(Blog Tour) Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments & accessories by Mary Jane Hall

(Blog Tour) Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments & accessories by Mary Jane Hall

It’s been a while since I have been able to blog, but I have to come to share about Mary Jane Hall’s new book, Colorful Crochet Lace because it is so fabulous!

Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments & accessories
Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments & accessories

Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments & accessories is a collection of modern garments and accessories designed by Mary Jane Hall and published by Interweave/F+W Media, Inc. Hall used traditional lace techniques, such as fan, shell, popcorn and love knot stitches, and a variety of yarn weights to design clothing and accessories that work for women of all ages and sizes.

Hall created elegant lace scarves, shawls and tops that have a vintage, Victorian flare, but she also went beyond the expected to include other fashionable pieces such as a hooded jacket, flared hem dress and crop top. Some of the garments with more lacy openwork include the Le Chocolate Skirt, Dominique Dress Overlay and Magnifique Modular Tunic, which work well as stylish layers to be worn on top of other garments. Also, the Michelle Ma Belle Shrug and Haute Couture Peplum Top are perfect for those who prefer more solid lace garments.

Le Chocolate Skirt
Le Chocolate Skirt

My personal favorites from the book are the Brigitte Wide Belt, Juliette Scarf and Au Naturel Cropped Top.

Brigitte Wide Belt
Brigitte Wide Belt
Juliette Scarf
Juliette Scarf

Each pattern includes a chart that breaks down the anatomy of the lace stitches. Schematics are also available for the items that require seaming.  This book is designed with a French chic look and feel, and it contains stunning images that show the garments and accessories from multiple angles. The instructions are well written and contain several notes for additional assistance.

Hall concludes her book with an explanation of her Graduated Stitch Method, which she is known for using to shape her garments, along with crochet abbreviations and a stitch glossary.

Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 chic garments & accessories is the perfect book for anyone who loves the look of lace but has been intimidated to try making something fashionable. Also, the repetition of the lace patterns makes it easy for experienced crocheters to make adjustments, if needed.

Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 Chic Garments & Accessories

By Mary Jane Hall

Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Visit Interweave Store

Next on the Blog Tour is Jocelyn Sass of Cute Crochet Chat.  Be sure to check out her chat session and don’t miss the giveaway.

Colorful Crochet Lace Book Blog Tour




Crochet at NY Fashion Week 2012

Runway crochet

Hariette Cole debuts luxury crochet accessories at NY Fashion Week 2012

Harriette Cole debuted a new line of crocheted accessories this month at NY Fashion Week.  Harriette curated luxury fibers, which she used to create scarves, wraps, hats, and gloves for her 108 Stitches Harriette Cole Collection.

The collection was shown at the Hair Rules Salon in New York City, and it has received several favorable mentions since it was shown.  You can view the collection at http://harriettecole.com/108-stitches/.

In addition to her new role as designer for 108 Stitches, Harriette also presides over Harriette Cole Media.  She is also the former lifestyle editor of Essence Magazine, creative director of Ebony Magazine, and Today Show contributor.

I met Harriette this weekend at Blogalicious, and we talked about her new luxury crochet collection, fibers, and pricing.  Harriette loves yummy fibers like cashmere, alpaca, silk, and even paper.  I suggested that she design something scrumptious for one of the crochet publications.  I enjoyed meeting and talking to Harriette, and I look forward to connecting with her in the future.  I always get excited when I meet people who are doing big things with crochet!

Introducing Fleurette – Tunisian Crochet Scarf

Fleurette Tunisian Crochet Scarf downloadable crochet pattern by TurquoizBlue for This Is Crochet


Fleurette is a full-length, Tunisian knit stitch scarf with wide, double crochet fleurette borders on each end. The scarf can be wrapped and folded for a variety of looks.  The sample used for the pattern was made with a worsted weight mulberry silk, which has a nice drape after it has been blocked.  This pattern is recommended for natural fiber yarns because it needs to be blocked.

This scarf is a fashionable and unique statement accessory for any wardrobe.  The downloadable PDF crochet pattern is available in the This Is Crochet Shop.


Interweave Crochet Winter 2010 – I’m on the Cover!

