Friday, March 20, 2009

More Hats!

I've been so taken with the notion of crocheting things that are not flat rectangles that I have been making hats almost non stop. Today I asked myself whether I was becoming a slave to the dictates of a pattern. Where's the innovation? The testing, the trying of the untried? So I put an innovative border on the bottom of one of the hats. So there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Celtic Cross

Whatever posessed me? What came over me? I could have saved myself so much heartache if I had just said, "That's pretty," and gone on. But no, I had to go and try to chart the darned thing.

Celtic designs were the fancy of the moment. And I was devising ways to chart out designs for myself. The down side of being self taught is that you can't do things in the ways that lots of people have spent time streamlining. The upside is that there are no boundaries! There Is No Box. So I was merrily making charts of celtic patterns, when this photo came along.

Saint Moluag was an Irish lad who did his missionarying in Scotland. There is a little church named for him in Scotland, and outside that church stands this cross.

One of my favorite sayings is one from the Finnish people.
"The work will teach you how to do it." And this little project did indeed teach me. I can now draw pretty quickly in Excel. Yes, I know it is spreadsheet software, but to me it is an art form, just as valid as charcoal or watercolor.

The finished piece measures eight feet tall. It's pretty impressive.

Look Ma, I'm Famous!

I'd been happily crocheting along all by myself. Then I was given the sparkly yarn, and that is what set off the series of events that led me to here - world fame!

Ok, not world, and not exactly fame. But noticed and mentioned?

In searching for more of the sparkly yarn, I met the nice lady at the local yarn shop. (Hello Lindy!) She told me about, and I tripped over the Yahoo group. And in these online sites is where I learned that what I had been doing was called Tapestry Crochet.

Dr. Carol Ventura looks to me to be the Grand Poobah of Tapestry Crochet. She teaches the technique, and celebrates others who use this art form. It was she who wrote the directions for the hats in the previous entry.

Anyway, Dr. Ventura was kind enough to feature me on her site under "artist profiles." I can't begin to say how honored I am to be in the company of such creative folks.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Annie Makes Hats

Check it out - I made a hat! I followed directions and made something that I did not design myself! Up to now, this has not been possible, because I have no earthly idea how to read a pattern. They are full of abbreviations and assumptions of what you know. But this pattern, or set of directions, was written by someone who bridges that gap by writing her patterns in plain English. What an innovation! This first one turned out a little coneheaded, but that's ok. Hats made after the first one fit better.

Carol Ventura is the mastermind behind all this. More about her in the next post.
First I'm gonna show off my pretty hats.

This hat is made in the colors of Mardi Gras
, that being the time of year and all. I had a particular Mardi Gras partygoer in mind, but once it was finished, it was snapped up by a certain blonde. She likes wearing it turned up at the bottom, with the option of pulling it down over her ears when things get chilly.

Here's the top of the hat, and the pretty design crocheted into it.

And look inside - no loose threads!
This is the beauty of Tapestry Crochet. There is no 'wrong' side to the fabric. The inactive color gets carried inside the active color, and serves to strengthen the fabric at the same time. No cutting, tying knots, weaving in loose ends, or dangly yarns hanging loose inside your hat.

So I've proved to myself I can make a hat. What else can I do? With the Schess in mind, (and thinking of that stolen hat) I made one for the arc

This hat got made several times, pulled out, made again, over and over, round and round. In the process some shortcuts became necessary. When pulling out a row, it is difficult to know where to stop pulling. So now each row gets marked with a different color thread stuck in the last stitch in a row, and that color gets noted on the pattern.

A new set of alphabet letters was made for this hat. I now know that small letters can be readable at this size.

The buildings were not too tricky. The main headache was getting the curve into the hat in the proper proportions.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

Did I mention that it was Barb Grossman who led me down the slippery slope to yarn addiction? She only compounded the issue by organizing these festivals, and then having the audacity to invite me to come see!

Look at her trying to appear innocent of it all....

I was dazzled by all the textures, the colors, the many types of yarn. They don't make it easy!

My friend Pat was my date for the festival. She and I took a class together, even though she already knew what was being taught. I got a little basket started, and finished it at home the next day.

Here is the demo of the giant knitting needles. The nice man signed and personalized each set as it was purchased.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Horizon Gets Broadened, Continued

Around the corner from my house is this sign. I see it while out and about walking the dogs, and it has been a handy landmark when giving people directions to our house. "Turn left just past the sign for the yarn shop." When my hunt for more varieties of yarn intensified, I called the number for the shop. After a few tries, I reached the proprietor, Lindy, who invited me over for one of those 'hours by appt.' What Lindy failed to mention was that the entrance to the shop is around the back. So I spent some time on a bitter cold day standing and stomping on the front porch, shivering. No Lindy. The long story is that we played phone tag - I am not kidding - for months. The slightly less tedious story is this: I am happy to report that I no longer obsess over the painful details of that time of my life. It is all behind me now. Anyway, during the process of phoning and tagging, Lindy told me about a gathering she and some other ladies have on a regular basis at her shop. They get together and knit, and they would welcome someone who could crochet, also.

Here's the gang at a recent meet:

One of the gals can knit just about anything. Here she shows us an example of what she called "Russian Knitting." She is a real help in figuring out a tricky pattern.

Judging by the way they looked at the work I did, I would guess that they had never seen tapestry crochet before. But they have always been very complimentary when I have brought something to show off.