Choosing Yarn for Your Dragonfruit Shawl

Dragonfruit Shawl Collage

When I invited the Dragonfruit Shawl testers to share their yarn choices, I was amazed by the variety of yarns and color combinations that poured in. Some posted pictures of gorgeous gradients, others chimed in with solid and slow-color-change and self-striping yarns, and still others showed off combinations of yarns from all categories.

Altogether, my 26 inventive testers used over 30 different yarns to create their shawls. I hope the gallery of possibilities below inspires you when choosing yarn for your own Dragonfruit Shawl. With so many possibilities, you can make this shawl over and over again with a different look each time.

The Backstory Behind the Original Yarn: Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber

Two of my testers, MrsMcD918 and nikkifox81, also used Jazz Handz for their Dragonfruit Shawls. Coincidentally, they both used the same colorway, Rainbow Sherbet.

Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber, created by the wonderfully sweet Susan Herkness, inspired and motivated me when working on the Dragonfruit design. When I received my very first cake of Jazz Handz, which I had ordered in the Bird of Paradise III colorway as a birthday present to myself, I had a vision of it worked up as a richly textured crescent shawl.

On fire with inspiration, I set to work to create my dream shawl. Hesitant to use such a gorgeous yarn for mere prototypes and possible failures, I used other yarns to experiment with textures and shaping techniques. These efforts, however, were largely unfruitful. Months of swatching and dreaming failed to produce anything close to the shawl I had imagined.

Disheartened, I unwrapped the gorgeous cake of Jazz Handz once more from its carefully wrapped swaddle of tissue paper. I suddenly felt an urge to work with it, to feel it running through my hands and over my hook, to watch with delight and suspense as the colors changed. After an argument with my perfectionist side, which advocated for perfecting the design in a different yarn first, I picked up my hook and began to crochet with it.

My first attempt was far from perfect, and my perfectionist side had cause to gloat as I regretfully unraveled several rows and rewound the yarn around the outside of the center-pull cake. The yarn was resilient, however. It looked none the worse from being frogged, and I realized that I, too, was none the worse for having tried.

In fact, I was better off. I had become acquainted with the feel of the yarn, and seen it worked up, and thus I had a better intuition for which textures would suit it best. Not only this, but in returning to the yarn, my original source of inspiration, I had rekindled my passion and excitement for my quest. Hook in hand, I picked up the yarn with renewed energy and confidence.

At the end of a few more days, which passed not without some frogging and frustration, my dream shawl was complete, and I felt the exhilaration that only comes after surmounting a difficult challenge. I couldn’t wait to share the newly born Dragonfruit Shawl.

To learn more about Susan Herkness and her wonderful yarn Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber, check out my interview with her here.

Inspired to make your own Dragonfruit Shawl in Jazz Handz yarn? Click here to visit the Jazz Handz Etsy shop.

Other Yarn Choices

Gradient

Gradient yarns were a popular choice among testers because the pattern is easily modified to use an entire skein or gradient set. With Dragonfruit, you don’t have to worry about any colors going to waste.

Solids

Dragonfruit also looks well in solid-colored yarns. Whether you make it monochrome or use a different color for each panel, solid colors show off the contrast between each panel of texture and the intricate edging.

Slow-Color-Change and Self-Striping

The stitch patterns of each panel help blend the transitions of both self-striping yarns and slow-color-change yarns such as Knit Picks Chroma and Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable.

Variegated, Semisolid, and Combination

Dragonfruit is a great stashbuster shawl! Those beautiful but often tricky-to-use skeins of variegated yarn can be used by themselves or paired with coordinating solids and tonals.

Ready to make your own Dragonfruit Shawl? Click here to buy it on Ravelry.

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The Dragonfruit Shawl

Dragonfruit Shawl-4 Dragonfruit Shawl-6Dragonfruit Shawl-11 Dragonfruit Shawl-5

I am incredibly excited to announce the publication of my latest design, the Dragonfruit Shawl!

About the Design

Featuring an engaging hybrid construction and an unusual border, Dragonfruit is an adventure of a shawl. Its three textured panels and intricate edging pack a visual punch, whether made in solid, gradient, variegated, or slow-color-change yarn.

The pattern is written using US terminology.

Recommended yarn:

Dragonfruit was designed in Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber, a wonderful unplied cotton gradient yarn available on Etsy. Its excellent stitch definition and semi-gloss finish showcase the fine details of the textured panels and intricate edging. The dramatic color changes, far from diminishing the effect, enhance the contrast between the panels.

