Crochet Attachment, or Attached to Me

When I was younger crochet was an emotional outlet, I do not know if I could say the same thing today. Maybe crochet has grown up with me, or maybe it has just become ingrained to my every day.

I remember when I was in high school that my brother use to joke that is anyone was cold and needed a blanket, then find a guy for me to date then break up with me. Not that I dated much at all, but break-ups did through me into an afghan making frenzy. Everyone in my family has at least one, friends from the time can probably say the same.

It was not necessarily that I was filling my stitches with tears, as much as it kept my hands busy and helped to let my mind focus. I guess in a sense it was my meditation. I am not sure if it applies the same today.

I crochet daily, but now it has a different focus, it is part of my work. I keep more notes about the stitches I am working, I am deciding the best way to highlight a yarn, I am thinking of things for blog posts, I am exploring different ways to explain techniques in teaching, basically I have lost my mind wandering. I am not completely sure that this has come from the position of it being my work, or the many years that I have been doing it, over ¾ of my life.

I also am not working nearly as many afghans. I made many blankets over the years, I really only started making garments about a decade ago. In all things relative that is very short amount of time. So maybe that has taken to my change of my crochet experience, that I have expanded the scope of my outlet.

I may not recognize it as my emotional outlet, but nearly twenty years of marriage could have curbed that need. I still am not sure what I would do with my hands while seated just about anywhere, so maybe crochet has grown into something more primal, maybe it is just a part of me that I cannot see as separate.

Swirls That Will Brighten Your Day

Sometimes while crocheting my mind can completely wonder and I have no idea what I am stitching. This is actually a really therapeutic approach at times, it allows me to be productive and keep my hands busy while allowing my mind to day dream or work things out. My latest design Swirling Valley Circular Throw, in the August issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, actually was created this way.

Photo courtesy of I Like Crochet Magazine

I began working on a spiral motif, but then I began thinking of other things and before I knew it I had an entire throw. The stitch pattern is essentially that needed to create a flat circle, but you have to work more than one color, and thus more than one strand of yarn, in each round. This can be a bit daunting as you need to keep the strands from tangling, but I have found that by twisting the yarn in the same direction each time I switch colors that I can at least create a uniform tangle that I can easily untwist every few rounds. I know others that have easier techniques, using holders that keep the skeins apart so they cannot wrap around each other, or little finger rings that hold each color independently ready for use. However I have never really gotten the hang of these and simply just untangle as needed…this at least changes my task at various times.

Photo courtesy I Like Crochet Magazine

Swirling Valley Circular Throw is made up of only three colors but utilizes six colors per round, so if you wanted something to have a real spiral effect you could simply use six different colors in this throw instead of each color twice.

I like this design for kids, I can easily see it in bright vibrant colors to adorn a play room, or even in soft pastels to create a dazzling throw for baby.

I have an additional confession, when I started working the final rounds I was getting a bit exhausted, thinking that they would never end. This is typical of large circles, but the color changes at least kept it more interesting and manageable, so this did not become an un-finished project (UFO) in my work bag.

 

Parisian Champagne Throw-A Nice Little Piece

It is always a fun morning when I learn  that I have a new design out and published that I can share with the world. Today the Parisian Champagne Throw is available in the August 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine is out and alive in the world.

This throw actually started out in a smaller format. The motifs that I have designed, I originally considered for a thread table cloth. I have fun working up the little round motifs and thought they fit together a bit like clockwork. However after creating a square contaminating 4 of them I felt that they would be a really busy looking pattern for a table cloth. Thus they became a 4 square motif in themselves, and then joined with others. As is usual I have worked these motifs as “join as you go”, so there is no sewing or seaming needed.

My decision to alter the original design from a thread table cloth, really was one of complete practicality. This design really works best with two colors and weaving in all the ends necessary for a table cloth…in thread…was a bit too daunting for me to consider.

The design is worked up in a heavier weight yarn then you might usually consider, but this helps give it a practical picnic use for these warm months, while still giving a practical warmth factor for cooler months. It is pretty easy to find two colors that you enjoy together, and this throw works great with any of them. Personally I really like how the soft cream really allows the coral to pop, giving a comfortable and subtle contrast.

This throw can also be taken down a bit, attempt it in a baby yarn and create a memorable baby blanket, without having to worry about meeting the gauge, as the smaller yarn and hook will automatically adjust the motifs to a correct size.

I hope that you give this throw a try, and share your progress with me. I still haven’t got a table cloth, but maybe the next design.

Summer Crochet My Salvation

Often people think that the most productive time of year for crocheting is during the cool months of autumn and winter, however I have always found that I create more crochet in summer than any other season.

