This book is unusual for the time because it actually lists the names of the designers (in the back, but still). Until recently, relatively few designers were actually able to include their names in their publications. Most designs were unattributed, with the yarn company or magazine acting as the implied author.
This is a collection of patterns that originally appeared in McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine.
The book includes 14 quilt patterns, 11 crochet patterns, and 5 knitting patterns. The last chapter includes general instructions for patchwork, applique, quilting, tufting, embroidery, crochet, and knitting.
I was amused to see that the introduction talks about the “modern interpretations of old-fashioned patterns.” I guess that phrase never gets old. (Naturally, the book now appears dated.)
It opens with the quilting patterns. Some of my favorites are the Fan Quilt and the Broken Star Quilt.
The patterns are pretty detailed, but mostly use templates. I’m guessing that many of today’s quilters might prefer strip quilting (or is that just me because I’m lazy?). Of course, you can always convert the projects or just use the quilts for inspiration.
One major difference from many modern quilting books is that there are actual instructions for how to quilt the tops, including templates for the stitch outlines. There are even tips for enlarging the templates (without a scanner or copy machine).
The next section is the crochet patterns. Most are also quilting inspired. Some of my favorites are (clockwise, from top left) Color Wheels Afghan, Star Quilt Bedspread, Florentine Afghan, and Autumn Windows Afghan.
Another sign of the times: The Florentine Afghan is made with Tunisian crochet and then there is a chart to work needlepoint over it. Today, it would probably be charted as a crocheted (or Tunisian crocheted) colorwork pattern.
The Star Quilt looks like an awesome scrap buster, but I don’t think I could handle making all 114 blocks (each of which is made up of 12 pieces!).
Most of the knitting patterns are not really to my taste, but I did like the Argyle Afghan. The chart could also be used for Tunisian crochet or single crochet.
Overall, this book has some nice patterns and some good tips. I like the fact that it is multi-craftual and that doesn’t seem to be a problem as it might be today. It has great inspiration inside, but I think many of today’s crafters would probably take some shortcuts and make adjustments to the patterns.
Last year, I hosted a Holiday Stashdown Challenge to encourage myself and anyone else who was willing to play along with me to make our holiday gifts early and to use as much stash yarn as possible.
The successes: I used up over 3,300 yards of yarn from my stash, made gifts for 14 people, and had all of my holiday crafting finished before Thanksgiving. (You can read more details here.) A few other bloggers seemed to find some crafty inspiration, too, like Audrey-Lee and Mary from Needles and Hooks and Books, Oh My!
Unfortunately, I could never get a link party to work (if someone knows how to do that from a self-hosted WordPress blog, please tell me!) and sometimes, there was not much progress to share. I don’t plan to post weekly updates in 2013, but instead I plan to share an update on the first Tuesday of each month.
I’ll kick off the New Year today with a tentative list and some ideas for my 2013 holiday gifts. (Since it is the beginning of the year, I’ll dream big. I’m sure the list will be greatly reduced by the time the holidays roll around!)
If I don’t make her a pair of slippers boots using these slipper soles, I will be sad. Because that has been my plan for the past few years since I bought them ;).
Dad and Dad’s partner
I’d like to make them each a full winter accessories set with a hat, scarf, and convertible gloves. Of course, I’ve never made convertible gloves, so they may be incredibly difficult or annoying to make…
She is one of my best buddies from high school. I started this boa scarf for her in late November and will probably finish it in time for her birthday in March. If not, then December, 2013 is my back up plan!
Side note: This is one of the best patterns I’ve read. It’s Anne by MK Carroll. It includes a written pattern (in US and UK version), stitch symbols, and lots of explanation.
Perhaps a nice warm hat or a pair of cozy slippers. If I get ambitious, I may resurrect the idea of making him a sweater.
I’d like to make gifts for my friends Carlota, OB, JS, and JP. I don’t really know what yet. And, if there’s time, I’d like to make something for JM.
I had a lot of fun making little ornaments in December. In a perfect world, I’d make about 40 of these to include in my holiday gift cards for family I don’t exchange gifts with, or to use as gift tags.
And I’d really like to make snowflake cards. I did make afewsnowflakes this year, but I didn’t find a glue that I liked to affix them to cards properly.
Again, in the imaginary world where I have unlimited time and resources, I would make about 50 snowflakes for cards. Or maybe I should take a hint from Attic24 and crochet my holiday cards. I welcome suggestions for making snowflake cards from those of you who are snowflake pros :).
