Trendspotting - Knit, Crochet with Metallic Finishes

Trendspotting - Knit, Crochet with Metallic Yarns
Runway Images | Vogue.com - F|W '13
Knit fashions have really become ornate. Whether it's bejewelling or the surface "metallized", the added attraction has been embellishment.
Yarns blended or twisted with a lurex filament have been around forever, but a surface treated to look like "wet metal" is new, at least to me.
Ultimately, it reminds me of gilding furniture and frames with fine gold, silver or even iridescent foil sheets. The surface is painted with a substance that becomes tacky, helping the foil to adhere.
There are also very interesting new reflective yarns that can be blended with traditional yarns, especially effective with eyelash type yarns where the light peeks out under the eyelash fringe
Read further about iridescent pigments and how you can "paint" iridescence onto a surface.


DIY - Inspiration, Appliqué Embellishment

DIY - How to Apply Appliques
Image | here
There is no doubt in my mind. Designers are showing all kinds of embellishments in their collections for Fall Winter 2013.
Adornment or embellishment of clothing is not new and is a fabulous way to make a tired garment or even a new garment special.
Bejewelling is the standard when thinking of embellishment but to embellish really means to make something more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features.
These additions can be bejewelling, embroidery, appliqué, crochet or anything that enhances.
The art of appliqué, to my way way of thinking, is like decoupage. You are "glueing" a variety of fabric types onto a surface whether they are printed fabric, lace or embroidered cutout appliqués.
This "glueing" can be glue, sewing or fusible web fabric.

Read further for examples and how-to techniques for each method.


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Beginner's Shrug

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Beginner's Shrug
Large Image | free pattern here
Inset Image | free pattern here
Shrugs and wraps have become such an important part of my wardrobe, easy to layer for different seasons and comfortably soft.
Additionally, the shrug featured above is super easy and the "pattern" is free.
There is very little patternwise, just the amount of chain in the beginning and how long the piece of work is. Basically you are crocheting a rectangle, folding it in half, sewing the sides together, leaving the armholes free. Presto, a shrug! You can't get any easier than that.

Read further for measurements of rectangle, crochet tips and how-to videos.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Embroidered Embellishments

Needlecrafts - Knit, Embroidered Embellishments
All Images | Pinterest
Embroidery can be simple or complex, depending on your expertise, patience and the effect you want to accomplish.
Lavish embroideries, as illustrated in the top two images are special, take time and effort but are they ever worth it. They are showstoppers.
Chainstitching around colourwork or just alone is easier to master and provides visual excitement to any design.
Add in a few french knots and the florals are jumping out.
An ideal candidate for embellishment is a plain sweater lacking any personalty but one you still enjoy wearing .
A simpler way this garment can benefit from embroidery is to work the stitching in the same colour or in a very subtle shade variation .
The embroidery will add texture without being visually distracting.

Read further for inspiration, stitch and design ideas.


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Spring Jacket

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Spring Jacket
The other day I needed a boost, a shot of colour in my wardrobe, a promising thought that Spring was on it's way...soon!.
Kimonos, wraps and shrugs are garments I gravitate towards. They have a soft shape and if they are made in interesting fabrics or yarns, they will take you anywhere.
While shopping and looking around in the mall, the word SALE never fails to catch my eye. You just never know what treasure may be waiting for you.
Well this kimono had my name on it. It was the right colour, shape and not badly priced.
Of course you have to try it on when you get home and at the same time I was thinking about what to post. Suddenly it hit me that a crocheted kimono shape would be a great topper to have for Spring and here is the free pattern that I will make, perhaps with a few adjustments. Maybe longer at the back and shaped fronts.
Once it's finished, I'll be sure to post the finished garment. In the meantime, the free pattern is here for you to try.
Happy Crocheting!


Needlecrafts - Anti-Freeze Knitwear

Needlecrafts - Knit, Anti-Freeze Dressing
The past few winters we were very fortunate to have experienced milder temperatures and maybe one light snowfall. That changed this year when winter came in with a vengeance, cold and threw more snow at us than we were used to.
When it is this type of weather you need to dress for it. With the winds whipping at your face, it had better be well protected. Bundling up around the neck is also a good idea.
Looking at the collections for next fall and winter, I noted Alexander Wang had protective head and neck gear accessorizing his coats. The helmets are called balaclavas, are warm and usually worn with another hat or if you drive a motorcycle, a helmet.
A Détacher also had large turtleneck neckwarmers (what were once called dickeys). The neckwarmers were worn inside suits or coats for protection and were considered a bit nerdy, something your granny made for you at Christmas. They were also smaller, not as wide and covering the chest as shown in the collection by A Détacher .
In the next image, you will see some of the hysterical vintage styles that were made. A balaclava can cover the whole head with openings for the eyes and mouth, but the free patterns after the jump are simpler and more modern, I assure you.
Top Left Image | here
Top Right, Bottom Left Images | here
Bottom Right Image | here


