Tag Archives: YOP11-12

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Year one finale in Bruges lace

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I am having great fun with Bruges lace, which I’m learning from the master herself, Tatyana Mirer, in a three-week class at Knit-A-Way.  I’m the only person in the class at the moment, and it is a fabulous experience to spend the time with such an amazing teacher and designer.  Last week, I mentioned that I had bought a skein of Lamb’s Pride Worsted at the shop for the class, and it was more or less a disaster.  The yarn is actually quite nice, but it is really just not a good fit with Bruges lace swatches!

My Bruges lace square in Victorian Pink (which looked lavender to me when I bought it).

After the first class, I decided to use some Galler Yarns Parisian Cotton that I have on hand from some designs I have done for them.  I don’t use crochet cotton thread that often, but it is absolutely perfect for Bruges lace.  It was also just about the only yarn I cared to touch during the two days last week which were well over 95 degrees and extremely humid!

I should mention that I haven’t blocked any of these swatches.

A Bruges lace circle.


A Bruges lace curve.
A Bruges lace oval. I had a lot of fun with this one.
The first part of a Bruges lace wave.
A Bruges lace square in progress. I lost my trusty 00 crochet hook on the subway shortly thereafter :(.

My favorite technique was adding an insert to the Bruges lace square.  I see a lot of interesting possibilities for granny squares.

Bruges lace motifs are join-as-you-go, so I could avoid at least some of the yarn ends...

On Thursday, I’ll have the last class.  Tatyana will be showing me some tubular techniques, and I’ll also be starting the Sparkling Wave Scarf from The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet.  I plan to make it as a holiday gift for my friend, OB, as part of my Holiday Stashdown Challenge.

I’m surprised that it has been almost a year since I joined in on the Year of Projects through the Come Blog-A-long group on Ravelry.  Even though I had been planning to work my way through Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters anyway, I had a wonderful time joining in with other crafty bloggers along the way!  Next Sunday, I’ll share my plans for year 2 of the Year of Projects (which I’m still formulating in my head).  You might want to join in, too!

This year, I had a chance to try out many techniques from Crochet Master Class that I had never used before, like hairpin lacesingle crochet entrelacpainted crochetfreeform, and Bruges lace.  I experimented a lot more with techniques I had used before, like woven crochetTunisian crochetfilet crochetdouble-ended crochetIrish crochet, and the bullion stitch.  I so wanted to be like Minding My Own Stitches, a YOP blogger who faithfully completed every project in one book.  Alas, I found that I wasn’t inspired to work with some of the techniques from the book.  And there are other techniques that I didn’t cover that I definitely want to return to, like overlay crochet and tapestry crochet.

I’m very grateful to harleagh from When Did I Become a Knitter for hatching up the idea of blogging through a book, and, of course, to Rita Weiss and the late Jean Leinhauser for compiling a collection that really inspired me to push myself creatively and to further develop my crochet techniques.  I look forward to more exploration in the next year!

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bruges crochet from the master herself

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

Last week, I finished my post with a bit of a cliffhanger about a surprise that I would share this week.  The surprise is that on Thursday, I started a three-week class on Bruges crochet with the master herself, Tatyana Mirer.

You might remember this Bruges crochet swatch using the Annaleise pattern from the Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula.

I made this swatch as part of my initial exploration of Bruges crochet and while writing my review of Robyn’s book.

Last year, I (briefly) met Tatyana at the Crochet Master Class book signing at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  I had the choice of taking her Bruges crochet class or a woven crochet class with Jenny King, who was visiting from Australia.  I knew that Tatyana also teaches at Knit-A-Way, the LYS around the corner from my Dad’s apartment, so I decided to take the class with Jenny.  Recently, my work schedule seemed to match the Knit-A-Way class schedule, so I called the shop to sign up for the class.  After several conversations about the time and dates with the owner (more about her in this post), I started what has turned out to be a series of private lessons with Tatyana (!) last week.

