Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A new respect for designers

Sometimes, I look at the designs offered in knitting and crocheting magazines, booklets, and websites, and I am underwhelmed by the offerings, or I think that something looks so simple that I can make it without spending money on a pattern. And then there are times like this....Remember the crocheted potholder and hot pad swap. I signed up because it looked like fun, and how fun it would be to see 5 new potholders show up in my mailbox. First, I perused my new and vintage pattern stash for potholder designs, cruised around on line a lot, including my cousin's website: , looking for freebie patterns to download. I have a great deal of cotton in my stash, and was pretty determined not to purchase any new materials if it could be helped. I love the simplicity of the newer designs, but I am also drawn to anything retro. I was disappointed to discover that among the cottons in my stash were really calm, typical colors, nothing like the really distinctive rich poppin' color combos that are showing up on my favorite knit/crochet websites.And speaking of websites, the swap has its own blog, where swappers have been sharing their quest to make just the right selection, and frankly, I've been intimidated! The finer points of yarn selection, and stitch selection have been discussed, and I'm glad for it, because it has caused me to eliminate patterns that I would have thought would be good. And I'm glad, because it has made me realize that design decisions that may at first seem picky are often in fact, based on important considerations. Here are two that I hadn't really considered: 1) Only wool or cotton is allowed, no acrylic, as it can melt at high cooking temperatures, and melting acrylic can burn your skin. And here I'd been thinking it was just fiber elitism. (Probably is a little of that too.); 2) People seem to be very considerate in their selection so as not to allow anybody's hands to get burned through holes in the pattern. For instance, those who are drawn toward the lacier granny squares, seem to be taking care to back the square in a solid crochet fabric, such as rows of single or half-double crochet in pretty contrasting colors to peek through.
If you look at my first pic above, you'll see my first selection (that led to actually trying a sample), which is called Honeymoon Cottage (how cute is that!). I have crocheted 2 rooves and 2 front walls. The details are crocheted with embroidery floss, and I will actually do that, BUT these will not be potholders in the swap! The roof is the bulk of the potholder and the very cute weave which gives the roof a shingle-y look actually would make a very leaky roof and as a potholder might actually allow burned fingers. If I were using wool and making it quite large, and felting it, it would probably be okay, but as is, no go. If I were feeling more clever and not pressed for time, I could stitch a backing, but I'm not feeling clever enough to make an irregular shape, etc. This probably makes a better hot pad. Maybe it works better in the original cotton, which of course is no longer available, although I worked out the gauge, and it seemed okay...So, in an effort to use interesting colors and a very solid-weave fabric, I am simply making a goodly-sized square of an interesting stitch I found in my crochet stitch booklets. Sigh....seems so un-worthy of all the delightful offerings I've seen on the blog. So that's why I have a new-found respect for designers. We consumers need only select a pattern and a color. They have to do a lot of thinking and sampling to come up with something with enough function and appeal to offer it for sale.
On another note, I have pictures of the lovely blooming miniature rose sent to me in sympathy by my sweet friend, Julie. Aren't they adorable? I really hope I can keep them alive. I'll keep them in my taupe-walled dining room, but not because the walls are taupe, and the colors will be so chic together..............
but because it is a southern-exposed room and with two windows gets lots of sun. In the summer, it's practically a hot-house!

No comments: