Book Review: Crochet Adorned

I met Linda Permann for the first time at this Summer’s TNNA (National Needle Arts convention.) She was at our Stitch Co-op party and introduced herself to me. When she told me about her book, my eyes really lit up! I’ve been looking for something JUST LIKE THIS.

Crochet Adorned: Reinvent Your Wardrobe with Crocheted Accents, Embellishments, and Trims

As you know, there’s a HUGE surge in crochet right now. Lots of gorgeous patterns have been showing up all over the place from Linda, Robyn Chachula, Amy O’Neil Houck, Julie Holetz, Marly Bird, and longtime designers like Dora Ohrenstein, Doris Chan, Lily Chin, Annie Modesitt, Teva Durham, and many many more. They’re really using crochet in new ways and creating gorgeous garments and accessories.

Seeing all of the new things that crocheters are doing makes ME want to crochet, and I’ve dabbled. A little. Badly:

By the way, what the heck am I doing wearing that thing next to crochet star Kristin Omdahl??

A book like Linda‘s is the perfect resource for someone like me. I already design garments. I already know how to manipulate crochet stitches, I’m just not proficient enough to DESIGN in crochet. Crochet Adorned (Potter Craft, 2009) is full of ways to add a little crochet to another project. Whether that project is a design that I’m working on OR, as in many of the projects in the book, a pre-made dress, jacket, or pair of shoes. Here are all of the projects on Ravelry.

I think that I could handle adding crochet trim to a jacket like this:

And on a good day, I might even be able to muster up enough crochet mojo to accomplish something like this:
sneak peaks from Crochet Adorned

What really makes this book stand out is the fact that all of the crochet instructions are presented in words AND charts. I’m visual. I can crochet from a chart much more easily than I can from a string of abbreviations (remember when you first learned to read patterns…you spend most of the time looking up definitions!)

There are tons of instructions for trims and photos showing how they can be used to decorate LOTS of different things. I like this because it really fuels my own imagination and helps me visualize ways that crochet can be used as an accent. There are also patterns for whole crochet objects, like pillows, table runners, trivets, and more. Linda includes an over-40-page index of stitch patterns for not only lacy trims, but for all-over patterns that could be used for garments, throws, and anything you could imagine.

So, I’m imagining that after working through a few of the add-ons, I might be able to crochet a whole THING!

I know that I will find myself referring to this book a LOT in the course of my own crafting, and definitely will be adding more crochet to my craft arsenal!

Downtown Aquarium, Denver … Our road trip continues…


Since Mazie loves animals of all kinds, the aquarium was a natural stop for us to visit.

Not much to really say about this stop, other than that I felt we got our money’s worth (it went on past the point at which I thought I’d seen enough fish) and that it’s a good spot to take interesting photos.

Here are some of the pics that I took while we were there. I won’t post all of them here, if you’re interested (ahem, grandma J) you can click on any one of them to see more:





And that about finishes up the trip!

On the way home we stopped again in Santa Fe, and I did a little shopping. I stopped at a shop on the Plaza called “Passementrie” because they had just gorgeous clothing in the windows. I talked to the owner / designer a little bit and here’s her story:

She has a background in “Couture hand Embroidery” and started her business through an artisan grant. She goes to India for several months every year and works with the local artisans there to create her clothing lines. The fabrics are all hand block printed, and the clothing is just beautiful. Each seam is finished for strength, and all are very easy care.

I came home with several pieces:


I just got such energy from her and her shop and her story! Stop by if you’re ever on the Plaza!

Knit Knack Denver with Marly Bird … our road trip continues

Geri, Marly and me and Olive at Knit Knack in Arvada, CO

Marly and I have been friends for a LONG time. Marly is a great designer, both for knitting and crochet, and is currently the Creative Consultant for Bijou Basin Ranch.

She interviewed me for her podcast waaaay back when Fitted Knits first came out (2007) and we’ve been friends ever since. In “real” time three years isn’t that long, but in Blog Time, it’s an established friendship! She also recently interviewed me about my online classes. You can find marly’s podcast here, or on iTunes.

Marly is one of the friendliest, happiest, most outgoing people you are ever going to meet. She has a wonderful laugh and is just such a treat to be around. SO…when she offered to meet up with me and my kids and take us to Knit Knack, her local shop in Arvada, CO, I jumped at the chance. I was also really happy to meet her friend and expert knitter and photographer Karen (and her 3 kids), who met us for lunch before we went to the shop.

