Friday, December 30, 2011

The Loken Cowl is in the Top 30 Designs!

This day just keeps getting better!  I opened up my email to find the latest issue of Berroco's Knit Bits newsletter, featuring their design team's favorite patterns of the year.  The Loken Cowl that I designed for them was included!  I am really proud of this cowl, as it took many hours of decision making to get the motifs just right.  I have also had some knitters say they want to learn to crochet just to be able to make it, which I consider a great compliment.  If you are looking for a lacy cowl pattern, you may want to think about making this one!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Won an Awesome Crochet Blog Award!

I thought I had done my last blog post for the year, and then I woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning!  My blog has been chosen for an Awesome Crochet Blog Award, for Best Accessories, given by Kathryn Vercillo of the Crochet Concupiscience blog.  She reads hundreds of crochet blogs, and came up with the fun idea to give a unique award every day in the month of December, to a crochet blogger.  Here is a list of all of the blog awards she has given.  You might discover a great new blog to read!

Kathryn really deserves an award for her amazing blog, and for her tireless effort in researching and promoting the art of crochet. She says it is her goal to strengthen the crochet community, and I believe she has succeeded!  I love her positive attitude and encouragement.  She has made my day many times with the thoughtful comments she leaves on my blog posts, and makes me want to keep on blogging!

Designing crochet accessories is really my passion and I am thrilled to be recognized for it.  It is the best way to end the year of blogging! Thank you so much, Kathryn! I am looking forward to being able to share more accessory designs in 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

If Crochet Grew On Trees...

The other day, my daughter gave me a note she had written, and told me it was "mail from Crochet Land".  I thought this was a very creative way for her to get my attention!  It also got me thinking about what "Crochet Land" might be like.  One of the first things that inspired me to learn crochet, was some French crocheted flowers I saw in a boutique in London.  I really love it when I see things from nature inspiring crochet, especially when they aren't too literal.  Pictured below, are some beautiful images I have found of this type of work.  I believe this is what crochet would look like, if it grew on trees in Crochet Land!

Now that 2011 is coming to a close, I am thinking about what kinds of crochet adventures I will have in 2012, and what kind of qualities I want my crochet work to have.  I will strive to create delicate yet modern pieces, with an interesting eye-catching twist.  I hope my designs will have crocheters excitedly  reaching for their hooks and yarn!  May 2012 be a wonderful year, filled with exciting projects.  Happy New Year, dear readers!

Photo From
Photo From
Photo From

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crochet Bean Bag or Pin Cushion...You Decide!

If you have been reading my blog for long, you know that I love to come up with other ways to use patterns I have designed.  The other day, I was sewing a Moroccan belt for my daughter to wear for international day at school, and I realized I didn't have a pin cushion!  Laying the pins on the table proved to be dangerous, because they kept rolling off and were almost stepped on by my husband.  I saw one of my daughter's bean bags lying around, and got the idea to use it as a pin cushion.  It worked very well and looked very cute next to the sewing machine!  

With 4 different circus balls to choose from you could make a nice little pin cushion for yourself, or to give as a gift.  I also love the idea of this as a pin cushion for a child's first sewing box.  

The "Cirque Du Crochet" bean bag pattern is available for FREE on Tangled Magazine's website!  

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Tendril Wrap for Interweave Crochet Winter 2011

Photo By Interweave Crochet

It is wonderful to be included in the Winter Issue of Interweave Crochet.  The Tendril Wrap, is the first piece I have done for one of their Winter Issues, and it is also the largest piece I have ever designed.  I was inspired by their call for chunky lace designs, and began swatching some patterns that were originally meant for thread crochet.  Once I got a feel for what I liked, I combined the elements of a few swatches and enlarged them to work with chunky yarn.   This wrap is seamless and made in one piece.  My original design submission was not!  I was planning to make it in 8 panels and then stitch them together.  The connection between the pattern repeats was quite different.  It was a kind of zig-zag pattern.  After I sent off the submission, I decided to make the wrap for myself to test the pattern.  After I tried stitching the panels together, I decided it was very labor intensive and too many ends to weave in and nobody would want to make it!  I then set to work redesigning it, and came up with the little circles between the pattern repeats.  I like it much better, because the circles echo the scrolled ends on the trim.  I emailed a photo of the revised design to Interweave before they had made their selections for this issue, and thank goodness, the revision was well received!

Original Design Sketch
Photo By Interweave Crochet
Photo By Interweave Crochet
Photo By Interweave Crochet
Before I sent the sample to Interweave, I took a few photos.  They show other ways it could be worn, as well as close-ups of the fringe.  I enjoy creating unique fringes for projects and, this scrolled fringe is one of my favorites!

I have also created a child's version of the Tendril Wrap.  Here is the blog post with the details of the changes I made to the pattern.

This pattern is now available for individual sale from Interweave for $5.50.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia Review!

I believe this could be the first copy of Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia in Kuwait, and after taking the above photo at the landmark, Kuwait Towers, I just might have piqued the interest of passers by to check out the book!

I ordered it this book when it first came out in October and wanted to review it then, but I just now received it in a box of goodies my mother sent from America.  

Whenever I hear of a new stitch dictionary, I feel the need to add it to my collection.  I have been buying Japanese and Russian dictionaries, so it was exciting to acquire a comprehensive dictionary in English.  I had heard the author, Robyn Chachula, talk about the book on the Yarn Thing Podcast, and I was really intrigued that it included many different techniques and types of crochet.  It is like an expanded version of a traditional dictionary, and that is why it is called an encyclopedia!

