Friday, December 20, 2013

She Just Gets It

While I haven't been publishing I have been teaching crochet. That has been interesting.

Up til now, all of my students have been adults, women who have decided to revisit crochet and either relearn it or learn it again.

Recently, a woman approached me to do private lessons for her 10 year old daughter. My first internal response was panic since I've never taught crochet to a kid. But, I pushed back the fear and said I'd love to.

So we got together for her first lesson on Wednesday night.

1. She's an absolute sweetheart!
2. She's REALLY enthusiastic and REALLY wants to learn.
3. She's made really good use of YouTube and got a good start on her own.

That was my first impression and it was all correct. My second impression impressed even me.

1. She gets it. She can see things/visualize in her head. That's really rare these days and quite refreshing. I'm the same way and so I realized I know just how to teach her.
2. She doesn't get all upset when it's not perfect the first time and actually thinks that ripping out is fun. When she made a mistake she's just laugh, rip it out, confirm what needed to happen, and went on. Totally cool!!
3. She saw the magic and wants it for herself. When she was practicing her single crochet (it's going to be a hat) I made a fingerless glove (for my niece of the same age) worked the same way she's making her hat. I did that to simultaneously get something done as well as to demonstrate what she needed to learn and do. Before our time was up I finished it and so she was able to watch me stitch it up and she tried it on. That's when she understood how what she was doing could be turned into a hat (tube with one end tied shut) and she saw the magic. As we were walking with her mom out to our cars she turned to me and said, "When you made the hole for the thumb, did you just skip stitches?" Yes, she gets it and it made me smile.

So I have to say, I think I'm going to enjoy teaching this little girl. And maybe she'll reinspire some magic in me, too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Downton Abby Crochet

Downton Abby has many of us enthralled to the point of addiction. Oops....did I say that out loud?

A magazine with patterns inspired by the show was recently published.........for knitting. Ack! Please! No crochet? Don't get me wrong, I think knitting is appropriate and beautiful, but it seems that we crocheters are left to do what we've always done.We're going to have to make it up ourselves. So here's some inspiration and ideas for you. Yes, you can do it!

Fashions from 1917.
• Downton Abby has been set in a time period of many changing styles. To find what you might be looking for, use the following words. Edwardian Era (1901-1919), Art Nouveau (1880-1914), Art Deco (1919-1939), Bauhaus (1919-1933), and Arts and Crafts Movement (1861-1914). If you search for clothing with those words what you will find are images that show the change in attire (especially for women) where the corset begins to disappear and hems begin to rise. After all, it's the era when women won the right to vote. A very BIG deal.

• Did you know that, in the Downton Abby era, crochet was just as important a part of a woman's skills as knitting, embroidery, tatting, sewing, cooking, and all the other "womanly" arts?

Downton Abby era women's mags.
• Antique stores sometimes carry old women's magazines which generally covered all the womanly arts and will often contain a crochet item here and there. However, they'll be in a form that is appropriate to a working woman trying to brighten her life. Doilies, tablecloths, baby clothes, corset tops, etc in crochet thread and a few things like bathing jackets, heavy shawls, or caps in yarn. 

• Lace was used to embellish everything. Lace edgings, insertions, and whole lace fabrics.

From the 1950s but timeless.
• If you'd rather have those beautiful flowing lace pieces, but you're terrified of crochet thread, use lace weight yarn. It's going to be much closer to the original but easier for a yarnie to manage.

• So lets say you're using crochet thread or lace weight yarn, but you want something really authentic. Take a look at the corset covers with the lace tops. We don't wear corsets anymore (thankfully) but we do wear tank tops.

• Imagine what you find in those antique needlework magazines. Suddenly a corset cover becomes a tank top and the motifs for a tea table cover become a delicate lace jacket or a beautiful and expensive looking wrap.