Thursday, May 8

Gifts for Mothers Day #4 - Book & Vase

Leather Vase

The Petite Fleur Vase, a totally functional crocheted vase made with leather twine from my book Uncommon Crochet.

My No.1 idea for a crochet related gift for mothers day, drum roll please.

Uncommon Crochet: 25 Projects to Make with Natural Yarns and Alternative Fibers.

If you aren't in the loop by now (pun intended), I wrote a book that features crochet instruction and inspiration using less traditional materials and techniques. Pictured above is a Petite Fleur Vase, a totally functional crocheted vase made with leather twine. The book shows the pattern made in cotton, leather, hemp, and wire and gives you lots of ideas on how to make this a functional vase for real flowers.

My purpose in writing this book was to motivate others to play with structure, fiber, and design, to abandon the norm, to ask questions, and to simply create with what you know or want to discover. Ten Speed Press and the people that worked on this project with me did a fantastic job. The unique quality of the paper perfectly complements the gorgeous photography by Angie Cao and the style design by Betsy Stromberg.

The book is broken up into 3 sections - Create, Design and Experiment. "Create" features super simple patterns that can be made to look more complex with interesting construction ideas. "Design" takes things one step further and outlines the basic principles you need to know before you design your own project like shaping and creating 3-dimensional pieces. In "Experiment" things get fun and funky with ideas for creating and embellishing your own or other projects using interesting techniques and alternative fibers. At the end is a complete list of resources to help you find the fibers that inspired you the most.

You can buy the book at your local bookstore, Amazon, or Powells. Wrap it up with a sweet crocheted vase and you'll have the perfect gift for Mother's Day


Short-Attention-Span-Knitter said...

I have a question regarding the Goodie Basket design ( fetured in Living Crafts Magazine).

Is there a yarn substitute that can be used instead of the leather cord? ( which would be felted.) Or the plastic laces that we all used as kids at summer camp to make key chains and such. I think the cost of making it out of leather (12 spools at $10 a peice is a bit out of my price range.)

I absolutely love this basket and if I can find a reasonable substitute, will be making a couple of baskets for Xmas Presents!



Julie said...

Thank you for your comment on the Goodie Basket. It's a great question.

The important thing about most of these fibers is don't wet block, which means don't get it saturated. Wet blocking will soften the stitches and make the basket floppy. However, you can mist it with water then stuff bags inside to shape it if it comes out a little warped in the end.

Alternative fibers for the basket could be:

sisal or jute bundling twine found at the hardware store. It is a little scratchy and fibrous, but the flyaway fibers can be minimized by trimming them close to the fabric once the project is completed. Some bundling twines can be bulkier than the leather cord so the basket might come out a little larger. Sisal and jute are both available in thicker fibers in neutral colors. You can find thinner jute twines in color but you'd have to double up on it to try to get the thicker gauge and keep the stitches tight. Colored twine is available at gift packaging stores.

100% cotton yarn - to make a structural project in cotton you just need to work tight stitches. You could try to get close to gauge by using a double strand of cotton or even cotton carried with another fiber. Again just keep the stitches tight. In cases the stitches end up too tight, you can spray block as mentioned above to help soften up the fibers. Cotton is where you can get some color in the basket.

The plastic lacing is a great idea. I've only swatched a little with the lacing so I'm not entirely positive how it will turn out. I would recommend making a little basket with it to see how it works up. Would be a perfect gift for kids.

You could also try mixing it up a bit, how about a basket in stripes of sisal and crocheted fabric that has been cut into strips about 1" wide? That way the sisal is neutral but you can use brightly colored fabric in the striping.

You can also make in 100% non-superwash wool then felt it. Keep in mind that you could get anywhere from 25-35% shrink from the pre-felted dimensions so you need to make it at least 25% larger than you want for the finished result. I would start with a chunky or bulky weight wool or use 2 strands of worsted. It will definitely be an experiment.