Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Focus: Stace Clement

I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's grey (and Wednesday too). Thursday -- I don't care about you! It's Friday I'm in love :) Yes my friends, another Friday is here! Do you have exciting plans for the weekend? I'm going to spend my weekend finishing this interesting novel and... crocheting!

Today's featured crocheter is a brand new designer with interesting, colorful patterns. Stace Clement's patterns caught my attention with their bold, chunky texture and nature themes. Nature is important to her. In fact, she works hard to make her designs 100% vegan. She's definitely a designer to watch. Let's take a little time to get to know Stace, aka Zonal, and her style. 

 Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
When I worked at Michael's Arts & Crafts in Custom Picture Framing as a freshman at the University of Albany in upstate NY, it wasn't long before I bought one of their 'Teach Yourself to Crochet' booklets & was spending part of each paycheck on yarn.  This was in 1994--twenty years ago now (holy cannoli).  Ever since then I've been learning new techniques & crocheting for all my loved ones, through living in San Diego in southern CA for 4+ years & returning to NY two years ago to live here in Brooklyn.  Ravelry itself is relatively new to me; the first pattern I published there was a 'Sideways Heart <3 Hat' for Valentine's Day just last month!  Now within a month my 'Free Rainbow Cables Cuff Bracelet' has had 500+ unique downloads. This boggles my mind.

Why do you crochet?
Remember the line of that old song "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haaa!" when he says "And basket weavers who sit & smile & twiddle their thumbs & toes & they're coming to take me away, ha haaa!"?  A focus on productivity with a rhythm, such as basket weaving or crochet, helps some of us stay sane in this sometimes bonkers world of ours--particularly those of us who are math enthusiasts, because crochet involves a wonderful amount of math.  It has the added benefit of helping me keep loved ones warm through the Northeast US winters, & keep my Southwest friends cool in crochet bikinis. 

Crochet Favorites
Hooks: it's relatively exclusively Clover Takumi bamboo crochet hooks these days in sizes F, G, and H.

Yarns: when I learned about what really happens to animals involved in wool production, it was traumatic (don't look it up if you don't have a strong stomach); as a vegan for 5+ years & a vegetarian for about 22 years for my love of all animals, it's exclusively the cruelty-free fiber blends including acrylic, bamboo, cotton, hemp, linen, nylon, polyester, & rayon.

Books: the one I'd learned by far the most from was The Crochet Answer Book by Edie Eckman, which is small-ish & thick-ish to fit perfectly in any handbag or backpack.
What are you working on right now?
Next in the series of outdoor scenes I've been posting crochet patterns for--following 'Crescent Moon Treeline Hat', 'Mountain Sunset Hat', & 'Southwest Desert Sunset Hat', all of which feature color changes (a.k.a. tapestry crochet) with cables--will be an 'Ocean Beach Sunshine Halter Top' inspired by the Pacific Ocean beaches of the Southwest US, which I have completed most of the stitch chart for.  After that will be a 'Deep Forest with Black Bear Hat' inspired by New York, Vermont, & Maine (the stitch chart for the bear is complete), & something with a 'City Skyline' inspired by NYC where I currently live.  Outdoor scene suggestions are welcome, so if anyone has an idea, be in touch! 
A few finished objects...
Southwest Desert Sunset Crochet Hat: Inspired by my recent years living in the Southwest US in southern California with trips to Arizona, Texas, & Utah, this design is the most recently posted in my Ravelry series of outdoor scenes that feature color changes (tapestry crochet) with cables.  It contains several saguaro cacti at the request of a fellow Raveler, & a second fellow Raveler had suggested "Georgia O'Keeffe colors" for it in prior pattern comments so I've incorporated his suggestion as well, primarily into the unusual sky, with credits to them both in the notes.
Crescent Moon Treeline Hat: Away from cities, the sky is sometimes so clear that above the treetops you can see the dark side of the moon fairly well; memories of this, now that I'm in Brooklyn, inspired the Crescent Moon Treeline Hat.  It features tapestry crochet, cables, & a vertically ribbed bottom edge, & has been my best-selling pattern in my month on Ravelry.
Free Cable Cuff Rainbow Bracelet: It stunned me that this relatively simple cable weave/braid design I'd come up with had not yet been published online, & I'd done quite a bit of searching for it before uploading it to Ravelry as a free pattern to make sure I wasn't stepping on anyone's toes. With 500+ unique downloads just a month after joining Ravelry, it seems others love a rainbow colorway as much as I do! is my crochet photo gallery site; in addition to a contact form, there are social media links at the top including a link to Ravelry where my crochet designs are.  If you have an idea for a crochet outdoor scene, or if there's a completed project on my site that you'd like to see a pattern for, contact me whenever's clever & I'll be in touch, usually within 24 hours.

I just love her Crescent Moon Treeline hat. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life, that hat reminds me of home. Thanks for sharing your fun, new designs with us today Stace! I hope everyone has a super weekend. 

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