Where Designs Grow- The Bharat Star Table Runner

ScannedImageThe New Year seems like it has been a bit of a whirl wind, especially since I have several designs coming out in various publications over the next several weeks. I enjoy sharing my thoughts of where these designs grew from, and the latest of these is the Bharat Star Table Runner, that is now available in the special issue of Crochet World Magazine, Blue Ribbon Crochet (available on newsstands and for download now).

871501_BlueRibbon_COVERThis table runner created with #10 cotton thread (Nazli Gelin Garden, color #700-09), was a design that grew out my approach to seeing in uses for the picot stitch. The picot stitch is a crochet classic, which is often used in an edging, sometimes within lace stitches, and is essentially working a chain-3 loop among a row or round of stitches. This creates a little, for lack of a better term, “nub” to rise above the other stitches and create a visual interest.

In playing with this classic technique, I have used the picot, instead of an embellishment as a location of additional stitch work. I have found that increasing the picot to a chain-4 loops, this becomes an excellent place to put shell or fan stitches, that creates a nice rounded arch.


photo courtesy of Annie’s

So while sitting in grass at my old high school, waiting for my kids to finish their parks & recreation tennis lessons last summer, I was playing with motifs. I was originally attempting to create large lace motif, but after working my fourth round by working a shelled arch in a picots I could not find a way to continue it further. I loved the shape that it made. I knew I was really on to something with it when the other parents waiting for their kids commented on how much they liked what I was making (once again crochet is an ice breaker).

I added the small motif squares to the mix, as a way to assist in a smooth join to the fabric, and believe that the square shape is a nice compliment to the star shape. I actually enjoy this stitch pattern enough that I have considered, several times, adding more motifs to make a wrap, or even a full table cloth.

If you do not feel comfortable using thread, this pattern can use yarn, and offer beautiful results as well.

I enjoy many of my designs, but this one is up among my favorites.

My Needed Crochet Distraction

ScannedImageI am not sure if I have really appreciated the distraction that crochet has been to me until reflecting on this last week.

I spent 6 days in the beautiful city of Manchester, New Hampshire, for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Crochet Guild of America, at the Knit & Crochet Show (mark your calendars, next year it will be in San Diego, California, from July 22-26, 2015). I was taking several interesting classes, as well as moderating and teaching some groups. It was a busy week, and then I get the call from home that there is a wildfire near my home. Now with the severe drought in California right now, any murmur of fire can quickly turn into something catastrophic, and being 3000 miles from home and family does not make it any easier. Fortunately the crochet community is a very supportive one, and many people shared their well wishes, good thoughts and prayers. (Fortunately firefighters got the upper hand and my home was spared, unfortunately 19 other families lost their homes during the event, and my thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them).

But during this anxious time, I had crochet. I may not have picked up my hook as much as I normally would have, as I did not have my thoughtless project with me, but the support of all things crochet helped to keep me together. IMG_6186.1

After I returned home, my sister went in for a relatively routine procedure. However there have been some complications, so once again I turn to crochet. I am anxious, as I am helpless once again to do anything, but the simple rhythm of the hook in my hand and the yarn in my fingers seems to help calm me (or at least it keeps me from stress eating).

The situation with my sister is not quite resolved, but at least I have crochet to help keep me grounded. I hope all will be well, and once my mind is a little less distracted, I will share all the wonderful and creative things that made my travels fun and enjoyable (I was not stressed out about home the entire time).

A Review: The Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakely Kinsler

ScannedImageGwen Blakely Kinsler, has done much for the skill of crochet. Twenty years ago she began the Crochet Guild of America, creating a national, excuse me, international setting for crocheters of every level and area of interest to come together and share the love they have for a hook and the fabrics it creates. She continues bringing new life to crochet by highlighting those utilizing crochet in fine arts with her new book, The Fine Art of Crochet Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists.

So I have an admiration of art, even fine art, but I will admit that contemporary art does not always speak to me. So reading through this new book was a revealing time for me. Just flipping through the pages I would see photos of various pieces of art, things that I would have to be in a different mindset to fully appreciate, but then I began to read. 51LhiyLx5ML

Each artist has a very different approach and message that they are expelling through works that involve crochet and this book allows you to enter the creative process and approach by each artist, as Gwen gives each a personal voice. It gave me a greater appreciation of the work that they do, I could see more in their art then I ever could on my own. It was interesting to see how each artist discovered crochet as a medium, as no one ever set out and imagined using crochet in their art, but came to it for different reasons and spoke different things.

