This photo is from a mock art gallery-style photoshoot, 2012 (See the whole set in better resolution here). Aslip-on cuff experiment with mock bracelet clasp became the prototype for Bling Bam Bangle, my cheerful holiday distraction in Dec. 2014.
Crochet Bangle from the Archives
It makes me giggle. “Bam-Bam” began as a test of ribbing stitches for a simple crochet bangle in 2012.
I remember reasoning that if a crochet bracelet is stretchy enough, a clasp is optional. You could just slide it on and off your wrist—i.e., a crochet bangle.
A back-loop slip stitch rib (Bss) version was planned after this back-loop single crochet rib (Bsc) one—minus the “Bam-Bam” part.)
The “Bam-Bam” Part
Remember Pebbles and Bamm Bamm? Back in September 2012, I was preparing to teach a crochet jewelry class at a CGOA conference in Reno NV.
I don’t remember where my head was at, but after completing its band, I amused myself by free-forming the fake clasp. It made me think of Bamm Bamm Rubble, the baby boy who hit everything with a stone club in the The Flintstones cartoon.
Then, to test a new light box, I photographed it as if it’s an art gallery piece, which amuses me even more!
This is its project page in Ravelry. I’m writing a holiday pattern for the Bam-Bam Crochet Bangle now. It makes me giggle too much to keep it to myself.
A few days ago I sent out issue #65 of my Crochet Inspirations newsletter: “Mock Cables in Slip Stitch Crochet.” I’m getting questions from readers about the dark brown crochet cable boot cuff photo (shown below). I crocheted that one in November 2012. The gray striped one is fresh off the hook.
The 2012 brown one is actually a prototype of the new crochet slip stitch Lucky Twist Mitts. It’s my newest downloadable pattern. A matching Lucky Twist crochet cable boot cuff pattern is almost finished.
The early brown Lucky Twist swatch helped me test lots of things. For example, how stretchy the limp five-ply merino yarn would be as a mitt (not enough). How much to taper the ribbed edge with short rows. I wondered about the speckled dyeing and overall dark brown tones.
As I mentioned in the newsletter, I had to dramatically brighten these photos just so that the cabled stitch textures would show up! So in real life I’d need to be standing in full sunshine to see the cabled surface texture in a dark brown yarn. The short amber color flecks are pretty, but they distract a bit from the cables.
This was also the first boot cuff prototype I’d ever crocheted. So I learned about:
Finished dimensions for a good crochet cable boot cuff pattern.
Stitch surface textures and yarn colors that show up well on that area of the body. (Lighter colors help.)
Should one or both edges of a boot cuff taper? (I prefer it tapered at one end only.)
How much yarn and time does it take to crochet boot cuffs? (About as long as crocheting just 14 inches of a scarf!)
Thickness of yarn and of stitches that fit inside the boot top. (Medium weight yarn seems fine for the boots I own.)
Folded, unfolded, scrunched. All ways are fun!
Crochet Boot Cuffs, 2012 and beyond
Back in 2012, crochet boot cuffs were such a new trend that they might have just been a one-season fad. That November I traveled to northern Illinois to teach a crochet retreat. It was a boot-wearing opportunity that I don’t often get here in Florida.
It was in Illinois that I started the brown crochet cable boot cuff pattern prototype. I’d be able to test how much warmth they add, and if I enjoy wearing them.
I discovered that crochet boot cuffs feel great! I wore them over dark tights with skirts. They stayed put. I enjoyed wearing them all ways – scrunched, folded over the boot, and unfolded. Down low into the boot or up near the knee. I did find that I wanted longer ones that covered more of my legs for warmth.
Selling crochet items based on my patterns? Please do.
If you like to crochet things to sell at craft fairs or in a shop, please enjoy using my crochet patterns for that. I really appreciate that some crocheters care to ask a designer first! I love that about our crochet community. Not only is it your right in the USA, please also know that I feel honored that my designs inspire you to make and sell finished items.
I now state officially in several places that crocheters are welcome to sell the items they make from my patterns. (Patterns I’ve already published lack this notice. I’m updating each one as time allows.)
I’ve been a maker too.
Most recently in March 2014. Ananda, a dear friend I’ve known for forever, has an indie natural perfume business. Her cool idea for a trade: she would create a limited edition perfume with pure essential Lotus blossom oil.*
In return, I would crochet special little Lotus perfume pouches just for her and her best customers. The photos above are the pouches I made.
