Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Focus: Britni Husband

It's Friday! That means it's time to celebrate another clever crocheter. This Friday I want to focus on someone whose imaginative work caught my eye on Reddit: Britni Husband. If you like fantasy and/or amigurumi, you simply must take a look! The amigurumi patterns she has written and hooked up are very expressive and detailed. She is an incredibly talented woman and I am very happy to feature her today.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it? Why do you crochet?
My aunt taught me how to crochet as a teenager. I crochet because I enjoy the creation process. I have many creative hobbies - drawing, painting, sculpting, crochet, knitting, sewing, etc. you name it - if it’s creative- I love it. 

At the beginning of this year I stumbled across a pattern for a really cute crochet bunny. I decided to make it thinking they would be fun Easter gifts for my kids. After I finished it, my middle son asked me to make him a Stormtrooper so I started searching for a pattern. I couldn’t find one that was what I wanted so I decided to try one from scratch. I made notes as I went and my first crochet pattern was born. People started asking for the pattern so I organized my notes and published it.

I am a stay at home mom due to the fact that I have a little girl with multiple disabilities resulting from a stroke. I am always trying to find ways to earn extra money in hopes of getting additional therapy for her (she is non-verbal, legally blind and has no way to communicate at present) as well as starting a trust fund for her in the event anything happens to me. The patterns seemed like a good outlet to try to earn a little extra money so I began designing more and publishing them on Craftsy, Ravelry & Etsy. I currently have 12 patterns published. The most popular right now are Hobby the House Elf and Rooti the Mandrake Seedling inspired by Harry Potter characters as well as the Stormtrooper and Darth Vader.

Crochet favorites?
My favorite yarn site is The Yarn Barn which is my affiliate of  Yarn Paradise. I love a good deal and they are the best deal for yarn. I enjoy lots of different sites – Ravelry and Reddit r/crochet are among two of my favorites for crochet.

What are you working on right now? What is your next project?
I am currently working on a couple more Harry Potter inspired patterns – The Howler and The Cornish Pixie. I just finished the first of a new series of patterns called Little Hero. This one is Little Hero – Firefighter. He was inspired by the recent Oklahoma tornadoes and the firefighters who worked so hard on rescue, one of which is my brother.

I welcome suggestions on characters people want to see. Just recently, I published the Deku Scrub from Legend of Zelda based off such a request.

A few finished objects...
Hobby the House Elf – Suggested to me by my older daughter who is an huge Harry Potter fan, Hobby was my first big challenge. He is one of my most popular patterns and I have sold several custom plush as well.


Rooti the Mandrake Seedling – I like to do designs that are uncommon. The mandrake is really only a minor character in Harry Potter but so unique. It was fun creating a so ugly it's cute character! The pattern is available for him and I have a Mandrake Nursery in my Etsy store, The Specialty Shoppe where I sell custom Mandrake Seedlings complete with adoption papers in my Mandrake Nursery.


Boxer Bunny - Boxer Bunny was originally designed as a gift for a young lady battling breast cancer. The boxing motif is meant to represent the ongoing fight against breast cancer. The finished bunny stands about ten inches tall and the pattern includes instructions for the bunny, boxing gloves, robe and headband.


Britni is clearly an artist to follow! I have to admit, my personal favorite is the Deku Scrub. You can find Britni's patterns and more on Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and Facebook.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured on a Friday Focus, don't hesitate to let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Homespun Granny Square Baby Blanket

Ah, Homespun. Both a gift and a curse to crochet. This yarn makes a nice finished product that is soft, attractive, glossy, and best of all quite washable! It is ideal for blankets and baby projects for those reasons. However...it is such a pain to work with! The zigzag texture of the yarn is created by a thin thread that is wrapped around the body of the yarn. This thread's main goal in life is to impede the process by getting caught on your crochet hook. Ugh! For me, it's always a struggle weighing the pros and cons of using Homespun.

Having been gifted three skeins by a family friend, I decided to use the yarn in a traditional granny square baby blanket. The simplicity of the blanket made working with the yarn a little less hellish.


To make a traditional granny square, start by forming a ring - chain four and slip stitch together. Alternatively you could use a magic circle, which I prefer and will explain in another post. Chain 3 to count as the first double crochet. Next do 2 double crochet stitches into the ring. Chain 2, 3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet. Complete the first round with a slip stitch into the top of the turning chain. You should have something that looks roughly like this:

Congratulations! You have completed the most difficult part of the granny square. It's true! Next, do two slip stitches across your first two double crochet stitches. Time for round two! Chain 3, do 2 dc into the first corner chain space, chain 2, do 3 more dc into the same corner chain. Chain 1. Into the next corner chain, do 3dc, chain 2, 3dc, then ch 1 again. Finish the round in this manner until you reach your turning chain, then slip stitch to join. Simply slip stitch across the first two dc of the second round, chain 3 again to count as the first dc, and off you go! Every time you reach a corner do 3dc+ch2+3dc+ch1, and every time you reach a ch 1 space do 3dc+ch1. Slip stitch across at the end of each row then round and round and round you go! You can make the blanket as big or as small as you like.



