Guest blogger | Crochet imagery

by Admin on 22/08/2011

in Geek Crafts, Guest Blogger, knitting+crochet+yarn

Hello Whipup.net’ers! Kathreen has graciously invited me to be a guest blogger on her fabulous site and I’m very thankful for the opportunity! Thank you Kathreen! xox

The Girl

My name is Lee and I’m a twenty-six year old textile/fibre/crochet artist born, bred and based in Canberra, Australia {find out more about me and my work on my blog}. I was about seven or eight years old when I first asked my Mum to show me how to “do that thing with the hook”. The fascination lasted about two weeks and produced a basic knee rug that was comprised of more holes than actual crochet. The world of crochet was quickly forgotten as I moved on to tennis lessons instead. Which, come to think of it, also lasted about two weeks….

In late 2008 I remember stumbling upon the world of amigurumi (small crocheted animals/toys). I made a few little pieces before yet again my severe lack of an attention span kicked in and I found myself on the search for something new and exciting to try.

Gone With The Wind {with the artist}

The Technique

My search came to an abrupt halt in 2008 when my jaw hit the floor and my eyes were glued to the incredible crochet portraits by Todd Paschall of Crochet by numbers. I remember the first time I clapped eyes on his smiling portrait of President Barack Obama and I was in awe.

Image courtesy of Todd Paschall of http://crochetbynumbers.com

A squillion questions sprang to mind, the biggest one being, How in the world do you DO that?! When I discovered that Todd was sharing his technique and also offered to convert any picture into an easy to follow pattern, I knew I had to give it a try.

I began by getting the basic stitches down pat. The crochet-by-numbers technique only requires you to know how to ‘chain’ and ‘single crochet’, so I began by practicing with little square swatches. Within a matter of days I was ready to have a go at the training patterns featured on Todd’s site. At first these were the ‘scary ones’ I was a little anxious about trying as they involved the dreaded practice of colour changing! I soon discovered that it was nothing to fear and was actually quite fun!

Todd’s technique does not require you to ‘carry yarn’ or weave in any loose ends, instead every colour change is accompanied by a cut and tie-off. Although many folks have shivered at the prospect of cutting and tying-off at every single colour change, I’ve found it can actually be quite relaxing! Although I do often warn those who are thinking of giving it a go, to be prepared to be patient, have a fully stocked chocolate stash beside them and one hell of a comfy chair!

As my confidence grew and I knew I was hooked (sorry, pun was begging to be used), I moved on to much larger pieces, with much more detail (aka. more colours and more colour changes!). Pretty quickly I discovered that crocheting portraits had become incredibly fun, exciting and important to me. Ideas about future pieces, possible colour palettes and the never ending string of possibilities had actually started to keep me awake at night. Visits to local yarn stores quickly became a compulsory stopping point every time I left the house. It soon became glaringly obvious that a hook and a ball of yarn offered so much more than a way to while away spare hours.

The Result

As my work will illustrate, I’m a bit of a pop culture fanatic. I have a wide interest in film, music and literature as well as the era’s that go along with them. Musically speaking I am drawn to the 1950s and 60s in particular. The Monkees, The Beatles and The King to name a few…

Monkees

JohnLennon

Elvis and Ann Margret

I also have a love for the glory days of Hollywood and the actors that created true magic with their presence on the silver screen.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

It is also a poorly kept secret that I am a bit of a Harry Potter fanatic. I use the term ‘fanatic’ there, when really the word ‘MASSIVE’ should go in front of it. I don’t know what it is about the books and movies that continues to take hold of my hook, but I keep being drawn back to the wonderful characters and world of Hogwarts, time and time again.

Daniel Radcliffe

This piece featuring Daniel Radcliffe as a young Harry Potter and as the young man he has become has certainly earned a spot in my top three favourite pieces to date. Not only does it have the most clarity of any piece I have done, it is the first time I was aiming for the ‘sepia effect’ and it was the first time I nailed it! It is also the largest piece I have tackled to date at a staggering 32,000 stitches.

I also get immense joy out of creating pieces that conjure up personal memories for loved ones. In particular, is a piece I put together for my Dad’s 50th birthday. It features a picture of him as a finger-snapping two year old boy in the backyard of his childhood home in Sydney. As a life-long radio fanatic, I decided to surround him with radio paraphernalia, including a retro-styled radio, microphone and the logo of his favourite radio station throughout his adolescent years.

