Monday, March 28, 2011

Some interesting sites and blogs and stuff

I have been looking at crochet lately - yes, you guessed it: thanks to Teva Durham's book and all the enthusiastic knitters who act as if she just invented the whole thing...

Chain Creative

I found Wool and Tea. It has been inactive for 3 years, and I just found it :-(

Loulou and Oscar

they came, they saw, they crocheted...


I found out that March is the Crochet Month. I remember posting something crochet related last March... (or was it earlier? Yes, 2009) And I'm a bit sad that I forgot it this year.

Crochet Liberation Front and  Crochet Uncut


I am having a discussion about the status of crochet, and mentioned that I know the names of several knit designers but only one crochet designer (Patricia Kristoffersen), so I decided to change this.

I have already mentioned
Maria Gullberg,
Danielle Kassner,
Mandy Moore
Mary Jane Hall
Doris Chan
Jane Snedden Peever and
Kathy Merrick

Now I'm going to mention
Linda Perman
Kristin Omdahl
Robyn Chachula
Michelle Ryan
Priscilla Hewitt
Carol Ventura
Shelby Allaho
Dora Ohrenstein
Maureen Basher
Ellen Gormley
Tracie Barrett

What I've been doing


Yarn: I used some acrylic yarn in worsted weight I had in my closet, but I'd like something else. Something that doesn't itch ;-) (not that acrylic itches, but...) (I used 1 1/2 skeins. I think there's 50 grams in each.) (And, yes, I know, the color doesn't fit me at all, and I am sick.)
Hook: I used 3 mm, and it was too small. I can't find my #4. You use bigger hook.
stitches used: chain stitch, single crochet and double crochet (US)

You are going to need also 4 buttons and a tapestry needle.

Row 1: ch30 (I think that's a bit too little, but I haven't tried this with a bigger hook, so perhaps 30 is enough)
Row 2-4: ch3 (to replace first dc), and dc to every ch in previous row (30 st)
Row 5-6: ch3 (to replace first dc), 9 dc, *ch1 dc10 in previous dc's* twice (32 st)
Row 7: ch3 (to replace first dc), 9 dc, *ch2 dc10 in previous dc's* twice (34 st)
Row 8: ch3 (to replace first dc), 9 dc, *ch3 dc10 in previous dc's* twice (36 st)
Row 9: ch3 (to replace first dc), 9 dc, *ch5 dc10 in previous dc's* twice (40 st)


Continue the same way until your cowl is long enough to reach around your head. (I crocheted 41 rows more like this.)
After that repeat rows 8-2 in opposite order.
Last row (button holes): sc1, ch3, *skip 3 ch, 5sc in next dc's, ch3* (repeat 2 times), sc1, finish off.
Weave in ends and sew on buttons.

Long scarf

Yarn: I used some old sock yarn (light, sport weight, DK) I had in my closet, to make the first swatch.
Hook: I used 3 mm.
stitches used: chain stitch, slip stitch and double crochet (US)

Make a long chain of chain stitches, as long as you want your scarf to be.
See that the amount of stitches is dividable by 14 +7
Crochet three ch to replace the first dc, then 5 dc's, then 2 ch and slip stitch to replace the last dc. Then you crochet 7 slip stitches.
Repeat this the whole length of the chain. You should start and end with 7 dc's.
Now copy it to the other side of the chain.

You will be making as many of these strips as you think are needed for your scarf, but fasten them as you crochet, with slip stitch by the corners of the dc parts.


Yarn: I only made a mock miniature, and used cotton thread #10 doubled. I'd use some light weight cotton, linen or similar for the normal size version.

Hook: I used 3 mm
stitches used: chain stitch and single crochet.

Measure your waist. Divide that in two.
Measure how long you want your skirt to be.
Now, ch a chain as long as the length of skirt, and start crocheting in sc's. Take only up the back of the stitch on the previous row.
Decide which side is up and which is down. Don't make the beginning ch in the "up" side, and crochet two sc's in the last stitch of the previous row in the "down" side, to get the piece in an angle.
When you have crocheted as long a piece as your waist measurement divided by two, start the decreases. At every row, you'll be decreasing 10 stitches. You do that by turning 10 stitches from the "up" side. This will give you a little sway on the skirt.
Make two identical pieces, and sew them together; the straight edge to the decrease edge. You can also crochet them together, which I recommend. Start the second half from the decrease edge of the first half.

