Thursday, December 31, 2015

STORY: Summary 2015, Yuliya

by Yuliya Tkacheva

2015 is drawing to a close and it's been a great year for the Cup of Stitches team. Following Lena's summary, here is what I have been up to during this year.

It started with a trip to what is now one of my favourite cities in the world, Amsterdam, and the City Break Hat was made for that trip. At the end of the year, I created two more post-stitch accessories, Winterlaced Cowl and Winterlaced Hat, also combined together in an ebook, so this technique has "framed" my year rather nicely:

My growing Tunisian crochet portfolio now includes two more designs, Of Sails and Waves stole and Tri cowl:

I had a lot of fun playing with lacy shawls this year and created two ebooks, containing a pair of shawls each.

Two Summer Stories with One Summer Day and One Summer Night:

Linen Letters with Hugs and Stitches and Very Truly:

I am also very proud to have added two more garments, Olga Top and Liza Pullover, to my clothing portfolio:

I hope your crocheting year has been just as much fun as mine and the upcoming 2016 will bring you lots of crafty joy. Thank you so much for supporting our indie work, following us here and on Ravelry and creating your gorgeous projects from our patterns. Happy 2016 to you all!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

STORY: Summary 2015, Lena

by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

It's time to look back and summarize what I've done in 2015! This year has been wonderful! 

Two two-pattern ebooks, Winter Sailing and Anise&Liquorice, are the result of my search of stitch patterns based on short stitches, such as single crochet, chain or slip stitches, which would allow me to create finer-looking and intriguing fabric even with thick yarn. Winter Sailing patterns allow to use yarn with short-color sections and Anise&Liquorice patterns would look fabulous with thick yarn (the thicker, the better!)

I completed and published five crocheted shawls: the airy Velvet Rose, the lace-weight Parsley Field made of motifs, and the lacy Pressed Violets, based on the filet crochet technique. The colorful Sunset Echo is worked in granny quilt technique and the last one, Zirka, is worked in the classic filet technique.

Two summer tops in yummy fruit colors made of crochet motifs brightened my summer!

I started a new Tunisian crochet collection (entrelac), Mental Vacation, and continued working on another one, In the Shell. Introvert's collection (shell motifs). Two patterns have been added to each collection. I was also fascinated with possibilities of Tunisian crochet and the idea of crocheting motifs with this technique. The result is my Tunisian Flowers shawl pattern.

An old pattern of mine, knitted Bosnian Slippers, has been re-written, tech edited and published again this year too (and I am wearing them right now!). Have a wonderful, comfy, warm and cheerful New Year! Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

I am very thrilled to show you my last design of this year, Zirka. It is a triangular shawl worked from the bottom up in the filet crochet technique. Its lace star pattern is a well-established classic, that never goes out of style.

To support the idea of Christmas gift giving, starting from December 15 until December 25, 2015, anyone who purchases "Zirka" for a friend, will receive it for themselves as a gift from me. The copy of the pattern will be sent manually within 24 hours to your Ravelry library.

This design is my attempt to push the boundaries of traditional crochet stereotypes. In Ukraine the filet crochet technique has been used for centuries to make lace borders to decorate clothes, table cloths, linen or curtains. Such lace is worked using the tiniest hooks (1mm or less) and mostly sewing thread. 

Filet lace ("proshva") on traditional blouse.
My idea to use a larger size hook and squishy merino wool to crochet a filet shawl with a Norwegian-like star pattern was quite a challenge!

But filet crochet is one of those techniques that looks great no matter what. It is timeless and always looks trendy and charming, whether it was made by your grandmother with thread or by you with merino wool.

I chose some views of an empty beach for my photo-shoot to highlight this harmony.

The shawl can be made to any size since it is worked from the bottom corner up. Simply keep crocheting until you reach your desired size. This also means that you can use yarn of any weight, starting from thread and lace, depending on your personal preferences.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PATTERN RELEASE: Anise & Liquorice

by Lena Fedotova
(ravliki on Ravelry)

The design story of my newly published cowl patterns, Anise and Liquorice, is all about the stitches and the yarn.

