Skip to main content

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, VintageNeedlecrafts Pick of the Week.

Written in 1973, Crochet and Creative Design by Annette Feldman is an interesting design primer.  Compared to contemporary texts, it is long on explanation and short on illustration.  If you are new to crochet design and can get your hands on a copy of this book, you will definitely learn a lot about how crochet fabric can be created and manipulated. This book also has some great ideas for stitch patterns and join-as-you-go strategies.  I especially love these circular motifs.

Anne Halliday’s 1975 book, Decorating with Crochet, appears to be a straightforward home décor pattern book.  But it actually stretches the boundaries to share some funky crochet wall art alongside granny square blankets and other crochet classics.  This framed piece of 3D crochet wall art is really cute.

But this eagle tapestry is even more dramatic.

Design Crochet, a compilation of the work of eight nationally known crochet designers, was edited by Mark Dittrick and published in 1978.  Many of the included projects are wearable’s that aren’t the types of outfits you’d wear around the house.  Rather, they are striking statement pieces.  One of my favorites is this Fantasy Coat by Del Pitt Feldman.

Another is the Butterfly Shawl by Jacqueline Henderson.

1979’s Crochet Workshop by James Walters (scheduled for re-release in March, 2014 takes a detailed yet whimsical approach to crochet.  Walters, along with Sylvia Cosh , was a freeform crochet advocate (or revolutionary, depending on your perspective).  My favorite piece from this book is his body suit.

Crochetqueen's Note: 

I've showed that picture of James in his body suit to my daughters and to this day, they haven't gotten over the memory! I was privileged to have James Walters and Sylvia Cosh stay at my house for two nights in 1997 after the Chain Link Crochet Conference that was held in Chicago. As I cooked dinner and Sylvia and James relaxed in the living room, she crocheted a "scrumble" for me which I treasure to this day.

And my favorite illustration from this book is this one demonstrating spiraling techniques.

What’s your favorite vintage source of inspiration for crochet art?


Wow, that is a wonderful memory of James Walters and Sylvia Cosh, and what a delightful scrumble! Thanks for inviting me to be a guest blogger!

Popular posts from this blog

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

Wartime Crochet With Attitude, Part I

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 Karen Ballard and I have a mutual love of free form crochet. We met for the first time in a class taught by Prudence Mapstone of Australia at the Chain Link Crochet Conference 2011. I admire Karen's vast knowledge of needle work history and am grateful for her willingness to share with us as my guest blogger this week. Karen wearing a World War II-era knitting hat with stubby needles on top Karen's Heritage Heart,  with flowers symbolic of her heritage, is currently on tour with Prudence Mapstone's traveling "Hearts & Flowers Exhibition" in Australia and New Zealand   World War 1 Attitudes About Crochet by Karen Ballard In 2008, I coined that term, "Workbasket Campaigns" to describe the organized efforts during World War I (WWI) and World War II (WWII) coordinated through the American Red Cross {ARC} and the Navy League to create needle crafted items.  These items were mostly knitted but also sewn, qu

What is Free Form Crochet?

Monday, January 6, 2014 This topic came about from the title of my article recently in Fiber Art Now magazine.  "Crochet As Art: A Conversation with 5 Free-Form Crochet Artists." Yes, the 5 artists I wrote about, all of which are in  my book  The Fine Art of Crochet , are free-thinking when it comes to their creativity. They are free-wheeling with the hook and use unique fibers in many cases. Once you read the article, tell me what  you think? Are these artists doing free-form crochet? In order to define free-form crochet, we must look way, way back to it's origins: Irish crochet. A brief history of crochet, including the Irish method, written by Ruthie Marks is available through The Crochet Guild of America . Unfortunately, there are no images on the site. On her blog, Nancy Nehring has a beautiful montage of Irish Crochet in reference to a class she taught in 2013 at Lacis . I wrote an article in Old Time Crochet Magazine (Spring 1998), "History of Irish Croc