Friday, August 30, 2013

Lullaby Baby Set

Hello there, yarnies. I'm sorry to report that there won't be a Friday Focus today. I took a little too long to get the ball rolling on a couple of designers I was interested in, so there wasn't adequate time given to expect a response from them by Thursday night. Not to worry! Friday Focus will be back next week and I've got several amazing designers lined up.

The day is not a total loss. In fact, a little greedy part of me is actually a bit happy that I get to post my own work today...perhaps I subconsciously neglected the Friday Focus? In any case, what I have to share with you today is a brand new pattern! I'm really proud and excited to share it with you. May I present the Lullaby Baby Set.


Although the pattern uses basic stitches and could be accomplished by a beginner, the appliques were an intense amount of work to both design and attach. When I was finished I truly felt triumphant. Those who make this set are sure to take pride in their work.


The blanket shows a musically accurate version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in the key of G. When I first began designing crochet patterns I knew I wanted to make a baby blanket based on sheet music. It took me a little while to decide which song to go with. Another strong contender was Ode to Joy (for your little bundle of joy!), but I ultimately went with Mozart over Beethoven and selected this children's classic. Did you know that Mozart formally arranged Twinkle, Twinkle at one point? I didn't before I wrote this set! I stumbled across that little tidbit while I was deciding which key and meter to put it in.




A few of my appliques ended up a little tipsy, but I think it gives my blanket character. The pattern is available on Ravelry. Special thanks go out to my incredible pattern tester who whipped up her sample in less than a week! She is super duper speedy, I really don't know how she does it. Keep a look out for her upcoming project page on Ravelry. She said that the colors she chose reminded her of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Cute!

Stayed tuned to Illuminate Crochet, folks. Next week we will resume our usual broadcast schedule!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Honey Just Got A Bit Sweeter

Remember my Sweet As Honey Set? I have some fun news! I showed a picture of it to a very dear friend of mine. Apparently her boyfriend's father has begun to keep bees. How awesome! We need more bees and it's wonderful to hear about people who are looking into beekeeping as a hobby. She and her boyfriend commissioned me to make a scarf based on the Sweet As Honey Pattern for his birthday. Yikes! I was a bit nervous about trying to modify a pattern meant for babies into something wearable by a grown man, but I think I did a pretty good job.



If you like the look of a blanket pattern, chances are you can turn it into a scarf by shortening it and/or adding fewer rows. I really like to snoop through the projects pages of patterns on Ravelry because chances are that someone out there has come up with an ingenious secondary use. Hats become purses, shawls become ponchos, and blankets become scarves. Never be afraid of bending a pattern to your will and making it fit your needs.

By the way, I was lucky enough to receive a picture of the happy recipient and even got permission to post it here. Makes my day :) Happy Hooking!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sometimes You Just Gotta Put Stuff On Your Head

I really like doilies and motifs. They embody all of the best things about crochet - it's light feeling, airy stitches, and beautiful stitch combinations. However, I have no idea what I would do with a doily after finishing it because I don't have any place to set a doily where it would be safe from little cat claws. Motifs are great...until you realize you need to make about a million of them to finish your blanket/table runner/curtain. Even so, I wanted to practice motif making. I chose one I liked from a book and whipped it up with some yarn that's been sitting around forever. When it was finished I decided to put it on my head.


I finished out my project by turning the motif into a hat. It has kind of a hippie or patchwork feel.




It's pretty unusual, but I like it. Have you ever done something unexpected with a doily or motif? I've seen wedding dresses made out of them! I've also seen folks use very large yarn to make them into rugs. I'm going to keep brainstorming new and exciting ways to use them.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Focus: Trish

I can't believe another week has gone by so quickly! I've been hard at work on a new pattern that I hope to publish in early September. Pattern writing is such a fun and challenging process and becoming a crochet designer is hard work! One of the best things about it is that I'm in good company. There are so many incredible designers coming up with new ideas every day. You know who has some great patterns/tutorials? Today's featured designer, Trish of Genuine Mudpie. Her imaginative objects are both whimsical and pretty. She prefers to post tutorials rather than formal patterns because she likes to focus on the creation and then share the method freely.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it? 
My mom taught me to crochet when I was 8 for a Girl Guides project. That means I've been crocheting for 20+ years!!

