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Archive for June, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things: #17 – Revisiting crochet

Like many women my age, I learned to crochet as a child.  I made a few things, but weaving has always been more attractive to me for a variety of reasons.  Some say weaving isn’t portable; however, over the years I’ve tried a couple of ways to make weaving more portable.  Two years ago I posted a write-up on my blog on how to make a weaving etui.  This was inspired by a sewing etui I own (an etui is a small case designed to be portable with items inside.)  You can find it at the following link: https://spadystudios.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/for-the-weaver-on-the-go-create-a-weaving-etui/.  I also have a one-page article in the current issue of Handwoven on making a portable marudai from an empty half-gallon of milk and a CD for doing kumihimo, a Japanese braiding technique.  It has a handle and can easily be carried from place-to-place.

What I really like about crochet is its portability.  Like knitting and tatting, it costs very little to get started and I can easily carry it around with me.  Plus, crochet hooks don’t seem to attract the attention of the TSA folks at airports like knitting needles sometimes do.

Recently, I’ve noticed a resurgence in interest in crochet.  Perhaps it helped when Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore a crocheted sweater last year.

Like many people, I have some vintage lace.  In fact, I have a couple of trunks of it . . . much of it was crocheted.  I come across it frequently at thrift stores and antique malls.  Every time I see a piece, I wonder about the person that took the time to make it.  I think of different ways to use this lace in garments or accessories.  For a new-to-me twist, I recently came across a couple of pictures of people using lace trim and doilies in unique ways . . . like a wedding dress  http://giacanali.com/blog/2010/05/jillian-daxs-romantic-handmade-everything-california-mountain-elopement/

Or to create new lighting treatments http://www.lightsandlights.com/2-diy-lace-lighting-projects-a-doily-lamp-and-ceiling-lights/

I love the heirloom quality introduced with these items and think these were clever ways to use crocheted doilies that may be tucked away in boxes and drawers.

I recently dusted off my crochet hooks and books.  If you’re interested in learning about crochet or refreshing your skills, there are some good resources a click away.  Below are just a few you may find interesting and helpful.

Learn to Crochet – a 46-page PDF that covers getting started, basic and fancy crochet stitches, and more http://www.learnhowtocrochet.net/LearnToCrochet.pdf

19 free ebooks (Yes, 19!) on Interweave’s Crochet Me website – http://www.crochetme.com/content/Free-eBooks.aspx

Bernat Mosaic free ebook – http://www.bernat.com/ebook/mosaic/#/0

11 free ebooks on crochet – http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979167204

I’m looking forward to see how the resurgence in crocheting will inspire us beyond the granny square.  Enjoy!

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These are a few of my favorite things: #16 – Florence House’s “Notes on Weaving Techniques”

I love flipping through older weaving publications . . . especially when I consider how much work went into formatting just a single page before the speed and efficiency of computers.  These publications often become part of the legacies they leave to share with us. My latest favorite thing is just such a publication . . . Florence House’s Notes on Weaving Techniques.

Many years ago, I came across this publication through a member in my guild.  My copy is a sixth revision . . . it was published in May 1949 and priced at $3.50.  But, not long ago, I learned an edited version was available on-line . . . this is the ninth revision and published in 1964 . . . and the price had increased to $6.00.

I don’t know very much about Florence House; however, according to the acknowledgments in the front of this edition, she worked out most of the weaves under Berta Frey, who’s studio was in Woodstock, NY . . . long before the likes of performers like Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix entertained the masses in 1969.

What’s in it?  Well, a lot of things . . . I think that’s why I like it so much.  There are a multitude of loom-controlled topics introduced . . . from twill to M’s & O’s . . . to Bronson lace and crackle.  In addition, there are weaver-manipulated techniques, such as open or lace weaves and tapestry techniques briefly covered.  The information presented is not in tremendous detail, but it’s as though it’s a nice tasting menu.  But what I find endearing are the pattern motifs that were painstakingly sketched on graph paper.

Below are a few images from this publication . . .

Bronson Lace

A couple of the tapestry weft techniques

Just a few of the pattern motifs

I think many weavers would find more than a few things of interest . . . it’s certainly worthy of a small amount of time to check out.  You can find it by clicking on the following link  http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/hfe_weav_1.pdf

Enjoy!

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