Monday, January 27, 2014

The Road to Writing Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

There are only 5 days left until the release of Crocheting Clothes Kids Love, and I was thinking that it might be interesting to share my background with designing for children, and why I felt that this book was a fantastic opportunity for me!

I was so excited from the first moment that Creative Publishing approached me about writing this book. Besides having a 7 year old daughter who serves as a wonderful inspiration for the 6-12 year old age range that this book is written for, I have actually been designing for children for over 20 years. I became interested in designing for children when I was studying fashion design in college in London. The head of the design department recommended to me that I take a childrenswear course because my womenswear designs often included whimsical details. I am glad that I took her advice, because I really enjoyed the course, and my final project was sent to Italy to be exhibited at Pitti Immagine Bimbo as a finalist in their international young designers competition.
My First Childrenswear Pieces, Exhibited at Pitti Immagine Bimbo
Since my first foray into designing childrenswear went so well, I chose to design my graduation collection for kids aged 9-12. It was a niche market, and I was the first student to design a collection for this age range.
Storyboard from My Graduation Collection
A Mini Collection I Designed, Inspired by a Vintage Fairy Embroidery Transfer
That was just the beginning of my love for childrenswear. I graduated from college, moved back to the US, and got a job working for an embroidery design firm. Some of my favorite clients were childrenswear companies, such as Garan (remember mix and match Garanimals clothing?), and Judy Lynn Children’s Clothing, whom I continued to design appliques for after I moved to Kuwait. I also entered design contests in the embroidery industry, and I won 2 years in a row in the children’s category. 

Circus Dress from Stitches Magazine Contest, Designed, Digitized and Made by Me

Cuckoo Clock Dress, Designed, Digitized, and Made by Me
In 2010, I won the grand prize in the Crochet Guild of America’s annual design contest with my Kyoto Coat. It was the first time a Children’s garment won the prize!

Kyoto Coat

The most popular project I have ever designed for Interweave Crochet was a children's pattern: the Piper's Chain Scarf

I am thrilled to have achieved my goal of writing a book about a subject that I love, with co-author Ellen Gormely. A partner that couldn't be beat! As a team, we worked hard to design a collection of 28 garments and accessories that I hope will appeal to wide audience. I can’t wait to share more about the projects in our book with you, as well as other ways you can use the patterns in the book. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Caravan Scarf From Crocheting Clothes Kids Love

There are about 2 weeks until the official release of Crocheting Clothes Kids Kids Love! I am practically counting the minutes!

Some of the projects in the book were ideas I had been dreaming about before I knew I was going to write a book. The Caravan Scarf is one of them. I adore triangular scarves and think they look so stylish, especially when worn with the bottom corner in the front, as shown above. I also love unusual trims and fringes, and was inspired by scarves I have seen that are edged with metal coins. I combined both things to make a really fun, unique scarf that could easily be made larger for an adult by crocheting more rows. A darker colorway would also add sophistication. You could leave off the coin fringe if you want a simpler version. In future blog posts I will tell you  more ways you can use the patterns in the book to make accessories for adults.

My 7 year old daughter loves to have accessories that match mine. When I can, I love to adapt my adult patterns to work for children. Some of my favorite adaptations are the Girl's Tendril Wrap, Girl's Echelon Hat, and Little Genevieve's Belt.

This was the first project I made for the book. I was so enamored with Classic Elite's Liberty Wool Light yarn, that I couldn't wait to work with it and see how the colors were going to come out. It really is a surprise in every row! I spent such a long time trying to chose which color I wanted to order for this scarf. When you see the color selection, you will know what I mean. It was almost impossible to choose one, they are all so beautiful! I am seriously considering ordering more colorways of this yarn, because it is really so gorgeous and lovely to crochet with. I would love to see how each colorway comes out in the scarf. The pattern is easy to memorize, so you can just have the fun of making the stitches and seeing what color comes up next!

I was surprised when I opened the box, to find that each skein of a colorway appears so different! I had to check the color numbers on each skein's label to be sure they were the same! You have to decide which skein to start with, based on the color you want to have at the middle of the top of the scarf. You can't really go wrong when the colors are as stunning as these!
2 Skeins of color #6690 Ultra Violet Autumn
Another Way to Wear the Scarf
One of My Favorite Embellishments: the Lazy Daisy Embroidery Stitch

Actual yardage used for this project: Liberty Wool Light= 319m or 349 yds, Millamia “Fuschia”= 42.5m/ 46.5 yds and “Claret= 25m/ 27 yds.

Stayed tuned to my blog for a future blog post about a another very cute use for this pattern!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A New Free Pattern for 2014!

Happy New Year to all of you! May 2014 be filled with wonderful surprises and lots and lots of crochet! I am happy that I can reveal a new free pattern in my first blog post of 2014! 

 I was thrilled to be asked by Premier Yarns to design some jewelry patterns with some of their novelty yarns. Designing for novelty yarns can be challenging, but I have found that they can work very well for jewelry if you use simple stitch combinations to let the yarn's beauty be showcased.

I designed 3 patterns for them, and the Bauble Necklace pattern is the first to become available on their website.  For this necklace, I used 2 of their yarns together. Starry Night to make the baubles and Spangle for the bauble trim. I was amazed at how well the 2 yarns went together, even though they weren't really the same colors. Each one highlighted the other!

It is very quick and satisfying to make. Crocheting with the Starry Night is exciting because the colors are so beautiful and each bauble looks a little different, so you won't be able to guess exactly how the necklace will look before you begin crocheting. Just like natural stones! It takes very little yarn so even though you have to buy 2 types of yarn, you will have plenty of yarn left over if you want to make more necklaces for gifts. If you would like to make a matching bracelet, just make fewer baubles for a shorter length!