27 March 2011

Flowers

A week or two ago, the world seemed to slow down for a few moments as word went around the small crafting community in Dublin that one of our good friend's husbands had been diagnosed with a serious illness. He was to be in and out of hospital for the foreseeable future, fighting a formidable disease.

As you would expect, we all reached out with messages of love and support, but there is little else you can do when you don't live nearby and can't just drop over food and be available to dispense liberal hugs and offers of lifts. In all honesty, I felt useless. I could only imagine how they both felt.

A little while after hearing the news, we were all asked not to send Get Well flowers, as they weren't allowed in the ward room. That's when it hit me. We can't send REAL flowers, but boy, could we MAKE a bunch to liven up the room and to remind them both how much support they had behind them.

I put out the call (in secret, of course!) and was soon being inundated by blooms. There were tiny knit ones, big crochet ones, leaves, stems, roses, daffodils, carnations, a spider... The list went on and on. I even discovered that a long-time knitter had learnt to crochet just so she could add more to the bouquet. How great is that?

irish cancer society, knit flowers, crochet flowers, gift for a friend, Get Well Soon

In the end, I gathered them all together, bunched them up in some tissue and cellophane, added the card with many messages of support and love, and handed them over to another friend who was to see it safely to a FFF meet-up which was especially planned around our friend's now super-busy schedule.

It really warms my heart to see how many people answered the call, the effort everyone put into making their flowers anatomically correct (seriously... calyxes, stamens and everything!), and to know the flowers were appreciated.

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I have been told they now grace the windowsill in the hospital room and are being commented on by many.

In light of Daffodil Day being only a few days ago, I'd like anyone who has means, to please click and to give whatever they can to the Irish Cancer Society. Their work is truly invaluable.

26 March 2011

Join the Yarn Party!

Oh, yes! I'm now available for Crochet and Knitting Parties in your own home!

For a few bob, you can spend 2 gloriously fun hours with your friends, some free yarn, hooks or needles, lots of class notes and my undivided attention!

And the best bit? The hostess crafts for FREE!

Free materials,
Free tuition,
and Free notes!

See below for more info. : )


Learn knitting or crochet from an experienced, patient, published teacher/designer, who will take you and your friends through the basics, and teach you all the tricks you’ll ever need.- only €20 for 1st, 2-hour class per person, including materials;- or €15 per person for every 2-hour class thereafter.- Find 3 or more friends to share the class,  and the host learns for free!- Absolute Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Crafters welcome.

24 March 2011

A day for butterflies

As I pottered around on my plant-crammed balcony today, I spotted several, beautiful, vibrantly-coloured Red Admiral butterflies fluttering around on my hanging baskets.


Photo Credit: www.irishbutterflies.com

They must have been attracted by the last flush of petals on my mini-daffodils and they were a welcome visitor, I'll tell you.

Etain Shrug, Crochet shrug, summer crochet, Irish yarn, blue shrug, simple crochet pattern

In celebration of these tiny, pretty little visitors, I have finally gotten around to putting my Etain Shrug up on Ravelry for sale. It featured in a long-past issue of Inside Crochet, but as it's well and truly mine again, I thought now would be the opportune time to make it available.

So, if you fancy a pretty little butterfly of your own, you now can!

Etain Shrug, Crochet shrug, summer crochet, Irish yarn, blue shrug, simple crochet pattern

23 March 2011

Happy Monday - Free Crochet Pattern

Happy Monday
A free crochet pattern from Aoibhe Ni.
Find it on Ravelry here.

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Materials:
3.5mm hook, or size required to achieve tension,
1 ball Noro Silk Garden Sock (Yarn 1)
4-6 balls Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply (Yarn 2)
darning needle (for weaving in ends)

Tension:
28 tr sts = 4in/10cm
9 tr rows & 9 dc rows = 4in/10cm

Notions:
2 cute buttons, approx 1.5cm in diameter.

Pattern written for bust sizes: 32" (34"/36"/38"/40"/42"), and is written in UK stitch language. For a handy translation sheet for US stitch names, please click here.

