Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Seeing Shades of Red This August

Hello my making friends - yes, here we are in the dog days of August.  While it has been relatively cool in the Pacific Northwest, it's about to heat up, and not only in terms of temperature.

I have been absolutely loving the Rio Olympics, and of course I am working up a few things while cheering the U.S. athletes in both the pool and the gym. Get a load (to the left) of my progress on a Nichols Cardigan in Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Worsted in the most awesome Station North colorway. I'll be sending this one to NFC headquarters, and I cannot be more pleased with how this looks so far.

However, I am all kinds of thrilled to show you what I did with the Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in the mixed grapefruit colorway I initially posted to my blog way back in January. Crochet! Magazine has published a special fall issue, Stress-free Seamless Crochet, and I can finally show off my included shawl design. The Paisley Lace Shawl is featured in the "Clever Construction" section of the magazine, since the main body of the shawl is worked first and the intricately beautiful lace edging is worked after and attached with a series of chain stitches. With a 70" wingspan, this stunning shawl can be worn in myriad ways - loose around the shoulders for an elegant, formal look (can anyone say little black dress?); pinned asymmetrically in the front with a lovely shawl pin (as shown in the one of the magazine's photos), or worn bandit-like around the neck with the lace edging prominently displayed in the front. This lace edging is one of the most beautiful things I've ever designed, and I am so pleased to see it finally out there in the maker wild!

One more thing about this special fall Crochet! Magazine issue: I would urge you to pick up a copy. It has to be, hands down, one of the best special issues Annie's has published. If I didn't have so many other personal design projects in the mix, I could easily envision making no less than eight - yes, eight! - projects from this magazine, for both myself and my living space. I know design aesthetics are, in large part, a function of personal taste, but there is just a whole lot to love in this magazine's pages that extends far beyond my own one included (albeit awesome!) shawl design. Kudos to Annie's for such a strong addition to the fall making line-up. 

Warm up your hooks, everyone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wardrobe Wednesday!

Two front pieces, one completed sleeve,
and another in process on my
Definitely In Africa Cardi.
While the current Hot Fun In the Summertime along is nearing an end (Sunday the 31st is the last day to post finished projects, everyone!), a look at the current state of my Definitely In Africa cardigan, as well as doing some electronic housecleaning the other day, made me think about how I came to my current place of wanting to make more of my own wardrobe, which dovetails with my year-long celebration of designing for the last five years.

In April of 2011 (!), I blogged about my aspirations as part of the second Knitting and Crochet Blog week. I actually put my hands to my face when I re-read the post - I cannot believe how spot-on I was in terms of my strengths. At the time, I shared a portion of a list of designs I wanted to make, as well as a book I created of 20 Vogue Knitting designs. I still have the book as well as the list, and although designing has taken center stage, I remain determined to work through many of those designs. It's intriguing, though, that several of the knit lace pieces in the self-created book no longer hold much appeal. I am a crochet lace lover first and foremost, along with most other things within the modern crochet technique arsenal. On the knit side, cables definitely, and good 'ole squishy garter stitch are my continued preoccupations.

I can't believe I still have this list!
I am also struck with the language I used in that post ("systematic, wardrobe-like approach") to describe which fiber techniques I wanted to explore further. I have stated and written previously on many occasions that sewing my wardrobe holds no appeal (along with my deep aversion to socks!). However, creating things both knit and crochet for myself has held a whole lot of appeal for a very long time. It was, however, not until 2011, with the exploration of favorite design elements, that led me to put it all in writing.   

For me, what's been most amazing is how much I enjoy the garment and accessory aspect of my design life. For those who have been following this blog and my fiber career know, I am an interior design junkie, always rearranging my own living space. I thoroughly enjoy designing accessories for my home (as well as creating other artwork for my space); arranging and re-arranging to see things in a fresh light is very satisfying to me. There is nothing more welcoming and comforting than a space with one's own DIY touches throughout, mine included. So to acknowledge that garment design holds an equal appeal is a wee shock. I'm going with it, though!

There is one other thing that I wanted to mention that also sent a shiver through me - the quote I had inserted in my Vogue Knitbook, which I subtitled "Denise's Artful Knitting Project":

                      "Now, let us all take a deep breath and forge on into the future;
                        knitting [and crochet] at the ready."

                                                                                                            The Opinionated Knitter

Five years later, and that breath shows no signs of dissipating.

Friday, July 8, 2016