Saturday, June 18, 2016

World Wide Knit in Public Day!

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day, and I celebrated it with local stitchers at the Sadu House in Kuwait. Mini, the organizer of the gathering, is an amazing cross stitcher, who does beautiful fine work (see her gorgeous butterflies above). She decided to open the event to all types of stitching in addition to knitting to celebrate all handwork! She even made the adorable badges you see in the photo at the top right for us to wear, and another participant made goodie bags for all of us including chocolate and a crocheted flower. My daughter immediately took possession of the flower to make a coat for her baby tortoise!

So much lovely work was being done! Four ladies were making blankets: one lady was crocheting a granny square baby blanket for charity, an another was crocheting a princess blanket made up of crocheted squares that follow a charted design, and other two ladies were making the same flower blanket in different colors. The flower blankets were part of a challenge set by a local crocheter, who challenged them to make 1 square each day for the whole year to end up with a beautiful finished blanket by New Year's 2017! Another lady was creating a doily made from some lovely string she found from a rope seller in one of Kuwait's open markets. You never know where you may find something great to crochet with! One lady was knitting a garter stitch scarf out of the most beautiful chunky pink wool, which may now be my new favorite color after seeing it! Last but not least, two of us were working on pieces for the Islamic section of the Weaving Stories project that I am managing. She is doing crocheted tile inspired motifs, and I am working on a piece that includes knitting and crochet. Stay tuned to see my progress on that piece... One of the ladies was even wearing a crochet filled Mini Masterpiece Pendant, can you spot it in the photos above?

All in all a great morning full of inspiration! I wish every morning could start out with stitching with friends!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Flor Necklace for Interweave Crochet Summer 2016!

The Summer Issue of Interweave Crochet recently came out, so I can finally talk about my designs! These two necklace versions are based on the same motif crocheted forwards and backwards to create a unique modern crochet look. The top version has two sets of two motifs joined together, and the bottom version has 2 motifs joined together with an asymmetrical graduated chain.

Many of my designs are not planned out before I pick up my hook! The Flor Necklace design is one of those designs! I first crocheted a few of the motifs, not knowing exactly what I would do with them. I got out my necklace form and started pinning them in different ways. Then I decided to join them by pulling one through another, which creates a small knot effect. I couldn't decide which version I liked better- the version with 2 or the version with 4 motifs joined together, so I submitted them both, thinking that the editors at Interweave Crochet would choose one of them. Imagine how thrilled I was when they told me they would like to publish both versions! Once you have made one version, the other is just a very slight variation. Both necklaces fasten at the back with a crocheted bobble that goes through a loop, so there are no supplies to buy. It takes very little yarn to make one, so you may have just the perfect yarn already in your stash!

I hope to see lots of projects on Ravelry! I can imagine many ways to crochet this necklace. It could be really amazing in just the right type of variegated yarn, or you could make the motifs different colors, which would give you a really different look! In addition to the patterns being available in the magazine, you can also purchase patterns from this issue individually from the Interweave online store! 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Winner of the Vintage Modern Crochet Giveaway Book is...

Colored Pencil Bowl by eWood Woodworking
Thank you to all who entered the giveaway for Vintage Modern Crochet, it really is a beautiful book! My daughter drew the winning name, and congratulations goes to Kathleen (katdebrob on Ravelry).              
I will contact you via Ravelry to get your details so that Interweave/ F+W Publishing can send you the digital copy!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Vintage Modern Crochet Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Today I am being featured by Robyn Chachula on her special blog series about her beautiful new book, Vintage Modern Crochet!

The book is a wonderful collection of 20 patterns by Robyn and a host of other designers in the industry, including myself. Robyn approached us to design patterns inspired by different lace crochet techniques. She wanted us to interpret them in a new modern way. 

I have always loved pineapple crochet, so designing for this technique was a given for me! Pineapple lace is traditionally crocheted in thread, and I think that crocheting it with a heavier yarn magnifies the effect of its beauty.  I designed the Kidwell Wrap with that in mind. The shape of the motifs when joined gives the wrap its unique edging, and the bold finishing touch of tassels makes this wrap stand out from the crowd.
Kidwell Wrap

I recently got the sample back, and I can't wait for the cold weather to be able to wear it!

The second design I have in the book, is the Bow Tie Necklace

Bow Tie Necklace

I love simple statement jewelry, and I have an affinity for bows. Filet crochet is such fun to do and this project is perfect for trying out the technique! Once your mind starts thinking in blocks, the pattern is smooth sailing! There are two versions of the necklace in the book, one with crocheted cords, and one with purchased chain, jump rings, and clasp. That way you can choose the look you like best, and if you just want to make the necklace with thread you already have, you can crochet it entirely from thread without having to purchase any additional supplies.

