2.28.2017

Dallas Fiber Fest

DFW here I come!  I am headed back to Dallas Fiber Fest on April 7-9 and I couldn't be more excited.  It has been 6 years since I have been to DFW Fiber Fest and I am so thrilled to be coming back.  At this point its been so long, that it will feel all new to me.  I am looking forward to it.  I should be fully recovered from the crazy that is the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival (the only place I dare to have a booth and teach at the same time).  Good news is I should have a few fun leftovers from the booth that I can giveway in class!  I hope to see you there!

Class Line-up

Friday at 9:30
Crochet Cables and Lace
Post stitches are a crocheter’s greatest tool to bring stitch patterns to life.  In class, we will discuss how to make post stitches and use them to make stunning cables, eye catching lace and flowing textured fabric.  Post stitches can be one of the most underused stitches and you will learn lots of tricks to crochet them perfectly for any project. Students should be comfortable with basic crochet stitches such as dc, sc, and ch and with reading patterns.




Friday at 2
Crochet with Variegated Yarn
Do you have a gorgeous ball of yarn sitting in your yarn basket just waiting to be crocheted; but you don’t know what to do with it?  Come along to this crocheting with variegated yarn class and we will explore all the ways to make great projects.  We will learn about short rows, colorwork crochet, crocheting on bias, and making motifs. Students should be comfortable with basic crochet stitches such as dc, sc, and ch and with reading patterns.




Saturday at 9:30
Tunisian Crochet Basics
Often confused with both knitting and crochet, Tunisian crochet is an art form all unto itself making the most unique woven fabric.  In class we will learn how to make the basic stitches, then dive into crocheting with color.  We will discuss Tunisian Crochet stitch diagrams and tips to making the most beautiful fabric.  We will go from basic stitches to playing with color fast, while having a lot of fun with just one hook.  No special skills needed, we will learn everything in class.


Saturday at 2
Irish Crochet for Today
Irish Crochet is one of the most striking lace fabrics and can be quite intimidating to the untrained eye.  In class, we will break down Irish Crochet to its basics; motifs and lace netting.  We will highlight the beauty of each individual motif and how they themselves can make amazing projects.  We will show how to use simple stitches to create a netting to join the motifs together.  This class will show you that Irish Crochet has a great history but truly can make lovely projects for all today.  This is an intermediate level class, students need to be very comfortable with basic stitches.



Sunday at 9:30
Crochet Finishing Techniques
You have crocheted all your sweater panels and now what?  In this master class, we will answer just that.  We will discuss using the right seam, best way to block, and perfect buttonholes.  Everything put together and it still looks wonky?  No problem.  We will talk about ways to fix and straighten even the biggest mistakes.  This class is geared to take the beginner sweater crocheter to the next level with just a few simple steps.



Sunday at 2
Unexpected Lace Crochet
Tired of the same old crochet patterns?  Ready for what’s next?  Come with me as we explore the wide world of crochet through fun unusual stitches.  We will play with foundation stitches, extended stitches, linked stitches, Solomon’s knots, broomstick, Belgium lace, X stitches, P stitches and more!  Just bring your hook, yarn and some basic knowledge of crochet (no matter how rusty) and we will have a ball exploring all the unexpected stitches.  Students should know how to chain, single crochet, and double crochet.

If you are interested in my classes, be sure to register first.  I think a few of them might be getting close to being sold out.  All the information you need is on the registration page.


2.27.2017

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

In a bit less then a month is one of my favorite events, Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival.  March 24-26 at the Convention Center in downtown, you get to chat and hang out with a great group of fellow crocheters and knitters.  I just love this show.  Every year I get blown away by the amazing talent and passion from all the people I meet.  I hope you can come too.  This year the market place is moving out of the ballroom and into one of the bright and airy spaces in the building.  The classrooms were wonderful last year, and I found tons of parking on Saturday and Sunday.  The views in the building alone are worth the trip in, I promise!

You will be able to find me in my classes (see below) or at the Crochet SuperBooth (Booth #316, 317, 318).  I will be joined my by fabulous friend, Marly Bird.  Just listen for the laughter and giggles and you will find us.  If you haven't met Marly yet, you are going to immediately love her!  She loves everything about crochet and knitting and will get you smiling and excited too (just wait, I am not kidding!  She is fantastic!)   I am so thankful that again this year Rebecca and Karen will be joining me in the booth.  If I am not in the booth and you have a crochet question, come ask them.  They are complete experts and definitely should be able to point you in the right direction.   We will have their special Amelia and Wiggles yarn to inspire and tempt you, crochet swag (t-shirts, buttons, mugs, totes, notecards), all my books/ DVDs/ and patterns.  Red Heart and Marly are teaming up with some great goodies, so be sure to stop by and check that out!

