05 Nov

tutorial: making a magic ball

Making a magic ball - by La Visch Designs

If you’re a bit like me, you’ll have loads of odds and ends of the various projects. They are of course quite ornamental when displayed in nice glass jars or vases. But how many jars of ornamental balls of yarn does one need? I mostly work in fingering weight yarn which means I’ve got a lot of ends that would combine well, ranging from a mere 2 g up to quarter skeins. Of course, the latter could be used in small projects like Fish for Amiga, but again, how many small softies does one need?

So, I thought, why not make a magic ball?!

What is a magic ball?

You may wonder what a magic ball exactly is. Well, I’ll tell you! It is a ball of yarn that is made by attaching pieces of yarn of similar weight to each other. Thus making a bigger ball out of all of the smaller yarn remains. This way a scrappy project like a blanket, cowl, scarf or shawl is made easier because there are no ends left to weave in. That’s already taken care of by combining the yarns in the magic ball!

I myself am also very much looking forward to working with my magic ball. All those memories of projects past attached to the yarns within… Below you can find what I did to make my magic ball.

How to make a magic ball step by step

1. To start, collect your bits and bobs of yarn. Make sure they’re all in the similar weight range and ideally, also of similar materials. Combining an all acrylic yarn with otherwise wool yarns will have an impact on the resulting piece if it requires blocking. And do also consider differences in drape and washing care.

In my case, they’re all fingering weight yarns with a high content of wool. Some have up to 25% of nylon, others contain a bit of silk. In general behavior, all these yarns are however quite similar.

Making a magic ball - by La Visch Designs

2. To connect the pieces of yarn with each other, there are of course various options among which the Russian join and the braided join. In this case, because the yarns all have multiple plies, I’m using the braided join. The Russian join requires a bit more attention and tools to work, but would have been my choice for connecting single ply yarns with each other.

Making a magic ball - by La Visch Designs

3. Do leave the yarn tails on! Cutting them off prematurely can contribute to the join coming undone. Just leave them be and cut any yarn ends after you’ve knitted up your magic ball and blocked the finished piece. In the below picture you can see a bit how I’m faring midway in making my magic ball.

Making a magic ball - by La Visch Designs

4. And here it is all done! Almost 100 g of yarn where there were only useless bits before. Now to think of a nice new design to use it in…

Making a magic ball - by La Visch Designs

04 Nov

tangerine tango

Tangerine Tango - by La Visch Designs

Tangerine Tango is a stylish triangular shawl knit sideways on the bias. The combination of striped garter stitch and lace makes it a perfect choice for those colors of fingering weight yarn that combine so well. With its generous size of 177 cm (69 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 63 cm (24 ¾ inches), it is perfect to wear as an elegant scarf.

This pattern contains both fully written out as well as charted instructions for the lace section. The lace in the border is worked on both right side and wrong side rows. The shawl can be made larger by adding more repeats of the striped garter stitch section and/or by working more repeats of the lace section.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

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Difficulty level
The lace in this pattern is worked on both RS and WS rows. Stitches used include knit, purl, yo, k2tog, p2tog, kfb and versions of these stitches knitted through the back loop. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate to advanced knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl: 177 cm (69 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 63 cm (24 ¾ inches), measured after blocking.

Pattern details

  • Tangerine Tango is written for a gauge of approx. 18 sts / 26 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • Yarn:MC: 420 m (460 yds) / 100 g Wools of Holland Kempische Sokkenwol (75% Wool, 25% Nylon; 210 m (230 yds) / 50 g) in Sky Blue.
    CC: 210 m (230 yds) / 50 g Wollträume Traumsterne Sockenwolle (75% Wool, 25% Nylon; 210 m (230 yds) / 50 g) in Orange.
    Substitute any fingering weight yarn for a similar result.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 stitch markers to indicate the 3 edge stitches on each side (optional)
  • 19 stitch markers (optional) to mark the repeats of the lace pattern
15 Oct

fish for Amiga

Fish for Amiga - a knitting pattern by La Visch Designs

My cat Amiga is crazy about Moeke Yarns Elena. And by crazy I mean the drooling and acting weird kind of crazy. I think it must be the slight sheepiness this yarn has. So, I thought I would make her day by creating something just for her made from this lovely yarn!