Why do you crochet?
It's relaxing, straightforward, and rewarding. I can easily undo stitches and correct mistakes, and it works up much quicker than knitting. I do wish I had more patience for knitting though. 

Crochet Favorites
I love designs by Doris Chan. I'm also a big fan of Twinkie Chan and her super cute food-themed accessories. My favorite yarns at the moment are the trusty Caron Simply Soft and the gorgeous yet affordable Mary Maxim Prism.

What are you working on right now? What is your next project?   
I'm working on the Masonry Jacket, hopefully finishing it before fall arrives. [My next project is] my friend Amy's B(ias)³ scarf! :D

A few finished objects...
Katsu the Ninja Squirrel: Katsu was created for my sister to take with her to Hong Kong (she was studying there for a year). The tutorial includes instruction on how to make Katsu a felt messenger bag for his ninja stars. It's tiny but it's a pretty elaborate pattern so I'm quite proud of it :)


Sherbert the Tiny Yeti: The idea for Sherbert came during one of the biggest snow storms last year. He was very easy to make so I thought I would share the pattern. 

Pastel Dress: Aside from tiny plushes and simple accessories I've also ventured into writing patterns for simple garments. This was inspired by a chiffon dress I saw at American Apparel. The top half is crocheted with thread and the skirt is sewn. I'm wearing it to a wedding in the fall! :D


So cute! Trish has a bunch of delightful patterns and tutorials here. She's also on Ravelry, and my personal favorite pattern is this one. She also has tons of adorable tiny food patterns. Thank you for sharing your work with us today, Trish!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crochet Communities

I love the internet. It's safe to say that I'm addicted to it. When I say I'm addicted to the internet, I'm not really talking about checking my email, playing flash games, or social networking. What really tickles my fancy is the wide variety of resources available on every topic imaginable. The internet has helped me to unclog a sink (all I needed to do was remove and clean the P joint!), practice foreign languages, learn about new scientific discoveries, understand perspectives different from my own, and so much more.

When crochet first emerged it spread from person to person, parent to child, instructor to learner. Eventually crochet books and patterns became more widely available, but access to them was still limited by a number of factors. In my opinion, the internet is one of the best things to happen to the craft revolution. Arts and crafts that may not have been as accessible before have seen huge growth and added variety as a result of the internet. Today I would like to review the popular online crochet communities that I am most familiar with. There are many more out there, but these are the websites I visit on a regular basis.

Ravelry


If you are a crocheter or knitter and you're not a Ravelry member, stop reading this post right now. Go make a Ravelry account immediately! Ravelry is incredible. It is my favorite online crochet community by far. Ravelry allows you to post finished objects for others to admire, save patterns you want to work on in a queue, join groups, follow CALs (crochet-a-longs), catalog yarns, friend and message other users, distribute your own patterns, and so much more! This is my go-to website for patterns. I love that it lets me keep track of the folks I have gifted my FOs to so I don't end up giving the same person a million of the same thing. It is my preferred method of selling my patterns since it is so easy to use and the fees are more reasonable than Etsy. There are users of all ages. I can't really think of anything negative to say about this website.

Hidden Gems: If you click "people" and scroll down to the little "watch FOs live" television on the middle right it will take you to Finished Object Radar, a slideshow of the awesome things people have made and are uploading in real-time. I like to keep this running when I am working on a project that requires too much focus or counting to allow me to watch a movie while I work, something I like to do. It's not too distracting but still provide a nice background atmosphere for crocheting, especially when paired with music or NPR. Also, right above the Radar link is "bah! show me UGHs!". If you are working on a project that is driving you bonkers, come hang with others in the same boat. It will show you posts about projects gone wrong, some sad and some hilarious. Very cathartic.

