Monday, January 11, 2016

Working with Delicate Yarn

Working with delicate yarn, this is lace-weight yak and light fingering weight silk-cashmere. Earlier, I tried making a skirt with the yak and that ended in failure. I have also made a dress with yak yarn and that did not turn out so well. I have worked mostly with cotton and have insufficient experience with very light and fine animal fibres. The blending of silk in fine animal fibre gives strength but not the elasticity I am so used to in cotton. Spending lots of time working with the fibres help understand what designs will work and will not work. Have you worked with delicate yarn? What projects did you make?

This is delicate yak yarn from Tibet.

Silk and cashmere blend yarn make this camisole a work of art.

A camisole crochet in silk and cashmere blend yarn.

I offer Bespoke crochet garments, accessories, decor and art. Here, my passion as an artist is most expressed. While Made-to-Measure begins with an existing pattern or design that will be customised or modified to suit your measurements and specifications, Bespoke begins from an entirely new concept, an entirely new pattern that is created only for you. 
In the comings days, I will present to you some of the important explorations I am currently undertaking in the creation of bespoke garments and accessories for my clients. I am hoping that by presenting the artist’s process from concept to casting and finishing, I am able to heighten your understanding and appreciation of the intellectual, creative and physical work that enters my atelier.

Hand-Sewing A Dress

Hand-sewing is therapy, I love it, next to crochet. I am making dresses. Here's one dress in progress, using inexpensive fabric called "printed geena silk." I have been thinking of getting a sewing machine, but I don't really want it. I enjoy sewing by hand. Do you love hand-sewing too?

I have plastic hangers that aren't very pretty. So I wrap them in scrap fabric. I cut the fabric into strips of about 1cm wide, then I wrap it around the hanger with slip knots. The loose ends are sewn in place.

Make those plastic hangers look pretty

From ugly to pretty clothes hangers

A better-looking hanger with handmade dress

Make your own dress with cheap fabric.

Simple Modification of Crochet Dress Pattern

At the moment, I am making a crocheted dress. This is the second dress. The first dress I made in 2013 using a pattern from this beautiful Japanese crochet book. I love that dress, I wore it to my mother's birthday. I am making a second dress in a different colour. I am using light fingering weight yarn and 3mm hook. I modified the original pattern in a simple way - that is, change the direction of crocheting and reduce the length of the shoulders to fit me.

Photos below suggest how I am making this dress. By changing the direction of crocheting the body of the dress, I can decide how long I want to make the dress. In the original pattern, the dress is worked from the bottom up. I want to make the body of the dress from the top down.

Irish Crochet-Style Motifs

I call these "Irish Crochet-style" motifs because these are not, strictly speaking, Irish crochet. These motifs resemble popular Irish crochet motifs but these are crocheted without the padding cord. In this sense, these motifs are easier to make than traditional Irish crochet motifs. These motifs are based on patterns found in the Russian crochet-knit magazine series, Zhurnal Mod. Although the magazines are in Russian language, anyone who can read crochet symbols should be able to use the magazines.

If I remember correctly, I used 3-ply cotton yarn and 2.5mm hook to make these motifs. Here I include some photos of several pages from the magazines. If you are interested in buying some magazines for yourself, you can find the authorised on-line seller at

Admittedly, Irish crochet motifs with the padding cord are much more beautiful because the padding cord brings out a much more apparent differences in the texture of the motifs and the 3-dimensional appearance that Irish crochet is most well-known for.

Irish crochet basics for you

Closer look at Irish crochet lace

Some basic Irish crochet lace motifs for free

Irish lace motifs free to learn to make

How to design and arrange Irish crochet lace motifs on a top

Learn irish crochet lace on your own

Crochet symbols in Irish crochet free patterns

Free crochet symbol patterns to learn Irish crochet

Beautiful Irish crochet blouse.

Colorful Irish crochet dress you can make.

Best magazines on learning Irish crochet.

