Monday, January 25, 2010


A source of inspiration for me is other people's work. I've found a lot of beautiful and gently or never used pieces of needle work in antique stores. If you pick carefully among the worn out stuff, you can find the treasures and they're usually woefully under valued.

They inspire me to create and can even inspire me to design.

Beautiful doilies from Germany.

An intricate tatted doily.

This linen handkerchief on the left has a thread hairpin lace edging.

This handkerchief on the right has what I think is a thread Solomon's Knot edging.
 The edging on this linen doily is (I believe) a bobbin lace.

Inspired yet?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Heirloom Afghan

My aunt made me a hexagonal granny square afghan when I was in high school. She made one each for my brother and sister, too. However, I think mine turned out the best.

Not just because I still like the colors, but because of how she made it and what she made it out of.

First, she used a really durable yarn. It's not real soft, but the durability made it perfect as a bedspread (that's I used it for). It hasn't come apart or stretched out and it still has its original shape after over 20 years.

Second, she used the right hook size. By keeping the hook small enough for snug but not too tight stitches it has added to the durability.

As a result she created an afghan that served as my bedspread until I got married and now serves to keep me warm on the couch. It will probably still be in great shape another 20 years from now.

Polish Star

Looking back through some old crochet patterns, it's not hard to see why crocheting got the reputation of being ugly and of no interest to the contemporary crafter.

Fortunately, there are enough of us out there that know that isn't true and are doing something about it. I amazed when I go and look at crochet patterns on Ravelry and Patternfish as well as in the crochet magazines on the rack at local bookstores. I've even begun hunting down independent designers online to see what is out there.

However, it's not such a bad idea to go look at those old (often scary) patterns that give you every variation possible for potholders and toilet paper roll covers. Even, heaven forbid, the traditional toilet seat cover. I do it looking for lost treasure.

I don't remember where I saw reference to it, but I went hunting for the "Polish Star." It's one of those stitch patterns that seems to be reborn for brief periods every few years and then slips away again.

Here's some of what I found.
Annie's Attic
Ghost's Yarn Tales

I found the pattern shown on the Ebay link and quickly worked it up in an evening. I can see how it would lose favor after the initial WOW! It's kind of boring to do. You don't get the fun until you start to weave it together.

But the possibilites! There is so much more that could be done with this technique. Change the weaving pattern, adjust the loop length to match, and I can see that this could be used do some cool stuff.

So for a brief period, I'm reviving the Polish Star. More to come later.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Design Break

So, I've been designing and crocheting at a frantic pace since the beginning of November. I wanted to have something up on Ravelry by the middle of Januray...but I have to secede to reality. If I'm going to do them with the level of quality that I need to feel true to my product, It's going to have to wait a little while longer. So they might be out of season when I post, at least I'll have figured out the whole process and can get on track.

All I will say is that my first few will be some marvelous scarves, with some bags in the wings just waiting for me to get them properly done.

So what's the hold up?

• Well, being a spoiled brat, I have to have Adobe Creative Suite. I gotta have my InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop, and Illustrator and the cheapest way to go is Creative Suite.
• And I can't just release them one at a time yet. I want to make my template work as universally as possible and I need a few ready to test it on.
• Then there's the small issue of a tech editor. I need one of those and haven't started looking yet. To tell you the truth, I find that part a little intimidating.

I'll get there, I promise. And then I'll post the pretty pictures of what I've been working so hard on. But right now I need a break so I'm working on one of my art pieces and a couple of other fun things. Then it's back to work.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Endeavors and a New Year

Unyunga got its start with a comment made by my husband last year.

As I was crocheting away at a sweater I was designing for myself, he said, "You should write down the patterns for the things you make. Someone else would probably like to make them, too." I poopooed him and said it was too much work, but it stuck there in the back of my mind.

Since I was just starting that sweater, I had to write the pattern down. I was working it from the center of the back toward the cuffs and I needed a pattern to remember how to do the other side. Turns out, it's not so hard to write a pattern and really doesn't take much time since it gets done as I go.

Then I heard Mary Beth Temple advertise her classes on her Getting Loopy podcast. I was a week late joining, but I caught up quickly and it was worth every penny. She gave me the information I needed to self publish patterns.

So, Unyunga was born in October of 2009 and I've been branding and designing up a storm. My goal is to have 3 to 6 scarf patterns published by the end of January. A good beginning to the new year.