Reddit's r/crochet


There are good and bad things about Reddit as a whole, and r/crochet is definitely one of the good things. You don't have to be a member to read it, but you do to vote or contribute. This is the best place for browsing. It's easy to click link after link to see what others are making. The big crochet trends roll through here, keeping you in the loop. The user base is on the younger side in general. This is a great place to get opinions on your work and to feel validated by those who know the effort you have put into your item. I use r/crochet to find community in the same way that I use Ravelry to find patterns. However, if you are looking for a place to advertise, this isn't the place for you. This sub-reddit isn't overly fond of links to blog posts and is fairly unfriendly if you post the equivalent of "Buy my pattern!". Feel free to post a picture of an object you made while writing your pattern, but only post the pattern in the comments, preferably only after someone has asked for it.

Hidden Gems: Be sure to check the "top" posts for some funny crochet-related memes.

Pinterest 



This is the perfect place to gather ideas and look at pretties. Since it's very visually focused, you can cover a lot of ground quickly and pause when something catches your eye. Save ideas for later or follow up on pins to find their source. I mostly use Pinterest as a location to store crochet pictures that I find beautiful and want to use as inspiration. However, unlike Ravelry where you are actively finding patterns to work on or r/crochet where you are getting feedback, Pinterest is more about entertainment and less about actually getting things done. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is something to keep in mind.

Hidden Gems: For easy pinning that doesn't interrupt your regular browsing, download the handy "Pin It" toolbar button.

Etsy


Etsy is another good place to find and sell paid crochet patterns. Since it is already well know it reaches a larger audience than Ravelry. This is the place to go if you don't actually crochet but appreciate handmade items and would like to support designers and wow your recipients by purchasing finished objects. This is the most commercial of the communities I'm reviewing, and the commercialism does take away from uniqueness a bit. Many crochet shops specialize in one thing and make it over and over to sell in different colors. Also, Etsy is a bit over-saturated with sellers. This makes it hard for newer, interesting sellers to break in.

Hidden Gems: Sort your search results by "highest price" to view antique, vintage, enormous, and highly interesting objects, whether or not you intend to buy them ;)

Crochetville


Crochetville is a great place for crocheters of all ability levels to come together in their love of the craft. This website navigates more like a traditional internet forum. There is a wide variety of content and specialization. The regulars on this site tend to be a bit older than the others I have mentioned, giving you the benefit of access to information passed down from seasoned crocheters. You need to be a member to participate effectively. I currently use Crochetville for casual crochet browsing, but I may become more active in the future.

Hidden Gems: Scroll down the front page almost to the bottom for the "Crochet in the Media" forum section. It's great to geek-out with other members over crochet sightings in popular shows and movies, like the infamous 70s style granny square blanket draped over the couch in Breaking Bad.

YouTube


Itching to learn a new stitch? Confused by crochet and need help? YouTube is here to save the day. The videos posted here allow anyone to take free crochet lessons in the comfort of their own home. Thousands of videos are available to assist you in learning whatever strikes your fancy. However, it can sometimes be difficult to sort out the well-made videos from the not-so-well-made ones.

Hidden Gems: He's not really that hidden, but I totally love Mikey.

What are your favorite online crochet communities?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tiny Furry Friend

I love mice. Some folks shy away from them because they find them dirty or frightening. My friend Katie is disgusted by their tails. I understand that they do have the potential to spread disease or damage property, but I just can't help loving the sweet little things! Their soft little ears and other cute features melt my heart.

I recently hooked up a mouse who can surely be of no trouble to anyone. This furry friend won't be scaring anyone or spreading disease anytime soon.


The pattern was easy to follow and quick to work up. I found it interesting that the mouse is constructed from back to front rather than from front to back like most amigurumi. I used a 6mm yarn instead of the yarn the pattern calls for, so I also made the tail, feet, and ears a bit bigger. If you've never tried making amigurumi before you might consider starting with this short and simple pattern. It's free, so you've got nothing to lose! Gotta love those free patterns.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Focus: Jade Red

It's been pretty hot and humid in Seattle lately. I like to walk whenever I can, especially when I get to walk around town with my husband, but the heat tends to drag me down. With sweat beads forming on the bridge of my nose under my glasses and my skirt clinging damply to my legs you might think that warm, fuzzy crochet items are the farthest things from my mind. Not so! Alas, the holiday season is just around the corner. Did I really just say that? Yes, and it's true. Since crochet is so labor intensive and time consuming, if I want to finish all of my planned Christmas gifts on time I need to start them quite soon. This means I am keeping my eyes peeled for good patterns.

