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  • Tunisian Crochet Books for Research


    At first glance, the materials I use when researching Tunisian crochet (a.k.a. afghan crochet, & including double-ended types) seem the same as for other crochet topics. Besides Tunisian crochet books and online sources that I find by Googling and searching Ravelry, I use sections of other books, notable designs, and antique sources. (Click on on of the thumbnail photos to enlarge.)

    Tunisian Crochet Books are Keepers!

    Over the years I’ve noticed distinctive differences in the information I can depend on for Tunisian crochet research, compared to other kinds of crochet. The most intensive research I do is for classes, but I also need to for some newsletter topics and when I’m writing a pattern for an unusual design.

    100% Tunisian crochet books are special and really pretty rare. Many of them are slim, booklet-like volumes. They tend to be hard to find and to get. Some go out of print quickly, are self-published, or are only in Japanese, for example. I treasure each one. That first book stack you see is my go-to stack.

    I’ve found a lot of useful information buried in general books about crochet.”TC” (Tunisian crochet) has long been presented in crochet books as a specialization. This means the TC topic sometimes gets its own thick chapter, and that’s a beautiful thing. Other times, the chapter or section is lean, but can make an important contribution somehow. It may have fresh and original material, or offer well designed instructions, stitch symbols, and other valuable publishing standards.

    From my TC perspective, it makes a big, big difference when the book’s production staff, especially the technical editors and illustrators, also understand TC (not just regular crochet). It also matters what is used as a standard, because basic Tunisian crochet publishing standards are still being forged.

    The book stack in the second photo shows general crochet books I own that contain TC sections I refer to often. Missing from the photo is A Treasury of Crochet Patterns by Liz Blackwell.

    I’ve been thinking about this post topic ever since I did one about the very different kind of book stack I devoured for the Stitch Games class topic. (That stack was mostly written about yarn by and for knitters.) I’m also considering a post about what it has been like to unearth and use every resource I could for classes on love knots (Solomon’s knots) and star stitches over the years.

     

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    • June 16th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Knit and Crochet Books: Stitch Games Class


    Knit and Crochet Books Read for Stitch Games Class

    Some knit and crochet books that I read for Stitch Games class.

    Some Crochet Class Research

    Back in January I read a stack of crochet books (and many knitting books) as research for my Stitch Games class topic. I welcome doing this, especially in January after the hectic holidays. It’s so cozy.

    I take notes as I read them. Then I set it all aside for a few months until I’m ready to look it all over and start writing the class handout.

    It wasn’t necessary that I do this kind of research for the other class topics this year (one never knows how time consuming it’s going to be!). I went through stacks of crochet books regarding love knots, star stitches, and Tunisian lace methods in previous years.

    Below is the list of seventeen knit and crochet books that helped me in some way. They’re in alphabetical order by title. I starred the ones that I recommend the most (regarding stitch games). The list doesn’t include a few articles and websites I also used.

    17 Knit and Crochet Books Read

    ***Artful Color, Mindful Knits: The Definitive Guide to Working with Hand-dyed Yarn by Laura Militzer Bryant XRX Books 2013 ISBN-13: 978-1933064260

    Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarn & Stitch Dora Ohrenstein Lark Books 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1600593314

    Crochet the Complete Guide Jane Davis  Krause Publ 2009 ISBN-13: 978-0896896970

    Crochet in Color Kathy Merrick Interweave 2009 ISBN-13: 978-1596681125

    Crochet Workshop James Walters 1979/1983 (Dover Publications 2014 ISBN-13: 978-0486496207)

    *The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques Margaret Radcliffe Storey Publishing, LLC 2015  ISBN-13: 978-1612126623

    Exploring Color in Knitting: Techniques, Swatches, and Projects to Expand Your Knit Horizons Sarah HazellEmma King Barron’s Educational Series 2011  ISBN-13: 978-0764147395

    **Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques Gail Callahan  Storey Publishing, LLC 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1603424684