Class Line-Up:

Friday at 4:30
Solomon's Knot Lace
Come join me as we fall in love with a beautiful vintage lace technique. Solomon’s Knot Lace is an amazingly easy lace to crochet once you master the basic stitches. In class, we will talk about tips for making the perfect loops, how to add sparkle with beads, and how simple it is to combine it with classic crochet stitches. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with that single skein of dramatic novelty yarn in your stash, this is the lace technique for you! This is a beginner level class, and students must know chain and single crochet.  This is a great class to sit back and just enjoy working with yarn.  No stress and just fun!

Saturday at 9
Unexpected Lace Crochet
Tired of the same old crochet patterns? Ready for what’s next? Come with me as we explore the wide world of crochet through fun unusual stitches. We will play with foundation stitches, extended stitches, linked stitches, Solomon’s knots, broomstick, Belgium lace, X stitches, P stitches and more! Just bring your hook, yarn and some basic knowledge of crochet (no matter how rusty) and we will have a ball exploring all the unexpected stitches. Students should know how to chain, single crochet, and double crochet.  This class is perfect for those students that are ready for the next steps in their crochet knowledge

Saturday at 2
Tunisian Lace Crochet
Often confused with both knitting and crochet, Tunisian crochet is an art form all unto itself making the most unique woven fabric. In class we will remind ourselves how to make the basic stitches, then dive into crocheting lace. Tunisian lace is made from 3 different techniques; extended stitches, yarn overs, chain spaces, or a combination of those. We will break down each one to show you how fun and fast Tunisian Lace fabric can be made.

Sunday at 9
Crochet Motif Construction
Do you love crochet stitch dictionaries for their beautiful motifs but do not know what you could do with them? Have you mastered joining a few motifs together in a strip but wanted to know how you could transform that into a sweater or a bag? Then come join me as I walk you through how to build and construct you next project with crochet motifs. I will guide you on how to join square motifs seamlessly, as well as how to spice them up with a fun crochet joining that makes a totally unique fabric. I will show you how a simple trip to your local office supply store can be the key for unlocking those motif sweater layouts. I will break you out of the box with how to layout hexagon, octagon, or circular motifs. Lastly, I will show you that keeping your old swatches can make joining and filling in voids in your fabric fun. Come join her and get ready to grab your hooks and stitch dictionaries after class to build your next gorgeous crochet motif project.

Sunday at 1
Crochet with Variegated Yarn
Do you have a gorgeous ball of yarn sitting in your yarn basket just waiting to be crocheted; but you don’t know what to do with it? Come along to this crocheting with variegated yarn class and we will explore all the ways to make great projects. We will learn about short rows, colorwork crochet, crocheting on bias, and making motifs. This class is for the intermediate level student, must know how to chain, single crochet, and double crochet.


Hope to see you there!

7.21.2016

Vintage Crochet Magazine


I'm a COVER girl!

Vintage Crochet, Filet Cocoon Sweater
This week I got back one of my favorite designs. Its a filet shawl that is connected at the ends to form a cocoon sweater.  The design is very easy with the hardest part just following the chart.  I loved making mine.  I made one just for myself while the real one was with the publisher for a year.  I literally wear mine all the time, there hasn't been a conference or festival that I have't worn it to in the last year.  It goes with everything in my crazy opinion! Huge thank you to my friend, Jessica, who whipped this model up in no time flat for Interweave to use!

The filet panel is loosely based on William Morris's Strawberry Thief fabric.  William Morris is one of my favorite designers from the Arts and Crafts Movement I am a total history nerd.  I minored in Architectural History.  Minor geek out that I got to design something combining my love of crochet and history!

The yarn is Kristin Omdahl's Be So Sporty.  It is just heavenly to wear.  If you haven't tried it, it is totally worth it.  I can't wear animal fibers, and her bamboo is just wonderful.   I was crazy thrilled at the last TNNA (our yarn industry convention) to see that Marcy (editor of Interweave Crochet) made one for herself!  When a crazy busy editor takes the time to make one for herself, that is a GIANT compliment!  THEN, Kristin told me she was making one for herself!   I nearly died with joy.  If you make one, PLEASE let me know I would love to see your version!  BTW, Kristin has a kit of the sweater if you are interested.  OH!  And Kristin is hosting a CAL of the sweater starting Aug 1.  I can't wait!

The Pattern is part of  Interweave's Special Issue: Vintage Crochet.  I haven't gotten my copy yet, but I am so excited for it!  I love reading Piecework, and I can't wait to dive into this one.  It should be in stores soon, so be sure to check it out.  You can see all the projects over on Ravelry.   I am so grateful to be included in the issue.  Piecework is one of my favorite magazines, combining my love of crafts and history.  Hope you love the issue as much as I know I will!