Today's Friday Focus highlights designer Jade Red. Jade writes both crochet and knitting patterns, many of which would make excellent cold weather gifts. This is certainly appropriate since Jade lives in Australia, where it is currently winter! Her floral and feminine designs caught my eye. She kindly took the time to share a little about her crochet career with us today.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it? 

I learned knitting and crocheting from my grandma when I was 5 years old. In fact, for crocheting, grandma only taught me a very basic chain stitch. At that time it was very popular and people were crocheting fisherman's net shopping bags and table cloths. It was hard to find a place that sold crochet hooks. I used a crochet hook with a latch that was lent to me by my neighbor who worked in a knit wear factory. People also used this type of hook to mend stockings. Later, my friend's dad made a metal crochet hook using clothing hanger.

I can still vividly remember the first shopping bag I made - it started with crocheting two round motifs put together as the base of the bag, then making a fisherman's net as the body. Then I folded the bag body into the two motif base to make it smaller and neat to carry. I hope that one day when I find the time, I can replicate it again.


When I was young, I always dreamt of crocheting a beautiful curtain with a butterfly filet pattern. Unfortunately it never happened because mum could not afford to buy the cotton yarn then. 

 
Crochet Favorites
My favorites are Doris Chan's crochet books/designs. She is an amazing crochet designer who is able to create such striking clothes and accessories using simple, basic technique.

What are you working on right now? What is your next project?

My partner has two daughters who will have babies later this year or earlier next year. We are all so excited and I just can't help starting to make something for the babies even though we still don't know the babies' sexes yet. I have just finished a baby blanket with an xmas theme, a dress (matching pattern with my Gorgeous Snow White Baby Jacket listing), and a pair of booties.

A month ago, I finished a hat formed with a cute dress shape. There are quite a few other items I have created in the past few months but I just could not find time to write a pattern. I have been flat out as we are renovating the house, but I have made a promise to myself that I will write at least two patterns in next two months. Next project? There will be lots of baby items in my mind but I just want to wait until I know exactly the babies' sexes are.


A few finished objects...
Butterfly - I love butterflies! They bring me wonderful childhood memories - chasing butterflies, who wouldn't have! This creamy gorgeous butterfly brooch is so lively, as if it could fly away at any time - and it is so easy to make!


Pink Vintage Look Curly Flower Hat - This vintage inspired pink hat can be worn with or without the beautiful curly flower pinned to the side. This hat reminds me of my beloved grandma; a traditional, beautiful, elegant woman.

 
Exquisite Aqua Scarf - This exquisite scarf speaks for itself. This scarf is crocheted using simple basic stitches (chain, single, double stitch) without breaking the yarn to create a beautiful, eye-catching effect. When I started to learn to knit and crochet, my grandma always reminded me not to waste yarn by breaking it. This has reflected upon many of my designs, and this is one of them. Nowadays, it is not so much about saving the yarn, I just love the challenge of thinking and finding ways of not easily breaking yarn.

 

Great patterns! Her work can be found on Ravelry and Etsy. Thanks for sharing, Jade!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thinking Outside the Fence

Crochet doesn't have to be limited to accessories, blankets, and amigurumi. I have made a habit of looking for patterns that take crochet in different directions. My father-in-law has a sweet Australian Shepherd named Daisy that he adores, so I had the idea to make a leash for her. I used a nylon-wrapped cotton 1 ply cord to make the leash so that it would be durable but also slightly flexible. She is a well trained dog. A crochet leash is probably best for a small to medium sized dog that is well behaved rather than a large dog.



