Saturday, October 27, 2007

Electroluminescent Yarn!

Weaving or knitting the yarn in a particular manner, so that more yarn per unit area is achieved, improves the luminance of the EL yarn. (Dr Tilak Dias, Head of the WLIC)
Woo-hoo, crocheters get ready! Who needs light-up hooks when it's the yarn that lights up?
I want to crochet some of this NOW.

Quoted from here:
Dr Tilak Dias, Head of the WLIC, said: "At the moment the EL yarn we have developed is less flexible than conventional yarns. But it is more flexible than current optical fibres that are incorporated within fabrics to provide illumination. EL yarn can be easily incorporated into a knitted or woven fabric and the resultant active illuminating fabric provides illumination when it is powered. The luminance of a single strand of the EL yarn is greater than that of photoluminescent glow yarns, which are currently used in some high visibility applications."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday to me mum, who taught me how to crochet. We bought lots of yarn, pattern books, and beads together when I was growing up, with a wonderful spirit of adventure--we learned all the new techniques we could find: Broomstick lace (aka "Jiffy Lace"), Hairpin, and "Cro-Hook" for example. Mom helped me get the tools and info I needed to learn spinning and weaving too.
Back then we decided on a big joint project: a bedspread of sparkly yellow granny squares with a sparkly white flower in each center. I'm thinking that the yarn was the legendary but discontinued Dazzleaire.
Nowadays we live in different states so we haven't gone yarn-buying together for a long time, but Mom sends me some of her crochet and she's excited for me about mine. (See photo of me mum's crochet.) A few years ago we both were really into crocheting with wire and beads. Then Mom went whole-hog into thread crochet, the finer the thread the better! Also, needle-felting.
If I still had one of the sparkly granny squares I'd post a photo.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rowanberry Pendant

Lark's Jewelry With a Hook, ed. by Terry Taylor, is ON SHELVES and here is my Rowanberry Pendant embellishing the dedication page. (The complete design involves some crocheted "links" and a length of black velvet for a little holiday goth.)

Want a story? Rowan berries, which have a rich pagan past, are here represented by Clones Knots, which themselves have a rich history in Irish crochet.
The cord is Judi & Co.'s Corde' in a deep wine red shade. I've looked for Corde' for years in yarn shops and mail order catalogs and then one day at a CGOA conference I found a reel of red in the Dreamweaver Yarns booth. It is rayon-wrapped cotton and even the most common stitches look uncommon. Picots look like Celtic knots! As I played with it my friend Ananda came to mind, who celebrates the Winter Solstice (aka Midwinter, Yule). Then it just all came together in my mind.
That's the editor with his copy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crochet Content Alert: Vogue Knitting Magazine

You might think I'm being melodramatic, because Vogue Knitting does include at least a pinch or two* of crochet in each issue; sometimes there is even more if you look closely, because the C-word might be missing from a depiction of crochet that's labeled "knit" instead.

The occurrence of crochet in the Holiday 2007 issue merits a special ALERT though: on page 46+ is an article by Dora Ohrenstein, founding editor of Crochet Insider, spotlighting an obscure CROCHET stitch pattern. Not only does it provide a photo tutorial, it is accompanied by a pattern for a hat and muff set.

Thank you, Vogue Knitting, for some way-cool content-rich crochet! I've been crocheting a very long time, which makes me hard to please, and I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I can never get enough of unusual, inventive, vintage, or otherwise obscure crochet stitches.

And a big thank you to Dora for persisting until she found someone who could crack the mystery stitch, and for including us in the discovery.
*There have occasionally been crochet designs in other issues of VK which do count as more than a "pinch"; designs by Kim Kotary and Jennifer Hansen come to mind.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New! Jelly Yarn Bottle Tote KIT

My first crochet kit debuts at the Stitches East conference in Baltimore THIS WEEK! It will be available at Booth #314
during the conference and then permanently available at the Jelly Yarns website.

I'm always using water bottle totes here in the subtropics and of all the totes I've used, Jelly Yarn is ideal material. It stretches to fit the widest range of bottle sizes and scrunches down small to fit in my purse. It's strong and indestructible! The transparent colors make me thirsty when the sun shines through!

The kit does not include the beads, buttons, or ribbons that you see in this photo, these are just experimental styles (I took this photo back when I was considering teaching a class in using Jelly Yarn because I consider this pattern to be an easy learning project.) The kit DOES provide 2 patterns--for a smaller tote using fine weight Jelly Yarns (all water bottles under 1 liter) and a larger one using the bulky weight JY.

The larger tote on the far right is clear with gold flecks ("Honey Gold Bulky") and it reminded me of champagne so I dressed it up as a wedding/anniversary champagne/wine tote.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Oakland CGOA Conference: Design "Lab"

It is becoming a tradition among a small group of designers that after the conference fashion show we meet in a convenient place (i.e. the hotel bar) and try on each other's crochet. Yes it's FUN (REALLY fun) and yes it usually draws a crowd, but don't be fooled, it's research.