Abreviation Key:
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
dc-blo = double crochet backloop only
tr = treble crochet
st(s) = stitch(es)


Note: Turning chains (1ch) and instances of ch1 within pattern, do not count as sts
Turning chains (2ch) counts as 1st tr st.



free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

With Yarn 1:
Make 155 (158/161/164/170/173) chain.

Row 1. 1dc into 2nd ch from hook, 154 (157/160/163/169/172) dc-blo, ch1, turn - 154/157/160/163/169/172 sts

Note on buttonholes:
Follow the pattern as written to add buttonholes.
If you'd rather “cheat”, just work Row 2 as Rows 3-5, ignoring buttonhole chains and work Row 14 as follows: Row 14. 26 (27/28/29/31/32) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 48 (49/50/51/53/54) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 26 (27/28/29/31/32) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 186/189/19/195/201/204 sts

Once you are ready to add buttons to top, just sew them through both layers of collar fabric as if there was a buttonhole. You won't be a ble to “unbutton”, but it's a handy way of avoiding frogging what you've made if you do forget to add holes along the way!


Adding 1st buttonhole:
Row 2. 1dc, ch2, 51 (52/53/54/56/57) dc-blo, ch1 & turn

Rows 3-5. 154 (157/160/163/169/172) dc-blo, ch1 & turn

Row 6. 22 (23/24/25/27/28) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 31 (32/33/34/36/37) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 40 (41/42/43/45/46) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 31 (32/33/34/36/37) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 22 (23/24/25/27/28) dc-blo, ch1 & turn

Row 7. dc-blo 162 (165/168/171/177/180), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts encountered to end of row. - 162/165/168/171/177/180 sts

Row 8. 23 (24/25/26/28/29) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 33 (34/35/36/38/39) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 42 (43/44/45/47/48) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 33 (34/35/36/38/39) dc-blo, ch1, 2dc, 1ch, 23 (24/25/26/28/29) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 162/165/168/171/177/180 sts

Row 9. dc-blo 170 (173/176/179/185/188), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. - 170/173/176/179/185/188 sts

Row 10. 24 (25/26/27/29/30) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 35 (36/37/38/40/41) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 44 (45/46/47/49/50) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 35 (36/37/38/40/41) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 24 (25/26/27/29/30) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 170/173/176/179/185/188 sts

Row 11. dc-blo 178 (181/184/187/193/196), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. -178/181/184/187/193/196 sts

Row 12. 25 (26/27/28/30/31) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 37 (38/39/40/42/43) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 46 (47/48/49/51/52) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 37 (38/39/40/42/43) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 25 (26/27/28/30/31) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 178/181/184/187/193/196 sts

Row 13. dc-blo 186 (189/19/195/201/204), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. - 186/189/19/195/201/204 sts

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Adding 2nd buttonhole:

Row 14. 1dc, 2ch, 23 (24/25/26/28/29) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 48 (49/50/51/53/54) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 39 (40/41/42/44/45) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 26 (27/28/29/31/32) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 186/189/19/195/201/204 sts

Row 15. dc-blo 194 (197/200/203/209/212), ch1 & turn. Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts.- (194/197/200/203/209/212 sts

Row 16. 27 (28/29/30/32/33) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 41 (42/43/44/46/47) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 50 (51/52/53/55/56) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 41 (42/43/44/46/47) dc-blo, ch2, 2dc, 2ch, 27 (28/29/30/32/33) dc-blo, ch1 & turn - 194/197/200/203/209/212 sts

Row 17. dc-blo 202 (205/208/211/217/220), ch1 & turn Note: add 1 dc-blo to each st along, including over chain sts. - 202/205/208/211/217/220 sts

With Yarn 2.
Remember: Turning chains (1ch) and instances of ch1 within pattern, do not count as sts
Turning chains (2ch) counts as 1st tr st.