    *Indie Socks: Knitting Patterns and Dyer Profiles Featuring Hand-Dyed Yarns Chrissy Gardiner Sydwillow Press 2012  ISBN-13: 978-0981966816

    *The Knitter’s Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime Clara Parkes Potter Craft 2011 ISBN-13: 978-0307586803

    The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn Clara Parkes Potter Craft 2007 ISBN-13: 978-0307352163

    The Knitter’s Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn: Techniques and Projects for Handpainted and Multicolored Yarn Lorna Miser Potter Craft 2010 ISBN-13: 978-0823085521

    The Knitter’s Life List: To Do, To Know, To Explore, To Make Gwen W. Steege Storey Publishing, LLC 2011  ISBN-13: 978-1603429962

    **Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn Carol Sulcoski Interweave 2009 ISBN-13: 978-1596680982

    The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook Lynne Vogel  Interweave 2002 ISBN-13: 978-1931499163

    Wrapped in Color: 30 Shawls to Knit in Koigu Handpainted Yarns by Koigu Wool Designs Sixth&Spring Books 2015 ISBN-13: 978-1936096848

    The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing: Beautiful Color and Simple Knits Linda LaBelle Potter Craft 2007 ISBN-13: 978-0307352538

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    • May 24th, 2016 by Vashti Braha

    Start Crocheting From Scratch


    This post is part of a blogged crochet book. Click here to see all posts in this ongoing series.

    Let’s really look at how we start crocheting, and why we do it this way. In these next few posts I consider standard (and less so) starting loops and knots for crochet. I’ve met crocheters who are actually not confident about how to start crocheting something. At the end of this post are my four big takeaways about the starting loops we use.

    Formal Slip Knot and Simple Crossed Loop: both work to start crocheting

    You can start crocheting with one simple loop. The set up is done. Frankly, you don’t even need a crochet hook or a specific kind of yarn. You also don’t need a fancy kind of starting loop (but see the next few posts).

    This is one of my favorite things about crochet. Isn’t it remarkable? Musicians need to tune their instrument first, and weavers need to string a loom first. Even knitters need to cast on more than one loop.

    About the “yarn”: To start crocheting with a loop implies that you need a length of something that bends into a loop, right? If you’ve never, ever crocheted before, start crocheting right now with a piece of cord that’s at least 36” long (almost 1 meter). Ideally your cord is smooth, limp, and a light enough color to see well. Kind of thick – like craft yarn, cotton clothesline, or rope. Not stiff or wiry, neither bristly nor bumpy, and not as skinny as kite string. From here on I’ll refer to this as “yarn.”

    At this point some folks are thinking, “You sure are taking a long time to get to the slip knot!” That’s because a starting loop is not necessarily the same as a slip knot. When a simple loop has crossed ends, you’ve got a starting loop for crochet; see first photo above. (All of crochet is based on loops that have these crossed ends in them.)

    The two crossed ends of a loop have different roles in crochet. We’ll get to this important detail in a future post.

    A quick and easy way to think of this Crossed Loop is to imagine that you’re writing a cursive letter “e”. You can do it in the air or “write” with the yarn on a table. See how the Crossed Loop in the first photo above could be a cursive “e”?

    If you’re right handed, pinch and hold it with the fingers of your left hand where the yarn crosses itself. It now appears that two strands are hanging down from your hand. With your right hand, pick up the strand on the right that crosses in front of the other strand. Bring it around behind your loop. Bend it so that you can pull a new loop through the first loop, from behind. Leave it sort of loose, and set it down.

    The essence of crochet: it's this easy to create a new loop.

    If you’re left handed, turn it around, and pinch and hold it with the fingers of your right hand where the yarn crosses itself. Or, you could write a cursive “e” backwards. It now appears that two strands are hanging down from your hand. With your left hand, pick up the strand on the left that crosses in front of the other strand. (see below) Bring it around behind your loop. Bend it so that you can pull a new loop through the first loop, from behind. Leave it sort of loose, and set it down.