Vintage Crochet, Filet Cocoon Sweater
Neat how the filet design pops out on solid colors.
 I wear mine with everything, whether its a white t-shirt above,
or a crazy patterned tunic similar to the dress the model is wearing.  
I am wearing the exact sample the model is wearing.
  It really does fit a LARGE range of sizes.
 Pattern says it fits a 34" bust,
mine is much much much larger then that and it looks great. 

Vintage Crochet, Filet Cocoon Sweater

6.02.2016

Meet Shelby Allaho

Kidwell Garden Wrap
I would like to introduce you to the very artist designer, Shelby Allaho.  Shelby has quite the range of crochet designs that truly are one of a kind.  Her jewelry pieces make me itch to go run to my hooks and start crocheting.  Her and her husband's etsy store is not to be missed!  They create unique wood pieces that you can combine with your favorite fabric or swatch for truly artist jewelry.  I am going to get a few right now!

In Vintage Modern Crochet, Shelby designed two projects, Kidwell Garden Wrap and Bow Tie Necklace.  In her Kidwell Garden Wrap, Shelby takes the traditional pineapple lace and twists it seamlessly into a gorgeous motif.  The shawl is made from a few of the motifs combined for great results.  In her Bow Tie Necklace, Shelby is point perfect on blending a very modern jewelry with very classic filet crochet.  Both are just stunning projects.

A few weeks ago we got to chat a bit about crochet, here is some of that conversation:

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
Kidwell Wrap End
SA: I love that you can go any direction at any time in crochet, and that it can be very delicate and lacy, or rigid. I also love that you can create dimensional pieces that are full of texture! There is something so special about being able to pick up a hook and yarn and make something wearable or functional.

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
SA: Surface crochet! You can use it to embellish, reinforce, and to add design details. 

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
Kidwell Wrap Back
SA:  A mixed media necklace including crochet, embroidery and wood.

RC: What other crafts do you love?
SA:  Embroidery, felting, sewing, and mixing these different media in the same piece.

RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern Crochet?
SA: The Kidwell Garden Wrap was inspired by a beautiful motif from my collection of vintage crochet books. I wanted to transform it into something modern and wearable. Most pineapple designs in vintage books are for table cloths, so it is nice to be able to show the beauty of Pineapple Lace in a new way!  The Bow Tie Necklace combines everything I love: crochet jewelry, bows, and a fresh use for filet crochet. Before Robyn approached me about submitting to this book, I had been exploring modern applications of filet lace, so her email came at the perfect time! The bow pattern is very versatile and could also be used as an embellishment for clothing when crocheted in a finer thread, or for home decor if crocheted in a thicker thread or yarn.

Bowtie Necklace
RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?
SA: More crochet accessory patterns are always in the works, expanding our eWoodStory collaborative line of crochet kits with wooden elements, and wooden items to stitch, as well as working on community based textile projects and workshops in my home of Kuwait. You can follow along on my crochet adventures via my blog: www.stitch-story.com.

You can find out more about Shelby on Facebook, Ravelry, and Twitter.  Be sure to check out her blog for a chance to enter a giveaway of the book.
Bowtie Necklace Metal Chain








6.01.2016

Meet Cristina Mershon

Fidelma Motif Shawl
 I would like to introduce you to Cristina Mershon, graphic designer, art director, crochet designer, and mom.  Her work is just stunning.  It combines everything we love about crochet from lace to color to texture, and mixes it with her keen art director eye for amazing results.  A walk through her ravelry page will show you more then I could describe.

In Vintage Modern Crochet, Cristina designed Fidelma Motif Shawl for the Irish Crochet Chapter.  She took a very classic Irish Motif Flower and instead of freeforming the netting she crocheted the netting right onto the motif.  The result is a mix of history with textural flowers combined with modern ways of joining crochet motifs for a beautiful project.  The best part is the hidden beads on the edges of the shawl to give the heavenly cloud yarn some weight to drape perfectly on you.

We got to chat a bit about crochet last week, here is some of our chat:

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
CM: For me, crochet is like art, sometimes you start a project trying to create a new stitch or a new shape, and you end up with something unexpected and beautiful. it's like the hook is guiding you through the yarn, not really knowing where you were going. Of course, that changes when you have to create very specific pieces. I use to knit when I was younger, and I always felt that I have to calculate every stitch every row. Yarn is always an inspiration. The colors, the textures, they way it flows when your are working with it sometimes determines the kind of project is calling out to be. I get great inspiration from looking at fashion magazines, the shapes and colors, that sometimes break molds, and run away from the granny squares to becomes something bigger and more complex.
Fidelma Close-up

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
CM: I love using old school techniques to incorporate into new and modern garments. My favorite is always Irish crochet, since growing up in Spain, my mom was obsessed with making doilies with puffy roses, and intricate designs that would cover most of our furniture. I was amazed when arriving to the United States I discovered that crochet wen beyond old dainty doilies, you could use to crochet for everything. And that's how my passion for crochet design started. 

