A vacation during National Crochet Month?!

Well, dear readers, no one has ever accused me of good timing. Although March is National Crochet Month, it is also an extremely busy month for me with my apparel design studies. I am going to have to take a month off from blogging so that I can meet my other responsibilities. I was going to try and soldier through, but it is clear from the date of my last post that I have not been able to fit everything in.

I will still surf the web and post interesting finds to my social media sites, but I can’t say for sure how frequently that will be happening. If you don’t already follow me on a social media site, now is a great time to start so that you won’t miss any updates. All the links to my profiles are in the sidebar to the right.

I plan to celebrate National Crochet Month by working on my thread crochet coverlet whenever I can eke out a few spare moments. Are any of you working on a special project to celebrate the month? If so, send me a picture. I’d love to see what you are up to.

Until we talk again,

Erich

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Frankenpillow

It’s not often that you come across a project like this vintage pillow cover. Although it looks like freeform crochet, it is made from a conventional pattern that contains instructions for each of the 25 unique motifs. In the colors shown below, it is richly evocative of the 1970′s.

I dubbed it “Frankenpillow” because it looks like pieces were culled from other crochet projects, stitched together, and given new life as a pillow. I really like the finished effect, but if it is too much for you, you could use several shades of the same color or closely related colors. The focus would then shift to the textures of the motifs and the interplay between the positive and negative space.

granny square pillow

Frankenpillow (Vintage Patchwork Pillow)

Source: http://www.etsy.com

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Book Review: Learn to do Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian CrochetI wanted to conclude Bavarian Crochet Week with some guidance on how to create Bavarian Crochet. Hopefully the pictures I have found and posted this week have tantalized you and have you ready to learn a new technique!

I learned the technique by reading the Annie’s Attic book Learn to do Bavarian Crochet (with projects by Jenny King). I think the instructions in this book are outstanding and worth the price of the book, so I will be reviewing it shortly. However, for those of you who want free instructions, they are available on the internet.

If you prefer to learn by watching videos, you can check out the YouTube tutorial posted by Crochet Geek: YouTube.com. She calls it the “Catherine Wheel Square”, but I assure you that it is the same technique that I have been referring to as Bavarian Crochet. (Bavarian Crochet has some similarities to the Catherine’s Wheel stitch, but the use of post stitches makes it a unique pattern.)

If you want step by step visual instructions, you can check out this tutorial on Sarah London’s blog: “Wool Eater Instructions”. Here is yet another name for Bavarian Crochet. Both of these tutorials have slight variations from the Annie’s Attic instructions, but they are minor differences that do not affect the overall look of the finished project.

Now, on to the review!

Stitch Instructions

Like most books and pamphlets from Annie’s Attic, the first part of the book is step-by-step instructions for how to   create the stitch. I can’t say enough good things about these instructions. Bavarian Crochet is not exactly an easy stitch (total beginners might find it challenging), but anyone who has intermediate crochet skills will be able to follow along. There are crisp, clear pictures throughout, along with helpful tips.

We live in a time where information is readily (some might argue too readily) available to all, but I want to stress this point. Sometimes, free is not better. There are some things that professionals do better, and I think the photos and instructions in this part of the book are a perfect illustration of this. I have not found a free tutorial anywhere online that is better than the one in this book.

In addition, the instructions teach you how to make three shapes: the basic square, a rectangle, and a triangle. Circles are not possible with this stitch, but you can do a lot with the three basic shapes described.

The Patterns

When teaching a new stitch, it is de rigueur in the crochet publishing business to include a collection of patterns and this book does not disappoint. I will give you my impressions of each pattern, but please note the following disclaimer. Everyone’s taste is different. A project that absolutely does not speak to me may turn out to be your favorite. I just want to touch on the range of patterns available, and as objectively as possible give my assessment of how successful the each pattern is.

“Bavarian Lullaby” Baby Blanket

This is a simple square afghan made using soft pastel colors. It is a sweet project that would be well-received by new parents.

“Little Bit of Lovely” Vest

I’m not crazy about this pattern. Bavarian Crochet makes a heavy fabric – both visually and physically. In this pattern, very fine yarn is used in an attempt to counteract the natural heaviness of the stitch. However, I don’t like the finished effect. The stitch becomes a bit gappy when it is worked up in the fine yarn. Also, the drape is off, making the vest appear really boxy (this is very apparent in the back view of the project).

“Lavender Fields” Afghan

In general, I don’t love the color schemes that were selected for the projects in this book. This blanket is a good example. Although I love purple and green together, I just don’t like the shades of purple and green that make up this afghan.

That being said, this is probably the pattern in the book that you will come back to again and again. It is an excellent basic afghan project that would be a great gift for friends and family. You could easily change the colors each time you made it, and each blanket would have its own character. This pattern is a winner.

