I haven’t talked about my book projects in a while, well, because once you’re done with the writing and the editing and the proofing and the re-proofing, all there is to do for a little while is wait. Both of the books I worked on this summer happened around the same time, but their release dates are quite different. In fact, The Color Book of Felted Crochet pretty much snuck up on me and launched yesterday!
It’s pretty exciting, but tempered somewhat by the fact that I don’t have a copy in my hands yet… [waits impatiently by door for fedex guy…] Nonetheless, I can share with you some of my favorite things about the book. I’ll sprinkle this post with some of my favorite photos. (As you may know, authors rarely have input into book covers, and the cover you see above was somehow spared all my favorite projects!)
The book is suitable for beginner to advanced crocheters and felters–it includes a wide range of projects, as well as detailed how-to for both crochet and felting.
Stina is a skilled and imaginative designer. From the outset, Stina and I chose a color palette and talked about garment shapes and styles. We talked about construction and crochet techniques and it turned out we think alike when it comes to crochet. Stina got to work planning designs and came back with sketches, inspiration ideas from magazines and catwalks and we picked 25 projects from among her ideas. (I got to make fun suggestions here and there, like, “how about using hairpin lace for that?” or, “let’s work that sweater from side-to-side”). From there, Stina and I picked yarns and colors. I ordered tons of yarn (that I never got to see) and Stina was off and running designing and crocheting.
There are particular challenges for a designer in a book like this–we didn’t want it to be a standard book of felting projects–we wanted garments, so Stina had to be extra careful when designing to record every little detail about the garment before she felted it so we could write accurate instructions in all the sizes and tell the crocheter exactly how to felt the project. Once Stina had put her ideas on paper, I turned everything into a set of consistent patterns. I worked with technical editors to make sure the patterns are accurate, and graphic designers to create schematics and stitch patterns. I wrote introductions, how-to text, and for the last few weeks I’ve been going through revisions, editing, dotting i’s and crossing t’s.
I enjoyed this collaboration so much. Since I was deep in knitting for Knits for Bears to Wear, I wouldn’t have ever considered taking on a second project that involved stitching, but with our collaboration, I got to participate creatively, and do what I love just as much as designing; I got to write.
The book was a collaboration in other ways, too–two good crocheting friends, Amy Swenson and Julie Holetz did the technical editing, and my Aunt, Carole Buschmann, who is an artist and teacher, contributed a short forward on color theory. I’m so grateful to all of them!
When I was writing the introduction for the book, I queried Stina again to find out a bit more about her thought process regarding the designs. She said: When most people think of felting, they think of something that is heavy and stiff, I wanted to bring a new look to crocheted felting and make garments–not just bags and hats.”
Of course, we do include a few bags and hats:
This hat, Siberian Jewel, is crocheted with Be Sweet Mohair, and it felts into an amazing sculptural solid fabric with a very fur-like appearance (despite the beautiful amethyst color).
The unusual stripes in Tartan are created by weaving yarn into chain spaces before the felting process. Stina used an old belt for the straps and hardware.
Lattice is made up of little strips that are felted then woven together to create a solid fabric.