It’s been a great experience to interact with Tatyana as a student.  I try to see take a class with another teacher at least once a year (more about why here), and Tatyana is truly a master teacher as well as a master designer.  She brought so many amazing pieces of her Bruges crochet work with her, and I was incredibly inspired.

I assumed the shop required me to buy yarn there and I got a bit overwhelmed when I entered the shop five minutes before class.  (I’ve been on a yarn diet for so much of this year that I now feel that every yarn purchase needs hours of contemplation!)  I wanted to buy a natural fiber that didn’t require winding so I could start crocheting right away.  I ended up getting a skein of Lamb’s Pride Worsted from the Brown Sheep Company.  I’ve never used their yarns but I’ve heard a lot of positive things.  On the shelf, it appeared to be more of a lilac color, but it magically transformed into pink once I sat down with Tatyana.  (Ok, the colorway is called Victorian Pink.  But I didn’t notice that on the label when I bought it!)  The yarn itself is lovely, but I should have purchased a lighter weight yarn so the lacy aspect of Bruges crochet would be more evident.

I actually didn’t need much yarn for this first class anyway, as Tatyana brought several samples of partially completed “tape” that she showed me how to join.  My homework is to make my own samples of the Bruges crochet curve, square, and oval, and then to create the “tape” for specific lengths that will transform into the circle and the wave pattern in the next class.  I’m now on the lookout for something lighter weight to use for the samples and in the next class.  Does this mean I get to go yarn shopping again??

In other news, I finished my double-ended crochet project from last week.  In case you missed the big reveal on Friday, here is a picture of it.

My very own double-ended crochet camera pouch.

I’m now off to spend some time with my Dad for Father’s Day.  If you are celebrating Father’s Day, too, have a wonderful time!

FO Friday: Mine, all mine

Back in January, I joined the 12 for myself group on Ravelry with plans to be a more selfish crocheter this year.  The vast majority of my creations have always been gifts.  (In the past few years, I’ve been making more projects to sell or as samples for patterns, but I still haven’t made many things for me.)  I never seem to have much of my own handiwork for myself, and I was hoping to change that in 2012.

It’s unfortunate, but I’ve realized that, in general, I don’t get very excited about making projects for myself.  So far this year, I have six finished projects on Ravelry tagged with “12forself2012.”  Except for the swatches I knit for the knitting instructor certification, everything else is a tiny project I made as part of my exploration of atypical crochet technique (usually ones found in Crochet Master Class) for the Year of Projects.

But that’s all changed.  Yes, I’ve finally made something for myself that I was excited about making, that I love, and that I’ve used every day since I finished it.  (It’s still tiny, and it is still inspired by the Year of Projects, but it way more awesome than the rest!)

My very own double-ended crochet camera pouch.

I had a lot of fun making this little pouch.  (You can see some in progress pictures here.)  I decided to make it pieces, and to alternate the color placement on each side to emphasize different colors.

I think I actually prefer the back.

The pouch was a bit large, so I made a little bubble wrap casing for my camera that fits perfectly inside.

I have the cutest camera pouch around, and it also provides a lot of protection.  How’s that for awesome?  And now I’m actually inspired to make something else cool for myself…

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Return of the double-ended crochet hooks

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

Two weeks ago, I cheated and showed some old double-ended crochet projects instead of sharing something new for my Year of Projects update.  Several people asked about double-ended crochet, so I planned to return to this technique before the end of our year.  And then, I lost my camera case.

Wasn't she pretty?

I never really got my two previous camera case ideas off the ground and I need something with a little extra cushioning.  I decided to go with a double-ended crochet project using some of my bulky stash yarn.

So, for those of you unfamiliar with double-ended crochet, it is also sometimes called Crochet on the Double, Crochenit, or Cro-hooking.  It involves using a double-ended crochet hook (really, two hooks in one) where each hook uses a different yarn.  Mechanically, it is really similar to Tunisian crochet.  It produces a really soft fabric that is reversible and doesn’t curl like Tunisian crochet sometimes does.

