Needlecrafts, handmade creativity, and other good stuff
Today is Day One of the Come Blog-A-Long year of projects. In April, I posted my annual crafting goals to complete by May 1, 2012. One of my goals is to work my way through Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.
Instead of creating all of the patterns in the book, I’d like to make my own project using each of the techniques in the book. Let me go back to the beginning to explain why I picked this book and this project.
My crochet background
I learned to crochet from my maternal grandmother when I was about 9 years old. Over the years, I would crochet holiday gifts (primarily scarves). I knew several stitches but I didn’t know the names of any stitches.
In the early 2000s, my close friend was pregnant and I really wanted to make a baby blanket for her. I found the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Needlecrafts in the Barnes and Noble on Astor Place in Manhattan. This book was (and is) great because it has photographs of the steps for forming each basic crochet stitch. From looking at the pictures, I was able to identify the name of each stitch. I downloaded a list of standard pattern abbreviations from the internet and would carry a copy of the pictures and the list of abbreviations with me to compare with patterns. This helped remind me which stitch was which (a double crochet versus a single crochet, etc.) and what abbreviation corresponded to each stitch until eventually it all “stuck.”
This book opened up an entire new world in crochet for me because I was able to read patterns for the first time. After making that first baby blanket (which came out terribly, by the way, but had lots of love in it!), I quickly moved on to other projects. For the next few years, I made primarily baby blankets and throws.
Then in 2006, Afya Ibomu‘s Get Your Crochet On: Hip Hats and Cool Caps came out. This was another giant leap forward in my crochet evolution. I started out by making the patterns in this book and then eventually began to design my own hats. This was followed in 2007 by Lily Chin‘s Couture Crochet Workshop, another book that rocked my crochet world.
Both of these books inspired me to want to design my own projects, rather than rely exclusively on printed patterns. They also pushed my crochet skills, which had been relatively stagnant for many years, to another level.
In 2007, my grandmother’s health was starting to fail. We would chat a few nights a week and would usually talk about our current crochet projects. I heard about the CYC Certified Instructors Program for Crochet at the Fashion Institute of Technology and decided to sign up at the last minute. Arnetta Kenney, the amazing instructor of this course, taught us about many techniques in crochet I had never even heard of such as broomstick lace. This program really injected some excitement into my crocheting. Several months later, my grandmother passed and I began crocheting more and more, as a way of keeping the memories of our times crocheting together fresh.
After completing my teaching hours in 2007, I became a certified crochet instructor and teacher in 2008. Since then, I’ve taught over 100 beginners to crochet. (Check out my series of posts on on getting started as a local needlecrafts teacher or my interviews with needlecrafts teachers Vanessa from Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts, Angela Davis, and Becka Rahn for tips on getting started as a teacher.)
Why this book?
Crochet Master Class is one of the few crochet books I have seen recently that has really excited me. The structure of the book includes a bio of each famous crocheter with her or his “crochet biography” as well as a description of the specific connection to a particular technique or skill.
For me, the book works on many levels. First, it introduces you to many skills (which I promise to outline below). Second, it introduces (or reminds you of) many masters. Third, it presents some great photos and a sample project for each skill/technique.
But at this point in my own crochet life, I’m not as psyched by following patterns. I’m a bit more intrigued by design. So what I plan to do is work through each chapter with a project (large or small). I will be updating each Monday with my progress.
Here is a list of chapters and the relevant skills and masters:
I don’t think I will follow the book “in order.” For some techniques, I may just work up a swatch, and for others I have a large project planned. I’m looking forward to working through this book.
Tags: afya ibomu, aran crochet, bead crochet, bonnie pierce, bruges crochet, bullion, carol ventura, come blog a long, couture crochet workshop, crochet, crochet master class, darla j. fanton, double-ended crochet, entrelac, fashion, Ferosa Harold, filet crochet, free-form crochet, get your crochet on: hip hats and cool caps, good housekeeping illustrated book of needlecrafts, hairpin lace, hartmut hass, irish crochet, jane sneeden peever, jean leinhauser, jennifer hansen, jenny king, joyce wyatt, julia bryant, lily chin, lydia borin, Maire Treanor, margaret hubert, melody macduffee, Nancie Wiseman, nancy nehring, overlay crochet, painted crochet, prudence mapstone, rita weiss, tapestry crochet, tassels, tatyana mirer, Tunisian crochet, wire crochet, woven crochet, year of projects, YOP11-12
Wow! This is really awesome. Can’t wait to see your FO’s. I’m taking my first ever crochet lesson on Tuesday.
Yay! Have fun Keri. It is always wonderful to have another crafter convert to crochet .
These are all amazing projects. I’m sticking to knitting but I really love that you will do all crochet projects!
Thanks Evelyn! I must spread the crochet love (and also, I can’t imagine committing to an entire year of knitting projects lol)!
What a great idea for this project. There are some terrific “masters” featured in the book and it should be a lot of fun to take their inspiration and use it in your own way!
I chose this project because it blends my love of learning from the masters with my lack of interest in following patterns!
I’ve found your blog via Kathryn’s Hookin’ Up Project and read this post. I played with exactly the same idea (i.e. working my way through the Crochet Master Class)! I haven’t blogged about this idea yet, because I’m not sure, if I will follow through. This week I started my first double-ended crochet project, a huuuuge blanket that will definitely take some time to make. Don’t you love this chapter, too? I’m looking forward to following your way through this awesome book (maybe that will be the motivation I need to do the same)
Hi Barbara: I love all the chapters – I think it is a fabulous book. I have used many, but not all, of the techniques in the book before. I like double ended crochet for winter wear – that extra layer of warmth is pretty sweet. Have fun with the blanket and perhaps you’ll join me when working your way through the book! Marie
You have me in tears. This book was the dream of my best friend, Jean Leinhauser. She died about a year after the book was completed. She would have been over joyed to learn about your plans. She wanted the world to crochet and to love it as she did. Thank you for carrying on her “work”.
Hi Rita: Thank you so much for stopping by. It is truly an honor to have you visit my blog. Your work with Jean has truly transformed many lives, including mine, and it is my pleasure to share that work with others.
[...] Underground Crafter. Marie is one of the people who inspires me most in terms of setting, meeting and tracking goals. For YOP she is working her way through Crochet Master Class, a terrific book through which she is certainly developing some terrific crochet skills! [...]
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