I am not a big fan of tall crochet stitches worked with thick yarn, since I normally find the resultant fabric quite crude and rustic-like. These last few months I was in search of stitch patterns based on short stitches, such as single crochet, chain or slip stitches, which would allow me to create finer-looking and intriguing fabric even with thick yarn.

My first step in this direction was a Sailing Weather ebook. Both cowls, Harbor Flecks and Rippling Arctic, only use single crochet and chain stitches. I still used fairly thin yarn (fingering weight) to achieve a lovely delicate texture.

I am now delighted to show you my Anise and Liquorice cowls, which use DK weight yarn and which are created only with single crochet stitches.

This stitch pattern mimics knit garter stitch and looks wonderful when crocheted with heavy weight yarns. I even say, the thicker, the better! You might want to check out these projects, which use Aran and Super Bulky weight yarn. They are simply gorgeous!

Both cowls use the same stitch pattern but are worked differently, which changes the direction of the stripes.

Anise is a two-looped cowl, worked flat side to side, then joined as you go in the last row.

Liquorice is a one-looped cowl, worked bottom up in the round.

If you are interested, get some thick yarn from your stash and join us for Anise & Liquorice CAL in the "Cup of Stitches" group on Ravelry. There is a special "teatime treat" for the participants there!

Or, if don't have such yarn in your stash, check out this wonderful offer from Artesano Yarns and get 20% off the price of the soft and squishy Superwash Merino with coupon code LENA20 when purchasing it here.

Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

HOW TO: Altering Liza Pullover, Neckline

by Yuliya Tkacheva

Liza Pullover, like everything else I design, is something I would wear myself. As a result, it is the reflection of my own rather casual style. I hardly ever wear fitted clothing, regularly raid my husband’s wardrobe and love relaxed oversized knitwear (crochetwear? :)) as part of a layered look. But I do see how this may not be your style and how you might want to change a thing or two.
Over the year I received a few questions on how to modify Liza pullover, so I felt like it might be a good idea to organise my thoughts into a couple of blog posts, just in case they might be helpful to other crocheters adventurous enough to alter the pattern.
There are a number of ways you can change this sweater. Some are fairly straightforward, others are less so. While I cannot recalculate and rewrite the pattern for every possible scenario, I am hoping to be able to give you a few useful pointers in case you are up for it.
Let’s start with the most frequent request:

