crochet

yarnbombedtractor02

Have you ever seen a tractor so glorious?

yarnbombedtractor01

I saw these pictures of a Yarnbombed Tractor named Alice, part of Kingaroy’s Tractor Tattoo, on Sparkling Adventures.

I’d love to share some more yarn bombing.  If you have yarn bombed, or know of any yarn bombing, let me know all about it in the comments, or send me some info and pics to vagusvenus (at) gmail (dot) com

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Science and yarn, two of my favourite things.  Geekiness and creativity, I’m a happy lady!

MAD Science hat

mad_science_002_medium2

Hyperbolic Plane

hyperbolicplane

Amigurumi Test Tubes

amigurumitesttubes

Arriba Amoeba Mitts

Arribaamoeba

Brain hat

brainhat

Neuron softie

neuron

Do you know of any awesome science crafting?  Let us know in the comments so we can all love them too.

All of these patterns are found on Ravelry.

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The Textile Artist’s Studio Handbook [Quarry Books (July 1, 2012)] by Visnja Popovic and Owyn Ruck [Textile Arts Centre website + blog]

Brought to you by the textile arts centre in New York, this book brings a beautifully laid out overview to various ways of creating and embellishing fabric: felting, knitting and crochet, weaving, printing, dyeing, sewing and applique, needlework. With only a chapter on each of these subjects, the information is not in depth enough for a beginner, but certainly gives some interesting ideas for those already familiar with the required techniques. There is also some great information on fibres and setting up a home studio.

Crochet Boutique [Lark Crafts (September 4, 2012)] by Rachael Oglesby. [blog]

A really cool wearable crochet book for beginners. The stitches are not complicated, and there is no fine hooks and yarn involved, but I think that more advanced crocheters looking for a fun ‘in between’ project will find something here to love too. Lots of scarves and hats and shawls, a couple of tops and sweet accessories too. I love the yarn and colour choices – making this book very visually appealing.

How to Make Stuffed Animals [Quarry Books (July 1, 2012)] by Sian Keegan [website  +  blog]

I loved the how-to illustrations in this book, and the toys are all very cute. They are all small-ish stuffed animals with big personalities – quite life-like faces and 3d body shapes. These little guys would make very sweet gifts. The instructions are good, making these toys look more complicated to make than they actually are.

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Kathryn Vercillo is a San Francisco based writer and crafter. She is the blogger behind Crochet Concupiscence and has recently written and self published Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet.

There I am … a doubled-over heap of empty sobs balled up onto the bathroom floor, rocking back and forth trying to calm away the palpitating pain. My mind keeps racing around and around, exploring the tempting (but frightening) options for suicide. I could take some pills, I could slice my wrists … but I don’t really want to die. I just want to end the constant pain of living. I pull myself to my knees, then to my feet. I make my way back to my bedroom, crumple down onto the bed, and reach for a shiny G-size crochet hook. With hook in one hand, and a ball of soft merino wool in the other, I pull loop through loop until the thoughts of dying fade into the background and become less and less of an option.

Fast forward to January 2011. I have, more or less, survived a depression that had lasted for more than fifteen years. There are a lot of reasons for this, including a good therapist and the right medication, but I also know that crochet played its important part. The meditative qualities of the craft allowed me to relax when anxiety threatened to push me over the edge. The tangible act of making something from nothing allowed me to begin to believe once again in the possibility of creating a new life for myself in the years to come. The beauty of the things I made gave me a reason to feel a bit of self-esteem in a time when depression had made me feel worthless. I was healing, and I was ready to start something new, so at the beginning of that year I launched my crochet blog, Crochet Concupiscence.

Through Crochet Concupiscence I explored, and continue to explore, all aspects of crochet. I profile crochet artists working in the streets and in the galleries. I review crochet books, discuss new types of yarn, interview crochet designers and find as much crochet news as possible. But the one topic that kept resonating with me and wanting more attention was the topic of crochet and health. I knew deep inside me that crochet had helped me heal and I sensed that I was not alone. I had a story to tell and I wanted to hear the stories others had to share, so I started opening up.

Research

By the summer of 2011 I had decided that I wanted to write a book about the topic. I began drafting the first chapter, about my own battle with depression and how crochet had come to help. I put out a few calls for stories on my blog and received an amazing response. Women I’d never heard from before came out of the woodwork to tell me the most personal and intimate details of their health problems. Liza told me how she struggled with the anxiety of intermittent blindness from an undiagnosed medical condition. Fran told me of the difficulty of trying to cope with PTSD after a traumatic, violent rape. Aurore explained how she had battled with hallucinations her entire life and had a serious break with reality not that long ago.

