Realizing I Have Something, That Has Probably Always Been There

ScannedImageThis time of year has always been a time of reflection and re-connection, almost a little melancholy for me, and this year is no different.

I had an epiphany recently about my designing. In the past I would have probably laughed if you would have considered me a “designer”. I would never consider myself as “fashion forward” or anything like that. My personal style is pretty simple and definitely reflective of northern California, meaning my wardrobe primarily consists of jeans, T-shirts and flip flops. However undertaking another home improvement project really helped me to focus and realize that I do have a style, I may not have a word to define it, but it is there.

Paintbrush with Blue PaintFor the last decade, my husband and I have taken on various projects of home improvement on our 1920’s farm house. Last week, I tore everything out of the kitchen (yes, a little ambitious just before having people over for the holidays, no one ever accused me of being sane). While getting my “kitchen vision” on track I realized that I approach my crochet designs in much the same way…I need a starting point. I need something to expand from, my ideas do not come from a void, and they need to grow around an inspiration. In the case of my kitchen it is my new sink. I was unable to refinish the sink that I already had, and after some hunting found a great deal on a copper one, and everything else has expanded from that…the counters, the colors, the style, everything from the sink. In past projects the most difficult undertaking I had was re-installing a bathroom, it was a blank slate and I remember how I felt completely overwhelmed with the project, until I finally found a small piece of tile that became my “jumping off point”.

In comparison to my crochet designs, the same thing is true. I need a point of inspiration. Some of those are as simple as a challenge. Such as “What can I create with just this single skein?” or randomly reaching into a bag of yarn and then having to create something with what I pull out. Some inspirations come from architectural designs (believe it or not, I find a lot of ideas from The Old House), or even hotel carpets. The common point that they all have is a point to begin.

I guess I have been designing for much longer then I might have realized, it is just my style seems so everyday to me that I just take it for granted. It is simple, and clean, I attempt for balanced visually not necessarily symmetrically. It is, I hope, a little classic, and not trendy and date-able. It is warm and not afraid of color. I may not have a name for it, but one thing at a time, I only just realized I had one.

Adding Stitch Extentions

ScannedImageThe world of crochet seems to be ever evolving, and one technique that I have seen recent renewed interest in is the “extended stitches”. Extended stitches are essentially the same stitches as are regularly used, single, half double, double, treble, etc. however they have an extra pull through making them slightly taller.

IMG_6325.1

Begin an extended double crochet just as you would a typical double crochet; yarn over, insert hook in indicated space, yarn over, pull up a loop

This stitch type is really nice is you are created a fabric that has gradual height changes as an extended single crochet is slightly taller than a single crochet, yet slightly shorter than a half double crochet, creating a very nice gradient of height by using the three stitches together.
To create an extended stitch, you begin as you do for the standard stitch, for example for a double crochet and an extended double crochet you; yarn over, insert hook in indicated stitch, yarn over, pull through up loop. Now, this is where the only difference now takes place, for an extended stitch, you chain 1, then continue as you would with the remainder of the stitch, yarn over pull through 2, twice.

IMG_6326.1

Next, Chain 1, then complete the stitch as normal, Yarn over, pull through 2, twice

By simply creating a chain stitch at the very base of the typical stitch you create this extra height. Another interesting creation with this stitch is that it creates a fabric that is a little more “stretchy” than the traditional stitch, while giving a very similar appearance. I often mix this stitches in items that I create in a free form style to allow for smoother transition of styles, and I also use then mixed with more traditional stitches to create fabrics with subtle texture changes.

IMG_6328.1

See the subtle difference between the stitch on the left and the one adjacent, the bottom of the stitch as a little more height before the first bar in the post

I hope this clears up any mysteries about this simple adjustments to everyday stitches, that can easily be added to you foundation of stitch knowledge.