First of all, let me explain why I opted for this wide neckline in the first place. Apart from my personal preferences (the casual look mentioned above), there were certain considerations from the designing point of view which made this neckline a preferred choice for me.
I always start with the stitch pattern, the fabric and the texture. This is the first most important part of any of my designs and it determines the rest of it.  If any particular element requires breaking the continuity and the logic of the stitch pattern to the point that it stops looking neat, I discard that element.
I love the basket weave stitch pattern I used to make Liza. However, it does not look as neat and uniform, when worked back and forth in rows, rather than rounds, so the first determinant of this design is that all rounds are worked in the same direction, which results in this lovely uniform texture.
A tighter neckline, such as a crew neck, would require raising the back an inch or so by working a few short rows. Although it is quite common not to do so in many crochet garment patterns, I personally find a sweater without a raised back a bit uncomfortable to wear, since it keeps slipping back and I constantly find myself pulling it down on the front.
To work short rows in the same directions would mean cutting yarn at the end of each row, reattaching it again for each of the short rows worked. Keeping it simple is the second consideration of my designing process, and just the thought of having all that extra fiddling with placement of the short rows and extra ends to weave in (not to mention figuring out a sane way to describe it in the pattern), was enough to put me off the idea of a tighter neckline.
There were a couple more things I needed to consider (such as being able to grade the sweater in a number of sizes), but I won’t bore you with those, since the reason you have got this far reading this blog post is probably because your heart is set on a crew-neck or a narrow turtle neck, and a lack of the raised back doesn’t bother you. Or least bothers you less than a wide neckline. 
Option #1: Quick Fix
The quick and easy option would be to go for your chosen size (see this post on ease), but slightly widen and tighten the neckline ribbing at the top, as demonstrated in this project by patricialeeross on Ravelry. I find this solution rather intriguing as it brings to mind this gorgeous sweater by Courtney Spainhower from the latest issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. In the project linked to above (see the bottom photo) the ribbing was decreased and extended in the opposite way after the sweater was finished, but you could work it top down right from the start and try it on as you go.
Option #2: More Involved
This option renders all of the yoke calculations I have done for you in the pattern pretty much irrelevant and would mean having to redo them yourself. If you are friends with maths, why not? Waifmtl's “Liza pullover” on Ravelry is a successfully executed example of this modification.
Changing the neck circumference will mean a different rate of increasing near the raglan lines to arrive at the desired number of stitches around the bust and the arms, so you will need to figure out how many stitches you will need to start with, how many to add, how to distribute the increases over your preferred yoke length and what that yoke length should be. You could also start your calculations with the number of stitches you need in the bust and sleeves and work your way backwards to the number of neck stitches.
Things to bear in mind are:
  1. Both the bust and the arm circumferences are affected at the same time, so you need to balance both.
  2. The neck ribbing stitches need to be divisible by three [2 FPdc, 1 BPdc].
  3. Four of the ribs are the raglan lines, which create the faux seams, and increases are made on both sides of those. There are eight stitches added in each increase round, four of them add width to the body, two to one sleeve and two to the other.
  4. As a reference, in the original pattern the increases are distributed evenly over the length of the yoke. In size 3X they are made in every round. In sizes S (M, L, 1X, 2X) every third (third, fourth, fifth, sixth) round is worked evenly (no increases are made).
  5. You will be adding extra chains under the arms (“bridges”) when joining the body and those provide a bit of leeway when balancing the stitch patterns. These extra chains add width to both the bust circumference and the armscye, so don't forget to take them into account in your calculations.
  6. If after you have finished the yoke and added the bridges the total numbers in the body and sleeves are not divisible by 6 (necessary for the basket-weave stitch pattern), you can add faux seams (2 FPdc) on the sides of the body and underarm on the sleeves to cover up the incomplete pattern repeats.

Hope these notes are of help!

Friday, November 13, 2015

PATTERN RELEASE: Winterlaced Hat and Cowl

by Yuliya Tkacheva

Cheerful Christmas stocks have replaced spooky Halloween merchandise in the local shops, and that is always a good reminder for me about the approaching holiday season.

With the weather getting chilly, my daughter has received her Christmas gift early this year: a hat with a pompom and a matching cowl.

The hat was very quick to make. It is also one of my favourite crochet techniques, post-stitch crochet, which, when worked in the same direction, creates a wonderfully uniform texture, so it was a pleasure to crochet. The basket-weave stitch pattern insert closer to the brim creates an illusion of a wide horizontal band laced into the pattern. 

The cowl took me a bit longer, since I wanted the loop to be long enough to go round her neck twice (the patterns provides shorter options). A variation of the basket-weave stitch-pattern matches the insert on the hat.

The hat and the cowl patterns are available individually as separate patterns on Ravelry, Etsy and Love Crochet. But for those interested in the set, I have combined the two patterns into an ebook on Ravelry and a bundle on Etsy.

There is also an exclusive offer on the Ravelry ebook for those subscribed to the Cup of Stitches newsletter, as well as the members of the Cup of Stitches Ravelry group (check out the announcement thread).

