My Summer To-Learn List

I realized the other day, as I was cleaning and putting things away around the house, that I have been saving up things I want to learn. I bought a few books that I haven’t worked through yet, and some supplies I haven’t touched yet. I decided to make a list of techniques and projects I want to work on this summer, and to start working on them, one by one.

  1. Sew a quilt. Ever since I first saw Kaffe Fassett’s work, then met him, then devoured his books, I have wanted to try quilting. I don’t need to make a masterpiece, but I do want to learn how to do it and to use the fabric I picked out way back when.
  2. Brioche. I’ve seen various magazines feature amazing work using this technique, but I have yet to learn how to do it and experiment with it. This is one of those techniques I have an unread book for, so I plan to work through the book and at least knit a few swatches so I can get the feel of it.
  3. Entrelac. Again, have the book, just haven’t cracked it open yet. Because I love to play with color, I have high hopes that both brioche and entrelac will benefit me as a designer.
  4. Yoke sweater. I really love the look of these sweaters, but have never made one. They are such a traditional piece of knitwear, and yet still look so modern. The tradition of knitting and crochet is one of my favorite things to read about, so I think it’s time I celebrated that by learning how to construct a traditional yoke.
  5. More Tunisian crochet. I finished my first Tunisian project last summer, but this is still something I would like to explore further. I’ve seen people do beautiful things with it, and I’d very much like to expand my familiarity with it.
  6. Knitting and crocheting with beads. This, for whatever reason, has been a technique that has eluded me. A few years ago, when my mom got remarried, I wanted to make her a beautiful Lily Chin beaded shawl. The crochet hook I had been using to try to pull the beads through the stitches was too big, and the whole thing became such a headache, I scrapped it and just bought her a present. (I know, that’s the chicken way out, but time constraints did me in.) I learned the most important thing, however, which is that you MUST have the right tools. You must also be willing to spend some money because beads aren’t cheap, and unless you’re only using a few as accents, you need alot. However, I am ready to try it again, and hopefully this time, I will at least end up with a completed swatch or two.

Tell me, what are your summer projects and plans?


Crocheters’ Turn

When I decided to do this post, I wasn’t entirely sure of who I wanted to list aside from the big names of Lily Chin and Doris Chan. But the more I dug around looking for what’s new and cool in the crochet world, the more fun I had finding all the designers who are doing exciting stuff with it!

Even though I have not yet made patterns from these designers, I was very happy to find this list!

Pattern by DarnCat Crochet
Pattern by DarnCat Crochet

There’s nothing cuter than crocheted animals, and having done animals and toys both in knitting and crochet, take it from me: crocheting them is alot more fun, and SOOOO much quicker! The nature of crochet is that the fabric you’re stitching is thicker, which lends itself nicely to creating fabric for an animal or toy which will be stuffed. I made the bunny above several years ago, and couldn’t find much from this artist to share, so I recommend Joyce Overheul’s designs at Flying DutchmanDesigns as an excellent alternative.

Laura Lynn Hanks' Chromium Star
Laura Lynn Hanks’ Chromium Star

Props to any designer who can come up with a pattern that becomes this popular, looks this cool, and is so easy to do! Considering that I had to clear my entire living room floor just to be able to spread this throw out in all its glory for this shot, it didn’t take me long at all to crochet this huge piece. And when I went to her blog, I found a wealth of talent! Visit when you have time to read and browse!

Another designer whose patterns I’m excited to try is Heidi Bears, designer of the adorable Happypotamus and numerous other equally adorable and gorgeous animals. Her stuff is so adorable and beautiful I don’t even want to have it open on my computer screen when my daughter is around until I’m ready to make it, because I know my little girl will drive me crazy begging for it. And to be honest, I sort of just want to make one for myself!

Not to be forgotten, there is also Tunisian crochet, which I have only sampled, and would love to continue exploring. Sharon Silverman is an excellent writer and designer of Tunisian.

Sasha Kagan is a knitwear designer who took the time to explore crochet and write an extremely inspirational book. I love the fact that such an accomplished knitwear designer took time out to explore crochet and elevate it to an art form. I would encourage any crocheter in need of inspiration to read her book, as it is truly one of the best out there.

There is a whole other world of crochet that fascinates me that originates in Japan. It is hard for Americans to know how to work these patterns unless they’ve been taught to simply read the charts visually. But the designer Kazuko Ryokai is the author of Crochet With Color, and gives us an excellent (and fun!) place to start.

I hope you enjoy what I came up with! Please share your favorites with me, as I am always happy to add to my list.