Sc fabric is elastic, so you shouldn't have any problems with getting and keeping the skirt on, but you can add a waistband to be sure, or crochet a couple of rounds sc's from the waistline to make a prettier and more finished edge. You might then need to leave a small opening in the "up" side of the side seam, to be able to wear the skirt.

You can also choose to make the skirt about 10-15 cm shorter than you want, and then add a sc border on the "down" edge of the skirt. It will give a nice structural effect.


I am aware that I stink when it comes to writing patterns. I'm not even sure if it is possible to crochet something following these, or what the results might be, but how ever stinky, these are patterns I have written for my designs (how ever unoriginal and boring).

Generic scarf pattern:

1. find a stitch pattern you like. Make a swatch to see how it acts, and make notes of how many edge stitches you need to add to make the pattern complete.

<< Like here - you will need *6* + 3 + 2
6 is what you need for one pattern, 3 to make the pattern row symmetric, and 2 for edges.

2. you'll need some 200-300 yards/meters of yarn, which ever thickness you use. That's about 1 1/2 balls of normal light/sport/sockyarn thickness most scarves are knit/crocheted and knitting needles/hook in size 3-4mm
3. you start with about 25-35 stitches, depending on how wide you want your scarf. This number depends on the stitch you have chosen. It must be dividable with the number of stitches needed for the stitch pattern, + all the edge stitches if you need/want any.
If knit, you'll cast on the amount of stitches needed, if crocheted, you'll crochet a chain of chain stitches, and then you just follow the stitch pattern until your scarf is long enough.(In the sample stitch, you need to crochet 4 x *6* + 3 + 2 = 29 ch, and you need to finish it on the row 6.)

Finish off, weave in the ends and that's it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

book review: Teva Durham; Loop-d-loop Crochet

A couple of years ago Teva Durham published her crochet book. I was excited to see it, because I kind of like Teva Durham's desings. I have her first book, and I was expecting more of the same, this time using the wonderful possibilities of crochet.

I was sorely disappointed. I couldn't understand what had happened. Then I read the introduction.

Teva speaks about her grandmothers and mentions researching crochet patterns...
I suppose that's the problem then. She has learned to see knitting as just a tool, but she doesn't know enough crochet to understand the possibilities.

It becomes painfully obvious as I read on the introduction.
"the lacy stitches lending themselves to a vintage feel", "crochet possesses an air of domesticity"... "looking at doilies, gloves and tablecloths for inspiration..." Oh my.
Does she look at knitted doilies, gloves and tablecloths for inspiration for her knitted items? I strongly doubt that.
There is an ocean of crochet techniques created to produce material suitable for bags, sweaters and rugs, decades and dozens of cultures using crochet to produce things, but for some reason she didn't find that interesting enough to "inspire" her...

Perhaps the antimacassar she was referring to looked a bit like this?
"I confess that for a long time, I was a knit snob who viewed crochet as a lesser craft, the poor stepsister to knitting".
Yeah... it shows, Teva.

"I needed enough facility to my crochet designs to possess the same character as my knit designs - not to imitate my knitted fabric, but to exhibit the same signature qualities."

Oh. Now, THAT doesn't show. I suppose she is too afraid of "imitating her knitted fabric", then. Pity.
Medallion cardigan from Loop-d-loop Crochet
"I have somewhat "ouside-the-box" approach to design... takes old-fashioned techniques and styles out of context and into the hip-hop age."
I couldn't help but laugh when I read this... Hubris, much?
Sure Teva is a talented and unique designer, thinks differently from most, and finds interesting and new solutions, but so does most designers.
Solomon knot flower shawl from Loop-d-loop Crochet
"After exploring crochet in depth, I have an equal love and respect for it and knitting. Some of my knit-blogging friends will have fits of the vapors upon reading this. Yet, still more are simultaneously joining the crochet cognozcenti in droves. I hope my perspective will be enjoyed by knitters who are delving into crochet as well as by crafters for whom crochet is their forte".
I'm sorry, but that sounds like egocentric, sanctimonious crap to me.
(And why not say "crocheters" instead of "crafters for whom crochet is their forte", as she repeatedly says "knitters"?)
Knotwork Socks from Loop-d-loop Crochet
I think about Maria Gullberg, who published a book "Time to Crochet" (tid att virka) 1998. She studied crochet also with the purpose of renewing the technique and bringing it to date with the rest of the world. She went to grandmother's grandmother and created lovely, modern patterns.

