Monday, July 21, 2014

Blog Hop(scotch)

Penny of Planet Penny recently asked if I would like to participate in a blog hop, which involved:

~ Writing a post that answers a specific set of questions about my work (see below), and
~ Ending the post with links to other blogs to which readers could "hop", making new bloggy connections along the way.

The questions were no problem at all, but I have to admit I couldn't find anyone who was able to carry on with the hop.

So this will be a blog hopscotch post. Just as in a game of hopscotch, I'll turn around at the end and go back the way I came, with links to some of the blogs that came before me.

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What am I working on?

At the moment, not a whole lot. I spend more time designing potential patterns than actually making finished objects, and since creativity rarely flows in an even stream, I tend to work in spurts. (Such an odd word - spurts. The longer you look at it, the odder it appears. Spurts.)

On my hook right now is something that will probably become a scarf or cowl - a free pattern I'll be posting soon as part of a tutorial on Stretched Crochet Stitches:


Stretched Stitches were also used in these three recently-published patterns:

Olive Twist Shawl, Love of Crochet Summer 2014
Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet

Honeydew Scarf, Love of Crochet Summer 2014
Photo courtesy of Love of Crochet

Mountain Shadows Bracelet, published in
Love of Crochet's Crochet More 2014

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oh gosh, ask anyone who reads my tutorials, and they'll probably say something like "weird stitches" or "bizarre joins".

I like to use slightly obscure techniques that aren't always part of the standard crochet canon - Knotless Chains, Knotless Standing Stitches, Invisible Joins, Limpets. I also love to invent (or unvent) techniques and stitches, such as Mirrored Foundation Stitch, Mock Invisible Join, Twisted Cluster, Wide Linked Treble, Stretchy Star, Triplets Stitch, Twisted Stitch (a slip-stitch variation), Stretched Stitches, and lots more that are still hiding in my design notebook!

Why do I write/create what I do?

Because its fun! Because I can't help it.... Because I love crochet, and cycling, and words, and wildflowers. Blogging about all of them satisfies a creative urge. It's wonderful to connect with readers and with other bloggers, to trade ideas, encouragement, and support. Knowing that somebody out there might enjoy a photo I've taken, or smile because of I've written, or learn a new crochet technique from a pattern or tutorial of mine - these are tremendous motivators.

Why do I make up crochet techniques? Because I'm always wondering if there's a better way to do a particular crochet task, and am willing to spend countless hours messing about with yarn in hopes I may find it. :)

How does your writing/creating process work?

Well, for crochet design, it often boils down to the aforementioned messing about with yarn. On very rare occasions I'll get a specific idea which comes together quickly (the Bean Blossom Scarf, my first posted pattern, was one of these). But most of the time I spend hours or days (or even weeks) working out a stitch or a design thought, and trying to make it as perfect as I can.

As for inventing/unventing crochet stitches and techniques, I can only blame it on a hopeless case of What-iffery. What if I try to make broomstick crochet with chain stitches instead of yarn loops? What if I insert the hook in a different part of the stitch, or make a stitch on top of the one I just made? What if I pull the yarn up to a different height? What if I skip a normal step of the stitch, and draw through all the loops now? This yarny curiosity has resulted in some really fun patterns, like the Northern Shadows Cowl and the Picea Hat.

A very important part of my crochet design process is writing down and/or charting as I go. A stitch pattern or technique may feel as though it's burned into my brain while I'm working on it, but if I don't make detailed notes I will inevitably forget what I've done. So all my designs, and many of my ideas, get jotted down in a notebook for future reference. Each page includes pattern name ideas, yarn notes, hook size, technique details, shorthand pattern, and sketches or charts (with plenty of erasures and crossings-out).


And that was the last question for the blog hop! Thanks so much to Penny for inviting me to join in.

Here are some of the wonderfully talented bloggers that preceded me in the lineup:

Penny - http://planetpenny.co.uk/2014/07/19/it-really-is-the-blog-hop/

If you've never made their acquaintance, hop over and visit them now. :)

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