Monday, June 17, 2019

Suncatcher: Stripe Options

The Suncatcher pattern includes additional options/charts to create a rectangular shape. These charts were also meant to be useful for giving options on where to change color most effectively when creating stripes.

One of the color options requires switching the colors in an unexpected place to achieve perfect striping. I am talking about ch-5 sps before the first row of 3dc-clusters.

One of two 3dc-cluster rows (the top row of each color section on pic) includes both clusters and ch-5 arches, but the first row of 3dc-clusters is worked differently and consists of 3dc-clusters only.

To achieve a matching arch-and-loop look at both ends of the color sections, the row of ch-5 sps BEFORE first 3dc-cluster row should be included in this color section.

Suncatcher pattern on Ravelry
Breeze Collection on Ravelry
Breeze Collection Lookbook

Friday, June 14, 2019

Suncatcher: Design Story

Suncatcher could have looked like this!

I made my first swatch of the shawl using leftovers of Malabrigo Sock in the shade Ochre. I didn't have enough yarn for the entire shawl and picked another shade from my stash, Cereza. It looks super rich and beautiful, doesn't it? I love rich, vivid, and full of life colors so much! But I set it aside anyway, feeling that it didn't look quite right (you probably know that feeling!).

This project could have been buried under the tons of fresh ideas, but one year later I completed this design in the Ochre colorway, exactly as I wanted it to be.

It was pure luck that I had a chance to take part in the Malabrigo Freelance Pattern Project and the collection theme I chose was just perfect to include this shawl's idea and to work it in that beautiful subtle yellow color. Happy birthday, Suncatcher!

Suncatcher pattern on Ravelry
Breeze Collection on Ravelry
Breeze Collection Lookbook

Malabrigo Sock in shade Cereza

Monday, June 10, 2019

Suncatcher: Stitch Pattern (continued)

The diagonal direction of work I chose fits this stitch pattern perfectly:

1) The increases made along one side are neat and simple.

2) The increases make the shawl enlarge slowly, turning it into a long and narrow triangle, which is one of my favorite shawl shapes: it grows quickly, but it is not as deep as classic shawls and is perfect for wrapping around the neck.

3) With this direction of work, it becomes possible to work the edging along one side as-you-go, creating the neat edge and, at the same time, avoiding turning chains at the beginning of the rows. It wouldn't work or look as nice if I chose a rectangular scarf or a classic triangular-shawl construction.

4) The diagonally-oriented st patt sections are visually appealing and are associated with dynamism, expression, and motion. Perfect for the Breezy mood of the collection!

Suncatcher pattern on Ravelry
Breeze Collection on Ravelry
Breeze Collection Lookbook

Malabrigo Sock in shade Ochre

Friday, June 7, 2019

Suncatcher: Stitch Pattern

I made the first swatch of this stitch pattern more than 6 years ago!

It was not a unique combination of stitches I came up with, it was something I'd seen in the Japanese crochet magazines and was fascinated with. This swatch stayed in my swatch box for years. I regularly go through this box and remove “out-of-date” swatches, but this one always looked promising to me and always felt modern. 

During this time I've been wondering what kind of design would best work with this stitch pattern, and this process is not that straightforward as it might seem. The answer “whatever you want!” never works with me when looking at a stitch pattern as a basis of a future design. I see so many possibilities!

At this stage, I start exploring the stitch pattern and this can actually take years because the exploration happens here and there, a bit at a time.

Besides the general features, like lace, solid, textured, etc., when creating a pattern from a swatch, I need to keep in mind: the different stitches used, are there rows of different heights, if it is made of several stitch patterns (like this one, which alternates between lace and solid st patt sections) and each of these st patts may have different stitch repeat. For example, in this sample, it is a multiple of 2 sts in the solid section and a multiple of 4 sts in the lace section.

This information helps to determine the ways increases and decreases can be done, and different shapes can be achieved, as well as the different ways border stitches can be dealt with to easily achieve neat edgings. After this research has been done, some options are not as promising as before. And finally, I find one, which is working up so smoothly, easily, naturally, that it becomes clear that the stitch pattern should be treated exactly this way. [to be continued]

Suncatcher pattern on Ravelry
Breeze Collection on Ravelry
Breeze Collection Lookbook

Malabrigo Sock in shade Ochre

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Suncatcher: Yarn

Suncatcher uses Malabrigo Sock in shade Ochre. This colorway is absolutely amazing and looks very natural and smooth even in tall crochet stitches.

