Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wrapping Up 2015 In My Crochet World!

I can't believe that this year is coming to a close! It has been a really creative year for my crochet design work, and creating new pieces for our eWoodStory line. I so happy to be doing more mixed media work than ever before, and combining techniques such as weaving, embroidery, and cross stitch with my crochet work. The photo above highlights some of my work from this year.

I was fortunate to be able to attend this year's Knit and Crochet Show in San Diego. It was my second conference, and I enjoyed it even more than the first! I was able to spend more time with the online friends I met the year before, and I was able to meet even more people that I had previously only known online. The crochet world is truly full of wonderful people. I really hope that I will have the chance to attend more conferences in the near future!

In 2016 I will be working on some new exciting things to add to the eWoodStory line, as well as creating more crochet designs. My experience in the crochet and fiber arts industry has opened up some very interesting doors recently, and I look forward to being able to share my new adventures with you! 

May 2016, be happy, healthy, productive, creative, and prosperous for all! Happy New Year to you and your families!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Crochet Design Aesthetic

In a previous post, I began indirectly talking about my design aesthetic. Knowing your design aesthetic is a very important part of being a designer. I believe that sometimes people who follow your design work often can tell you what makes one of your designs uniquely yours, even before you can yourself! Often, a significant amount of designs need to be in your portfolio before your aesthetic becomes apparent.

I have had several people tell me that they knew a design was mine in magazines, even before they knew I had designed it! This makes me very happy. It reassures me that I do have a recognizable style, even though I feel I can't always put my finger on what that style is. I do know that there are certain design elements/ details that I like to include in my work.

In my last post, I mentioned that chain links have been a popular theme in my work. That got me thinking about what other themes/ techniques I often use in my work.

I love to mix techniques, and embroidery embellishment often finishes off my designs. My all time favorite embroidery stitch is the Lazy Daisy. It is the stitch I most often use to embellish my designs.

I put together a collage of some of my designs that feature this stitch.

Beginning from the top row, from left to right:

Middle row, from left to right:

Bottom row, from left to right:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Crochet Tool Organization!

While attending the Knit and Crochet Show this past summer in San Diego, I discovered Athena's Elements. It is a great company that sells ergonomic crochet hooks, and crochet hook cases, as well as complete crochet hook kits.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Grace Smith, the genuine and delightful owner of the company. She told me about how the cases were specially designed with a crocheter's specific needs in mind, and that design decisions for new additions to her line were heavily based on feedback she receives from customers. She is committed to customer satisfaction, which is apparent in the thoughtful note that is enclosed with her products:

Her gorgeous fabric crochet hook cases caught my eye right away.  The crochet hook case I have been using is looking a little tired. I was ready for an upgrade! I have been saving the new case because I have just been saving and admiring it. Today I decided was the day I should finally move into it! I don't know why I waited so long! I am so thrilled with it! Since buying my set of crochet hooks, I have acquired a 2mm, and a 10.5mm hook, and I didn't have space in the original case. I am ecstatic that there are enough spaces in the Athena's Elements case, to hold them all! There is also a large space between the hook slots that is perfect for scissors and a ruler. Thank you to Laurinda Reddig for the great wooden ruler, that now goes everywhere with me! I keep stitch markers and yarn/tapestry needles in the small zippered pouch. The case closes very easily with the generous fabric loop.

So, if you are in the market for high quailty, reasonably priced crochet hooks, and/or a case, Check Athena's Elements out on Amazon and Facebook. At the moment, they are doing a giveaway of a Deluxe Crochet Kit and yarns. Enter to win here.

The lovely owner, Grace Smith, in her booth
I can't wait to take my new case out and about with me and show it off!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Architect Scarf for Interweave Crochet Accessories

The Architect scarf was designed as an experiment on how effective a piece made up of small elements can be. There are two main elements in this scarf: the blocks, and chain links. There are two sizes of chain links, so there are three different things to crochet to make the body of the scarf. The blocks are crocheted first, then the blocks are joined together with the chain links. This scarf could be unisex depending on the colors used. It is also suitable for children, as the length can be customized depending on how many blocks you make. 

