Thursday, September 7, 2017

Far Out Ruana for Interweave Crochet 2017!


In my last post I told you about my Cool Cat Cuff design in the new Fall Issue of Interweave Crochet, and today I will tell you about the second design- the Far Out Ruana. This design also started out as a smaller project, inspired by their call for crochet that looks like macrame. I devised a stitch pattern after studying various macrame knot combinations. It is basically a series of chains that are joined together at different intervals. It has a lovely drape, and it looks a little like a fancy fish net. It looks different when it is stretched out vs. draped over your shoulder which is interesting and eye-catching.

My original idea was a for a delicate scarf. The editor really liked the stitch pattern and decided she wanted it to be used on a larger scale project, a ruana. A ruana is a fun and versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. It is like a garment, but functions as a shawl too.

If you like the idea of the stitch pattern to be used in a scarf, you can just do less rows, and customize the length of a panel to your desired length.

The Ruana is made in two panels and then crocheted together with some decorative detailing added to the center back. My photos the finished sample seemed to have disappeared from my files, so I can't show you in this post, but I plan to take photos when I get the sample back so I can point out the details! Since the stitch pattern is mainly chains, it only takes 4 skeins of yarn, and the yarn used in the sample is a readily available and affordable yarn, Lion Brand Heartland.






Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cool Cat Crochet Cuffs for Interweave Crochet Fall 2017!



Fall is my favorite time of year and I am always so happy to have designs featured in the new fall issue of Interweave Crochet! 

In this Issue I have 2 designs, the first of which I will talk about today. My favorite thing to design is jewelry, and I can never resist a call for jewelry designs! 

I also love mixing techniques, and I wanted to incorporate some weaving this time. I designed a bracelet that looked like woven links using surface crochet details.


When I heard back from the magazine, they asked if I could make the bracelet into a cuff, so we decided to double the width. They also sent me a finer yarn to use, so the result is quite different from my original submission! You can easily make the cuffs into a bracelet by crocheting half of the stitches. Cuff or bracelet. Customize as you like! Below is the magazine version that was put into their 70's themed section of the magazine. It is great that the editor was able to work my submission into her retro vision!



 If you would like to see all of the lovely designs featured in this issue, they are all up on Ravelry now. Visit the page and show the designers some love and favorite your favorites!






Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Latest Adventure: Combining Crochet and Weaving!


When two worlds collide...I really love to do anything related to handwork and fiber arts (crochet, knitting, weaving, embroidery, felting, spinning), and I often struggle with which thing to do because I want to do all of them all of the time!

My solution to this is often to combine several techniques in one project. In promoting the weaving kit for eWoodstory, I like to demonstrate different things that can be done with the loom. The latest idea I had was to paint the warp, then crochet the weft to create a textured piece.

It is evolving as I go, and I am now filling in with surface crochet. I am thinking of incorporating some felt as well. An interesting work in progress!

Freshly Painted Warp

Beginning to Crochet the Weft

Achieving Texture!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fiber Filled Summer!


Even the brushes were beautiful!
Since I hit the ground in the USA, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to engage in all kinds of amazing fiber arts activities!

It started with me attending the Black Sheep Gathering. It was the first time I have been able to attend in a few years. I am so amazed at how it has grown! This is the first time that I took classes at the gathering.

The first class I attended was on steam dying natural fibers with acid dyes. It was such fun and something that I would like to do more of! She showed us some clever techniques that resulted in some stunning creations!
Dye Preparation
Demonstration on how to apply the colors
Hand painted wool, steaming in the pot
Our painted wool top, hanging out to dry
Our silk hanging out to dry
My next class was on painting and stamping silk with natural dyes. I really enjoyed this! It was an interesting challenge to plan out a design that you have only one chance to execute. I am used to crocheting, knitting, embroidery, and weaving that allow you to take your work out and start again! We were painting silk scarves, so you had to decide and commit to wherever you put your brush or stamp and make it work if it didn't look quite like you thought it would! I was quite conservative with my designs, because I wanted the scarves to be something I would wear when they were finished. In the end I was pleased with the scarves but wished I could paint and stamp one more of each with the knowledge I gained painting the first two!

Natural Dyes
My finished handprinted scarf
It is amazing to see what is created in a group when everyone has the same  resources! All completely different!

The last class I took was New Tradition Needle Felting. It included needle felting with wool locks, fabric and adding embroidery and beaded embellishments. It was so much fun! I had done some needle felting before, but never including fabric. You could have heard a pin drop in the room! No one wanted to go on the mid class break. We were all too involved in our pieces! I plan to to a lot more with needle felting in the future. The possibilities are endless! I realized that I didn't take as many photos in this class, because I was so absorbed in the process!