Even days later, the work of some of the artists have remained in my mind. The way Jo Hamilton uses crochet as a form of paint, while “showing the brush strokes” was amazing to me, and I can vastly appreciate the skill involved to accomplish the “painting”. Soonran Youn work has such meaning that I may have over looked without understanding her theory of expression. The work of Carol Hummel feels like home, yet really is revolutionary in its approach and undertaking.  Jerry Bleem has such a message in his work by his materials used that it really is thought provoking. I have had the pleasure of taking a class from Dr. Carol Ventura, so I have appreciated her work up close, but her chapter allowed me to see more about her creative process and growth of her art.

The Fine Art of Crochet is more than just an outline of an artist’s life and how they use crochet in the art that they place in museums. It can speak to you, as it spoke to me, and allow of an awaking in a new approach that my crochet can take, and at very least provoke a new understanding of crochet elevated from a craft, a hobby, to fine art.

Thoughts on Grace in the Garden Sun Hat

ScannedImageI enjoyed this project, Grace in the Garden Sun Hat (found in the new special issue of Crochet! Magazine Crochet in a Snap, currently available on newsstands); I had fun putting it together. It has a classic sun hat feel, but a not so classic crochet approach.

Grace in the Garden Sun Hat 1

photo courtesy of Annie’s

I usually always have a crochet hook close at hand, heck usually I have one holding up my hair, but that does not mean I always have yarn flowing through my fingers; this is a project that highlights that.

Originally I was looking to create this hat out of jute, I liked the natural woody color and stiff feels, but after some discussion with the editor it was decided to use household twine (as the jute has an abrasive quality, it was probably a good choice). As chaining and joining can be a bit more obvious with this material, it is worked as a continuous spiral, so it has a very clean look. I was really please with how it came out.

The scarf woven through it is just a simple silk scarf that I found at my local Kmart. As it was near the end of the summer season when I was working this up, I found it on a discount rack, and for only a couple of dollars it really dresses up the hat.

Grace in the Garden Sun Hat 2

photo courtesy of Annie’s

However the twine does lend itself to be a little flimsier in the brim, it likes to bend and fold more than the stiffer material of jute, but this can easily be corrected with some spray starch or other stiffening techniques. But sometimes the floppy looker can be charming as well.

This hat reminds me of ladies lounging poolside, wearing large sunglasses and reading magazines, like some old Hollywood movie, maybe I will have to give that a try with this hat…but I’ll let the weather warm up just a little first.


photo courtesy of Annie’s….check out newsstands for the latest special issue!


Thoughts on Some Fall Designs

ScannedImageHard to believe that Autumn weather is almost here, but luckily Crochet World Magazine’s October 2013 issue is out, and it has some fun ideas that help with this seasonal change.

I have two designs featured in this issue so I might be a little biased.

Birds of a Feather

Photo courtesy of Annie’s

The Birds of a Feather Table Runner reminds me of the country farm; okay, so I am still on a country farm, but my rooster is noisier than the ones on the runner.  I enjoyed doing this filet work; to me it has a little old world charm but an updated feel with the harvest colored thread. I can honestly say that this design makes me think of fall, probably because the thought of the “farm” brings about memories of bringing in the crops, and a rooster definitely makes me think of farm.



Tactical Squares Throw

Photo courtesy of Annie’s

The Tactical Squares Afghan is one I really think my son will enjoy. Usually you see a lot of open work designs, and it makes it difficult to find something that can have a masculine feel, but I think this one can accomplish that. Masculine to me has a more full texture then lacy work feel, it could be cables or such, something with a raised stitch to it, it is also simple and bold. My son always gets a little jealous, since it is so much easier for me to work something up for his sister, something lacy, a little skirt, and he feels a little left out. I think that this afghan though might make up for it a bit.

So there are some of my thoughts of how a couple of more of my designs made their way from my mind to my fingers.