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!
My first pair of knit socks seem to be drama queens. Not only did they demand to be restarted several times for various reasons, but then they broke this perfectly good bamboo needles after just one day of use.
I bought these on Wednesday night after work because the small sized metal needles were really bothering my hand. The first few days were day was smooth sailing with these comfy needles. And then when I went to start knitting on Friday, the needle snapped in half.
I’m only able to do a few rounds at a time with the metal needles before my hands really start bothering me. But I did get to row 9 in the cable chart, and even started shaping for the gusset.
The only consolation is that once I’m done, I’ll be done. There won’t be another sock to make later since I’m doing them both at the same time.
I’m about 95% sure these socks will be loose. Sock people: How much smaller do you size your socks? My foot circumference is 9 inches and I went with the 8 inch size. Would 7 inches be a better choice? I’m pretty sure my gauge is relatively ok (all of the needle switching has led to a few looser or tighter rows, but it still seems to be in the 8 stitches per inch zone).
Besides the slowly moving socks, I’ve started on another YOP project.
This is my first time getting the jumbo bag. I was so excited about it that I snapped a picture on the pedestrian island on Broadway and 79th Street.
I’m still working on my first square – I fiddled around with hooks a bit before settling on a G. This blanket will be a welcome relief from the socks. (I never thought a blanket could be relief from another project, so that tells you how much I’m liking the socks.)
I special ordered a whole bunch of it from my LYS, Knitty City. I know that the top of the bedspread will be in this color and with this pattern, but I’m still deciding on whether the side drops will be in the same color and pattern. I’m going to wait until the 42 squares I need are finished and joined before even thinking about borders :).
And now we interrupt this blog post with a customer service rant. You may remember that Knitty City is my favorite NYC yarn shop. I have five stories from this week to demonstrate why! My week started out on a high note – I was able to easily put in my special yarn order to Knitty City via email, and I received all responses via email in a timely fashion. This shows that the folks at Knitty City are not only responsive but also that they understand that if you send an email, you would likely prefer an email (not phone) response.
I spent most of the week in training for the Ravellenic Games, and I wanted to get a set of size 1 40″ circular needles in case I wasn’t able to get gauge with the needles I had at home. I had four bad customer service experiences at four different Manhattan yarn shops while trying to get a set of needles!
I stopped at a new-to-me LYS after work on Tuesday. I arrived in the store to see three women knitting away feverishly in complete, perhaps tension-filled, silence. One looked up and said to let her know if I needed any help. The shelves were a mess and only partially full, and with all three women sitting on the same side of the table, it wasn’t easy to get access to the patterns located behind them. (I wasn’t looking for patterns, but you get my point.) There were very few notions in stock, but I decided to pick up some needle point protectors anyway. (Side note: I come from a family of entrepreneurs and run a small business myself, so I really try to support small businesses when possible.) It was only at this point that I realized that all three women actually worked there. When I mentioned I was looking for a specific needle size, no one offered to order it for me.
After work on Wednesday, I decided to stop by a different LYS that usually has a broad selection of needle sizes. I didn’t see any 40″ circulars in the display, so I asked if they had size 1 in stock. After being asked about what type of needle I wanted (wood, metal, etc.), they realized they didn’t have any size 1 needles anyway. Again, no one asked if I would like them to order it for me and by now I was getting really down.
I called a third LYS in another neighborhood and they told me they did have size 1 needles in stock. Unfortunately, due to commuting times, I wasn’t able to get there before closing. I decided to stop by the next day (Thursday), and went by about 25 minutes before their listed closing time. The shop was closed with the gate pulled down. And, of course, there was no sign indicating they had closed early.
On Thursday morning, I had also emailed a fourth shop to see if they had size 1 needles in stock. After receiving no response by Friday morning, I stopped by this shop after running errands. The clerk asked, “Didn’t you call yesterday?” to which I responded that I had sent an email. Even though she knew someone was looking for this particular size, the woman didn’t know if the needles were in stock. So I waited while she looked through several disorganized piles of needles before determining there weren’t any in stock. Again, no one asked if I would like to order this size. And, about two hours after I got home, they left a voice mail in response to my email saying the needles weren’t in stock.
After all of this, I figured size 1 needles must be extremely rare. With only the slightest of hope, I dropped by Knitty City on the way home. Not only was I treated warmly, but there were FOUR different brands of size 1 40″ needles for me to choose from. I guess the moral of the story is just go to Knitty City every time and don’t even bother with the other places!
And now back to my YOP post :). I did end up needing the size 1 needles to get gauge. I finally chose the Graphic pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. My thought process went this way: according to The Knitter’s Book of Socks, I should have at least 10% negative ease for the circumference of my sock. After convincing MC to measure our feet based on the chart in The Sock Knitter’s Handbook, this pattern seemed to be the right size. And, with my brand new needles, I was able to get the right gauge!
Unfortunately, my first several attempts at making this sock were disastrous. Let’s just say the combination of poor lighting in my apartment, the small needle size, and my lack of familiarity with knitting socks led to a few issues. Yesterday I restarted and things seem to be going much better now (perhaps because I have knit this very same section four times already?).
