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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!

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