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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Daytime in Paris Shoulder Bag in Colorful Crochet Lace

Daytime in Paris Sholder Bag by Mary Jane Hall in Colorful Crochet Lace

Another accessory from Colorful Crochet Lace I want to share is the Daytime in Paris Sholder Bag. Pattern is for 2 sizes - the one shown in the picture and a much larger bag/carry-on. Bag is double lined with stabilizer but is optional. The leather straps were purchased at JoAnns. I love texture and used popcorn stitches in this bag. If you do not want to make the popcorn stitches you can easily work a DC cluster in place of each popcorn.

Daytime in Paris Shoulder Bag by Mary Jane Hall in Colorful Crochet Lace

Daytime in Paris Shoulder Bag by Mary Jane Hall - closeup
 of popcorn stitches and silver charm

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review of Colorful Crochet Lace at About.com by Katheryn Vercillo

Katheryn Vercillo is well known for her popular blog, Crochet Concupiscence. I'm honored she did this review of the book! Go to About.com to read the full review.

Crochet designer Mary Jane Hall has released a new book called Colorful Crochet Lace that highlights the stunning contemporary use of lace in crafting with nearly two dozen fresh new crochet patterns. Additionally, it incorporates the use of a special crochet technique created by the designer to help make it easier for crafters to shape their garments to their own size and style.

About the Crochet Book

Colorful Crochet Lace is a 2015 crochet book published by Interweave.

Examples of the Crochet Patterns
It includes 22 truly chic crochet lace projects, giving us a little bit of information about the history of lace making but more importantly showcasing how lace really fits in with a modern way of life. Author and designer Mary Jane Hall really loves color and she capitalizes on that love by incorporating bold hues into her patterns. This shows us the varied potential of lace that we might otherwise overlook when viewing more classic white/cream and other neutral lace designs. Of course, those kinds of lace have their place but it's great to see the other options in crochet lace as well.
The crochet patterns in this book are a mixture of accessories patterns and clothing patterns. You'll find crochet patterns for belts, bags, scarves and shawls. You'll also find crochet patterns for beautifully lacy boleros, capelets and shrugs to wear over outfits all throughout the year. And with the patterns in this new book you'll also be able to make crochet shirts, dresses and tops of all shapes and sizes.

Graduated Stitch Method

It's an impressive collection of different types of designs. You could make a whole wardrobe for yourself using this book and a little bit of your own imagination!
The most unique thing about this wonderful new crochet book is that it incorporates the Graduated Stitch Method, which is a a unique shaping/ and sizing technique created by the author. She teaches us the technique so that we can get the right size and shape to suit our own needs as crafters without having to rely solely on increases and decreases, which have long been the standard method of shaping and sizing in crochet. The designer has been using this technique for several years to great success in her patterns.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dominique Dress Overlay in Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall

Today I want to feature the Dominique Dress Overlay in my new book, Colorful Crochet Lace. This is meant to be worn over another dress, over leggings or can be used as a swinsuit cover. Even though it is not real colorful to me, I wanted to have some projects in the book that may appeal to thos people who prefer a warm or pastel color pallette. As you may know by now, my favorite color pallette is medium cool colors.

Dominique Dress Overlay by Mary Jane Hall
from Colorful Crochet Lace

The yarn is nice and easy to work with. It's Tahki Cotton Classics Lite, a # 2 sport wt in 100 % cotton with a slight sheen in color # 4253 - wheat.  I wrote this pattern for sizes small - 3x. Beginning ch is at the top, and I give instructions on how to make this into a crop top, a tunic and even a skirt by eliminating the straps. I tried it on my mannequin and the top area right below the straps fit the waist perfectly. I made a slit opening in the back at the waist so it would easily go over the hips. If you wanted a maxi overlay to go over another maxi skirt all you have to do is keep adding rows! As you can see by my photos, it looks good worn with or without a belt! Try wearing a belt at the waist also.

Dominique Dress Overlay by Mary Jane Hall in Colorful Crochet Lace
Close-up view of Dominique Dress Overlay in back
To read more about Colorful or to order, please go to this link:http://www.amazon.com/Colorful-Crochet-Lace-Garments-Accessories/dp/1620336987/ref=pd_sim_b_12?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Y6KZHCJC5HWRAS3RED3

Monday, July 20, 2015

Alla Koval Book Blog Tour - Imagical Seasons Spring and Imagical Seasons Summer (Book 1and 2)

Welcome to my blog today! It is a very special day because I am showcasing and honoring Alla Koval on the release of her first book ever! Actually, it's even better than that! She is celebrating the launch of 2 books at the same time. I cannot tell you how excited I am for Alla. She has worked hard and really deserves this recognjtion! I am posting an interview (see below) I did with Alla to feature her on this very special and emotional day for her. The book has beautiful stitch charts, beautiful photos, standard measurements and UK as well as US conversion charts. But first I just want to ask you all to participate in the her blog tour by clicking on each persons link (after you've read my post) who is involved in the tour. The tour schedule is listed below. I am also excited to tell you all I am able to have a giveaway of her very special books.
Just leave a comment with your email after this post and you will be put in a drawing to win one of her books. Giveaway will run now through 11:59 pm on July24, 2015 and the winner will be announced July 25, 2015, so be sure and check back here and follow my time line on Facebook.   
 Alla is from the Ukraine but lives in America and I hope we can make this very talented (and sweet!) gal feel welcome to our country as we celebrate with her on the launch of her beautiful books and designs!
Alla is offering a special discount to the readers of her blog tour posts. If you buy the printed edition of her book at Imagical Seasons, on Etsy, or on Amazon, then you'll get the digital version of the book as well for no extra cost! This special offer is good through August 1, 2015, using promo code IMAGICAL. What a deal!
If you did not read my other post about her designs, please do so. Thanks for stopping by!