It was good timing for me to revisit being a maker—not a designer, teacher, editor, etc. I say “revisit” because I had a macramé jewelry business back in the 1980’s. After that I had a calligraphy business. I loved being an indie maker and selling at fairs.
Why would designers object to people selling crochet items from their patterns?
In forums, makers complain that some designers and publishers try to limit how their patterns are used, and can’t imagine a good reason for it. I think it’s understandable. Here’s why:
Back when I first launched my own pattern website, craft bloggers were reporting instances of large companies taking advantage of “the little guy” (indie designers). These companies were allegedly looking online for designs and then copying them as their own.
Whether or not the law would side with the indie designers in any of these cases, 1) These watchdog bloggers revealed publicly that stealing intellectual property isn’t victimless nor is it invisible on the internet; and 2) It scared me as a new owner of a web-based pattern line.
I did not start out encouraging people to use my patterns for selling crochet items. (I hope I didn’t discourage anyone!) I figured I’d hear from someone on a case by case basis. It’s because I didn’t know there were so many indie makers looking for inspiring crochet patterns. Turns out I was only hearing from a tiny percentage.
One last thing: crediting me as the designer of the pattern, or listing my DesigningVashti.com URL on your labels, is greatly appreciated, but not required. Let me know how your items sell, or show me some pics. It inspires me to design more!
Now: if you wish to use my designs to produce crochet items on a mass scale, contact me: vashti AT designingvashti.com . Thank you.
I’m looking over the photos I’ve taken so far of my newest Tunisian crochet design. Lately, the weather here has created some moody lighting. Have a look at these!
I’m calling it Aery-Faery because it is faerie-like and diaphanous, like fairy wings. I’ve crocheted most of it while watching the first season of Once Upon a Time. In fact, I’m pretty sure the idea for this design first came to me while watching the show.
The yarn is divine for a lacy Tunisian crochet scarf.
It’s Artyarns Silk Mohair Glitter; a strand of Lurex is plied with the silk and mohair. It’s particularly fine and smooth. The dyeing is gorgeous. You can’t tell from some of the photos, but it’s the subtle colors of a milky opal. The colors shift like they do in an opal, too.
The Aery-Faery pattern draft is done. I’m testing a variation tonight and have the final proofreading to do before sending it off for tech editing and testing.
I’ve learned to take three things into account: the yarn’s plying, color, and thickness.
Yarn plies: I have the best luck with a single ply yarn. More than one ply can add a distracting texture, especially in close ups. I love the look and colors of the purple yarn in the first photo, but its plies worried me. (Each individual ply of this unusual 100% cashmere yarn is twisted, but there’s no twist holding them all together.)
The color(s): Yarn colors also matter for Tunisian crochet filet close ups. A single light color shows texture depth the best. I tend to avoid variegated yarns, with exceptions here and there.
Subtle color shifts can be a real plus with Tunisian crochet, though! I think this might be because it helps the eye distinguish forward pass loops from return pass loops. (Four Peaks images are good examples of this. Strong contrasting color shifts would normally be distracting. This isn’t the case for Four Peaks because of the small, fine-grained Tunisian simple stitches.)
Yarn weight: If I’m taking close up photos, and the camera has a good zoom lens, why does it matter how thin or thick the yarn is? How about using a crisp crochet thread? I discovered the hard way that I have better luck with a thick yarn. With thread and skinny yarns, the individual fibers show up too much in each loop. Even slight fuzziness is magnified. It makes the yarn or thread look old, shaggy, and worn out.
#2. A Winter Yarn
I fell in love with my first Tunisian crochet filet design in wool. That would be…Warm Aeroette! (Hence the “warm” part.) Traditional filet lace has mostly been a cotton thread kind of crochet project. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think of wool at first.
Until Aeroette I’d only had Tunisian crochet filet thoughts in bamboo (Ennis), silk (Aero), and cotton (dishcloth test in my Lotus yarn). It’s thanks to Warm Aeroette that I discovered how nice Four Peaks is is in a toasty aran-weight wool.
I needed to test with classic wool yarn to know Aeroette better. Could it work in something other than Aero’s fancy silk? Unlike Four Peaks, the wool yarn I used isn’t thick; it’s a fingering/sock weight fine-micron merino wool. (Fine-micron merino has a lot in common with cashmere.)
Thin fingering weight gives the tall Tunisian filet stitches a fine-grained texture. In a thick wool like the Mochi Plus (blue photo above), the filet-style lacy eyelets could look clunky or lumpy as a scarf. Would be a lovely afghan border though!
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