"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's All Japanese to Me. . .Part One

waikiki scarf by marilyn losee
graceful soft mesh beret by kathy north
My most recent projects have been for myself and for friends rather than for public viewing, which is why you all haven't heard much from me.  As I was about to post a lengthy story on Ravelry documenting my latest adventure in crochet involving a beautiful pattern not my own, I realised that the story involving this particular item is simply too lengthy to sum up on a project page.  Besides, I thought giving this one a bit of space on my blog would help any of you who are now in the same spot I was when I began this project.  Enough with the foreshadowing, read on. . .

grandpa's sweater towel by laurie laliberte
This autumn has been full of newness for me and a sort of coming out of my comfort zone.  It actually began with the creation of my "Grandpa's Sweater" kitchen set patterns.  Although I've used front post and back post stitches quite a bit, and really enjoy working them, I don't recall ever working crocheted cables before.  That made developing the Grandpa's Sweater patterns quite a challenge.  I had a vision of what I wanted to do, but I had to actually learn how to do it properly before I translated it into a workable project for selling.  I researched the technique and found it to be quite easy, but not so simple.  Anyhow, I was finally able to develop a design that made me happy as well as proud.  Still, when I look at the photos of those finished pieces, I feel a sense of accomplishment because the finished pieces are beautiful translations of my initial vision.

cross-stitchable towel by laurie laliberte
Next came a set that's still sort of in the development stages. . .the "Cross-Stitchable" set.  The initial examples are crocheted and photographed, but I still need to cross stitch the designs on some of the pieces and finish writing up the patterns for the pot holder and scrubby.  While I am by no means new to cross stitch (if you read my last post, you know that all too well) I was nowhere near an expert with Tunisian, also known as Afghan, crochet.  I suppose I won't be rushing to develop tons of new patterns involving the Afghan technique, but the process of re-learning how to do it and putting it into practice got me to appreciate the finished project more than I did before.  It also sparked a curiosity.  I sought out and bookmarked some very pretty Tunisian lace patterns thanks again to Ravelry and actually crocheted a Tunisian lace scarf in a rich chocolate brown.  The pattern is by Elisa Purnell of Yarn Tails.  (In addition to beautiful patterns, her stories about her granddaughters make her blog a must-follow.)  Talk about being out of my comfort zone!  I don't think I've ever been so nervous when beginning a project.  Anyhow, it turned out to be pretty easy and, I believe it's one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever made.  Of course, no scarf should stand on its own, so I had to make a hat to coordinate with it.  I tend to avoid matchy-matchy clothing so I found a hat, designed by Ashley Kaye, that's got a similar feel and made it in the same chocolate brown with accents of sage green.  Mittens may be next, that is if I can find the time to develop a mitten pattern because I think I may want them to match the hat. . .We'll see.

all shawl by doris chan
Somewhere in this time frame, my old buddy Meghan over at Crochet Every Day posted the All Shawl by Doris Chan as one of her projects. Now, I HAVE worked lace before, but only in smaller projects/quantities.  I did a Christmas stocking a few years ago that had a lace cuff worked in the same worsted weight yarn as the body of the stocking and, more recently, I completed a scarf by Marilyn Losee with which I fell absolutely in love.  Honestly, if you've never worked lace before, either of these two would make a great first lace project.  They can both be worked beautifully in worsted weight yarn with average size hooks, so you can concentrate on the pattern rather than teensy stitches made of thread.  (My eyes and hands can't do traditional lace, so you'll never see it on my hook.)  Both patterns are also surprisingly simple and easy to follow.  Of course, my intent with the All Shawl was to wear it as an extra layer around the house, but it needed a hat for when it goes outside on my shoulders.  Fortunately, I found one on Ravelry by Amanda Muscha.  It's meant to be a hybrid with the band worked in a simple knit and purl rib, but I can't purl, so I used a basic front post/back post instead.  I have yet to look for and find a hat pattern to match Marilyn's design.  Any suggestions?

crocheted mesh scarf by heidi hirtle
Moving on. . .My newly developed obsession with lace and openwork led me to this simple but luscious  scarf designed by Heidi Hirtle.  Of course, I'm not one to wear a short scarf, so I didn't stop until this one measured about seven feet!  There's a method to the madness there. You see, this finished scarf measures about sixteen inches wide which means it would make a lovely summer shawl if worked in a lightweight worsted or sport yarn, but it's cold here in New England right now (today's high will be around 25 degrees), so bunching it and wearing it doubled as per the recent trend in scarves makes it so cozy warm that it can be worn in this weather with a proper hat.  Which brings me to. . .this fabulous beret by Kathy North.  I know, I know, a mesh hat's not really going to keep my head warm, but I have tons of hair so I'm not really concerned with that.  I just made certain to work enough rows in the band so my ears are properly covered.

combination summer hat by amanda muscha

puff striped slouch hat by ashley kaye
Whew!  Here I go again offering up paragraph after paragraph and project after project. Meanwhile, I haven't even touched upon the reason I began writing this post in the first place!  Oh well, you'll just have to wait until next time. . . (Insert evil grin here.)  While you're waiting, why not check out some of those terrific patterns and designers for your next project?  You can also see more photos and details about my finished projects by taking a peek at my Ravelry projects page.

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tunisian lace scarf by elisa purnell
All of the items pictured in this article were crocheted by Laurie Laliberte using Pisgah Peaches 'n Creme 100% cotton worsted weight yarn.  All except the cross-stitchable towel were laundered before they were photographed which adds some loft to the finished product.  Some were blocked; some were tumble dried to add more loft.  All photos were taken by and are property of Laurie Laliberte.


  1. Great patterns. It's hard fitting something in for yourself isn't it? More time needed!

  2. Hey Machelle! It all depends on my mood. I had lost motivation and momentum while working on the cross-stitchable set, so I started crocheting for myself to justify my procrastination. Ravelry is going to be the death of me as I have over 1000 patterns in my favorites and almost 70 in my queue. From now until Christmas, I've vowed to work on only items for others.

    Thank you for stopping by!