Can Crochet be fashionable? Discuss!

We have a SUPER interesting guest post for you this month! How many times have you experienced people turning their noses up at crochet because it’s “old-fashioned”? How often do people describe crochet as what grannies do? I personally have never made anything remotely grannified in my entire crocheting life! Omitting crochet from the fashion sphere means missing out on an entire area of creativity.

Meet Sarah from singularityware.wordpress.com. We spend a lot of time at her blog. She’s kinda gorgeous and creatively very clever, but not only that she is a fashion guru who loves crochet, and she’s got a word or two to say about it! We want to say a BIG THANK YOU for her work on this guest post and we encourage you to take at look at her blog – you won’t have seen anything like it! We guarantee you’ll be inspired and feel a renewed sense of creativity towards crochet. THANK YOU, SARAH!!!!

Here’s Sarah!

There is something incredibly soothing about crochet (even more so than knitting): the way your hook-hand moves backwards and and forwards and around falls into a rhythm. And yet to an outsider crochet conjures up images of doilies and granny square blankets hanging over chairs in old folks homes.

The message I want to get across is that crochet is incredibly fashionable! I will hold my hands up and say that I have made my fair share of granny squares and doilies in my time but as I got older and my interest in fashion blossomed so did my love of experimental crochet. Here I will just give a rundown of three big trends and how they work in crochet:

Crochet art graces the catwalks almost every season. There is something about crochet that shows craftsmanship and man hours and, while this means it adds expense to shop-bought or haute-couture garments, it is something you get for free when you make it yourself (well not exactly for free but the enjoyment of crochet is payment enough).

1. Geometric (less is more)
In the last couple of seasons squares have been a big player for instance in Rodarte Spring/Summer 2013 there was this lovely jumper.
 

 
So modern! But wait, it is just solid granny squares linked with metal links! It just makes me want to rush down to the nearest hardware store and grab some silver wire! Although it is not in crochet, the trend for squares continues in Louis Vuitton’s latest range (search Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013), harking back to the 1960s. A copy of these dresses would just look fabulous in crochet.

It is not just squares but all geometric shapes that crochet really shows off well! For all budding pattern designers and fashionistas: keep your eyes on the catwalks and the high street shops for geometric shapes.

2. Punk
The punk look has been making a massive resurgence lately (I for one have been practically glued to my Doc Martens for the past 12 months) and crochet art fits right into this aesthetic!

In a recent clear-out of my cupboards I decided to transform some of my old T-shirts into yarn by cutting a one inch wide strip that spiralled around and around I managed to get approximately 30 metres out of one t-shirt. This is not only super stylish but also really eco-friendly! Waste-not, want-not!

3. Pretty in Pink
I know, I know, this is not really a crochet-specific style but hear me out! What way is better at creating flowers than crochet? The round and round motion just lends itself perfectly to all forms of embellishment and both florals and pinks are bang on trend at the moment. For this I refer back to the dress patterns of the 1960s and 1970s. I got a fabulous pattern for a 1960s minidress this spring and splashed out on some lovely cotton yarn for it.

P1000549-2
 
You can read more about the construction of this dress at my blog: http://singularityware.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/crochet-dress-completion/

So, feel inspired, crochet is always one of the most stylish options wherever you are!

~ Sarah
~ singularityware.wordpress.com

Product review – Giveaway winner reports!

The winner of our first giveaway was Judit from MonsterYarns. She won a set of circular knitting needles and has sent us her review below :> Her review is all her own opinion and first appeared on her own blog with photos here. Reproduced with permission.

Thank you for taking the time to review for us, Judit!

 

I knit a lot in public and on public transport. By necessity therefore I use circular needles to make sure that I don’t prod anyone sitting near me and attract even more weird looks than I normally do. So when UK Crochet Patterns ran a quick competition to win a circular knitting needle from part of the goodie parcel delivered from Red Heart , I jumped at the chance.

I don’t win competitions that often so I was thrilled to add to my collection of needles – especially gratis!

Jpeg

My first impressions were of a good but basic quality of needle – the type where what you see is what you get. Unwrapping it however there were a couple of very pleasant surprises – nice tip on the needle and the coil is fantastic. Just the right amount of stiffness so that it doesn’t kink but not too hard so your work “floats” uncomfortably in front of you.

The needles have a clever curve a few centimetres from the join.

Jpeg

Clever because the perennial problem with any circular needles is snagging on the join between the tip and the coil. The curve is meant to ensure that the knitting feeds in a straight line on to the coil. And it does. Clever.

What doesn’t quite work with these circulars is the join itself. Hopefully you can see in this photo that the edge of the needle is a lot wider than the coil and a little sharp. It’s aluminium after all.

Jpeg

So the end result is snagging.

Jpeg

This is not unusual in circulars but incredibly frustrating. There are a circular needles which solve this problem, no doubt through exacting engineering, and as a result tend to be on the expensive end of the range.

So my opinion – good basic circular, perhaps for when you’re travelling and you don’t want to carry your prized expensive ones, but watch out for the snagging!

Thank you Red Heart and UK Crochet Patterns.

 

 

Guest post: Eve tells us about Blocking!

