I don’t know when my love-affair with motifs started. It can probably be traced to the day I was making a granny blanket from scraps in my mother’s yarn stash. I noticed that making a new color combination
for every square, and discovering all the possibilities as the combinations unfolded, was quite magical. Fast forward 25 or
more years and 100 blankets later, and I have written a whole book about motifs! I love the potential of
overlapping stitches and colors.
This beautiful afghan was instigated by a sad event: our friend and design colleague Pam Gilette (www.knottygeneraton.com) was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. We all followed her online journal, where she wrote with great courage and eloquence about her experiences.
“Sold!” declares the auctioneer, banging his gavel down, and I grin with the delight of success. The bidding for “lot 46” has been intense, but I am the victor, and after the auction finishes, I will collect my booty and take the precious contents home.
When I was a young, impressionable girl of about 13 or so, I remember reading an article that aimed to explain why most of the geniuses of the past were men, with a very few notable exceptions. Leonardo, not Leonarda; Alexander Graham Bell, not Alexandra; Isaac Newton, not Isla.
It’s sad but true, crochet is too often not given its due. It still has an image problem. Why it’s such a struggle to establish crochet’s worthiness is a mystery, though some plausible theories can be advanced. In any case, it's my mission to bust those persistent, pernicious myths, once and for all.
Let’s look the enemy right in its ugly eye by stating the case against crochet baldly:
The autumn evening mist slowly settles over Saratoga Strait in Puget Sound. Whidbey Islandâ€™s wooded coast gradually disappears from view. At Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island, Washington, the line of small wooden cabins, workshop buildings, a small â€œfire hall/kitchenâ€, and the parkâ€™s store, stand, silhouetted by the evening sky, in a row along the darkening shore. The wide barn-style door of the Fire Hall slides open, spilling light and the sound of laughter out into the October night. ...
I am terrible at following recipes. There... I said it. TERRIBLE. “How? Why?” You might ask. “It's not so hard! It tells you exactly what to do, and you do it.” My problem, if you think of it as such, is that I like to tweak things. It's a compulsion. I can't leave it alone. For example, pretty much ANY pasta recipe is better with more garlic.... so I add it, even if the recipe didn't call for it....
I lead a charmed life. I am a lucky woman. I live life as an American Princess.
When I declare this publicly, my female friends at first disbelieve me. Once I show them the evidence, they start wreaking havoc on their own their families. I am unapologetic as I boast about the reasons for this enviable existence:
I have a Husband Who Cooks (hereafter referred to as HWC)
HWC believes I should have ALL the yarn my little heart desires, and
I found out the hard way that involuntary unemployment stinks! Being fired is such a blow to one’s ego. It saps the confidence right out from under you. Aside from the monetary issues that pop up rather quickly from this instantaneous change of status, the lack of a regular job presents new problems, not the least of which is yet another dilemma: now that I have all the time I need to work wonders with my fairly organized stash, I don’t have the time to crochet it all up!
My friend Cindy Frazier has just published a unique, inspirational book called Contemplative Crochet. This is the first full-length book that I know of exploring the connection between crochet and spirituality. It's an extraordinary gift to the crochet community. Cindy teaches us how to tap the deep wellsprings of creativity and love with our crochet. You won't be able to look at your yarn and hook in quite the same way after ingesting the soul-enriching contents of this book.
Textile historians tell us that crochet is a relatively young craft. The time to put crochet on the map and develop this craft even further is at hand. As a teacher, and a lifelong learner, I want to encourage the reader to join, or continue (depending where you find yourself) the journey of learning more about crochet. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a flock of crocheters to raise the profile of our craft.
Call me crazy……when have I been this excited? It’s excitement that is visceral and persistent. What could I be referring to? Booking a trip to an exotic land, my wedding day, the birth of my first grandchild? No, none of these, but a CROCHET experience, of course, in the form of “The Chicago Coral Reef Project.”
Designs don't fall from the sky, all finished and ready. They are built up out of knowledge, memories and inspirations. Innovative as it may be, each crochet pattern uses crochet stitches. Not all designs have a history that is easy to unravel. To give you an impression of how small design elements wind their way into becoming a pattern, I'll tell you how my slanted skirt came into being.
To be here now To escape the here now Something to think about A launching pad for my mind to wander To pass the time To feel like I’m not wasting time Something to hide behind To smooth awkward moments To give others something to focus on Energizing Relaxing
It all started with toys. My Grandmother
decided that my favorite little doll needed a new wardrobe. A couple of days
later, the doll sported fancy-looking red pants, a cute yellow vest, and
multicolored hat. They were not made of fabric
like his old outfit: they were wonderfully crocheted!
I immediately had to know how. So Grandma showed me her tool — a thin crochet
hook with beautifully decorated wooden handle. She then took a ball of
cotton thread and the magic began. For me it never stopped…
Digital photography is a wonderful thing. It allows us to capture, document and preserve possessions and snapshots of our lives, sharing them worldwide through storage and networking sites like Flickr, Facebook, and Ravelry. It was through this venue that the editor of CI spotted some of my afghan work and inquired about it. What follows is an historical chronology ('ghanology?) of some memorable projects.
Some months ago I learned of this fabulous wedding dress made by Nikki Owens for her own wedding. Not only was it absolutely gorgeous, but Nikki, a practicing M.D. in Dublin, was a beginning crocheter! I had to find out more about this great story, and here is an interview we did by email. BRAVA NIKKI - you are an inspiration!! - Dora
DORA: Clearly you have design talent -- what have you designed before?
One glimpse of Olga’s work convinced me I had to meet her. That glimpse came when Tatyana Mirer, of the NY Crochet Guild, brought a stunning Irish Crochet-inspired jacket to a Guild meeting, made by her friend. Several months went by before I was able to fulfill my impulse. When the day came, I took the subway down to Olga's apartment on Fulton Street, one of the craziest corners in all of New York City. Looming over the old neighborhood, Olga's humungous 60-s era building peers down at the tumult below. Where once fish teemed, now tourists do....
When I was in high school, I decided to teach myself to crochet from a stack of library books. I'm left-handed, so at first I was so confused by trying to flip the instructions in my head that all I could do was chain. Eventually I figured it out and have been crocheting every winter since.