An interesting cowl could be made by crocheting just a few blocks. You could also make a lovely wrap by adding another two rows of blocks. A stunning necklace could also be made using pearl cotton instead of yarn. With a foundation of building blocks, many things can be made! It is a great, "on the go" project, since all of the pieces are simple, small, and crocheted separately. 

Crocheted links have been a popular theme in my work. Below are some of my designs featuring links:

Clockwise from top left: Monarch Necklace, Bella Necklace, Charming Bracelet, Cherry Blossom Necklace, Chinois Scarf, Charming Necklace, Plaid Wristlet Purse.

My love of chain links will carry on, and I feel certain that they will be incorporated into more of my designs in the future!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Swanky Purse for Interweave Crochet Accessories

I have been really enjoying designing purses. A purse is an accessory that you almost never leave the house without. Since purses are so essential, they are really worth investing your time in making them. The great thing is, it can also be fun to make, as there are endless special details you can add to a purse to give it personality!

I wanted to make a bag that would show off a beautiful skein of variegated yarn, be the perfect size, an interesting shape, and have a unique closure. This project is the perfect project for a skein of variegated yarn with colors that you really want to showcase, as it is framed in the front by a complementary solid color, and the back is made entirely of the variegated. Of course you can always switch the variegated and solid yarn sections around, if you would prefer the solid color to be more prominent. I made a few paper patterns of the purse to get the size and shape just right. It is tall enough to hold a variety of things, but not so tall that you can't find what is inside the purse! The bow knot never needs to be untied. You simply slip it through the buttonhole in the flap.

I have to mention the handles! The handles are stitched in a way that they won't stretch too much when you have things in the purse- this is an area that I feel that crocheted purses can be weak, so I was careful to make the handles strong. 

Every purse needs a secret...this purse has a secret pocket that is just the right size for business cards or a grocery list! It is formed when you stitch the flap to the back of the purse

I hope to see many Swanky Purses made in different color combinations! Please don't forget to add your project to Ravelry if you make one!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Six Ways to Wear the Eyelet Twist Scarf

Wrapped around the neck with the ends in front
The new issue of Interweave Crochet Accessories is now out, and I am thrilled to have 3 designs featured in it! I am planning to dedicate a blog post to each one. 

Today I am talking about the Eyelet Twist Scarf, and 6 ways to wear it. Besides being a fun project to crochet, it is also fun to wear!

I really enjoyed designing this scarf, because it combines 2 things I love: varying stitch height to add shaping, and long chain stitch sections. The combination of the 2 elements helps give the illusion of cables. Simple stitches combined can be so effective!

Pictured in this post are photos of the original scarf sample I made to submit to Interweave. When I am preparing a submission, I take several photos of of ways that the piece can be worn. Scarves can look so different depending on how they are wrapped, and you never know what might appeal most to an editor. It also shows how versatile the design can be.

Which way would you wear this scarf?
Simply draped around the neck
Thrown over the shoulder

The sides crossed and folded over each other

Wrapped around the neck and tied

Both ends thrown over the shoulders

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cross Stitch on Tunisian Crochet!

Cross stitching on a Tunisian crochet simple stitch background, is a technique I really love! There is something very relaxing about doing Tunisian simple stitch. It is also a great way to introduce beginners to crochet. I had been trying to teach my 7 year old daughter how to crochet for quite some time, and she was having trouble getting the hang of it, until I taught her how to do Tunisian crochet. She took to it easily, and it was a great transition to more challenging projects in crochet. After she finished her first large Tunisian project, a blanket, she wanted to try regular crocheting again. I showed her how to do a Granny Square, and she was able to make one very easily. I feel that the Tunisian crochet gave her confidence, and good practice. Now I start everyone who wants to learn to crochet, with Tunisian. Incidentally, I found I should always carry hooks and yarn with me, because when I crochet in public, or mention crochet in public, I very often get asked to teach the person on the spot!

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I was doing a piece for one of our Jumbo size eWoodStory Frames. I had the variegated background completed and was ready to start doing the cross stitch.

