Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Around The World in 80 Skeins: Poland, India, Switzerland, Greece and Hong Kong

Hello everyone!
I am a bit behind with the journey around the world so there are 5 new designers Kimberly introduced to us.


Carine Lai from Hong Kong

 Anjali M from India

 
Maria Zilakou from  Greece
 
Ágnes Kutas-Keresztes from Switzerland

And Hanna Maciejewska from Poland.

Check out their respective interviews to find out their amazing countries and work!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

No Knit Just Sew: Drape Scarf Tutorial



Even in my wildest craft dreams I wouldn't think a tutorial like this one for my Ruffled Scarf would bring me tons of traffic on daily basis. But it has been enormously successful. So I thought why not make another one with a different - no knit of course - technique.

And voila! Here's the "No Knit - Drape Scarf".

To make this scarf you need a skein of chunky yarn - the chunkier the better.

Step 1: Cut 7 strips of yarn approx. 2 m long (this depends on your preferences). My daughter wanted a scarf she could wrap around 2 or 3 times, so I made it longer.


 
Step 2: Align all strips and decide how much you want them to hang loosely. I left about 15 cm / 5.9". After that push the strips through the feet and sew them across. Without interrupting the sewing, turn the work the other way and continue sewing. 
You can sew in a straight line or do a zig- zag across  (as shown in the picture). Sew only a small portion - that would be the "island" or "patch" in the scarf. Mine was 10 cm / 3.9".  Stop sewing when you make a nice island, backstitch and cut the sewing thread.
 
 
Step 3: Gather an equal amount of yarn (in my case it was 23 cm / 9.1"  long ) - this is the drape - and sew another "island" after that. Note that the yarn you left unsewn should be equal in length (although it may not appear as such in this photo) so that it drapes nicely.
 

 
 Basically, this is it.


 Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the end. Don't forget to leave the loose ends at the end.

Because I wasn't satisfied with the width of our scarf, I repeated the process 2 times, meaning I made three scarfs like the one in the picture above and sewed all three together.

If you decide to add another part and make it wider,
after you make the second one, join the two, align them, and sew them together. Note that you have to sew exactly on the "island" parts, and leave the drape parts as they are.

{Add a third one if you think it would look better. I did.}


 
And there is your no knit, Drape Scarf!
I hope you enjoyed this :)
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Around the World in 80 Skeins: Macedonia

Here's my interview on the  Around the World in 80 Skeins for those of you who missed it.
 
 
Hi, Maya - thanks for joining us! Where do you live and is there a big fiber arts culture there?
 
I live in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. In the past it was unimaginable for a girl to be raised without having mastered embroidery, knitting, crocheting and sewing. It was kind of a mandatory thing for girls. So understandably, there is a rich tradition in above mentioned crafts. Our knitting culture has as deep foundation the intricate technique of knit socks, while lace especially used as border for the traditional camises and crocheted aprons that were worn over the Macedonian traditional costumes are the things that define crochet. A thing that is of meaningful importance for my culture and tradition is the crocheted bead chain called “kostek.”
 
 
How did you get started crocheting and how did it turn into designing?
I started with crafts in general from an early childhood – both my grandmothers and mother were skilled seamstresses, knitters, crocheters and DIY-ers and crafting came naturally. I would always join them when crafting with a project given to do myself and that is how it all started. At first it was mostly imitations of what my grannies did. But one thing led to another and very soon I turned to creating my own pieces which I might say was the very beginning of my development as a designer.
 

 

What is your design process like? Do you plan it all out before you pick up your hook, or do you let the yarn show you where to go?
I usually get an idea for a future design while working on a current project. That is why I always keep a notebook close by so I can jot down the idea – either by sketch or a single word that would be the spark for the next project. Most often those ideas are just a stepping-stone and as I start working they evolve into something completely different than I originally imagined. But I think that is the best part of the designing process. 
 
What do you eat/drink while you design and where is your favorite place to work?
Sometimes I get so immersed in my work I forget to eat! :) However I love having dried fruits to snack on with a cup of mint tea or coffee. My favourite place to crochet is in my armchair in the living room throughout the year, but in summer it is definitely at the beach while I always design new pieces on my craft table.
 
 
 
Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
I always buy my yarn from Teteks’ shop (famous Macedonian textile producer) which is in the center of the city and sometimes from little shops in the Old Bazaar. There you can find small but well stocked shops with all kinds of craft supplies - especially haberdashery.
 
