Monday, 30 March 2009

Time to crochet

Sorry about the pun title but the post was crying out for some sort of comment!
Lovely Aveen from angeltreats sent me an e-mail the other day about a post on design*sponge (the loveliest of the design blogs) and she wanted to pass on to us crochet fanatics. These clocks are from an Etsy designer at andfurthermore and are so quirky and useful at the same time.
The print is from dee beale and, although not a doily in the strictest sense, gives a crochet-girl pause for thought. It really puts me in mind of those beautiful sculptural doilies from Suzy_12 in my starch post last week.
The clocks are such a cool idea and would lend themselves to so many projects, both large and small. It runs nicely on from the starching ideas of last week. Isn't it funny, when you think of something then lots of ideas seem to leap to your attention? The starch post seems to be so relevant to many things I've been reading about this weekend (doily clocks being one of them) and I'll be posting about another at the end of the week.
So time marches on!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Summer of '68

Alot was happening in 1968 and not least some fine crochet!!! I've just taken delivery of yet another vintage Vogue Knitting book from Summer 1968, chock full of the most wonderful patterns and all set in around Shannon Airport in Ireland. Do not ask me why but the emphasis is Irish which means we all get to enjoy many an Irish crochet pattern. As this week is 'starch' week, I thought that it all blends together nicely.

As a little spring gift, I'm posting the motif pattern to this dress for you to adapt and experiment with - even throw in some starch. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A little starch

My jewellery projects and plans have set me thinking of different types of crochet. Wire is, of course, the obvious. Jewellery needs structure to be effective. There are other ways, however, of giving your crochet work some 'backbone' and starch is one of them. It's an area that I haven't strayed into but many others have and on Flikr there is a whole group devoted to it, Starch It! started by Inger Carina who some might remember for her starched crochet TV!!
You can really starch anything but some items lend themselves better than others and filet crochet seems to be the favoured medium. It has some pedigree as the Victorian method of crochet, filet, really blossoms with a bit of starch. It really shows off the lacey effect. Many people stick to the doily idea and I think that this crocheter, Suzy_12, that I found on Flikr really can 'do' doilies. I love these, they're so structural which is what I'm drawn to. Of course, there are many other ideas you can go with. Tea-cups for some reason are very popular. Perhaps because they work so well. Pushing the idea further along, designers have made lamps which I think are stunning.

A designer who keeps popping up in this context is Marcel Wanders and his lighting and seating ideas. Strangely I think we're coming full circle as these designs are very much in a tradition that we've explored before with Joan Vasconcelos from Portugal.

For us mere mortals, a few lessons might not go amiss and there are plenty of how-to sites to dip (without the starch!!!)into. I've selected a few but there are many forums that will help you if you do decide to get the starch pot out.

Good luck and please let me know if you've ever tried this out.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Designer interview - Steph from Hook and Scumble

Well, it's a real pleasure to have an interviewee who can really demonstrate the healing properties of crochet!!! I think we'd all agree but it's never been documented so clearly as with Steph Phillips of Hook and Scumble. It just goes to show how a love of crochet from an early age can be used as a means to recovery after a serious health event! It's also a great opportunity to read about a designer's work with wire rather than yarn.
Chain Creative Interview
Questions of creativity and inspiration

Hi Steph! Let's get the preliminaries over first! Whereabouts are you from? A small Georgian Market Town in rural Bedfordshire.

And your business details?
Blog address (if you have one)HookandScumble

Describe your various creative skills.

My mum always tells the story of me as a 4 year old discovering how to make making paper doilies as Christmas decorations ... she reports they were massed produced until at least Easter ! Consequently from a young age I dabbled in all sorts of crafts but am most at home when sewing and crocheting. However I also enjoy embroidery, patchwork and quilting, felting , designing and making jewellery , drawing , baking and gardening ( in the allotment sense i.e edible !).

When did you start to crochet and who taught you?
I was taught to crochet when I was about 8 by my mum, and became so frustrated with it did not pick my hook up again until I was 17, when I was taking my Art A-level Exam. The brief was “ interwoven” and so I went back to my mum and asked her to try again... I spent every spare moment trying crocheting with different materials – yarn, wire, plastic bags..and also went onto develop a technique for producing porcelain crochet pieces. The work gained me a place at art college.