I gave this blanket to a friend of mine for her newborn son. It was well received, and she even used it as a photo prop in her son's professional baby pictures. What an honor!

Happy stitching!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Northwest Folklife Festival

This weekend I visited the Northwest Folklife Festival, a free event that takes place every year here in Seattle. While there I enjoyed delightfully greasy festival food, interesting booths selling a variety of goods, and free music of all sorts. I barely scratched the surface of what was available, to be honest. It is still going on today if you are in the area and have yet to check it out!

While I was there I also spotted some cool crochet that I want to share with you. Thanks to those kind folks for letting me take their picture!







Awesome! Crochet has been really popular this year in the fashion world. It's nice to see it finally getting the recognition it deserves! Although knit fabrics are undoubtedly versatile and popular, I sometimes get irritated when society at large assumes that everything made of yarn is 'knit' and refers to it as such. Crochet is beautiful and an art in its own right, so get out there with me and practice/wear your crochet proudly!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Focus: Katie

Each Friday here on Illumination I will be featuring a fabulous crocheter whose work I enjoy. For my very first Friday Focus I wanted to shine a light on a close friend of mine, miss Katie! Katie and I have been friends for almost eight years. We were roommates in college and she even officiated my wedding! Most importantly, Katie is the one who taught me to crochet during my senior year of college. I owe her many thanks for many hours of entertainment and satisfaction. Here is what she had to share with you.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it? 
My mom taught me how to crochet when I was in 8th grade. So it's been about 13 years since I've learned, there were a couple of years when I stopped doing it for a while. Then I really started again in college, and that's when I really got into it and started experimenting with different patterns and stitches other than a chevron blanket. Although, I still made a couple of those in that time :)

Why do you crochet?
Generally, I crochet for fun. I'll see something I like online and make it. I have a huge queue on Ravelry, there are just so many things I want to try. I also make little animals as gifts for people. I recently made a couple of cats for some coworkers, and an elephant for my fiance's co-worker who recently had a baby.

Favorites
I love Ravelry. It has helped me keep track of what I've made, and what I want to make. 

What are you working on right now? What is your next project?
I have a bunch of stash yarn that I need to use up, so I am trying to do a blanket. The problem is I keep finding new stitches and patterns that I want to try so I keep starting different blankets. I think I have 3 going right now.

A few finished objects...
These are some snowmen that I made for a group of co-workers. I really like how they turned out especially how all of their faces are different. It's a really simple pattern. I recommend the pattern for anyone needing to make a bunch of little gifts, they work up pretty quickly.  


This is a cat throw I made for fun. This was the first blanket/throw that wasn't my usual chevron pattern. It's a bunch of granny squares all stitched together. It was a fun project, and I guess I'm technically not finished yet. I still have to weave in the ends, but I hate doing that! 


This is Tintin, I made this for my fiance a couple of years ago because he loves Tintin! This was my first project that I didn't use a pattern for, so it was quite frustrating.


Isn't Tintin adorable? I saw him in person and was really impressed. Watching Katie crochet and seeing all of the cool stuff that she made inspired me to begin crocheting myself. Thank you, friend! I am privileged to have you as Illumination's first Friday Focus! If you would like to see more of Katie's work, you can visit her Ravelry page

If you or someone you know would like to be featured on a Friday Focus, let me know in the comments. Happy stitching!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Learning the Acrobatic Stitch

I am currently in the process of stash busting. There is a lot of anonymous yarn hanging out in my bin that I would like to work through before I go wild selecting new yarns. Among the fray was a skein of lavender yarn of unknown material with a neon green 99¢ price tag on it. It seems like it was probably a gift that was purchased at a thrift store, and it was pleading with me to finally use it. I answered its call!

I have found that the best way to learn new stitches is to practice them repetitively...and what is more repetitive than a scarf?! Thus my acrobatic stitch scarf was born.

 

The piece turned out nice and airy, a perfect early spring sort of scarf. The stitch itself wasn't too difficult to do. It has a delicate look to it, so I wouldn't recommend using a hook size over 5mm if you want your item to be lacy.


 I followed this stitch using a stitch dictionary, but if you do a Google search there are several free examples and tutorials that come up right away. My scarf required some light blocking. I highly recommend this stitch if you want a fast project because it grows quickly. If you can chain, double crochet, and triple crochet, you can do this stitch. Give it a try!