The cord was a bit difficult to work with as it kept twisting itself up (darn 1 ply), but I really like the way the leash came out. Single crochet was the obvious choice for a tight finished product. When the handle was the size I wanted it to be I simply worked one row of single crochet through my original turning chain before continuing on with the length of the leash. I did my last row around the "D" of the clasp before reinforcing both the clasp and leash connections with a yarn needle. The swiveling clasp was purchased on Amazon. There really is a lot of interesting hardware available to help us crocheters in our creative pursuits. What non-traditional items have you worked up?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: The Harmony Guides Basic Crochet Stitches edited by Erica Knight


The Good
I adore this book. The pictures are pretty and in color. You'd be surprised how many stitch dictionaries print their photos in black and white! There are so many stitches compiled here that you're guaranteed to come across one that you haven't tried before. Also, there isn't a lot of space wasted on techniques that the average crocheter is likely already familiar with. This book gets down to business! I haven't practiced all of the stitches yet, but from what I have seen there aren't any errors in the text.

The Bad
The instructions were a wee bit confusing at first, but my confusion cleared up quickly once I spent a little time with the book. It's mostly a matter of figuring out what the instructions take for granted and what they don't (ie turning at the beginning of rows, adding stitches to the starting chain, etc).

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

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Focus: Susan Lowman

It is such a privilege to post a new Friday Focus designer interview each week. Connecting with crocheters from all over the world is so fun and rewarding. My selection process for designers is pretty simple... I approach folks whose patterns I like, regardless of their notoriety. This can be a bit intimidating, especially since some of the crocheters I've interviewed (and some who I hope to interview in the future!) are what I like to call "sub-culture famous", meaning that their names would be familiar to others who practice the craft. To my delight I have found the crochet community and its members to be kind, helpful, and excited to share their experiences.

Today's light shines on Susan Lowman, an accomplished crocheter and prominent member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). Her crochet career is quite impressive and her patterns are varied. I can't help but marvel that her adventures in crochet have lasted longer than I have been alive. I am elated to show you what The Crochet Architect has to share with us.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
During the 70’s, my best friend in high school taught me to crochet. She later became my sister-in-law when I married her brother.
I’ve been crocheting for over 35 years. I love learning new crochet stitches and techniques to incorporate into my crochet designs. And I absolutely LOVE to design crochet patterns! I am thankful every day for the creativity that God has given me and I enjoy sharing that creativity with others through my crochet designs.


Crochet Favorites
I love Japanese crochet books and Russian crochet magazines. The Japanese and Russians design fabulous crochet projects!
One of my favorite yarns is Red Heart LusterSheen. It is a lighter-weight yarn, has wonderful drape, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! But my all-time favorite to work with is size 10 cotton crochet thread. It blocks beautifully and comes in so many gorgeous colors! I mostly use Coats & Clark threads, as well as DMC Cebelia. I’ve just started using some Lizbeth crochet thread, too. It has a wonderful sheen and comes in fabulous colors, as well.


What are you working on right now? What is your next project?
I’m working on some crochet designs for the CGOA Design Contest and some wiggly crochet hot pad & coaster patterns for my website right now.

A few finished objects...
This is my dragon ship that was published as a web bonus in the Feb. 2011 issue of Crochet World magazine. This pattern is only available as a web bonus to paid subscribers of Crochet World magazine. I designed it to look like the dragon ship in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” movie. Michele Maks, the editor for Crochet World magazine at the time, asked me to design it (before the movie came out). I found a few photos on the internet of the Dawn Treader ship that was being built for the movie to guide me in how to design this dragon ship. It was a challenge to design and I won a “Flamie” award for it in 2011. For information about the thread I used and a close up photo of the dragon’s head, along with teeth, a tongue and horns, please see my Ravelry page for the dragon ship.


This is my Faux Tatted Jewelry Set. This set is crocheted with size 10 cotton crochet thread to look like tatting, but it’s actually crocheted. I used buttons and/or beads on these sets, but you could also use charms. This necklace, bracelet and earrings can be made to coordinate with many outfits, simply by using the desired color of crochet thread and beads. This pattern is available for purchase on my website.