The name of the business is interesting. What was the inspiration behind it?
Last year I became seriously unwell, and following some life saving surgery came home to find myself facing a slow and lengthy recovery. I decided that crochet was the medicine needed to help my recovery, but got tired so quickly I was unable to concentrate on reading a pattern. All I was able to do was pick up my hook and scumble ( freeform crochet). I decided that when fully recovered, this would be the name I would use to launch my work.

What influences your style and output? What are your inspirations?
I have always been fascinated with the properties of metal, and studied 3 Dimensional Design for 2 years where I focused on jewellery. I later combined this with my interest in textiles by exploring crocheting with wire – both using a more structured design approach as well as a freeform approach. I have been influenced by the work of Arline. M Fisch as well as James Walters and the late Sylvia Cosh.

What are the most important aspects of your work to you?
I think I’m most happy when I’ve finished the design process and I can start swatching, and making up samples. At this point I find it easier to see whether the finished piece will look like my original design, or whether I need to make adjustments in colour, texture or the overall look. Nothing however is ever wasted, just recycled or added to one of my journals as reference for the next time.

Which project or piece of work are you most proud of?
Hmmm, a difficult one. Recently, I’ve been putting a collection together for an exhibition at a local gallery and have been enjoying free forming with wire ...I ended up designing and crocheting a “hyperbolic” freeform brooch...which I loved so much I’ve decided to keep !

Silver plated and coloured copper wire, Hyperbolic freeform Crochet Brooch

Describe your favourite working space.
I used to have a workshop in my parents garage that my father built – but they have recently downsized and moved so I lost that work space. Most of my work now is done roving around the house trying not upset to many people with bags and trays full of various I dream of a purpose built studio where everything is light, bright, organised and at hand....but for the time being I will have to be content with my dining room table !

Silver plated Broomstick Crocheted wire , Textile , beaded “Frost Fusion” cufflett

Silver plated Hairpin lace crocheted choker with shell .

Thank you for chatting!

Love Bee

Monday, 16 March 2009

Updates and some jewellery highlights

I'm in the early process of thinking about my jewellery workshops in the summer. I want to be able to create an atmosphere of feverish creativity!!! Or just a really pleasant day in the country with some like-minded crochet addicts and some wire and beads!!!

Anyway, when you're starting on a project like this, it's a good idea to get lots of material to inspire and inform and of course the best place is with those who are talented and prolific. Immediately I thought of a couple of chaincreative's friends, Veerle at nevousinstallezpas and Yoola at Design with a crochet needle. Both designers are wonderful for the amount they tell you about their creative thoughts and for a look at what goes into the making of crochet jewellery and, in the case of Yoola, working with wire. I hope you love their work as much as I do and visit their blogs which are personal journeys with their work.

Now I can find some starting points for my thoughts for the summer workshops. They should be really inspiring!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Woven crochet

Back from a quick trip to Norfolk (the big sky of England) and fooling around on the internet I stumbled across an Australian designer who I've passed on to you before - Sarah London, who I featured as part of the granny square thread. This time was after I had been viewing some vintage patterns on ebay and a particularly good source, Patrician 1098. In amongst the many wonderful vintage Vogue magazines was one for gloves and mittens and a pattern for Norwegian woven crochet. Hmm, woven crochet? So I googled and found Sarah's flikr pages which certainly gave me a lovely jolt of colour this morning. The room positively lit up when the Wool-Eater Blanket came on the screen and you can see the pattern on her ex-blog (she's just moved to another address). Wow!
The woven crochet came to light with her picture and tutorial for a fascinating little sample which leaves so much room for adaption and is a simple as waking up on a bright morning!!! Check her tutorial for this as well.