    The essence of crochet: it's this easy to create a new loop.

    That’s a stitch. You’re already crocheting. When you pulled the bent or “looped” strand through the initial loop, you finger-crocheted.

    Here are the important takeaways from this post:

    1. The Crossed Loop is one loop away from being a Slip Knot. Once you pull a new loop through a simple Crossed Loop, just tighten it to reveal that it’s actually a Slip Knot. (To tighten, pinch the loop and tug on the other strand to watch the knot tighten around the loop.) Notice that you can also adjust the loop size of the Slip Knot, and the knot part preserves the size of the loop. By the way, the Slip Knot goes by several names and varied forms; more on this later.

    2. The Slip Knot is the standard, official way to start crocheting, especially for beginners. This is probably because beginners also usually start crocheting with a crochet hook in their hand, and the Slip Knot is great for this. You can tighten its loop around a crochet hook and wave it around, and it will stay put. Very handy!

    3. You start crocheting once you pull a loop through an initial Crossed Loop. It’s called finger crocheting. A Crossed Loop is a fine start for finger crocheting. You don’t need a relatively “formal” Slip Knot to keep a loop on your finger because you can easily hold it. There’s no crochet hook to maneuver also. Just keep pulling a new loop through the next loop and you’re crocheting.

    4. Special to Beginners: There’s a bigger reason why you don’t have to start with a Slip Knot. You don’t even have to worry about whether you’re making it correctly. We’ll see later that after you’ve crocheted a few more chain stitches, they are “self-sealing.” If you undo the initial Slip Knot later, tug on the yarn end near it, and the very next stitch automatically becomes the new starting knot.

    This is why some crocheters can leave the initial knot loose and undo it later. Some leave it loose enough to be able to crochet into it later, as if it’s another stitch. And, others start crocheting with something other than a Crossed Loop or a Slip Knot…

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    • May 26th, 2015 by Vashti Braha

    The Two Free Victorian Crochet Pattern Books I Love!


    Of course, ALL free Victorian crochet pattern books are lovable. After I researched crochet stitches for my classes, though, I keep these two close by and bookmarked. Both of these antique crochet books were published in 1891. (Click each image for the free download information and link.)

    Last year I searched in literally hundreds of crochet books and booklets. I love researching crochet. Lots of antique, public domain crochet sources are keepers. Perhaps these two stand out in particular because of the specific stitches I was looking for.

    • The Art of Crocheting. By Butterick Publishing Co., Ltd., 1891 (London and New York).
    • Home Work, A Choice Collection of Useful Designs for the Crochet and Knitting Needle… By A. M., Rose Publishing Co. Ltd. (Toronto).

    I recorded all occurrences of star stitches, love knots (“knot stitches” to the Victorians), and lacy Tunisian crochet patterns. I was surprised to discover that in many of the publications ranging from the 1840’s to the 2010’s, these stitches often didn’t appear at all. These two 1891 gems were especially fun for creative star stitch patterns.

    Researching crochet stitches in free Victorian crochet pattern books offers lots of insight into crochet’s development. It’s fascinating to see how crochet is explained, illustrated, and promoted. Exciting, too! By 1891 the public demand for crochet patterns and stitch how-tos was very strong.

    Free Victorian crochet pattern books date from the 1840’s to shortly before World War I. Please support the Antique Pattern Library. It’s one of my favorite sources for some obscure early indie crochet designer booklets too. I hope you will help their cause by donating scans or funds.

    The Home Work book was the focus of an ambitious crochet pattern project by the Cyber Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). Members crocheted actual swatches and projects from the book. The exhibit of them at CGOA’s annual Chain Link conference was a highlight of the event!

    Also see my Antique Crochet Stunners board in Pinterest.

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    • October 18th, 2014 by Vashti Braha


    © 2010 Designing Vashti All Rights Reserved

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