Row 18. ch2 & turn, tr29 (30/31/32/34/35), ch1, tr45 (46/47/48/50/51), ch1, tr54 (55/56/57/59/60), ch1, tr45 (46/47/48/50/51), ch1, tr29 (30/31/32/34/35), ch1 & turn - 202/205/208/211/217/220 sts

Row 19. dc206 (209/212/215/221/224), ch2, turn. Note: add 1 dc to each st along, including over chain sts. - 206/209/212/215/221/224 sts

Row 20. tr29 (30/31/32/34/35) [3tr], tr45 (46/47/48/50/51), [3tr], tr 54 (55/56/57/59/60), [3tr], tr 45 (46/47/48/50/51), [3tr], tr29 (30/31/32/34/35), ch1 & turn - 214/217/220/223/229/232 sts

Row 21. dc30 (31/32/33/35/36), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc47 48/49/50/52/53), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 56 (57/58/59/61/62), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc47 (48/49/50/52/53), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc30 (31/32/33/35/36), ch2 & turn - 218/221/224/227/233/236 sts

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Row 22. tr31 (32/33/34/36/37), [3tr], tr49 (50/51/52/54/55), [3tr], tr 58 (59/60/61/63/64), [3tr], tr 49 (50/51/52/54/55), [3tr], tr31, ch1 & turn - 230/233/236/239/245/248 sts

Row 23. dc230 (233/236/239/245/248), ch2 & turn.

Row 24. tr32 (33/34/35/37/38), [3tr], tr51 (52/53/54/56/67), [3tr], tr 60 (61/62/63/65/66), [3tr], tr 51 (52/53/54/56/57), [3tr], tr32 (33/34/35/37/38), ch1 & turn - 238/241/244/247/253/256 sts

Row 25. dc33 (34/35/36/38/39), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc53 (54/55/56/58/59), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 62 (63/64/65/67/68), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc53 (54/55/56/58/59), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc33 (34/35/36/38/39), ch2 & turn - 242/245/248/251/257/260 sts
Row 26. tr34 (35/36/34/39/40), [3tr], tr55 (56/57/58/60/61), [3tr], tr 64 (65/66/67/69/70), [3tr], tr 55 (56/57/58/60/61), [3tr], tr34 (35/36/34/39/40), ch1 & turn - 254/257/260/263/269/272 sts

Row 27. dc254 (257/260/263/269/272), ch2 & turn.

Row 28. tr35 (36/37/38/40/41), [3tr], tr57 (58/59/60/62/63), [3tr], tr 66 (67/68/69/71/72), [3tr], tr 57 (58/59/60/62/63), [3tr], tr35 (36/37/38/40/41), ch1 & turn - 262/265/268/277/280 sts

Row 29. dc36 (37/38/39/41/42), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc59 (60/61/62/64/65), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 68 (69/70/71/73/74), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc59 (60/61/62/64/65), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc36 (37/38/39/41/42), ch2 & turn - 266/269/272/275/281/284

Row 30. tr37 (38/39/40/42/43), [3tr], tr61 (62/63/64/66/67), [3tr], tr70 (71/72/73/75/76), [3tr], tr61 (62/63/64/66/67), [3tr], tr37 (38/39/40/42/43), ch1 & turn - 278/281/284/287/293/296 sts

Row 31. dc278 (281/284/287/293/296), ch2 & turn.

Row 32. tr38 (39/40/41/43/44), [3tr], tr63 (64/65/66/68/69), [3tr], tr72 (73/74/75/77/78), [3tr], tr63 (64/65/66/68/69), [3tr], tr38 (39/40/41/43/44), ch1 & turn - 286/289/292/295/301/304 sts

Row 33. dc39 (40/41/42/44/45), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc65 (66/67/68/70/71), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc 74 (75/76/77/79/80), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc65 (66/67/68/70/71), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc39 (40/41/42/44/45), ch2 & turn - 290/293/296/299/305/308 sts

Row 34. tr40 (41/42/43/45/46), [3tr], tr67 (68/69/70/72/73), [3tr], tr76 (77/78/79/81/82), [3tr], tr67 (68/69/70/72/73), [3tr], tr40 (41/42/43/45/46), ch1 & turn - 302/305/308/311/320 sts

Row 35. dc302 (305/308/311320), ch2 & turn.