Dragonfruit is tremendously versatile, and there are plenty of possibilities for yarn to choose from. Dragonfruit is suited to solid, tonal, striped, and even variegated yarn! You can also mix and match by using different yarns for each panel. For inspiration, check out the wonderful projects on the pattern page.

Click here for a blog post all about Dragonfruit yarn choices!

Techniques and Difficulty Level:

Dragonfruit incorporates the following techniques:

  • basic stitches (ch, sc, sl st, hdc, dc, trc)
  • basic increases and decreases
  • back loop only stitches
  • back loop only slip stitch

Construction:
Dragonfruit is worked in 3 sections. Starting with a single shell, the Section I is worked from the bottom upwards. Then the work is turned, and the other sections and the edging are worked from the top down.

Customization:

Dragonfruit is a shawl of endless possibilities. By playing with proportions, trying different transitions, and concocting original color combinations, you can create a Dragonfruit Shawl uniquely your own. For inspiration, check out the wonderful projects on the pattern page.

A blog post about customizing your Dragonfruit Shawl is coming soon.

How to wear it:

See 5 Ways to Wear a Crescent Shawl.

What to expect in the pattern:

For a complete list of what to expect when you buy a Knot Theorist pattern, click here.

Here is what you can expect to find in the pattern-specific designer notes:

  • a summary of how the shawl is constructed
  • a schematic of the body with labeled pattern sections
  • how to treat turning chains
  • where to place the first stitch of each row
  • tips for working the slip stitches
  • instructions for an alternate transition between Sections I and II (as seen in the Dragonfruit in Grey)
  • instructions for customizing your shawl size

Coupon code:

And now, my wonderful followers, here is a launch discount just for you. Add the Dragonfruit Shawl to your Ravelry cart and use the coupon code “KTDblog” without quotation marks to enjoy 20% off the Dragonfruit Shawl. This code will expire at 23:59 PST on July 18, 2016. Thank you for following the Knot Theorist blog!

The Dragonfruit Shawl by Knot Theorist Designs

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The Bridgette Shawl

Bridgette Shawl Bridgette Shawl

Bridgette ShawlBridgette Shawl

I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest design, the Bridgette Shawl! It is available on KnitPicks and Ravelry.

About Bridgette

Bridgette is a shallow crescent shawl designed to keep the shoulders warm during the transition seasons. Together, the textured body and lacy geometric border form a versatile accessory that can be worn with both dressy and casual outfits.

Recommended yarn:

Bridgette was designed in Comfy Fingering Weight, a lightweight cotton-acrylic blend that is squishy soft, yet sturdy enough for everyday wear.

Skills required:

To crochet the Bridgette Shawl, you need to know the following:

  • the basic stitches (ch, sc, sl st, hdc, dc, tr)
  • basic increases and decreases
  • back loop only stitches

If you can do all three of those things, you can crochet this shawl! Bridgette is suited for both beginner and experienced crocheters.

Construction:
The body of Bridgette is worked sideways. A varying increase/decrease rate forms the outer curved edge. The other edge remains flat throughout. A round of single crochet surrounds the body, then the border is worked along the curved edge.

What to expect in the pattern:

For a complete list of what to expect when you buy a Knot Theorist pattern, click here.

Here is what you can expect to find in the pattern-specific designer notes:

  • a summary of how the shawl is constructed
  • a schematic of the body with labeled pattern sections
  • how to treat turning chains
  • where to place the first stitch of each row
  • a table explaining how the increases work

How to wear it:

See 5 Ways to Wear a Crescent Shawl.

Coupon code:

And now, dear readers, here is a launch discount just for you. Add the Bridgette Shawl to your Ravelry cart and use the coupon code “KTDblog” without quotation marks to enjoy 25% off the Bridgette Shawl. This code will expire at 23:59 PST on March 26, 2016. Thank you for following the Knot Theorist blog!


Interview and Giveaway with Susan of Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber

Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber

Meet Susan

Susan is the sweet and talented fiberista behind Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber. She creates affordable cotton gradient yarns with brilliantly unexpected color combinations. Jazz Handz yarn is unique in that the plies are tied together at intervals rather than plied or twisted. This makes for an airy fabric with excellent stitch definition, perfect for both lacy and textured projects.

You can find all of Susan’s beautiful yarns at her Etsy shop here. Be sure to also check out her Facebook page!

