Meet Crochet Designer, Kenneth Cormier

I would like to introduce you to Kenneth Cormier, whose beautiful designs have been featured in many issues of Crochet World.

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Kenneth’s Little Bits Mug Rugs are on the cover of the August 2015 issue, along with two more of his designs featured in this issue.

Denim Pocket Placemat_Crochet World Aug2015

We love Kenneth’s clever use of a recycled denim pocket which finds new life as part of a place mat. This along with several other fun projects are featured in the Reinvent & Recycle section of the August issue, suggesting creative ways to reuse items we might typically throw away.

Pretty Blossoms Eyewear Case_Crochet World Aug 2015

In this issue we also Celebrate Friends, with small projects that make perfect gifts, including Kenneth’s Pretty Blossoms Eyewear Case.

We love Kenneth’s playful design style and appreciate his craftsmanship. You are sure to see more of Kenneth’s designs in upcoming issues!

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Here is Kenneth’s story in his own words, “I grew up, and still live, in Jennings, LA.  It’s a small town, but rich in Cajun culture and tradition.  I learned to speak Cajun French as well as English.

When I was around 10 years of age, someone gave my mom a beautiful 3-piece doily set.  I was in awe of the design, the shape, and uniqueness of each delicate pattern.  A few months later, someone gave me a #7 steel hook and kite string.  I twisted, ripped and knotted that string to death.  But, I learned, and to this day, I still have that steel hook.

As I got older, I began sketching, painting and dabbling in other arts.  I would come back to crochet a few months after graduating from high school.

Crochet is my passion.  I love the excitement of a new design and the feel of the yarn as I work on an afghan or something as small as a baby bootie.  There are always new yarns, new ideas that keep me moving to the next level.

My absolute favorite yarn to crochet with is cotton.  I love the naturalness, the softness, and how it maintains its shape.

My first published design was in 1992, and was not a crochet project, but a soap cover in plastic canvas.  Later, I submitted crochet and cross-stitch designs that were published.  I will always be grateful to Annie’s for giving me the initiative and confidence that I most desperately needed.

My inspirations come from every aspect of my environment; flea markets, outdoors, visualization, and imagination.

I would love to teach crochet, but it needs to be taught the correct way which makes it so much easier to learn and master the beautiful art of crochet.

I was a hairstylist for 28 years.  In 1996, I went into the field of nursing and retired about a year ago.  I was inspired by beautiful afghans that were made for many, many residents of nursing homes.  What a blessing it was for those who took time to think about the elderly and create something that might bring a smile or brighten their day.

Over the years, I have enjoyed photography and playing the piano.  But by far, my biggest enjoyment is crocheting.  I plan on widening my circle, designing, reaching out to others, never letting this beautiful art die when there is so much life and love to be gained from just a hook and yarn.”

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Rag-ety Rug Tutorial

A few weeks back I shared with you some great ways to recycle items you might normally throw away. Our August issue of Crochet World features several fun projects which incorporate crochet and recycled materials in very clever ways.

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The Rag-ety Rug, one of our favorites from the issue, uses recycled jeans to create a sturdy rug that would make a great addition to an entry way or kitchen.

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Recently, designer Jennifer Raymond, shared her inspiration for the rug on her blog.

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In addition, you can find a great tutorial she posted here.

20150118-20150118_4290[1] We hope you enjoy turning recyclables into new useful items for your home! As always, we love to see what you make from Crochet World!

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Like Mother, Like Daughter

Passing on our love of crochet not only keeps the long tradition of our craft alive and well, but also brings the opportunity to share wonderful stories.

Today, I introduce you to crochet designer Jennifer Ryan and her 13 year-old daughter, Catherine, who just had her design featured in the August issue of Crochet World.

I recently interviewed Jennifer and asked her to share her thoughts about teaching others to crochet.

Catherine and Jennifer Ryan CW aug 2015

 

Carol: You have been a widely published designer for a number of years, so I imagine crochet is a big part of your life. Was it important to pass on your love of crochet to your daughters?

Jennifer: Not only was it important, but also simply natural. All of my daughters are very creative and independent crafters so they quickly noticed the benefits, beauty and satisfaction of crochet.  There are many days we sit together and crochet – and I love that I am available to help them with their questions.  We also include crochet projects in our homeschooling and have even won awards at our state fair with our crochet.

Carol: In your opinion, what is the best way to teach a child to crochet? At what age?

Jennifer: The best way to teach a child is to have a small and simple project (such as chain bracelets with a button closure) completed for them to look at as you teach them how to make it.  A child should wait until they are 7 or 8 since they just don’t have the connections in their brain (before this age) to coordinate their fingers with the hook and yarn.  If a younger child is interested, use chunky yarn and show them how to finger crochet to make chains that they can turn into necklaces, belts and room decor.

I teach many Parent/Child workshops and I find that a relaxed, slow-paced and friendly atmosphere works best.

Carol: What kinds of projects are best for beginners?

Jennifer: Rectangular projects that have one simple stitch repeated on every row. Scarves, cowls and baby blankets are great beginner projects and with smart yarn choices, can look fantastic.

Carol: What is the best advice you can share with anyone that wants to teach a child to crochet?

Be prepared:

  • With completed fun & simple projects – ones they can make and others to strive for. Kids especially love amigurimi and jewelry!
  • With brightly colored yarn and supplies.
  • To give several breaks.
  • Most important – give many encouraging statements and praise!

 

I also interviewed Catherine, Jennifer’s daughter about her experiences learning to crochet.

Carol: Why did you want to learn to crochet?

Catherine: I really liked how you can make  many things with so many simple stitches.

Carol: When did you first learn and how many years have you been crocheting?

Catherine:I learned to crochet when I was 6 years old so I have been crocheting for 7 years.