 I found a vintage charted design online, which I used as a guide and inspiration. 

It was amazing to watch it come to life as I stitched each section.

I took a poll on Instagram to ask what color people thought I should stain the frame: Cherry, Walnut, or Jacobean. It was a 3 way tie! So I decided to do a coat of Cherry, then a coat of Jacobean. I think the combination works very well to coordinate with my stitched piece.

Then for the exciting part...stitching it to the frame! I stitched it in a chunky yarn from my stash, that just happened to be the perfect color!

Such a fun way to combine two techniques, which results in a rich tapestry of color and texture!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Interweave Crochet Accessories 2016!

It is no secret that accessories are my favorite thing to design! That is why Interweave Crochet Magazine's special Accessories issue is one I really look forward to!

This year I have three designs in the issue, and I can hardly wait to share them with you! The magazine is available for preorder now, and will be officially out on November 10th. I am planning to do a post on each design to share all of the details and features of each, as soon as Interweave puts up the full preview of the magazine. Designers don't see photos of their pieces before that, so I am really excited to see how mine were styled. I am counting down the days!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Painting Crochet on I love Yarn Day 2015!

Actually  I celebrate my love of yarn, everyday, but today it is celebrated around the world!

Lately I have been fascinated by asymmetrical motifs, and I decided it would be fun to crochet them in an off white cotton/bamboo yarn, so I can paint them. You don't have to worry about color changes or weaving in ends! Decide the colors later! If you don't like how it is turning out, you can wash it out before it dries. It is a really fun thing to do. My daughter wants me to crochet more motifs for her to paint.

I thought this motif looked like a flower, so I decided to paint it to look like one. I crocheted it to fit into our "Olive" shape Stitchable Pendant. This technique is perfect for jewelry, because you don't have to worry about washing the piece. I used watercolor paints because I like the effect on yarn, but if you want something more permanent, you could use fabric paint.
Painted motif before adding details and stitching into the pendant.

This is not the first time I have painted my crochet. Many of my longtime readers may remember my post for Crochetville's annual blog tour, about painting crochet trim.

After stitching it to the pendant, I decided to paint the stitching too! I used this wonderful watercolor set that I purchased from Michaels:

Here is the version with the painted stitching. I can't decide which version I like best! What do you think?

Monday, October 5, 2015

30 Minute Jewelry Book and Mini Masterpiece Pendant Giveaway!

Beverly McCullough of the infamous Flamingo Toes Blog, has written a fun and inspiring book of 30 Minute Jewelry projects. We were so thrilled to find out that she used one of our Mini Masterpiece Frame pendants in her book. She stitched a beautiful painting that her artist father painted, into it. It is such a gorgeous piece:

 To celebrate the release of Beverly's new book, we are teaming up with her to do a giveaway. The winner will receive a copy of The 30 Minute Jewelry Book, plus 2 Mini Masterpiece Frame pendants of their choice from our eWoodStory Etsy Shop!

To enter to win, visit Beverly's blog and enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post. Follow Beverly on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with her inspiring crafting adventures!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Beautiful Hairband Stand!

I love being on Instagram. It puts me in touch with so many wonderful crocheters! Yesterday a crocheter in Singapore who goes by the name @kayekrafts on Instagram, found a post I had done when I first saw our book, "Crocheting Clothes Kids Love" at Barnes and Noble. She commented that she and her daughter are enjoying the book, and that she had just completed her first project from the book. She made my Festival Hairband Stand, and is already planning to make two more to display all of her daughte'rs hairbands! I love the fun colors she chose, and can't wait to see more stands made in other colors! I also recently received an interesting suggestion on Ravelry, that the stand would be even more useful if one of the ends could open up to hold hair clips. That would really maximize the storage capacity! I love the idea! The internet never ceases to amaze me and the connections between crocheters that can be made are invaluable. It is so great to have the exchange of ideas!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Combining Techniques to Create Mixed Media Pieces

I love combining techniques, and recently I have been doing some pieces that have a Tunisian Crochet background that is embellished with cross stitch. This time I made the background out of a variegated yarn, Berroco Comfort Sock, to give the piece depth. I can't wait to see how it turns out! It will be stitched into one of eWoodStory's new Jumbo size Masterpiece Frames, and it will hang in a special place in my home. Stay tuned for the finished piece!