The Interview

1. Do you knit? Crochet? How long had you been in the fiber arts before you started creating yarn?

My love of fiber started when I was 8 and my Great-Great-Aunt Alice taught me needlepoint. She was a wonderful lady and did amazing petit point pictures right up until her death at 102! In high school I was given a crewel kit to make a piece for a school auction. Not knowing how to do any crewel stitches, there was a learning curve. But the piece, and the art, inspired me! I found the love for the feel of yarn in my hands, no matter what the medium!

Then I took a LYS knitting class with my mum. Two things came out of that class, something resembling a sweater, and finding my true fiber art love. I knit whenever I could find time, and money for yarn. Many years later I discovered felting and designed, knit and felted a closet full of purses and bags. But since I didn’t know what to do with them, I drifted slowly away from knitting for awhile.

Then for 5 years I joined with my mum and we created a successful business hand sewing “Pincushion Posies”. But, five years later, it was time for something new. I learned to crochet and then came back to knitting. It felt like I had come home.

Walls of yarn

2. What inspired you to create your own yarn, and how did you get started?

I love yarn! Wools, cotton, alpaca, you name it. Color is another thing I love. It must be from my pincushion days and years as an art teacher, but color is just as important as the feel of the yarn. After finding gradients, I soon discovered that I couldn’t get a good cotton gradient. There were a few on the market, but I wouldn’t really call them available. I either couldn’t get the colors I wanted, or didn’t want the colors available, but figured that I couldn’t be the only one feeling frustrated about this. So, I set out to create my own yarn in fun colors, that I liked, and make it available to others at a reasonable price.

3. Tell me about your process. What is the hardest part? The most enjoyable?

I start with 4 strands of cobweb weight, cotton. As I spin the yarn into a cake, I cut one strand (at predetermined points) and use a very strong knot and tie on the next color. By staggering these changes in color, a gradient effect is created. Add in lots of time untangling thread-like yarn that misbehaves, and random knots and breaks thrown in by evil yarn mills, and you end with a beautiful cake of colorful yarn.

The knot I use is the magic knot. Videos on how to make the knot can be found on the internet. I would say it’s magic for several reasons. First, it is very, very strong. I test each knot as it’s made and sometimes get a bit too zealous. While the knot has never broken, it is stronger than the yarn, which sometimes breaks as I tug away at it. Second, the knot magically disappears as you knit or crochet right over it. I actually cut the ends very close to the knot itself with sharp embroidery scissors, but most people weave in the ends. Really, it is nearly impossible to find that tiny little knot later on in the finished project. Magic!

The hardest part is actually finding the yarn I use. So I spend far too much time scrounging it up here and there. The actual process involves playing with color, frustration with knots, disappointment with knots and breaks in the yarn on the cone, and a contraption my husband built for me with plans I drew on a napkin!

Playing with color is by far the most fun! Depending on the day, and inspiration, my stash goes from neatly organized to having every color scattered about “playing” with other colors. Sometimes, the best combinations occur when I randomly set yarns down next to one another. It’s always hard to actually make the ones I set about doing in the first place, because others will appear that look much more exciting to me. I think some call that attention deficit, but I call it inspiration!

4. What is your favorite part of owning Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber?

The Jazz Handz Etsy shop, not so much fun. I’m not a fan of, nor completely literate of computers. But it’s also the best part too. I’ve been given the opportunity to meet the nicest people through the shop. I get to make someone happy with what I’ve made, then they take that and create the most beautiful things! It’s very flattering to me when someone chooses my yarn to spend so much time with. They crochet or knit, every day for weeks sometimes, and in the end there’s this brand new beautiful thing in the world! And I think, I had a little bit to do with that!

The Sale

If you’d like to try some beautiful Jazz Handz yarn, Susan is offering a discount code for 16% off any purchase! That brings the price of a 100 gram skein of luxury gradient yarn to just $14.24. Here’s how to get the discount:

  1. Go to the Jazz Handz Etsy shop here.
  2. Add the items you would like to buy to your cart.
  3. Click on the Cart symbol to view your cart.
  4. Under the section that says “How You’ll Pay”, click on “Apply shop coupon code”.
  5. Enter the code 2016KNOTTHEORIST16 and check out.

This offer is open to all countries and will end on January 21, 2016 at midnight PST.