These small fish for Amiga are knit in the round. Once the body is closed, the tail is knit flat. A photo tutorial on how to close the body of the fish is included! Since only small amounts of yarn are used, this pattern is perfect for stash busting little odds and ends.


Price: € 2,75 add to basket

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Difficulty level
Techniques used include Judy’s Magic Cast On and knitting in the round. Stitches used include knit, purl, skp, k2tog and m1. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Size S (L): Height of 3.5 (6.5) cm (1 ½ (2 ½ ) inches) and a length of 9 (14) cm (3 ½ (5 ½ ) inches).

Pattern details

  • The gauge should be such that your stitches are tight enough not to show the stuffing. For the sample fish: 11 sts / 15 rows = 5 cm (2 inches) over stockinette.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • Approx. 13 (33) m (15 (36) yds) / 4 (10) g of Moeke Yarns Elena Single (100% wool; 330 m (361 yds) / 100 g) was used in the sample Fish for Amiga. Substitute a sport to DK weight yarn for a similar result.
  • Needles in your preferred style for small circumference knitting in the round. Size 3 mm (US 2 ½) needles were used for the sample fish.
  • 1 extra needle in the same size as your main needles.
  • 4 stitch markers
  • 1 differently colored “end of round” marker
  • Fiberfill
  • Yarn needle
20 Sep

duizendknoop

Duizendknoop - a shawl design by La Visch Designs

Duizendknoop: A shallow, triangle scarf, knit sideways. This design features a simple garter stitch body. The triangle edging, so reminiscent of the leaves of the Duizendknoop (Persicaria perfoliata), is knitted on at the same time. Worked at a loose gauge, Duizendknoop is a lovely and airy layering piece.

While written for a single skein of fingering weight yarn, this pattern can easily be adjusted for different amounts and weights of yarn. Instructions for the lace border are both written and charted.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

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Difficulty level
This pattern features a garter stitch body with a lace edging worked simultaneously. Stitches used include knit, purl, k2tog, skp, kfb, m1 and yo. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl: 195 cm (76 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 39 cm (15 ¼ inches), measured after blocking. Make the shawl larger by working more sections of the body pattern.

Pattern details

  • Duizendknoop is written for a gauge of approx. 18 sts / 22 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 5 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • 1 skein of Sock Marl by Dutch Wool Diva (50% Wool, 50% alpaca 400 m (437 yds) / 100 g) in “Kelp”. Substitute any fingering weight yarn in a semi-solid color for a similar result.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
  • 1 stitch marker
03 Sep

tutorial: chainless starting double crochet (csdc)

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Usually, when beginning a new row or round in a crochet project, we start with a chain 2 or chain 3 to replace the first double crochet (dc) stitch. However, a chain of stitches is much skinnier than a regular double crochet, which makes it quite visible in the resulting piece. Also, it can be hard to tension the chain just so that it exactly matches the height of the dc stitches. This can make the edge of the piece (when worked flat) less neat than desired. Fortunately, there is a solution for this: the chainless starting double crochet stitch or csdc for short.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch DesignsThis is the perfect way to make a starting stitch that more closely resembles both the height and thickness of a regular dc stitch. Please note though, that this method is best suited for continuing in the same color yarn. When changing the yarn color, using a standing double crochet stitch instead is advised. For this, I will also make a tutorial soon!

In this post, I will show you how to work the chainless starting double crochet stitch when worked flat. Notes on how to do this when working in the round can be found below the step by step instructions.

How to work a chainless starting double crochet stitch step by step

1. To start the csdc stitch, pull up the loop on your hook approx. to the height of a regular double crochet stitch.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Hold the elongated loop in place on your hook with your finger….