Sample made by the teacher

In progress

It was really amazing to be surrounded by so many people interested in fiber arts. It also reignited my interest in drop spindle spinning. I have started to experiment with spinning my own art yarns for weaving. I really just need more hours in the day to play with fibers!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Summer 2017 Crochet and Weaving Classes in Eugene, Oregon!


I have arrived in the USA and I am excited to announce that I will be teaching two classes while I am here, at the lovely Cozy yarn shop in Eugene Oregon. 

If you are going to be in the Eugene area on Friday June 30th, and/ or Saturday July 1st, here are the descriptions of the workshops:

PAINTED CROCHET ART PENDANTS- A new approach to color in crochet! Crochet a specially designed motif, then use watercolor paints to bring the stitches to life. The art crochet piece you created will be stitched into an eWoodStory "Olive" shaped Stitchable Pendant, to make a one-of-a-kind accessory that is sure to be a conversation piece!

BEGINNING LAP LOOM WEAVING- An introduction to modern weaving with a lap loom, to create small scale woven paintings created using a mix of techniques and surface textures. The class will teach you how to use all of the tools in the eWoodStory Ultimate Weaving Kit. The kit will be yours to take home and continue creating with! In addition to learning how to weave, you will learn how to make tassels, pom poms, and lucet cord with the specially designed tools in the kit.

If you are interested in signing up, you can sign up online here, or in person in the Cozy yarn shop.

I am really looking forward to this, and hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Vibrant Beet Root Yarn!


My adventures in natural solar dyeing continue! This time, I decided to try beets. I peeled and cut up the root only and put it in a jar with water and white vinegar. I put the yarn on top, and left the jar in a sunny place for two weeks. I was careful not to move it during this time because I wanted the yarn to be variegated. I was absolutely thrilled when I opened up the jar and found these beautiful colors! The yarn that was touching the beets turned a rich dark red and the yarn that was closest to the top turned a beautiful pumpkin color. I am ready for fall! I washed the yarn in Woolite after removing it from the dye, and still the color remained vibrant. Did I mention how much fun I am having with this! Stay tuned for the results of walnuts, pomegranate with rusty nails, and green onions!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Choosing Colors For Crochet Motifs




Through working on the Weaving Stories project, I faced many interesting challenges along the way in dealing with the contributing artists.

I am used to doing all of the design work myself for projects, so guiding the artists by phone and email, seemed like working with my hands tied behind my back!

I had a particularly enlightening experience with one of the artists who was a crocheter, Ghadah Al Moosa, of the Crochet Cafe. She submitted a design that was inspired by the Islamic theme. She designed a crochet motif that was inspired by a traditional islamic design. I gave the artists color palettes for each theme so they could choose their materials accordingly. Since I was going to be putting so many different panels from different people using different techniques, the color scheme was key in making the installation cohesive!

I thought that it would be straight forward for this panel. It turns out, that the type of yarn and order of the colors made a huge difference in the look of the panel. I had Ghadah try a few color combinations based on what I thought would look good, but somehow they just weren't right. I felt so bad asking her to do so many samples, and I felt even worse rejecting them all! I decided that the best way, would be to try drawing and coloring in samples to get an idea of what would look best. My freehand drawings weren't effective enough, so I went in search of a program to trace the photo, so I could print and color it. I was thrilled to find this free online, easy to use stencil making program! In a nutshell, you can take a photo of your motif, then upload it to the website and choose from three different types of tracing options, depending on what gives you the best result. From there I edited the traced photo in a photo editing program to make it even sharper. 

I printed out a page of the traced motifs and set to work with some colored pencils, trying all of the combinations I could think of. I narrowed it down to my two favorites, and Ghadah graciously agreed to crochet a few more versions. She sent me photos of each, and I cut and pasted multiples of each version side by side, to represent how they would look as a panel in the wall. From there it was easy to determine which would look the best. 

Some of the color options I experimented with.

The actual panel on the blocking board (photo by Ghadah Al Moosa)

I think we really succeeded with this version, as the Islamic section of the wall was one of the most photographed by the media!

The Islamic themed section of the Weaving Stories Wall (photo by Tammy Asad)
Weaving Stories article in the Kuwait Times newspaper.
To sum things up, the stencil making photo tracing program opens up a new world of opportunities to help with making color choices for your designs!