Friday, July 10, 2020

Lace Crochet - Origin & Short History


The sole mention of lace crochet makes my heart skip a beat. As a sworn lover, I find it wondrous and beautiful to look at and wear, with intricate, versatile and fragile designs that breathe out a notion of the past.  

There are two theories about its origin:  it originated in Arabia, spread eastward to Tibet and westward to Spain, from where it followed the Arab trade routes to other Mediterranean countries, and the second is that it comes South America, where a primitive tribe was said to have used crochet adornments in rites of puberty. 

It appeared in Europe in the 1700s, in the hands of Ursuline nuns who had learned the technique in France, where it had developed as a shortcut for making Venetian point needle lace. More about the history of crochet here.

The most famous and prominent type of lace crochet is Irish crochet.  Irish Crochet Lace was traditionally made with a very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet linen thread, though modern Irish Crochet lace is made with mercerized thread. More on Irish crochet here.

I have used lace crochet for many of my jewelries, accessories and my halter tops, and now I am on a mission to start making more elaborate garments. 

The two pictures show my use of lace crochet. The tablecloth is a dear heirloom. My grandma made it for me - she actually made two of these with different designs and this one is simpler in appearance, with a plain surface and enriched border. This type of crochet is called filet crochet - something she was immensely masterful at.  

What type of crochet are you most attracted to?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Summer Necklace - free crochet pattern


This is quite different from the freeform crochet necklaces I am getting ready, but I had the design for this necklace for such a long time, and actually planning to post it at the beginning of spring, as a "welcome spring" post, but alas, not everything turns out as planned. 

Nevertheless, if you like it, here's the materials and the pattern: 
* sport yarn and a 1.9mm hook (UK 3) (US 5) 
* sewing thread in color of the necklace (preferably)
* sewing needle for sewing the flowers and beads on, tapestry needle for weaving ends.
Optional: glass / pearl /seed beads, sequins.
Stitches: chain (ch), chain space (ch-space), skip (sk), slip stitch (sl st), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc). 
American terminology used.

Leafy necklace
Foundation and row 1: Ch40 and starting from 2nd st from hook, hdc1 in all sts across (39). 
Row 2: Ch3, turn work, sk1, sc1 in next st. Repeat this pattern across. There should be 19 chains. Cut yarn, tie a knot and weave the tail.
Row 3: We are going to work the leafy part now. With necklace face, up front, insert same yarn into the 7th ch-space and ch10 (5 for the stem and 5 for the leaf), sl st1 in 2nd st (of the 10 chain), next hdc1 in next 2 sts., sc1 in the next. One leaf made. Next, ch10 again and repeat the above pattern for the leaf. Repeat this once more but this will be the ending leaf, so crochet the leaf pattern, but after the sc stitch from the leaf, sl st1 in the existing stem 3 times. From there, ch5 and work the leaf pattern. When the leaf is done, sl st again in the same st you started the leaf, sc1 in next 2 stitches and when you come to the leaf on the other side, sl st in that st too. Sc1 along the stem for 2 sts, sl st in the third (where you'll begin to make the next leaf) ch5 and work the leaf pattern. Repeat working the stem and leafs until you reach the ch-space. Sc1 in the ch-sp. We will call this "the side branch". Sl st in the st dividing 2 ch-spaces and from there, ch 3 (thus here we skip this ch-sp.) and sc in the next st dividing ch-spaces. Sc in next ch-sp and ch10 for the next "leafy branch". The two central branches are a little longer than the side ones. You repeat the same pattern for this, except that you add an extra leaf, so instead of 2 on each side +plus the central one, you make 3 on one side (+central one) and 4 on the other. When you are done, repeat the chaining part. After the third branch, work the pattern for the side branch. Finish as for all branches. Cut yarn, and work the tail. 


Flower pattern: Ch3 and hdc1 in 1st st. Ch3 and hdc1 in 1st st of that small petal, then sl st in very 1st st. Repeat this pattern 3 more times, each time sl stitching the petal in that very 1st st. Make as many as you like. I made 8 - 2 on each branch. 

Work on the arrangement of the flowers that appeals to you. Sew the flowers on. Decorate with beads if you want to add a bit of soft glam. 

Insert yarn at the side of the necklace and chain as many as you deem necessary so as to make the tying adjustable. Finish it by using the leaf pattern, so it ends with small leaves. 
Do so for the other side. 