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. … and twist the hook counter clockwise down towards you, wrapping the lengthened loop around your hook. You now have the original loop around your hook as well as an extra double strand.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Now we will continue making a double crochet as we would normally do. First, yarn over…

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. …. and pull it through the double strand on your hook. Treat it as the first 2 loops on the hook as you would while working a regular double crochet stitch.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Again yarn over…

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. …. And pull it through the remaining the 2 loops on the hook to complete the stitch.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to continue your pattern in the other stitches of the row or round.

Chainless starting double crochet (csdc) - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Working a chainless starting double crochet stitch in the round

Using a csdc stitch when working in the round is basically the same as when working flat. The main difference is of course that in projects worked in the round, the last stitch has to be joined with the first one of the round by using a slip stitch (sl st).

This makes the process as follows:
1. Slip stitch in the top of the first stitch of the round.
2. Work the chainless starting double crochet stitch as described above.
3. Work the rest of the round.
4. Join in the round by working a slip stitch into the top of the csdc as you would with a regular dc stitch.

Other chainless starting stitches?

Not all projects are worked in double crochet of course. Fortunately, it’s really easy to also use this technique to replace the starting chains for taller stitches like the treble crochet stitch, double treble crochet stitch etc. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need
1. To pull up a loop in step 1 as described above to match the height of the intended stitch.
2. Adjust the number of wraps (step 3 as described in the csdc step by step instructions above) to match the number of “loops on the hook” with those from the intended stitch. Each wrap hereby represents 2 loops.

This technique lends itself less well for stitches shorter than the double crochet. But then, for those is the starting chain also less of a problem in looks.

27 Aug

prinses

Prinses - a shawl design by La Visch Designs

Prinses is a simple yet stylish triangular shawl knit sideways in garter stitch on the bias. A great way to let that lovely variegated hand dyed yarn shine! With its construction in sections and flexible sizing, it’s perfect for making the most of the amount of available yarn. You can also use a different yarn for every section to stash bust some odds and ends of fingering weight yarn.

The pattern contains fully written out instructions as well as helpful notes on the amount of yarn needed for each section.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

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Difficulty level
Stitches used include knit, k2tog, kfb and elongated versions of these stitches. This pattern is suitable for the advanced beginner.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl, using 344 m (374 yds) / 100 g of yarn: 161 cm (63 ½ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 45 cm (17 ¾ inches), measured after blocking. Make the shawl larger by working more sections of the body pattern.

Pattern details

  • Prinses is written for a gauge of approx. 14 sts / 28 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • For the shawl as shown 1 skein of Eternity Ranch Yarns Sparkle Sock was used (92% Merino, 8% Metallic; 344 m (374 yds) / 100 g) in February Princess Cinderella. The flexible sizing of this design also makes larger shawls possible requiring up to 516 m (561 yds) / 150 g of Eternity Ranch Yarns Sparkle Sock.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 stitch markers to indicate the 3 edge stitches on each side (optional)
  • 1 locking stitch marker to indicate the RS of the work (optional)

12 Aug

humdrum

Humdrum - a design by La Visch Designs

Humdrum is a straightforward hat with a brim in rick-rack rib and a simple stockinette body. The perfect project for that one special skein of sock yarn. Due to the amount of stockinette stitch, Humdrum makes for wonderful mindless knitting. A wonderful plain hat to both knit and wear!

This pattern contains instructions for a range of children and adult sizes. Humdrum is completely seamless and knitted from the bottom up.


Price: € 4,50 add to basket

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Difficulty level
Humdrum is worked in the round starting at the brim. Rick rack ribbing is worked, stitches are increased around, and the body of the hat is worked in stockinette. Next, the stitches are decreased for the crown. Stitches used in this design include knit, purl, k2tog, and the M1 increase. This pattern is suitable for the advanced beginner to intermediate knitter.

Size and finished measurements
Preemie (Newborn, Baby, Toddler, Child) {Adult S, M, L} with a circumference of approx. 27 (33, 38.5, 43.5, 47) {50.5, 55.5, 57.5} cm or 10 ½ (13, 15 ¼, 17, 18 ½) {19 ¾, 21 ¾, 22 ½} inches in the brim of the hat.

