November 1, 2009 · 8:59 am
This was a question asked on one of the crochet forums I’m on. Thought I’d share my response here. Feel free to add your input in the comments to help others!
I would say that what yarn you use depends on project and attitude actually. I know everyone has an opinion and there are various camps of thought. But my take is more of a unifier of worlds. I’m a true Libran – I dislike division.
You can crochet with anything. Seriously. And I’ve done it. I’ve mixed all sorts of fibers (some things not even considered “fiber”) and broken most taboos out there. And what I haven’t broken yet, I will endeavor to before I die. You can’t focus on being able to see. This is the eternal quip between my grandmothers and I. “But grandma, if you really know how to crochet, you don’t have to see your stitches, right?” It’s our private little laugh between us. But it’s true. I’ve used lots of stuff people didn’t think you could crochet with. But I also find that people get in a rut with fibers because they only use one type of hook or tool. Hooks can make an incredible difference in the variety of things you can create. Certain ones are better for certain things.
Only once have I come across a fiber that I felt was the spawn of satan and that I refused to try again and actually threw it away. Something called whirly-gig. And the monstrosity was difficult to use because it falls apart. Shouldn’t have been called yarn! In my experience, as long as it doesn’t fall apart, it can be crocheted!
I find most yarns do not meet people’s expectations because they approach it either with preconceived notions or one hook fits all approach. And that’s OK. Specialization is important too. Let the fibers speak to you and you’ll figure out how they best like to be used. It’s like anything in life, you learn how it works. All fibers have a personality of sorts and a way they “prefer” to be handled. All you do is just figure that out.
I say take the fear and hesitation out of it and just let go. Get some paint and splash it on that canvas and see what you get.
Filed under Crochet News, Editorial
Tagged as aberrant crochet, aberrantcrochet, crochet, Crochet Liberation Front, pixie worx, pixieworx, Ravelry, techniques, yarn, yarns
August 17, 2009 · 8:26 pm
This is an article I wrote over a year ago for potential use on Ravelry or for The Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book. Thought I’d reprint it here for your reference.
Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends
The “Half-Stitch” Technique
by Julia Meek Chambers – Aberrant Crochet ™
Fiber blending in crochet is when we use more than one color and/or fiber in a project at the same time. Many people have crocheted with at least two fibers at a time to increase the gage of the stitch or add variety to the colors and shading in a product. It is a great way to add extra dimension to any look.
Sometimes, in our work, we assemble the perfect combination of colors and textures for a project, only to discover that there’s not enough of one of the fibers to complete it as envisioned. Whether the lack of yardage is due to budget constraints or because the fiber itself is simply discontinued or otherwise unattainable, this limitation does not have to mean a disappointing dead-end to an otherwise fantastic fiber combination.
Why not try using the determinate fiber for partial stitches only? I call this the “Half-Stitch Technique.” This technique is accomplished by using the fiber in question for only some loops of a given stitch, but not others in the same stitch.
For instance, a single crochet stitch is accomplished in two steps. If you don’t have enough of a fiber to complete an entire project or section of single crochet, then with the Half-Stitch technique, you would instead use the fiber in only one half of each stitch and then drop it for the second half of each stitch. Though more understated than being used in a full stitch, this allows the color and texture of your limited fiber to still be present in the project.
Remember, there really are no rules in crochet other than the use of a hook, so give it a whirl and see what this technique can do for you!
Copyright © 2003 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.
Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet News, Crochet Techniques
Tagged as aberrant crochet, aberrantcrochet, CLF, crochet, Crochet Liberation Front, half stitch, pixie worx, pixieworx, Ravelry, tapestry crochet, technique, techniques
July 30, 2009 · 3:27 pm
Designed by me!
Beefy Newsboy Style with Brim
You can get this pattern here!
(also includes a license to sell the finished product – see below for complete details)
Purchase of this pattern also entitles buyers to free updates to this pattern (supplied via Ravelry).
Published: April 2009
Yarns suggested: Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Weight
Yarn weight: Bulky
12 ply (7 wpi)
Gauge: 8 stitches and 8 rows = 4 inches in hdc
Hook size: 6.5 mm (K)
Yardage: 250 – 300 yards
Sizes available: S, M, L, XL
Julia’s Beefy Beret
About this pattern:
This 4-page pattern offers a beefy “artsy” beret style hat with slim and newsboy variations. Includes glossary of terms, full color photos and instructions for S, M, L, XL sizing, striping and brim options.
Stitches are over-all fairly simple. However, this pattern requires knowledge of how to use multiple yarns at once through out and some elements of this pattern require tapestry crochet skills and interchanging colors.
As such, this pattern ranks as intermediate crochet according to pattern standards guidelines.