Row 36. tr41 (42/43/44/46/47), [3tr], tr69 (70/71/72/74/75), [3tr], tr78 (79/80/81/83/84), [3tr], tr69 (70/71/72/74/75), [3tr], tr41 (42/43/44/46/47), ch1 & turn - 310/313/316/319/325/328 sts

Row 37. dc42 (43/44/45/47/48), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc71 (72/73/74/76/77), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc80 (81/82/83/85/86), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc71 (72/73/74/76/77), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc42 (43/44/45/47/48), ch2 & turn - 314/317/320/323329/332 sts

Row 38. tr43 (44/45/46/48/49), [3tr], tr73 (74/75/76/78/79), [3tr], tr82 (83/84/85/87/88), [3tr], tr73 (74/75/76/78/79), [3tr], tr43 (44/45/46/48/49), ch1 & turn - 326/329/332/335/341/344 sts

Row 39. dc326 (329/332/335/341/344), ch2 & turn.

Row 40. tr44 (45/46/47/49/50), [3tr], tr75 (76/77/78/80/81), [3tr], tr84 (85/86/87/89/90), [3tr], tr75 (76/77/78/80/81), [3tr], tr44 (45/46/47/49/50), ch1 & turn – 334/337/340/343/349/352 sts

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Row 41. dc45 (46/47/48/50/51), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc77 (78/79/80/82/83), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc86 (87/88/89/91/92), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc77 (78/79/80/82/83), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc45 (46/47/48/50/51), ch2 & turn – 338/341/344/347/353/256 sts

Row 42. tr46 (47/48/49/51/52), [3tr], tr79 (80/81/82/84/85), [3tr], tr88 (89/90/91/93/94), [3tr], tr79 (80/81/82/84/85), [3tr], tr46 (47/48/49/51/52), ch1 & turn – 350/353/356/359/365/368 sts

Row 43. dc350 (353/356/359/365/368), ch2 & turn.

Row 44. tr47 (48/49/50/52/53), [3tr], tr81 (82/83/84/86/87), [3tr], tr90 (91/92/93/95/96), [3tr], tr81 (82/83/84/86/87), [3tr], tr47 (48/49/50/52/53), ch1 & turn – 358/361/364/367/373/376 sts

Row 45. dc48 (49/50/51/53/54), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc83 (84/85/86/88/89), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc92 (93/94/95/97/98), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc83 (84/85/86/88/89), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc48 (49/50/51/53/54), ch2 & turn - 362/365/368/371/377/380)

Row 46. tr49 (50/51/52/54/55), [3tr], tr85 (86/87/88/90/91), [3tr], tr94 (95/96/97/99/100), [3tr], tr85 (86/87/88/90/91), [3tr], tr49 (50/51/52/54/55), ch1 & turn – 374/377/380/383/389/392 sts

Row 47. dc374 (377/380/383/389/392), ch2 & turn.

Row 48. tr50 (51/52/53/55/56), [3tr], tr87 (88/89/90/92/93), [3tr], tr96 (97/98/99/101/102), [3tr], tr87 (88/89/90/92/93), [3tr], tr50 (51/52/53/55/56), ch1 & turn – 382/385/388/391/397/400 sts

Row 49. dc51 (52/53/54/56/57), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc89 (90/91/92/94/95), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc98 (99/100/101/103/104), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc89 (90/91/92/94/95), [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], dc51 (52/53/54/56/57), ch2 & turn – 386/389/392/395/401/404 sts

Row 50. tr52 (53/54/55/57/58), [3tr], tr91 (92/93/94/96/97), [3tr], tr100 (101/102/103/105/106), [3tr], tr91 (92/93/94/96/97), [3tr], tr52 (53/54/55/57/58), ch1 & turn - 398/401/404/407/413/416 sts