This is my wiggly crochet fish rug. I first learned to do wiggly crochet around 2002, when a friend asked me to make a new hot pad for her like the one her grandmother had made many years before. That hot pad was made in concentric squares and had seen its better days! So I figured out how it was made and set out to remake her hot pad. Through that experience, I realized that wiggly hot pads could be made with designs instead of concentric squares, so I began to design them on graph paper with colored pencils. I designed enough for a leaflet, called “Hot Stuff for the Holidays”, published by Jeanette Crews Designs in 2003. Six years later, I designed some wiggly crochet rugs that were published in another leaflet called “Wiggly Crochet Rugs” by Annie’s Attic (now just called Annie’s). Then last year, I had another wiggly crochet leaflet published by Annie’s called “Wiggly Crochet Dishcloths”. I’ve had various other wiggly crochet designs published over the years, as well. Wiggly crochet is a lot of fun to make and the rugs are squishy on the feet, since they’re 3-dimensional! This wiggly crochet fish rug pattern is available for purchase on my website, along with several other wiggly crochet patterns.


I’ve been a member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) for over 10 years. I joined shortly after I started designing crochet patterns. To find out more about CGOA and all that is available to CGOA members, please visit their website. I am currently the secretary on the CGOA Board of Directors, as well as co-chair of the CGOA Masters Committee and a Masters portfolio reviewer.

Over the last 13 years, I’ve had over 150 crochet designs published in various books and magazines. You can see all of my published designs on my Ravelry page. I’ve also done 2 thread crochet online classes for Annie’s: “Crocheting with Thread” and “Beginner’s First Doily”. My website is where I self-publish crochet patterns, blog about crochet, and will be adding more crochet tutorials very soon.

Wow! Such cool designs. Though I really like a number of Susan's designs, if I had to pick a favorite it would be this beautiful butterfly afghan. I've thought about both joining the CGOA as well as working through the Master's program before, and connecting with Susan has encouraged me even more in that regard. Many thanks to her for sharing her work and her thoughts with us today. Have a crochet-filled weekend!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yarndale Bunting

Lucy of Attic24 is preparing for an event called Yarndale in the UK. One Yarndale item that she is working on is her bunting project. After seeing a pretty knit bunting at another craft show she decided she wanted to have her own crochet bunting up this September. As you can imagine, creating all of that bunting is a lot of work! Thus she put out a call to arms to enlist the crocheters of the world in helping her make bunting triangles. I was happy to oblige.

The pattern for the bunting is here if you want to get involved and ship some triangles out to the UK. Hurry, because they are due at the end of August. I'll be sending mine out this week.




I whipped up the bow, stars, and moon on the spot, but the pattern for the little rabbit applique is here. I love connecting with other bloggers and crocheters!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sweet As Honey Baby Set

As you've probably noticed by now, I really enjoy writing baby set patterns. This may or may not have something to do with my baby fever (don't get excited, no babies for a few more years!). In all seriousness, even though desiring a baby is certainly a factor, there are several things about baby blankets and baby sets that inspire me. The first is that babies are only small for a short period of time. It seems fitting that they should have bright, beautiful items that honor this special time in their lives and in the lives of those who love them. I delight in imagining families lovingly creating items from my patterns that can be passed down to the babies of successive generations.

Another thing I love about baby sets is that you can use bold colors and stitches that you might not be able to use with adults. Babies don't mind standing out in a crowd. Baby blankets are like blank canvases that I can fill with fun images and texture.

The third reason I enjoy making baby sets is that they challenge my crochet skills. Sometimes I'm brave enough to try stitches that look difficult because they will give my item the desired effect. I need to engage my math skills when selecting stitch combinations and borders for my projects. It's fun to find the balance between shape and stitch count.

I used my passion and ever evolving skills to make my most fun pattern yet, the Sweet As Honey Baby Set.