Here are a few of my double-ended hooks. From top to bottom, Susan Bates Silvalume, Susan Bates Luxite, and Crochenit with the "stop and go" hook covers.

Although I have a decent collection of double-ended hooks, for actual double-ended crocheting, I prefer to use my Denise interchangeable crochet hooks.  (Side note: If you do a fair amount of Tunisian or double-ended crochet, I strongly recommend that you get a set!  I love my Denise hooks, even though I usually dislike plastic hooks.  You can customize the specific cord length for your project, and you can also use these hooks for knooking, also known as knitting with a crochet hook.)

So for my project, I dug through my yarn stash until I found two bulky yarns that worked well together.

Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (now discontinued) in Thunder. This is actually the yarn I used when I was relearning knitting.
Patons Shetland Chunky Tweed in Charcoal.

These are similar in thickness and the colors work well together.  Even though I don’t think I’ll need to wash my camera case, it is nice that they are easy care yarns.

Then I poked around my bookshelf looking for just the right stitch pattern.

I found a nice textured stitch in Renate Kirkpatrick‘s Crochet Techniques (reviewed here).  I decided to assemble the case in pieces so I could alternate the colors for detailing.

The front piece (right side).
The front piece (wrong side).

I’m still working on the back piece.

I switched the yarn order so the twisted cables are in a different color.
The wrong side of the back piece.

I have a few deadlines in the coming week, but I’m hoping to finish this soon.  I don’t really like the idea of my new camera being naked out in the world (even though my old camera didn’t have a case).  My next step will be to find suitable buttons for closure.  (Yay!)

Since we’re getting close to the last days of the Year of Projects, I’m thinking to count this project towards the aran crochet chapter, too.  After all, it does use cables.

I should have a really cool update about another amazing technique from Crochet Master Class next week because I’ll actually be meeting one of the masters in a few days.  (How’s that for a cliffhanger?)

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Interview with Donna Kay Lacey

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I’m really excited to share an interview today with Donna Kay Lacey.  No, she isn’t featured in Crochet Master Class, but she is the designer I discovered while I was working on the bullion chapter in this book.  (You can find my experiments with her designs here.)

Donna Kay Lacey is an up-and-coming designer who has really embraced the bullion stitch in her work.  You can find her online at her website and blog, on Flickr, and on Ravelry (as donkyl06, on her designer page, and in her group, A New Twist: Creative Crochet Designs by Donna Kay Lacey).   The pictures in this post are used with her permission.


Donna Kay Lacey on Spring Break. (March, 2012 in the Smoky Mountains.)

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?

Donna Kay Lacey (DKL): As a child, my love of crochet was sparked by the many hours I spent watching my Dear Aunt Joyce crochet baby blankets and booties for all of the babies born in our family, as well as all those born in the church. I was amazed at how one continuous length of yarn could be worked into something so beautiful. When I turned 16 and started working, I took my first paycheck and went to the craft store where a purchased yarn, a crochet hook and a how to book. I have been hooked ever since.


Donna Kay Lacey's Valentine Hearts 10" block pattern.

UC: When were you first introduced to the bullion stitch, and how did you come to work with it so often?
DKL: I have always been drawn to intricate stitches. My first glimpse of the bullion stitch was in an old crochet pattern book (circa 1940’s). At that time I did not have the courage to try it. Upon joining Ravelry, I found a few free-form groups where I again saw the bullion stitch. This sparked my interest and in my quest for something unique and interesting, I began experimenting with it.


Donna Kay Lacey's Bloomin' Bullions 9" crochet block.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?
DKL: I join Ravery in Aug of 2011. The first group I joined was Vanna’s Choice Fan Club where I met Margaret MacInnis. This group participates in many swaps where afghan blocks are exchanged. After seeing some of my work, Margaret encouraged me to write out my designs. The first design I wrote out was Bloomin’ Bullions. The design process was really exciting, but there were times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the testing/editing phase. All the hard work paid off and the thrill I got when I started seeing the blocks that others had made from my pattern was awesome! I love to see the joy and pride others have upon completing my patterns. Thanks to Ravelry, I can have direct communication with those working my patterns. I am not only available to help them if there are questions, but I get to hear stories and see photos of what their blocks are being used for. This is truly what inspires me to continue designing.