It remains my favourite piece to date. Not only because it’s so monumentally personal, but because of the reaction it received from my Dad upon seeing it for the first time. I stood in the living room and holding it up and outstretched before calling him into the room. He stopped dead in his tracks, gasped, muttered a few choice expletives against the palm of his hand that had shot up to hide his open mouth and smiled. We then both proceeded to get a little misty eyed (balled our eyes out actually…). His reaction meant that the sixty plus hours spent on it was forgotten instantly and I knew then that I had found a truly remarkable way to express love and pay tribute to the many people, musicians, actors, films and loved ones that I have and continue to admire.

Hogwarts Bunch Blanket

Recently the world of crochet portraiture has begun to open some really exciting doors for me too! Earlier this year, my Hogwarts Bunch Blanket was featured in ‘Let’s Knit UK’ magazine and for the past three weeks, ten of my pieces have been adorning the walls of a local café/bar in my first ever exhibition!

If you have ever wanted to give crochet a go, by all means pick up a hook and get cracking! You never know where it might take you!!

For more information, pictures, ramblings, how-to vlog’s and free patterns, please feel free to drop by and say hello!

Lee xox

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maya August 22, 2011 at 5:52 am

Wow! I hear for the crochet by numbers for the first time! This is amazing and you have made some great “pictures”!

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2 Dee August 22, 2011 at 9:08 am

Lee…

I design crochet patterns myself (amigurumi) but this just blows me away!
You are responsible for my jaw hanging on my knees for a large part of the day.
Just massive girl…heaps good :o)
Keep on spreading the joy crochet brings us.

Love,
Dee

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3 Coco August 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

WOW! WOW! Amazing. I have never seen something like these by crocheting.

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4 VanGo87 August 22, 2011 at 10:51 am

Amazing! Well done. It was a wonderful interview. Take that, all you who think you have to be a granny to crochet! Whoo!

Much love, darling and keep crafting!
-VanGo87

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5 W.B. Abdullah August 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

This is AMAZING! I’ve always thought there should be a crochet by numbers like thing to make realistic looking tapestries and apparel, but I never knew it actually existed! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m ready for this adventure!

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6 Sister Diane August 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm

OMG. This is absolutely amazing work. That Monkees portrait makes my head explode a little.

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7 Maryam August 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

wow these are absolutely amazing!

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8 KYouell August 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I’m totally jealous of that Monkees work. Davy Jones was my first crush (I was 3). Beautiful.

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9 Kirsten N August 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm

So cool!! I have just started doing crochet again (after about 30 years) and was happy to be able to do a granny square /tissue box cover but your work is absolutely brilliant!!!

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10 Lee August 23, 2011 at 2:01 am

Thank you so much everyone!!
I hope it’s fuelled some creative juices for everyone -_^!!!
xox

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11 KateG August 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

We went and saw your exhibition at Wilburs, and your work is fabulous. Really, really fabulous.

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12 Lee August 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

Thank you!!

I’ve been told to get cracking as they want me back again next year!
The reaction has been more than I could of hoped for! So happy to hear you liked it!

xox

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13 Thalita Molina August 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

Good Job!!! Beautiful! I loved the art: “Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman” ! =)

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14 Patrice August 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Glad to see Todd’s technique getting out into the crochet world. Your work is fantastic. Love the “then and now” Daniel Radcliffe piece, as well as the one you did for your dad.

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15 Lisa August 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

DId you dye the yarn yourself?? I find it difficult to find 2 tones(? or hues?) of the same color let alone several.

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16 Jess August 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Very impressive! I’m speechless (which is a very odd thing for me lol)

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17 marly September 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm

lindo teu trabalhoo!

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18 Debbie March 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

WOW this is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had the patience to do something like this!!! So cool!!

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19 Riitta Sauhke January 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Hi! Where did you find the Elvis pattern by numbers?? I am a big Elvis and crochet fan. Looks wonderful…

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20 Chris Bailey February 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Wow…you do great work. I just recently found this site and this process as well and would LOVE to learn how to convert a picture to a CBN pattern. Do you know how? If not do you know where I can go to learn??? Any guidance you can give me would be much appreciated.

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21 kath_red February 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Please contact the author / designer of this post.

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22 Cia March 16, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Wonderful work. Do you teach how to create the pattern from a picture ? I would love to learn.

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23 kath_red March 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

You’ll have to contact the guest blogger via her website.

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