Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Austentatious Crochet

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 You know they say, "Give and you will receive." I was the "buddy" of Melissa Horozewski at the Chain Link Crochet Conference in 2011 in Manchester, NH. She was a delightful person to get to know and to accompany to some of the activities throughout the crochet-filled weekend. At the time she was working on her book, which was untitled. Last week I was quite surprised and excited when her autographed book, Austentatious Crochet,
arrived in my mailbox. In her accompanying note, Melissa expressed her gratitude for my helpfulness as her buddy. The buddy program has been a resounding success for CGOA, and I was happy to be a part of it. It is not tough work and crocheters are the easiest people befriend! Now on to the the review... During our brief weekend together, Melissa and I didn't get a chance discuss topics beyond our common passions for crochet. WOW! I didn't know how literary she is! In her bio Melissa says that if a hook is not in her hand then a book is; and the fact that she is well-read comes shining through in this book. It includes thirty-six original crochet projects inspired by all six classic Jane Austen novels. Traditional Regency fashion is fabulously brought up to date and made wearable for today. Introductions to each chapter set the scene by including vignettes from the novels that inspired the pattern. With a barrage of new crochet books coming out almost monthly, the extraordinary juxtaposition between "then and now" sets this book apart from all the others. It is refreshing to find extra surprises within the pages of Austentatious Crochet that are not found anywhere else: the stories, a recipe for tea, trivia quizzes and fashion-related quotes from Austen's letters. Exquisite photography and lovely art throughout the book, literally transport you to Jane Austen's era. There is a wide variety of original crochet patterns, ranging from quick and easy to more advanced, and including a nice range of ages as well. This time I feel like I am getting a super bargain for the reasonable price of $16.00 for this book which is packed full of crochet and so much more. Congratulations on your first book, Melissa, you outdid yourself. I am already looking forward to your next book!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crochet Can Be Distracting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 Early one morning last week, I was dressed and ready to go out, dressed in crochet, but wanted to get the crock pot going with arroz con pollo to simmer all day. Suddenly, I realized I was missing one ingredient: a can of diced tomatoes! The chicken and all the seasonings were in the pot and I had no other choice than to run out to the grocery to buy the can of tomatoes. No problem, I thought; I will turn it on low and be back within 20 minutes. It will hardly be heated up by then and I'll just throw the tomatoes on top. I created "Americana Jacket" in probably 1997 and published the instructions to make it in February 1999 in Arts & Crafts Magazine.
(The crock pot story will continue). I don't know if that magazine still exists and I consider the jacket a bit tattered by now, but I do enjoy wearing it, especially in the fall. Denim is timeless and well, it has crocheted sleeves. I was just about keeping on schedule until I got in the check-out lane. The lady behind me admired my jacket; recognized it as crochet and just didn't stop talking about how wonderful the yarns and colors are and how great it is that it is crocheted and how did I do it? I still remember to this day where the inspiration came from. It was a knit version of a similar jacket hanging in a yarn store (which no longer exists either) That was probably 1988, By now the check-out clerk has joined in the conversation and is telling us how much she admires crochet and would love to have time to do it. It was a wonderful feeling to have such a friendly conversation during what would normally be a drudgery of a trip to the grocery. I made it home, not in 20 minutes, but before the chicken scorched! Tomtoes on top and I was off! Those comments and compliments I heard at the grocery were not the last I heard that day. It seems that my jacket was quite a hit all over town, no matter where I went. Hmmm, is it the denim or the crochet that is timeless or is it all the texture and combination of colors that draw attention. By the time I reached home I was tired and ready for a break from so much attention, but it was also quite satisfying to think that something I enjoyed making so much twenty years ago is still worth wearing today. Crochet buddy, Boston Bobble, and I went on a field trip to the Fine Art of Fiber. It is co-sponsored by the Embroiderers, Weavers and Quilters' guilds and has been an annual inspiration for many years. This year was no exception. I had finished my freeform scarf from my class with Prudence Mapstone at the Chain Link Crochet Conference in Sept. just days before. I purposely chose to wear this artful piece to this event, knowing that it would be a haven of needleworkers who can appreciate all that went into my scarf.
There was not shortage of admirers and Boston Bobble said she was going to start keeping track of the number of compliments. Thank you, Prudence, for your inspiring class! I do appreciate admiration, but it was actually starting to get to be a bit embarrasing! Boston Bobble, sweet thing that she is, said, "Don't you just love it?" I had to explain that really, I create what makes me happy, especially in the freeform arena and I don't depend on compliments. If it makes me happy, then I have accomplished what I set out too. Others' admiration is "icing on the cake" though!