Friday, December 28, 2012

My Year of Crochet

Since this post will be my last in 2012, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the great year I have had and talk about my hopes for 2013.

There were many highlights in my crochet world this year!

-My designs were included in the Summer, Fall, Accessories, and Winter issues of Interweave Crochet.

-I purchased software for making crochet diagrams, and learned how to use it.

-I self published a design that I am very proud of, and in the process, I found out that there are some wonderful people in Ravelry's pattern testing group.

-I taught my daughter how to crochet.

-I got to meet up with 2 wonderful friends in the crochet industry.

-I learned to spin yarn with a drop spindle.

-I put together tutorials on how to make a twisted fringe, bold bobbles, and a slip stitch cord.

-My Marseille Necklace won a prize in the Crochet Guild of America's annual design competition.

-I was asked to be part of some exciting projects that are still under wraps, AND I signed the most important contract of my crochet career!

I have been working hard these past few months, and can't wait until the time when I can reveal everything to you. My crochet wish for 2013 is that I will have the time to work on other techniques, such as hairpin lace, Tunisian crochet, and extreme crochet. Maybe the days will be longer and more productive next year...A girl can dream can't she!

Crochet just keeps getting more exciting for me, and I feel so lucky that I am able to do work that I love. Thank you to all of my readers for your interest in my work and for your support. May 2013 be a wonderful year for you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Quick Crochet Gift Idea!

I just realized haven't ever mentioned the Dreaming of Spring Bracelet pattern. I designed it way back when, before I ever thought I would have a crochet blog. It has generously been offered as a free pattern by Potter Craft Publishing. It is a fun project you can crochet in a short time, with a small amount of yarn or pearl cotton thread. I have given several as gifts to young girls as well as women. For the original version, I used a light sport weight yarn that I bought in Kuwait. For the book sample, they wanted a yarn that was available in the USA and Canada, so I went searching for a substitution. Unfortunately at that time, I couldn't find any variegated yarns in the right weight. So I ended up using 2 strands of DMC Pearl Cotton 8. I made the flower on the bracelet on the left with one strand of black and one strand of off white. I made the flower on the other bracelet with 2 strands of the same variegated thread. 

This is a version I made for my daughter when she was a newborn. I used only one strand of pearl cotton for the wristband and a soft fingering weight yarn for the flower. I also shortened the length of the wrist band. I only wish I had thought to take a photo of her wearing it. She is 6 now and I can't believe she was ever that tiny!

The two photos below, are of the samples I made to submit to the book. It originally had beads on the wristband, but the final samples were simplified for young beginning crocheters. The center of the flowers can be embellished with a single bead, or a cluster of beads, or beads and sequins.

So if you are in need of a gift, you can whip this up in no time with a little yarn from your stash!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Hobnail Milk-Glass Crochet Trend of the 1950's

Crochet in the 1950's was subject to various trends, and home decor projects were very popular. I recently came across this fun issue of Smart Crochet magazine, featuring hobnail milk-glass crochet.

Hobnail glass was invented by the Fenton Art Glass company in 1939 and was originally produced in translucent colors. In the 1950's, it was produced in solid white, referred to as "milk-glass". I have fond memories of staying in my grandparent's guest room with a hobnail glass lamp. It definitely has an unmistakable charm.

The hobnail trend caught on, and a special plastic finishing paint was even produced to keep the pieces rigid and soil resistant. The pieces were made in Lily "Double Quick" mercerized cotton. The same cotton used to create Wrought Iron Crochet.

In the magazine article, they write:"Beautiful milk-glass in hobnail and fretted designs have been interpreted in this new medium, to give you bowls, candlesticks, candy or fruit dishes of a lacy delicacy and unbreakable beauty you never imagined".

Lovely bobbles can be made in crochet, and crochet lends itself very well to 3-dimensional items, so it seems that hobnail milk-glass crochet was somehow meant to be.

Lamp with a Hobnail Milk-Glass Crochet Base

Authentic Milk-Glass
I was thinking about what might be a modern day equivalent of Hobnail Milk-Glass, one that would be successful in crochet, and I thought that these beautiful Nambe pieces might fit the bill. They are luxury items that would be interesting to emulate in crochet...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Fire Whirl Hat For Interweave Crochet!

Photo by Harper Point
I hadn't designed a hat for a long time, and when Interweave put out a call for submissions for the Winter issue, I felt it was the perfect time to create one! I did a lot of experimenting with hook placement and stitch height to get the grey sections to stand up like steps. This hat is simple to crochet, and will keep you interested with the changes in hook placement. I originally named it the "Concentric Hat", because of the way I blocked it. I made it collapse flat into neat concentric circles, then I sprayed it with water and made sure to accentuate the steps so they would have more of a pronounced shape when they were dry.

I like the way the hat can look different if it is pulled down, letting the steps flatten out, or if you wear it pulled down and off to the side, you get steps on just the top. The way the magazine described the hat, really fits it perfectly: "This architectural crochet hat can be playful or elegant at your whim". I think it is more playful when it is worn loosely with all 3 of the grey sections acting as steps. It isn't every day you see a crocheted hat with a flat top! When I was designing the hat, I was inspired by the top step. It reminded me of a little straw hat in my collection of vintage hats. I liked the step so much, I decided to carry the theme through the rest of the hat. I think it has a more elegant look when it is pulled down a little and worn off to one side a little, as I styled the original submission sample.

I really appreciated professional photographers and models when I tried to model the hat myself, and direct my husband as to the exact angle I wanted the shot. It took two photo sessions to get an angle I was happy with. I tried photographing the hat on my head form, but hats just look better on a real head!

I considered having a delicate motif at the top, but I wanted the focus to be on the steps. I am very glad that I didn't, because Interweave decided to have it sized to fit men, women, and children. This streamlined version works for all three!

This pattern is now available for download from the Interweave Store for $5.50.
Photo by Harper Point
Photo by Harper Point
Photo by Harper Point

Original submission photo, shown worn at an angle, in a neutral color combination.