Jardin extraordinaire (Extraordinary garden)

Today I published a new pattern page on Ravelry: Jardin extraordinaire (Extraordinary garden).

Jardin extraordinaire, Tunisian crochet pattern with yarn Buisson by Les aiguilles du hérisson
Jardin extraordinaire, Tunisian crochet pattern with yarn Buisson by Les aiguilles du hérisson

It is a pattern that I designed in collaboration with the Belgian indie dyer Les aiguilles du hérisson. I used her yarn Buisson, 100% cotton, available in multiple colorways, all with natural vegetable dyes. A very soft yarn, that is ideal to work in Tunisian crochet.

My pattern is available for free as part of yarn kits. For the launch, today the 21st of May, get 10% off with the discount code JARDIN10 from the Etsy shop of Les aiguilles du hérisson.

This slightly crescent shawl allows for multiple arrangements in colors display. There are 2 types of kits available:

Jardin extraordinaire, multi-color yarns Buisson, vegetable dyes by Les aiguilles du hérisson
Jardin extraordinaire, in multi-color yarns, vegetable dyes by Les Aiguilles du hérisson
Jardin extraordinaire, in solid color yarns, vegetable dyes by Les aiguilles du hérisson
Jardin extraordinaire, in solid color yarns, vegetable dyes by Les aiguilles du hérisson

The pattern includes a schematic, detailed instructions and a photo tutorial. Even though this is Tunisian crochet, there is no need for a special hook. A “standard” hook (without ergonomic grip) on which you can hold a maximum of 10 loops will do.

Go and visit the Etsy shop of Les Aiguilles du hérisson. Find the colorways in yarn Buisson that you like best.

Simple wet blocking

Mise en forme ou blocage pour un ouvrage avec une belle finition
An easy blocking technique for a good finishing touch

Blocking is a very important step in the making of a knitting or crochet project. The blocking techniques will be different depending on the type of fibre used in the project (wool, linen, cotton, synthetic yarn) and the type of project (blanket made of different squares, shawl, pullover, beanie), but in all cases blocking will help giving a nice finishing touch. Don’t underestimate the power of blocking.

In this article I present a very simple technique (I believe the most basic one) to block a project made of wool.

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Updates of my patterns on Ravelry

A short message today to warn those who have purchased my patterns on Ravelry: I’m reviewing my patterns (essentially the lay out) and, in the coming days, you’ll receive an update notification in your Ravelry library for the patterns you have purchased.

Why do I review my patterns?

I started to publish patterns on Ravelry 3 years ago. Even if instructions are correct (and I take this opportunity to warmly thank my testers for their dedication and support in my work), my editorial style has evolved over time.

Some patterns will have slight updates. But the oldest patterns will be subject to a more thorough review. For example, one of my first patterns, Le bois des rêves.

Le bois des rêves, one of my first published Tunisian crochet patterns

In the beginning I only wanted to review the graph, but then, while I was at it, I thought I would change a few more things. And since I’m busy with this review, I thought I could as well review the other patterns. Let’s call it a sanity check.

Does it really matter?

The big advantage of Ravelry (well, one of the big advantages) is the access to an electronic library, a place where you can save all the patterns you like. The key word here is “electronic”. It means that you have access to the latest version of the patterns you saved in your library. Forget about errata. The Ravelry library will always give you the latest update of the patterns you saved there. Isn’t it great?

Experiment on gauge

Not long ago I joined the Tunisian crochet explorers group on Ravelry. The aim is to explore different aspect of Tunisian crochet together, no matter where we are in this world. This group counts already several discussion threads. One of which is about conversion of knitting patterns into Tunisian crochet. But I actively participate to another discussion about gauge. An experiment launched by Abbey from Australia.

Ravelry group Tunisian crochet explorers
Tunisian crochet experiment on gauge
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Discussion groups on Ravelry

Ravelry is a website about yarn crafts, and more specifically about knitting and crochet. If you don’t know Ravelry yet, I strongly encourage you to join it. It’s free and you have access to a gold mine of information in different languages about projects done by people all around the world, patterns (free or to purchase) and yarns.

Ravelry is also a place to join discussion groups. By definition, a group is a number of people gathering around something they have in common. The interest shared by the group can take endless forms. On Ravelry you’ll find groups per geographical area or per interests, other than yarn crafts specifically, on a wide variety of themes such as literature, movies, food, gardening… Today I’ll tell you about 2 groups with an interest for Tunisian crochet.

The French speaking group Crochet tunisien

Ravelry is an American site and many groups have English as a default language. For those who would like to exchange in French, see the group Crochet tunisien. It’s a French speaking group with the objective to create a space on Ravelry for those who would like to share their experience about Tunisian crochet in French and find out more about other French speakers passionate about it.

Groupe Crochet tunisien sur Ravelry
Groupe Crochet tunisien sur Ravelry

A group has discussion threads. But also shared projects. Members of a group can decide to share their latest projects with the group and I find that feature particularly interesting to discover new projects I would not come across otherwise. You want to share your Tunisian crochet projects with French speakers? Do it with this group.

It’s also in this group that I have my patterns tested in French. If you want to participate to a test on a Tunisian crochet pattern in French, here is where you’ll find mine. I also have my patterns tested in English. I’ll come back on this topic later on. If you wish to test your own Tunisian crochet patterns in French, feel free to launch your requests in this group. It is open to all. It’s not my group. It’s a French speaking group about Tunisian crochet.

The group Tunisian crochet explorers

A new group has just been created. It is called Tunisian crochet explorers. I like the word “explorers”. It implies discoveries and adventures. Which is just right for Tunisian crochet, a technique that has so much more to offer than what is usually presented in books or websites.

Ravelry group Tunisian crochet explorers
Ravelry group Tunisian crochet explorers

By default, this group has English as the main language, but it is open to other languages. Should you feel more at ease to express yourself in a language known by another member, go ahead. The aim of the group is to present Tunisian crochet in all its diversities across the world, without any cultural boundaries, and to share innovative techniques to go beyond what is known in a given country.

The founders of the group are from different countries and have different designing styles, yet they are united by their common passion for Tunisian crochet and their wish to share ressources and knowledge in a constructive spirit. Yet the group is not limited to the designs of the founders. On the contrary. The aim is to explore together all the fields that Tunisian crochet has to offer. The approach is collective and inclusive.

Counting stitches

Before you start a Tunisian crochet project, ideally you make a swatch to count how many stitches you have per the measurement indicated in the pattern. However, counting stitches is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. In the sample below, how many Tunisian simple stitches do you count?

How many Tunisian simple stitches in one row?
How many Tunisian simple stitches in one row?
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How to defeat curling in Tunisian crochet

A Tunisian crochet work will always tend to curl. And curling can be severe if the fabric is dense. It’s a pure mechanical thing with weight and tension not evenly spread over the crochet work. Curling occurs when there is more fabric on one side of the work (usually but not always the back side of work).

Curling in Tunisian crochet
Curling in Tunisian crochet

The good news is there are a few things that can be done to fight against curling. You should take several aspects of your work into consideration and, ideally, combine several techniques to minimize curling.

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