I am a knitter with a capital K, but every once in a while I spend just a little too much time designing knitting patterns and burn myself out. In those times, I fill my hands with other crafty endeavors. I’ve been known to quilt, cross stitch, do origami, and go crazy with the Christmas bug making paper garlands and spray-painting pine cones in metallic colors. My most frequent escapes by far are quilting and crochet, so it is no great surprise that after marathon knitting the Yukiya Pullover this spring, I turned to crochet. What is surprising is that it stuck.
My first foray into crochet was Etheria, which is essentially a stitch sampler worked in rounds. I had become a little obsessed with Shalimar Paulie in Toast Points, which I also used in the Yukiya slouchy and pullover, and I wanted to see how the yarn looked in crochet. I was playing with different stitch patterns that appealed to me to see if I could get a nice progression. When mixing stitches in knitting patterns this often involves a bit of trial and error, but with Etheria it just happened. I cast on 270 sts – the number I would need to get the circumference I wanted in the first stitch pattern I tried – and just went. As luck would have it, all three of the stitch patterns I used – each with a different number of stitches in the repeat – fit evenly into 270. If that isn’t kismet, I don’t know what is. I just crocheted until I wanted something new, and then picked another stitch pattern. The only planning I did was choosing the percentage of the design that I wanted each stitch pattern to take up. Even division into thirds is less interesting than strips with varying widths, so I did pay attention to that detail, but in all other respects it was just a matter of doing what I liked and thought might look nice together. In case you are wondering – that never, ever happens. It was magical. Hence Etheria – a name that brings to mind light, air, and fantasy. It gave me all three.
Sibelle was inspired by a lovely skein of Paulie in Adobe – a gorgeous, subtly variegated colorway that really defies description. The closest I can come to describing it is to say that it reminds me of a soft sunset. Sibelle is a play on sibling, because I think of Sibelle as Etheria’s sister design – equally light and airy and clearly related, but also different – bolder in color and completely different in construction. While Etheria is worked in long rounds, Sibelle is a series of motifs strung together and then bordered on both sides by picots – which, by the way – are the exact opposite of Etheria’s picots. Etheria’s picots are internal to the chains. Sibelle’s dance out along the edges. That really describes how I think of Sibelle – dancing in the air. Etheria is beautiful and subdued, Sibelle is joyful. I did not plan on designing Sibelle any more than I did Etheria, but once I worked a single motif the others followed effortlessly, and I liked the idea of doing a similar piece in a different way. The way each little color appeared in the yarn kept me moving forward – pink, yellow, gold, brown, peach, almost-orange, and back again. A dance of color to match the dance of the clusters that criss-cross across the cowl.
No doubt as I work more in crochet I will become more structured, but for now the carefree nature of just going where the hook leads has been great fun. So fun, in fact, that I am planning to be back with more next spring, if not sooner.