Carol: What are your favorite things to crochet?

Catherine: I love to make gifts for my family and friends along with unique things that people usually don’t crochet. (Such as: an Olaf snowman sculpture, Thanksgiving meal objects, and a coral reef display just to name a few.)

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Carol: Your Flower for a Friend Necklace in the August issue of Crochet World is so pretty! Was that your first design to be published? Are you inspired to submit more designs for publication?

Catherine: The Flower for a Friend Necklace is my first published design.  Yes, I am inspired to submit many more design ideas.  I write in my idea journal every day and love to create sketches for new designs.

Carol: Tell us one thing you love the most about crocheting.

Catherine: I love how crochet helps me to make all kinds of creative things with just a ball of yarn and my imagination.

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I hope you are inspired to pass on your love of crochet! The satisfaction of teaching another is only matched by the joy of seeing someone truly excited to create something beautiful with only their imagination, a ball of yarn and a hook!

If you would like more information on teaching children how to crochet , check out these past blog posts from October 22 and October 24, 2014.

And finally, we thought it was really fun that we were able to shoot Catherine’s necklace on a 13 year-old model! Our model, Kourtney, is like a granddaughter to me, and I was thrilled  to teach her to crochet several years ago!

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Tips for a Perfect Crochet Finish

Lack of attention to detail at the end of a project can ruin even a well-made item and undermine all your hard work. If you want your crochet to have a professional-looking finish and keep looking great for years to come, here are some tips to help you achieve great results.

Securing Yarn Ends

Never work over yarn ends. While this might be the easiest and quickest (and thus the most tempting) way to hide the ends, it doesn’t really anchor them as securely as weaving them in does. Always leave an end at least 6 inches in length. Using a tapestry or yarn needle (depending on the thickness of the yarn), weave the end through the back of the stitches for at least 1-1/2 inches, and then turn and weave in the opposite direction. Repeat again, threading the yarn through different stitches going a different direction. Pull the end gently and clip, allowing the yarn to ease back into the stitches. If working with multiple colors, always weave yarn ends through the same color stitches to keep them invisible. If weaving ends into a very open, lacy design that doesn’t offer much in the way of solid fabric to work through, weave the ends through the tops of the stitches. When working with two or more strands held together, don’t weave the ends in together. Always weave them in separately, and in different directions, to avoid unsightly lumps and bumps in your crochet. This also makes them more secure. Weave in ends as you go! It is so worth taking the time to weave them in as your work progresses to make the task much less tedious and help you do a better job.

Smooth, Even Fringe

When cutting yarn for fringe, use the yarn from the outside of the skein or ball rather than the yarn pulled from the inside, so that the yarn will be smooth and straight and not crinkly. If you’re toward the end of your ball or skein and must use the crinkly yarn, wrap it around a large piece of cardboard, and then steam lightly to remove the wrinkles. You can also wrap the yarn around a plastic food container lid, wet it and let it dry naturally. For straight, even fringe, cut uniform lengths more quickly by using a stiff piece of cardboard that is cut to the size you want the fringe length to be. For example, for 6-inch fringe, cut a 6-inch piece of cardboard. Wrap the yarn around the cardboard using an even tension (not too tightly), and then cut the strands free across one edge. Trim the bottom edge of the fringe using a rotary cutter and a plastic or metal straight-edge ruler.

Sewing Pieces Together

For motifs and other pieces that will be sewn together, leave the ends long enough on each piece to use for sewing. This saves yarn and reduces the number of ends you have to conceal. When sewing light-colored motifs to dark-colored ones, use the light-colored yarn. It will usually blend better and make the seam less visible. If crocheting pieces together, use the next-size-larger hook to avoid seams that pucker.

Size Matters

If you are working on a project comprised of numerous pieces that need to be the same size, such as a strip or block afghan, be sure to measure each piece as you make it and measure it to the previously completed ones. This ensures that you won’t have too-big or too-small finished pieces which have to be remade because your project will be wonky if you don’t.

And Furthermore…

If the last round on your project’s border starts to ruffle, use a smaller size of hook to help tame it down.

If you use glue to attach finishing decorative accents to your crochet project (not generally recommended – sewing is usually best), use a washable fabric glue, not hot glue.

When putting a lot of time and love into your crochet projects, keep these helpful tips in mind so that your efforts will have a happy ending!

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Reinvent & Recycle!

Have you noticed what was old is new again? Many years ago when the recycling craze first hit, people found imaginative ways to reuse stuff they would normally just throw out. Some of the projects were quite unusual. Does anyone remember making crochet hats with pieces cut from pop cans?

Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, reminds us each year to treat the earth with respect and care for the environment. But recycling is nothing new. Many of us remember hearing the old saying, which became popular during World War II,  “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

Recycling is a hot trend once again with tons of ideas to be found on the web and Pinterest. ‘Upcycling’ is now the term used by the many creative people who are turning throw-away items into treasures.

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In the August 2015 issue of Crochet World, we feature some fun ways to reuse and remake throw-aways into practical and useful items.

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We love the look of this denim Rag-ety Rug which can be made from old worn-out jeans.

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Make sure to remove the pockets first and save them to make up a bunch of these fun and practical Denim Pocket Placemats.

Stow & Go Yarn Tote_Crochet World Aug2015

All of us could use this great Stow & Go Yarn Tote made from a large plastic snack container. It would also make a great beach tote or carry-all for toys!

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Finally, if you have an older long-sleeve tee shirt that needs a facelift, you’ll love the Crochet Accent Tee!

All projects are featured in the August 2015 issue of Crochet World, available digitally here and on the newsstands June 30.

Send us your photos showing how you have upcycled or recycled something you might have thrown away but instead turned it into a treasure!

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