I have to tell you that I have recently become absolutely fascinated with hexagon blocks. It started with a photo I saw on google. (I was searching for an organic cotton yarn... what else) It was a picture of this gorgeous vintage-look blanket made of pastel colors against an antique white base. "Oh, no, no way, no new ideas or projects"; I said to myself. "However", I thought, "this would be a really good charity idea, especially in the Summer when we need a to-go project".
So that's what I told myself... which brings me to the rest of the story. I filed the hexagon block idea away for a future blog post. After being dutiful and putting the idea on the back burner, I began writing the blog about the very, very talented Des Maunz of Nana's Crochet Creations. Des Maunz has designed some gorgeous hexagon blocks. Naturally I had to stay focused on the blog so I disciplined myself not to do too much exploration into the lovely blocks. Fast forward to last week when my dear friend sent me a box full of vintage patterns. Contained in this box was, you guessed it, a pattern pamphlet by Marshall Cavendish Ltd. entitled "Pretty Pastel Afghan". Okay, you know I gave up haha! This blog is of course my way of passing along my growing obsession with hexagon blocks. This is really a great way to use up yarn and create a stunning piece for charity. (Scarves, laprobes, baby blankets, cowles ect)
Let's begin with the hexagon block patterns available at Nana's Crochet Creations on Facebook.
Zelna Oliver, the fantastic designer at Zooty Owl Cards, is from Johannesburg, South Africa. She has created a collection of beautiful hexagon blocks. These types of blocks can be used for so many projects, not just blankets. Let your imagination do the walking :)
Like I said to my husband "So many hexagon blocks, so little time". Speaking of time, I'm about out of time now. I hope you enjoyed today's blog. I want to thank Des Maunz, Zelna Oliver, and Johanna Lindahl for their beautiful designs.
My very dear friend, teacher, and all around awesome person, Jill, is de-stashing her fiber arts magazines, books, and single patterns. She knows I love these vintage books. I have amassed a pretty good collection of these great old pattern/how-to books. I want to preserve them for future generations. While unpacking a priority mailbox full of magazines from Jill, I came across the adorable patterns from the booklet which are the subject of today's blog. I absolutely had to share.
Some of the American Thread Company booklets are missing a publication date in the cover I found that Amazon.com listed a couple books as being published in 1967. Including Baby Infants to 18 Months. I think that's a good approximation given the styles of the print, names of the yarns used ect. (I still have some of the books my grandmother owned for comparison) Plus I fall on the vintage side of the library myself LOL!
I will showcase the vintage patterns in "Baby Infants to 18 Months" today. (just going by size and for no other reason) As is the custom with these blog entries I'll attempt to bring these vintage style patterns up to date with recent additions patterns from modern designers. (I have another vintage book to share soon)
It's been fun to sort through the best of the patterns in this American Thread Star Book # 210 and see how designers have brought some vintage designs up to date for us. Beautiful. Thanks to all of you who have taken time today!
Hey, everyone! T.K. here to tell you about one woman's quest to recycle and make a statement about the world of children's playthings: Sonia Singh, of Tree Change Dolls.
Sonia, the Tasmanian mum of one, started her journey when she was laid off at her day job as a science communicator with the CSIRO, an Australian scientific think-tank. She grew up with four sisters and many second hand toys. Sonia would go to the local thrift stores, see dolls there and purchase them for the future use of her daughter (who was two at the time of her beginning). Noticing the heavy makeup on these dolls, she decided to do something a little different. Armed with acetone nail polish remover and acrylic paints, Sonia made-under the dollies. This was the result:
Sonia never set out to make a statement about toys, she was just trying a new hobby! But as the dolls went viral, she realized that by not making a statement, she was making a statement: That makeup and fantasy have their place, but sometimes little girls want to embrace their real world. Watch this video to see real little girl's reactions to the dolls:
Not only is Sonia making history with her dolls, her knitting wiz mom is helping! Sonia's mum makes all the hand knit, crochet, and sewn clothes for all the dolls, resulting in a unique look for each one.
Sonia does not keep her secrets to herself, in fact she encourages people to make over their own dolls. You can find DIY tips and tricks on her YouTube channel. I will warn you that doll repaint videos can be addictive!