I’m not too confident that I’ll finish this pair before the end of the Ravellenic Games, but I really hope I do. Because I have the feeling that if I don’t, these will sit as a WIP until the 2014 Ravellenic Games.
I also forgot to declare how many motifs I wanted to make for the Games, so I couldn’t participate in the Modular Relay :(. Instead, I dug out stash wool that is over 1 year old, and decided to make more squares for the felted wool blanket I’m making for myself as part of the stashbusting event. I finishedthesethree yesterday.
This week, I auditioned six more motifs for my mom’s milestone birthday blanket. I made each sample with stash yarn, and I’m happy to report that I’m almost to the bottom of one of my plastic yarn tubs!
At this point, I was ready to make a decision. (Ok, I wasn’t actually ready to make the decision, but I was ready to stop making more samples!) But then, I got an email from my sister. You see, I had sent her the link to the Pinterest board of patterns I set up a few weeks ago, and she just got around to reading it this week. Naturally, she thought two patterns that I hadn’t even tried yet were the perfect choices for my mom’s bedspread, so I made samples of those, too!
This is the Lacy Square Motif by Crochet Atelier. (Side note: This is the first time I followed an entire pattern on my Kindle Fire. It wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be, and I saved some printer ink and recycled paper!) If I were to use this motif, I would adjust the center part of the pattern so that the circle and the petals were a bit smaller – I suspect that my chains are much larger than those of the designer.
My plan now is to send pictures of all the possible motifs to my sister for a final decision. Then I will purchase the yarn and get started.
And that brings me to my next set of decisions. You may recall that one of my YOP2 goals is to participate in the 2012 Ravellenic Games. The kick off is the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern time. There are a few things that I need to do before then:
Choose a sock pattern. My main goal is to complete my first pair of knit socks during the Ravellenic Games. I think I’ll be using the Austermann Step Sock yarn I received in the July Goodie Box Swap. These will be entered in the sock put event.
Make (at least one) gauge swatch. I want to make sure I have the right needles available before casting on Friday.
Decide if I’ll be entering the modular relay. If so, I’ll need to decide whether I’ll be competing with charity squares or motifs for my mom’s bedspread or motifs for a scrap blanket for me. (That’s right, I want to make even more blankets!) I will need to declare a number of motifs, which will naturally be based on the project I’m working on for this competition.
Choose a team (or teams). This has been the toughest part for me. Normally, I would enter a crochet-focused team, like Team Crochet, but that seems strange if my main project is knitting. (Although, apparently, I can enter more than one team.) If anyone reading is also participating in the Ravellenic Games, do you have any team suggestions for me?
I am at that weird place in between projects and I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do next. The temperature finally cooled down and I finished the Bruges lace scarf I was making for my friend (more details coming on Friday).
I started making this along with my crochet class, and since we have the summer off, I will probably put it aside until the class starts again in September. I have two students who didn’t finish their shawls and still want to work on it, so it seems like a fun CAL for us to do in class.
So as you can see, I don’t have anything that I’m really working on right now. I think the heat over the weekend and the humidity has also made me less interested in crocheting some big project. Hopefully, I’ll have something more to share next week.
This week, my goal was to try out some potential motif patterns for the bedspread I’m planning for my mom’s milestone birthday in February. My sister’s bedspread took about 5 months to finish, and I’m assuming this one will be more complicated, so I want to get started soon.
I started a Pinboard of potential vintage patterns earlier this week.
It’s been really hot here, so I’ve mostly been crocheting with mercerized cotton. My first two swatches were a bust.
The first pattern I tried was the Marguerite. Each hexagon is 40 rounds (!). If you’ve ever tried a pattern from this era (1914), you know that there are a lot of details left unexplained. I ended up cutting the petals short by about 6 rounds, just to see if I would be able to figure out how to create the petal effect. I don’t think I did such a great job, and in any case, it would take too long to make each motif on my deadline. I’ll have to tackle this pattern at a future time.
After 6 rounds, I wasn’t overly excited about this one either.
Now, I’m thinking of switching gears entirely. Instead of a vintage pattern (with the added stress of translating/interpreting the instructions), I may just use something from this wonderful book I picked up at Vogue Knitting Live.
There are a lot of lovely lace motifs, and everything is charted. Hopefully by next week, I will have narrowed down my options for my mom’s bedspread.
Just so I could feel as though I accomplished something this week, I made my first two granny squares. I sat right next to the air conditioner and used a partial ball of Lion Brand Wool Ease from my stash. I think the colorway is called Sage, but the label is long gone, so I can’t be sure. Both were based on patterns from The Granny Square Bookby Margaret Hubert.
My Ravelry project page is here and the pattern page is here.
My Ravelry project page is here and the pattern page is here. It was nice to use up some stash yarn and to crochet with something a bit thicker after a week of thread. I’m glad I finished my first two grannies – only 50 more to go!