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
MC: So, traveling through the Northwest, I discovered this tiny yarn store in Idaho that carried yarn from Brown Sheep Yarns. I've been crocheting for many years, too many to count, and I never heard of them. I purchased 20 skein of  shinny Lamb's Pride yarn and for the first time, I did a triangle motif throw for myself. It was one of those pieces too pretty to give away. So I am working on finishing the pattern now for my Ravelry patterns, it's going to be gorgeous. And since I have 4 little kids, I cannot help myself but doing hats, girly jackets, pretty dresses, and everything that would bring a smile to their little faces, and keep me sane.

RC: What other crafts do you love?
CM: I love macrame, knitting, felting... but honestly, I don't have for any of that anymore. It's family, work and crochet, and as soon as I find time for something else, I would probably just crochet some more.

RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern Crochet?
CM: I was so lucky to get to work on the Fidelma Shawl. It was the perfect combination of Irish crochet, retro feel and modern twist with the beautiful silky mohair yarn. As I was making swatches, I was thinking is breezy summer nights (without kids!). The color was rich and bright, so I wanted to create something with flow, like a cloud, using classic Irish crochet techniques, like the rose, picots, leaves and arches.
Fidelma Motif Shawl

RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?
CM: I just finished a couple projects for Vogue and Noro, that would be coming up in the fall. A new collaborative book with Interweave just come out, Modern Baby Crochet. And now I am working on writing a few of my favorite patterns that I have in storage forever. I will be publishing those on Ravelry shortly using my new favorite yarns from Brown Sheep, and even making some crochet kits, so you won't have to go crazy choosing yarns and patterns.

You can see most of Cristina's work on Ravelry.  She would love to hear from you!  Please send her a message and tell her what kind of pattern you would like her to do next.




5.26.2016

Meet Brenda KB Anderson

Aine Fascinator
I would like to introduce to you the very creative designer, Brenda KB Anderson.  You may be familiar with her books Beastly Crochet or Crochet Ever After which breathes life into the most magical projects you can imagine.  Her crochet talent and vivid creativity are just wonderful.  You can get lost in her Ravelry page with design after design of adorable and clever creations.

In Vintage Modern Crochet, Brenda designed what in my mind was the perfect mix of modern meets vintage accessory.  Her Aine Fascinator uses Irish Crochet Motifs and combines them with fantastic color for a head turning piece.  We also show you how you can easily adapt it for a headband as well.  I adore this piece and wish I had an event to wear it at!

We got to chat a bit about crochet, here is some of our conversation....

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
BA: It is so versatile- It lends itself to thick and bulky projects with structure (like slippers or toys, etc) just as easily as delicate lace projects. And since crochet has gotten a bad rap in the past, I feel compelled to prove over and over that you can make beautiful things in crochet. Also- I am a very experimental crocheter and feel as though there is just so much unexplored territory in the field of crochet.

Aine Headband
RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
BA: Cables! I love crocheted cables- there are so many different ways to make cables in crochet!

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
BA: Honestly- I hardly ever make things just for myself. Usually I have another recipient in mind when I design things. BUT I have to say, that I selfishly only had myself in mind when I designed Mr. Whistle for the Interweave Crochet special Home issue. He is just a silly little idea that I had and needed to make for myself. I am still waiting to get the sample back, and whenever I am notified of a package coming from interweave- I always hope that it will be him. 

RC: What other crafts do you love?
BA: Sewing (this was my first crafty love), Knitting, painting, ceramics (I am terrible at the wheel, but love hand building- I find the feel and smell of clay super cathartic).

RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern Crochet?
BA: Mostly I just love fascinators- there is so much room to get creative with them- you can add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, put some netting on it and voila- you have fancy-pants hair accessory that makes heads turn!  I made a crocheted fascinator for my Sister-in-law for her wedding day and she looked so fantastic in it- I've been obsessed ever since. And to me- fascinators are the epitome of Vintage Modern. They look fresh and cool, but definitely have that old-fashioned movie star thing going on.
Aine Headband

RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?
BA:  I have future designs that will be coming out in Interweave Crochet, Love of Crochet, and Crochetscene - yay! People can find all of my designs on Ravelry. I have two books (Crochet Ever After, and Beastly Crochet ) which can be found at bookstores and online at the Interweave store. I teach an interactive online Craftsy Class called Crochet Mittens and Fingerless Gloves. I also have a dvd available called 3D Crochet where I teach techniques for making super-duper cute amigurumi and other 3D crocheted things.