When choosing your hat size, please choose one that is 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches) smaller than the actual head circumference of the intended wearer.

Pattern details

    • Gauge: 26 sts / 36 rounds = 10 cm (4 inch) over stockinette after blocking.
    • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie).
    • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size).

Materials

  • Scheepjes Invicta Extra [75% wool, 25% nylon; 210 m (230 yds) / 50 g] in the following amounts: 44 (63, 91, 122, 156) {197, 240, 266} m or 48 (68, 100, 134, 172) {217, 263, 293} yds / 11 (15, 22, 30, 37) {47, 57, 64} g. Substitute any fingering weight yarn for a similar result.
  • Knitting needles in your preferred style for small circumference knitting in the round in the following size (or to match gauge): Size 3 mm (US #2 1/2)
  • Yarn needle
  • 7 stitch markers
  • 1 differently colored end-of-round stitch marker
07 Aug

blocking an asymmetrical shawl

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Don’t you just love those asymmetrical shawls that are knit on the bias? I know I do! They are just the perfect shape to wear as a scarf, but without the bulk on the tails that regular rectangular scarves usually have. I’ve been getting questions about how to block such a shawl though, so I thought to make a photo tutorial about it.

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how I blocked my Scuba shawl. Scuba has a lovely scalloped edge, that is realized purely by pulling the bottom edge into points during blocking.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

What is blocking?

Before we go into details, it’s good to get clear what I mean exactly with “blocking”. Blocking is nothing more than shaping your knit or crochet pieces when moist or wet. These can be finished items or components to be sewn together. By blocking them, you can not only even out stitches, but also bring the item to the intended dimensions. The latter of course within reason!

For a sweater or sweater components blocking usually is nothing more than washing the item(s) and patting them gently into shape. Lace shawls, on the other hand, benefit from a rather vigorous blocking by pinning it stretched out as much as possible. After the piece has dried, it will hold its shape until the next washing.

Please note, that not all fibers are suited for the magic of blocking. Only natural fibers like wool, alpaca, cotton etc. as well as some viscose fibers can be blocked.
On synthetics, like acrylic, the process of wet-blocking as described in this post has virtually no effect at all. Acrylics can be blocked (“killed”) by applying heat through steam blocking or ironing, but that’s an entirely different process.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Materials needed

Since the subject of this post is the blocking off a shawl, I go for a vigorous blocking using pins. I used the following materials:

  • Blocking mats, these are usually foam mats that hold pins well. Think for example of insulation mats, mats for yoga or play tiles for children.
  • Pins, I use regular pins, but other folks sometimes prefer stainless steel T pins.
  • Wool wash.
  • A towel large enough to comfortably hold your project.

How to block an asymmetrical shawl step by step

1. First I filled the sink with some lukewarm water and added a dash of wool wash. I made sure to let the shawl rest for about 10-15 minutes to make sure the wool was completely saturated with water.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Next, rinse the wool well. Don’t use cold water for this, as “shocking” warm wool like that may cause it to felt. If your yarn bleeds dye a bit, you can add a splash of vinegar to the rinse water to help fix it. After rinsing, gently squeeze excess water out of your project. Don’t wring it! This may damage the fibers, causing breakage.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Spread out your towel and place the shawl on top of it.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Fold the second half of the towel over your shawl and roll it up like a sausage. Squeeze the roll well to transfer most of the wetness from the shawl to the towel. With bigger projects, I find it helps to actually stand a bit on it.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. Spread out your blocking mats to the size needed for your project. I prefer to do that in my work room because it can be closed off against “helping” cats.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Spread out your shawl on the blocking mats in roughly the shape you want to block it in.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Start by pinning the 2 outer corners. You can stretch the upper edge of the shawl out for this, but don’t stretch it to the max., we still need some slack in the fabric to accommodate stretching it out in other directions.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

