Wednesday, 31 December 2008

What chaincreative loved about 2008

So much has happened on chaincreative this year and as it draws to it's close I thought it would be fun to just take a long look back.
Great crochet blogs are such a treat to find and I found some gems. From Belgium there were our friends Karlita and Veerle with their blogs. Chaincreative travelled virtual-style to Belgium to check out their home turf and found a very inspiring buzz happening there. Veerle gave us a real insight into her technique and we count her as a real friend to this blog. The Voyages strand was so much fun to research and write and after Belgium we went to Portugal and Israel. Both countries have a long tradition of crochet and some exciting talent is out there for us to enjoy. From Portugal comes Maria with
her wonderful work on Etsy under the name kjoo. Her work is stunning and constantly changing.
Another great artist is from Israel. Yael is a designer in metal and this really allows us to see the versatility of crochet. Her work on Etsy is under the name of Yoola and we've done a great profile of her work and inspirations on the Visual Arts strand.
Well, this is just a taster of what's available for you to browse in the comfort of your home from chaincreative. A few more choices on Friday I think and then planning meetings for 2009.
Have a very wonderful beginning to this coming year and look forward to your visit in 2009.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Happy happy holidays

Wishing all the readers of chaincreative a restful and craft-filled Christmas and on into 2009. I think that next year is going to see an explosion of design and creativity as we look to our own skills to get us through any mess the others have made. When large department stores report that the sewing and knitting accessories have been the best performing sections of the season, and when Loop has been filled with clamouring customers frantically buying yarn and patterns for Christmas gifts, then I know we're onto a winner.

After Christmas I'm going to look back at some of the best and the rest of chaincreative's 2008.

Have a wonderful time!!!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Distressed or de-stressed

It's that time of year again when it seems the only option is to be rushing about trying to remember all the things you need to do that day. I love being busy but some times think it can get a bit crazeeee. Anyway, at the moment I'm listening to Frank Sinatra (don't ask but it's a Christmas number ''ll be home for Christmas'and this, his 93rd birthday!! It's pretty atmospheric), snuggled up against the frosty morning (very pretty) and writing about...felt. The pictures above are by the danish felting artist Yvonne Bavman, which makes you understand how versatile the medium is.

There's alot of talented accessory designers around and alot of their work is in felt. Last week at Loop there were quite a few customers in asking about suitable yarns to use for felting. Animal fibres are the obvious answer and the more the better. 70% pure animal fibre seems to be the accepted rule, with man-made taking some of the 'power' away from the distressing of the fibre. Machine washable also affects performance as it's been pre-shrunk.

This all got me thinking about posting about the topic so I did some research and this is the result of my findings.
Well, if one starts at the best place, the beginning, you can start with 'rovings' the base component of yarn, the unspun wool. You can buy this on Etsy and just checking out my post on Etsy yarns gives some names to choose from. Then follow these simple instructions. Of course, you're most interested in felting crochet so some further instructions might be useful!

Looking for yarn is half the fun and I won't go on at length, but I did find these rovings on Etsy that I loved for their colour palette. From Vanda Souza, these are beautifully packaged and really whet the appetite.

Once you feel confident that you know what to do and you have researched your materials then maybe some inspiration wouldn't go amiss. I love these gorgeously quirky critters from Sebold's Originals.

A pattern might be useful. Now, this is where Etsy is sooo useful. Lots and lots of patterns are available as PDFs. I'm going to zip through my faves. thebirdsandbees have lots of patterns and this mouse is so cute. little projects cater for the accessory lover, and this satchel bag fits the bill. knotsocute has loads of (cute) patterns and I love these children's slippers.

Well, is that enough to be going on with? I think so. I hope you're all busy preparing lovely gifts and enjoying the run-up to whatever holidays you may be having.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Designer Interview - Brie Read of Roman Sock

This designer interview is a real pleasure as Brie certainly says alot of home truths about the wonders of crochet and it's ability to make us feel good about ourselves and what we're making.
I love the fact that no animal is safe from her amigurumi and it illustrates that anything is possible to create with crochet. This sets me to thinking that it can be adapted to other disciplines and architecture springs to mind. In the New Year I'm hoping to take a look at this.
Anyway, here's Brie and her interview and her gallery of 'friends'. Enjoy!!!
Chain Creative Interview
Questions of creativity and inspiration

Your name: Brie Read
Name of your business: Roman Sock
Where you’re from: I am from all over! My mother is Dutch/Indonesian my father is a Londoner and I have lived in 15 different countries. I currently live in Scotland
Blog address: Roman Sock

(and don't forget your Flikr page!!!)
Describe your various creative skills: I have always loved making things and as a child I was much happier with a bag of flour (for glue) some old boxes and some aluminium foil, than any toy money could buy.
I have to thank my mum for putting up with all sorts of hideous creations! And to my dad who still wears a silk painted tie I made him.
However, I never found my niche. I loved sculpture and colour but I am not a very good painter so eventually I gave up being creative and worked on my career. That was until I found crochet.

Why do you love crochet? Because it is ultimately completely flexible, and you have the ability to create what is in your minds eye. I love the textures, shapes and dimensions you can make, but most of all the warmth of using yarn. I adore the way crochet can be completely unstructured it feels like knitting’s more daring cousin.

What is the inspiration behind the name of your website/blog? Tell us a bit about it. I called my blog Roman Sock, because a roman sock was the first thing ever crocheted. I love ancient history particularly the Romans so it just seemed to fit. Although I think it may have caused a lot of confusion as many people seem to think I am an actual person called Roman Sock.
What influences your style and output? What are your inspirations?
I try not to look at other amigurumi out there as I think it is so easy to inadvertently copy someone’s idea. Instead I like watching nature programs and often use flickr to search for cute pictures of animals. I also try to solve problems with my crochet, so if I need a bag, or a pen holder, or a yarn holder, or anything else, I try and think of a way I could make it in crochet instead of buying it.
What are the most important aspects of your work to you?
Being original, it is really important to me that I keep making things that break my own boundaries and keep people guessing. I would like people to be able to tell my work apart from other peoples.
Which project or piece of work are you most proud of?
This one is a bit of a tie, I love my meerkats but I am also very proud of my recent pass the piggies game. I like the piggy game because it really has a function, it something to be used not just to sit on a shelf collecting dust.
I like my meerkats because I feel they brought something a bit different to traditional amigurumi.

Describe the kind of customer you are appealing to.
I don’t sell my patterns because I want as many people as possible to enjoy them. One day I would love to publish a book so hopefully if people like my patterns one day they might buy the book.
When are you most happy when you’re working?
I love that instant crochetfication feeling, so I would say at the end of a small project that has turned out even better than I planned. It’s a
rare but wonderful feeling!

Thank you for chatting, Brie!

Thank you!

Love Bee
Wasn't that great!!? I know that many of you are fans of Roman Sock and have linked over to her site. I'm sure many more will after reading this.