Irish Crochet Motifs on Fabric

This is a work in progress which I started with Irish crochet motifs. The motifs are worked in crochet cotton size 10 and padding cord in crochet cotton size 8 in several strands. In the beginning I wanted to use these motifs to decorate the back of a crocheted sleeveless top, but decided against that. The garment appeared too heavy. So I got some fabric - one is sheer organza and the other is gauze diaper. The gauze diaper fabric is most intriguing. I am now using that with the Irish crochet motifs. Work is coming along very slowly.

If you are interested in Irish crochet, you may look at some work I have done earlier on Crochetology, this is Trippletimber 2 (with pattern and photo-tutorial) and A Blackberry Design (an antique pattern).

Inspiring crochet lace to make

Shaping a garment with Irish crochet lace motifs.

White irish lace motifs you can make

Using a Table Mat Pattern

In October 2013, I made this blouse using motifs from a table mat pattern. The pattern came from a magazine called MAGIC CROCHET. The magazines were gifts from Linda, a crochet friend from the US. I used 2 types of yarn, both from the Turkish yarn shop, Yarn Paradise. I originally planned to make a skirt. However, the shaping was not sufficient for a skirt made up of motifs. So I made a blouse instead. The blouse is very simple, just motifs joined together with a slit in the centre for the neck. I would like to continue using the Magic Crochet magazines. I would also like to re-design this blouse. It is very large and loose and shapeless. It can be quite nice to wear but this construction needs a much better and more interesting pattern design. There were plenty of distractions at that time - the big earthquake in October and the powerful typhoon in November.

Make your own unique garment using home decor patterns.

Enjoy Magic Crochet magazines

Cheap knitting yarns from Turkey.

Where to buy cheap yarns for knitting and crochet.

Detail of free table mat crochet pattern.

Intricate motif, free pattern for mat, to modify.

Multi-colour Thread Crochet Jewellery

In March 2011, I intended to publish patterns for crocheted jewellery using multi-colour thread. I had 6 sets of designs for earrings, necklaces, bracelets. I had several pattern testers who helped enormously in spotting errors in the patterns but for one reason or another, I never regained the confidence to publish the designs. I have always had difficulty using multi-colour threads because the colour combinations available   were often too harsh or unattractive. I wanted to come up with a way to change that. I used beads and also solid colour thread in combination with the multi-colour threads. Yet still, I wasn't satisfied with the results. One day I will get back to this project and make it better. I came up with a number of interesting stitches while making these designs and those need re-consideration even if the actual patterns will never get published.

Nevertheless, I was able to make designs from this initial effort. The patterns are freely available: Forest Candy and Seaside Butterfly - both using multi-colour thread.

Multicolor and glitter thread for knitting

Inspiring crochet jewelry

Flower motif for crochet necklace

Beads and crochet

Beads and crochet in multicolor thread

Inspiration for crochet fashion accessories

Make your own crochet earrings

DIY necklace with beads and crochet

Working with Gauze Fabric

Gauze fabric is amazing, I love it. It is difficult material to work with. In the shops it is known as gauze diaper fabric because it is material used to make gauze bandages as well the traditional reusable diaper or "lampin." Over all, I am working more with fabric now.

Here are three works-in-progress: the white vest and tunic are both made with the gauze diaper fabric with crochet trims. The vest will need finishing and the tunic will need more crochet work - for the neckline, armholes, sides and hem. The red fabric is from a sheer beach cover-up that was way too large for me to wear. I cut it up and hope to make a blouse with it. At the moment, it is poncho-style. I am grappling with what design of crochet I might add to it. Do you have any suggestions?

Freedom to work with my hands

Freedom to be what I want to be

Freedom from poverty

Gauze garment with crochet trim

Delicate cotton trim for garments

Sewing by hand and the joys thereof

A beach cover-up fabric for recycling

Beautiful fabric to recycle

Hand sewing garments