I had three skeins to make the largest size of the shawl and each of these skeins had slightly different color saturation: same color, but each a little bit lighter or darker than the others.

Despite my belief that this color shift would be barely noticeable (if at all), I still wanted to minimize the difference (even if nobody knows, I know that it is different). I didn't want to alternate the skeins and complicate the process, so I waited for daylight* and then simply arranged the skeins in order from light to dark to ensure the colors flowed evenly.

If I had used the lightest and the darkest shades next to each other, maybe there would have been a noticeable color shift, but having the skein with the average color saturation in between them solved this issue.

*There were a couple of times when I started a new project in the evening and could work on it only at night. This taught me to never ever do this again when using hand-dyed yarns and always wait for daylight. You'll notice the difference in color (of the skeins) too late.

Suncatcher pattern on Ravelry
Breeze Collection on Ravelry
Breeze Collection Lookbook

Malabrigo Sock in shade Ochre

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Suncatcher: Edging

I thought for a long time that edgings, these gorgeous, bold, and eye-catching edgings are my designer's weak point. Because I could not design anything like that. Until I realized that I was looking at the problem from the wrong angle.

Not every shawl needs a bold edging. Typically, such gorgeous edgings are accompanied with a plain or neutral st patt for the shawl body to keep it balanced and not overwhelming. As long as I use a textured, bold, or eye-catching stitch pattern for the main part of the shawl, I avoid bold edgings instinctively. If the shawl body is the star, it's best to keep the edging simple.

When I designed Suncatcher, I already understood this idea, so my main task was to find that an imperceptible finishing touch.

If you look closer at Suncatcher's edging, you'll see that it consists of one lace row with additional arches at the top. If you feel that these arches look strange, you are right. It seems impossible to do the second row of arches without breaking the yarn because these arches should have more arches in between, but they don't.

This super-spiky look is made with the help of a two-story stitch which allows one row to mimic the look of two rows.

This stitch is worked in several steps and directions (I adore crochet possibilities!) and consists of a combination of multiple yarn overs and regular dc, which, when put all together, creates the spiky edge instead of a continuous line.

And mainly, it accomplishes its job perfectly by giving the shawl a row of sunny rays.

Suncatcher pattern on Ravelry
Breeze Collection on Ravelry
Breeze Collection Lookbook

Malabrigo Sock in shade Ochre

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Breeze Collection: Released!

My fresh and airy Breeze Collection is now available on Ravelry! It includes five crochet designs each of which has a curious soul and a relaxed nature.

Each pattern in this collection has its own unique feature that will surely amaze or teach you something new and, I hope, inspire you on your continuing crochet adventures.
  • Sandpiper will probably surprise you with how little time it takes to crochet such a big garment (spoiler: very quickly!) and shares a join-as-you-go way of seaming the sides, which results in a neat and flat join.
  • Ozone will amaze you with its rich texture created using only the simplest crochet stitches.
  • Anemone will restore your faith in crochet discovery: there are still many crochet stitch patterns and combinations waiting to be invented and explored.
  • Waters will inspire your inner artist, an aesthete, and a perfectionist, in the way the colors blend beautifully one into the other like watercolors while using a colorwork method that leaves no leftovers of this lace yarn.
  • And finally, Suncatcher is all about relaxed regular crochet, which is not typical for me, so I added a little smart touch to its edging. The edging uses a two-story stitch which allows one row to mimic the look of two rows and achieve that super-spiky look.

I'll be sharing these designs' stories, tips and tricks, behind the scene moments and much more in the upcoming weeks on my Instagram and here, in blog. You can also find me in the Cup of Stitches group on Ravelry. See you there and happy crocheting!

(the link will take you to the ebook page on Ravelry)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dotty Top: Sleeve Length and Neckline

Dotty Top can be worn with shoulder coverage or off-the-shoulder thanks to the wide bateau neckline made in stretchy ribbing.

Something that needs to be taken into consideration when making this style of top is that the off-the-shoulder option adds “extra length” to the sleeve and it's best to decide in advance which way you will be wearing the top the most and how you are going to deal with the difference in sleeve length.

The pattern is written for the off-the-shoulder style which will give shorter sleeves when you slide the neckline up onto your shoulders. These shorter sleeves can be folded or rolled up to create a more stylish ¾ sleeve for those times when you prefer more shoulder coverage.

