Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vintage Crochet: Simply gorgeous

I remember when I first saw Vintage Crochet Back when I considered crochet just a bit déclassé (i.e., knitting's lower-class cousin). Note to crocheters: Since then, I've changed my mind, completely, about this form of artistic expression, so please don't hate me!

The People
Primed by a visit to Posie Gets Cozy, Alicia Paulson's blog, a few weeks earlier, I pulled Susan Cropper's pretty book off the shelf and was immediately lured into its world of elegant brunches, snug little havens, quaint tea parties.

Founder of London's Loop yarn store, Cropper (who also wrote Pretty Knits) is a genius at creating intriguing, lovely scenes. She also knows how to organize designs commissioned from a winning team of designers, including Leigh Radford, Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, Alicia Paulson, and Nicki Trench.

The Patterns
The book's four sections - Boho Babes, Nostalgic Home, Lazy Summers, and Gorgeous Gifts - offer a cohesive collection of gifts, home decor items, toys, accessories, and (of course) garments. All drool-worthy.

From the start, I was delighted by Cropper's modern-yet-vintage inspired aesthetic. Soft pastels mingle with saturated colors. Old-fashioned styles emerge as nostalgic clothing that's eminently wearable. Natural fibers, thank goodness, are used throughout.

What are my favorite Vintage Crochet designs? The easy way out of this question would also be the truth: All of them. But if I HAD to choose, I'd pick:

  • Kate's Breakfast Set (By Kate Samphier; Sorry, the photos currently on Ravelry really don't do it justice.)
(FYI: The pattern links will take you to their Ravelry pages.)

The Lowdown
Beyond its usefulness, however, Vintage Crochet offers the one thing fiber artists/crafters enjoy above all else: Eye candy. Kristin Perers' photography captures the glorious yarns with which the designs have been lovingly crocheted. The lighting is superb, and the styling leaves nothing to be desired.

Should you buy Vintage Crochet? Well, if you enjoy making beautiful, classic clothing and gifts, the answer is: Yes. If you adore all things nostalgic and vintage, the answer is: Yes. If you long for some escapist browsing and/or comfort reading, the answer is: Oh, Yes!

And for those of you who don't know how to crochet? The answer is a resounding: Yes. Because this book will make you want to learn. And hey, who wouldn't want another way to play with yarn? That's what I thought.

The Vitals
Vintage Crochet: 30 Gorgeous Designs for Home - Garden - Fashion - Gifts
By Susan Cropper / Photography by Kristin Perers
Paperback: 144 pages; Publisher: Watson-Guptill (November 13, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0823099768


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Craic: New socks for spring

Craic, pronounced “crack,” is a Gaelic word that roughly translates to “great fun,” as in: “Knitting these socks is great craic.”

I designed these Celtic-spring-inspired socks for Three Irish Girls, using Kells Sport, a densely-spun, 100-percent superwash Merino with a plump structure that makes cables pop. And as you knit, Kells works up into a wonderfully soft and squeezable fabric - I could hardly keep my hands off these socks!

Craic's pattern begins at the cuff, where pattern-specific ribbing flows effortlessly into ripples and twintings of deeply-textured cables. At the ankle, one panel splits, following the instep stitches to the toe.

Then there's my favorite part: The large cable panel on the back of the sock continues all the way down the heel flap, making these socks a perfect match for cute clogs and other slip-on shoes...

Full charts are included in the pattern, so you'll always be able to see where you are and what comes next. I've also added instructions for the various stitch patterns - so, even if you're a novice cable-knitter, you'll be able to knit these impressive-looking socks. (And I'm always happy to answer your questions!)

While Craic was first released to the Sock Yarnista Club, the pattern is now available for anyone to purchase via PDF download from the Three Irish Girls Web site. Just click here for more information - after all, what sock knitter doesn't enjoy a little craic from time to time?

Click here to see Craic Socks on Ravelry!

(Note: The above photos of Craic Socks were provided by Three Irish Girls.)