Who are your favorite designers (fiber arts or otherwise) and why?
I love Manon Gignoux for repurposing and reworking fabric in order to gain a whole new dimension,  Jilli Blackwood for her amazing talent to transform hand dyed, weaved and embroidered pieces into stunning garments and Liz Cooksey for her fabulous nature inspired pieces that she makes using hand and machine techniques I admire.
 
 
They are all amazing textile artists - I see why they are your favorites! How does your country influence your designs?
The place where I live has an immense influence on my design. The rich, centuries old traditions along with the divine nature are the everlasting sources of inspiration for my work. I mostly get inspired by shapes and colors used in traditional embroidery and weaving which I try to resurrect in my crochet pieces as well as of the beautiful nature that I feel and experience as an inseparable part of my being. 
 
 
Do you have a favorite design in your portfolio that was inspired by your culture?
I made my Ethnic Bridal Necklaces inspired by Macedonian traditionally embroidered camisoles and tunics, vests and sleeveless coats. I tried to capture the intricately and masterfully ornamented floral and colorful embroidery of the Bridal Costumes and the significant part they have in the history of our cultural heritage and traditions. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giftalong2014 Promotion Week Ending



The giftalong 2014 promotion (25% off with the code giftalong214) is nearing its end (tomorrow at midnight) so if you want to make your Christmas shopping more exciting visit the indie-crochet designers participating in the GAL here. 

The above fourteen patterns can also be purchased with 25% off with the code giftalong2014 at checkout from my ravelry shop here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to read round crochet charts and a free flower pattern



I get a lot of comments and questions from my customers about my photo tutorials and one thing I've learned so far is that people's feelings towards crochet charts vary from mild fear to utter aversion.
Let me tell you one thing. The minute I learned how to follow a crochet chart I didn't turn to written patterns ever again. I mean like never! So I thought it might be fun and a bit educational if I show you how to read the charts - understandably that you are familiar with the basic crochet stitches.  Today I am showing you how to read patterns in the rounds. Next time I will show you how to read a square.

I made a variation of my Mini Flowers and Forget-Me-Nots.
 
 
 
This is the chart with the crochet symbols for the flower. Looks great isn't it?
Let's divide it into steps.
 
We'll call this a Field Flower, so to make the foundation:
 
 
(The little dot represents the slip stitch)
 
 
Round 1: (the arrow with the number shows you where to start the round and the number of the round)
 

Round 2: (Repeat the pattern that is in the quotation marks)

Round 3:
 
And that's it. I hope this was easy and that you enjoyed it!
You can crochet the center of the flower (rounds 1+2) in another color for greater effect.  

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Darleen Hopkins - a Crochet Designer

 
Today I want to introduce Darleen Hopkins who is a crochet designer I met through Ravelry. She is also participating in the indie-designer's giftalong going on right now and offering 25% off some of her patterns with the code: giftalong2014
 
 
1. Can you introduce yourself for my readers, please?
Hello!  Thank you Maya!  Thank you so much for taking the time to introduce me to your readers.  My name is Darleen Hopkins and I LOVE everything crochet!  I had my first design published in 2010 but I didn’t jump all the way into designing/writing crochet patterns professionally until late 2012.  I absolutely love doing this as the design process has been such a wonderful way for me to exercise my creative side.  And I love pattern writing.  I have a background in accounting and thrive on numbers and details.

2. How many years have you been knitting and / or crocheting and what do you specialize in making?
I started crocheting in about 2004/2005.  It started out as something to keep my hands busy instead of snacking.  I quickly became addicted and right away started making up my own designs.  I have a hard time following a pattern because I’m always thinking, I wonder what would happen if I tried this...  My favorite items to make are hats, specifically silly hats.  If I’m not working on a current design then I’m likely making a hat to donate to Halos of Hope for those who have lost their hair due to medical treatment.
Thank you so much for sharing the link with us! Prior to this interview I've never heard of this organization and its wonderful cause  - so all who want to contribute to this lovely cause - visit the Halos of Hope. 