Playing in the water, Arvada CO

So Marly is a mom of three gorgeous, happy, boisterous, loveable kids. She drives around with the stereo up, singing and having a great time! When they pulled into the parking lot, they were blasting “Hey Ya” by Andre 3000. LOVE IT! Later, when we were following her to the shop, Mazie said, “Mom, my friends have a Rock -n- Roll car!” and they DO! Being with marly and her family was so encouraging…I can DO this! And I don’t have to be perfect at it…just have FUN. Have a rock -n- roll car! ENJOY it.

Mazie and the Bird Kids

We just the BEST time, you guys! We ate lunch at a place where the kids could all play, and they were so sweet with Maize. We let them play for about an hour, and then drove over to Knit Knack. Knit Knack is situated in an older downtown area (if you’ve been to Arvada, you know what I’m talking about.)

The space is just perfect for a yarn shop…it’s got a split-level floor plan, with the class space in its own little area, and a really cool almost apothecary vibe to the fixtures. They also have an espresso bar! The yarn and pattern selection is really wide and covers almost anything you could think to knit OR crochet!

(Sorry, another phone pic, but it shows how the shop is laid out and how neat the fixtures are.)

If you’re a local, definitely stop in and say hi to Geri and Beth for me, and sign up for one of Marly’s classes while you’re at it…it’s a guaranteed good time!

Next stop: Downtown Aquarium, Denver

PS: There *might* have been a little Bijou Basin stash enhancement:
L-R…Lhasa Wilderness (yak and bamboo), Bijou Bliss (yak and cormo), Himalayan Trail (yak and merino.)

July installment of the Bundles of Joy club!

The July installment of the Bundles of Joy club from Fibre Space arrived while we were on our trip…and I was so excited to rip the package open and see what it was!

This month’s treat is so nice!

July installment of Bundles of Joy club from Fibrespace

Three skeins of The Fibre Co. Canopy Fingering (a yarn I’m working with on a new project myself) and their adorable Waylon Pullover pattern.

You know I’ve got a soft spot for one-piece knits, and this one is a different construction than the one I normally do: It’s knit from the bottom up, and then sleeves and body are joined and the circular yoke is worked back and forth and joined with a button. VERY cute!

part of the July installement of the Bundles of Joy club

I’m very interested to see how the yoke is decreased (at what rate and at how many points.)

Thank you, Fibre Space! (It’s not too late for you to order any of the kits directly from the site.)

June squares for Pollen8 quilting bee

Starting on my June Pollen8 squares
I took this photo as I was getting ready to sew at 10pm on a Monday night!

Maybe you remember that I was invited to participate in a quilting bee. It’s called Pollen8, and is all taking place on Flickr. We are 8 women, all stitching for each other. The way it works is that each member is assigned a month (mine is November.) At the beginning of a person’s month, she decides on a theme. Themes so far have been Log Cabins, Stripes, and Stars. Then, the person sends little bundles of fabric to each of the 7 other members, who make 3 squares to the person’s specs.

Here are my squares for June, which had a stripe theme:
Bar graph

Bar graph's sister, "Drunken Bar Graph"

Breaking down into chaos

I hope that Stephanie is able to work with my stripes…they’re pretty different from the others that are posted!

This bee has really been a good way for me to expand my quilting knowledge. I just started quilting (flickr set of my patchwork), and my quilts tend to be very off the cuff…I like to just sit down with a pile of pieces and see what they want to become. I rarely choose a theme before I start. I just like to play with colors and shapes and let the fabric decide. In general I feel like there are so many rules that we have to follow every day, crafting should be freeing and without boundaries. It’s interesting, though, to see how much play there is within a given theme.

Experimentation within a framework. I like that.

I’m considering doing a bargello theme for my month…but maybe it’s asking too much of the other quilters? I want to experiment with it a little bit before deciding. Here’s an example of bargello, in which you first piece long fabric strips in a given order, then cut the strips into narrow segments and re-order them to create a wave of color.

bargello quilt

Borrowed from this site:

This bargello quilt is formed from several (20) smaller blocks and is an example of how one could be done in a bee.

I’d expect each of the blocks to be a little bit different. As long as the fabrics are pieced in the same order, the pattern would flow, regardless of the shape or direction of the “wave” in each block.

I really need to play with it a little bit before I decide what to do.