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Showing posts from August, 2013

Book Review: Crochet At Home by Brett Bara

Crochet At Home: 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living

by Brett Bara
As the title implies, this new book is geared toward using colorful crochet for home décor and other objects that make living a pleasure such as switchable "Seasons Wreath" or "Tiered Tea Cozy".
Brett Bara, a new York-based author, television host, blogger and designer, specializing in crafts, has gathered together some important names in the crochet design field to contribute to the book. Color expert, Kathy Merrick, offers up a blanket with motif after motif in stunning color. Fashion maven, Mari Lynn Patrick taps into the traditional filet technique to create a lovely blanket. Architect, Robyn Chachula who just had a baby must have been thinking of her own as she designed "Pinwheel Baby Blanket". Doris Chan, known for her “exploding motif” fashions, diverged a bit to provide the “Racy Pink Runner.”
Bara’s curated collection includes twenty-five projects divided into items for the kitchen…

The Case for Crochet: Why it is More than a Hobby

I hesitate to place the “hobby” of crochet on a continuum with the many other crochet niches such as teaching, design and production where it would fall at the bottom with crochet art at the top. It is not my intention to discriminate against crochet hobbyists. In fact, hobbyists are indeed the backbone of this craft genre.
For anyone who has even given thought to the illustrious history of crochet in Ireland, the concept of crochet as the tool that contributed to saving a nation from starvation is poignant and memorable story.  Working in unspeakable conditions by candlelight sometimes resulted in the workers losing eyesight! Crocheters developed fine skills which contributed to the production of exquisite crocheted laces sought after by the wealthy classes. Crochet became a business and a successful one at that. People were taught to crochet and urged to teach another in order to save the nation from starvation during the Potato Famine from 1845 to 1851.
I am continually reminded o…

Guest Blogger: Marie Segares - Vintage Crochet Art

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I'm pleased to announce my guest blogger for this week, Marie Segares whose blog is The Underground Crafter. I first got to know Marie when she asked to interview me for her blog posted on July 14, 2011 which is Bastille Day and also happens to be my daughter's birthday!

Besides our love of crochet, Marie and I have a love of collecting vintage books and patterns in common. Please enjoy her survey via her favorite books through the 1960s to the 1980s in search of artful design inspiration.

I’m an avid collector of crochet books.  While contemporary books can’t be beat for crispy color photos, I find that books from the late 1960s to early 1980s tend to provide the most information about design and exploration with crochet fabric.  Even the wearables and home décor projects were often so creatively designed that they were more artistic than functional. If you like vintage crochet books, you may want to check out my occasional blog series, VintageNeedlec…

A History of Crochet, Part 2

1945-60 - “Well-Scrubbed Boys & Girls”-
With the return of the soldiers, priorities revolved around making up for lost time and fixing up the nest.  America settled into domesticity.  By the 1950’s, wholesome families were being raised in suburbia and stay-at-home moms formed sewing circles and gathered together to create friendship quilts.  Crochet was found in crafters’ totes everywhere.
Projects reflected the range of creativity from sequin snowflake tree skirts to ripple afghans.  “Aprons:  Icons of the American Home” is a retrospective exhibit that toured American museums through 2002.  “While these bow-in-the back aprons aren’t likely to return as a fashion statement, they are coming back, this time as collectibles.  As they disappear, so does an era’s worth of memories.  Aprons that wiped sweat off foreheads in steamy kitchens, dusted furniture, doubled as hot pads, and held peas from the garden when the bottom was pulled up.  Aprons remind us of mothers, grandmothers and our…

A History of Crochet, Part 1

The word crochet is derived from the French word, croche, meaning hook.  Early on it was almost entirely a convent art, classified as nun’s work.  The exact origin and date of crochet is in great doubt.  Some believe it goes back to before the time of Christ, but there is no record of this form of needle art before the 1800’s and it was not until the 1840’s that written instructions were published.

Archeologists believe the Israelites were familiar with crochet during the time of Solomon, before the first millennium BC when they left Egypt.  Heinz Edgar Kiewe, in his book titled The Sacred History of Knitting, concluded that crochet hooks were probably implements of that time. He refers to the story of one of Jesus’ followers, Akida Ben Joseph who was said to have used a crochet hook so that he might spend his time as a shepherd more usefully.
Crochet has been handed down from generation to generation through family and friends without written patterns.  It was very common to work direc…

Book Review: Blueprint Crochet Sweaters by Robyn Chachula

Monday, August 19, 2013
Blueprint Crochet Sweaters Techniques for Custom Construction by Robyn Chachula

Wunderkind designer, Robyn Chachula, works as an architect, has babies and designs architecturally-inspired best-selling fashions! Her newest offering in the “Blueprint” brand is Blueprint Crochet Sweaters just published by Interweave. 
Because of her background as a structural engineer, Robyn has the ability to take big projects and break them in little chunks that anyone can understand. Her book will become the go-to guide for anyone who has ever been frustrated by less than pleasing results when crocheting garments. It is also a fantastic reference for wannabe fashion crochet designers, as well as a for seasoned professionals.
A one-of-a-kind, Blueprint Crochet Sweaters provides an approachable introduction to the topic giving readers a deeper understanding of crochet design, and helping them to make better-fitting garments in the process. Robyn’s purpose is to show the reader the va…

Book Review: The Crocheter's Companion by Nancy Brown-revised and updated!

Thursday, August 15, 2013
The Crocheter’s Companion by Nancy Brown

Even though she is making a “comeback” with the updated and revised version of her best-selling how-to-crochet book, The Crocheter’s Companion, my friend Nancy Brown never went away! She has been a staple in the world of crochet for well over forty years. Nancy’s contributions to the image and popularity of crochet are endless. Before it was politically correct, Nancy was touting the advantages and delight of crochet in local yarn stores across her vast territory as a manufacturer’s rep for various lines of yarn. In groups and one student at a time, she has taught thousands to crochet. A long-time member of the Crochet Guild of America, Nancy served as President of the organization in addition to volunteering in many capacities.
With impeccable illustrations, an easy-to-understand format, and the most updated information available, this revised edition will soon become the only resource crocheters will ever need. Revised …

Craft vs. Fine Art: How is Crochet Blurring the Lines

I was awakening to the world of crochet in 1972,a time of immense artistic expression through fiber arts; and crochet was not the “ugly stepchild” at the time. In fact, Ferne Cone Gellar who I admire as a successful fiber artist said in “Knitting: The Stepchild of the Fiber Arts?” (Fibercraft Newsletter 1978), “Has knitting been slighted among the areas of the fiber arts? The very word ‘knitting’ evokes images of the little old lady in tennis shoes. Over the years, I’ve learned to ignore all those jokes.” Cone Gellar went on to publish Crazy Crocheting in 1981 and encouraged her readers to create more than bedspreads, providing ideas such as “things to play with or to display on a shelf or hang on a wall.” A photo of single crochet from bread wrappers served as inspiration. 

In 1972 in her book, Creating Art from Fibers & Fabrics, Dona Meilach wrote:
“Why are fibers and fabrics becoming increasingly appealing to artists? Most artists agree that because the materials are so varied, t…

"Brain Color Hooker" gives me a shoutout!

August 2, 2013
Thanks to my new friend, Sheila Glazov for the shout-out and for her great article which ties crochet to her brain color theories. She is one fantastic and brilliant woman, and I so love it that she has a new found excitement for crochet which is bordering on passion!