Needlecrafts - S/S 2013 Floral Trend - Pt 2

Needlecrafts - S/S Floral Trend Pt2
Trend reports can be looked at in many ways. Some like to follow them literally and others get a sense or spirit of what is being shown.
Colour is one way to capture a trend. In the Etro Collection above, the designer used fabric prints with strong colour combinations and contrasts. An easy way to refresh lace patterns that you like but seem dated is through colour.
Lacework can be very intricate, the openwork really depicting a floral motif. You will usually find this kind of pattern in a very fine guage yarn to show off the complexity of the stitch formation.
On the other hand, lacework can subtly hint at florals and by colour give the idea of spring gardens. Subtle patterns in different weights of yarn give you totally different effects, finer weights usually more dressy as opposed to heavier weights being more casual.

Read further for inspiration, stitch and design ideas as well as free patterns where indicated.


Needlecrafts - S/S 2013 Floral Trend - Pt 1

Needlecrafts - S/S Floral Trend Pt1
When trends for Spring and Summer are florals, I find it humorous. When do florals ever go out of style?
In "designspeak" this means that floral designs are being tweaked, modernized as happens with all design elements. The saying "What's old is new again" applies here.
The floral trend in knitwear can be interpreted in so many ways, therefore I've decided to break up this trend story into five parts - Texture, Lacy, Dimensional, Intarsia (charts or picture knits) and Crochet. Please be sure to check for the rest of the trend stories.
One way to interpret Florals is through Texture. Texture is the dimensional cables as well as simple knit and purl patterns used to mimic florals. Colourwork or any other type of floral interpretation can be added to enhance the design.
The Patternbank image gives you the overall feeling for what designers may choose as ideas and visuals for their own designs.
Read further for inspiration, stitch and design ideas as well as free patterns where indicated.


Needlecrafts - Crochet Slouch Hobobag

Needlecrafts - Crochet Marketbag, 4 Ways
Top Left Image | free pattern here
Top Right Image | original free pattern here | adaptation here
Bottom Left Image | free pattern here
Bottom Right Image | free pattern here
A marketbag by any other name is a Slouch Hobobag. Somehow, marketbag has a strictly utilitarian vibe whereas a hobobag conjures up images of bohemian fashion, definitely one I'd rather embrace.
These bags are meant to be casual and fun. The inspiration and patterns above and after the jump range from bright stripes to heathered neutrals, lacy and solid.
The handles on the bag not only determines the look of the bag but how it will be used.
Read further and see 8 different ways you can crochet your handles onto what is a basic, round bottomed bag.
Once you have worked the solid bottom, you can work any pattern you like which then can be topped with solid crochet or not. Your choice.


Needlecrafts - Knitting Stitch Primer

Needlecrafts - Bobbles Stitch Pattern
Top Left Image | here
Top Right Image | here
Bottom Left Image | here
Bottom Right Image | here
Bobbles are so much fun to make. Up until recently bobbles have been decorative little balls, added texture on cable patterns or adorable additions on children's patterns.
The little bobble has become big and bold, in some cases like they are on steroids. Weight of yarn has a lot to do with how big the bobble will be, even if you are working the traditional 3 or 5 stitch bobble.
The tempting selection of bulky, yet lightweight, roving type yarns has allowed designers to experiment with outrageous texture. Supersized bobbles and cable designs are simple, no need for complicated patterns.
The designs above and below the jump illustrate how these big bumps add style.


DIY Inspiration - Antique Button Jewelry

DIY Inspiration - Antique Button Jewelry
Top and Bottom Image | here
Antique buttons - admiring them and collecting them is a huge passion.
I have not passed a button and trimming store, a flea market, a yard sale or passed up second hand garments without looking to see if there were interesting buttons.
I've gone through phases as to the types of buttons I lusted for. But pretty much any type catches my eye. Whether they are plastic, horn, wood, glass, mother of pearl or jet they are like beacons that call to me.
But the most beautiful and prized ones to me are the bakelite buttons. They are my happy buttons. Colours are vibrant and inset rhinestones twinkle.
The above brooches are a prime example of how an ordinary lapel, sweater or coat takes on personality, a vintage accent that makes the outfit special.