Below is the chart I am working from. I am changing it a little as I go, but it is a great inspirational jumping off point!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Mademoiselle Crochet Necklace Pattern En Español!

There is nothing more flattering than when someone likes your design enough to download the pattern, buy yarn, and spend their time making it. One step further is translating the pattern into another language so even more people can enjoy the pattern! I recently made the fun discovery that someone has translated the Mademoiselle Necklace patterninto Spanish. I was just working with the yarn I used for this necklace, Berroco Comfort Sock yarn, yesterday. It is a favorite of mine for crocheting jewelry. It is soft and comfortable to wear, and it comes in some lovely shades. This necklace has so many elements I love, the triple strands, the crocheted beads that you thread onto the strand, the embroidery embellishment, and of course the bow! That is why I am happy that it can reach a new audience! I hope there will be many more Mademoiselle necklaces made in the world!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

eWoodStory Featured in Homespun Magazine!

I love the Australian Magazine, Homespun, and I was so thrilled that they featured our Mini Masterpiece Pendants in their August Issue! We are keen to spread the word about our stitchable pendants and Homespun magazine caters to those who are interested in a variety of crafts, such as crochet, knitting, embroidery, sewing, quilting, and appliqué work. Since all of these crafts would work well in our frames, we thought it was wonderful to be included on the pages of their magazine!

The two frames pictured here are by embroidery artists Margaret Dier, and Defne Gunturkun, and are part of our ongoing Featured Artists Series.

If this is the first time you have heard of Homespun magazine, you don't have to live in Australia to read this inspiring magazine. They also sell digital issues via Zinio!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Beautiful Yarn Provides Inspiration

I was lucky enough to be one of the first 250 people to sign up for the Knit and Crochet Show this summer, so I was given a goody bag when I checked in to get my badge for the show. When I looked inside the bag, I found the most beautiful yarn! It is called "Landscapes" and it is made Lion Brand. I just can't stop looking at the gorgeous combination of colors!

I have been thinking of what to do with this skein, and I have decided that it is the perfect yarn to use with my Chinois Scarf Pattern! The Landscapes yarn comes in solids as well as variegated, which is ideal for this pattern because it calls for one variegated and 2 solid colors. The color I was given is "Desert Spring". Now to choose the solids... I am thinking of the and Ochre for the background of the motifs, and Charcoal for the chain links.

The Variegated Landscape yarn colors are really stunning and inspirational The yarn has a beautiful sheen, and I think it will be wonderful to work with. Which color is your favorite? If I hadn't been given a skein, I would have had a hard time choosing!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Network Purse for Crochetscene!

The second annual issue of Crochetscene, a special publication by Interweave, is now out! Pictured above is the Network Purse that I designed for this issue.

This purse design actually actually came about in an interesting way. My interest had been sparked in filet crochet, and I had been working up swatches that led me to purchasing special software for charting filet crochet. I set out to design a shawl with a floral design, and I liked the look of just one motif on its own, so I changed my mind and began to design a kerchief. Then I decided I wanted to drop the floral motif and make something that was more of a modern interpretation of filet crochet. That is when I designed the center panel for this purse! I was going to include even more filet crochet into the design, but after experimenting, I felt that it looks more modern with just a hint of filet. Then I set to work designing the shape of the purse, choosing a stitch pattern, and deciding how to attach the straps and fasten the purse. I made a paper pattern as a mock up, so I could make sure the size and shape were right. It happens to fit an iPad Mini very nicely.

I purchased a large button with a shank and covered it with crochet to create a closure that complemented the purse. Crocheting the straps with a smaller hook, and adding surface crochet makes the straps stronger and stretch resistant.

I really enjoyed designing this purse, and I see more purse designing in my future! Please go and check out all of the designs in this inspiring magazine issue!