Archive for the ‘crochet’ Category

cool tool

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Meet my new toy. I found it in New York and have now managed to import a few to share with my fellow Kiwis here.

If I hadn’t already been hooked, I’d be tempted to try my luck at good ole crochet just because I love a beautiful thing, and this is. It’s the crochet equivalent of the I Phone. Form and function, and it’s ergonomic. Comes with 6 hook sizes.

Once I cradled my egg shaped wooden handle in the palm of my hand, I could sense the panic of all other hooks in my tool kit, fearing an imminent trip to Goodwill.

Let’s talk about crochet, a much maligned craft.

Every once in a while you read something like this from a fashion reporter:

“Your grandma is being channeled on high-fashion runways this spring, with crochet appearing on everything from dresses to swimsuits, handbags to shoes”.

It’s usually referring to something elegant such as this

why grandma, even though grandma is adorable? It must be because of the “granny” square, so named I know not why.

I’ve always loved crochet squares and have never thought of them as hippie or grannie or anything other than fun and colourful.

Which is why I loved it when Cate Blanchett stepped out of  everyone’s comfort zone and appeared on a red carpet in Melboune last year wearing this dress by Aussie designer Romance Was Born. There were shrieks of “ugly!” “how could she!” “wearing her sofa!” Lets face it, Cate can do anything, wear anything and is fearless when it comes to fashion and her profession. That’s why we love her!  She doesn’t play it safe is always elegant and best of all, seems to not take herself too seriously. The wit of this dress is evident and suggests a hard up housewife who has made her blanket into a dress. What’s wrong with that? I would think this should be applauded in the age of recycled chic.

One person in high places got it. Paul Smith, who always enlivens his preppy style with dash and humour, put this on the runway a few months later. It really does look like she’s draped herself with a blanket. But why not?

Hands up those who have never admired a pair of crochet shoes?

I used to own a pair of blue suede Valentino oxfords, the uppers of which were crocheted mesh made with strips of said blue suede. They were spectacular and I wish I could show them to you. note to self: never again sell shoes in yard sale without first taking a photo.

Not to worry, there are other designers understanding the appeal of crochet.


Rachel Comey

Tory Burch

John Galliano outrageous beauties

If you can’t afford designer shoes, there’s always, as we well know, DIY.

Here’s some inspiration: the leg warmers are knit, I believe, but they’d be even more fun in crochet. Kind of like wearing your sofa around your ankles?

knitting, Buñuel style

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

This week I have a mystery to solve with the help of you, dear Readers.

David and I have been staging our own personal Luis Buñuel film festival. You can do fun things like this when you don’t watch TV.  I know, I know, there’s TiVo if you find the ads tiresome, but we like to support the guys at our local independent video store  who seem to stock everything that’s ever been made.
Buñuel’s movies are in Spanish, subtitled in English, which makes them counter productive for those of us who can’t sit on a sofa sans needles, except that you might just want to put your knitting down anyway, because they’re so beautiful you won’t want to miss a frame.

If you have an appetite for social commentary, his scathing portrayal of Spanish politics and customs, fascism versus socialism, the Church and the bourgeoisie will give you plenty of nourishment.  Or you can enjoy the stories at face value, as dark romances where women are used, but always have the last word. If this all sounds a bit heavy handed, fear not. Buñuel has a light touch and is often funny.The wallpapers, silverware, embroidered table cloths and crocheted bedspreads make a satisfying meal, to say nothing of the superb acting and richly textured settings. It’s a feast, with lashings of hot chocolate and delicious Spanish cooking.

Our two movies this week were Viridiana, made in 1961, and Tristana, from 1970. Both feature young women who are seduced, with tragic consequences, by the old devil who shows up in many Buñuel films and is always played by Fernando Rey. It’s painful to see these innocents in the grip of the lecherous old man, but without giving the plots away, they do manage some revenge. I think Buñuel liked women.

Here’s where it gets interesting: the lovely young women in both these movies are knitters. Viridiana, played by Mexican actress Silvia Pinal, wears a knit(or crochet?) cape, and is seen throwing her knitting into the fire, so deep is her despair. Buñuel makes a point of showing this in detail. Needles, basket, yarn, everything gets tossed into the flames. She does shake off her seducer and gain her freedom but does she really need to burn her knitting to do it?

Here she is, about to do the deed….

Tristana, played by Catherine Deneuve, is seen wearing a capelet very similar to the one worn by Viridiana. She, too, knits. Now get this: Catherine Deneuve, a French actress in a Spanish movie, is NOT knitting continental. She’s knitting English style.

But the most important question is: are the capes knit or crochet? I’ve tried stopping  both movies multiple  times to try to figure this out,  but I don’t have the answer. Look closely. Any ideas?



and finally, my favourite line from Tristana…..

crochet, yes

Saturday, February 6th, 2010


Finally, I’ve followed a crochet pattern and learned that what I always say about knitting is also true of crochet: you can tackle anything as long as you take it it one step at a time. The trick is not to get overwhelmed or impatient. You don’t have to know everything just to get started!

When this Habu linen paper yarn arrived last week it called to me.

Another fascinating offering from Habu Textiles, it manages to be crunchy, but is also smooth and silky, with a lovely sheen. Quite a miracle. It doesn’t break, in fact you can’t pull it apart. And for those who like a little sound effect with their yarn, it rustles.


Worrying about how to do justice to this lovely yarn with my lack of skill, I  took a deep breath and opened an old favourite, the Readers’ Digest Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches. I must confess I’ve ignored the second half of this wonderful book until now. Silly me. All those stitches, edgings, and motifs and excellent, clear illustrations of how to make them. Now I can single, half double, and double, treble and double treble. Sounds like I’m gearing up for the diving competition at the London Olympics.


There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the motif patterns and the how-to instructions (when you’re teaching yourself it pays to have a few bookmarks nearby) but after a while the techniques came more easily and I didn’t have to consult the pictures.The best part is that both of these motifs were labelled “intermediate”. Is that really me?

I’m partial to doilies and I don’t think they’re at all old fashioned. First I thought I’d use them as coasters, but then my mind ran to a linen purse, an excuse to use these rattan handles. Eventually I’d like to cover the whole thing in crocheted squares, but I’m starting with one on each side, and will add more whenever I have a spare evening and a handy crochet hook.