Donna Kay Lacey's Bullion Tile crochet block pattern.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
DKL: My book collection is quite large and contains a large number of vintage pattern books. I love browsing through them. No matter how many times I look through them, there is always something new that catches my eye. Two of my favorite current books are Crochet Master Class by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss and Basic Crochet Stitches by Erika Knight. I am very fond of stitch dictionaries.  (UC comment: It looks like Donna Kay Lacey and I have similar taste in books!)

UC: Do you have any favorite crafty blogs or websites to share?
DKL: Most of my internet time is spent on Ravelry.


Donna Kay Lacey's Spring Rolls crochet block, part of her Whimsical Wonderland Block-A-Month crochet-a-long.

UC: You host CALs in your Ravelry group, A New Twist. What suggestions do you have for emerging designers for actively engaging crocheters with their patterns?
DKL: Be unique. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box or to bend the ‘rules’ when designing. Always be available for questions or help along the way. I love inspiring people to try new things with their crochet. It is so much fun to see the excitement in them when they accomplish something new. Watching their crochet skills grow along with their enthusiasm of crochet is priceless.


UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
DKL: I am inspired by everything around me. I truly see the world in yarn. I am currently working on a project involving vegetable inspired blocks. The first block I designed for this project was the Kale block. One day I stumbled upon a seed catalog and happened to see a sketch of a beautiful Kale plant and instantly wondered if I could duplicate its beauty in yarn.

Donna Kay Lacey's Kale crochet block pattern, along with her inspiration.

It received such great acceptance that I started on the Artichoke Block.

Donna Kay Lacey's Artichoke block, along with her inspiration.


UC: Do you have any news you’d like to share?
DKL: My first published design, Bullion Beach Blanket, will be in the Summer 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet. It is due to hit the newsstands June 12, 2012, but the preview can be found here. I was very excited because this was my first time to even submit a design to a magazine. I was thrilled when they accepted my submission!

Donna Kay Lacey's Bullion Beach Blanket pattern. Photo (c) Harper Point/Interweave Crochet.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Donna!  It was a pleasure to interview you.  

If these patterns are inspiring you to learn the bullion stitch, check out Donna Kay Lacey’s bullion stitch photo tutorial or video tutorial.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Double-ended crochet (a cheat)

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

This week, I haven’t had time to work on a new project based on one of the techniques highlighted in Crochet Master Class, so I decided to dig through some older photographs to find my first two experiments with double-ended crochet.

Darla Fanton is the featured crochet master, and she is actually the one I learned the technique from – indirectly, of course, through a pattern booklet.  I made these two scarves using the double-ended basic stitch.

This was my first version, using Bernat Lana.
You can see that on one side, more denim is visible, while on the other side, more natural is visible.

After getting the basics down, I tried a second version as a “skinny scarf.”  For this one, I used three strands of each color and I believe it was about 85 inches long.

I sold both scarves during the winter of 2010 when I had a table at several craft fairs.  My younger sister was modeling in these pictures (I planned to list the scarves on Etsy if they didn’t sell at the fairs).  Apparently, I didn’t save the pictures before editing them, which is why her face isn’t shown.  Oh well.

FO Friday: Mother’s Day Shawl and other fun stuff

A few weeks ago, I shared a picture of a pineapple shawl I decided to design and make for my Mom seven days before Mother’s Day.  (Cue up the “What were you thinking??” comments from the peanut gallery.)

This is how it looked on May 8 (4 days before Mother's Day).