Pattern: Dotty Top on RavelryEtsy

Friday, May 10, 2019

MADMAY: Charmer and Ultravioleta

In celebration of MadMay, an annual event in the Madelinetosh Lovers group on Ravelry, I am offering 20% off my latest patterns designed in this gorgeous yarn, Charmer cowl and Ultravioleta shawlUse code MADMAY to get the discount (valid until the end of May)!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Dotty Top: Before and After

This photo was taken before I re-worked the neckline, so if you noticed the decreases at the ribbing and don't like them, I am glad to say that it was fixed (see pic below)! Some flaws strike the eye only after being photographed, and even looking in the mirror doesn't help to catch them.

I know that being a perfectionist isn't a trend anymore. If you google “perfectionism quotes,” most of them will have a negative connotation (like “a beautiful thing is never perfect”) and give us an excuse to be or act imperfectly. But I love fixing and polishing my projects anyway.

Not only because they change for the better, but also because fixing is a completely different skill than designing or crocheting and it should be treated differently, in my opinion. I consider it to be my crochet “gym” time. Pain, tears and hard work, because it is supposed to be hard. Any motivational gym quote fits. “Pain is temporary, pride is forever”.  “No excuses”. You see? Fits perfectly :)

Pattern: Dotty Top on RavelryEtsy

Friday, May 3, 2019

Dotty Top: Pattern Release

I have a new pattern in my store on Ravelry!

Dotty top is worked seamlessly in the round from the top down with the right side always facing. It features a round yoke construction with the “dots” gradually increasing in size to create a smooth visual transition from yoke to body. 

After completing the yoke, one extra dot repeat is added to the underarm at each side and then the body is worked evenly in rounds to the bottom. After the body is complete, the sleeves are worked top down to the cuffs. A wide bateau neckline worked in ribbing st rounds out the style.

This top was designed to be quick and simple and could be a lovely relaxing project for the experienced crocheters and a good first garment for those who are adventurous beginners.

For those who always modify the pattern in order to get the best fit for their body, I have included modification tips which might help you more easily make your desired changes (higher back neck, sleeve decreases, etc). The checkered order of the elements determines how many extra back rows and/or underarm elements are possible to be added and these two modifications influence each other. If you change one, you should bear in mind that the other one will change too.

The pattern is 20% off the regular price until Sunday, 5 May 2019. Use coupon code DOTTY to get the discount. Happy crocheting!

Pattern: Dotty Top on Ravelry, Etsy

TUNISIAN SHELL: Mermaid Tail Blanket

Mermaid Tail Blanket, published previously in Crochet Now magazine, is available in my pattern store on Ravelry.

The pattern has been tweaked a little, updated, and now uses U.S. crochet terminology. It also includes six more color diagrams to get you inspired as well as a blank template for each of the three available sizes to colorize and visualize your blanket before you start.

Happy crocheting!

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Blanket

Friday, April 26, 2019


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.

My favorite Tunisian shells are worked in the short-row technique using a regular crochet hook. The stitch pattern is simple and it was a lot of fun to play with while thinking about various possibilities of using it: increases for the hexagonal-shaped blanket, a half-circle element for the straight edge of the shawl, and finally, a more complicated challenge, a garment design.

In the Shell Top is worked in the round, and its upper part is worked side to side. It uses half-circle elements for the bottom edge, half-shells for the straight armhole line, and partial shells to tighten the neckline on the back.

The yarn was a pure joy to work with! Lace Merino by Ella Rae is a fingering/4 ply 100% merino. When worked in Tunisian simple stitch with a U.S. G (4mm) size hook, this yarn creates a light and delicate fabric, perfect for a summer top or a light vest.

Pattern: In The Shell Top

Monday, April 22, 2019


My mom loves my sweaters and textured accessories but is not very fond of the lace shawls because she cannot find a proper use for them. One day she took one of my very airy lace shawls, folded it many times until it looked like a narrow scarf and put it around her head in a beautiful manner. I was very impressed and a new era of wearing shawls began for me.

Since then, I wear the small shawls as a kerchief, wrap lace-weight shawls around my head and keep an eye out for YouTube videos of new tips and tutorials on how to tie them :) As I am not a hat person, I adore this solution.

Pattern: Tunisian Shell shawl
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in shades Ochre and Natural

Friday, April 19, 2019

TUNISIAN SHELL: Tunisian Shell Shawl

Tunisian Shell Shawl is my second design worked in this Tunisian crochet technique.

The shawl is worked side to side in rows of shells with the front side always facing up. The process looks like pure joy from the very beginning!

The shawl uses two colors, and the pattern includes additional diagrams which show different color and wave variations.