8. Next, pin the entire upper edge of the shawl in a smooth curve, using approx. 1 pin every 2.5 cm (2 inches). You can, of course, pin the upper edge in a straight line, but I find a slightly curved edge sits better on the neck and shoulders.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

9. Now we pull down the bottom point and pin it to the mats. Again, don’t stretch it to the max. yet!

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

10. Now pull every other point on the left side down and pin it in a curve. At this point, you can still keep some slack in the fabric of the shawl.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

11. Next, we move to the right side of the shawl and pull and pin it down somewhere in the middle.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

12. After this, we pin down other points of the edge of the shawl on the right side.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

13. Back to the left bottom edge! Now I’m pinning the points I skipped previously, adjusting the pins already there where needed, to achieve a smooth curve.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

14. Following this, I continue pinning the right edge again, making sure to keep the same distance between pins as on the left side. I placed the weight on the blocking mat to keep it from buckling under the tension I’m putting the shawl under.

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

15. Finally, I go over the entire bottom edge again, making sure to pull it out to the max and keeping the edge in a smooth curve. I needed more weights to keep the mats in place!

Blocking an asymmetrical shawl - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And there you have it: a beautifully blocked Scuba shawl!

19 Jul

scuba

Scuba by La Visch Designs

Scuba is a simple yet stylish triangular shawl knit sideways on the bias. The combination of garter stitch and simple lace makes it a perfect choice for that skein of gradient yarn with long color runs. With its generous size of 195 cm (76 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 61 cm (24 inches), it is perfect to wear as an elegant scarf.

The pattern contains both fully written out as well as charted instructions for the lace section.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

Create your own Ebook! Purchase any 4 patterns and receive the 5th one for free. No code necessary, just put 5 patterns in your cart and the price of the lowest priced pattern will be automatically deducted from the total.


Difficulty level
Stitches used include knit, yo, k2tog, kfb and a centered double decrease. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Finished dimensions of the sample shawl: 195 cm (76 ¾ inches) along the upper edge and a depth of 61 cm (24 inches), measured after blocking.

The shawl can be made larger by adding more repeats of the garter stitch and/or by working more repeats of the lace section. This will, of course, increase the amount of yarn needed.

Pattern details

  • Scuba is written for a gauge of approx. 14 sts / 20 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over garter stitch, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages (letter size)

Materials

  • Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektyarn (100% wool; 560 m (612 yds) / 140 g) in blue-green. Substitute any fingering weight yarn with long color runs for a similar result.
  • Size 4 mm (US 6) / 80 cm (32 inches) circular needles
  • Yarn needle
30 Jun

pink monarda

Pink Monarda - a design by La Visch Designs

Pink Monarda is a shawl in 2 sizes, designed to use that skein of speckled yarn you just couldn’t resist. The shawl pictured is size L. In this design, it is paired with the lovely flower lace border in a contrasting solid color. Go wild with the color combinations!

This shawl is knitted from the top-down in one piece, starting at the neck edge with a garter tab. The patterning in the edging is worked on both right and wrong side rows. The instructions for the edging are provided charted and written out.


Price: € 5,95 add to basket

Create your own Ebook! Purchase any 4 patterns and receive the 5th one for free. No code necessary, just put 5 patterns in your cart and the price of the lowest priced pattern will be automatically deducted from the total.


Difficulty level
Patterning in the edging of the shawl is on both RS and WS rows. Stitches used include knit, purl, skp, k2tog and yo. This pattern is suitable for the intermediate to advanced knitter.

Sizes and finished measurements
Size S (L): Wingspan of 145 (185) cm (57 (73) inches) and a depth of 70 (86) cm (27 ½ (34) inches), measured after blocking.

Pattern details

  • Pink Monarda is written for a gauge of approx. 13 sts / 24 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) over stockinette, measured after blocking. Gauge is however not critical in this design.
  • Pattern languages included: English and Dutch (Dit patroon omvat zowel een Nederlandse als een Engelse versie)
  • Digital PDF has 4 pages in the English version and 5 pages in the Dutch version (letter size)

Materials