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aimee ray (3)Aimee Ray is no stranger to the Lark community. She’s become quite the prolific contributor over the years, and her designs are known for their fun, lively aesthetic. With her latest addition to the popular Doodle Stitching Series coming this Spring (Doodle Stitching Transfer Pack), I wanted to check-in with Aimee and learn more about her influences and creative approach. Check out our Q&A below, and make sure to look through the entire series for unique embroidery patterns and fun sewing projects!

 

How did you get started stitching?

Starting when I was about 5, my grandma used to bring samplers for me to learn on when she came to visit. I picked embroidery up again several years ago as an adult, just as a personal creative outlet. I did computer design work all day and hand stitching was (and still is) a great way to let out my own creativity, in a relaxing and primitive medium, completely different digital art.

 

What was the inspiration/idea behind the Doodle Stitching series?

It was really just born out of my own doodles that I turned into embroidery patterns. I had great encouragement from internet friends and my personal designs led to the creation of all of my books.

 

Doodle Stitching Transfer

Aimee Ray’s new book Doodle Stitching Transfer Pack hits stores this April.

 

What are some new projects you’re excited to share with readers in this book?

While it largely contains motifs from previous books, these are all on iron-on transfer paper, making them even easier and quicker to stitch up! That’s something I’ve wanted to produce all along. You’ll also find several brand new patterns in there that aren’t available anywhere else.

 

Do you have a favorite motif?

I don’t think I could pick just one, but my favorites to work on always seem to be fairy tale or Asian-inspired motifs.

 

What are the essentials for someone looking to start stitching?

All you really need is a needle, floss in your favorite colors, a hoop and some kind of fabric. Embroidery is super versatile and it’s easy to add embellishment to almost any craft project or existing fabric item.

 

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring items to complete one project, what would you bring?

I see myself bringing enough fabric, floss and needles to create some enormous embroidered art quilt or tapestry that would never really be finished, I could just keep adding to it as long as I’m there. ;)

 

 
 
 
 
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One + OneWe published One + One: Wraps, Cowls, and Capelets last week and Iris Schreier was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat about the latest addition to this series.

 

How did you develop the idea for the One + One series?

I love the concept of the One + One books in general, because they give you project ideas for combining 2 unrelated skeins of yarn that could be completely mismatched.  Many people are often interested in a larger project that uses 2 skeins of yarn, and here’s the perfect opportunity to learn how to use 2 skeins together, whether in interesting slip stitch patterns, a layering look, double-knitting, or simple striping.

 

What can readers expect out of the latest installment to the series?

The latest installment includes some contemporary designs that are brand new, and will be fun for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced knitting.  The book has something for everyone, with 29 projects that cover a huge range of designs and silhouettes.

 

What influenced your designs in this book?

As always, my designs are influenced by the yarns and I love the softness and drape of the lovely luxurious Artyarns yarns used in the pieces, as well as the spectacular colors that make them pop.

 

When you’re designing what comes to mind first—the yarn or the idea for the pattern?

When I design for a new yarn, I have to basically gain an understanding of the yarn for which I am designing, and I live with it for a while–swatching, blocking, ripping, over and over, until I am happy that the design takes best advantage of the yarn.

 

What project do you have on the needles right now?

I am working on a cardigan with a cable/lace collar top-down with a new yarn, Merino Cloud, which is 80% Merino/20% Cashmere.  Also on a shawl version of the September Knitalong.

PHOTO A (3)

 

What project from this book are you planning to cast on soon?

Personally I really need to make the very, very easy and lovely Versatile Neck Hug, because it will be so much fun to knit using the soft and delicious Silk Mohair, but even better, this is the ultimate hoodie/cowl for winter, and I know I I will get great use out if it.  It can be folded down to nothing in my bag, and slipped on for protection from the cold.

 

PHOTO B (3)

 

Iris, that WIP cardigan is looking super fantastic on you and thank you so much for chatting today!

 

Check out all of the patterns in One + One: Wraps, Cowls, and Capelets on Ravelry and be sure to order your copy today.