I wasn’t sure if I would finish it on time, and I didn’t even know if my mom would like the bright color.  The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I went out to my mom’s and had a secret late night consult with my sister, who assured me it would look great on my mom.  (I had previously been informed by a co-worker who is my mom’s age and has met my mom a few times that it would be loved because “chartreuse is the new black.”)

So, I powered through and was able to finish the shawl a few minutes after midnight, just in time for Mother’s Day.

Here's a secret picture I took of the shawl in the morning on my Mom's couch before giving it to her.

Here’s the stitch detail.

I’m happy to say that my mom loved the shawl!  Even though it was pretty hot out that day, she found a way to wear it with style.

I’m glad I went with my gut on this one, and thanks to everyone who encouraged me to keep going with the color.  This is definitely way better than whatever weird last minute gift I would have had to buy.

This project was my first time I’ve used a madelinetosh yarn (tosh merino light).  The color is really lovely and my mom didn’t believe it was wool because it was so soft.  On the other hand, there were a few spots with little felted bits of yarn that I had to cut out.  Also, there was a lot of twist that made it not always fun to work with, but that may be due to the way it was wound in the shop.  There are more pictures and notes on my Ravelry project page.

I also finished the sample of my Wide Ripple Scarf pattern in Periwinkle last week.

My tall friend was kind enough to pose for this finished object picture.

This is a sample for a pattern booklet that will be published by F+W Media and distributed at Joann Fabric and Craft Stores.  I used Bamboo Ewe in Periwinkle.  My Rav project page is here.

And, I finished two small projects for myself which I shared on Sunday for my Year of Projects update.  But just in case you missed the pictures, I’ll share them again.

This is a small trivet made with embroidery floss using the "painted crochet" technique of changing colors.

This project definitely encouraged me to use up more embroidery floss for crochet.

This is a coaster/trivet made using hairpin lace.

Since this round of the Year of Projects ends on June 30, I have quite a few more techniques from Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters that I’m trying to learn and work on before then.

My Ravelry project page for the painted crochet trivet is here and you can find the page for the hairpin lace coaster/trivet here.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Hairpin Lace Coaster

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

Before I tell you all about my hairpin lace adventures, let me just show you my painted crochet trivet after I blocked it.

And now on to the hairpin lace.  You may recall that I’m not overly excited by the look of hairpin lace.  Nonetheless, hairpin lace is a chapter in Crochet Master Class and I have two hairpin lace looms at home.  When I left for my vacation on Monday, I packed my Clover Hair Pin Lace Tool, Learn to Do Hairpin Lace, the May/June 2012 issue of Crochet Today! (with a hairpin lace tutorial), and the Hairpin Lace Coaster tutorial and pattern by Ferosa Harold.

I tossed a partially used ball of Lily Sugar’n Cream in Faded Denim into my suitcase, intending to make yet another trivet.  And then… all of these things sat in my bag for my entire trip.  On Wednesday night, when I was packing to come home, I realized that I had to try the hairpin lace, if only because I had carried the supplies to Pennsylvania.

It might be because I was exhausted and it was late at night, but I found both Learn to Do Hairpin Lace and Marly Bird‘s tutorial in the May/June 2012 issue of Crochet Today! incomprehensible.  If you were outside of my room that night, you would have heard a lot of “Turn it how?”  “What the…??” “Flip it which way?” coming through the door.  I decided to give Ferosa Harold’s tutorial a try.  And suddenly, it all made sense.

Me trying to get 48 loops onto the loom. It was a snug fit.

I didn’t notice this on the package until the next day.


Here’s my hairpin lace “strip” joined into a circle.

My first hairpin lace coaster, partially completed.

At this point, the coaster was looking super ruffled.  I assume this is because I used yarn (intending to make a trivet) instead of thread (for a coaster).  Since it was now after midnight and I still had to pack, I decided to restart with half the number of loops after check out the next morning.

Why yes, those are my jeans in the background. By now I was in Swarthmore, waiting for the LYS to open so I could visit on my way back to New York.

This one seemed a more appropriate length.  But then, disaster struck.

