Friday, January 20, 2012

I Heart U Pillows

I had such fun working on these pillows! They are both worked sideways and shaping occurs at the beginning and end of RS rows. Make one for that special someone and slip a Valentine card into the pocket.

These patterns are free and are available at the Caron website.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday

A view of the horizon in the Great Smokey Mountains.

Lots of inspriation here: shapes and colors.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sources of Ideas

In my last post, I talked about crochet as a business and the need for ideas.  A great source of inspiration for me is stitch patterns and techniques.  I take out random balls of yarn and play with the stitch patterns to see how they behave, and to find out if they are "more trouble than they're worth". I seem to be drawn to those that contain color changes as well as those that allow me to paint with yarn.  Examples are my mosaic designs-- the Mosaic Diamond Rug, the Shadow Mosaic Rug, and the Christmas Star Rug. In addition to the color possibilites, the mosaic technique results in some great texture. Contrasting colors work well with this technique.

Another technique or pattern is the use of cables. Crochet cables consist of a combination of raised stitches (i.e., the long double crochet or long treble crochet). These stitches pass over the stitches of the previous row and twist in various directions.  And example of this is my Cables and Bouquets Afghan.

The technique or stitch pattern serves me as the beginning point, the seed. Next comes the "what"; the item to apply that idea to. I gravitate toward rugs and socks, so I will usually turn to those types of items first. Or I might be in the mood for a sweater, so I will start sketching the stitch pattern with the layout of a cardigan or pullover. Here is the original sketch for the Cables and Bouquet Afghan.

From the sketch, I begin to swatch and revise the sketch if needed. If the swatch works out, then there is more high-powered thinking which involves calculations. But we can discuss that on another day!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Crochet is a Business

I joined the Twitter community this summer. One of the subjects that always interests me is #crochetisabusiness or crochet is a business.  Most of my social circle are non-crocheters or non-knitters, so their interest in my work is minimal. But when I am able to get a conversation going about design, they are always surprised to find out that it really is a business that requires a broad range of skills as well as talent. And, as a business owner, I must wear many different hats to make it work.

The first hat, of course, is the ability to design a crochet or knit piece. The cornerstone of a design is a good idea. And where do those ideas come  from?

Anywhere and everywhere. Some designers start with a yarn, and let that yarn "speak" to them, telling them what it wants to become. Some start with an image, such as the mountain stream in an earlier post, or a mosaic on a subway wall.

I usually start with something that I need or want. My watch band broke. Ordinary people would buy a new one, but a designer looks for a way to make one. First, I searched online to see what types of patterns were available (hey, maybe I don't have to design one after all!). There were a few patterns, but none really said "I'm IT". Yesterday I walked to Michael's while waiting for car repairs and while there, I saw a leather band. The Muse jumped on that image. When I got home, I dug out a ball of Bergere de France Coton 50 in navy. I sketched a little, then stitched.

The end result is not a fabulous design -- yet. But it is functional and a good jumping off point for more inspiration.

The design process is just that -- a process. And one that doesn't always result in success on the first attempt. Sometimes ideas need an incubation period; maybe more images are needed to make that idea complete.

The process also contains contains an editing phase. Ellen Gormley of GoCrochet posted about taking that idea or project from a good idea to a great one. What needs to be added, what needs to be taken away, does the stitch pattern do this design justice, does the yarn enhance or detract from the design?

I love it when those questions are answered and I can move on to the next idea.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday

I participated in the Great American Teach-In this year and spoke to the classes about the design process. The first segment of my presentation was about ideas -- where do they come from?  The conclusion was . . . everywhere! 

Take a look at this beautiful mountain stream and see what your muse comes up with.

Happy Stitchin'!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another New Design!

This cute little lady buy backpack has adjustable straps. The eyes are the closures for the flap so your lady can keep all of her valuables safe.

This pattern is available for free from Red Heart yarns.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another New Design!

My Mosaic Shadow Rug in included as a web bonus in Crochet World magazine. The first crochet project I worked on was a rug and that started a long love affair for me. They are like a blank canvas to be filled with color and texture.

This rug has both. The mosaic technique allows the stitcher to place different colors in specific spots while working with only one color at a time. Color changes are made by double crocheting over the opposite color (essentially covering up the previous color). These raised double crochets create a rich texture that will make you sink your feet into the rug and never want to leave!

Happy stitching!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Designs Out!

I have 2 designs included in the Winter 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet.  Both of these designs were exciting to stitch!

The first is the Barn Jacket. It is stitched in a Tunisian Crochet cluster stitch for the body of the jacket and sleeves, with roll back cuffs and a stand up collar stitched in Tunisian Knit stitch.  The edging at the hem and each front immitates knit garter stitch and is done by slip stitching in the back loop only.

Details of the collar and cuffs:

And the 2nd design are the Red Twig Knee Socks.  These socks have an interesting method of construction; the leg and instep are stitched lengthwise rather than in the round. Short rows are used to make the sock wider at the upper calf, and they all taper to a center back seam.  Next, the heel is worked in a traditional manner (that may be the only traditional part of this sock!). The sole is worked back-and-forth, joining with the sides of the instep.

If you like a challenge, these socks are for you.  Color combinations are endless and exciting.

Happy stitching!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

We welcomed in 2012 at Rick's on the River in Tampa listening to the Backwater Blues Band play. In addition to fine music, it was the Night of the Fedora.

I found the girl's fedoras at Justice for Girls while Christmas shopping, and I made Doc's fedora using a pattern by Mary E. Nolfi of  I met Mary at Chain Link this summer and she always had on the most gorgeous hat. She makes them from paper raffia, which gives the hat a lot of body. In addition to hats, she has a great selection of bags.

2011 was a great year for Patsy Harbor Designs. I sold 12 designs (one is my first knit design!) and attended Chain Link where I met and made new friends as well as learned a facinating new techique. 2011 also brought the Friday Morning Knitting Club--a group of 10 2nd graders with boundless enthusiasm, lots of smiles, and sometimes . . . fumbly fingers.

It's time to set goals and engage in serious business planning for 2012.  Can't wait to see what exciting things 2012 will hold!

Happy stitching to all!