Its been a while since I had a crochet pattern officially published, although I do love to crochet as much as I love to knit. I have a design coming up for some mukluks in Inside Crochet, issue 5 which will be out in November (next issue).
In this issue, I have a little featurette on one of the back pages, as well as a preview of the Mukluks on the back cover to announce the next issue of Inside Crochet. My hounds are so handsome, even if I say so myself. As for me....well no-one likes their own photo do they, but the hounds are ever so good at hiding what my partner and photographer referred to as my ''third stomach''!
They were a labour of love those mukluks; trying out so many different yarns and colourways to get the balance of pink and red just right. I tried it out in Aran yarns to begin with, in pinks and reds and naturals and although I like these really it needed a smaller gauge to fit more patterns onto the legs.
I also tried them out with a ribbed top, but somehow it didn't seem right to fold back a big clumsy cuff over the top of the finer colourwork. This version too, had the standard form of double crochet and the fabric felt a little too stiff. Also the size of hook meant that some of the yarns being carried showed through slightly, so still not right.
Then it was on to the Felted Tweed which seemed right straight away and as soon as I made the swatches I knew it was the look of a carpet or rug that I was after.
Actually, they are very difficult to photograph to demonstrate what the surface is like because what is lost in the photo is the soft but tweedy effect the yarn has. it just looks like the photo is grainy or poor, but actually the yarn has flecks in it of different colours and looks fab in real life. It is Rowan Felted Tweed and this is the first time I worked with it. I found it really economical compared to other DKs and although it is tweed, it feels very soft and spongy but looks exactly the way I wanted for thes mukluks which is like an old Turkish carpet or rug. Look at this swatch, it looks as if I am making my granny a new stair carpet doesn't it? Do you remember those with the iron/metal decorative clips that held them down and the space either side of the stair carpet with polished wood? Nostalgic!
I wrote the pattern as both a chart, and as pure text. So a person who is worried by following colourwork crochet charts can use the text as back up. And it is easy to follow as it is written out round by round. It is constructed almost like a knitted sock and splits to make the heel as sort of 'mock' short row heel which is so simple as you just work rounds in stripes, do what it tells you, and decreases magically appear in the right places. you can't quite see the whole heel here, as it is covered by the moccasin bottom. Actually, if you wanted to see the striped toe and heel a little more obviously, then Fibertrends has two piece slipper bottoms as well as mitten palms. Go see their new website, its great.
There are other decreases scattered around the mukluk to make the leg fit the calf and ankle, but again the instructions are very clear about exactly where to make them and how and you would not have to worry about interrupting the pattern at all.
The stitch is slightly unusual, and a variation on double crochet that makes for a more flexible fabric and lines up the motifs much better without too much leaning that normally occurs in crochet. I won't tell you what that stitch is, as it will give the design away! And for a DK yarn, it is a surprising size for a hook and it is that which helps to give the density and a carpet-like texture. I made a version of this with a fold back cuff, which looked ok but kept moving and was difficult to get looking even and good in photography so then modified it to a more stable and smaller drawstring channel.
Knitted VersionAs well as the pattern for these mukluks, the next issue also has a full feature revealing the inside of my studio and a little bit about how I approach design. I have had a lot of mentions in this magazine, they are very generous in that
I have a feeling these crochet mukluks might be quite popular as there is nothing quite like it that specifically fits onto suede bottoms. I have every intention of developing a knitted version. If you think you'd be interested in a knitting pattern for knitted mukluks, then drop me a line, and if there is a wave of popularity I will get round to it sooner rather than later.
I really like Inside Crochet (and not just because I am in it). the designs are classy, the photography is beautiful and the models just right but this magazine also has a bit of an edge so you find unusual things in there too. Like this pebble rug
It certainly rivals a lot of other british craft magazines really well, although at the moment this seems to be the only British magazine of its kind that is totally dedicated to crochet patterns.
I leave you with a picture that was featured in this month's issue of Inside Crochet as it is not often you get to see me.