I could continue to amigurumis, but that's a bit different. Nevertheless, amigurumi crocheting has lead dozens of crafters into free crochet, which in itself is a wonderful, inspiring and modern artform.

I think about Danielle Kassner, who also went further back in history to find inspiration, and brought with her very nice modern designs. Now, Danielle designs colorwork which Teva doesn't much do.

I think of Nicky Epstein and her Medallion Medley and Temair Throw...
Now THAT is "your grandmother's crochet" taken into hip-hop age! It blew me away when I first saw it, and it STILL impresses me. Nicky's "Crocheting over the edge" was published 2008, a year after Teva's crochet book, but these two books are close enough each other in time so that we can safely say that when Teva was working with the models for her book, Nicky was working with her models...

I like Mandy Moore's hoodie vest (2009), Mary Jane Hall's cap sleeve top (2008), Doris Chan's Lace bolero (2010), Annie Modesitt's pretty pleats skirt (2009)... simple enough designs, and every one much more modern, "out-of-the-box" and inspiring than anything Teva published in her book...
Her "medallion cardigan" is right out SCARY!

I think of Jane Snedden Peever's crocheted aran sweaters, and the Cathy Merrick, mother of Babette (2006) and Boteh scarf...

If Teva Durham did something like THAT, THEN she might be able to utter the last words of her introduction. The truth is that when she wrote the book, she was still a beginner, and had no "perspective" to talk about. I haven't seen much development since then. Drops has better crochet patterns than Teva Durham does.

Nevertheless, some people disagree strongly with me, so look for yourself. (Interestingly enough, she's a knitter, not a crocheter, so what does she know?)
(And I have to admit that she did manage to get in a little nice details, like the back of Lazy Wheels Coat, or the angle on the hip-slung belt.

P.S: Look what Burberry Prorsum did:
Crocheted trenchcoat! LOVE!!!

P.P.S "You shouldn't be so quick to judge!" said someone, after reading the review.

I sat down and designed a collection I would have wanted to see.
I copied her quite heavily, after all, my intention was to see what I could expect of her. If *I* can do it - and who am I? - then she most certainly should be able to, at least as well as I did.
I wanted to see how disappointed I have the "right" to be. (Naturally, I have right to be as disappointed as I am, but I might be unfair to her.)

I managed to "design" 48 pieces in two hours. I'm pretty sure that if I had her assets, I'd be able to get the pieces into publishable form within a couple of months.

I assume Teva Durham is in "design mood" more than I am, after all, she lives on this, I don't. Also, she "copies" herself as much as I do, in fact, she does it automatically, as ANYTHING she does is hers.
Naturally, I think I know a bit more on crochet than she does. It shouldn't be that way, as by publishing a book of crochet designs she has opened herself up to being judged with the best of crochet designers. No-one forced her to publish anything.

So, I did that and now I'm even more disappointed AND slightly disdainful.

She published the book too early. She should have crocheted more, and she should definitely have looked at CONTEMPORARY design as she was trying to renew crochet, and not to what her grandmothers did in last century.

Am I being too harsh? After all, she's not as experienced in crochet as in knitting, and haven't done that much yet...
She acts as if she was just as good with crochet as she is with knitting, and she is not.
She waltzes in and claims to be a new wind in crochet, and she's not.
Perhaps she will be, in some 10 or 20 years, but this book is a great disappointment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm still alive!

Some Easter/Ostara picks from Etsy, Folksy, DaWanda and ArtFire:

I really like this painted tote :-)

and these "primitive grungy" eggs are nice too :-)

I'd love JuneinBerlin's easter card. I'd frame it and put on the wall :-)

 I love the mischievous faces of Coccinelfe's easter fairies :-)

 Renna's paper ornaments are nicely sober and classic compared to the previous silliness :-)
But that little bunny is still quite silly :-D

back to silly things :-D
I just love these bunny heads on a stick!
I want all of them!

I think this shoulder bag is lovely.
I love how "Bizmo" used the bunny gobelin.

He's got the googly eye look of the stick heads...
I like this soft sculpture :-)

 Hare's Egg... very nice :-)

So cute and vintage-y! Pink cotton bunny :-)

sweet cotton bunny in a paper easter egg...