One of the most engaging parts of pattern development in this case was the creation of the hexagon. When you crochet in the round your stitches need to increase at regular intervals or your circle will ripple instead of lay flat. Through some experimentation I was able to balance regular increases with a stitch pattern that would form the six distinct sides necessary for a pleasing hexagon and honeycomb pattern.


This pattern has enjoyed the most sales success and positive feedback of all of the patterns I have released so far. How exciting! As a side note, I'm glad that people are thinking about bees since recent research on bees and bee populations has been so alarming.

If you are interested in my new pattern, it is available here in my Ravelry store. Now to get to work on the next one!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Focus: Elizabeth Ann White

If there's anything crochet is famous for, it's doilies. Some people might think doilies are lame or too frilly. Those people are wrong! Doilies exemplify some of the best unique qualities of crochet, such as open and airy design, interesting stitch combination, and intricacy. Today I am happy to feature the splendid work of Elizabeth Ann White of BellaCrochet, Ann for short. Her patterns are detailed and fancy with vintage appeal and her stunning crochet has been featured in many publications. While she writes other types of patterns as well, I have to admit it was her doilies that drew my attention. "BellaCrochet" indeed!


I don't like to have my picture taken, but I love this picture of me with all of my children, their spouses and most of my grandchildren that was taken last Thanksgiving. It was the first time we had all been together in 5 years, and this picture will always be special to me!

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
My mother taught me to crochet when I was expecting my first child almost 40 years ago. I began by making granny squares (which I still love) but soon moved onto thread crochet, my first love. In 1986, I sold my first design to Annie’s Attic, which was based in Big Sandy, Texas, just a few miles from where I lived. I continued to work as a free-lance designer for AA for several years, then went to work in their editorial department, where I learned to write crochet patterns for their books and magazines. In 1998, I became the in-house designer for Annie’s; talk about a dream job! If the company hadn't moved their design department to Indiana, I might still be there! I learned so much from my time at Annie’s, and I will always be grateful for the experience! 

Why do you crochet?
Well, I have done it so long that it has become a part of who I am, I feel naked without a hook in my hand! It has supported me and my family for almost 30 years now, and I feel blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love. But, honestly, I just love it, and I would crochet every day even if I never made a dime from it.   
  
Crochet Favorites 
I love thread crochet, and size 10 is my favorite to work with.  I always use a size 7 Boye hook, and I prefer the older ones. I am always on the lookout for older hooks on Ebay, the new ones just don’t feel right. My favorite designers are Elizabeth Hiddleson and Esther Parnell Hewlett who did many designs for Lily in the 50’s. Esther isn’t as well-known as Elizabeth, but I think her designs are every bit as impressive.  

What are you working on right now? What is your next project? 
Right now I am working on a baby set called “Fairy Garden” which will include a blanket, booties and a cap. I also have a set of Christmas doilies going. I like to have a couple of different designs going at the same time so I can switch them up. And even though I am a threadie, I do quite a bit of yarn designs, too.  

A few finished objects...
My newest design is a set of mini-doilies called “Dainty Little Doilies.” I tried to give a variety of shapes and styles, but wanted them to have a vintage feel. I love it when people think one of my designs is from the 40’s or 50’s!  


Sometimes people ask me what the ‘hardest’ or most difficult item I ever designed was. Without a doubt, I would have to say that it is my ‘Swan Queen Centerpiece.” It is definitely for experienced crocheters, and I will probably never make another one, but I am glad that I made this one.


Several years ago one of my granddaughters asked me if I could make a fairy doily. I worked for several months to get one that I liked, and in the process, I kept coming up with ideas for similar doilies. These ideas turned into my “Lovely Ladies Doilies” series, and now I have not only fairies, but witches, angels, Victorian ladies and other characters. I plan to add fairy tale heroines to the series, the first will probably be Rapunzel.  


Incredible! To really experience the extent of Elizabeth Ann's beautiful work, I recommend exploring further. I have a particular fondness for her Springtime Floral Doily. You can delight in Elizabeth Ann's work on her website, her blog, Etsy, and Facebook. Thank you for sharing your work and your stories with us, Ann!