What Do You Get…

Filed in Point of View, Skill Building by on April 3, 2014 0 Comments

What do you get when you take a vacationing Gwen, a sick Kellie and add in a new website to grow?  You get very few blog posts, that’s what. I know. Not much of a punch line, but it was the best I could do. It has been a bit of a grueling week for me and I’m going to take my well-earned (at least in my opinion) chance to whine and complain publicly.

Ah, catharsis.

And now I feel better. But seriously,  all bad joking aside,  thanks for your patience with our juggling act. The launch has been a lot of fun mixed in with even more learning. In the mean time, I offer my latest swatches and a total fangirl swoon over the work of our good friend Edie Eckman. This week I’ve been experimenting with using crochet to embellish a bag.


Swatches 11, 12 and 13

I should just call this week of swatching The Edie. First I was inspired by someone I met through her. Then I looked through her fabulous book Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. This book is a keeper. In fact, I currently only own it as an ebook so I can travel with it and show it to people in my classes, but I think I will be buying another copy of this one for my physical knitting bookshelf. The formatting is not always great in content-rich ebooks, unless they were designed that way, and this book deserves greatness.  Even as an occasional crocheter, I found knowledge and an approach to detail and excellence in this book that totally inspired me to get down and dirty and PRACTICE a little bit. So, I ripped and experimented, and the one circle is still not right, but I’m so excited to know things like how to change colors without a blip of the old color marring the transition. Or how to smooth edges and turn corners better. Edie is meticulous, but down to earth. Her sharp mind and thoughtful approach shine through in the words and  designs. I frankly loved this book and know I’ll continue to find it useful.

What I did tonight was an exploration in crocheting with embroidery floss in wonderful related color combinations all packaged up and pretty (I really was planning on doing all that primitive embroidery when I bought it). It’s linen instead of cotton, and it’s lovely to work with. Each little hank only does a round or two in these tiny motifs, but the delicacy and scale of this thread is really special. I began with the basic granny square I learned when I was 8 years old.

The original inspiration came from a desire to embellish my favorite computer bag, from Tom Bihn. I had considered needle felting right onto the cordura (which actually works-I’ll show you some experiments from that soon) and also appliqueing some knitting onto it. Then, at Stitches West, I met a woman with a Rickshaw bag from San Francisco, and she had covered the flap of this  really-well-designed-but-not-necessarily-artistic looking bag with crocheted granny squares. She told me they were made from embroidery floss, and that the bag company sent her the fabric,  let her do the embellishing, then she sent it back and they made it into her bag. What a fabulous idea for using crochet to embellish a bag!

So, I’m riffing off of that idea and creating a series of motifs to applique onto my bag. I’m pretty excited. The bag is a dark gray, so I’m not sure these are the right colors, but I have others, so there’s plenty of scope for more trial and error.


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