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

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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 – Interview with Donna Kay Lacey

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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 – Bullion stitch blocks finale

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

I missed my YOP post last week (only the second time I’ve done that), and that was a real bummer.  But today I’m back with some more bullion stitch blocks!  These will be going to the Binky Patrol in Arizona by way of the Crochetlist April charity challenge.

This one was really fun.  I used the Granny’s Gone Bull-istic pattern by Donna Kay Lacey.  As you can probably tell, it’s a variation on the standard granny square patterns using bullions instead of double crochets.  She is a really inventive designer, and if you are at all interested in the bullion stitch, you should check out her tutorial, which is available as a free Ravelry download.  I think my bullions have become much more even as a result.

And, I decided this exploration of the bullion chapter wouldn’t be complete until I made a few squares by the featured crochet master, Bonnie Pierce.

This is her Amazing Grace pattern.

And this is her Katie’s Bliss pattern.

I had a lot of fun with these and I’m definitely going to be playing around more with the bullion stitch.  I can see why the freeform folks love it so much.

I’m up to 38 (!) six inch squares to donate, so I’m rushing off to make two more.  I figure since I’m this close to 40, I should just make two more before I mail out the box tomorrow.

FO Friday: Grannies on parade

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I finished up nine granny squares this week to donate to the Crochetlist April charity challenge, the Binky Patrol in Arizona.  These were all made with acrylic stash yarns.  Since the squares need to be 6 inches, I’ve made minor modifications to each pattern to adjust the size.

The first two grannies are from The Granny Square Book by Margaret Hubert (reviewed by me here).

This is The Jeannine Square.  I added another round of single crochet.

This is the Blooming Granny.  Both of these patterns also appear in The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet.  I made a few modifications to the final row of the pattern and then added three extra rounds.

You may recognize the next square I finished.

I shared this one in my post on Sunday.

This was one of the bullion squares I was working on as part of my Year of Projects goal.  I used the first four rounds of the Hybrid Peas pattern by Margaret MacInnis and then added a half double crochet border.

My next block is from Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook by Ellen Gormley (reviewed by me here).

I used the Star Power block and added three more rounds.  I think this pattern is super cute, and since it doesn’t have a photo in Ravelry yet, I will probably need to make another one.  You know, just to do my part :).

The next three blocks have been sitting around in my stash since 2007 and originated from patterns in 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton.  I kind of forgot about these blocks after I moved, and they were just rescued from their hibernation in plastic sleeves over the weekend!

The first two blocks were originally intended to be part of a gift for my aunt.  I later decided she wasn’t crochet worthy :).

This was actually a finished Willow block, but I unraveled a few rounds and then used two single crochet rounds to square it off at 6 inches.

This block started as the Tricolor Square, but it was also too large.  I unraveled a few rounds and then finished it with a round of single crochet.

I originally made the next block after I finished the CYC Certified Instructor Program in Crochet to keep in my teaching portfolio.  This one started out as the Coffee and Cream pattern.

Once I started going through my teaching materials, I found this partially completed granny square I made during a granny square class last year.  I added a few rounds to finish it off.

And, finally, since I tried to make a project from as many of the books in my granny square collection as possible this week :), I made this version of Motif 100 from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs (reviewed by me here) by Edie Eckman yesterday morning on the way to work.

Overall, these grannies have been nice diversions in a stressful week, where I worked until past 8 p.m. every night (usually 10-11 hours a day).  I don’t think tomorrow or Saturday will be any better.  But it is comforting to know that I’m slowly dwindling my stash while making something fun for a good cause.  Since I’m not making a blanket, I don’t have to stress about coordinating colors.  My guess is that these blocks will ultimately make their way into several different Binky Patrol blankets.

Also, thanks to everyone who shared their opinion about where to host a 365 project.  The general consensus is that Flickr is the best option since I plan to use a camera and not my phone (Instagram was a close second).  Once things slow down, I’ll set up on Flickr.  (And yes, I have been taking my daily photos.)

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bullion stitch blocks, week 4, and more

This post contains affiliate links.

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

After weeks of ignoring my bullion stitch blocks, I finished one up on Friday.

My six inch bullion block.

Originally, my plan was to donate several bullion stitch blocks to Heartmade Blessings for the Crochetlist March 2012 charity challenge.  But after the unraveling fiasco when I learned that I couldn’t use black yarn, I wasn’t very motivated to restart my blocks.  This month’s Crochetlist charity is the Binky Patrol in Arizona, and the blocks are only supposed to be six inches.  So I actually had to pull out a few rows of this block to get it to the right size.  The pattern, Hybrid Peas by Margaret MacInnis, is way more exciting than this square would suggest, but a lot of the fun happens in the next few rows.

I also got a new camera yesterday!

I couldn’t capture the camera itself in the picture, so I hope the box will do.

Since I’ve been blogging, sharing one camera at home has become a challenge.  I take most of my photos outdoors on the way to and from work or during the day, and that means that either I can’t take pictures when I need to or that MC can never have access to the camera during the day time.  After a bit of research, I bought the Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS on sale at Best Buy yesterday.  It is super tiny, which is great for my little hands.

Now how does this all relate to Year of Projects?  Well, one of my long standing WIPs is the camera case I started during the freeform class I took with Margaret Hubert.

This flower was intended to be the focal point for the case.

I never got too excited by the project because I have been thinking about buying a new camera for a while.

Here is an intermeshing swatch that will potentially be part of a camera case.

So hopefully by next week, I will have finished my new camera case (which will go over the store bought camera case I got so the camera could have some extra cushioning).  I still haven’t completely decided what to do about the rainbow trivet I started last week, but I’d like to have two finished projects to share.