Fiber Artist and designer Renaissance Marie Austin creates Princess Pomina by live free form crochet demonstration. This is all about education and creating wearable art.
I want to give credit to Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet for an amazingly thorough and positive article on the very interesting history of crochet which is often times told about in a negative light. Yet, crochet has touched the realms of industri5
al industries as well as royalties alike and have sprung up business women and men. Since it is the second week of March it is the perfect time to celebrate Crochet Week by increasing our passion and knowledge of the craft.
The Spelling - In an early book of needlework patterns, A Winter Gifts for Ladies, Instructions in Knitting, Netting, and Crotchet Work, we find some clues to the novelty of crochet. First the spelling is wobbly, This indicates that the activity of crocheting wasn’t old enough to have a fixed name in English. That means it was rather new in 1847. However, you do have an early written reference to “sheperd’s knitting” that dates around 1812 that involves using wool and an old comb, but this reminds me of a Youtube video I saw where a comb was used to do loom type knitting.
Hook Choices and Methods - In the instructions for a long purse, the lady is instructed to turn her crocheting at the end of a row, so we learn that crochet was done back and forth, as well in rounds. The gentleman’s cap calls for a coarse ivory crochet hook. The open work purse calls for a steel one, so there was already some choice of hook sizes.
[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”650”] Hand carved crochet hooks. Ivory and steel hooks were available as well.
Crochet Fashion Wars - There were times in history when overusing fibers or fabrics were considered wasteful and only the basic human need was to be met. How awesome is it that around the same time of the invention of machine-made thread crochet nearly blossomed overnight because the cost of materials was no longer a limiting factor. When the spinning wheel was invented in the late 15th century dropping the cost of thread it allowed the merchant class to afford the purchase of lace just like the nobles who became highly upset about the merchant class wearing lace just like them, even silver and gold. So a law was put in place prohibiting the “commoners” from wearing the fashion of nobles. Oh those nobles. Well, the laws were withdrawn when it became obvious they were being ignored. Go Merchants!
Stealing is Nothing New - Lace designs were stolen verbatim, frequently and shamelessly, copyrights notwithstanding. Sometimes the pirates waited a much as half a year before publishing the patterns, but often they published within weeks, sometimes even before the lawful licensee had time to do so. It looks to me like crochet lace caused such a frenzy and was in such high demand that publication could not wait to get their hands on them. After all, it would increase their exposure and bottom line.
Ireland Saves Us All - No one wants to die due to starvation right? Well, when the potatoes decided they wanted to hang out somewhere else for a couple of years the ladies of Ireland became proactive and established crochet schools and convents in the north and south and taught crochet to anyone who wanted to learn. The organization or their founders also arranged the sale of finished pieces and the distribution of the proceeds.This should be quite encouraging to today’s designers who sell online and at marketplaces Lacemakers earned enough to live on and some earned enough money to survive the famine and some enough to migrate.
[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”560”] Irish Crochet Lace 1850’s
Crochet and Celebrities - What designer today would not want to get their piece to Kim Kardashian or some other high profile celebrity? When Queen Victoria accepted a gift of the laces and wore them, Irish crochet was instantly fashionable. Ladies who had no objections to being both fashionable and charitable outfitted themselves in Irish crochet from head to toe.
[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”366”] Queen Victoria outfitted in embroidery and lacework.
Crochet in America - The depression of the 1930’s caused smaller items to be popular. It’s the idea of conserving and not being wasteful during a time of hardship. Innovation of crochet began in the 60’s when teens began to crochet away from the tradition of what they saw their mothers and grandmothers do. Anything became crochet, from baskets, cowboy hats, and unstructured clothing, to briefcases and Grecian urns. It is honorable to know that today’s high end designers are constantly keeping their eyes on crochet for ideas and experimentation with the art form as there are still so many possibilities of crochet that have not been invented yet.
[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”560”] Crochet on the Runway 2013
Love, Renaissance Renaitre turned 4 today!
I love the Marukai on Saturday mornings! Lots of sampling plus today they were making fresh mochi the traditional Japanese way. I’m stuffed.
Bringing in the new year also means adjusting energies within yourself and also your living spaces! I found this great crochet star garland pattern that I just love. The stars are very quick and easy to make and they add a nice, sort of patriotic aesthetic to a fun crafty work space. You can make them too. Just follow the link and get your STAR on!
PATTERN IS IN GERMAN, BUT THERE IS A GREAT CHART! GO TO PATTERN
1. Cut all apples into even pieces and place them in large pot. I left the skin on the apples for added texture (see final photo). Allow two hours for apples to cook down to a chunky applesauce.
2. Add the stick of organic salted sweet cream butter which should be room temperature and soft. Let butter melt completely. Add three quarters of coconut milk creamer. This step is optional but is a good alternative to dairy. It does not alter the taste of the mix much. Add cinnamon to taste.
3. Turn heat down on sauce. Allow to simmer while breaking the Ezekiel bread apart. You will need a full loaf for the size pan shown and pieces need to small and even. Place bread in baking pan.
4. With a large serving spoon, slowly spoon in and mix applesauce with bread. Be sure not to add more sauce than there is bread, watch the texture making sure it stays sticky as you don’t want the pudding to be too wet or loose. With a spatula smooth out the pudding and let sit for about 20 minutes.