So back to the original motivation for this, Norway. I found a beautiful example from Etsy and The High North out of Oslo. The warmth of this cosy blanket must be enhanced
by all the woven work.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Plans for the summer

This is my latest 'baby' and very exciting it is too!!! I'm very lucky in that I live in quite a pleasant part of England and it's great fun to organise the occasional crochet get-together away from the smoky city. This year is particularly interesting as I'm planning events that are specific rather than general crochet projects. I'm keen to delve further into jewellery and felting so that's it for 2009. Sorted!!! It seems that every year there is more and more interest in developing skills and I'm always happy to encourage that!!! I know that many readers of chaincreative live far from South East England but anyone out there who might be interested then get in touch!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Designer interview - Fringe

As promised in the preceding post, I am happy to introduce (but then, you might know her work already) to a very talented crochet designer whose work features extensively through the markets of the internet sphere. I know from my teaching and working experience that most crocheters love to create something wearable and Fringe is a perfect example of someone who also makes a business of her skill. I hope that hers and other designer interviews might give you the inspiration to start your own business.
The pictures I've chosen I think give a real flavour of her work on Etsy.
Your name
Fringe (aka Dennice)
Where you’re from?
San Diego, California
Blog address
Now we have the preliminaries out the way can you describe your various creative skills!
I knit, crochet, embroider, sew, and design the items I make. I love doing all kinds of creative things, but for my business it’s the previous skills I mentioned.
When did you start to crochet and who taught you?
My babysitter taught me to crochet when I was the ripe old age of 4. Her name was Lucy and she was the sweetest, gentlest woman. I remember very clearly asking her to teach me.
The name of the business is interesting. What was the inspiration behind it?
A dear friend of mine came up with the name Fringe when she and I were brainstorming for a name for my business. She thought of it because so many of my pieces have fringe on them. (I hope the picture I've chosen gives a nice visual for your name choice!)
What influences your style and output? What are your inspirations?
My inspirations are music, nature; many, many things inspire me. Ideas come to me while I’m sleeping, or driving down the road, or cooking. I can be in the middle of a conversation with someone and an idea will hit me. I always carry a pad of paper and pencil with me. Classic movies are a big influence to me as well. What are the most important aspects of your work to you? The designs themselves are important. Also, the quality of each piece. I spend a great deal of time and effort with each piece. I take pride in my work. For me, it’s very important to that I love my designs. I have a passion for them.
Which project or piece of work are you most proud of?
That is really hard for me to answer. I’m proud of all my pieces. I don’t mean that in a bragging sort of way. I mean I love all of them. They are all a piece of me. It’s been an honor for me to have one of my items chosen to represent Etsy on the Martha Stewart Show. Also, I was given the grand opportunity to be featured in Knitscene Magazine’s Fall ’08 issue. Wow!!!!
When are you most happy when you’re working?
I’m most happy during the design process and then when that design comes to fruition. There is such a sense of accomplishment. I guess I love the entire process! I’m always so thrilled too when a client writes to me to say how much she or he loves their Fringe original. It’s what makes my work so rewarding.I’d like to say thank you for your interest in my work. It’s an honor to be featured on your blog. I hope everyone who reads this will be inspired to create with their own original style.
Thank you so much, Dennice, I'm sure it will spark alot of interest in business-minded and just plan envious crocheters alike!!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Spring cover-up

I love to travel the net looking for crochet and gorgeous design and there are many of my favourites listed on your right. There is, however, one designer and blogiste who I visit alot. She has an inspirational eye for a brief window in time which she captures on camera and we have the pleasure of sharing that perfect moment. Jeanette Lunde at Fryd + design has been on my radar since the first days of chaincreative and I know many of you are keen fans too.

I wanted to draw attention to some of her recent projects as they are a nice introduction to our Designer Interview at the end of the week.

Jeanette has been doing a little featurette on Spring, which in her native Norway, is probably welcomed with open arms! Although we may not all have severe winter weather, a little shrug or shawl can be a lovely alternative on a sunny spring day. Jeanette's take on this is adorable and such delicate colour. It really inspired me to finish a capelet of mine and sort out a pattern to put in my Etsy shop.

An up-and-coming interviewee, Leila and Ben, have an adorable capelet pattern in PDF format which might set your crochet creative juices going.
Take a look at the picture and see what you think. I love it, it's almost an evening project for the snow predicted tomorrow!!

Back to Fryd + design and an idea that obviously interests Jeanette. Taking a simple, and easily obtainable, lamp frame she's decorated these and kept the design 'light' but springy. Such a simple concept but so effective.

As I said at the beginning of the post, Jeanette's collar is a nice intro for a designer who is a stalwart of Etsy and appears regularly in Poppytalk handmade markets. Dennice at Fringe is a prolific crochet maker and designer and I'm sure will be an inspiring interviewee. See her thoughts on the subject at the end of the week.