Sonia's story has been covered in her national press and international press by such publications as Bored Panda and Time Magazine. You can also find stories about her on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Aussie magazine DailyLife.
If you want to find information about Tree Change Dolls, you can stop by their Tumblr, Etsy (where you can find the patterns Sonia's mum has written for the dolls), Facebook, and their under construction main website. You can also check out Sonia's Instagram for more news and photos.
For my part, I was given a huge box of Bratz dolls for a personal project in my community. I puzzled over what to do with them, until I decided that these girls could have a makeover of their own. With a little time and practice, these dolls will be put to a good use, making another generation of little girls smile.
Good afternoon, good people of the internet. It’s Ian Wilson, master of obscure facts, here once again to enlighten you on the humble history of fiber arts. Today, I want to talk about sheep.
Sheep were first domesticated somewhere in Asia Minor (commonly referred to as Turkey) about 11,000 years ago, at the close of the Paleolithic age, and the dawn of the Neolithic age. This was a significant period in human history. This was the beginning of agriculture and other new technology. Humans were beginning to settle into small communities, which would become the foundations of civilizations to come.
Sheep were likely one of the first animals to be domesticated by man. They were bred from a species of Eurasian wild sheep called mouflon. They are similar in appearance to the bighorn sheep that roam the American West today. Interestingly, bighorns are genetically more similar to domesticated sheep than any Eurasian species. But I digress.
Unlike domestic sheep, however, mouflon shed their hair twice a year; therefore, they were not shorn. Their shed hair was plucked out in a process called “rooing”. But it’s believed that the earliest sheep were kept not for their wool, but for their skins and meat and milk. This was an important innovation. No longer were humans forced to rely on wild game for their animal protein!
Domestic sheep spread outward to other parts of the world, all the way to the western edge of Europe. In Britain, sheep were kept in long, narrow corals, which are no longer standing, but you can see where they once stood from aerial photos. To farm sheep this way, however, requires the presence of a sheepdog; thus the domestication of sheep drove the domestication of dogs as well.
In Spain, wool production was taken to a whole new level. The merino sheep has what is considered to be the finest wool of any sheep breed in the world, and is extremely productive. The churra sheep is also prized for its versatility and adaptability. For this reason, it was introduced to the American West, where it has become an important part of the culture and industry of many American Indian tribes.
Literally thousands of crocheters agree, Swedish crochet designer Johanna Lindahl is a brilliant crochet artist. Her designs are visually stunning pieces that would be a gorgeous addition to any crocheter's home or wardrobe.
As per usual I spent most of the morning looking through Mijo Crochet patterns again wondering if I'd ever be able to squeeze in the time to work on one of Johanna Lindahl's projects. The answer is, a definite, maybe. LOL Naturally someone as talented as Johanna Lindahl has a fairly large body of work that spans the gamut from decorations to wearable accessories. I am going to enjoy sharing the highlights with my readers! (many of the patterns are free!)
Whether or not you actually crochet it is a true pleasure to look at the Mijo Crochet website. The crocheted designs are more like art pieces one would see in a museum. The color, shapes, and stitches all drenched with a sense of the natural world that surrounds Johanna Lindahl in Västra Götaland County, Sweden. (Check out these pictures of the area at Tripadvisor see if you agree with me)
Home and Family are very important in Sweden and it shows in Johanna Lindahl's work! As a fiber artist I love to make projects that make a home feel warm, and beautiful. Check out these pieces from Mijo Crochet:
There are plenty of clothing accessories to choose from if one is looking for a piece of wearable art. I wear shawls because I love the feel of them the soft drape around the arms is so comforting. They make wonderful donations to charity also. Johanna Lindahl has an array of shawls, scarves, and even a poncho.
Of course it's June so that means warm weather in the USA. One may want a scarf or two to keep off the chill but a scarf that highlights those gradient colors that are so popular right now.
Crocheters are often in need of patterns for housewarming parties, the holidays, birthdays ect. Not to mention spicing up the look of our own homes. Mijo Crochet has some beautiful patterns for those purposes.