I thought that in my youth this was due to school being out and my having the extra hours of boredom that what seemed like then, a long summer break. However it continued through high school when I had a summer job and still found time to hang out with friends, so boredom did not seem the likely cause of the warm weather crochet.

Summer Crochet www.lindadeancrochet.comLooking back over project I have created, the majority have been completed when the sun created temperatures that did not require being bundled up. Granted living in California means that I have more days of shine then rain, but still November through February tend to be fairly quiet on my hook. Maybe it is the holidays and being busy with other commitments, or the fact that hearty foods are needing cooking, and those are always my favorite to make.

One of the more practical explanation actually comes from the weather itself. Maybe I crochet more in summer to actually keep cool. I have only lived in a home with air conditioning for a few years of my life, mostly apartments in my early twenties, other than that I have used the old fashion method of cooling your home, windows. Windows are opened every night, and closed every morning, I still do this today, so during the day I do not really want to run around in the hot sun I prefer to stay seated by the fan. So maybe it is my lack of activity that lends to the movement of the hook.

Or maybe it is simply that the new life of the season stirs a creative spark in me. Maybe I need more daylight to get my ideas flowing and my craft progressing. Whatever the reason, it helps me to remember that I get this bit of crochet flurry especially around January when I feel like I have no energy and ideas. Maybe the warmth stirs me, and that is odd since summer really is not my favorite season, I could do with less heat.

 

Small Town, Small World, Big Punch in Fiber Arts

The world has ways of reminding me that it is much smaller then I think, and I have had friends recently make me think of my home town a bit differently. I grew up, currently live, and have long roots in the California gold country; a friend made a comment about living in such a historic place, and I admit I think I probably have taken that for granted. However the craziest thing isn’t how much my area has history, it is how often I learn about companies in the fiber industry that have roots here too.

 

As I was getting into the profession of crochet I began to pay a bit more attention to my surrounding in regards to other professionals. My local Fibers Guild (a groups of members that love all things yarn) I learned that there was a yarn company just a short distance from my kids school, Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks. I have worked with Lisa over the years to help create crochet designs in her beautiful yarns, as well as help work her show booth and visit various cities throughout the United States.

 

If only having a well-established yarn company in my town was enough, I also learned that a nationally recognized fiber spinning instructor and author, Lexi Boeger of Pluckyfluff, grew up in my community as well. Heck she was only a year ahead of me in high school, but my high school was large enough that I can honestly say that we did not run in the same circles. Her family owns a well-known local winery, and she has a studio just near the tasting room, that I have had the pleasure of teaching workshops at.

 

Those two connections should be more than enough, then I got into a conversation with a long time member of my Fiber Guild and when she learned where I lived she immediately assumed that I must know Lorna Miser, the creator and founder of Lorna’s Laces yarn. I did not know her, but the connection was made that as I was growing up she was starting the yarn company literally about 2 miles from my childhood home. There is even a colorway within the yarn company that features my street name, Bucks Bar. I did meet Lorna a few years later, and long after she had sold the business that is now housed in the Chicago, Illinois area, I was when working on some designs for a book that she was working on, and learned that she knew several members of my extended family. Even though up until very recently she and I only lived about thirty minutes apart, while she was starting up her latest yarn adventure, Zombie Yarns,  we would only cross paths at trade shows thousands of miles from home; but that is how it works out at times isn’t it? Never have lunch with a friend when you are in the everyday routine of home, but definitely make time when out of the ordinary grind.

 

So looking back over the connections above to my community, I thought that maybe there was something in the water or maybe every community as secret fiber artists dwelling in plain sight. Then I was at a trade show earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio when a friend and colleague escorted me over to check out a hook supplier. Honestly, I was tagging along a bit, my mind was already taking in the days discussions with various yarn companies when the gentleman, Chris Barnes, mentioned something about California. I mentioned I was from Placerville, that got him to look up, as he started he grew up there. Now I should mention that when traveling it is exciting to find someone that can pronounce the name of the town correctly (it is a short a sound), let alone know where it is without me drawing a map. We began chatting back and forth to find that we knew several of the same people and he was only two years ahead of me in high school and hung out with my cousin during his high school years. Apparently he had just taken over the business his father had started in my hometown, Brittany Needles. The company moved several years back to a little down on the northern coast that I enjoy vacationing at, Mendocino, but it started right here in my little gold rush town.

 

I know I have taken the local gold rush history for granted, but I did not realize that there was such a rich fiber arts history in the professional sense surrounding me. Honestly, since this last connection I am beginning to think I need to question the ladies at the Hangtown Fibers Guild more, as when I excitedly mention these new to me connections, they have already know everyone involved.  I wonder if there are any other industry connections hidden away in my back yard.