I have fallen down the Rabbit Hole…

tissue paper

…again. I have a voracious appetite when it comes to fiber. Fiber Arts, that is. Taking a sabbatical was a wonderfully creative outlet. What I learned and started to explore then, continues to spiral out of control. I love it. So now it is onto experimenting with paper.

paper pin loom

Paper to spin, weave and dye for. Currently I am spinning tissue paper that is left over from gifts I have received. Yes, that inexpensive brightly colored wrap you find in clothes boxes and gift bags. My research is taking me to Japan (at least in books and videos) and learning the language and history as it applies to paper.

The art of Japanese paper weaving is from the Edo period during the 18 and 19 century. Shifu (cloth) clothes, hats, kimonos… are made from mulberry bark paper, Kozo, Mitsumata and Gampi. Thin continuous strips are cut from Washi (Japanese paper) and then twisted and woven into fabric. Paper was woven into garments for segments of the population because of the scarcity and expense of other materials. Today, paper garments are vogue for the upper class.

Susan Byrd’s book, “Song of Praise for Shifu”, can’t come fast enough for me. You can find me waiting at the mailbox. I will keep you posted on my shifu progress. Have you tried spinning paper, weaving it? Show me, tell me.

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Customize Your Crochet

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Maybe it is time to break out of your comfort zone. Do you take a pattern and use the recommended type of yarn, even the exact color the designer chose when you crochet? Sara Delaney has the perfect book for you to “Design Your Own Crochet Projects”. No worries! She walks you through every step with her unique design course.

You can dive in for advanced crocheters or for beginners…start with 18 sample patterns to build up your skills. There are templates to create one-of-a-kind gloves, Crocheted socks, hats, cowls… The book starts with a chapter on yarns and swatching (journaling the pattern). Learn to measure the lucky person who will receive the finished project for an exact fit. A fill-in formula helps you to figure out yarn requirements.

Then explore the stitch dictionary of 31 crochet stitches with written instructions. All this is compiled inside a hardcover spiral book that lies flat for ease. There are step by step photographs of how to work stitch abbreviations and definitions. The book is clearly laid out to increase your skills. So, start with a scarf and choose your stitch, scarf size (standard measurements are given), continue to follow the formula to design the scarf. Work your way up to socks and slippers.

Design your own crochet projects painlessly. You can consider yourself a designer after the first project. Let me know what you designed. See you in the magazines.

Yulia Ustinova

hooked sculptires

hooked sculptires

Yulia (Julia) is a crochet artist of voluptuous naked women. She resides in Moscow, Russia. She obtained her degree from Moscow Printing Arts.

Her sculptures are of women at play with a hula hoop, sunbathing, showering… funny, thoughtful and created with a hook.

Granny is no square

For those crocheters who don’t give granny squares a glance, try taking a look at “Granny Squares”. “Granny Squares” the latest book in this genre has over 25 creative ways to crochet the classic pattern and is written by Stephanie Gohr, Melanie Sturm and Barbara Wilder. It is worth a look.

There are many more than a dozen different square designs to crochet. That alone is worth turning the pages. Primrose, Netting and Cornflower squares are my favorites. Color choice and yarn fiber help to make these patterns fit into contemporary home decor and fashion. Granny squares are a great yarn stash buster. No matter what granny square pattern you choose, they all start from the center. For more about this book…

Vogue’s Crochet 2012 special collector’s issue

The last Vogue magazine dedicated to crochet was back in 1994. Seventy percent of today’s knitters, crochet. Crochet designs have come a long way. You can see them everywhere from the runway to the classroom.

There are jewelry designs you can crochet with thread. Baubles, bangles and beads can be incorporated into your crochet to accent your garments with flair. And crochet designs do have flair, just look at the cover. From the articles to the patterns, this magazine will have you taking out your crochet hook.
Read on

Superheroes take up the knitting needles

Superheroes possess extraordinary, often magical powers. Every knitter knows, that a piece of string and two sticks can create magic. See how Mark Newport takes knitting into the superhero realm.

Mark Newport has an exhibit “In Action” of his eight hand-knit superhero inspired costumes. He is a Detroit area artist and educator. Each costume is life-size and wearable. The installation “In Action” looks at what heroes are and how they protect people. It is currently showing at the University of Texas Downtown Gallery. For more superhero action

Beautiful knitted flowers from Nora J. Bellows


Flowers make a great gift but, the book “Noni Flowers” is a beautiful gift in itself. “Noni Flowers” is authored by Nora J. Bellows. It is a book of 40 knitted and felted flower patterns and six projects to adorn and embellish garments, accessories, gift decorations and home decor.

The photographs by R. A. Sullivan are so well done that you feel as though you have just visited a florist or walked through the botanical gardens with Latin names provided. The flowers in all their detail are eye candy.

More about this book and a beautiful slideshow here.