Interweave Crochet Winter 2010 is available for preordering, and I just found out that my design is on the cover. Thank you, April.

It is the Crimson Cape shown on the cover shot below. I am so excited!

Crimson Cape by Rhonda "TurquoizBlue" Davis for Interweave Crochet Winter 2010© Interweave Press

New Book: Plus Size Fashions – An Interview with Jill Hanratty & Giveaway



Plus Size Fashions by Jill Hanratty

This is the second stop of Jill Hanratty’s blog tour to introduce her new book, Plus Size Fashions. This is a collection of fashion garments that Jill has designed for the plus-sized woman. Yesterday, Jill began her tour by visiting with Ellen Gormley of Go Crochet, and in addition to asking great questions, Ellen was kind enough to give us Jill’s background and also to share a photo of Jill. Be sure to visit Go Crochet if you missed the first day of the tour.

Plus Size Fashions is a collection of five fashion garments. The collection contains two jackets, one short-sleeved tee, one long-sleeved pullover and one sleeveless shell top. I am giving away a copy of Plus Size Fashions. If you would like to be included in the drawing, please read the interview and share a comment about Jill’s book before 6pm EST on Friday, November 19. I will randomly select the winner. Good Luck!

Swinging Pearl Jacket

The green, classy jacket featured on the book cover is the Swinging Pearl Jacket, and I have a set of questions for Jill about the jacket.

Swing Pearl Jacket from Plus Size Fashions by Jill Hanratty

TB: This is an elegant jacket that can be worn to work or to dinner, but it is still relaxed enough to be worn casually with jeans. It can really be dressed up or down depending on the accessories chosen to complete the look. How did you see this jacket being worn, and who did you see wearing it?

JH: My taste generally runs to classic designs. If you put the effort into making a garment, it is nice to be able to wear it in 10-15-20 years and still look great! In fact, this jacket is one that I can envision wearing over and over and over, because it is so basic! The style is not limited to any one age bracket, either, so that adds to the design’s timelessness.

TB: I really love the fit of the Swinging Pearl Jacket, especially the set in sleeves. One of the biggest complaints I hear from plus-sized women about crochet patterns is that a lot of designs for plus-sized women have drop shoulders, but they want the option of set-in sleeves. When they do find a pattern with set-in sleeves, they sometimes have issues with the placement and depth of the armholes. How do you determine your armhole placement so that your garments fall from the shoulders and have proper drape?

JH: It drives me crazy to see ill-fitting armholes in plus size garments! Of course, not every woman is built the same, but I do try to shape armholes so they will lay properly on the body. Keeping the shoulder width of the design within the range of normal shoulders makes a difference. I then try to use increases to add width at the sides rather than adding too much depth (length) to the armhole. I also like to use a shorter, wider sleeve cap, and add length to the sleeve underarm. This helps to free the sleeve to move without pulling the garment away from the body.

As a back-up to my theory, I prevailed upon two plus-sized friends who were kind enough to let me measure some of their clothes to compare with my calculations. They even let me take my tape measure to the clothes they were wearing on a few occasions!

TB: What makes this a pattern for a crocheter with an intermediate skill level? Are there any advanced techniques that are needed to complete this design?

JH: This is an intermediate pattern because of the shaping throughout the jacket. There is nothing very advanced at all in the pattern. In fact, it might be a good pattern for someone who is looking to move up from an easy pattern for the first time. The stitch is simple and even the scalloped edges along the jacket fronts are part of the jacket, rather than a trim stitched on at finishing!

TB: What type of technique do you recommend to sew the seams to assemble the jacket?

JH: The mattress stitch is my favorite way of seaming: keeping the pieces to be joined adjacent to each other, working on the right side of the garment, and stitching back and forth between pieces with rows or stitches aligned. The benefit of working with the right side facing is seeing that the seam is turning out well. I LOVE Knit Klips as an alternative to pins to hold the pieces together while I work!

TB: I am really intrigued about the bamboo/wool yarn that you used for this jacket. The stitch pattern you used produced a solid fabric, but the fabric still contains a nice drape and appears to be lightweight. Can you describe how the yarn cooperated with this design?

