Friday, 24 August 2012


While I was updating Ravelry today, I remembered I hadn't shown you how this lace crochet sample dyed up last week. This project goes back a bit, to the end of last year in fact where I was deconstructing a lace pattern I liked that had no instructions to follow so I thought I'd have a go at writing one out for myself. The aim was to design and make my own lace crochet parasol inspired by these images herehere and here.

I'm quite comfortable with crochet and the general construction of stitches but I've had less experience with the more complex crochet lace designs. So last year, I was sampling a few out and getting the hang of how pieces increased in the round and how to build the complexity of structure and pattern into a design. There are some amazing patterns out there that are dismissed because they look too 'doily'- like, but I've learned a lot from my doilies! 

Working out the lace pattern design

I learned how to increase evenly around the circumference, and that the tension is sooo important. If you mess this up then your whole pattern can go out of shape, even with strenuous blocking and pulling back into shape when it's wet at the end. I also got the feel of when that was happening before I got to the end which helped a lot!! There was a lot of crocheting and ripping back as I went so this little sample has had a time of it:) 

But once I understood how to make an increasing circle regardless of the complexity of the stitches, I could then become more free with the pattern. As I was following an existing piece rather than designing from scratch, it was quite easy to place the pattern elements into each portion of the circle. This sample uses a filet stitch and chained threads so it is easy to see how it grows as you crochet.

I originally decided to use a silk/wool undyed yarn instead of cotton as I wanted a softer edge to the design. I'm not convinced that this is the best yarn for the job but the sample certainly does have a 'soft focus' look to it! It handled the wear and tear of sampling well but it you can see the slight wool content giving it fuzzy halo - slightly.

Saying that, it isn't as noticeable now it's been dyed. Being mostly silk it has taken the acid dyes well but not as intensely as the sock yarns. The dyeing was another tester to see how well the colour took and how easy it would be to hand paint a pre-crocheted sample. Very easy! In fact it absorbed the dye quicker than the wool and the colours bled into each other for quite a ways. Less is more in this case!

So it's answered the question of  'do I dye the yarn and crochet, or crochet then dye?' Crochet then dye!! As much as I love dyeing yarns, I can get much more control over the colour gradations this way and as the circle gets bigger and bigger, the colour proportions would stay the same width. A pre-dyed yarn of equal colour blocks - like a graduating yarn - would make smaller and smaller bands the wider it got. Not what I want myself but cool if that's the look you're going for:)

Well, that's the testing all done. So am I ready to design and make that parasol? :)


  1. Wow - you designed that yourself - amazing! You are super fab! Are you going to now tell me that you designed that fab round graph paper too? Can't wait to see your parasol!

    1. Thanks Rie! A parasol will be coming:) I might design a more filigree pattern though as the filet stitch is a bit solid looking for me. I'll post as I go though so you can see the progress.

      When I realised I'd need some kind of framework for the pattern, I was going to draw up a chart but I checked online for circular graph paper first. I was lucky and found a few different sizes to use so I didn't have to re-invent the wheel, lol! :)) Don't know if I still have the link but I do have the charts saved.

      elaine :)


Hello and thanks for stopping by. Do stay a while and visit. Please do leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you and be inspired by all your blogs out there too:-) elaine xx


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