Happy Holiday Crocheting!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

HOW TO: Post-Stitch Crochet, Joining Rounds Invisibly

by Yuliya Tkacheva

Just a quick tutorial to show you how I join rounds in my post-stitch crochet patterns:

Relevant patterns:

ZigZag Cowl (although this pattern instructs you to simply elongate the last loop on the hook instead of chaining 1, you can still use the described method of "hiding" this loop at the end of the following round by working around the post of the last stitch and the elongated loop.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

After I made my first Tunisian Shell design it occurred to me that being "in the shell" is the perfect expression to describe an introvert's desire of being left alone in a comfortable and safe place. That's how my In the Shell. Introvert's Collection started.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

New design ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes you just have an image in your mind. Sometimes you see something you like and it pushes you to create your own interpretation of it. Sometimes you find a stitch pattern and immediately know just the perfect project for it. And sometimes the yarn itself becomes the starting point.

Two years ago I bought a batch of Malabrigo yarns on WEBS. Caribeno shade of Malabrigo Sock (right between bobby blue and red-yellow skeins) was simply amazing, but it was that kind of perky variegated yarn, which looks too spotty and messy in crocheted fabric with its tall stitches.

Two years later I finally found the perfect way to showcase its gorgeous colors: combining it with a neutral color yarn (Malabrigo Sock in shade Natural) and using simple basic stitches (single crochet and chains). And this method works wonders!

The stitch patterns are simple and easy to memorize, the cowls are quick to make and one skein of each color is enough to crochet both cowls. And you can wear both cowls together!

The Tunisian crochet ribbing is worked around the edges of the cowls. It is crocheted with a regular hook, since there are no more than five loops on the hook at any time (no need to use a special Tunisian crochet hook!). If you are new to Tunisian crochet, you can find explanations of the stitches used in Yuliya's Tunisian crochet glossary.

Both patterns, Harbor Flecks and Rippling Arctic, are available individually on Ravelry, and as a part of an ebook, Winter Sailing.

Happy crocheting!

P.S. If you are our Ravelry group member, don't forget to check the Announcements thread for your special offer. And if you are subscribed to our mailing list, you probably have seen it. :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PATTERN RELEASE: Tri, Double-Ended Tunisian Crochet

by Yuliya Tkacheva MsWeaver

I am itching to tell you about my new design!

Tri is a three-stripe cowl worked with three skeins of three gorgeous colours from the Malabrigo Worsted palette. I wanted to be this Autumn’s “besty” and picked the colours to match the yellow leaves (Frank Ochre), the clear blue sky (Jewel Blue) and the hazy blue morning fog (Polar Morn). This eye-catching combination will liven any of my outfits, while keeping me in harmony with the natural colours around.

I wanted to be able to wear it loose around the neck or with an extra wrap to keep my throat warm. With size K 10½/6.5mm hook the resultant fabric is quite dense, but so cosy! It is also quite tight on my neck, just the way I like it.

Working with a double-ended crochet hook is a lot of fun and opens up so many possibilities for colour creativity! The forward pass is worked with one strand of yarn and one end of the crochet hook, and the return pass is worked with a different strand and the opposite end of the hook. You can stick with the same colour for both the forward and the return pass or opt for two contrasting colours, or even a gradient of contrast colours to create a one of a kind accessory for this autumn.

This design is a great illustration of a certain peculiarity of Tunisian crochet: the row/round is not defined until you have worked into it in the following row/round. This is a very important thing to keep in mind when changing colours to preserve the stitch pattern integrity, since you actually change the colour before you change the stitch. If it doesn't make sense right now, it will after you work the pattern, since the design takes this peculiarity into account.

The pattern is now live on Ravelry and will soon be added to my Etsy and Love Crochet shops. As always, there is a special money-off coupon for the Cup of Stitches insiders on Ravelry.

Hope you have fun with this pattern!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


by Lena Fedotova (ravliki on Ravelry)

Yesterday I published Cabo Verde, the second pattern of my Mental Vacation collection.

