Archive for July, 2010
Well, I did it! I finished my latest design today. I even managed to squeeze in a photo shoot and to start putting together my submissions package. Now, I just wait and see. I have my eye on one publication in particular, but I am open to any and all avenues. I sure hope that others will like it and that it will be well received. Both my daughter and my mom have started to fight over who gets first dibs on my sample – I hope that is a good sign. Even still, it is nice to have a little fan club at home.
I think I can…..I think I can….I think I can.
Embrace the crooked zipper!
Kristen Simms, one of the contestants on Season 8 of Project Runway, gave this advice to designers on tonight’s episode. I love it! Sometimes it is okay to go with your mistakes and use them in your design.
I had a wonderful design day. You know that moment after you have worked up your sketch, figured out your dimensions, done all the math, crocheted the piece, then with bated breath you seam it all together and it comes out perfectly, just as you had originally envisioned. You finally breathe a sigh of relief and then your heart mounts up with joy and excitement. Well, that happened to me today and I am so thrilled (actually I’m doing the happy dance!). I LOVE my current design. I can not wait to share it with the world. A part of me, though, does wonder what Tim Gun, the mentor on Project Runway, would say about it?
I normally do not read obituaries. I am not quite at that age yet. I remember, as a child, my grandmother use to read them faithfully every morning with her coffee. Early one summer day while munching on my corn flakes at the kitchen table, I asked her why she bothered to read them each morning . Her reply, “I just want to make sure that I am not in there!” The response still brings a smile to my face after all these years.
Well, my point in all of this is that this week I came across two obituaries that stood out to me – Philomena Stiffy and Loretta Schwinkendorf. Both ladies seemed to have led extraordinary lives full of love and happiness. But, what touched me most was the fact that their families decided to showcase their love of crochet in their obituaries, highlighting their talent with the hook. An obituary, by definition, captures the significant portions of a person’s life. Crochet was considered a defining aspect of these women’s existence by their loved-ones.
Will my family know to include crochet in my obituary too? Will they mention my favorite pattern or design? I sure hope so….I have crocheted since the age of 5 and it has become like breathing, eating, and sleeping. Something I just have to do. Nothing excites me more that a room full of beautiful yarn as visions of what I could create dance through my head. Well, to put it simply, it has become a part of me, my passion. I hope my family always remembers me by the hand-made gifts that I have given them. I hope they cherish these gifts and know that each stitch was filled with my love for them. Rest in peace Philomena and Loretta.
So, what do you think? Do you want to be remembered for your crochet and/or knitting too?
Today, I made my way to Vienna, Virginia to a wonderful, little yarn oasis called Uniquitites. I have been searching high and low for a replacement yarn for the now discontinued one that I have been using in my current design. It was a tiring expedition but I finally found the perfect metallic yarn made by Berroco.
The folks at Uniquities were very helpful…..I must say that I have talked to several LYS owners over the past two weeks and they were all very helpful too. You may be wondering why I did not simply order it online. Well, I have made a little promise to myself to always support crochet-friendly LYS’s whenever possible. I want to keep these guys in business. Where would we be if the online discount yarn stores pushed out all of the friendly around the corner ones? I guess my motto is – support small business too. These often family-owned operations have been the staple of the country’s economy and I want to see them stick around. Besides, when you factor is shipping, are you really saving any money?
Back to Uniquities….I couldn’t resist sharing a bit of all this place has to offer. It is now my new favorite spot in Vienna.
And, here is my new yarn…..
I now have to make two versions of the same design but it will be worth it since I plan on submitting this one for publication and I know that using a discontinued yarn is a big “no, no.” Besides, I plan on gifting the first version to my mom…She will be thrilled! Shhhh….she’s my biggest fan .
My poll from yesterday has turned into a nice, little, lively discussion on Ravelry. I certainly am enjoying reading everyone’s thoughts on the matter…..opinions are quite varied which makes it interesting. But, one response really stood out to me and has got me to thinking…..
I think we get ourselves into a twist about this stuff because we experience the fact that crochet still sometimes gets dismissed in the fiber world. And we worry that those lime green and orange toilet paper cozies (see the blood flowing) are getting us laughed at by our knitting buddies.
We just need to stop.
And instead we should concentrate not on some kind of false respect, but on making sure that vendors, suppliers, festivals, fairs, etc include us. That we get the things we need and want to fully enjoy our craft at any and all levels. We need to use our dollars to influence change and just stop worrying about the rest. Big waste of time… when we could be making the things we enjoy.
I think what tunsia wrote here is quite true for me personally. I want crochet’s “best foot” to always be put forward. And, I admit that I often walk around with a “crochet chip on my shoulder” (I guess that is the product of being ignored in far too many LYS’s over the years)……I have felt that crochet has been slighted for so long next to knitting that I always want to be able to say “here, do you see it? crochet is beautiful too.” However, whether or not standards will achieve this end for me remains unclear……..For now, as tunsia suggests, I will focus on making things that I enjoy – fun and beautiful crocheted items.