Connecting sleeves:

free crochet top pattern, treble stitch, double crochet stitch, single crochet stitch, free pink top, simple free pattern, Ravelry free pattern crochet

Row 51. dc54 (55/56/57/59/60), sk 93 (94/95/96/98/99) sts, dc 104 (105/106/107/109/110), sk 93 (94/95/96/98/99) sts, dc 54 (55/56/57/59/60), ch2 & turn – 212/215/218/221/227/230 sts

Row 52. tr211 (214/217/220/226/229), ch1 & turn

Row 53. dc212 (215/218/221/227/230), ch2, turn

Rows 54-91. Rep Rows 52-53, ending on a tr row.

Sizes 36 – 42 only:

Row 92-93. rep Rows 52-53, ending on a tr row.

Sizes 40 & 42 only:

Row 94-95. rep Rows 52-53, ending on a tr row.

Bind off, weave in ends and block gently.


How to block:
Blocking is the process whereby yarn used in a project is made to relax and better take the shape of the project. It will often greatly improve the drape and fit of a garment, and enhance the appearance of lacy pieces.

This can be completed in a few different ways. For this project I choce to block using the submersion technique.

1. Fill a sink with cold water and gently easy garment into the water. Do not scrub, wring or stretch your crochet; just push down on it to get all the air bubbles out and to make sure the yarn is thoroughly saturated.

2. Holding onto the crochet, pull the plug and allow water to drain.
3. Carefully squeeze excess watre out of crochet, being careful not to wring or stretch. It needn't be totally water-free after thsi step.
4. Lay a towel out and place crochet on top of it. Roll crochet up into towel, like a giant swiss roll (nom nom).
5. Stand on towel to press water out of crochet.
6. Unroll towel and lie crochet out on a flat surface to dry.

This may seem superfluous, but it will cure crochet's annoying tendency to curl at the corners, and will make sure the sleeves and body drape better.

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Thanks for reading my pattern. I hope you enjoy it!

22 March 2011

Happy Monday Update

OK, OK, so the photo is terrible, but it's an upadte nonetheless.

Happy Monday, free crochet pattern, free crochet top, Noro Silk Garden Sock, Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply

Wanna see when Happy Monday barely had sleeves?

Yarn Post

A delivery of yarn sends Yarn Towers into a frenzy of excitement.

Yesterday, as I sat drinking some coffee on a well-deserved crochet break, I heard the bell go downstairs. "Package delivery!", the man on the other end of the intercom called. Excitedly, I let him in. "OOoh, great! This will be my yarn!" I squealed to myself as I skipped out to the gate. But alas, dear reader, t'was but a box containing some diabetes equipment I had registered for months previously.

Disheartened, I sighed, thanked the nice delivery man and trudged back upstairs to my coffee cup.

Then, this morning, at about 7 (apparently)... the bell went again. Now, I'm a heavy sleeper. I never hear the bell when I'm all snuggled up in bed, so the boyfriend was pulled from his slumber instead, toddled sleepily downstairs, thinking "oooh! Great! The comics I ordered!", only to be as disappointed by the package as I had been the previous day.

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Still, there is little in this world which starts a day better than the words "You have new yarn" whispered by the man you love.

15 March 2011

Breaking the Mould

This is a piece I wrote for an issue of The Crochet Insider, a great online crochet magazine that is well worth checking out for its variety of articles on crochet-related topics.

crochet insider

I thought it was worth re-producing here:

Breaking the Mould.

When I was a young, impressionable girl of about 13 or so, I remember reading an article that aimed to explain why most of the geniuses of the past were men, with a very few notable exceptions. Leonardo, not Leonarda; Alexander Graham Bell, not Alexandria; Isaac Newton, not Isla.

