Blog Hop

A few weeks ago the lovely Shelley of spincushions invited me to join the blog hop that’s been going around.
Shelley and I know each other via Instagram and I must say that she is one of the most innovative crochet designers out there. Her pentagranny baby blanket is extraordinary!

As part of the blog hop I’m going to answer some questions, so here it goes…
I mainly document my work through Instagram, so all the photos posted here are iPhone photos.

1. What am I working on?
Maybe the question should be, what am I NOT working on?
Let me make a list…
On Monday and Tuesday I completed three out of five designs for the November issue of Your Family magazine. A South African magazine, which I do freelance work for.

One of the five super secret projects I’m working on for the magazine.

I am currently taking a weekend break from the last two designs to work on three other wips, two blankets (one for Vinnis Colours using her gorgeous Nikkim yarn in Peacock (the colour is so difficult to photograph with a phone!),

and a second blanket which is a personal project, and will eventually become a pattern to buy on Ravelry.)

Lastly, I’m working on some well-overdue yarn bombed sticks for one of the Your Family staff members.

She loved the sticks I made for their July issue so much that she had to have some of her own.

Apart from these there are thousands of ideas battling it out at the back of my mind (which might be why I’m not sleeping very well).
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a really tough question…
I guess my style is very contemporary.
As much as I love a beautiful granny square blanket or a pretty doily, I personally want to move away from the ‘traditional’ look in crochet.
Having said that, I have designed several squares, for blankets (including the Spring is Sprung granny square, which you can get for free if you subscribe to my blog via email in the right hand column) but I would’t classify them as ‘granny squares’.
At the moment, what interests me personally is creating texture. Either by combining different yarns and so creating unexpected thicknesses, especially when alternating one strand with more than one, or by using  stitches that create texture, like post stitches, front/back loops only, or puff, bobble and popcorn stitches.

When using more than one strand of yarn you can create some really interesting colour effects as well. This basket was made using 2 strands each of 4 colours and a 10mm hook.

3. Why do I create what I do?
I create, because if I don’t do something creative every day I think I would go insane.
I have always been creative, drawing, painting, polymer clay, and of course crochet ( I started out making clothing for my barbie doll!). Crochet is just another way of getting all these ideas stuck in my head, out!

These cuties were designed for the April ’14 issue of Your Family.

I also love the fact that I can create something tactile with yarn and a hook and I think I like the fact that others then make my designs even more. With painting and similar art forms the process ends with the final brush stroke.
With crochet design it never really ends, doesn’t it? Not if you’ve created something that people like.

4. How does my creating process work?
It really does depend on the project.
With the Your Family designs I am given briefs, some are quite specific, like right down to the size and materials to be used.

Those are very challenging, since I have to stay within those parameters. After all, if they want an ammigurumi rhino and I deliver an elephant, then the brief hasn’t been fulfilled. Some designers might find that this is stifling to their creativity but I find that it challenges me.
I mean, I was pretty much thrown into the deep end when the first design I was asked to make was a dress, which would be shown on the cover!! I had never designed a piece of clothing that would fit different sizes before!


Depending on the complexity of a project I might make notes like this. For the Spring is Sprung blanket I used a different approach since I made all the central flowers in advance. With this blanket I am making one square at a time, so I need a different way of checking which colours I have already used. Unlike some other designers, I prefer to complete one square at a time and I always use the join-as-you-go method.

When it comes to my own designs, and those for Vinnis Colours I have much more freedom. This is where I pick form one of the ideas rattling around in my skull. I pretty much choose what ever takes my fancy at that moment and go with it.
Sometimes a design goes from idea to finished product in a very short space of time. Like the little yellow duck, for example.

This little duck basically sprang straight out of my head into this shape within a few hours. I literally had it all worked out, stitch by stitch, in my head before I made it and so the pattern only needed tiny amounts of tweaking.

Other designs take much longer, like the wrought iron shawl I’m designing, I don’t know how many times I’ve unravelled the whole thing! I just don’t like the shaping, so it’s been stuck in a corner (Bad shawl! Bad shawl!) and I will pick it up again when I have a gap.

I don’t often wear nail polish because it’s a bit of a waste of time. As someone who uses their hands a lot it just splinters off too quickly.

I take my inspiration from other crocheters, mainly via Instagram and Facebook, looking at what is trendy at the moment. I also look at nature, and in general the world around me. For example I might see someone wearing a piece of clothing that I love, and an idea for a crochet item in a similar style will pop into my head. My daughter is also an inspiration (especially when it comes to birthday dresses 😉 ).

Well, I hope you found this glimpse into my creative process interesting.
I am supposed to nominate two other  bloggers and I thought about it quite a bit before deciding to ask Jerusha Raath, of  this red lipstick, I’ve know her since she was a teen and the Spring is Sprung blanket I made was a gift for her wedding. She is a journalist, so not a visual artist but writing is a creative process too.
Do have a look at her blog, it’s brimful of South African-ness.

Jerusha is the person who introduced me to Samantha Steele (via twitter), Samantha works at Your Family magazine and is also a crafty crafter, who actually writes two blogs!!! Mission Succexy  (her personal blog with a range of topics, that provide much hilarious reading!) and Runny Babbit (her craft blog, which I asked her to join the blog hop with).

I’m looking forward to reading their posts in the next few weeks.

25. July 2014 by Stephanie Davies
Categories: Brag Bag | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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