interested: pattern is available in English, Dutch and Italian, and I have a promotion going on on Ravelry only with which you can get both this and “Pumpkin Skin” at a reduced price. Coupon code is AutumnROX. Enjoy!

New pattern and two beanies

So, I’ve finally managed to publish my latest pattern, a nice Tunisian crochet cowl named “Pumpkin Skin”. Since it’s worked flat then sewn and it uses only one stitch besides the simple stitch it’s an ideal project for beginners, for people who’ve tried TC, found it interesting and would like to try something different but not too hard. I rate it as an easy pattern, from an advanced beginner level on.
You can download a digital copy of it from both my Ravelry and Etsy stores (so far only English is available, Italian version will be there soon!).
pumpkin2bskin2b252822529
Besides working on my own patterns I’ve also followed others’ to make something: I’ve been asked for a couple of ladies beanies, and though the pattern’s title suggests otherwise I’ve chosen Kim Guzman’s “Favorite Beanie for Men“. I’ve never enjoyed making hats and such, I get bored easily and I’m almost never satisfied by how they turn out, but Kim’s pattern made me change my mind: these beanies are so much fun to make as they’re worked in short rows with a double ended hook, and the stitch creates such a marvelous, soft and elastic fabric – pure delight! I’ve already made a third in a different colour, and will surely make more. Oh, they’re also very quick, takes just a few hours to finish one, so they’re a great idea for gifts (especially last-minute ones by crafters who are alway late, lol!). Strongly recommended pattern!
favorite2bbeanie

The discovery of “Railway Knitting”

Hi folks! Here’s a small adventure that happened to me that I’m gonna tell you about, mainly because it brought me to a really interesting discovery.

Some days ago I received a message on Ravelry from a lady who’s made her own Tunisian crochet version of the “Pfeilraupe” scarf. She sent me a picture to show me her work, which was simply stunning: she managed to recreate the exact shape of the knitted one, with marvelous use of short rows, plus in honeycomb stitch, which I love (you can check out her project page here). We exchanged a few messages, and by checking her profile I discovered that I was talking to Dela Wilkins! When the sudden feeling of being a complete idiot for not recognizing her before was gone, I felt (and still feel!) SO privileged: a famous teacher, a published author, took time to write ME about an item we both tried to make in TC.

Wow!!

Well, of course I did some more searching and found that Dela’s book on TC, “Railway Knitting Workbook”, is available asdigital download on publisher’s website and is incredibly cheap! I immediately bought it, read it during the weekend, and let me tell you what I told her: I wish I had found this book when I was learning TC. It’s a complete handbook that gives the reader lots of great advice on a technical level, from the ways of making a starting chain on, including tips on shaping, choosing stitches, and such. I found lots of helpful ideas even if I’m not a beginner, so I would really recommend it to anyone interested in TC, but especially if you are an absolute beginner go and buy Dela’s book without giving it a second thought. Dela is a teacher, so she knows how to explain things from the start to people who have never hold a hook in their hand before. Also, she’s used to having non-native speakers on her train classes, so as she told me she wrote the book in Grade 6 English, very clear and easy to understand even if English is not your main language.

Great, great book that deserves to be known by more and more people!

Oh, and in case you were wondering: “Railway Knitting” is one of the many names used for TC in ancient times, between the 19th and the 20th century, maybe because the look of the Tunisian simple stitch somehow reminds of a railway, maybe because ladies used to work at their items during train trips… nobody knows for certain, as usual when it comes to TC, but it’s a fascinating name nonetheless, and since Dela teaches on trains particularly apt for her work.

And since a post without a pic feels somehow incomplete to me, here’s a preview of a cowl whose pattern I’m currently writing, named “Pumpkin Skin”…

pumpkin2bskin

September: a finished project and a new one

Hello, crafters!
I’m glad to tell you that our “TC Pfeilraupe” has had more than 900 downloads so far – I can’t even describe how happy I am about it. Remember to tell me what you think about it, in case you decide to try it yourself: your opinions matter to me!
Since I can’t keep my hooks still I’ve finished another project, this time by an incredibly talented designer you may have heard of, Sheryl Thies. I recently bought both her books about Tunisian crochet (“Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet” and “Tunisian Crochet Encore”) and I must say I absolutely love them. Her way of explaining things is just so good, and her projects are beautiful yet practical items one can actually wear in everyday life. One of these items, from “TC Encore”, is the “Ruffled Interlude” scarf, and this one is the project I’ve just finished. I made it 2 m long and about 2 cm wide, and I used about 200 g of cotton and linen yarn named “Linette” by Miss Tricot Filati with a 10 mm hook. What can I say? This was my first try with TC short rows, and I had so much fun I really want to make another scarf like this – just gotta find someone crochet-worthy, lol!

Talking about new projects, beside some other crocheting going on, yesterday I’ve opened a FB page dedicated to my crochet ramblings and designs. If you have a FB account and want to take a look around, you’re welcome: https://www.facebook.com/OldenPatterns/. The page is new and a bit bare, but I’ll hopefully make it grow, so I really hope you’ll join me in this new adventure!