“Evening Gossamer” Shawl and Bag

These patterns are okay; they don’t excite me so I won’t say much. They do take advantage of the boxy nature of the stitch, and the black/white color scheme is on trend now. I will say this – I find light, lacy shawls really beautiful. This shawl is very heavy because of the basic nature of the stitch. I would not use Bavarian Crochet to make a shawl, but again this is personal taste.

“Snowflake” Scarf and Hat

Cute, quirky accessories. I can see a lot of young women really enjoying these. The blue and pink color combination is pleasant.

“Bavarian Basket”

This little soft basket is pretty unique. I made it in one color of cotton yarn for my toiletries in the bathroom. It holds up pretty well, actually. A basket made of tight single crochet would hold its shape better after use, but hey, this is a pretty clever use of Bavarian Crochet. Maybe not the most suited stitch for a basket, but I like the ingenuity.

“Gilded Edge” Table Runner

In this case, I think they saved the best for last. The color scheme is fantastic: gold, a spicy red, and a warm, delicious brown called “Vicuna”. This runner is an eye-catching decoration for a table. If you have a smaller table, you could adjust the length of the pattern and make placemats. I do plan to eventually add this to my dining room.

Conclusion

Great instructions. Good range of patterns, with some real standouts. Highly recommended!

 

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Bavarian Crochet Coffee Cozies!

When I saw these, I could not resist featuring them as part of Bavarian Crochet Week. These coffee cozies are a great idea. They are good for the environment, stylish, and more absorbant than cardboard. The natural texture of the stitches also prevents slippage – another plus.

Although you could probably make these with any fiber you wanted (meaning wool, acrylic, or cotton), I would advise the use of cotton. Cotton is more abrasion resistant than wool or acrylic, so even after heavy daily use the cozy would still look good. Also, if you spill coffee or tea on the cozy, cotton is machine washable. I know, so is acrylic; however machine washing can fuzz up acrylic, and fuzz + heavy use = pills.

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian Crochet Coffee Cozies

Source: http://crochetdad.blogspot.com

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Bavarian Crochet Baby Clothes

I missed a few days of Bavarian Crochet Week (I had to complete a project for one of my classes), so I will extend it for a couple of days. For today’s entry, I found these adorable baby jackets.

Bavarian crochet builds differently than other types of crochet. It can easily make squares and rectangles, but since it is not readily coaxed into the complex shapes needed to construct clothing it is rare to see the technique used for garment construction (unless the garment is boxy or the Bavarian Crochet is used as an accent only).

You would never suspect that, though, looking at these jackets. Lightweight yarn makes the Bavarian crochet more delicate and drapy, while traditional crochet is used to create the bodice and sleeves. With their matching hats, these jackets would be a welcome addition to any baby’s wardrobe.

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian Crochet Baby Jackets

Source: http://www.craftsy.com

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Bavarian Crochet Pillows

I found these pillows on Facebook. The color scheme is subdued and sophisticated, but you can still see the texture of the Bavarian crochet.

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian Crochet Pillows

Source: facebook.com

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Bavarian Crochet Afghan

For Day 3 of Bavarian Crochet Week, I wanted to provide one more outstanding example before we get down to the basics of how to do the stitch. This inspirational afghan is fantastic. I love the color scheme. This is a good example of how an analogous color scheme can still be dramatic. In my original article on color schemes, I suggested that you keep the saturation of the colors the same, that is, mix lights with lights, and darks with darks.

This afghan shows how to break that rule and still achieve a harmonious result. The secret is including a medium tone color that forms a bridge between the light color and the dark color. In this case, the fuschia helps harmonize the light pastel pink with the deep amethyst purple.

I also love how the shapes are varied to create visual interest.

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian Crochet Afghan

Source: http://www.flickr.com

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Bavarian Crochet Potholders

For today’s installment of Bavarian Crochet Week, I thought I would feature one of my more popular pins from Pinterest: the Bavarian Crochet potholders. I think what makes these potholders a favorite are the appealing, saturated colors that were used in the color schemes. I personally like the rust/orange/blue one.

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian Crochet Potholders

Source: http://indulgy.com

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It’s Bavarian Crochet Week!

This week I want to explore a crochet technique that has fascinated me for several months now: Bavarian Crochet. For those of you unfamiliar with the technique, it is similar to Catherine’s Wheel, but uses post stitches to create a unique blending of colors. The result is a thick, warm, fabulously textured fabric. Multiple color changes make the finished result even more eye-catching.

We’ll get to the specifics of the technique in later posts this week. For now, here is a taste of things to come. The soft colors in this blanket are perfect for baby – and for kitty!

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian Crochet Baby Blanket

Source: http://www.flickr.com

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Hold my calls, too…

Yarn on the floor

Source: http://ohmyfreakingstars.blogspot.com

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