The possibilities are, in fact, endless, because each shell element of the shawl can be worked in a new color :) The pattern also includes a blank template to colorize and visualize your own version before you start!

Pattern: Tunisian Shell shawl
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in shades Ochre and Natural

Monday, April 15, 2019

TUNISIAN SHELL: Tunisian Shell Blanket

Tunisian Shell Blanket was my first Tunisian Shell pattern.

The idea for the Tunisian Shells was actually a long and winding journey.

I have quite strong feelings now when I hear "I hate... picot / crab st / bobbles, etc", as I don't think that the stitch is the problem. Saying we "hate" a stitch is just a way to express our frustration at the lack of skill for that stitch, isn't it? Would we say "hate" if we knew how to work it fast and easy and got the result we loved?

Friday, April 12, 2019

TUNISIAN SHELL: Patterns and Tunisian Shell Stitch Tutorial

There are some extremely enjoyable stitch patterns, which are easy, quick and fun to make and which can challenge your crochet knowledge but still keep you relaxed like those st patterns which can be done in front of the tv. Tunisian Shell stitch is such a stitch pattern for me and I hope you enjoy it too!

The designs listed below are worked in the Tunisian crochet technique and do not require a Tunisian hook. Each shell element is small enough to place all of your stitches on a regular crochet hook. It is also fast and easy to complete, which gives you a pleasant feeling of accomplishment, and working element after element relaxes your mind.

I have released the Mermaid Tail Blanket pattern, published previously in Crochet Now magazine, and updated the Tunisian Shell Shawl, the Tunisian Shell Blanket, and In The Shell Top patterns. You will find more details on each pattern on the pattern pages.

You may give this stitch pattern a quick try right now, using any yarn and a regular crochet hook. It will probably take you less than 5 minutes:

Set-up Row: Ch 7, starting from second ch from hook, pull up a loop from each ch. 7 loops on hook.
RetP: *Yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, repeat from * across, leave last loop on hook.
Row 1: Tss in next 4 sts. 5 loops on hook. RetP.
Row 2: Tss in next 2 sts. 3 loops on hook. RetP.
Row 3: Tss in next st, [Tss in next 2 sts of row below] twice, pull up 1 loop from last base ch. 7 loops on hook. RetP. [see pic below]
Rows 4-12: Rep Rows 1-3 three more times.
Bind off: Sl st in each st and last base ch. Shell complete.
The shells from the patterns are joined to the elements of the previous row in a special manner while working the last row.

If you need some basic help, find Tunisian crochet tutorials at


Monday, April 8, 2019

RIFT: Modifications

Let's talk about custom sizing!

When I crochet a design sample, despite the given instructions (which are written having industry-standard average sizes in mind), I, anyway, tend to make changes which will compliment my own figure. I mean, my own figure's features and size mismatchings, like size S for the bust and size L for upper arms and hips. The average size S doesn't require the wide sleeves I need.

But, as said, the pattern sizing is based on very average measurements and I think that's good since it provides us with a base from which we can adjust however we want.

Friday, April 5, 2019

RIFT: Final Version

Rift sweater has been released and is available as an individual pattern download in my pattern store on Ravelry!

Rift is a casual and cozy everyday sweater worked seamlessly from the top down. It features relaxed shaping at the body, a round neckline with a higher back neck, sleeves which taper toward the cuff, side slits and an on-trend longer back.

The pattern uses the simplest crochet stitches: single crochet, chain and slip stitch.

Available sizes: S (M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X) to fit: 33⅞ (37¾, 41¾, 45⅝, 49⅝, 53½)″ / 86 (96, 106, 116, 126, 136) cm bust circumference with 2⅜″ (6 cm) of positive ease.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in shade Ravelry Red
Pattern: Rift by Lena Fedotova

The posts you might like:

Monday, April 1, 2019

RIFT: Edging

The stitch pattern I used for the edging uses slip stitches. It is actually a pretty cool stitch pattern which mimics the rows of garter knit st (see pic 3). The other side (which I chose as a right side) looks like a solid and dense knit-like fabric. The thickness of the stitch pattern makes it perfect for an edging, which should be heavy enough to hold its shape.

Friday, March 29, 2019

RIFT: Before and After

Edgings are important. In most cases they make a statement and add character to the design. Edgings create the polished look of the design, not only in the “neat, accurate” meaning of this word, but also in the way they tie together the entire look.

So, after I spent a day hysterically swatching all of the ribbing stitch patterns I knew and then some more I found on the Internet (none of them fit), I finally calmed down and started to think logically.