3. Can you describe your designing process? How do you start a project? Do you choose the yarn first or envision and draw it first? 
It depends on the item.  Most of the time I have the idea, draw it out then go look for the right yarn and start crocheting.  Sometimes my vision is clear enough and I skip the drawing out and go straight to the crocheting part.  The actual crocheting part is the most fun part of the process anyway. : )
 
 
4. What inspires you the most in creating your products?
I like to think of things that will make others smile, either because it is sweet or silly or because they know they found the perfect pattern to highlight that special yarn they have been saving.
 


5. What  is your favorite knitting / crocheting place?
I seem to do most of my crocheting in my home-usually on the couch in the family room when I’m able to “get in the crochet zone” and not have to think too much about the process.  If I’m at a point in a pattern or design where I need to really think and work something out, I’ll sit at the kitchen island where I can spread out my notes and yarn and concentrate a little better.
 
 
6. Who are your favorite designers (if you have any in fiber arts or otherwise) and why?
I don’t really have a favorite designer but I love to look at what everyone else has created; from bold colors and clean lines to romantic and vintage inspired as well as adorable and silly.  I love them all.


7. Do you have a favorite design in your portfolio and what inspired you to make it?
I do.  It’s a design I made for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  It’s an original and very personal in its design.  I blogged about it during the 2013 Gift-A-Long.  The story is here: The Spirit of Gifting
I think it is an amazing, heart-warming, wonderful gift! I can only imagine your parents surprise, excitement and joy upon receiving it!

8. Any other crafts you like to dab into?
I knit occasionally but it’s been awhile.  I would love to learn how to quilt.  I absolutely love handmade quilts.  We have a couple hanging in my home.  They are beautiful.  But I haven’t taken the time to learn, yet.
 
 

9. What is your perfect day?
Sleeping in-I LOVE to sleep in and it doesn’t happen enough.  Then enjoying a cup or two of coffee while I check email.  Next, going for an invigorating walk with my husband and boys in the woods somewhere-likely a waterfall my husband heard about.  We have lots of hidden waterfalls in north Georgia.  Come home to a meal already cooked so neither of us have to-not sure how to make that happen! and then an hour or two of quiet with my yarn.


10. Anything you'd like to add and I missed to ask?
Nope!  Thanks for having me!
Thank you Darleen for the lovely interview!
 
You can find me on Facebook: Crochet By Darleen
Ravelry: Darleen Hopkins
Website/Blog:  Crochet by Darleen Blog
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Giftalong 2014 and Indie Knit and Crochet Designers

This year, following the invitation of my lovely host Kimberly, I joined the so called Gift-A-Long on Ravelry.

What is Gift-A-Long? It is a multi-designer promotion and KAL/CAL. Here is the statistics Kymberly made for us.
There are 293 designers participating and discounting many of their patterns - as many as 3,822! Can you imagine that?


 
If you are interested in buying some patterns with 25% off, the promotion will run through November 21 @11:59 EST with the discount code giftalong2014. Fourteen of my patterns are discounted too - check the discounted board here: Maya Kuzman
 
I would love if you visit Kimberly's shop and go through her unique designs of stunning shawls and wraps with amazing patterns and textures!




There are two more designers I want to present today: One of them is Corley from the
Crafted by Corley Shop

She has some beautiful children's knits and crochets! I am in love with the nappy cover and the pink cardi!



The other designer is Lisa from the Meanest Mommy Shop.
 
I love the gorgeous and intricate designs of her socks and the eye-catching cowls and shawls.
  You can check my promotion of fellow indie designers on Instagram, pinterest and facebook.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My interview on the 80 Skeins


Guys, I am so excited!

My interview on the 80 Skeins is up thanks to the lovely Kimberly who arranged this wondrous journey!

I hope you drop by to read it!
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Granny Square Necklace - free tutorial


 

 
Hi everyone! With the holidays slowly and inevitably nearing by, it is always a good idea to have some gifts ready. 
This is one of those last minute gifts you can make in a jiffy. 
 
So, gather your supplies and let's start!
 


Use this tutorial to make the mini granny squares or use any grannies you like as long as they are tiny. For tinier grannies use delicate (fine) or sport yarn or embroidery floss. 


Attach the grannies onto the main chain. 
The sherbet one is smaller than the gray one and I have attached them on different rings, so the sherbet falls slightly over the gray one. 


Add some chains on the bottom part for effect. 



Take some glass beads and attach them on one side of the necklace and add a plain metal chain on the other side. Add the clasp in the end and your necklace is ready! Enjoy it!