Do let me know if you make this. I would love to see it!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Crochet Inspiration - Namaste & Crochet


Dominique Calvillo, the driving force and the creator of Namaste & Crochet, is using her knack for crocheting to shed light on the importance of art therapy. 
In building her clothing line, she hopes people to see beyond the product and recognize the power of meditation and art therapy. 

 "Amidst the daily hustles of life along with constant stimulus and distraction, It’s easy to forget to take a moment to center the mind and spirit. Sometimes we are diverted from pursuing the art and passions that are in our heart to create, for fear that no one will understand, that it will be poorly received or that it isn’t important enough to make. It’s easy to belittle our gifts and place them low on the priority list. I hope to encourage others to let go and let themselves be healed by their creative expression. It is my personal belief that if God has given someone a creative gift, not only is it a gift to the soul of the creative, but also to those who will experience the creation.  Sure - not everyone will resonate with your art but you never know how your expression could speak to someone or remind them of their own connectedness to the divine."

Apart from working on her brand, Dominique, invests herself in aiding organizations that work with women who are being reintegrated from human trafficking and need a way to support themselves and their families. One day she hopes her clothing line will benefit the lives of women affected by human trafficking.

Dominique on Instagram



Saturday, July 4, 2020

Beaded Bohemian Necklace


Hello all! How's your weekend going?
Here, I've been swamped and taken over by beads and sequins and I still cannot fathom the size my collection has grown during the years. 
As it happens rather often with me, this necklace was the last to be made, but the first to be finished with the beading. 

With this one, I stepped away from the freeform crochet I've been working on, to design an effortless crochet necklace using simple stitches and believe it or not - this design does not go beyond chains and hdcs. Can you believe it? And yet - the result is an interesting gypsy necklace that doesn't reveal the simplicity of design.  

Well, that is all for now. Have a wonderful Saturday! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Freeform Crochet Inspiration



Freeform crochet has always been immensely attractive for me. It shows the amazing creative genius of the artist and the skills to turn those varied shapes and forms into tangible, awe-striking masterful constructions. 

Once in a while, I like to delve into freeform crochet, but this summer, the desire to fully engage into it is hugely pronounced. I have already made several freeform necklaces, but I decided to bead them all and the beading is going slow. So, I have nothing to show you right now, but I am hopeful to have them ready by the end of the week.  

How about you? Have you tried freeform crochet? What have you made?  



Saturday, June 27, 2020

The "Tuscan Window" Bag - pattern release



Although we have visited Italy 4 times, we have never visited Tuscany and it has been forever on my bucket list. I do wish we visit it some day. Searching for some photos on my external hard drive, I came upon some of the albums from our Italian travels and many contained photos of houses with hanging flowers from their windows. Hence my inspiration for this bag. Not to mention that I have a soft heart for the Under the Tuscan Sun film :)

The bag is made using two squares and decorated with lovely roses and vines. The decorative pattern is quite charming and eye-catching and it is also easy and repetitive. 

The pattern is in my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Happy Summer


Happy summer guys!
This one is going to be different than all the others, but what can we do?
June is passing through my fingers unnoticeably. Lots of projects designed and started, but somehow I cannot make myself pick up the hook and actually finish something. I am more concentrated on mixing and matching crochet projects right now.

When I started exploring the Susani squares, I made this central square (below), but changed my mind because of the color. Because I knew I wouldn't find any practical use for such a square, and would have hated  just seeing it lying around, I crocheted the side panels and turned it into a bracelet. I embellished it with some lovely flowers and added beads.  So not everything is wasted :) 

What are your plans for the summer? 
Here, they opened up the borders, but if you go out of the country, you'll be quarantined  upon return for 14 days, and honestly, we do not feel like traveling abroad right now. So we stay put.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Beaded Susani Square


My exploration and play with the Susani inspired crochet squares continues. 
For this square I employed surface crochet only and  embellished it with beads. Needless to say, I quite like the final result. 

The only thing is that I have no idea how to use these squares and honestly I should have been more imaginative and make it larger so as to make it into a bag or a case. But, I'll think of something. It's a pity to leave it abandoned in my crochet treasuring box :)

If you missed my post with the first attempts at Susani inspired squares, here they are

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Crochet Brooches - Mix & Match

Good day all!
I spent the weekend sorting out samples of mostly flowers I made for may patterns and tutorials and mix-matching them to create larger pieces. I was set on a particular color palette for these (greens and blues), but eventually added a bit of color. These below are rather biggish so would be great to add to a bag, or maybe worn as a statement brooch on a sturdier piece of clothing - like a jacket or a coat. 