 
 
 
 
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Crochet Boutique coverWith Shannon Quinn-Tucker, guest Needlearts blogger

Recently released, Crochet Boutique is filled with fun, trendy wearables and accessories that will take you through this fall and beyond! Here, author Rachael Oglesby shares her thoughts on modern crochet. Don’t forget to download a FREE PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion at the end of the interview.

Who would you say has been most influential in your life when it comes to crafting, and why? That would certainly be my mom. She’s the one who taught me to crochet to begin with! And it was my grandmother who taught her. I appreciate that I have this link to the women in my family that has made its way down to me.

How would you describe your aesthetic? What inspires you in creating your designs? I would describe my aesthetic as classic with a twist. I love simple, basic items you can wear repeatedly yet are updated in a way that gives them just a little something extra to make them special. It can be something as simple as a color that pops or a beautiful unique yarn.

Rachael OglesbyWhat was your favorite part of authoring Crochet Boutique? My favorite part was selecting the projects for the book and also working with my photographer and friend, Emily Ogden, to bring it all to life. I knew when I was first approached for the book that I wanted Emily on board, and I was ecstatic when she agreed. I also enjoyed fleshing out the initial direction for the book—thinking of my audience and deciding what it was exactly I wanted to accomplish and present.

Crochet Boutique contains a variety of items, some of which people might find more typical of crochet projects (scarves and hats) and some they might find unusual (laptop sleeve). What was your favorite project in this book? The rainbow throw holds a special place in my heart since it’s inspired by a clouds and rainbow motif afghan my mother made in the early 80s. Her blanket is one of my earliest memories of crochet and I remember really loving that piece when she finished it. It’s one of the first pieces that left me wishing I could crochet my own, so my rainbow throw pattern is an homage to hers.

Who are some crochet artists whom you admire, and what is it about each that you find inspirational/exceptional? I am more inspired by the everyday at home crafter than I am by any of the big name artists I can think of. The DIY movement that has rapidly gained strength over the past few years has been empowering and therapeutic for many, myself included, and I believe the online community and the sharing of ideas has fostered that. It’s amazing to be able to share and talk about your craft with so many other crafters at any given moment, and I’ve made some wonderful friends over the past few years through such interactions.

granny square cushionGet inspired to create by downloading a free PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion! And don’t forget to check out Rachael’s Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/softspoken or her blog, http://softspoken.blogspot.com/, for even more of her fabulous style!

 

 
 
 
 
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The Gauge Circle with Suzann Thompson

July 06, 2012, 10:09 am  Posted by Lark
 

Today Suzann shares her technique for checking stitch tension for crocheted flowers.plus its many other benefits!

Finally—A Gauge You Can Live With!

Knowing your stitch tension is important, but it seems silly to crochet a traditional 4 x 4-inch gauge swatch, to check stitch tension for a crocheted flower.  By the time you’re done with the swatch, you could have finished two or three flowers.

This thought nagged me as I began work on Crochet Garden.  The suggested tension for all the projects in the book is a “firm gauge,” no matter what yarn you use.  On the other hand, I realized that readers might appreciate knowing how their stitch tension compared with that of the sample flowers.

The flowers and motifs of Crochet Garden didn’t need to be an exact size, unlike a garment.  For a sweater or an afghan, one-half stitch per inch difference between your gauge and the published gauge can translate to several inches difference in the finished piece.

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We’re so, so (SO!) excited to announce the release of Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters! If you’ve been inspired by this amazing e-magazine (and we have!), you’ll love the book. And some of our favorite bloggers have agreed to help us celebrate with a blog tour! Follow along for reviews and interviews with the Fat Quarterly team, as well as book giveaways and free block patterns sprinkled in along the way – but you’ll have to tag along to find them!