You can find more about Brenda at:
Her books, dvd, and designs at the interweave store.
Ravelry
Craftsy
Facebook


5.23.2016

Meet Rebecca Velasquez


O'Hara Hat
 I am so happy to introduce you to one of my favorite designers, Rebecca Velasquez.  We have known each other and worked together for such a long time now.  (And amazingly she keeps agreeing to help me out!)  Rebecca's work has been everywhere, and I am sure you have seen a project of hers and have loved it.  In addition to  being a very talented crochet designer, she is raising and homeschooling 4 kids.  While designing these projects they were relocating and needed to live in their trailer for a few months.  I know I would not have been as creative as she clearly is while having all my monkeys on top of me!  Being an amazing mom and so creative is just one of the reasons I admire her.
O'Hara Hat

In Vintage Modern Crochet, Rebecca designed two projects, O'hara Hat and Yasmine Shawl.  The O'hara hat she came to me with and I immediately thought, YES!  It is a pineapple lace hat in the round, very unique and perfect. Rebecca named the hat for one of the characters on the TV show, Psych.  In the show, they have hidden pineapples everywhere on set.  This hat is just like that, its adorable and when you turn your head the right way shows off the pineapple lace pattern.  You can get the hat pattern for free and see bit of the book too.  The Yasmine Shawl I begged her to design.  I asked for a shawl that could rival any knit lace shawl, in multiple Tunisian lace patterns.  Poor Rebecca showed me lots of lovely swatches and my response was "MORE!"  I kept pushing and she kept adding more and more creative additions to the shawl.  I think the end result is awesome!  The shawl is definitely not for beginners, but for anyone ready to challenge themselves and learn a ton of new stitch patterns in the process.

Last week we got to chat a bit about crochet:

Yasmine Shawl
RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
RV: Oh, wow. This is going to sound weird. I understand crochet, it makes sense to me. My kids' math makes me want to cry, but crochet is my language. The process of creating is what inspires me. 

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
RV: Lately, I've been experimenting with Tunisian crochet. It is a lot of fun. So versatile. I've enjoyed playing around with Irish crochet, too. But I always come back to basic, every day crochet. 

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
RV: A beaded keychain

RC: What other crafts do you love?
RV: Really, anything crafty. I'm not at all a good artist, but I love to "illustrate" scripture in my Bible and in a mixed-media scripture journal. Also, I love to knit. I like to say that crochet is my work, knitting is my hobby. 

Yasmine Shawl
RC: What was your inspiration behind your designs in Vintage Modern Crochet?
RV: For the O'Hara hat, inspiration was the stitch itself. I wanted to create something a little non-conventional with the pineapple stitch. So I started playing with it in-the-round and the natural decrease of the pineapple sort of became a hat on its own!  With the Yasmine Shawl, inspiration was really more experimentation. A lot of "what ifs" and "ooo, this will be pretty". I really wanted to go farther and do more with this piece. 

RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?
RV: I'm doing a few designs here and there for magazine publication, but my biggest project right now is a collection of collections I've got in the works. This will be an RV publication. I'm hoping to get the first set out in the fall. 

You can find more about Rebecca on:
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
Ravelry
And her website, www.RebeccaVelasquez.com



5.19.2016

Meet Megan Granholm

If you have seen any of my crochet books with multiple designers, you will see Megan Granholm's name pop up time and time again.  She designed the Natalie Shrug in Simply Crochet and the Starburst Afghan (one of my all time favorites) in Unexpected Afghans, Megan and I "met" when I was in desperate need of contract crocheters for my Blueprint Crochet books.  She and I have been crochet friends ever since.  Megan doesn't design that often, so I am very thankful when she takes the time to design for me!  Fleur Swing Top from Vintage Modern Crochet is one of my favorites of hers so far.  It has minimal shaping but a ton of attitude.  It floats perfectly around the body making you want to toss it on as your go-to pullover.

Fun Fact: Megan is a left handed crocheter.  Everything looks exactly the same until you go to unravel then the opposite direction from right handed crocheters unravel.

She and I got to catch up a bit this week, here's a bit of that:

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
MG: When I first started designing, there wasn't a lot of fashionable, modern options. Crochet boomed in the '70s, and that was what I was still seeing out there; shapeless items made from too-thick yarn, that definitely wouldn't be flattering on me. I also come from a pretty crafty family; we were always seeing things in the stores and on TV and saying "I can just MAKE that!" and that carried over into crocheted garments: once I knew the basic stitches, I could look at anything knitted or made of fabric to inspire me.

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
MG: I love Tunisian. It has unique challenges that traditional crochet doesn't have, which makes it a fun challenge to design in, and it lends itself well to more tailored, almost military-style looks that are fun to make and wear.