There was another wonderful article in the Crochet Insider that I wanted to comment on – Why Crochet Needs Standards by Dora Ohrenstein. I must admit Ms. Ohrenstein makes some very convincing points. Personally, I always hate to see crappy crocheted items at craft fairs. I cringe in horror on the inside because I don’t want this item giving my beloved crochet a bad name. Similarly, my heart aches when I see a beautifully done piece, made with high-quality fibers, selling for what amounts to pennies for each hour of labor. I wonder if standardizing crochet would eliminate both of these situations, but I am still conflicted. Who will make up the standards? How and when should finished items, tools, and patterns be “judged” or “classified”? In my opinion, the first step should be coming up with a framework for standardization so that we can better understand how this will actually play out and how it will impact our hobby, our artistic medium, and in some cases our livelihood.
So, what do you think?
Ok, I couldn’t resist sharing these incredible photos. Truly, the pictures capture much more than I could ever write. They are amazing. Joana Vasconcelos created “Piano Detelle” in 2008. The Lisbon-based artist specializes in sculpture and often applies white crocheted designs to her works. As a crochet enthusiast and the mom of a budding composer/pianist (his words….not mine!), I love this!
Pictures courtesy of Design Boom.
Sometimes doing the right thing is hard to do in life AND in crochet…..I have had to frog my current design 4 times…yes, I am on the 5th attempt to get the dimensions as I wish. Yikes! To make matters worse, I am running low on yarn. Remember, this is the discontinued stuff. My only hope now is finding a skein or two on Ravelry. I have had no luck on ebay. But, the search continues……I keep reminding myself that it will be perfect once I get it right.
I have been thinking about this issue a lot – the impact of the women’s lib movement on the needle arts. Before I continue, I want to clarify – I am not in support of returning to the pre-feminism days. I do believe that women have the right to work in any profession they so choose as well as the right to fair and equal pay. With that being said, I do not believe that we can “have it all.” Something always has to give – whether it is our career or our family lives. It is impossible to give 100% at both. The pie can only be cut so many ways.
Anyway, I was just about to explore the impact the 60′s had on the needle arts when I read the latest issue of the Crochet Insider which features an article, Reclaiming Crochet, and its American History, by Denise J. Lavoie.
In my opinion, there seems to be a generation-gap amongst crafters. For example, I have noticed that many women of my mom’s age (late 50′s and early 60′s) do not know how to knit or crochet or embroider, etc….Many women of my generation, who weren’t lucky enough to have a mom, granny or auntie around to teach them one or all of these skills, now rely heavily on organized classes to learn. Before, we learned as children….we grew up surround by beautiful things created at the hands of our female role models and it was a natural extension of our upbringing to want to be able to do the same. Then came the 60′s and the popularity of the needle arts seemed to begin to wane as women turned away from “traditional” female tasks. By the early 80′s, I clearly remember a stigma associated with such crafts. “Why are you doing that?” folks would ask – do you remember the 80′s? Money and power were king.
In addition to the push away from the “domestic,” I think that women no longer have time for crafting while climbing the corporate ladder. They are busy working all day and then, for many, juggling kids once they finally make it home. Who can find time to pick up a pair of needles or a hook for even 15 minutes when your day is so jammed-packed? I work part-time and have three kiddos and I still struggle to dedicate as much time as I would like to my crochet. With that being said, it is a shame that so many women miss out on this wonderful form of stress relief. There is nothing better than the end of a long, difficult day when I finally get to pull out my latest project and lose my worries in the stitches.
Lastly, I don’t think we can underestimate the impact of cheap, mass-produced clothing on the decline in the needle arts. Why spend hours knitting baby sweaters for your newborn when you can buy an entire wardrobe at a bargain price? Prior to the industrial revolution, the needle arts were a necessity to clothe our loved-ones and to decorate our homes. These crafty endeavours were much more that just hobbies but function, as well.
Today, I am delighted to see that women are reclaiming the needle arts. This generation seems to get it….I am thrilled to see the rebirth of crocheting and knitting EVERYWHERE. A quick glance through Ravelry and other internet sites is proof enough. I think we still have a way to go to figure out the perfect balance – but we moving step-by-step closer, with needles and hooks in hand!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Please take a moment to vote in my poll and/or leave a comment.
The Ladies Fancywork Society are at it again. You may have heard about their recent “yarn bombing” escapades. Truly a work of art! They even collaborated on a book about the phenomenon – Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti.
Now, the group has been enlisted by the city of Denver to cover thirty 12-foot panels of chain link fence near Union Station with hundreds of crocheted flowers, bugs and other garden creatures. It looks amazing so far – like a wonderful crochet garden oasis! See video of them at work here!
The work was originally commissioned by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs as part of a beautification effort. In fact, 300 organizations bid on the project, and this group of mostly working women who knit and crochet as a hobby were selected.
Three cheers ladies! I love these “feel good” crochet stories.