Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crochet Edgings and Trims

I just received the book, Crochet Edgings and Trims, a new Harmony Guide, by Kate Haxell. It has 150 edgings, and lots of good ideas. I know what you're probably saying - what do you need another book for? You like to make up your own edgings and trims and stitches. And don't you have enough books? Well ----- yes, I have a lot of books. (The Crochet Dude told me I have enough books to start my own reference library). But my philosophy is that one can never have too many books. Just like one can never have too much yarn. Or too many hooks. You get the idea.
And I do use my books. I look for inspiration, ideas, older stitch patterns, different stitch patterns, different stitches. I recently found some wonderful old stitches - in some new books. But, I'm digressing. Back to this book - Crochet Edgings and Trims.

I have the old Harmony Guides (300 Crochet Stitches, and 220 More Crochet Stitches) - and still use them. But, for some reason, I like having the smaller books, with the stitches, motifs, and edgings in separate books instead of all together. The older books have a total of 44 edgings, this new book has 150. And while some, maybe all, of the 44 are repeated in the newer book, it still has many more to choose from. And lots of fresh ideas. This book is a good addition to my library.

Now, you may say - who needs all those edgings? Especially when you have your favorite ones that you use whenever you need an edging. My answer -I don't just use edgings as edgings. I look at edgings, and get ideas for other things - scarves, belts, ties, and, of course, regular stitches to incorporate into my designs. And one idea leads to another and another and another. It never ceases!

Books to me are like food - I can't live without them! I'm just glad they're not fattening! :-)

On another note - Noreen Crone-Findlay recently interviewed me for her blog. So check it out to find out more about me and my crocheting!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crochet Adorned

One of my favorite things to do is to doodle. When I was in Graphic Design, I doodled with a pencil or pen. Now that I'm in Crochet Design, I doodle in yarns and hooks. One of the ways I doodle is to take "classic" stitch patterns, and change them somehow, to make them uniquely my own. Then, of course, I incorporate them into a design. :-) Or, I just do something different with a basic stitch. Or, I look at stitch dictionaries, and get ideas from them. When I work from stitch dictionaries, I like to work from stitch diagrams and/or clear photos that show the stitch pattern straight on. (Many of the older stitch dictionaries that I have just show the photos, along with the written directions.) But I am always on the lookout for more stitch dictionaries. And even if there are only one or two new-to-me stitch patterns in the book, I must add it to my library. It's worth it to me - I teach classes on various stitches at the CGOA Conferences, and I do research in my own library. And I can come up with new, invented-by-me, stitch patterns to teach my students. So, today, I was at Barnes&Noble, and as usual, I wandered over to the Needlecraft books with my decaf Americano in hand. I really didn't expect to see anything new - I had just been there on Friday, 2 days ago, and there were no new books then. But, I looked there anyway. And, what do you know, I found a new book! Crochet Adorned, by Linda Permann. I thought, oh - just another crocheted flower book. And I almost didn't look through it. After all, I was holding on to my Americano, and couldn't find a space on the shelf to put in down. But then, I saw a space on a shelf below, so I carefully set my coffee down, and picked up the book. And looked through it. And saw it was also a stitch dictionary. And Linda had included some interesting variations on standard stitches, and on not-so standard stitches. And in the first section, where the projects are, there are more stitch patterns. All kinds of motifs, flowers, trims, they're all there. And ways to use them! Plus, the book is a good book for beginners - it has a basic instruction section. It tells you how to read a crochet pattern, what all the symbols mean, and how to read a stitch symbol diagram. I'm going to enjoy having this book in my library!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chain Link 2009

This is one of the things that has been occupying my time during the past months. Preparing for the CGOA Chain Link National Conference, held in tandem with the Knit and Crochet Show. I taught 4 classes at the Chain Link conference last week, was in charge of Professional Development Day, edited a book of patterns that the CGOA Board of Directors introduced on Saturday during the day-long Knitting Meets Crochet membership drive (more about that later), and had a day-long board meeting/strategic planning session on Monday. And, of course, I met with friends I hadn't seen for a long time. It was a busy, but fun week. And yes, it was a full 7 days.
I spotted this sign in the convention center, and took my one and only picture of the conference - with Vashti, another member of the CGOA Board of Directors, and designer extraordinaire, standing beside it.

The Knit and Crochet Show - the market place - the yarn market - whatever you want to call it, was amazing. Lots of venders, lots of different yarns to see and touch and want. I saw some Silk Sari Ribbon that I had heard about, and Jelly Yarn in a great silver color - just what I wanted.
And hooks - bamboo and wood were prevalent, but regular hooks were present too. And, after being introduced to ChiaoGoo hooks at TNNA, I was happy to see them here. They make wonderful bamboo hooks and needles. They have regular hooks for crocheting, Tunisian hooks in different lengths, circular Tunisian hooks, and cable Tunisian hooks. The hooks come in all sizes - small to large. They have an in-line shape, and when I used them on a small sample of ribbon yarn, they didn't snag the ribbon. I'm in LOVE!

One of the projects that I was feverishly working on before Chain Link was a free pattern booklet, which is now being offered to new members of CGOA. I edited this booklet of patterns, by 6 of the CGOA Board Members, and we premiered it on Saturday. It is a download - only booklet for new and renewing members only. Here is a picture of the cover, so you can see the designs included. They are by Carol Alexander, Amy Shelton, Vashti Braha, Drew Emborsky, me - Marty Miller, and Lorraine Lucas.