Friday, October 31, 2014

Special Friday Focus: Ann D'Angelo

Happy Halloween! I hope y'all have something fun planned tonight. I'm excited to dress up as a hippie and dance the night away with my very close friend Nicki. Have you been getting into the Halloween spirit? I've got just the thing to help you out. Ann D'Angelo is an awesome indie designer. I actually had her over for a Friday Focus before, but since today is Halloween and she's so awesomely amazing I felt like sharing more of her patterns with you. They fit the day very well :) Enjoy!






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Few Fashion Sightings

I've been working on a few secret projects and patterns lately. I'm really excited about them and it's hard to keep them to myself! I love sharing what I'm doing here on the blog but it will just have to wait. In the meantime, here are two crochet sightings I had recently while shopping. 


I spotted this tapestry style crochet bag in a store window. Can you imagine the amount of work it must have taken? I truly hope that the maker was paid a fair wage for their work.


Here's a granny style crochet bag I saw at Nordstrom Rack. I thought it might be imitation crochet at first but when I got up close to it I could see the stitches. Crochet really has come back in style. It's great! In fact, crochet has been showing up on the runway a lot lately. Have you spotted some crochet out and about? Send a pic on over and I'll share it here! You can always email me at illuminatecrochet@gmail.com.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet As Honey Celebration!

Guess what? My Sweet As Honey baby set pattern has reached 500 favorites on Ravelry! That is so exciting!


Originally published in July of 2013, this pattern is still my most popular and a best-seller. Thanks go out to all of you who have supported me as in independent designer by blogging about, pinning, and purchasing this pattern.

Look forward to many fun patterns from me in the days to come. I hope that one day I can hit 1000 favorites!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Remix Friday: Circles Scarf

Happy Friday! How was your week? Mine was fantastic and I'm looking forward to a wonderful weekend. If you're looking for a way to spice up your projects on your days off, I'd advise you not to underestimate the power of embellishments. What are embellishments? Embellishments are small details that are added to a project to give them a nice finishing touch. A few examples of embellishments are buckles, appliques, beads, ribbon, fringe, pom poms, and buttons. Today's Remix Friday project shows how the right embellishment can really bring out the best in your work.

The Crocheter
[I'm] Kathleen Schorin. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my husband. I have two college age kids attending the local University of Michigan right in town. I have been knitting and crocheting ever since I was about 8. I have a huge stash of yarn stored in at least 30 large, clear Rubbermaid bins in my basement. I love collecting yarn even though I have enough to last a lifetime! I like to make smaller projects...scarves, cowls, socks, hats and give them away as gifts. I don't have the patience to knit a sweater. I like to take a ball of yarn and turn it into something. Once I see how it turns out, I'm ready to move on to the next project.

The Original Pattern
Circles Scarf by Linda Permann

The Story
I first saw the pattern in a magazine, a crochet scarf designed with an interesting technique using self-striping Noro yarn.

The Remix
While I love Noro sock yarn, I didn't exactly like how it worked up in this pattern so I chose a solid color yarn in a heavier, sport weight...DROPS Alpaca. I also have a large button stash so I used different sized shell buttons to accent the bottom 6 rows on each end and was pretty happy with how it turned out. The buttons were purchased from the Button Lady, a wonderful eclectic antique store in Dixboro, MI. I mailed the gift off to a recently retired coworker hoping she will like it.





Crochet is... quick, creative, relaxing

I think those buttons bring so much fun and life to the scarf. Great color choice for the yarn, too. Thank you for sharing your project with us today, Kathleen!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina


The Good
This book was a gift from my awesome friend Sooz. Love the cover! This book is a gorgeous intersection of math, art, nature, history, and crochet. It is really informative and fascinating. There are many pictures littered throughout the book. Math enthusiasts will especially enjoy the detailed explanations of advanced concepts and their real world presence/applications. I knew that hyperbolic crochet was present in lettuce and sea life, but there my knowledge ended. I'm so glad I now have this book to reference with its many examples. If you're looking for a wonderfully nerdy crochet read you've found it in this book.