I described it recently in a comment on jd wolfe's blog:
"At the crochet conferences some of us get together and try on each other’s designs and learn LOTS about the design itself this way. For example three different size Large people could all wear your design differently because one has wide bony shoulders, another is short and rounded, another needs a very different color or texture for it to look good at all on her. Not only that but it’s amazing how differently people stand and move, so if you design something with a lot of drape, it will also look very different from person to person. A lot of the time, one size really does fit many when designers try on each other’s designs, because crochet stretches (despite what knitters say). But one size can look like many different sizes."

Photo #1 L to R: Laurie Wheeler et moi are wearing & flaring Karen Klemp's shawls while Karen sports the "Chain Link Capelet" I designed for the CGOA Pattern Line (pattern purchase benefits the guild). A better view of Laurie's top is at her blog entry--it's her own design featuring real feathers spun into the yarn.

Photo #2 L to R: Myra Wood flauntsMarty Miller's Spiderweb Cardigan while Margaret Fisher exploits the brimming savoir faire of Myra's Wild Fiber Tunic Dress.
Photo#3 L to R: Vashti and Doris Chan opportunistically explore pseudocasual subtexts: V finally gets to try on Doris' tank top (or 'sleeveless vest' if you will) and throws on a belt for the heck of it, while D begins with her own black lace tunic then tops off the look with Marty's flirtatious red cardi; Myra's eclectic ensemble daringly taunts that edge between blue and gray with Vashti's Chain Link Capelet and Doris' denim hemp pineapple skirt over peacock tights; and Marty pulls out all the stops with her SF Bay look in Myra's dress. Marty, in fact, jolted us out of our usual composure earlier that evening by wearing red and looking fabulous in it. And, half of my photos show Myra wearing that skirt--it's a superfun skirt to wear! I SO WISH that the video I took of her twirling and twisting in it was not too dark to post.

Missing this time were "founders" Tammy Hildebrand and Dora Ohrenstein, and "charter" participants Diane Moyer, Lisa Gentry, Victoria Vigyikan. Present this time but missing from photos: Margaret Hubert, Bonnie Pierce and her DH, Mel Gill, Lang Anh, Deanna Van Asshe, more? See more photos at Margaret's blog, Oct4 entry.

I look forward to the after-show as much as the fashion show itself!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Stashbusters Class (CGOA Conference Report)

My class swatch project fits Lambchop! Lambchop says, "You have the best smile."

I was not my usual attendee-self at this conference. It's the first time I've only taken ONE class! I was in Oakland most of all to be able to spend time with my dear friend Kalli. This is the true source of my self-discipline. (Here's a pic of us on a ferry that took us under the Golden Gate bridge.)

I chose Marty Miller's Stashbusters class and looked forward to an afternoon of playing with my stash. I also felt a wee bit o' guilt over my big yarn stash and hoped to make it more manageable. Marty's visual aids whetted my appetite to go stash-diving and she demonstrated a variety of fun ways to create a whole garment as you go, with any kinds of stash.

I'm proud to report that I left the class refreshed and recharged, pleased with my stash and promptly visited the Knit and Crochet Market to buy more yarn :-)
(Pictured: 750 yds. Louet KidLin in Spanish Blue; 864 yds. Malabrigo in Pollen; 1000 yds. Shetland Cobweb 100% Pashmina 1-ply.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I WON SOMETHING! (CGOA Conference Report)

So, dear reader, are you one of those people who says "I'm one of those people who never wins anything"? There must be a lot of us, but now I can't say it anymore because I attended a meeting for CGOA members at the conference and....It's true! I didn't not win!!! I mean, I won! The best thing of all is that everyone won something great at the meeting, so while I won 5 skeins of this luscious, deeply satisfying red alpaca, no one else was prevented from also winning something.

Um, oh yes, some CGOA news. We have a new PR Committee and I'm excited to be getting it set up to running smoothly and happily. Also there is a big new opportunity for members that will be announced any day now--wish I could spill the beans but someone else has that fun honor. (Imagine how easy it must be to spill beans if it became a common saying.)

A big THANK YOU to Berroco. See their great new design in this new yarn and color. Here's a lovely pic of Julia Emily's project in this yarn. Mmmmm, these knitted projects are lovely but what shall I crochet? This is Ravelry-worthy so I'll use it to practice listing my stash.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oakland CGOA Conference Report: the TOYS

Returned home late at night from the conference to the sweetest note from my son:
I was able to find some toys to gladden a boy's heart this time. (Gladdened Boy has Lambchop eyelashes!) Judging by how popular these items were with adults, I'd say maybe the vendors should include a few more playful gender-neutral items. Many attendees claimed to be shopping for grandchildren--someone mentioned finding an adorable board book about sheep and wool--but others might have been shopping for their own "inner grandchildren" :-) Wish I had a photo of our own CGOA President bonding with Lambchop. :sigh:

The zebra hat from the Pacific Meadows Alpacas booth was truly irresistible, with its black fringe mane and those little single-crocheted ears.... other animal hats were also available there, many of them knit. The alpaca toy in both pics is unbelievably soft.

The booth was right across from the International Free Form Crochet Guild booth, so here we see Myra Wood getting warm and fuzzy with the FF booth on one side and none other than Sri Kalli Rose Ji: remember my Hat Yoga Guru from an earlier series of entries? Can you see why She IS One For Whom Hats Must Be Made? (photo by Margaret Hubert)