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I am excited to be part of the blog tour promoting Colorful Crochet Lace, the newest book from designer and friend Mary Jane Hall. I’m going to share a little bit of information with you about Mary Jane, share my experience making one of the garments in the book, show photos of some of the designs included in the book, and provide links to the other stops on the blog tour.
Oh, yes, we’ll also be giving away a copy of the book to one lucky random winner, so be sure to read through to the end to see how to enter the giveaway!
Published by Interweave/F+W; $24.99 retail price
About Mary Jane
Mary Jane is well-known for her flirty, feminine, fun, and fashionable designs. (How about that alliteration?) She has written two books, Positively Crochet! and Crochet That Fits, and has had many designs published by Leisure Arts, Annie’s, House of White Birches, and the special Vogue Knitting Crochet 2013 magazine.
Mary Jane has been a member of the Crochet Guild of America for many years. She serves as a volunteer mentor to new designers, helping them learn the ins and outs of this exciting business. She is also a wonderful singer and will be releasing a CD on her blog later this year.
About Colorful Crochet Lace
This book contains 22 fashionable lace garments and accessories. Yes, everything is lace, but it’s not the traditional lace made with tiny crochet thread from days gone by. This is up-to-date, high-fashion lace ranging from simple, allover openwork patterns to intricately-detailed lace patterns and motifs. Mary Jane uses a variety of yarn weights in her designs, so no matter what weight yarn you prefer to work with, you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy.
You will find designs for shrugs, scarves, cardigans, tunics, dresses, tops, and totes. Whatever your wardrobe need, there’s probably a design that will work. While Mary Jane has chosen a color palette ranging from earthy neutrals to elegant jewel tones, remember that you can make any design in any color you choose. You don’t have to duplicate her color choice!
In her previous patterns, Mary Jane developed a technique she calls the Graduated Stitch Method, which lets the crocheter achieve shaping and customized fit without increases or decreases. This technique is featured in some of the patterns in this book. Mary Jane also gives instructions for modifying some of the designs and creating your own unique variations.
Several of the projects are constructed using the Graduated Stitch Method, a technique Mary Jane developed that allows for shaping and customized fit without increases or decreases, and many of the patterns include instructions for modifying designs and creating variations. With clear instructions, detailed stitch diagrams, and gorgeous photography, Colorful Crochet Lace makes it easy and fun to create exquisite crochet fashions.
No matter how carefully and how many times a designer, her pattern testers, and the publisher’s tech editor go over patterns before publication, it’s an unfortunate fact that sometimes mistakes make it through that intense process. Written crochet instructions, especially those patterns featuring lace, can be quite complicated and detailed. It’s not always easy making the changes between sizes.
However, reputable designers and publishers, which both Mary Jane and Interweave are, will do their best to publish errata and corrections as problems are discovered.
Before beginning a new project, I always advise crocheters to look on an author’s or publisher’s website, or to check on Ravelry, to see if errata have been published. Mary Jane has thoughtfully provided an errata page on her blog where she will keep track of any pattern corrections you may need to know about
Making Au Naturel
After receiving an advance copy of Mary Jane’s book, I totally fell in love with the design featured on the cover, the Haute Couture Peplum Top. I had planned to make this top and wear it at the Knit and Crochet Show / Crochet Guild of America annual conference in San Diego this past July. Unfortunately, I had some issues with yarn (dye lots and not enough time to get more; yes, that problem even happens with crochet professionals from time to time!), and wasn’t able to get that top completed in time.
What’s a girl to do? I still wanted to promote this fabulous book, so I looked through other designs and my yarn stash, figured out how much time I had in which to complete the garment, and decided to make the Au Naturel Cropped Top:
I never seem to make something exactly as pictured in a pattern. The first thing I did for this top was to change the yarn: I used Aunt Lydia’s Fashion 3 crochet thread in Purple #182_531, available from Red Heart Yarns.
Next, I had to make some changes to accommodate my large bust. I ended up following the instructions for the smallest size for the bodice back and the instructions for the next size up for the bodice front. If I had used the same size as the bodice front for the back, the garment would have been way too wide for my back width for the particular fit that I was going after.
SPECIAL NOTE: This type of adjustment is something I do to many patterns to accommodate my personal body shape. It is simply personal preference. Lace is very drapey and forgiving. Many, if not most, crocheters will be able to make the garments in this book without needing to make any adjustments at all.
Because of these changes, I had to adjust some other things. Because the instructions for the different sizes ended on different rows, I had to add a couple of extra rows to one piece. Because the back was not as wide as the front, I had to follow the shoulder shaping for the smaller size on the bodice front, otherwise I wouldn’t have had enough neck width space in the back. This resulted in a front neck opening that was a bit wider than the actual garment instructions, but I liked the way that looked. I could also have chosen to start with the shoulder shaping instructions for the larger front piece and just decrease on the inner edges until the top of the shoulders matched the stitch count for the smaller size. I didn’t want to take the time to figure out the stitch counts, though, so I took what I thought was the easier, quicker option.
Other than that, I believe I followed the instructions with no problems.
I had my top on display in our booth at the Knit and Crochet Show. Because of that top, we sold out of ALL the booth inventory we had ordered for this book! I wore the top in the booth part of the day on Saturday and also modeled it in the fashion show at the closing banquet on Saturday night.
Now to what you’ve been waiting for! Check out the rest of the fabulous designs featured in the book:
Find Mary Jane Online
Ravelry: maryjane2 (must be logged in to see profile)
Positively Crochet! Blog: http://positivelycrochet.blogspot.com/
Ravelry Designer Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/mary-jane-hall
Ravelry Designer Fan Group: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/positively-crochet-and-crochet-that-fits-the-designs-of-mary-jane-hall
This has been a very long post, so let’s keep the giveaway simple. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post and tell us which is your favorite design.
RULES: You must be 19 years of age or older to enter and have a US mailing address. (Sorry, international shipping with tracking is just too expensive.)
Enter on or before 11:59 PM CST on Friday, August 14, 2015.
Blog Tour Schedule
- Vickie Howell / Knit Crochet Craft – 8/4
- Outstanding Crochet – 8/5
- Bonnie Bay – 8/6
- Crochetville – 8/7
- My Little City Girl – 8/10
- Yarn Thing Podcast – 8/13
- Hook & Needle Designs – 8/14
- GoCrochet – 8/17
- Turquoiz Blue – This is Crochet – 8/18
- Cute Crochet Chat – 8/19
- Hot Lava Crochet – 8/20
- The Crochet Architect – 8/21
- Crochet Renee – 8/24