This eye-catching wrap is worked in Tunisian crochet entrelac, a simple and relaxing technique. It does not require any special Tunisian hook, because you don't work with more than 7 stitches at a time, and you can place all of them on your regular crochet hook. It is as enjoyable to make as The Nile, particularly since the rows become shorter and shorter towards the end (I think almost everyone loses some of their enthusiasm once the project crosses the equator, but not with this shawl! You don't get a chance to become bored!).

The construction of Cabo Verde is different from The Nile. The Nile starts from the top and is worked in horizontal rows down to the bottom edge. This shawl is worked sideways starting from a corner with a base row of triangles along one side of the shawl, which results in diagonal stripes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


by ravliki (Lena Fedotova)

It is hard not to fall in love with Tunisian crochet entrelac. Simple, addictive and spectacular! Each row is only a few stitches long and you can place all of them on a regular crochet hook. Each element is fast and easy to complete, which gives you a pleasant feeling of accomplishment, and working element after element relaxes your mind. A true Mental Vacation!

This is the name of my new collection of Tunisian crochet entrelac designs, and I have just released the first pattern.

The Nile is worked in two-row color stripes side to side with the front side always facing up. It is crocheted from the top down, and the gradually decreasing rows make the process faster and faster as you get closer to the end.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


by Yuliya Tkacheva MsWeaver

I have just added two more shawls to our growing collection of neck accessories. They are also combined into an ebook, Linen Letters, for a quicker and more economical purchase for those interested in both.

"Letter #1", Hugs and Stitches, is a two-color triangular shawl worked outwards from the center of the top edge and embellished with beads along the bottom edge (which are optional). The stitch pattern requires working in indicated chains (rather than chain spaces), but the result is well worth it!

"Letter #2", Very Truly, is two-color too, but also asymmetrical and worked sideways from a corner. The stitch pattern is very simple and easily memorised, so after the first few rows crocheting it is a breeze.

The two shawls used 3 skeins of LitYarn in total (orange, lilac and grey), which I received as a gift from Lena. I love how this fibre (100% linen) holds the shape of the stitch patterns. The shawls feel so cool and summery - perfect for early Autumn or Indian Summer! 

Hope you like these two new designs, and if you are our Ravelry group member, don't miss a special offer in the announcements thread!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


by ravliki (Lena Fedotova)

It has been extremely hot here in Montenegro and I could only crochet something airy and light, so here is a new pattern of mine, Velvet Rose.

The shawl is worked from the center top back to the edge and embellished with a flower edging. This is an easy to "sail through" project for a hot summer day. The stitch pattern is not difficult to memorize and you can always skip the relatively time consuming flower edging, since it won't break the overall shawl aesthetic.

I made it with Prairie by Madelinthosh in Robin Red Breast shade and I used up almost the entire skein (the yardage of Tosh yarns is very generous!).

I like having no left-overs at the end of the project, since I never know what to do with them, but if you are not the risk-taking type, I suggest you crochet a few motifs and weigh them before starting the project to estimate how much of your yarn will be used by the flower edging.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


by Yuliya Tkacheva MsWeaver

Here is a new addition to our crochet garment collection!

Olga is a light sleeveless top worked bottom up in two pieces and then seamed. It features a modified boat-neck, a loose fit around the waist, two horizontal mesh panels below the bust and a vertical mesh panel running down the back. The neck, the armholes and the bottom are edged with a simple scalloped border.

The pattern offers 12 sizes, ranging from 30" (76.5cm) to 58¾" (149.5cm) in bust circumference. The instructions are written out and include partial charts as an additional support.

Available on:
Love Knitting

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

STORY: Lena's Inspiration

by Lena Fedotova (ravliki)

We took a one-day trip to the North of Montenegro, to the Tara river canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe (world’s second after the Great Canyon). I love this part of Montenegro so much! It is completely different from coastal Montenegro, where we live. My next designs are definitely going to be inspired by this trip.

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