Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Lost Freeform Crochet Treasure!

This is a necklace I made for a freeform crochet jewelry exchange.  It is a multimedia piece with many interesting elements.  The main yarn I used was a one off skein I bought in London when I was a fashion design student.  It was made by my favorite yarn company at that time, called Scheepjeswol.  I loved it for its subtle changes in color, and saved it for several years before the perfect project came along!  I also used some elastic thread I found at a sporting goods shop in the fishing supplies section.  One of the fun things about freeform, is that nothing is off limits as far as materials go!  At the other end of the  spectrum, I used some fine silk yarn, and chenille for accents.  The 3 main medallions are different, but use the same yarns and are close in shape.

Below is a close-up of the pieces I created by cutting shapes out of leather scraps and then gluing wooden buttons on top that had been decoupaged with images that I found in magazines.  This project combined my love of crochet and collage making!  For the finishing touch, I embellished the necklace with a few iridescent seed beads along the band of the necklace, which gave life to the colors in the yarn.  This was my first multi-media necklace, a necklace that showed me that creativity knows no bounds!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Genevieve's Bracelet (an adaptation of Genevieve's Belt pattern)

                                           Photo by Joe Coca
I was asked by Interweave Crochet to make a swatch to be sent with my "Genevieve's Belt" sample, and it occurred to me that I could make the swatch into a bracelet.  That way it would be two patterns in one!  I wasn't sure if the magazine would include it in the photos, so when I saw it in the preview, I was ecstatic!  They weren't able to include my instructions in the magazine for how to make the belt pattern work for a bracelet, so I thought I would share the details here.
Please note:  you must refer to the instructions for "Genevieve's Belt", found in the Interweave Crochet Accessories 2010 Special Issue, in order to make this bracelet.

Here are the details for the design adaptation:

A shortened strip and one frame motif (2 "rectangle frames" and 1 "top frame") creates this charming bracelet.

1.   Ch 45 and follow instructions for "belt strip", "belt strip border", "belt strip detail".  Then, make 2 "rectangle frames", and 1 "top frame".

2.  Block all pieces and weave in all loose ends.

3.  Assemble frame motif by stitching the 2 "rectangle frames" together and then stitching the "top frame" on top of them.

4.  Weave the strip through the motif as in the belt pattern, and center it on the strip.

5.  Stitch it to the strip at each end with with invisible nylon thread. Then, sew a (1” w x 3/4” h) piece of velcro on the ends of the strip (one on the right side of the strip and one on the wrong side) to use as a closure.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Second Reveal: "Genevieve's Belt"

                                          Photo by Joe Coca
The other design I have in the Interweave Crochet Accessories issue, is "Genevieve's Belt".  This belt is made up of 3 simple components, that when combined, make a real statement.  Belts are something that you can collect and keep in your accessories wardrobe for years.  So it is well worth the time and effort  to crochet one!  I originally named this belt the "Gallery Belt" because I noticed while blocking the pieces, that they looked like little frames that hold fine art masterpieces in a gallery.  I have plans one day, for another version of this belt with different scenes to be embroidered and crocheted in each frame.  I think it could be stunning!

Below are photos of the original belt I submitted to the magazine.  Luckily, I took some close up shots  so you can see the details.  It is also nice to be able to see it in another colorway.  The only thing I changed in the design was the embroidery stitch used in embellishment.  In the magazine I used a "lazy daisy" stitch, sometimes referred to as a "detached chain" stitch, instead of a straight stitch.  I love this  stitch so much, it has almost become my signature!

You can now purchase this pattern individually, as a download from Interweave

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Reveal: "Piper's Chain Scarf"

                             Photo by Joe Coca
I am so happy that I can finally share my designs that have been published in Interweave Crochet's 2010 Accessories Issue!  Today, I am revealing "Piper's Chain Scarf".

First, I just have to say how adorable the model is.  They couldn't have picked a better girl for the job!

The scarf was inspired by the construction paper chains that I used to make when I was in elementary school.  I have fond memories of those days, and as it turns out, crocheting a chain is even more fun!

The chain links are worked in the round and joined together as you go, so there are no seams to sew.  It is a fun, easy project, that is sure make people smile!

I originally submitted a more complex design for a scarf/ neck warmer and the chain was just one element of it.  The editor, Marcy Smith, chose to simplify the design and use only the chain.  I would love to show you a photo of my original design, but I am planning to rework it without the chain to create a new design submission.  This pattern is now available, individually, as a download from Interweave.

My next blog post will be about the other design I have in this issue, "Genevieve's Belt".

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Hairpin Lace...My Next Crochet Adventure!

Hairpin lace is a technique using a crochet hook and a special loom, which consists of two parallel metal rods held at the top and the bottom by removable bars. Originally, a metal U-shaped hairpin was used, from which the name originates.  I read that women used to pull a pin out of their elaborate hairstyles to work with!

I found this excerpt about hairpin lace in one of my vintage "Smart Crochet" magazines: "Katherine of Aragon (1485-1536) is given credit for inventing hairpin lace.  Through the years it has been known by various names- "Kat Stitch", "French or Wire Ground" and "Six Pointed Star Ground".

My interest in hairpin lace was recently sparked when I saw the Lotus Smock pattern by the amazing Stitch Diva Studios.  It is described as a "super fast and easy project".  Wow, it is so gorgeous and takes hairpin lace to a new level of beautiful!

I think hairpin lace has a lot of possibilities and I am inspired to learn the technique and put my own spin on it.  I ordered one of the wonderful handmade wooden looms from Stitch Diva Studios.  I love that they are made by an Oregon couple, Ed and Wanda Jenkins of Jenkins Woodworking.  When you need a tool for the craft, why not treat yourself to something special and support some talented craftspeople in the process!  I can't wait for my next box of goodies from America, so I can get my hands on this loom and dive into the world of hairpin lace crochet!

Stitch Diva Studios also has some great hairpin lace tutorials as well as tips and tricks, on their website if you are interested in learning the technique.  

After I get the chance to use the loom, I will do a review and hopefully have a project to show you, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

If You Missed the 2010 Chain Link Conference...

The Crochet Guild of America recently posted a video of the fashion show from this year's Chain Link Conference.  I was really happy to be able to see it, since I was unable to attend.  I was also thrilled to see my Kyoto Coat being walked down the runway in the finale of the show.  If you want to read about what happened at the conference and see the video, check out the Chain Link Report.  It just might encourage you to start planning your trip to one or both of the conferences in 2011!