5/18 Kickoff at FatQuarterly.com and LarkCrafts.com – you’ve arrived!!
5/21 Lily Quilts
5/24 Handmade by Alissa
5/29 In Color Order
5/31 Comfort Stitching
6/4 Generation Q
6/7 Sew Mama Sew
6/12 Pat Sloan
6/14 WhipUp
6/18 Sarah Fielke’s The Last Piece
6/22 Fat Quarter Shop
6/26 Diary of a Quilter
6/28 Amy’s Creative Side
7/3 A La Mode Fabric
7/6 It’s Sew Kiki!
7/10 Craft Buds!
7/12 Craft Foxes
7/16 {sew} Allegorical
7/18 Wrap-up Party at Fat Quarterly.com!

Have you had a chance to peruse the book yet? Take a sneak peek here: Shape Workshop for Quilters sneak peek!

 
 
 
 
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Talking Custom Crocheted Sweaters with Dora Ohrenstein

March 19, 2012, 10:47 am  Posted by Lark
 

We spoke with Dora Ohrenstein about her recently released Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit to learn more about her approach to the book and her design process. And do be sure to check out the upcoming podcasts (listed below) for even more Dora!

When I had the opportunity to do another book with Lark, I decided to do one that I knew crocheters really needed: a book about sweater construction and fit. There was nothing available specifically for crochet on this topic. Over the last several decades, crochet had been promoted primarily as a craft for home dec, and many aspects of garment-making had fallen out of use. Even people with top-notch stitching skills are often out of their element when it comes to necklines, armholes, and the like.

When I took up crochet a few years ago, I only made garments, as fashion is my passion. But I too had to rely on knitting books to get the information I needed about sweaters, and some of it had to be “reinterpreted” to work for crochet.  So this book reflects everything I’ve learned about how to make gorgeous-looking, well-fitting sweaters using your hook.

The book has ten sweater patterns, using a variety of constructions, including Dropped Shoulder, Raglan (in pieces), Top Down one piece, Circular, and Set-in Sleeves.  The sweaters are meant to be wearable in everyday life, and most go great either with jeans or a skirt.  I’ve been thrilled with the response to these sweaters: people are saying they are stylish and very “New York.” I have to say I love them all and have been wearing them myself!
 
To those who yearn to make sweaters but are fearful, I urge you to take the plunge. The information you need is in this book, though it may take a while to absorb all the lessons here. It’s definitely a one-step-at-a time endeavor. The book covers how to measure yourself, how to read schematics, breaking down patterns into manageable sections, blocking and finishing, choice of yarn and hook, gauge and math, and how to apply the latter to alterations. There are alteration lessons for each sweater and detailed explanations of each sweater construction.

I know many women face the issue of not being a “standard” size. For example, your bust size may fall into the large or 1X range of measurements, but the rest of you – shoulder width, arm length, etc. – is a small or medium. If you pick a sweater size based on your bust size, the likelihood of having it fit is slim. It will need alteration. The good news is, once you understand this alteration, it will be very similar from one sweater to the next.  You can become a master of fit for your body, and be assured that any garment you undertake will be made to your dimensions, not a mythical standard-sized person who doesn’t really exist.
 
For those who want to delve more deeply into the topic, I also offer classes via my website, Crochet Insider.  You can find more info about the classes here . Feel free to write to me at doraoh (at) earthlink (dot) net if you have further questions or thoughts to share!

Tune in for more Dora on these podcasts!

Planet Purl – Tuesday, March 20th at 8pm EST – Sign up early!

The Yarn Thing – Tuesday, March 27 at 12pm EST Click to listen!

 
 
 
 
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The 12s on Quilt Festival: Deborah Boschert

November 02, 2011, 11:00 am  Posted by guestblogger
 

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Deborah with her quilt, Construction: Concrete and Stone. She was inspired to enter the juried special exhibit after attending her first International Quilt Festival.

Today’s guest: Deborah Boschert

What Festival is this for you?

This will be my fourth time attending Festival.

Where will you be and when?

Well, there is so much to see and do! And people to connect with! But, I am especially excited that all nine of the Twelves who will be at Festival will be in our special exhibit space from 6:30 to 7 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We’ll be happy to sign copies of our book or just talk about the Twelve by Twelve project.

What are you most excited about this year?

I really am just giddy with excitement about meeting the other Twelves in person and spending time with them. We’ll be going out for Tex-Mex together one evening. I’m eager to raise a glass of margaritas and toast our exhibit and our friendship!

