Friday, February 26, 2010

The First Sweater I Ever Designed

Yesterday, I came across this piece in my closet.  I designed this sweater when I was a fashion design student in London.  I designed the basic cardigan shape, then it just kept growing from there.   As well as being intrigued by cables, I was really into tails at the time and added them to many things I designed.  The final touch was the collar with some generous overstitching on the edge of the collar that made it ruffle up.  I really enjoyed wearing this in the cold London winters.

This sweater made its debut on a small catwalk in a London nightclub, as part of a fashion show that was put together by some fellow design students.  I felt sorry for the model under the hot lights in a wool cardigan, but she put on a brave face and made it look like something that should be worn in a trendy club. I wish that I would have focused more on designing knitwear when I was in college, because it took me several years to figure out that it is my passion.  If I had the chance to do my final design project again,  I would create an amazing crochet collection!  Since there is no point in looking back now.  I will look ahead now and see what I can do with my design future!  I hope that as 2010 progresses, my design career will begin to flourish.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Making of a Contest Entry

I am so excited to have started working on my entry for the 2010 CGOA design competition.  I decided on the category, theme, and shape, and then headed to the yarn shop and let the yarns speak to me.  I chose one, multi-colored yarn, that had all the colors I was looking for.  Then, I looked for some solids to go with that one.  Since the piece doesn't require a written pattern and will be freeformish, I went down all the aisles that might have some sort of crochetable material and collected a few things that were in my color scheme. After that,  I went home and went through my stash to find anything that went with the yarns, etc that I had purchased.  Now, I have a basket of yarns to choose from.  I picked out a lovely stitch pattern from my new Japanese stitch dictionary, and have done a few sections.  Even though I have the shape figured out, this piece will evolve as I work on it.  It will not be made up of crocheted scrumbles like my previous contest entries have been, but it will have a freeform feel to it and be embellished in my signature style with embroidery accents. It is so freeing not to have to worry about working in a currently available yarn, or  writing the pattern as I go.  I have a great vision for this design and I almost don't want to sleep so I can keep working on it and see it come to fruition!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Living in the Land of Crochet

Until recently, I really thought the entire world was biased towards knitting.  I have never understood this, as there is such beauty in both knitting and crochet that I believe both should live side by side.

Anyway, this week, I went to my lys (local yarn store) Barakat in Salmiya, during their annual sale.  I  was hoping get some Japanese crochet stitch dictionaries.  I have had my eye on them for some time, but wasn't sure that I wanted to spend $50.00 on one.  Imagine my surprise, when all I found were the knitting dictionaries.  The saleswoman told me that people are mostly interested in the crochet ones, and snapped them up the minute they went on sale.  I am now hoping they will mark the Knitting dictionaries down further as they have so many, and they are gorgeous!

After the trip to the yarn store, I went to an exhibition in honor of Kuwait's upcoming National Day.  There were several exhibitors with handmade crochet dresses and accessories in the colors of the Kuwaiti flag (red, white, green, and black), and many of the dresses looked like flags with sleeves.  Very bold!  I didn't see one scrap of knitting.   I didn't know that I was living amongst so many crocheters!

The yarn store did put some more crochet books out later in the week, and they were all sold out within a few hours.....except one.  Yes, with a stroke of luck, I got the last available Japanese crochet stitch dictionary in Kuwait!  After looking at it,  I know I must buy more!!!  They are far superior to any others I have seen.  I am planning to treat myself to another one from YesAsia.  They seem to have the best prices on Japanese books and they have FREE shipping!  I have ordered from them before, and they are so easy to deal with.  I also just noticed, that they have started translating their titles to English, so it is much easier to search for those of interest.  Now, I just have to choose which one I want!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hello Etimo!

  This is an update to my previous review of Etimo crochet hooks.  I stated before, that the hooks were going to get some getting used to.   So I put them aside for a while, as I had a few projects to complete.  Well, I finally had the chance to try them again, and it didn't take but a few rows to know that I never want to go back to my old hooks!  Normally, I hold my hook very tightly.  When I learned to relax my hand into the ergonomic grip, everything fell into place.  My tension is better than ever!   I would like to buy all of the available sizes now.  I recently had to go back to a regular hook as I didn't have a size "N" Etimo.  I was counting the stitches until I could get back to a project for which I could use an Etimo hook!  I think I will be contacting Knitty City soon to get the set of smaller sized hooks.
UPDATE (September 7, 2010):  Please see my latest blog post on Etimo hooks for new online availability information.

This is an ad from one of my vintage crochet magazines.  I have several vintage crochet hooks, but have never seen one quite like this (Etimo's long lost relative, lol)!