The Giveaway

As an additional bonus, Susan has also generously offered to sponsor a giveaway of one skein of Fusion Fiber! To enter, comment below with your favorite Jazz Handz colorway. Then, click here to submit your entry and see ways to earn additional entries. This giveaway is US only and will end on January 21, 2016 at midnight PST.

 

Announcement: Upcoming Interviews with Crochet Designers

I am continually inspired by the works and styles of other designers. I love learning new techniques, constructions, and stitch combinations. Therefore, I am excited to reveal that I will be publishing a series of interviews with some of my favorite crochet designers, starting next week. I will ask about design processes, backstories, and tips for getting the best results in your own projects. I hope you will be as inspired by them as I am!

Tom Baker Fingerless Gloves

Tom Baker Fingerless Gloves

I recently finished another project from my Karissa’s Fingerless Gloves pattern: this time I made elbow-length wristwarmers using Knit Picks Felici in the Time Traveler colorway. I think you can guess Who was the inspiration Four the colors. 🙂

This was my first project made with Knit Picks Felici, which is an acrylic-wool fingering weight yarn that comes in self-striping colorways. It’s incredibly soft and light, and I only needed one ball of it to create my Tom Baker Fingerless Gloves! I have one more ball of the Time Traveler colorway…

What shall I make next?

Note: Hi Moogly and Petals to Picot Readers! I’m Keilah, the Knot Theorist, and I’m honored to be featured on the 100th HOHD. If you’d like to see the free pattern for this project, click here. If this is your first time visiting my blog, make sure to read my About page, and check out my latest posts, such as my Interview with Vicky Chan, which includes a special giveaway. If you’d like to see more of my recent projects, you can also look at my Titan Top and my projects for my WIP It Good challenge. Also, please feel free to like, comment, and subscribe! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

2015 Goals – Halftime Review

It’s already halfway through the year. Here’s an update of my progress in my 2015 goals so far.

Blog Goals:

1.  Get into the habit of blogging at least once a week

I’ve been doing a terrible job at this! I got busy with exams and robotics. Now that summer’s here, I hope to start blogging more often.

2.  Write from the heart

I haven’t been blogging, so I haven’t made any progress with this goal either.

Design Goals:

1.  Submit at least 12 pattern proposals to third party publications

So far, I’ve submitted 8 unique pattern proposals to third party publications. Out of the 8, 6 have been accepted!

2.  Learn garment grading

Nope.

3.  Work from a style sheet

I have worked from a style sheet for my accepted pattern proposals. Yay!

4.  Self-publish one garment pattern in at least 5 sizes

I need to learn garment grading first.

5.  Design a logo

Not yet, but I plan to start soon!

Other Goals:

1.  Knit a pi scarf

I can knit English style, but I don’t want to attempt a large project until I have Continental style down.

2.  Practice Soroban 10 minutes daily

Grrrr…. I haven’t been doing this either.

3.  Learn shorthand

No progress.

4.  Read at least 3 of Shakespeare’s histories

I haven’t started yet.

5.  Qualify for the AIME

I didn’t qualify this year.

6.  Go to Mathcamp

I didn’t qualify for Mathcamp either… I prioritized robotics over my application. Considering I went to the FIRST World Championship this year with my robotics team, I have no regrets about this one. 🙂

Summary

I’ve accomplished one goal, made progress in one other, failed two, and haven’t started the rest. My review is a bit depressing. I’ll have to do much better the second half of the year. Time to make a plan!

How are you doing with your goals for 2015?

News

Woohoo! I’ve been featured on Moogly’s Hookin’ on Hump Day for the second time for my post about my City Neckwarmer project. You can see the featured projects and link up at the latest HOHD here. My first Moogly-featured project was the Christmas Crescent.

Also, two of my crochet design proposals have been accepted to a crochet magazine! I’m very excited to work with a third-party publisher for the first time.

A few months ago, I didn’t even know how to use a drill. Now, I have enough technical knowledge to design and fabricate custom plastic parts, and my robotics team is one of four teams from my region going to FTC Super-Regionals!

I’m having an awesome week.

Karissa’s Fingerless Gloves – free pattern

IMG_7687

Last Saturday, I had an idea for a new design: gloves that would leave the very tips of the fingers open for use on touchscreen devices. Crocheting several narrow tubes for the fingers seemed complicated, so I looked for another solution.

I had an idea for a spiral design with openings at different finger heights. The concept wasn’t quite clear in my head, so I decided to test it with some scrap yarn. Since I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the cuff when I just wanted to check the finger design, I started from just below the thumb.

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