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
MG: I had a baby ten months ago, so the things I've made in the last two years have been mostly for her! But I do have quite a collection of scarves and shawls, as I run warm and often don't need more than one of those for most of the winter, here in temperate Oregon.

RC: What other crafts do you love?
MG: I love anything I can play with and then step back and have something tangible. Making something out of nothing is pretty satisfying!

RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern Crochet?
MG: I started by drawing inspiration from the '60s mod style, kinda boxy and a-lined, and then softened it with a bit of lace. Tunisian was another draw: I wanted to show that while it works well to make dense fabric for tailored looks, it can also be lacy and feminine. And I love the combination of lace and straight lines.

RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?
MG: I've put down my hooks in favor of a baby for now, but as soon as my hands are free I'll be back at it! In the meantime, you can look me up on Ravelry!

5.16.2016

Meet Anastasia Popova

If the lovely cardigan on the front of Vintage Modern Crochet made your heart go aflutter like mine did, let me introduce to you Anastasia Popova the crochet designer behind it.  The Zoe Cardigan was the first proposal I received when I sent out my call for desigsn for the book that made me go, "YES!".  It is the perfect marriage of vintage and modern.  Just looking at it you can imagine yourself wearing it today, 50 years ago, and 50 years in the future.  It is timeless and wonderful.  I will let Anastasia tell you the story of her grandmothers sweater, it always makes me smile just imagining what fantastic things my grandmother has made and I have yet to try to re-invent.

Taking a quick look at Anastasia's ravelry page, you will definitely see a number of projects that you will recognize from the pages of Interweave Crochet Magazine. One of my favorites is the Entwined Cables pillow, the cables are just amazing on it!  Her designs are modern, fun, and just charming.

This week we got to chat a bit about crochet, here's some of that conversation:

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
AP: The goal of everything that I do is to empower people to achieve their goals,  especially if they have previously failed.  To not set limits for themselves and to play it safe just because they don't think can succeed or are afraid of failure.  It is not just about the crocheting, I believe that succeeding on a project motivates crafters in other aspects of their lives too.  My design work specifically, is driven by the desire to break down the preconceived notions of what is and is not possible with crochet. 

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
AP: At the moment I am really in love with pineapple lace, but my all time favorite technique is linked stitches, like linked double crochet. 

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
AP: A pair of crochet socks! I truly enjoy crocheting socks. I love the process of creating the fabric that is interesting to make and comfortable to wear, which could be a challenge in crochet.

RC: What other crafts do you love?
AP: With the birth of my daughter, I rediscovered my love sewing. I took pattern drafting/ sewing classes in high school and truly enjoying making skirts, dresses and cloth diapers for my little girl. 

RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern Crochet?
AP:  The inspiration for the Zoe cardigan came from a piece my grandmother Zoya made over 20 years ago. Her cardigan had such a beautiful edge that I had to replicate it in this cardigan, but with pineapple lace in the body. I had to name this piece after her.

RC: What is next for you? Where can people see more of your work?
AP : I want to continue making an impact in the lives of as many people as I can reach through my crochet classes and design work.  I have recently launched a website dedicated to crochet patterns for babies, crochetforbabies.com, which features free crochet patterns.  I am also currently working on a number of crochet books which will be out soon.

You can see more of Anastasia's work below:
Facebook
Ravelry
Website – AnastasiaPopova.com (professional website, patterns, classes, tutorials, etc)
CrochetForBabies.com (free crochet patterns for babies)
Twitter - @CrochetForBabies or @APcrochet
Pinterest
Instagram

Be sure to check her website, Anastasia will be hosting a chance to win one copy of Vintage Modern Crochet.

5.12.2016

Meet Moon Eldridge

Bromelia Infinity Scarf
It is with great pleasure I get to introduce you to Moon Eldridge.  She in an incredibly talented Knit and Crochet Designer.  A quick walk over to her Ravelry page and you will find design after design of smart and modern pieces.  In Vintage Modern Crochet, Moon designed two pieces.  Bromelia Infinity Scarf and the
Cyrine Striped Dress are perfect examples of her modern and feminine designs.

She and I got to chat this week, here is a little of that:

Bromelia Infinity Scarf
RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
ME: I love that airy effect and lacy feel about crochet and I also love that
crochet can make solid fabric, as well. There are lots and lots of pretty
stitches to use for any design you can think of.


RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
ME: Tunisian crochet is one of my favorite techniques.

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
ME: The last item I made for myself is a knitted sweater. I made it during my pregnancy and for sure I couldn't wear it back then. I gave my twin boys birth at Feb. 25th. Now I can wear it again.

