Monday, September 30, 2013

Talking About Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

I recently heard from our editor that our book, Crocheting Clothes Kids Love, has gone to print. It is getting exciting as we approach the book release in February, and I am really looking forward to the day I get to hold the book in my hands!

Now, the fun part! Little by little, we get to start talking about the projects in the book. I want to introduce two of the pieces that are on the cover: the Caravan Scarf and Hopscotch Legwarmers. 

In the planning stage of the book, Ellen Gormley and I came up with ideas and sketched them for the editor to review. Ellen was great to work with, and we agreed quite quickly as to what each of us would make. It still amazes me that with the editor in Minnesota, Ellen in Ohio, and me in Kuwait, we were able to coordinate everything easily without even a phone call. The internet really does make the world a much smaller place, and makes my crochet career possible!

Normally I like to finish a piece before submitting it to a magazine or yarn company. This is because many times my designs develop into something very different than my original sketch. My sketch is usually my jumping off point. For the book, the designs needed to be approved by the editor before we could move forward. There was no time for advanced swatching! I was wondering if I would stick exactly to what I had sketched or deviate like I often do. This scarf and legwarmers came out just as I sketched, so I thought they would be great designs to share with you first! Some of the other pieces in the book went in a little different direction, but most of the changes were to the embellishments. Surprisingly amazing things happen when you get to experiment with the actual project yarn!

I had been dreaming about a scarf like this for a very long time. My favorite part was attaching the crochet "coins". I added my signature lazy daisy embroidery embroidery to the corner coins to make it even more my style. I can't wait until I am able to show you some detailed photos so you can see the scarf flat.

I love the ribbed look in crochet, so that was my starting point for the Hopscotch Legwarmers. I spent some time creating just the right shape, so they would fold over nicely. My favorite thing about these legwarmers has to be the multicolored pom poms. They are such fun to make, and they give the legwarmers a unique and special look. 

I will be able to talk in more detail as soon I have some official photos. I hope you will come back to read more blog posts about the book, as the excitement builds for its release!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Dozen Ways to Wear the Obi Scarf

Last fall I showed you a dozen ways to wear the Ruffles Scarf, so I thought I would keep up that tradition this year with the new Obi Scarf pattern. Before sending the samples off to Interweave, I like to have my own photo session to try out different ways to wear the scarf. It is amazing how different it can look depending on how you wrap it. Whether you decide to wear it as a scarf or a belt it is very versatile. Color choice can really transform the look as well. Contrasting colors used together make a bold statement. The next one I make will be in shades of the same color. I am envisioning shades of pink. There is always one more version I want to make! Can you tell how much I love scarves? 

Here are a dozen ways to wear the scarf. If you make one, I would love to know how you wear yours!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Obi Scarf for Interweave Crochet Fall 2013

Photo By Harper Point
It has been a fun month, having designs out in two different publications. I am ready for fall! Today, I am revealing the Obi Scarf. One of the things that Interweave asked for in their call for submissions for fall, was Asian inspired designs. For a very long time, I have wanted to design an obi style belt. I wanted the piece to be versatile, so I decided to design the obi so that it would be successful as a scarf belt.

I was sent 3 colors of yarn to work with, and the editor told me I could use either the Fawn or the Ocean color as the main background color. I did some drawings with colored pencil to try to decide which combination I liked best, but still couldn't decide, so I made both variations! I think it is nice to see a light and a dark version. I hope that will help crocheters who are making this pattern, decide on what colors they would like to use.

This is a project that will keep you interested, without being too difficult. The end sections are plain with a delightful window pane stitch pattern in the middle. After crocheting the scarf, you get to work surface crochet for the stripes. It is like putting the icing on a cake, the stripes really make it come alive! Sarah Read, the Project Editor for Interweave, has done a blog post about how the stripes are crocheted on her Crochet Me blog.

Like the Ruffles Scarf I had in Interweave Crochet Fall 2012, I did another blog post on some different ways to wear this piece. The sample I made to submit was in another color combination, so you will also get to see a third version. Please stay tuned! In the meanwhile, you can queue it on Ravelry, if you think you might want to make one.

Photo By Harper Point
Photo By Harper Point

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Crochet Celebration in Kuwait!

Yesterday was International Crochet Day, and the new Crochet group "Khayt"(which means yarn or thread in Arabic) in Kuwait, hosted a crochet event to celebrate! Their members exhibited their work in the beautiful surroundings of the Sadu House, a cultural center that exists to promote Kuwait's traditional textile arts. Al Sadu is the name of the traditional style of weaving traditionally produced by Bedouin women. I love the photo above of the crocheted afghan next to the pillow covered in Al Sadu weaving. The two crafts side by side!

Although I had never met any of the group members previously, I was familiar with many of them through Instagram, which is the most popular form of social media in Kuwait. I think it is fueling the growing craft community here, and many people are selling their crochet and crochet supplies on Instagram.

The group members were so welcoming, and gave me and my daughter a tour and information on their group. They meet 2-3 times a month and they choose a crochet project to work on together. This project is started at the meeting, and finished off at home. Usually one of the members is familiar with the pattern and leads the crochet-a-long. A great way to share their skills!

It was really nice to talk with local crocheters about their passion for crochet. They were surprised when I told them that in the USA crochet is less popular than knitting. They told me they love crochet because of its possibilities, its beauty, and also the fact that crochet can only be done by hand. I asked them why they think Crochet is more popular than knitting in this part of the world, and they said they thought it could be because of the hot weather. People don't have as much need to make things for warmth here, so they gravitate to the laciness of crochet and use a lot of cotton thread and yarn.

Below are some of the photos taken by my daughter, who kindly took the photos for me so I could chat. So many gorgeous pieces were exhibited, and the members were happy to discuss how they were made. It was wonderful to be in a room with so much creative energy. I hope this will become an annual event and that the membership of the Khayt group will grow and grow!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bella Necklace Trio for Inside Crochet

You know when you wait for something for months and you wish you could tell the world about it? That is how I felt about these necklace patterns! I am excited to have this mini jewelry collection in Inside crochet's Autumn issue #45. 

I didn't originally intend for one design to become three, but I was having so much fun with the concept of making continuous links, the ideas for variations came easily.

The first version, with the graduated links, came about because I was trying recreate a necklace I designed several years ago. I didn't write down the pattern for it, so I was playing with the hook and yarn trying to remember how I made it. In the process, I came up with something very different from what I was trying to copy! 

Next, I experimented with changing the sequence and sizes of the links. I liked how it looked with small and large alternating links. I then decided to weave a cord through the links, which really changes the look of the necklace and makes a bolder statement. 

My final idea, was to make two larger links in the middle to emulate loops of a bow, then I added a cord to make the tails of the bow. 

After I finished the third version, I was tempted to go on making more, but I stopped myself there, since I couldn't choose which one I would submit out of those I had already designed. I took a chance and submitted them as a trio, and I am beyond thrilled to have all three published together!

They are really fun and quick to make, take very little yarn, and would make lovely gifts as well. You might find you want to make your own version with a different configuration of link sizes.

A big thank you to Berroco yarn company for the Ultra Alpaca yarn used to make the necklaces!

Version 1
Version 2
Version 3