My favorite color to wear is black. Remember my post about crocheting with dark thread, well... I decided that if I had a black Bow Tie Necklace, that it would be a "go to" necklace for me! I wanted a little smaller version of the Bow Tie, so I crocheted it from DMC Pearl Cotton 8, and used a size 1.25 hook. I used the same written instructions as in the book, and it came out the perfect size! I had a black velvet necklace cord, so instead of crocheting cords or using chain, I decided to thread the Bow Tie onto the cord instead. My goal was achieved, and I have really been enjoying wearing the necklace!

Mini Bow Tie Necklace
Interweave/ F+W Media has graciously offered to do a GIVEAWAY of a digital copy of the book to one lucky reader of my blog! All you have to do is comment below with the best way to contact you i.e. email,or Ravelry username, and tell me what type of crochet lace technique is your favorite. I will choose a winner randomly next thursday morning. Good luck to all who enter!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Working With Fiber: Modern Weaving!

Lately I am getting lots of opportunities to work with fiber in new ways! Over the years I have collected all kinds of beautiful yarns, roving, and fibers.

I am the project manager for the Weaving Stories project for the Sadu House in Kuwait in honor of Kuwait being chosen the Islamic Cultural Capital of 2016. We are involving the community in creating a panoramic woven wall, inspired by the traditional Bedouin tent divider. This wall will celebrate the traditions and culture of Kuwait. It will be made up of pieces created by artists and makers in Kuwait and abroad in the medium of their choice. 

We are holding workshops to get people inspired to work with their hands and give them the skills they need to start creating, as well as to encourage them to make pieces for the Weaving Stories installation. 

Consulting with us, is Lesli Robertson, an artist and professor of textiles from Texas. She has been visiting us the past two weeks and she taught a wonderful workshop on the art of modern weaving, called Woven Paintings. Participants were given looms to use and take home with them, so they can continue to weave! Most of the participants were new to weaving, and everyone created their own mini work of art! Here is a nice article that was written by the Kuwait Times about the workshop.

I wove my first piece, and really enjoyed it so much! I was able to combine my love for fibers, and my embroidery, and freeform crochet experience into this piece. As soon as I finished it, I was ready to start another! It is in progress and will definitely include crochet. The posibilities are endless, and I think that weaving could be a really fun thing to do while traveling! You can use a mix of fibers, colors, and textures, and it is very relaxing. It is really like painting with yarn!

Stay tuned for my crochet infused weavings!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Crocheting with Dark Thread

I wear black practically every single day, but I didn't realize until a few days ago that I rarely crochet with black or dark thread. It wasn't because I was a afraid of not being able to see the stitches either. I guess I just gravitate towards earth tones for crocheting.

This week I decided that I NEED a black version of the Bow Tie Necklace I designed for Robyn Chachula's new book, Vintage Modern Crochet. Since I wear so much black, I thought it is something that I would really wear a lot. I got out my DMC Pearl Cotton 8 and a 1.25 mm hook, and began to crochet at night, in a half lit room because I was trying to get my daughter into bed time mode. Big mistake! Even though I am comfortable with the pattern, "crocheting into the ridges on the underside of the chain" seemed like navigating a dark rocky road on foot! I decided to wait until my daughter went to sleep so I could crochet in a lighter room. That helped, but it still wasn't light enough to see the stitches! Next I got out a portable light and crocheted very close to it. That helped a little more. I was wearing black pants, and I noticed that they were not helping me to see the stitches. I found a white cloth to put on my lap to give a contrasting background which brightened the effect of the light. I was able to get the first row done with these new conditions, but was too tired to continue to the second row.  In the morning I did the same thing, but found crocheting even easier with the morning light added into the mix. Black thread and tiny hooks still aren't my favorite combination, but at least I completed the project I set out to crochet! I am in search of black chain to finish it off. I can't wait to be able to wear it!

I will be showing you how it turned out on June 2nd, when I post about a giveaway I am doing of a digital copy of Vintage Modern Crochet. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The "Crochet" Motif, That isn't Crocheted!

Photo by Penguin & Fish
You know that feeling when you discover a new idea that is so exciting that it makes the creative wheels in your head start spinning? That is how I felt when I discovered this embroidery pattern by Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish. You must go to her blog to read about her lovely inspiration for this design and how it is used as a part of The Splendid Sampler.

At first glance, I thought it was a crocheted motif stitched onto the fabric. When I realized that it was actually embroidery stitched to look like crochet, my mind was blown! What a fantastic idea! I love combining two crafts, and this is such a unique way to do it! If you know how to crochet and embroider, you can make the stitches look as though they are crocheted. It makes me want to try following the directions for a crochet pattern, and embroider the stitches onto fabric instead. It would be a very interesting experiment!

This version of Penguin and Fish's design was stitched by the talented Harmonie, whose work I recently discovered on Instagram. Isn't it beautiful!
Photo by Harmonie
To illustrate that this really is embroidered:
Photo by Harmonie 
I am now envisioning embroidery stitches on fabric as I crochet. I really must try this soon! Thank you Alyssa, for such a wonderful idea!