I used the stories that these women told me to guide my research for my book, Crochet Saved My Life. It helped me to create an outline for the topics that I wanted to cover in the book, topics related to the way that crochet (and crafting in general) helps people heal from both physical and mental illness. I knew that it was important for me to share the stories these women had trusted me with in addition to sharing my own so I shaped the book in such a way that I was able to include each individual story.

I continued with my research. I read about the history of art therapy and occupational therapy. I explored studies that have been done into the benefits of crafting. I looked at the books that exist on why people are drifting more and more towards a handmade lifestyle in the 21st century. And I continued to ask people to share their stories with me. The result of all of this is my book Crochet Saved My Life.

Self publishing

I chose to self-publish this book for a number of reasons, but ultimately because I believe that self-publishing is often the right choice in today’s world and is certainly the right choice for me. I like the option of retaining creative control, which allows me to tell my story and the stories of these other women in the way that is best for me. I utilized many different resources and collaborated with some great people. I’m sure that there are little things here and there that make it obvious that it’s a self-published work instead of a work from a big publishing house but I’m okay with that. In the end, as professional as I try to be, I’m very much a member of the DIY movement who got her literary start publishing in ‘zines that got sent to pen pals via snail mail!

Although this book is about crochet, and my own story is about depression, I believe that it will appeal to a wide variety of crafters who are dealing with a diverse array of illnesses. Crafting heals us. Somewhere inside, I think we all know that, and that is why we are driven to do it.

Photography by Julie Michelle Photography.

 

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As you know I finished by Scrappy steps afghan and mentioned that I was hunting around for a new crochet project. I have settled on Bullseye (which I fell in love with back here and again when Kate made it). I have made a bit of a start – my first circles are pictured below, and so far I am finding it meditative and interesting. I am going for clashing contrasting colours this time around and have chosen a very dark grey for the background (Rustic Graphite 8 ply). I am mostly using wool from Bendigo woollen mills — I love them because they are Australian, I can buy online, they are wonderful quality and because you can get 200gram balls for the price of a 50gram ball. 

Also this week my boy was in the paper (he is the cute blondie with the big smile) because of the controversy over compulsory national assessment in schools. The irony of course is that his school did really well even though they don’t agree with the process. The article is here.

In other news: I launched our latest Action Pack Magazine just for kids — it’s the Mad Scientist Issue: In our 9th issue of Action Pack Magazine for kids, we continue to encourage kids to think and do for themselves, to be independent and creative learners, they are able to explore science through art, cooking and experimentation. We also encourage parents to become observers and co-learners rather than having to take control in a teacher role. In this issue kids are able to go through a journey of self discovery and learn that science is indeed fun and real! You can purchase a copy here.

And because I am already thinking ahead to the next Action Pack (Go Tribal) I came across these cute arrow and feather inspired crafts: make an arrow necklace :: make newspaper feathers :: tribal inspired bangles

More cool and quirky crafts:

On my coffee table:

Doodling books: Both of these books have a similar aesthetic — a little bit bohemian and a little bit street — Creative Doodling & Beyond by Stephanie Corfee (published by Walter Foster December 2011), is a brilliant activity and tutorial book. As well as tips and tutorials throughout, there are blank pages to practice the excercises and practical ways to then use your new found doodling skills. Plus its a lovely big book with nice paper and rounded corners – I do love a thoughtfully presented book. Doodles Unleashed by Traci Bautista (published by North Light Books February 2012). This mixed media class in doodling takes you through a whole bunch of techniques and mediums and also includes a section on digitizing your art.

Spinning books: Two incredibly art yarn books that will teach you how to spin textured art yarn — it’s not easy, and is not for beginner spinners, but once you have mastered the basic techniques of spinning then you can move on to create some fabulous art yarns. Hand Spun by Lexi Boeger from Plucky Fluff (published by Quarry Books February 2012), is aimed at the beginner art yarn spinner, there are techniques to get started creating your interesting yarns and some really cool projects to use them on too. Spin Art by Jacey Boggs (Interweave Press January 2012) is aimed at a more advanced level of spinner. Like all interweave books the photography and level of instruction are excellent — plus there is a DVD.

Knitted toy books: Fast & Fun Knits is by knitting legend Claire Garland (Published by David & Charles October 2011), she has a blog where she shares tutorials and she is on Ravelry too. This book is a little quirky and aimed at kids/teens who want to get into knitting. But the projects don’t condescend – there are simple socks, toys, hats and even knitted fruit! Knitted Dinosaurs is written by Tina Barrett (Published by STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book [USA] and Guild of Master Craftsman [UK] October 2011). I love the personality of these guys, dinosaur loving kids everyone will want you to make them one of these.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending me books to review, I don't get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australian’s can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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