The gorgeous and clever Eve has kindly written us a wonderful post about blocking, something we perhaps don’t do enough but could do with using more! Have a good read, tell us what you think and take a peek at her site as thank you for sharing her wisdom and taking the time to write this for us :>>

 

Eden’s Lace specialises in Irish Clones Lace and Crochet lace goods – particularly wedding & bridesmaid favours.

Each piece is designed and handmade in the sunny southeast of Ireland by Eve.

Visit EdensLace.com to shop, see behind-the-scenes pics and crochet tips.

Custom orders are a speciality, with experience in large pieces – i.e. veils, mantillas, christening gowns, wedding dress trains, etc.

How To Block Crochet

You did it! You cracked the pattern, the tension square turned out perfect and you’d just enough yarn to complete your crochet project. But, you’re not done yet. Taking the time to block crochet is a step not to be missed. It can feel tedious, but it is so worth the effort. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste!

You will need:

1) Blocking board

2) Pins

3) Ruler

4) Basin of Water

5) Drop (drop!) of unscented soap

6) Facecloth

Optional:

7) Iron

8) Spray-on starch

…and your finished crochet, of course!

If you don’t have a blocking board, try:

1. Folded beach towel.

2. Microfiber towel wrapped around a pillow.

2. Foam gardening kneeling mat.

3. Yoga mat, folded and secured with duct tape

4. As above, but try a foam camping mat

5. Playground rubber floor tiles

01

The three granny squares are in Aran/Worsted, Double Knitting/Sport and Lace/2 Ply. There were Worked on 6.50mm, 3.50mm and 0.60mm hooks, respectively.

02

Fill basin with cold water and add a tiny drop of unscented soap – the drop should be half the size of a pea, seriously, that small! Submerge crochet for a few minutes, but do not rub. Temperature and friction are the path to felting!

04 03

Remove from water and blot with facecloth. Crochet should be damp, but not dripping.

05

Beginning with the corners, pin in place. If your board doesn’t have any lines, just use a ruler for guidance, as I have. Keep stretching and pinning until you’re happy the yarn is held in good tension.

06

Pin at the apex – the central stitch – of clusters. Once the clusters are secured, this helps the rest of the spaces fall into place.

07

Once everything is pinned, wet facecloth and blot yarn. Again, damp, but not dripping!

Now’s the time to apply a light spray of starch or steam an iron 1inch/2.5cm above the crochet, if you want a firmer finish to your work.

08

Leave to block overnight. We had sunshine in Ireland, which is such a rare occurrence that I left mine on the windowsill. Don’t do this if you use coloured yarn!

09

See the difference blocking makes? The large square turned out far softer after blocking – surprising bonus! Bar an attack by a passing cat, the work stays flat and in great condition 😀

Remember our guest post contest?

Well, the original winner seems to have disappeared. We sincerely hope everything is ok with her and will reserve her guest posting spot.

In the meantime, the lovely Eve from Eden’s Lace has stepped up in grand fashion (the Big Fat Independent Ginger Adjudicator likes her) and written you the most beautiful post, which we’ll be putting up tomorrow, Sunday. You can see a sneak preview of the content here.

Thank you loads, Eve! We are positive everyone will love your post! We really appreciate how hard you’ve worked on it!

 

 

And the winner is …

Christi from KnittiChristi.wordpress.com! Well done! We invite you to be the first guest poster at ukcrochetpatterns!

The Big Fat Fluffy Ginger Independent Adjudicator was practically USELESS. Loud Daughter and I had to chase him around the kitchen to try and make him touch his nose on the list of entrants … which he did … eventually! He wouldn’t miaow when we read the list out (but then became very vocal ten minutes later).

Soooo, Christi, we”ll refer you back to the original contest post and look forward to hearing from you via the Contact page :>

Congrats! Can’t wait to see your pattern! We are SO excited about this and are brewing up the next chance to win a guest posting spot already! We love that you guys love this idea!

We hit 100 followers! Thank you! Now win a chance to Guest Post!

As a big thank you for reaching 100 followers, we would like to offer one of you the chance to be our first Guest Poster at ukcrochetpatterns. We’re all about promoting Crochet and its talented people!

TO ENTER: you are welcome to either leave a comment on this post saying “ME, DUDES!” or “Wazzaaaaap” etc, or send a message via the CONTACT page.

If you would like to be considered, here are the requirements (you don’t have to have these ready until we confirm that you’ve won):

  1. We would like your post to contain a link to a free crochet pattern in UK terms. We would prefer you to have written it yourself but it’s okay if you haven’t! It can be any skill level. If it’s someone else’s pattern, please tell us why you’ve chosen it.
  2. We would like your post to be up to 200 words long (but we won’t count :>) and talk about crochet – how you got into it or why you love it or impart some crochet-related wisdom (we like this best!) or something like that.
  3. We would love to see links to your blog/website or online shops. We would be happy for you to promote yourself and your stuff!
  4. We would like you to post on your blog  that you won, and link back to us in the post.

Any questions, please feel free to ask!

Our Big Fat Ginger Independent Adjudicator will pick the winner on Thursday 3rd June at 10pm, most likely by sitting on a piece of paper with your name on it. Or possibly licking it. Or maybe by making a disgusted face at it. Or by ignoring it and walking off.

Don’t worry if you don’t win: there will be another opportunity in July!