The now long-forgotten author took pains to explain that the male mind was more likely to take risks, to dedicate a life to the pursuit of something which may, or may not become important. They were far less likely to have dependents who required their attention (a fair point), were better suited to innovation through a mixture of determination and bravery, and that women were more likely to take the safe option, to stay at home, make do with the status quo, and muddle through with a completely different set of skills. The author imagined that women were better suited to repetitious work, artistic or scientific reproduction, following after the trail had been blazed. This article has stuck with me in the intervening years, and every time I pick up a hook I wonder if it was a man or a woman who first knotted a piece of yarn, string, hair, into the first crochet stitch.

Unfortunately, crochet's history is shrouded in almost as much mystery as crochet itself is to some knitters. So, we may never know. But it recently struck me that it doesn't matter one damn bit.

What matters is what is going on NOW, and it's very exciting. All over the world women are taking up hooks, and needles. They're not just following patterns, they're not only repeating what they have seen done before. Many new designers are cropping up like a field of mushrooms, producing new ways of crocheting, coming up with new ideas, and showing the world that the fibre arts are not what they used to be. These designers are innovative, creative and most importantly of all, brave. They're willing to show the product of their work, make it available for evaluation and are proud of their abilities. They're starting up magazines, writing books, teaching others, making a living in their chosen field of expertise. They're standing up, and breaking the mould.

As a rookie designer, I had no idea what to expect from my peers. I had tested the waters with one or two simple patterns, just to see how it felt to design and be recognised as a designer of crochet clothing.

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My reception was tepid - no queues of crafters formed at my door, demanding more! better! faster! - but no-one emerges fully-formed so that didn't bother me at all. Then, I received a message asking if I'd be interested in submitting ideas for a new magazine that was hitting the UK. I was flattered, and a little blinded by my good fortune; I immediately said "Yes!". And so, I went diving face-first into the world of professional design where I have learnt two very important things:

Firstly, crochet designers, the ones who have been at it for years are so supportive of new talent. They'll give honest, and sometimes brutal, opinions, but they'll always be helpful. They're welcoming, will go out of their way to include unknowns in their own efforts and will give advise when asked. It's an atmosphere that inspires, encourages and teaches, and to me that's the best form of feminism. Competition is healthy and strong but refuses to be mean. There is little or no loud, raucous Girl Power here, just women helping women to be better. Now, that isn't to say that the men aren't well represented. Far from it! With talent like Drew Emborsky and David Burchall it's clear that not only are female designers all-inclusive, they're delighted to see the view from the other side, to embrace new ideas, to completely include our artistic brothers.

Secondly, the image that is projected by these designers in their patterns is inspiring. Many of us Indy designers don't hire professional models. We become jacks-of-all-trades by necessity. Designer/Photographer/Set Designer/Model, and it's the latter that I celebrate the most. All shapes, sizes, colours, and ages are represented. All feminine, all real. That, to me, is the epitome of the feminist ideal and what a great impression it makes on girls and younger women! Instead of stick-insects, they'll be seeing women with hips, thighs, and stomachs that are far from concave. They'll be meeting people who can not only design and model, but who can also string coherent sentences together. It's a legacy I hope will live on to inspire future designers and generations of women.

The most successful revolutions happen gradually, bit by bit over time. I'm confident that our bit is coming along very nicely.

10 March 2011

These are my hands.

hands, cracked cuticles, not perfect, art, talented hands, crochet, baking, cooking

They are the hands of a crafter. They work repetitive stitches for hours every day, they dig earth, knead bread, slice meat and mix wine. They are useful hands; always working.

They have stubby little fingers, are covered in scars from years of slipped scissors, sharp blades and hot ovens. They have had their nails stabbed through, and fingertips sliced off. They've been strained, sprained, bruised and caught in things more times than they care to remember. They are rarely without a band-aid. They are dry and lined, with cracked cuticles and perpetually uneven fingernails.



They don't apologise for their appearance, though, and neither do I. They are my greatest asset, and my favourite tool.

These are no model's hands. These are the hands of a crafter.