Like the Japanese and Russian dictionaries, this book has a stitch diagram for each stitch in the book. In addition there are written instructions for each pattern. This is very helpful, because if you have trouble with one of them, you have another way to clarify any confusion.

Now that I have had the chance to look through the book, I want to show you some of the stitch patterns and motifs that I especially liked in each chapter:

Chapter 1:  Simple Stitch Patterns

Forked Half Double Crochet
Chapter 2:  Textured Stitch Patterns
Popping Circle Stitch

Chapter 3: Lace Stitch Patterns
Trefoil Link

Chapter 4:  Unique Lace Stitch Patterns

Anesha Lace

Chapter 5:  Colorwork Stitch Patterns

Carnation Walllpaper

Chapter 6:  Tunisian Stitch Patterns

Chapter 7:  Square and Hexagonal Granny Squares

Carnation Lace Motif

Chapter 8:  Flower, Snowflake, and Joining Motifs

Zimni Snowflake

Chapter 9:  Edgings

Bubble Edging

Many of the stitches and motifs in this book are unique, and the author gives a new twist to classics.  There are many "tips" in the book regarding stitches and techniques that I am finding very helpful.

I also really like that there are some stitch patterns that include one of my favorite techniques; surface crochet, as well as some lovely Brussels lace and cable patterns.  Examples of these are pictured below.



Olivia Cable

All in all, this is an interesting book that will ignite your creativity, and show you new techniques for use in crochet design.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bangle Crochet- Will it Come Back as a Crochet Trend?

"Bangle Crochet" is a technique, that consists of crocheting large iridescent sequins/ spangles into the fabric as you work. They are different from traditional sequins, because they have a hole at the top instead of the middle.  This allows them to have some movement, even though they are secured. They are referred to a "paillettes" in modern day fashion terms.  This technique was very popular in the late 1950's and early 1960's, and used mainly in making hats and purses. The vintage Bangle Crochet pattern books I have found, were produced by Walco products, and can be found occasionally on ebay.

I think it may be a trend that will be popular again.  I was at the fabric and trims market in Kuwait last week, and saw many types of paillettes- more than I have ever seen before.  It has been my experience, that the things they sell there, are on trend.  I have recently seen paillettes used by designers such as Roberto Cavelli, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan.  I have also seen them on knitwear from chain stores, such as the Gap.  I would love to see, and design some modern "Bangle Crochet" pieces.  I think that paillettes made from other materials such as leather, would be fun to work with, and give an interesting new twist to the technique.

If you are wondering where to buy paillettes, here is a great online resource.  If you are wondering how to include them in your crochet work, here is a very clear tutorial.

Below, are some lovely examples of vintage Bangle Crochet as well as some current examples of paillettes used by today's designers.

Dress by Roberto Cavelli
Dress by Stella McCartney
Sweater and Skirt by the Gap

Sunday, November 20, 2011

French Crochet Style

Crochet style is an interesting thing to observe in other countries.  The differences between countries can be the items they crochet, the way the crochet is put together, or simply the way they are styled in photos. I love Japanese crochet, because it has a modern look that is simple and clever. I love Russian crochet, as it is amazingly ornate and has many freeform elements.  I love Turkish crochet, because it is amazingly delicate, and beads seem to be effortlessly incorporated into it.  I love French crochet, for its charming rustic elegance.

My very thoughtful brother-in-law was in Paris recently, and wanted to get me a gift that he knew I would like.  When he found something handmade, that included crochet, he knew he had found the perfect gift!  When I first saw it, I thought it was a little chest of drawers that I could keep my crochet hooks or sewing notions in. To my surprise, the "drawers" are actually photo albums. Then, the "Album de Naissance" written on it, made sense.  One day, I want to gather some of my daughter's best baby photos to put in them!

This type and color of distressed wood, combined with the linen background and cotton crochet, really shows French crochet style at its best.  French chocolate shops in Kuwait, also put little crocheted sweaters and booties on top of chocolates.  These are given to guests who attend receptions, to welcome new babies.  I always take them home to my daughter, with the hope that one of her dolls will be the right size to wear them!

Whenever I travel, I like to look for books and magazines from the countries I visit.  My mother bought Le Crochet by Natalie Spiteri, for me when we were in Paris, at Galignani bookshop.  They are the first English bookshop established in Europe, but they do have French books as well.  All of the projects in this book are made of thread, and you can see from the photos, they are styled with the wonderful rustic elegance that the French do so well.  French books, like Japanese books, have clear instructions and diagrams, so it is possible to work from them even if you don't know the language.  Most of the crochet books I have seen for sale here in Kuwait, are either French or Japanese.  I am still on a quest to find some Arabic crochet books!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Mini Doodle Scarf

I designed the Doodle Scarf to be a 1 skein project, and amazingly, you can even make half of the scarf and create a fun accessory!  It is fastened by pulling the tassel through the loop at the bottom of the pineapple at the other end. It is a mini scarf, that is easy to wear, and would liven up a simple sweater or coat.  I just love how the tassel falls over the shoulder.

If you buy one skein of Quince & Co. "Puffin" yarn, you should be able to get 2 mini scarves out of it.  One for you, and one for a gift!

Full View of Mini Scarf