So, I pushed through tonight and finished the sweater… well, the crocheting part anyway. I’ve still got to weave in ends, block, and add buttons. But the hard work is done! Phew!
Seems like an oxymoron to a lot of people, myself included at times. It’s rough for me to reconcile how exceptionally cool knit patterns often are with how uncool most crochet patterns are.
Luckily for me and many other crocheters out there crochet is having quite the resurgence and the designers out there are upping the ante.
I’d like to share some things that are on my queue or favorites list at Ravelry… to fill in the gaps in me actually not working on many projects right now.
Designer: Bernadette Ambergen
Pattern: Asymmetrical Capelet
This one actually looks pretty simple to make and it’s so pretty and feminine but modern at the same time. It would be an extra special touch for a crafty bride… I bet it would be no problem at all to dress it up with a shiny or metallic yarn and bead and a beautiful broach instead of a button.
The pattern is $5.00 or buy one already made from the designer’s Etsy store.
Designer: Elena Malo
Pattern: Layering Cardi
This pattern was featured in the Jan/Feb 2009 Crochet Today! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out how to lay hands on back issues of this mag… so if anyone knows how, please leave me a note. I’m really interested in taking a crack at this one.
While I was cruising the project profiles for this cardi, I noticed that a few people made it with long sleeves or put more buttons on the yoke. Either way it’s a cool looking sweater and a big step up from Big Bow.
Designer: Madame Cam
This is one of the coolest sweaters I’ve seen in a crochet pattern; it’s modern, edgy and retro-cool at the same time. This sweater was designed by a teenager (!) who is only really designing stuff for herself but it was too cool not to share in this post about cool crochet. She’s on Ravelry under madamecam and her Urban Armor design is killer. I think it would look better in a solid or better yet a tone on tone (say black velvet and silk) but the bones of an awesome freaking design are there. This young lady give me hope that crochet really can be as killer cool as knitting always seems to be. She could be crochet’s answer to a knitwear design giant like Wenlan Chia.
I hope that more designer’s come up with some really edgy, modern stuff for us crocheter’s because doily sweaters are not it.
This month is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel during the thirty days of November. You write roughly 1,667 words a day to stay on goal.
I am participating again as I have every year for the past couple of years. Because of that I probably won’t be posting a lot of stuff on crocheting or other yarn related things. I am still giving my Mom’s sweater a go. Nearly finished too… Only the left sleeve to be done. I’ll get to that this weekend.
In the meantime… if there is anyone out there actually reading my blog (I have deep moments of doubt about that!) the reason I’m so terribly inconsistent of late is that I’m NaNo-ing.
Happy writing to those who are doing the do. Happy crocheting, knitting, felting, or weaving to the rest!
I mentioned before that I’m making a Big Bow Cardigan for my Mom, at her request. I did some work on it last night, finishing the front and starting on the back and the left front. It’s looking good! I should have it done by the time she gets here to meet Gabe. Still need to shop for buttons though!
I’m watching the Hawks/Dallas game now… more about Big Bow later.
In a two weeks I’m going down to Portland to pick up a used sewing machine from my aunt. I’m really excited! It’s been a while since I sewed anything, however, so I bought myself a book so that I can re-teach myself the basics. It’s called S.E.W – Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide by Diana Rupp.
I’ve read the first few chapters, which cover things like assembling a sewing kit, choosing a machine, setting up a sewing area and other helpful tips. The book is written in a very down to earth style and the author’s passion for sewing definitely shines through. Included in the front of the book are 10 patterns for you to sew, with instructions for them in the body of the book. I haven’t got that far yet but I’m going to guess that the patterns cover a lot of common sewing techniques so that you can get the hang of doing things like sewing hems, putting in buttonholes, sewing curves, adding lining or interfacing and that kind of thing.
The whole book is colorful, easy to read and full of lots of color pictures and easy to understand diagrams that fill out the text in a way that a lot of books on crafts that I’ve come across recently does not. It really is a step-by-step guide! I’m so looking forward to following along.
Even more I’m looking forward to honing my sewing skills so that I can enhance my crochet projects. In the meantime, while I wait to go pick up my new sewing machine (squeeeeeeeeee!), I’m going to keep reading and working on that sweater for my Mom… she’s showing up to see my new nephew. I’m making her the Big Bow Cardigan for her in Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s Wool. It’s going well. Much better in fact than when I attempted it before. I highly recommend Julia Vaconsin’s sweater as a beginner sweater project. It’s so simple, it’s all single crochet and it’s fast to make up. I adore her designs. She makes both crochet and knit designs, so she’s a good choice for knitter’s too! Anyway, when I finish it, I’m going take the whole sweater to JoAnn’s with me so I can pick out some cool wood buttons. I saw some there that are two toned wood that has a swirling inlay design that I think my Mom will like.