The Bad
Because it is a bit elevated in its language and subject matter, the book and the projects may not be accessible to everyone. Hyperbolic crochet is fairly simple in practice. In fact, it's a great beginner's project! The way the projects are presented in this book is very unlike most standard written crochet patterns. It may have been helpful to include a few simple written patterns for those overwhelmed by the math.

The Verdict
On a scale of yes to no, this book is a yes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Yarn, Glorious Yarn!

I have some truly amazing fiber friends that I've made at my two weekly knit/crochet gatherings. I love that fiber arts brings people together who may not have met otherwise. Today I want to talk to you about my friend Toni, her talents, and her amazingly kind and generous heart.

Here is beautiful Toni standing by several of her adorable knitted bears. Toni is an accomplished knitter and an avid collector of yarn. She's also a wonderful friend who I have a lot in common with.

 Look at her well-stocked fiber library! Toni can both knit and crochet but generally prefers knitting, especially socks. In this picture you can see her knitted clowns, juggling balls, and lizards. 

She really is serious about her sock knitting. She's put years of work into perfecting her techniques, and as you can see the results are well worth it.

Just look at this cute stack of foot outlines! What lucky family members she has.

Here is the great view from the apartment that Toni lives in with her husband and two dogs.

Toni isn't just a yarn collector, she's a yarn connoisseur. She has excellent taste and buys only beautiful, special yarn.

This past Thursday I was invited to Toni's home for a special reason... she wanted me to help her de-stash! She felt like she had reached STABLE (stash above and beyond life expectancy) so she wanted to share the love with me and support my design career. She let me pick from each box! I know right?! It's like the clouds opened up and the yarn gods rained their joy upon me. I still feel like I can't possibly deserve such kindness. Thank you so very much, Toni! The yarn will be well used. Just take a look at this...

Wow. WOW! Look at all of this gorgeous yarn! Doesn't it just make you want to cry? The design gears are already turning in my brain as I think about what patterns to write with my new wealth of materials. I may also review the yarns for you as I use them.




Thank you times a billion, Toni! And yes, one day I will pay it forward. Yay, yarn!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Remix Friday: Tiramisu Scarf

A great feature of crochet is it's adaptability. With a little know-how and some creativity you can borrow elements from different projects and bring them together in a new way. You can take a stitch pattern and run with it in the way that you see fit. You can take a larger project and turn into a smaller one, which is just what today's Remix is all about. Alice saw a pattern she liked and tailored it to her own needs.

The Crocheter
Hi! My name is Alice, I'm a cognitive neuroscientist with a creative bent. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was very small, and I learned to knit early in grad school, and picked up weaving to de-stress during my dissertation. I love alpacas and alpaca fiber. My very favorite yarn to both dye and craft with is a 70% alpaca / 30% silk blend from Henry's Attic, and it's just heavenly.

The Original Pattern
Tiramisu Baby Blanket by Alicia Paulson

The Story 
It started as a baby blanket for a graduate student friend who was expecting. The Tiramisu pattern is just gorgeous, so I figured I'd work up the bulk of the blanket in it, and then add some cute granny squares around the edges. Baby blankets are best with very fine holes, so baby doesn't get fingers or toes stuck in it, so I used a small hook and worked pretty densely. However, I usually make light and fluffy scarves in big lacy patterns, or cowls in bulky yarn, so a dense baby blanket, in worsted, all in the same stitch... I was SO bored about 5 inches in. Sadly, a 5" x 30" strip of dense crochet is not useful for much.

The Remix
I had recently learned that you can block acrylic by steaming it. It's not quite like blocking wool, because acrylic-blocking involves a wee bit of melting, so it's permanent. I pinned out the 5" of blanket as far as it would go, steamed, pinned again, steamed, and it expanded by quite a bit. The stitch looked very different as a lace, and made a perfect scarf.






Crochet is...  relaxing, colorful, creative

Such a cute scarf and what a great way to reinvent a project to make it work for you. Bravo, Alice! You can find some neat yarn that she hand-dyes in her Etsy shop. Thank you for joining us today, Alice!