Category Archives: crochet techniques

Guest Blogger: Edie Eckman

I love making crochet Motifs! I think it is a really great way to use up scrap yarn to develop a wonderful and unique project. Author and designer Edie Eckman has come out with a great new book on the subject, Beyond The Square: Crochet Motifs.

I am very excited to have Edie as my guest blogger tonight and hope this entry provides some insight into how this book came about.

ALVB: This is such a unique topic for a book. How did you come up with the ideas? What was your inspiration?
EE: Two or three years ago I was in California and discovered the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya, which has amazing needlework books. I was particularly enamored of the clear photography and excellent stitch diagrams, which make it possible for non-Japanese-reading stitchers to follow the patterns. It’s amazingly easy and intuitive. Why don’t American publishers use symbol charts? It’s past time we started seeing –and using—charts. I think there would be a lot more crocheters if we presented the information both visually and in words.

So many people like granny squares, but I don’t like the term granny square when what’s really meant is “really cool interesting modular units of crochet”. There are so many variations of motifs! Coming up with ideas for me was just a matter of taking hook and yarn in hand and starting to play. There are some traditional favorites in the book,  made in lovely colorways meant to show you what you can do when you apply fun colorwork to a classic design. There are also original designs, many of which I designed on the fly—and then had to make myself slow down long enough to take notes!

ALVB: As a crochet teacher, what would you recommend to new crocheters who might want to try the shapes in your book?
EE: There are only a few stitches in crochet, with infinite permutations. (Yikes! That sounds like math. Don’t worry—there’s really no math in the book.)

If you can wrap the yarn around the hook and pull it though the loop on the hook, you can stitch anything. Don’t be afraid!

Beyond the Square Crochet Motfs includes both text and symbol charts, so you can use one or the other, or whatever combination of the two works best for you. I’ve set up a Beyond the Square group on Ravelry, so anybody working on any of the motifs can join in to talk to others. If you have questions, just ask!

ALVB: Where does your inspiration come from?
EE: I’m a kinestheic learner, so I do my best work when my hands are busy. These motifs were so much fun because they didn’t take long to make, but offered so many opportunities to experiment with shapes and colors. It was really hard to stop stitching long enough to organize the motifs and write the patterns. There’s probably another two or three books’ worth of motifs in me just waiting to be written. Someone said the cover of Beyond the Square is like eye candy. I think that’s a really good description, because I found that crocheting the motifs was like eating chocolate. It was hard to stop once I started. Or maybe it’s better than chocolate, because crocheting doesn’t add fat or calories.  I’ve also made “whole” projects from motifs lately, but I do get bored easily. I don’t want to make the same motif more than once, so I change the colors or the stitch arrangements to hold my interest.

ALVB: One of my favorite books my crochet library is The Crochet Answer Book. You have written so many books, which book of yours is your favorite or are you most proud of?
EE: Isn’t that supposed to be like asking which child is my favorite? Of course, I’m thrilled with Beyond the Square because it is just so pretty and fun. Much of that is thanks to my amazing editor Gwen, and the art department at Storey Publishing, who really make me look good. I’m proud of The Crochet Answer Book, because I hear it has helped a lot of people understand and enjoy crochet more. Another book that many knitters have found helpful is Learn to Knit Socks, which was my first pattern booklet, and continues to appeal to beginning sock knitters.

ALVB: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
EE: In the next few months I’ll be traveling all over the country, teaching and doing book signings. I love to teach, because it’s so rewarding to be there when someone says “OH! I’ve been trying to do this for months (or years) and NOW I get it!!!” My teaching and appearance schedule is available at www.edieeckman.com.

I love to hear from knitters and crocheters, especially when there are things they want to know. I have questions for them. What kinds of books do you want to buy? What kind of information do you think is missing from the current sources of information? I have my own ideas, but I wonder if I’m on track. I’d love to hear your thoughts—on my blog, or at a teaching venue, or through email.

Thank you Edie for sharing your thoughts with my readers. I have to tell you I love this book. The explanations are great and I love the conversational tone of the writing. The layout of clear and easy to follow and I love the type styles used. I also love how the colors of the motifs match the book sections. It provides a great overall continuity!

I am very excited to really jump into all the wonderful motifs in this book and I hope if any of you pick it up you share your thoughts and the motifs you create!

A Very Exciting Announcement!

I have a very exciting announcement. My first design has been published! You can find it in the May/June issue of Quick & Easy Crochet and is called the “Great Granny Drawstring Purse.” I can’t tell you how excited I was to see my purse in the magazine. I hope this is my first design in a long line of creative ideas to share with others.

If you decide to pick up the magazine and try the pattern, I would love to hear how you like it.

For The Love of Ravelry

If you aren’t familiar with a relatively new online community called Ravelry, I highly recommend you check it out!

Ravelry is a great online location for you to meet other fans of fiber, check out and purchase the latest patterns and join discussion groups about various fiber-related topics. I have been a member for awhile now, but only recently started to delve deeper into all the features Ravelry contains.

I currently belong to 16 groups that cover everything from free form crochet to technical spinning to spool knitting. I have in just the last few days, I started to check out the online repository of patterns.

Site owners Jessica and Casey are doing a great job listening to the current users about suggestions and improvements and the community is growing daily!

In order to control stress on their servers, Jessica and Casey are extending invites in groups. Simply sign up for a user ID and you’ll be connected as soon as they send out your invite. Trust me, it is worth the wait!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I suggest you log on. If you already have, I would love to hear your thoughts!

You can log on to Ravlery by clicking here.

Tapestry Crochet Designer on You Tube

As you already know, I recently discovered the virtues of YouTube. Yes, there are actually useful videos to be found!

Recently, tapestry crochet designer and expert Carol Ventura recently posted a wonderful video on YouTube giving a step-by-step demonstration of the method. This video is very well done and I know you will learn a lot from it.

To watch and learn from this great video, click here. If you would like to see more of Carol’s amazing work, you can go to her website: http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/.