In other news, I found this very cool blog by a Finnish fashionista whose main interest is recycled clothing. Her focus is high fashion and she shares some really amazing design and cool tutorials, designs/designers, and inspirations. I added her blog to the news feed on homepage and I read every single new post. Check her out! Since I stumbled on this I’m really interested in recycled fashion and have spent a good amount of time looking for books and tutorials to use once I’ve mastered my sewing basics. Some of the more interesting looking books I found include:
Annika Sanders & Kerry Seager
I came across this one on OutsaPop. They take old clothes and turn them into some of the coolest retreads I’ve ever seen. Check out this Trouser Shirt tutorial. Unfortunately, in the US it’s import only.
I still have yet to lay hands on this book… but I’ve seen some photos from inside it online and the projects look really fun and inspirational. The design style is definitely less edgy than Junky Styling’s but they seem fun and on trend. I can’t wait to see it!
Born Again Vintage
Bridgett Artisse & Jen Karetnick
There are some really yummy reconstructions in this book from what I can see. I’m waiting for a copy that I have on hold to come to me from the library. But the pics I’ve seen online are really getting the the creative juices flowing. So I can’t wait to see all of the projects from this.
Ultimately, I’d like to be able to combine crochet and sewing together to create some unique items… take my crochet up a notch. I’m really looking forward to ramping up to sewing, finishing up the cardi for my mom, and (bonus!) taking that little weekend trip to Portland. Hopefully, I get to go to Powell’s… again!
In the days leading up to Seattle YarnThings first meeting, I’m working steadily on my cardi and hoping that it comes out resembling something close to designer Julia Vaconsin’s original idea. So far, so good. And the amount of yarn I have is looking pretty fabulous… I don’t think I’m going to run out before I’m finished like I thought I was.
So, now that Big Bow Cardigan is going so well, I’m looking toward my next project already. I’m still enamored of making clothing, which means I’ll probably make another sweater but I also looking at possibly doing a skirt or coat next.
It’s kind of a hard decision but those are my top two picks for my next project. In the meantime, I’m continuing on my Big Bow Cardigan and it’s going really well. It’s amazing how calm and peaceful I feel after even a few minutes working on it. It’s nice to have a creative outlet back in my life again.
The good thing about taking a break from something is usually that you gain some much needed perspective.
On an non-craft side note: I saw Twilight yesterday with my friend Jen. Ultimately, I was disappointed in the quality of the film (I think they traded characterization for schlocky sensationalism, some of the casting was questionable, the make up was horrible, etc.) but I’m glad I saw it. It makes me appreciate how well Stephanie Meyer created her characters. I think I’ll just stick with the books and be content with her writing and not getting caught up in all the hype surrounding the movies. Though, (and this is my last comment about Twilight this post…) I’m a little more confident in Chris Weitz’s ability to pull off something approaching quality than Catherine Hardwicke did.
But enough about that!
The good news is that all that escapism had the effect of totally calming me down about Big Bow, and now I can continue without tearing out my hair out. I got my gauge under control and I’m continuing on with a little more patience than I did when I began. I forget to cut myself some slack sometimes… I mean, I haven’t crocheted for a while and it’s going to take a bit before I can actually really get back into the swing of it!
In the meantime, there is no better way to fill the hours than with a good craft project or a good book. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity, and frequently, to do both.
Oy. Do you ever get that feeling you’ve gotten in way over your head but you’ve committed yourself to a course of action and to pull out now would be worse than starting all over?
Oh, I am so there!
I started working on the Big Bow Cardigan… which only days ago I was so excited about. Now, not so much. It’s a simple, easy pattern… so why do I want to tear my hair out six rows in? Why does the prospect of following through on an apparel sized project make me want go find the razorblades that I know must be lurking somewhere in the medicine cabinet?
As a wise young actor once said, “I can’t know.”
Is it that, as a returning crafter, I’m insecure about my ability to achieve gauge? Is it that I don’t want to show up to YarnThings with a hot mess on my hands? Or maybe, just maybe, my eyes were bigger than my crochet hook?
I’m freakin’ and Beacon doesn’t handle this… so, I’m going to give the Big Bow a break, read about Edward Cullen and Bella Swan for a couple of hours, have a little mini prayerfest, and get some sleep.