I've been flirting with the idea of garment design for a while now, but I knew that I'd be dipping my toe in sooner rather than later after the class I took with Marie Green this spring. But I had no idea it would be THIS soon! I've been making notes and learning about top construction and drawing sketches and even have a couple WIPs floating around, but THIS one? This just seemed to come together like magic!
From the very first moment I picked up the yarn while on a short trip away from home in Charlottesville - where my husband was actually the one who scoped out the closest yarn shop! I think it might have been his way of enticing me to join him... Regardless! While he was busy with work, the kid and I went exploring, which included appetizers and dessert at Chili's, a bounce house, and Laughing Sheep Yarns.
Nettle Grove is a surprisingly soft but still "crunchy" kind of yarn with subtle thick and thin texture. And yes, it really is made with nettle fibers! 45% Cotton, 28% Linen, 12% Nettle, and 15% Silk to be exact. It was pleasant to crochet with and blocked beautifully.
The top itself is a simple design. Basic stitches and zero shaping (unless you want to add it during blocking) makes this quick to crochet and easy to customize. It works both as originally designed, with zero ease, and with LOTS of ease for a boxy top with lots of drape! AND it's addictive.
Seriously, y'all - I've already made three!
Also, that bright lemon one? It's the shop sample that will be on display at my LYS Yarn Matters! I pushed myself to get this design finished and released in conjunction with their 2nd Anniversary Celebration TODAY, July 21st, so if you're in the Williamsburg area, be sure to stop by to say hi and see all three of these versions in person!
Now. Are you ready to be addicted, too? Here are the details!
Skills you’ll need to know or learn:
6.25 stitches and 6 rows in pattern AFTER blocking = 1 inch. Instructions for gauge swatch given in pattern.
Sizes: 32 (34, 36, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54)
Finished Bust Measurements: 32" (34", 36", 38", 42", 46", 50", 54")
Pattern is designed with zero ease, but can easily be made in a larger size for a boxy top with lots of ease. Fabric is intended to be aggressively blocked and so neck and waist shaping can be added during blocking if desired (please note that this will not work with all yarns!)
I have to humbly thank a few people who helped make this happen.
First, and I know I already mentioned her, but Marie Greene of Olive Knits has been the most amazingly supportive evil knitting temptress! If you're looking for a top to knit, you simply must check out her stellar designs. I learned SO much from her after knitting just one of her sweaters and taking a single class. I honestly believe that she has made me a better crochet designer!
To Stasia Savasuk and all of my incredible Style Sisters I have to give credit for the name (and so much more!). Soulfire was only intended to be a working title, but one of my crochet students convinced me that I called it that for a reason and that I should stick with it. Style School helped take me from putzing around in the sticker bushes on the brink of the cliff, doubting myself and my creative worth, to bravely soaring off of that cliff to dive into the beautifully teal waters ahead. Choosing orange yarn is something I probably wouldn't have done before Style School, but when I did, I knew it was right. And that was just the beginning of the stirrings that brought this design to life, igniting a FIRE deep down inside my happy little maker heart. The creative energy that has burned through me since then has been incredible!
Even before that was my mentor session with Vickie Howell. We chatted about designing and teaching and marketing and all kinds of other things, but I was most surprised by her support of my desire to teach. Not just locally, but bigger than that. Maybe even internationally one of these days! She offered a perspective that I hadn't considered before and since then I've seen so much OPPORTUNITY. It's inspiring! And scary. But exciting!
For those of you who have been following along with me on the blog for a while, you will surely recognize the name of my beggest yarn muse: Karen Robinson of Round Table Yarns. Signing up for her Tristan and Isolde Yarn Club was the perfect way to challenge myself to not only think up new designs, but also PUBLISH them. In 2017 I released eleven new patterns out into the world and that is in no small way thanks to Karen's inspiration and encouragement - and all her yummy yarn, too, of course!
I must also thank my rockstar pattern testers! Without their adventurous commitment to work under a deadline on a green pattern, I don't think I'd have the confidence to keep doing this! So a great big thank you goes out to Kathleen, Sue Rees, Pam Brady, and Kendra Miller for their time and feedback! I'd like to also thank Linda Seaton Byrd and Trish!
And last but certainly not least, most of the photography credit on this one goes to my husband and, of course, our toddler assistant!
I feel so incredibly blessed to have become part of such an amazing community of fiber arts enthusiasts. I absolutely cannot wait to see where this journey will take me next!
The Soulfire Top pattern is available for purchase in my Ravelry Store and you can save 10% for the pattern launch with coupon code 1stGARMENT now through July 31st! Be sure to tag me @crochetcetera when you share pictures online!
Happy crocheting, y'all!!