I called this my Mobius coaster on Ravelry. You can see at the top where I twisted the strip when joining it.

(Project page here.)  At this point, it just seemed ridiculous to start again – I mean, it’s a trivet, not a fitted sweater.  The point of this exercise was to learn to do hairpin lace, which was definitely accomplished.  So I followed the pattern through to the end.

I would definitely recommend Ferosa Harold’s tutorial if you’d like to learn hairpin lace.  There are step-by-step photos (for right- and left-handers), it’s free, and you can make a small project in a very short time.

As for me, I’m not sure how I feel about hairpin lace.  I prefer the look in circular objects like this trivet, but I’m still not sure it is worth the effort.  It’s true that it is quite simple to do (once you figure out what the heck you’re doing!), but it is fairly monotonous and the loom is a bit cumbersome.  The idea of making a hairpin lace blanket like Yarn Berry is doing kind of makes me want to run screaming for the hills.  And yet, I’m sure I can find a good use for this skill now that I have it.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Painted crochet finale

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I just have a quick update today, since I’m packing after celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom to get ready for my vacation.  I finally finished my painted crochet trivet!

When you last saw my trivet, it looked like this:

I was trying to decide what to do next after running out of the orange I started with before the orange and red round.

I ended up choosing a relatively dark orange and a red from the collection of solid embroidery floss I had on hand.

You can see that the orange and red are different than the other colors I used.


Then I did another round with both strands of red.

Yep, I ran out again.

I really wanted to end as I started, with rounds of double crochet instead of single.  But I just didn’t have enough of the embroidery floss.  At this point, I just said to myself, “This is a trivet, not a wearable.  Just finish the thing already.”

You can see the last few stitches are in another red.

I still have to weave in the ends and block it.  (Yes, I am blocking a trivet.  It’s for me and I want it to look right!  With all the different threads, stitches, and tensions I combined as I tried to make a rainbow of color on this trivet, it ruffled quite a bit.)

So, what did I learn about painted crochet from this experience?  Well, it is much easier to do than it looks.  Basically it is just a matter of holding multiple strands of a thread, embroidery floss, or thin yarn to make slow color effects.

On the other hand, it requires a fair amount of planning, since the impact of the color changes is dependent on you have the right amounts for each color change.  I don’t see myself using the technique frequently because I don’t really like buying a lot of supplies which are mostly unused.  But I definitely will be making some more scrappy trivets with my embroidery floss – I have way too much and so rarely embroider.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Hairpin Lace?

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I mentioned in my post for Day 6 of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week that hairpin lace is one of the crochet skills I want to learn.  As I’ve been thinking more about it, I realized that it’s a skill I think I should learn, but not something that I actually want to learn.  I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but Stitched Together’s post crystalized it for me: I am more interested in learning a new skill when I have a project that I’m interested in making.  While many people love the look of hairpin lace, in general I’m not that excited by it.  At best, my reaction to most hairpin lace patterns is, “That’s nice, but I would never wear that (and therefore don’t want to be bothered to learn to make it).”

On the other hand, I do want to dive into a new skill from Crochet Master Class, and hairpin lace seemed like the natural choice since I’ve never done it but I do have the special equipment.  Earlier this week, I spent quite some time perusing Ravelry’s pattern library until I finally found a hairpin lace pattern I could actually imagine myself making.  By a strange coincidence, it’s the Hairpin Lace Coaster pattern by Ferosa Harold, the featured crochet master in the painted crochet chapter.

Oh right. I never finished the painted crochet trivet. D'oh!

I guess this means I’ll have a set of Ferosa Harold inspired hotpads (presuming that I actually finish them both).

Since I’ve successfully avoided hairpin lace for so long, I thought it would be fun to try out a few resources.  At some point in the next few weeks, I will sequester myself with Learn to Do Hairpin Lace, the May/June 2012 issue of Crochet Today!, and my Kindle Fire, which I’ve already pre-loaded with several hairpin lace tutorials.