After reaching complete frustration point with Venus, which has been my travelling crochet project for far longer than I care to remember, I thought maybe it was time for something a little new. I’m a big fan of lace crochet projects for doing on the go as they’re easy enough to just slip in a project bag and pull out as is convenient.
I’ve been looking for some new lace patterns that would be relatively small projects and not incredibly taxing. I mentioned before that one of the downsides I was finding with Venus is my travel projects are usually being worked on in less than ideal environments, where it’s noisy, the lighting is rubbish and I’m tired and grumpy. There’s only so many times one should make the same Fan Bookmark pattern too!
Hunting around on Ravelry, I came across the work of the amazing Grace Fearon. She’s a prolific designer and her designs, which are mostly crochet doilies, are just mesmerising. I will forever be grateful to her for two things, firstly, for all the glorious patterns, and secondly, for introducing me to Alize Miss Batiks crochet thread (EU-based readers, I recommend Yarn Street for buying it!) I’m very sad that it doesn’t come as 40 weight, only 10, as some of the colourways are fantastic.
Originally, I had thought that her pattern, Etienne, was worked in many different colours but it’s actually a serendipitous/incredible bit of design that matches the colour repeats incredibly well. It inspired me to order some of the Miss Batik’s thread but as I didn’t have any in stock and had some itchy crotchet fingers, I thought I’d make a start with some Lizbeth crochet thread I picked up in Seoul, in the garish and bold 139 ‘Fruit Fizz’ colourway.
I’m not entirely sure what to think of this colourway. The yellow is excellent, the peach is not my thing, and I’m not sure where the two purplely things fit into it all but it’s definitely a lively, interesting combination. This project is going to be a gift, and the recipient did opt for this colourway specifically, so I abdicate any responsibility for potentially questionable colour choices. Actually, it’s nice to be working with something that isn’t my normal colour scheme but I think unfortunately the variegated thread is eating the pattern slightly.
It turns out Etienne isn’t quite the concise, tiny pattern I had in mind. I’m not sure if my brain did a unit conversion issue when reading the pattern as it’s finished size is 10 inches in size 10 thread… Admittedly I am using size 40 thread but there is no way that will shrink to the 10 cm I had in mind for the finished size. The 25 rounds is also taking a bit more time to get through than I had initially anticipated. If someone can please explain to me why I decided to use a thinner thread with a 1.75 mm hook too, that would be great. Sometimes I think I consume all of my brainpower at work which leaves me to make all sorts of amazing basic reading comprehension errors when I get home…
The beginning of the pattern is both charted and written and I’m finding the instructions relatively easy to follow so far. The chainless starting double crochets were a small learning curve to get over but all the remotely unusual stitching terms are explained within the pattern itself, which I always appreciate when I’m travelling in an internet-free place!
It’s curling rather a lot at the moment but I hope this is going to be something that goes away with blocking… Until then though, I’m just going to enjoy the great variety of stitches the pattern has to offer as well as watching the pattern unfold. Again, I’m not sure if it’s just going to be in need of a good block when I’m done or it’s something more fundamental in my tension, but the pattern does seem a little ‘messy’ as it grows. This might also be the pooling going on with the colours and I am distinctly unimpressed with the peach sections as the colour manages to swallow all of the texture.
However, I’m having fun and I suspect this is going to be the first of many Grace Fearon’s designs I want to get my hook into. For the meantime though, round and round for me… only about 12 more rounds to go!