JH: This jacket needed great stitch definition because it is such a solid fabric. The Red Heart Bamboo Wool was perfect for that—the stitches pop and the fabric has nice body and drape at the same time! (—and this yarn comes in such amazing, rich colors!)

TB: I have to say that I believe this will be one time where the smaller ladies will be jealous of the plus-sized designs. Do you have any plans to create these same designs in smaller sizes?

JH: Thanks, and I have to agree! I certainly would do so if the demand arises!

Thank you for answering my questions and allowing me to share your new book, Jill.

Please follow Jill through the remainder of her blog book tour to read more about
Plus Size Fashions. The schedule for the remainder of her tour is below.

Day 3 (Nov 17): Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby — http://www.shibaguyz.com
Day 4 (Nov 18): Jennifer Cirka — http://www.jaybirddesigns.com
Day 5 (Nov 19): Lisa Gentry — http://hookandneedle-designs.blogspot.com

If you missed the first day, here is the link to the first stop of Jill’s tour.

Day 1 (Nov 15): Ellen Gormley — http://gocrochet.blogspot.com

New Pattern: Megastar, a Six-Pointed Star Tunisian Crochet Blanket

Megastar Blanket Crochet Pattern

Six-pointed star blanket uses the Tunisian crochet Slant Stitch and color changes to create wide stripes which meet to form a burst of color that radiates from the center. The stripes are continued in the surrounding border.

A few years ago, I was exploring how to create different star and pinwheel shapes using Tunisian Crochet. One of the first motifs I came up with was a five-pointed star shape, which I went on to use in my Seaside Throw Afghan which was published in the Interweave Crochet Summer 2009 issue. The six-pointed star was one of the next incarnations of the Tunisian crochet star motif. I enlarged the small motif into a large star, and sketching and playing with color options brought about the stripes and burst of color from the center of the star.

This afghan is shown on a king-sized bed, but the pattern can easily be adapted to any size just be decreasing the stitch and row count.

New Pattern: Belle Cloche crochet hat pattern for This Is Crochet

I wanted to quickly introduce my new crochet hat pattern  – Belle Cloche.


One hat, multiple looks.

This asymmetrical cloche is worked in the round in single crochet. The increased length on one side is created by adding half-double crochet. Two columns of eyelets grace one side through which either the self-tie or purchased ribbon can be threaded, or wear the hat without any embellishment as a simple cloche. Weave the self-tie vertically through the eyelets, draw up the self-tie and make a bow to create “pillbox” or “turban” looks. This pattern is available here on This Is Crochet and also at Knitpicks for a reduced price.

Retro Crochet – In Style for Today or Passe’?

I have noticed quite a few retro-inspired crochet designs lately, and I have to admit that I’m loving them — puffed sleeved tops and even granny square garments.  A few days ago, I mentioned Tangled magazine, whose current issue is themed “Modern Vintage.”  Tangled states, “Tangled May be New, but Our Fall Patterns are Inspired by the Fashions of Times Past.”

Knitting It Old School by Stitchy McYarnpants and Caro SheridanThen there is the recently-released Knitting it Old School: 43 Vintage-Inspired Patterns* by Stitchy McYarnpants and Caro Sheridan which features modern interpretations of vintage crochet styles of the 1940s through the 1970s.  This is not just a book of retro knitting patterns.  There are also sewing and crochet patterns such as the Go-Go Granny dress by Maryse Roudier, which is reminds me of the granny square crochet dress which was worn by Cate Blanchett on the red carpet at the Screen Worlds event in Australia.

Cate Blanchett in granny crochet dress

Although the designs in this book are vintage-inspired, they manage to look both retro and modern at the same time.

Go-Go Granny crochet dress by Maryse Roudier © 2010 Denise SiegelAs I said before, I’m loving the resurgence, but some people don’t seem to be feeling the retro trend, especially the return of the granny square crochet garment. There is a long discussion on Ravelry about the Go-Go Granny dress called Granny Dress or “My Eyes!” where many people pulled no punches when it came to their opinions.

I don’t know if retro design is a passing trend, but I hope it sticks around for a while because I’m digging it.

*Amazon affiliate link