I never thought I'd say this aloud let alone write it but I am kind of taken with the hexagon shaped blocks. The shape has been around for a long time but they were never made very simple to understand until recently. Mijo Crochet has 3 block designs on her webpage.
Thank you to all of you for reading today and to Johanna Lindahl for such completely amazing designs. Crocheted poetry! You can find Johanna Lindahl on Facebook, (16,000+ likes can't be wrong) Ravelry, and Instagram. If you use one of her many free patterns, buy her a cup of coffee :)
Charity. The word itself conjures up all kinds of pictures in our minds. Good and for some not so good. Red Heart Yarns has always had a community spirit. While Red Heart has had a very long history it has not turned it's back on giving away patterns, helps, or really inspiring fiber artists in their unique yarn selections.
Red Heart is manufactured right here in the United States and is a popular favorite. The resources they offer are nearly endless. Therefore this blog post will be short on discussion and long on resources. There is so much available, I should probably get started LOL!
How to's and Helpful information are important when you are a crocheter or a knitter. Especially if you are just beginning. Charities all have specific requirements so PLEASE check with the charity before you decide to make something on their behalf. Okay so let's start with something basic. The Craft Yarn Council writes standards for most of the fiber arts industry. Compliance is voluntary. However if you look at your average skein of yarn from companies like Red Heart you'll notice symbols numbers and letters on the yarn band. Those are part of the CYC's standards for the yarn industry. Here's a blog post from Red Heart on the subject: blog.redheart.com/cyc-standards-updates/#more-19551
There are a lot of look books for yarns and patterns:
Red Heart has a blog as does designer Marly Bird.
Red Heart's blog:
Marly Bird's Blog:
Thank you for reading today's Red Heart resource-o-rama. I know there's a lot more on the Red Heart Website for you to explore. We can't all be famous designers but we can all create a little happiness by design.
I have to say, I try to be really thoughtful in the designers I choose for my Unallied Artist Blog. I try to pick the designers that are generally well thought of and have good reviews on Ravelry, Facebook, Etsy, ect. Somehow, I managed to overlook Laura Eccleston? How did that even happen? Happy Berry Crochet's Laura Eccleston has designed for some of the top fiber arts companies in the world yet passionately maintains her independence as a freelance artist (as you will see if you read her blog). She's a mum, writer, designer, traveller, and all around amazing businesswoman. With 128 designs available on Ravelry alone, we better get started with our Happy Berry highlights!
First, I do want to say that if you appreciate Laura Eccleston's work she does have a patreon account through which you can support her free patterns. She does spend a great deal of time offering free patterns and tutorials on YouTube.
All of you know by now I am very much "hooked" on making clothes for kids. Generally I look for designers who create pieces I think my friends would like or might consider ordering from me. Some of my friends do knit or crochet but in the case of gifts they order from me so that they aren't "discovered" LOL. Laura Eccleston creates both toys (which I don't cover on this blog because my daughter is the expert) and clothing for infants up to teen sizes. Patterns that range from whimsical to vintage, and everything in between. I am always on the look-out for great hat patterns because I use them in my charity work all the time. Let's look at a few of my favorite Happy Berry creations hats.
I make a lot of baby gifts! Some of the kids who were very young when I first moved to the Northern Adirondacks now have babies of their own. I like to make something that suits each family... well I try. Sometimes I miss the mark. However Happy Berry Crochet couldn't possibly miss the mark with her clothing designs.
Adults and teens have a plethora of cool hats, fingerless mitts, and tops to choose from. My favorites... well all of them but I'll share a few :)
Many of my readers like to create blankets for friends, family, and charity. Blanket squares are perfect for seasonal gifts. Happy Berry Crochet has several really festive and fun designs.
There's no question Laura Eccleston is one of today's top designers. Thankfully she's still very much a Freelance artist so she controls her own work. Thank you Laura for the fantastic website and patterns. Don't forget if you use one of Happy Berry's free patterns there is a paypal link to donate a "thank you" tip. The few patterns I've highlighted today are only a fraction of Happy Berry Crochet's collection. Check out the rest, and consider joining the 56,334 members on the website!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.