Tag Archives: Infusion Handpaints

Guest Blogger: Dora Ohrenstein (and a Giveaway!)

Please help me in welcoming crochet maven and designer extraordinaire, Dora Ohrenstein to the Universal Yarn blog! Dora is the author of numerous crochet books, including her latest, “Top-Down Crochet Sweaters.”


I’m going to let Dora take it away, but I’ll be back at the end of the post with details on how you can win a copy of her new book plus yarn to make one of the gorgeous projects inside!

One of the constant themes in my new book, Top Down Crochet Sweaters, is the importance of choosing great yarns for crochet garments. We all know that crochet is sometimes compared unfavorably to knitting when it comes to garment-making. Why is that?  Crochet stitches were born in the 19th century to imitate hand-made laces and were worked with very thin threads on slender hooks. As the 20th century unfolded, hobbyists turned increasingly to yarn, and some of the nuance of crochet, blown up to larger proportions, was lost. Of course crochet can look great even at a larger scale, but one has to choose pliable yarns, usually in weights thinner than worsted.  My favorites are DK, sport and fingering weight yarns.  

Today we have so many choices of yarn weights and fibers that one can make absolutely stunning crochet garments. Fibra Natura’s Infusion Handpaints is a great example of a DK that works beautifully in crochet.  Its fibers are acrylic and wool, and in this case they have been spun to such perfection that the resulting yarn is as soft and supple as one could wish for.  That’s why I chose it for the pullover called Zora from my book.


Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © Dora Ohrenstein. Photography by © Melinda DiMauro

It uses simple double crochet clusters as the main stitch, adorned with vertical panels of more open lace. Increases are plotted throughout each row, rather than at raglan points, resulting in a yoke that ends with a smooth curve with no raglan points. Because of this, you can divide it up for body and sleeves in any way you like. It’s a great way to get the dimensions that work best for you.

I used another Universal Yarn, Whisper Lace for the garment called Rosina. 


Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © Dora Ohrenstein. Photography by © Melinda DiMauro

Here I wanted to feature a large lace pattern called Peacock Stitch. The size of the stitch pattern dictated the choice of a thinner yarn. I love how Whisper Lace looks with this stitch — it’s slight fuzziness lends a softness to the stitch pattern. To make a more solid fabric for the body I used double treble stitches so the garment works up suprisingly fast. 

As the title implies, all the garments in my book are worked top down. If you’re inspired to get going on Zora or Rosina, please join me at my ravelry group for a CAL on this sweater and others from Top Down Crochet Sweaters. Here’s a link:


I think you’ll be very pleased with these fabulous Universal yarns, and how lovely a crochet sweater can be!

Thanks, Dora! This really is a beautiful book with extremely wearable garments inside. Want to win a copy? How about some yarn? We’ve teamed up with Dora to offer two lucky winners a copy of her new book, Top-Down Crochet Sweaters plus enough Whisper Lace or Infusion Handpaints to make Rosina or Zora (love those project names!).

Here’s how you can win:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite thing to crochet is. Be sure to enter your email address so we have a way to contact you!
  • This offer is only open to US residents.
  • You have until Friday, October 7th at 12:00 am EST to leave a comment.
  • Two comments will be selected at random. Winners will be announced the following Monday back here on the blog.

Better Late Than Never

I’m lucky to have a room in my house devoted to all things crafty. It contains my yarn stash, sewing machines, fabric, looms, and many other assorted odds and ends. I visit this room on a daily basis, usually to block a piece of knitting or to grab some yarn. Every day for the past, oh, 16 months, I’ve had to look at my poor little cricket loom, warped and ready to go. 16 MONTHS, people! I knew it had been awhile, but I didn’t realize just how long until I went back and looked at this blog post on sampling I did back in December of 2014.

Hanging head in shame.

But you know what? No. I refuse. Life is busy, I get distracted, and it’s impossible to get it all done. What’s important now, is that I’m all ready to finish what I started nearly a year and a half ago.

Way back when, I decided to do something new (for me) and “sample.” This is basically the weaving version of gauge swatching. And we all know how important gauge is, right? I was only sampling for a scarf, so it’s not as though gauge was a critical issue. It was more about making sure I was happy with the finished fabric. And it didn’t take heaps of time to sample, either, and I’m so glad I did it.

To sample, I had woven a small piece of fabric, cut it off the loom, and then tied the ends back onto the front rod of the loom so I could keep going. This is what was staring at me all of those months:


I had woven about an inch and a half after removing the sample, and that was about it. But I it was easy to remember my plain-weave sequence – 8 picks of the Infusion Handpaints, 1 pick of Deluxe Chunky.

And I had a little help from my friends, so it was all good.


I employed the same technique as my sample, where I left loops of the Deluxe Chunky at the sides. This is because after felting the piece, I can just cut these loops right off because they will be secure.


Pretty soon I can start seeing my progress as I wind the finished weaving onto the front rod. Encouraging!


And then my last spacing paper falls out and I can see those warp ends getting closer…


And very close! Almost done!


Again, I cut the warp ends of Deluxe Chunky


And wove them in for an inch or so


All ready for felting:


And Heather’s beauty shots:

Infusion Handpaints Scarf long hi-res Infusion Handpaints Scarf wrapped hi-res

So now it’s May and too warm for a wool scarf. But autumn will come soon enough and I’ll be so glad I finished this.

Join us next week for a fresh new start on my weaving journey with an actual seasonally appropriate project!

Free Pattern Friday – Siren Sweater

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Infusion Sideways Yoke Pullover_back_blog

Today, the Siren Sweater in Infusion Handpaints.

Infusion Handpaints Sideways Yoke Pullover_sleeve up_detail_blogWe named this the Siren Sweater because just as the mythical Sirens of old drew in sailors with their sweet song, this design captures attention with the contrast of its cabled top half and reverse stockinette body.

Infusion Handpaints (291yds/100g) is a good choice for this.  It’s variegated, but not so busy that it’s going to obscure the lovely cablework.

The yoke is knit sideways from cuff to cuff.  Then stitches are picked up, and the body of the sweater is reverse stockinette worked downward to the hem.  Stitch up the sleeves and the sides, add edging for the neck, and you’re done.  We predict this Siren Sweater will turn heads wherever you go.

Happy knitting!

Infusion Sideways Yoke Pullover_front_blog


Free Pattern Friday – Wandering Lace Tee

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Wandering Lace Tee_blog

Today, the Wandering Lace Tee in Infusion Handpaints.

Infusion Handpaints Tones colorsMmmm.  Lovely lace.  Sometimes that can be hard to do in a variegated yarn.  Who wants all their hard work to be lost in a sea of color?  Fortunately, the tonal offerings in Infusion Handpaints are a little more subtle than some.  We think this design would look great in any of these six “shade on shade” colors.

The design itself is smooth sailing.  Knit the ribbing on smaller needles, then switch to US size 6/4mm needles (or whatever gets you gauge) and work up from hem to neckline.  Do the same for back as you did for the front, then block, seam, and you’re ready to go.

This is a tee, but with a couple of tiny mods to the neck this would be a great vest to go over a button-down.  Hmm… should I think of summer for this piece, or look ahead to Fall?  Decisions, decisions…

Happy knitting!