It’s been a while since I shared a Year of Projects post, but as the year comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my crafty accomplishments in 2012 and planning for 2013. I’ve definitely missed the camaraderie of participating in YOP so I thought I would ease myself back into posting on a semi-regular, if not weekly, basis.
Make my mom a special bedspread for her milestone birthday. Unfortunately, I’ve had to put this project aside. I have a very large secret project due on February 1st, and I can’t imagine wanting to complete a bedspread right after that in time for my mom’s birthday. I already talked to my sister about it and decided this bedspread will be a Christmas 2013 gift to my mom.
Learn to spin. My first tentative drop spindling has whet my appetite, and I’m hoping to dive in more deeply in 2013.
If I plan to continue with YOP updates on a semi-regular basis, I’ll definitely need to review my list and decide what to keep and what to change. I’ve been thinking a lot about my general crafty goals for 2013, and I’d like YOP to fit in with my overall goals rather than being another set of goals.
Today, I’m interviewing Argentinian crochet designer Sara Palacios, the mind behind Arrorro en Colores (known as Colorful Lullabies in English). Sara can be found online on her website, Ravelry (as SaraBea and in the Colorful Lullabies store), Etsy, Facebook, and Flickr. All pictures are used with her permission.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to crochet?
Sara: I’ve liked handicrafts since I was a child. My mother was a dressmaker and I grew up watching her as she created new things, being passionate about fabrics, textures, shapes, and colors. When I was 10, she taught me the basics of crochet, knitting and embroidery. I also learned a lot from my aunts, who where always crocheting doilies, and from the craft magazines that they used to give me: they were the best gift I could get!
UC: When did you first become passionate about afghans?
Sara: At age 15, I crocheted a multicolor granny square using yarn remains and made a pillow with it. It was then that I discovered the magic of harmonizing colors and I wanted to crochet a blanket for my bed. This time I made it with new brightly colored wool. Since then, I came up with several ideas that I kept as projects to do some day, such as the illusions of stacked cubes. During the following 27 years, I crocheted some simple blankets and other things, but I did not realize any of these early projects because there was always something missing: time or money.
In 2008, I could make the first of the blankets I had been planning to do for so long. After that I could never stop imagining new things.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Sara: To copy other people’s models in an exact way – as beautiful as the model may have been – bored me. For example, I needed to combine the design of a pattern with a different stitch from another, and the colors of a flower in my garden. In other words, I needed to add something personal to it. And so, unexpected things started to come up. Any aspect of life that makes me feel passionate or that suggests beauty or excellence to me can be the source of inspiration for a crochet design: nature, art, dreams, maths, science or everyday experiences.
UC: Tell us about crochet in Argentina.
Sara: In general, crochet is picked up within the family as grandmothers, mothers and aunts teach you. However, today it is also learned through the Internet. In some places, they teach courses to learn or perfect crochet techniques. Usually, we learn both knitting and crochet but, as time goes by, we tend to choose crochet.
I believe that in the last years we, crocheters, are becoming more and more well-known, and we have started meeting in groups mostly thanks to social networks. In addition, there are also more young people crocheting nowadays.
This increasing popularity in crochet has to do in part with initiatives for solidarity that consist in getting granny squares of a certain size so as to make blankets to donate to hospitals and retirement homes. In particular the group Tejiendo por un Sueño (Knitting/Crocheting for a Dream) on Facebook gets thousands of knitters and crocheters together, and it also provokes an infectious enthusiasm that is both enriching and motivating. In this way more people want to crochet again which, the way I see it, has to do with the ‘magic’ of the granny squares: The possibility of combining colors, of giving new life and use to the leftovers of other handicrafts, of getting unique products and also of working with and for the community.
UC: Most of your patterns are available in English (both US and UK terms) and in Spanish. What made you decide to sell bilingual patterns?
Sara: I had always wanted to write patters, but I had never imagined myself doing it in English. I opened my shop on Etsy with the intention of selling blankets, but people started to ask me for the patterns, and so I decided to write them in both languages. I am happy to be able to share them with more people.
UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet or craft blogs to share?
Sara: I have a lot of projects. Most of my patterns are still in my head or in a draft. I crochet and write when I have free time to do it. I make my living working on computing with computers and crochet is just a hobby. I would like to be able to spend more hours on it, although I don’t want to hurry: crocheting is precisely about going slowly step by step.
Thanks so much, Sara, for stopping by to share your thoughts with us!