Is there one piece that you’re really excited to see in person?

Deborah's quilt Spring Suggestin' created for the BlueBrownSage ColorPlay challenge. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I think this is the best of my ColorPlay collection. It has inspired many more small fabric collage landscapes.

Most quilters know there is just no substitute for seeing an art quilt “in the cloth.” I’ve studied our collection of Twelve by Twelve quilts online for more than four years and I can only begin to imagine how much better they will be in person.

What’s your one must-take item for Festival?

Well, one year my roommate snored, so now I remember to bring ear plugs. I try to come with an eager spirit and lots of energy.

What valuable lessons have you learned from past Festivals?

Be completely open to unexpected nuggets of inspiration. Seeing award winning quilts and artists encourages me to challenge myself creatively and to continue seeking my own personal style. At my first Festival, I was really captivated by the Tactile Architecture exhibit. The following year, I entered and was accepted. It was thrilling to have my work displayed for the first time. It’s even more thrilling to be a part of the Twelve by Twelve special exhibit this year.

 
 
 
 
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The 12s on Quilt Festival: Terry Grant

October 31, 2011, 10:00 am  Posted by guestblogger
 

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Terry Grant

Between Mother and Child - featured in the 2011 special exhibit The Space Between

What Festival is this for you?
This is my first Festival. I went to Quilt Market several times when I had a shop, but was never able to stay for Festival.

Where will you be and when?
I plan to spend most of my time with the Twelves and our exhibit, but I am also excited to see an exhibit called “The Space Between” that I have a quilt in.

What are you most excited about this year?
Meeting most of the other Twelves for sure! I so wish we were all going to be there, but it is a long, long trip for some of them.

On a related note, just how excited are you to see all the quilts together?
Well, I had the honor of preparing the quilts for the Houston show, so I have seen them all, one at a time, but I am sure it will be a thrill to see them hanging together. I’ll probably cry!

 

The moon is made of green cheese – Chartreuse Colorplay

Is there one piece from that you’re really excited to see in person?
I think I am excited to see all of Helen’s quilts, especially. She used some very unusual materials. I am also very interested in Kristin’s water quilt that was designed to disintegrate.

What’s your one must-take item for Festival?
My camera, without a doubt.

 
 
 
 
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The 12s on Quilt Festival: Kristin La Flamme

October 28, 2011, 12:03 pm  Posted by needlearts
 

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Kristin La Flamme 

What Festival is this for you?
This will be my second time coming to Festival. Last year was completely overwhelming, so I’m looking forward to being less discombobulated this time.

Fellow Twelve Deborah Boschert introduced me to Judy Coates Perez, whose blog I’ve enjoyed reading for years.

Where will you be and when?
I will be at the Twelve by Twelve exhibit Thursday the 3rd and Friday the 5th from 12 until 2, plus Friday from 2 until 4. We’ll end the day in our booth at 6:30 Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. I’ll probably also call our area Home Base and come and go throughout each day. I’ll be volunteering at the SAQA table as well on Thursday from 3 until 5 and on Friday from 12 until 2.

What are you most excited about this year?
I am most excited to meet all the Twelves I have not yet met in person. I’m a little sad that three of our four international members won’t be in attendance, but that still leaves four Twelves to meet for the first time, and four that I get to hang out with again and get to know better!

My favorite moments last year were the ones socializing in person with online friends. Finding out that most people are just as interesting and friendly in person as they appear on their blogs is wonderful.

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Cathy Gaubert on Quilt Market 2011

October 27, 2011, 18:07 pm  Posted by Lark
 

 

Cathy and her little helpers!

Getting packed and ready for Quilt Market? Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts author Cathy Gaubert is, too! We caught up with her just before she hit the road for Houston… and if you’re headed to Market, you should too! And be sure to check out the details for the Doll Quilt Contest over on Sew, Mama, Sew!

What Festival is this for you?
This is only my second Festival (and my first time at Market!). The first one i went to was right at 20 years ago (in a big van, filled with ladies and piled high with projects and loot from Festival)!

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