Archive for August, 2011
This video was shown at the induction of Jean into the new, now named, Jean
Leinhauser CGOA Crochet Hall of Fame during the CGOA conference in Minneapolis last month.
My hook has never been so busy and I have never been happier with regards to my crochet. I am juggling life and managing to squeeze in about 3-4 hours of hook time each day. Pure bliss! I’ve been working mostly on my own designs and it is such a cathartic process to go from initial concept to reality. Best of all, I am working with some of the most amazing yarns available. It’s almost like a dream come true.
A few weeks ago, I gave a sneak peak of the yarn I am using in my latest design, which will be published in the Fresh Designs Crochet: Shawls book by Cooperative Press. It’s Poet Seat by Kangaroo Dyer – a hand-dyed blend of superwash merino (50%) and silk (50%) yarn. So, I thought I would wet your appetite for a bit more….here is the yarn worked up in a Tunisian crochet lace stitch that’s featured in the design.
I love the stitch definition with this yarn and the feel as it glides softly across my hand, but boy do I lament the fact that I crochet rather slowly. Recently, I have become sort of a Lily Chin groupie – last month I read her Couture Crochet Workshop and this month I am reading Crochet Tips & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Crocheter Should Know. I had no idea that some crocheters lubricate their hooks for added speed. I am a bit nervous to try lotion as she recommends (it might stain my precious yarn) but I think I may give wax paper a try. I’ll be sure to report on whether it works and if my hook finally goes a’ blazing through the yarn.
It’s no secret that I like to make pretty things with a hook and yarn. I do it because it makes me happy; I’m pretty good at it; and, it let’s me show others how much I love them or have been thinking of them. It’s also a creative conduit for me – it allows me to release a bit of energy and all of the ideas flooding through my brain.
However, while sitting in the movie theatre tonight, watching The Help, I started to wonder if crochet had the power to make difference. Certainly crochet
- makes people warm
- makes people smile
- makes people feel loved
- makes people feel pretty, sophisticated, etc.
But, do a few stitches have the power to change the world….or at least a country….like a few words can? I am always encouraged when I see or hear stories about ordinary women doing something extraordinary. And, I started thinking about all of those women, going back for generations, doing the seemingly simple task of stitching layettes and sweaters and dresses and sofa coverings and blankets and tablecloths and you name it, and what that meant for their family and for themselves. And, I started thinking about the women who have touched the lives of people they will never meet because they have taken time to crochet for someone in need. And then, I started thinking about the women who fed their families, and even those that fed a nation during the potato famine, from stitching….and then I concluded that YES, crochet can make a difference.
So, when I stitch, it is not some pointless exercise, it is an opportunity to touch the lives of those around me in a positive way. Sometimes, it is an opportunity to feed my family while doing something I love. I may not inspire a nation to change course with my handiwork, but I can spread a bit of the antidote for all of life’s evils because it’s made with love.
The thing I love most about designing is the process – you see exactly where you want to go in the end, but you have to forge an untraveled path to get there. It’s the perfect blend of math (yes, there’s lots of math involved) and stitching skills. Every now and then, just like the ancient explorers, you may get stumped and have to come up with an alternate route or change course.
Recently, I have been working on a few new designs. One of my issues is that I don’t like making color changes and weaving in lots of ends after the project has been completed. Well, I’ve heard ramblings of this alternate method of color changing called the Russian Join among my stitching friends – this weekend I thought I would give it a try and see if it solves my problem, getting me one step closer to my new final destination.
The concept is easy – you are basically attaching the two strands together by looping them around each other for a seamless join. The loose end of each strand is woven underneath the plys of the yarn. In order to avoid a bulky join, a simple trick is to first thin out the strands. I decided to share a bit of my experimenting below. Here goes….
In Step 1, I start with two contrasting colors of yarn – one black and one white.
In Step 2, I thin out one end of the black yarn.
In Step 3, I weave in the thinned out end of the black yarn under the plys of the rest of the strand using a yarn needle. I then thin out the end of the white yarn.
In Step 4, I weave in the thinned out end of the white yarn under the plys of the rest of the strand using a yarn needle.
In Step 5, I gently pull the thinned out ends to tighten the connected yarns around each other. Note: It is ideal to slightly felt the thinned out ends and the connection point. Unfortunately, though, this particular acrylic yarn does not felt.
Voila, I am now ready to continue crocheting!
It’s such a surreal day – my first design to grace the pages of a magazine is now available for public view. Believe it or not, this process has been a year in the making; but, it was well worth the wait.
My inspiration for the Copper Clutch was the highly textured crochet designer bags that have been seen coming down the runway lately. I wanted to do something with The Fashionista in mind - something elegant and classic, something perfect for a night on the town with your special beau or favorite girlfriends.
The Copper Clutch, which features bold crisscross puff stitches and a tri-loop crocheted closure, is published in the September 2011 issue of Inside Crochet. It should be hitting the stands any minute now! I can’t wait until my copy arrives in the mail. Until then, I’ll be celebrating with my hook…..there are so many more designs in my sketchbook that I have yet to try. That’s the fun part afterall.