Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What's on your hook? Rosemary's top

Rosemary has been working on this top for quite a while and it's such a lovely color and a beautiful lacy stitch pattern that we wanted to know more.

Rosemary, can you tell us some basics about the pattern and yarn you're using?
The pattern is Quartz Lace Top by Dora Ohrenstein; it was originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of Interweave Magazine but can ordered electronically as an individual pattern. For the yarn, I swatched different yarns and hooks but ended up deciding to use the recommended yarn, Malabrigo Merino Lace. For hooks I am using Clover Amour - size B (2.25 mm) and C (2.75 mm).

Who is this top for and how long have you been working on it?
I’m not making it for anyone in particular – I just fell in love with the pattern and wanted to make it. I've been working on it off and on for a year. I don’t recommend this approach when working on a complex pattern such as this because continuity of gauge and pattern instruction interpretation is important. I have kept extensive notes which are helpful.

I am having a lot of fun making the top and learning a lot along the way. Dora’s pattern is brilliant - an intricate design with clear, concise and easy-to-follow instructions, charts and schematic. I keep wondering what her thought process was as she developed the pattern.

What challenges have you had with this project that you'd like to share with us?
My journey making the top hasn’t been without challenges which have, of course, turned out to be learning experiences:

The shade variations in the yarn - part of its charm - caused blotches of darker shades here and there
in the crocheted rows which don’t work to my advantage on a small garment with tiny stitches. I frogged the large middle section once to cut out long sections of yarn to keep the color shade consistent. I also frogged the middle section a second time because I had crocheted it too tightly and redid the section using one size up hook. Considering each round in the body of the top takes about 20 minutes to crochet, redoing 24 rows 2 times has added considerable time to the project. 

Although a dream to work with, the yarn is inconsistently spun with thick and thin sections (I think I just got a bad batch of yarn) which are very conspicuous when using a small crochet stitch and an intricate pattern. I’ve been picking out extra unspun wool fiber in the thicker yarn and do my best to camouflage the skinny spun sections, sometimes needing to cut these sections out.

Half done, I decided to use my battery-operated fabric shaver to remove the yarn ‘bloom’ in the first finished areas which have occurred from normal handling. It was going well until I noticed that the shaver had cut the yarn a couple of times within crocheted shells and in chain stitches between shells. I have used a stitch marker to hold these stitches together to prevent unraveling until I can fix them. What I think I’ll do is use a loose piece of yarn to tie the cut ends, trim the extra yarn, and hide the mending inside the crocheted shell. I may need to rehook a couple of stitches where the yarn was cut. Another learning experience…

Would you use this pattern again?
It’s likely I’ll crochet this pattern again and, having worked out the kinks in the first run, I’m sure the second pass would be a breeze.

Thanks Rosemary, can't wait to see it when it's done! To check out more photos, see Rosemary's Ravelry page (DancingKatz).