Note: Since I made this pudding for Thanksgiving I did not want to put it in the oven the night before so I put it in the refrigerator over night and I found that it solidified the pudding more. I immediately took it out the refrigerator in the morning and let it sit until it was room temperature. I am sure you can put it in the oven anytime you want after it settles for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven at 300 degrees. Place pan in oven when ready and raise temperature to no more than 325 or 350 degrees. Allow pudding to slowly brown for an hour to an hour and a half. Check the moistness of the pudding with a toothpick. You want the pudding to be slightly dried out but not overly dry if you know what I mean. When top is a beautiful brown remove from oven and serve.
In a small mixing bowl spoon out the powedered sugar, about half a cup. Cut limes in half and squeeze juice over sugar with a strainer or you can do this unstrained. I personally like some of the pulp in the glaze. Add more lime juice according to taste. I used two limes as I like that strong lime taste. Mix well untill glaze is syrup-like.
This pudding is great hot or cold. Drizzle glaze over each individual piece.
The Dress that Persevered ( A True Story)
This is not the first dress I ever designed, but it is the first dress that I designed and had made by the lovely hands of my grandma. I was fifteen and the homecoming dance was not too far away and I knew I wanted a unique and very striking dress. Some time before, I had been walking around a large department store and had seen a dress with this particular type of fabric. I WAS IN LOVE. That fabric was the one my dress HAD to made of and I would seek it out in Downtown Los Angles. What I thought would be an easy task turned out to be an all day trek from fabric shop to fabric shop and believe me, fabric shop. But I was not alone. I was with my grandma, cousins, aunts, and I believe uncle, and when I look back I think about how patient they all seemed to be. I am very thankful for that and have been for a long time. I felt encouraged as they continued to walk with me and keep in mind that I was the ONLY person who had seen this fabric so they were all guessing at what they thought I was looking for and each time I would just say “no, that’s not the one”. After a while it seemed like we had gone to EVERY shop up and down Maple, Olympic, Wall, every side street you could imagine, but I was still determined. Finally we came to the last shop and it was clear that if this shop did not have the fabric I was looking for I was going to have to settle for something very similar or just different all together. I felt bummed about that but because it seemed like I had no other choice but to settle. So while in this shop we looked and looked and looked. We went behind bolts of fabric stacked on top of each other and wouldn’t you know we found a fabric that was nearly the same as the one I saw, BUT the base of the color was not the beautiful golden sheen I fell in love with. It was more orange and overly warm. I wasn’t too sold on it but it seemed to be the only thing that was as close. SO, considering that everyone was tired, hungry, and ready to go, I decided that I would go with this fabric, although within in me I knew that it wouldn’t have that same beautiful golden affect I wanted. We had grabbed the bolt of fabric and brought it up to the table to have it cut. We were in the middle of measuring out the yardage when someone, must have been my Aunt Nanny said “Con, is this it?” I looked up and my heart leaped inside of me!!! It was the one!!! I mean, this bolt of fabric was freaking all the way at the back of store HIDDEN, I tell you, hidden behind some other bolts of fabric and it was perfect!!! I immediately ditched that fabric we were getting ready to cut and ran to it and brought it over to the cutting table. I was so happy that I found something I knew existed in my heart and was so determined to find it. I believed that if I saw it in the mall that it was somewhere in this city even if it was out of trend. The end result was this beautiful dress. It is timeless and wearable and everlasting. The moral is this first, how determined will you be to seek out something you saw in a vision, dream, or even reality that you know exist? Will you give up or will you continue on? Who in your life is willing to trek and trudge with you? Who will dig with you for the hidden treasures instead of grabbing what’s only on the surface because really this store was NO Michael Levine. It was a very small and quiet shop that was dark with just the shop owner there, a man, and he probably thought that that bolt of fabric was not even sellable or a priority which was why it was way in the back of the store. Many times what God has for us is like that. It’s hidden away in a small quiet place and seems like nothing to others but is meant for you and IS everything to you. Who will be your encourager, who will be patient with you AND your vision AND your determination? When it seems like you’ve looked and searched everywhere who will be the one that will continue to look for you when you’ve become weary? Because in all honestly, I felt like I had given up and was settling for something that I really did not want even though it “looked” like what I wanted. This happens to us all the time, in career, in seeking love, in husbands and wives, in many things. I also learned that we are not always the ones that open the doors for ourselves. Really it’s God opening the door and most often he is using someone else to do it. There have plenty of times when my crazy brother has been the one to release the blessings of God FOR ME as it was in this situation where I was settling and someone else discovered what it was that I truly desired to have. This memory has always stayed with me and it really taught me something about myself that I still carry with me today, how I was very determined and gutsy at a young age. Where people may have seen stubbornness I always saw myself fighting for the things that God has shown me in my dreams and visions which to me is the Good Fight of Faith. How will you press toward the mark and fight the good fight of faith this year? How does my true story speak to YOU? Share and encourage others!
Crochet Projects 2013: Three Tier Crochet Dress
This stylish crocheted dress was taken from Crochet World May 1984. I did some modifications on this piece as I am petit and short. It’s what I truly love about finding patterns and then making them your own. I decided to shorten the number of rows for the torso and then only do one tier of the skirt portion so that it would not be too long or weighty. Consider the original photo and then see how a modern day spin on fiber content and style makes all the difference.
In love with the mix of textures and mediums!