Anyway, how's June holding up for you? Any interesting projects to share? 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Susani in Crochet


So. If you didn't know - when I get fixated on something and get it into my head, well... it's hard to take it out. This happened with the Susani textiles from my last post. I said I would love to try it in crochet - and I did!

For this project, I made a couple of squares and designed simple shapes I thought I could execute well.

The pink square  is the first one I did. For that one I used surface crochet for the central design, embroidery for the corners (lazy daisy and French knots) and regular crochet (picots)  for the edges. Since this is my first project of this kind, the central motif pulled the work a bit up - and this can be noticed on the bottom side - should have added more picots to elongate that side and minimize the tension there - but I saw it after I was done, and to be honest, hated frogging it, so I left it as is. 


The mauve one might look simpler in appearance, but it was more challenging. I started with the burgundy part, and after the initial chain, I pulled a pretty long strand of yarn up (surface crochet is worked with the yarn below the work) on the surface so that I can make it a 3-D, but it was really difficult, so for the next 2 layers, I just surface crocheted the outlines and added the next row as I would do with a regular crochet. I added French knots again to make it lively because I didn't like anything else added to the motif, and made a shelled edging around it.

I truly enjoyed trying my hand at this. As a matter of fact I have another couple of squares coming up for which I am eager to try something else. But they are still in the design stage. 
Will talk to you soon! Have a lovely weekend! 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Suzani Textiles

I have just recently learned that this type of embroidered textiles are called Suzani.
Suzani is a type of decorative tribal textile made in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. The name Suzani originates from the Persian language where suzan means needle. 

The art of making suzani textiles employs a cotton or a silk base, which is then embroidered in silk or cotton thread. 
The primary use of a suzani was within the yurt, as a protective wrapping panel for textiles and belongings, but they were also used  as prayer mats, bed sheets, for sitting, etc.   

Suzanis were traditionally made by brides and their mothers as part of their dowry and they were presented to the groom and his family on the wedding day. They mostly represent symbols of luck, health, longevity and fertility.

There is a beautiful text on the history of Suzani here.

Inspired by these, I am trying to make a Suzani in crochet. We'll see how that turns out :)

All images found on pinterest via the Suzani search. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Crochet Cacti Applique - pattern release



My cacti are here

I cannot tell you how happy I am that they are finished and I am immensely satisfied how they turned out. Not only can they be used on cushions as I previously imagined - we also tried them on Eva's jacket and the transformation of that cropped jeans jacket is amazing! 

These can be used to decorate not only cushions/ pillows, but also hats and bags and can quite easily become statement brooches. 

The pattern is


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Cactus Cushion Applique


Happy Saturday all!

I have been working long on my cacti project and I cannot tell you how many times I changed my mind and altered the patterns until I was satisfied! Luckily, that project is finished and I am getting it ready for pictures.  

This here is one of my tries with large cactus applique for one of my cushions. It wasn't challenging at all, but I don't believe I'll been making any large ones again.

I hope you are having a fantastic weekend!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Surface Crochet


What is surface crochet? 
It is a way to crochet (usually using the slip stitch) on the top of  (the surface of) a finished piece. With the surface crochet you can decorate a piece with stripes, lines, ribbing, edging, etc. 

I have tried my hand at surface crochet in a couple of my projects - nothing I did was spectacular though, but I quite like it because not only it gives a raised texture to a piece but also enriches it greatly. 

I am actually trying to work surface crochet on one of my cacti  - a project I hope to reveal soon, but that also avalanched some ideas how to use this technique in my jewelry and I simply cannot wait to get the cacti done and throw myself into surface crocheting jewelries ;)

Below are some ideas of surface crochet I found on the Internet. How about you? Have you tried this technique?



Friday, May 29, 2020

7 Tropical Inspired DIYs


Ever since we had our banana leaves room re-fresh, the tropics stuck into my head and I am still keen on pursuing the idea a little bit more.  So today, I am presenting a roundup of tropical inspired ideas. I definitely have to try the cactus coasters! :)