08 March 2011

Happy Monday has sleeves

Happy Monday, the soon-to-be-free crochet pattern takes on a new look

crochet pattern, crochet top, hand-made, handmade, t-shirt, tshirt, using up scraps of yarn, noro, silk garden, sock yarn, Debbie Bliss, Rialto, Merino, Silk, Wool, 4-ply, 4ply, Fingering

So, I have been experimenting with the top portion of Happy Monday, and I have it just the way I want it now! I had originally decided this should be a black top, with buttons all down the front, but then it dawned on me that black, while stylish, isn't a very happy colour, so out came the PINK! I had stashed away for just this kind of situation.

After ripping back the 30-or-so rows of black, I started to work up the same section in pink, got bored working so many fl-dcs and figured "If I'm bored, so will anyone who wants to make this". As crochet should not be an endurance sport, I switched tactics and introduced some trebles to the mix.

Now, I'm usually wary about making things in just treble stitch. It's lovely when it's being worked up, but the spaces between the stitches have a tendency to streeeeetch out after a bit of wear. They also stretch over the wider parts of the body, and most of the time, this is un-flatter-ing. So, I have used a neat trick to minimize this problem. (It is wonderfully easy, too)

So, right now, Happy Monday stands, almost half done, with pretty, slightly poofy sleeves, lots of fushia yarn, and two button holes.

And look at the buttons I found yesterday!!
heart, mother-of-pearl, buttons, rubenesque, powerscourt centre, dublin 2, lucky find
Aren't they just perfect? Little, pretty mother-of-pearl heart-shaped buttons totally set off the stripey Noro yarn, and compliment the bright pink of the Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply, too. I was worried I'd not find something that matched both so well. And the best thing? Rubenesque in the Powerscourt Centre sells them in packs of 4, so I have 2 more to play with! One down-side, a pack of 4 comes to about €6.

Wanna see where this all started?

04 March 2011

I am an awful girlfriend

This story starts in October 2009.

I was on a plane, going to a cousin's wedding in New York, and decided "I know what I'll make the boyfriend for Christmas! A scarf to go with that hat I've just finished making. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino is a lovely yarn, and it's perfect to keep my lovely man warm in the depths of our Irish winters!". Good plan, nay?

Brilliant plan. So! I brought maybe... 5 or 6 balls of Baby Cash with me, along with a 4.5mm hook, and started into a scarf, working row after row of front-loop dcs, on the bias. The scarf had to match the hat, and it had been worked in the same stitch. Clever me. I was embarking on my first ever hat and scarf set!

By the end of the plane trip, my little sister (who was very cold during the flight), was wearing half a scarf wrapped around her head, as I worked on and on and on. Then, I put it away. I had a wedding to focus on. It was only October, and sure, it's not every day I get to spend quality time with all my American cousins!

By December, through means of a lot of stealthy crochet (hiding in the bathroom, sneaky bus journey crochet, working on it during home visits), and a lo-o-ot of pushing myself to continue an ever-increasingly boring stitch, I got it done in time for Christmas. And, he was delighted! I was finished the scarf, so I was delighted too!

But, it appears, fate had other things in store for me. It seems, the twist in Baby Cash, combined with the bias nature of the stitches meant the scarf was soon not a scarf anymore, but had turned, rather dramatically into a tube, curling in on itself like a worm. And, we all know worms are not warm and cozy.

"Don't worry!" I cried, with gusto I didn't feel in my heart, "I'll fix it!"

It is at this point in the tale that I will distract you with cookies:

cookies, home-made, distraction, delicious, chocolate chip, butter, yum

So! A year and a bit later, I get a random text from the boyfriend saying "It was so cold this morning going to work. If only I had a scarf! Poor me!" which prompted me to new heights of guilt. After a bit of flailing, and a phonecall from said boyfriend to reitterate his point, I finally finished Scarf MkII.

He'll come home this evening, to a warm, soft, 6 foot 5 crocheted scarf, which doesn't curl... just in time for summer.

scarf, crochet, double crochet, linked treble stitch, brown, Debbie Bliss, Baby Cashmerino, winter, spring, summer, bad girlfriend

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