An excellent time-tested design construction, the plain sweater with a ribbed edging exists already and I don't need to invent anything new. I just need to re-work it. Why not simply switch the stitch patterns? And the plain sweater with the ribbing at the bottom, in my case, turns into a ribbed sweater with a plain edging. Voila!

As I needed to frog the bottom of the sweater anyway, I took this opportunity to make more changes. I made the sweater slightly shorter in front, longer in back, changed the width of the edging to be more visually appealing and added the same edging to the sleeves, but only half as wide. Now when I look at my red sweater, I feel all the parts are in harmony with each other and I feel content, and hope you do, too!

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in shade Ravelry Red
Pattern: Rift by Lena Fedotova

The posts you might like:

Monday, March 25, 2019

RIFT: Wrong Version And Why I Re-worked It

I'd like to show you the WRONG version of my red sweater before it was RE-WORKED and share my thoughts on why I decided to make some changes.

Friday, March 15, 2019

RIFT: Neckline Edging

The edging I used for the neckline of Rift mimics the knit roll edge and is made with the help of slip stitches worked in front loops only, in a spiral with front side always facing. This makes the edging roll up naturally. Cute, neat and simple!

Frankly, the edgings take most of my time. In my opinion, crochet (due to its nature) misses the basic edgings, the edgings which can be used whatever stitch patterns you chose, for example, like classic ribbing edgings in knitting, or i-cord. They fit almost everything and allow you not to think about the edging at all if you don't want to.

In crochet, you have to "invent" the edging every time you start a new project. It depends on the stitch pattern, how tall the stitches are (and if you mix the stitch patterns, some border sts are short, some are tall), the difference in the gauge of main st pattern and edging also matters. You have to think in advance about the ways you can deal with border sts to achieve neat edging easily too.

I wish someday I'll dive deeper into this and find some working solutions for crochet edgings. And this knit-like roll edge seems to be a nice neckline solution for almost every stitch pattern, because it starts with a base round around neckline (no matter what st pattern is used, you just need to fill the entire neckline with single crochet stitches) and continues with slip stitches for four-five rounds.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in shade Ravelry Red
Pattern: Rift by Lena Fedotova

The posts you might like:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

RIFT: In Progress

Even the simplest design may lead to lots of discoveries, things to be learned, and skills to be polished! I planned on finishing this sweater in a week or two, but even after working on it for a month I still had a lot of things to think about. But now these decisions have been made and I am very happy with the result!

1) I am not a fan of the straight neckline lines of the basic raglan. I was curious how I could avoid this without working short rows which would break the accurate horizontal ribbing stitch pattern. The solution was a combination of round yoke construction (for front and back) and raglan (for sleeves).

2) The uneven raglan increases are used to create a perfect fit. The yoke circumference matches the body measurements and a relaxed oversize fit is achieved by adding extra stitches at the underarm. Extra short-rows are worked across the back to finish the yoke shaping and create a higher back neck.

3) I am using Malabrigo Rios and switch the skeins every second row to avoid color pooling. It took some time to discover the best way to do this neatly, as well as a way to join in the round in ribbing stitch pattern (do not ch-1 and you'll get much more accurate and invisible join!).

4) The neckline edging mimics a knit roll edge and is made with the help of the slip stitches.

5) Decreases are evenly placed along each sleeve creating a taper towards the cuff. Love neat narrow cuffs!

When I was writing this, the sweater was not finished yet, so I expected to have more things to think about. For example, the bottom edging, which I planned on working in the same ribbing stitch pattern, but vertically-oriented. To be continued!

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in shade Ravelry Red
Pattern: Rift by Lena Fedotova

The posts you might like:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

RIFT: Color and Getting Started

I'd like to share the design story of my upcoming pattern and it begins with the color. My favorite color in February was red.

Starting the design process with a rich, hot, red color meant that the remaining design elements should be simple: I chose top-down raglan construction, relaxed fit and a simple stitch pattern. A piece of cake, but frankly, such simple designs require a lot of attention: neat stitch work, accurate edging, smooth color flow, perfect fit, no extra fabric or wrinkles at armholes, etc.

I don't mean that the super-cool design may skip any of these, just that the simple ones do not have those cool elements that could distract you from the possible flaws. One can never be overly perfectionist with something minimalistic in style and simple in shape. And I love it!

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in shade Ravelry Red
Pattern: Rift by Lena Fedotova

The posts you might like:

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