Astute commenter “ddkayton” tracked down an old post of mine today from 2006 (!) to let me know that Judith Copeland’s wonderful 1978 book “Modular Crochet” is back in print. When I started designing, I began to accumulate a small collection of inspirational crochet books from the 70s, and Modular Crochet is one of my favorites.
Like Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmerman with their knitting, Judith Copeland was interested in teaching crocheters howto invent their own things in addition to being able follow patterns. The result is a book full of beautiful photos, schematics, and very little text or line-by-line instructions. I love this. It’s easy to follow and it stirs creativity.
Modular crochet is a method, and one that I’ve used a lot over the years in my own designs. It’s unique in that it begins at the center of the garment and works outward in both directions. It takes advantage of turning crochet stitches on their side to maximize stretchiness, and it leaves lots of room for interpretation. Here are a few of my patterns where you can try modular crochet.
Ribs and Mesh is worked in a luxurious silk and wool yarn from Tilli Tomas, but would look beautiful in any DK yarn. This sweater follows the basic modular technique, but changes up the stitch patterns adding lace and beads.
This Babydoll Dress uses classic modular technique for the bodice, and then adds a skirt worked in the round. The pattern is available only in the book “Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution,” edited by Kim Werker. I will be so pleased if this re-issue means we’re headed towards a resurgence in modular designs.
I have a new crush. I haven’t been talking about her because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (Ukuleles can be so sensitive!). Her name is Stella, and while we’ve been living together for a few months, we’re just finally getting to know each other.
New love can hurt a bit! I have sore finger tips because I’m unaccustomed to steel strings, and my head aches from learning new chord shapes, but I’m having a wonderful time.
Stella is about nine years older than me, and she’s come through her 52 years relatively unscathed.
We met a couple of years ago, when my friend John found her hanging around the thrift store, and brought her home for a song.
He gave her some attention and TLC, and even hand made her a leather jacket to go over her original case.
Then John found another 4-string, a hefty Brazilian quatro that fit his playing style better. Stella languished at home, alone. I had nearly forgotten about her when he mentioned in April that he’d be taking her to the Folk Fest music swap. I saved him the trouble and bought this sweet tenor guitar for his asking price. If I practice, maybe someday we’ll make beautiful music together!
UPDATE: Guess who else played a Stella Tenor Guitar?
For instance, I finally made use of the instrument hanging hack I learned from my friend Rhonda. If you’re like me, and you’re house is filled with stringed music makers that are safer off the ground, you may want to try this too. I made two in less than five minutes (after thinking and procrastinating and collecting the right materials for weeks). The first two I hung are Jay’s guitar and baritone uke, and now, voilà! They’re still within his arms reach, and won’t get accidentally kicked over.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Sturdy picture hangars
A scrap of heavy leather
Hang the picture hangar where you’d like your instrument to rest.
Cut a piece of leather about 1.5″ wide and 4″ long. Then cut it in half but only 2/3 of the way, making two ends. Then fold and snip a hole in each end big enough for a tuning peg to fit though.
Slide each end over a tuning peg. (I chose the lower peg so the strap itself won’t show on the wall).
For the month of March, my students from my latest artist in the schools residency at Juneau Douglas High School are exhibiting their work in the gift shop at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
The lovely folks at the JACC let us transform a portion of their lobby gift shop with the twelve collaborative ceramic and felt pieces the students made.
The residency was an unusual collaboration. I taught wet felting to beginning ceramics students, and in the same two weeks they learned the basics of working with clay, while they made and glazed beads to go on their felted pieces.
Heather Ridgway, the ceramics teacher, and I wanted to create a mixed media exploration of social pressures and communication. The students began the semester with a visit from members of the Sources of Strength suicide prevention program. The Sources of Strength exercises ignited thinking and conversation about the power of diverse relationships.
The classes created felted fabric and ceramic beads, designing and assembling their pieces collaboratively while reflecting on the artistic concepts of unity, emphasis, and juxtaposition. As we had hoped, their pieces demonstrate how the fragility and strength of wool echo the fragility and strength of human connection.
This is my favorite find from a recent trip to Anchorage. I was wondering through a sweet little shop downtown called Balliwick. The shop is small and well-curated with a sense of humor. And the last time I was there in December, I found a wonderful Irish sweater from the 1960s that was barely worn. But that’s a story for another post.
I don’t know how old this linen napkin is, exactly, but I’m guessing 1950s. What do you think?
These days it’s not uncommon to introduce snarkiness and irony into crafts, and humor rightly challenges and subverts the expectation that handcrafts are staid or old fashioned. I love that. So, while it would be silly to assume that our predecessors had any less fun than we do with needle and thread, it’s great to have stumbled again upon a little proof.
My girl, playing an old resonator guitar, outside, in Alaska, in February. The guitar, the scooter, the garage, even the vest on her back belong to our friend John who was taking a break from repairing shoes in his garage shoe shop to jam with our friend Reed. Or maybe he was taking a break from jamming to work on some shoes, which is how Selma sweet talked her way into the resonator and the vest.