RC: What other crafts do you love?
ME: I also love knitting. I learned how to knit much earlier than crochet when I was 11 or 12.
Cyrine Striped Dress

RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern
Crochet?
ME: For Cyrine Striped Dress: Like I said I love Tunisian crochet and lots of people who don't know about Tunisian crochet think it is only can make solid and thick fabric. I wanted to show that Tunisian crochetcan be very lacy, too.
For Bromelia Infinity Scarf: I like pineapple stitch and there are many
pineapple stitch patterns. In this design I try to combine pineapple
stitch and spider stitch together. It turned out really pretty.

RC: What is next for you? Where can people see more of your work?
ME: I am working on a Tunisian crochet scarf for Interweave Crochet
Winter 2017 issue right now. With the new born kids, it goes really
slow.

You can find more of Moon at these places;

Her Blog

Cyrine Striped Dress
Ravelry ID: mooneldridge

Facebook 

She runs a weekly show for a Chinese craft website called
Hui Bian Zhi (means I can knit (crochet)) in Chinese language. You
can find all the videos on Youtube.



5.09.2016

Meet Laurinda Reddig

Celtic Cross Wrap by Laurinda Reddig
 Today I would like to introduce you to Laurinda Reddig.  A very creative crocheter that you are going to love.  You may be familiar with her book Reversible Color Crochet, a wonderful collection of color crochet designs.  She also has a wonderful new book, The Secret Stitch a Crochet Companion, which is a joint project with The Secret Stitch the book.  Laurinda helps bring the characters to life with her historically inspired creations from the book.  Be sure to stop by her website, at least to see the dress she made for her sister's wedding.  Its stunning!

In Vintage Modern Crochet, Laurinda designed a lovely filet shawl, Celtic Cross Wrap.  It is lightweight, yet warm from the soft merino wool from Mrs Crosby's yarn line.  The best part is the filet design, its like a secret surprise when the wrap unfolds.  I love filet, its a simple technique that just seems to fly off my hook.

We got to chat last week about crochet, here's some of our conversation:

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?
LR: I love being able to imagine something in my head, and create it with hooks and yarn, whether three dimensional toys for my kids or flat images in reversible intarsia. Crochet stitches just make sense to me, like building blocks to make the things real.

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?
LR: I don’t think I can choose just one. I’ve always loved trying new things, so I’m always trying something new. Most recently I did my first Irish Crochet project, my sister’s wedding dress (I seldom start small). Now I really want to explore more about traditional Irish Crochet, and play with it more, but who knows what will be next.

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?
LR: I designed my first sweater with long sleeves this spring, for myself. I have about a dozen sweaters in my head, so hope to start designing more, if I ever make the time for it. Your sweater book was a great reference when I was trying to figure out how sleeves should be shaped, I even took a knit sweater class to learn about shapes and how the pieces fit together (though I don’t really knit).

RC: What other crafts do you love?
LR: I used to say that trying new crafts was my favorite hobby. But these days if I make time for anything besides crochet, it’s either related to other fiber crafts or crafting with my kids. I learned to spin working the Renaissance Fairs nearly 20 years ago and still enjoy it, and needle felting is one that both my kids enjoy too.

Close up detail of filet stitches in
Celtic Cross Wrap
RC: What was your inspiration behind your design in Vintage Modern Crochet?
LR: When you said you needed something in Filet Crochet, I remembered when I first discovered Filet back in college. I started with my initial, then jumped right into designing a Grateful Dead Bear for the guy I ended up marrying. I’d only ever done filet in the traditional white thread. So I thought it would be really fun to do a Wrap in a nice hand-dyed single ply yarn, and take the Celtic Knotwork I had been playing with in cables and intarsia in a different direction with filet instead.

RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?
LR: I am currently designing for the Ficstitches Yarns Crochet Kit Club. A joint project with two of my good friends, an author and a hook-carver, which allows me to work with awesome yarns from local hand dyers. So, that keeps me pretty busy, coming up with designs inspired by stories from author C. Jane Reid. In fact, we just released books of her novel from our first 3 kits in 2015, and my patterns from those kits, plus 6 more accessories all inspired by her characters. You can find my newest book The Secret Stitch A Crochet Companion on Amazon.

My next new pattern, Robin’s Wings, will be released on Ravelry in the next few weeks. It is a shawl I designed for my aunt who has just completed chemo for breast cancer. She also teaches meditation and had been asking for a lightweight shawl to use in her practice. But with the chemo she has had to take a lot of time off of work. So all my sales from this particular pattern will go to help her get through this difficult time.

Here is where you can find more Laurinda:

Her Website, ReCrochetions
Ficstittches Yarns Crochet Kit Club
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Ravelry

Thank you Laurinda for chatting with me!  I don't know about all of you, but I can't wait to see what they come up with next over at FicStitches.  That sounds awesome!