Julia’s Tailored Newsboy Variation
Notes on Materials Needed:
Four or more yarns are required for this pattern. The brands listed in this pattern are not required for this pattern to work as mentioned in the variation. The band/stripe colors for this hat are made from stash scrap yarn and therefore are not mentioned by brand. Keep your weights and gauge as listed and this pattern can be replicated again and again.
All Content Copyright © 2008-2012 by Julia Meek Chambers, Aberrant Crochet and Pixie Worx, all rights reserved.
You may sell finished products created from my pattern as long as they are not mass-produced and are hand-made by you individually. Any items for sale must state in the item description that they are based on my pattern and include a link to my website. Any items you sell based on my patterns must also feature your own photographs. You may not use my images to help sell your finished items. If you have a charity project in mind which would require multiple volunteers, please contact me.
Purchase of this pattern grants you permission to make and sell items created from it, but not to republish, share or resell the pattern itself. A lot of time, cost and technical expertise go into my designs, as well as over 35 years of intensive study and application. Tech editors, etc.. So my patterns may NOT be reproduced or distributed — mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying, without written permission. Please do not hurt my ability to feed my family and pay for medical bills. Thanks!
Other licensing inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet News, Crochet Patterns
Tagged as aberrant crochet, beret, crochet, custom orders, hat, newsboy, pattern, pixie worx, Ravelry, tapestry, techniques
January 17, 2009 · 1:12 am
Since some have asked, here’s a link to the Crochet Liberation Front’s First Ever Book now on sale that my “Flaming Crochet Hook” tapestry crochet design was published in:
My tapestry design is even featured in the “Look Inside This Book” links! Yay! Very cool!
Fair warning though, this is an advanced crochet book. If you are into crochet, this is not a book for beginners and it’s that way by design. Though some patterns require less skill than others, none of these patterns are basic by any means. This book is a crochet book designed to push the bar. A book for avid crocheters, by avid crocheters and mostly targeted towards those who want so much more out of a book of crochet patterns. You will be exposed to all sorts of techniques in here that if you do not already know, you will be expected to learn them first elsewhere before you can really implement them in these patterns.
I am honored and proud to be featured in this book and to rub shoulders with so many talented designers and artists from around the world!
Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design
The CLF First Ever Book
September 16, 2008 · 10:36 pm
Crochet Color and Texture
Unintended Consequences of Fiber Combos
by Julia Meek Chambers – Aberrant Crochet ™
When discussing custom orders with my customers, the subject of fiber/color combinations and texture often comes up. The more you work with fiber art and a variety of projects, the more obvious it becomes that texture plays a huge role in the visual outcome of a project due to its three-dimensional nature. Fiber alone is not just a shade of color, but a texture that is visual as well as tactile. There are smooth fibers and rough fibers, shiny ones and dull, and any variety in between. These qualities greatly affect how the human eye visually perceives color and the blend of colors in a finished fiber product. As a three dimensional product, there are natural variations in how the eye perceives color and shading on the various surfaces involved. As such, the visual assessment of three-dimensional work is much different than that of the two-dimensional.
The before and after stages of the felting process are a fine example of how a product’s appearance can look different to us, simply due to the change in texture, not the actual color itself. You can see an example of this difference in a before and after felting photo from Dr. Carol Ventura’s website here. But this becomes true in any use of yarns and fibers and never more so than in crochet. (Btw, Dr. Carol Ventura is the leading go-to gal for tapestry crochet.)
The look of crochet, by its very nature, is built upon variations of texture via stitches alone. When students ask, “How many different crochet stitches are there?” The answer is simply: hundreds that are documented and an infinity of possibilities. The solitary hook truly has very few limitations as a creative tool.
When you calculate the texture of your fibers into the equation, the visual possibilities in your projects become magnified and without a little preventative effort, can sometimes even bring frustration. As such, careful consideration should go into how fibers will look together in a fabric of stitches, not just by themselves wrapped into a skein.
More times than not, I find customers picking through beautiful fibers for combinations of colors that visually would look fine, if mixed on a flat surface. However as fibrous textures they just simply cannot mesh into the same outcome.
When picking your fibers for a blended project, crochet a swatch to see how the fibers work together as a fabric piece. Keep in mind what form of stitches you plan to use to create the fiber combination. The colors of some fibers perform best when used in looser stitches than in tighter ones. Some fibers are simply overpowering in a combination and render others pointless. If crocheting a swatch first is not possible, try taking the fibers and weaving them together around your fingers a bit to get an idea of how the textures will play off each other. In doing so you may save yourself a lot of frogging and grief. Just like painting your house, the more time spent in preparation will yield a more beautiful product.
Copyright © 2003 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.