5.05.2016

Meet Natasha Robarge

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Natasha Robarge. She is an incredibly talented crochet designer.  You probably have come across her work in Interweave Crochet.  And if you did, you definitely stopped and said, WOW.  All her designs are modern, and showcase how creative you can be with crochet.

She designed two projects in Vintage Modern Crochet.  The Guipure Top is an Irish Lace Netting masterpiece.  It takes the netting or background to typical Irish Lace and makes it the star of the project.  It is just a stunning piece, and the cotton yarn really makes it a fabulous top to wear.  The Carefree Pullover is secretly a Filet Lace project. It looks so complex, but its actually just made from solid and void areas.  The linen yarn really transforms the project.  Its the perfect summer top, light and airy, and easy for us all to wear.

This week Natasha and I got to chat a bit about crochet.  Here is our conversation:

Guipure Top

RC: What is it about crochet that inspires you to design in it?

NR: I'm thrilled by the expressive possibilities of crochet and its technical versatility. Crochet fabric can easily take any shape from squares to hexes to flowers to freeform. The range of textural effects is huge: from sturdy post stitches to spider web lace. I have been crocheting and knitting for a long time but only crochet inspired me to design due to its vast creative potential. My designs celebrate crochet and I try to create the look which is not achievable through any other craft. 

RC: What is one of your favorite techniques in crochet?

NR: I really like to explore them all: I have published designs in filet and Irish lace, hairpin lace, broomstick lace, motifs, Tunisian, intarsia. I still need to figure out how to create a pattern for freeform. Some techniques are harder to adapt to patterns in multiple sizes or give a definitive explanation where to insert hook. 

RC: What was the last item that you made for yourself (in any craft)?

Guipure Top
NR: I wear all the crochet sample shawls I designed (fortunately no size limitations apply). A work colleague of mine called them "sweater-shawls" as I find them a perfect layer for a business casual style. I also made a couple of knit tops: a sleeveless top for the office to wear under a jacket or a cardi and a short-sleeve weekend top. I typically alternate my knit and crochet projects, and recently have been craving some sewing. I'm thinking of a summer skirt. As a matter of fact, as I'm writing this, I will sew a simple long gathered skirt with a wide rich crochet border for an overall clean linen look which is popular now in the stores. 

RC: What other crafts do you love?

NR: I mentioned crochet, knitting, sewing. I've also enjoyed embroidery. Anything with knots. My grandmother told me that when I was an infant she would tie a bunch of knots on a string and I would carefully untie them and then cry for more. I still never cut knots, untying them is like a puzzle for me. In fact I prefer to hand-wind my yarn too. This is just part of the fun. 

RC: What was your inspiration behind your designs in Vintage Modern Crochet?

Carefree Pullover
NR: Carefree Pullover is the result of the design evolution which started with a Chico's catalogue. The catalogue was full of bright flowing ponchos with striking color patterns. I wanted to make one in crochet. Linen yarn gives the ability to create large stitches with skinny yarn and the resulting garment is light. It is important not to weigh down a wide piece of fabric. Then a selected a large scale stitch pattern and made a swatch in bright stripes. Robyn suggested that the book will be more monochromatic and we agreed on just one complementary stripe at the bottom. It was a good decision. However, if you see yourself in a bright striking summer cover-up, make this pullover at half-length and go for some orange, white, and azure stripes. 

The inspiration process for Guipure Top was the opposite. Robyn asked for repeatable Irish lace vs. Irish lace motifs with freeform netting. So I looked at dozens of guipure lace ribbons online to just get an idea of what they might look like. Then I came up with my own stitch pattern which did not really look like the ribbons I saw but still maintained the same spirit. A simple top shape which fits easily with the stitch pattern completed the design. I must say the fabric of this top is quite amazing. Even if you don't make an entire top, just try to crochet a few rounds in the same yarn or other perle cotton yarn. You will be fascinated. 

RC: What is next for you?  Where can people see more of your work?

NR: I have three goals for this year: 
- Continue to submit my designs to F&W. One of my designs will be published in Interweave Crochet Summer 2016 and one in Crochetscene 2016. 
- Learn to use software for crochet charts. I love charts and hand-draw them in a jiffy, but computer generating them is a different story. I will be looking for a teacher. 
- Find time to self-publish at least one more pattern. Don't we all want to squeeze 48 hours into 24? I publish all of my indie designs on Ravelry. 
  
Carefree Pullover, Bottom Edge
You can see more of  Natasha's work over at Ravelry or on her website.  Natasha is hosting a Crochet-A-Long over in her Love for Contemporary Crochet Group.  She will be doing a giveaway of one copy of the book in the CAL, so be sure to sign up for a chance to win!