                        My Interview With Alla Koval

Where are you from originally? What is your background? Schooling, your family, siblings, influences in your life.
I am from the country which does not exist anymore ;o)
My home city is Poltava, Ukraine; it has long history and many traditions and I love my city; my family is still there and I love to come back to them from time to time. I finished high school over there and moved to bigger city, called Kharkov to study in University. Even if both cities are only 3 hours on the bus apart, I started to live alone and that's a big difference, as you can guess, and I had many friends, memories, stories and adventures and also love that place. After graduation I was working as a software developer for almost a decade. 

Alla Koval of My Little City Girl Knits
In 1999 I moved from Ukraine to Seattle and that's where I 
live with my family in our not big but lovely house for last 16 years and hope to be able to live 100 more years!
Russia and Ukraine, as probably any other country, has knitting and crocheting as a traditional women's favorite hobby so my grandmother and my mother were good in tthat, and as a girl, I picked that up very fast. Another good part is actually a location - living in a place where European and Asian traditions met each other you see all of them and learn from all of them. Now, with Internet help this is not that important, but 30 years ago it was, and I am glad I was exposed to Ukrainian, European and Asian knitting schools.

2. When and how did you learn to crochet and knit?
I knit and crochet for a long time. Actual learning part happened in the early years of school, mostly during after school day care hours - but you can imaging complexities of these "projects" :) And the real one, which was not only finished but pleased someone, was a hand knitted sweater created for my father when I was around 11 years old. That sweater was worn for number of years and eventually fell apart. Then I was knitting garments and accessories as gifts or by request from my friends and family.
To be honest, I do not remember exactly when I started to crochet on regular basis and what was my first crochet project... Russian and Ukrainian languages have no special word for determining crochet. We say "knit with needles" and "knit with hook". Back in Ukraine I was mostly knitting with needles but always had a  bunch of crochet hooks just to fix something or to crochet embellishment, finishing edging and so on.
The beauty and freedom of crocheting I discovered after my daughter was born and I started imagining all the cute things Kristin could wear and this is how I started designing children’s knit and crochet clothes... And then I realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do in my life.

3. What was your motivation in becoming a professional designer? I know you have been designing since your first daughter was born and I'm sure that helped motivate you to get started but are there other reasons? For example, I didn't know I had a talent to design, but my motivation is that I wanted to find some kind of job I could do at home, which is what happened!
 Spring Collection
It is very interesting to be a designer! I think everyone should try to design - by doing that, when you draw, and count, and try to think about stitches and patterns - at this time you will see different side of knitting and crocheting and this side is amazing! Really - you all know how do you feel when you have done something (sweater, scarf, anything) and give it to someone and see that your work is loved and people wear it! Now try to imagine if you create a pattern, give it a name and share it with many people and they make that something and send to you photos with your design! This is good goal to achieve and I actually wrote my books to help with that - to show a path - step by step - to imagination. The rest - diagrams, pattern etc., are technical parts and could be done in number of ways, but wish to create and share is a key. And I share my experience, my vision and my success in these books!
For the second part of your question - to have a job at home - I would say that working at home does help but it also makes it difficult. Sure you don't spend time for commute and you see kids and help with house, yes, all that counts. But working from home, when you have your business, makes you work full time, and it is not 8 hours 5 days, it looks more as 16 hours 7 days a week with no weekends :) But it worth it!

4. Do you design only for children? Have you designed for adults too?

Summer Collection
 Yes, for now most of my designs are for children, actually for girls, 2-12 years old. I do have plans to design for boys more, and I have few patterns for boys already and more to come in near future I hope.
I enjoy to create accessories for ladies—scarves, hats, wraps, necklaces, pins, etc., which appeared in several magazines, including Crochet! and Interweave Crochet. Also my accessories patterns can be found at mylittlecitygirl.com and in Imagical Seasons book series.

5. What experiences in your background (schooling, jobs, etc.) made you so talented in creating such beautiful, unique, one of a kind garments and accessories for babies and older girls?
Thank you Marie Jane, I appreciate the compliment!
I  was designing as far as I remember myself. From early childhood I was involved into the joy of creating my own garments. My mom is a professional seamstress and amazing knitter and crocheter and she preferred to handmade most of dresses for me and my sister. As far as we all remember, I participated every single time - as a trouble maker when I was too small and as artist and designer once I got older…
Also, some Russian and Ukrainian traditions are very special and one of such "traditions", almost requirement, is to look different and it practically forces you to start making something unique! Sure it is much better if it is not just unique but also beautiful :)

Summer Collection
6. Where do you draw your inspirations for your designs from?
Sometimes, the idea for a design just comes into my head and I don't know from where. I just visualize it clearly and then somehow make the mental images into something real.
Other times, I find inspiration in paintings and photographs—Pinterest is an amazing source of inspiration and eye-candy. I look at things and try to understand if I can see something special what has to be noticed.
Often I start by looking for unusual stitch patterns, and start building my ideas from them. It’s so interesting to see how a stitch pattern evolves when you start modifying it, especially when combining with other patterns!
But most of my inspiration comes from colors of nature and changing of seasons. It’s no secret that I am endlessly inspired by beautiful colors, you just have to take a peek at my portfolio (http://allakovaldesigns.com/) to see that most my designs are thoroughly and obsessively color coordinated.
One of a brightest memories from my childhood was my very first set of 48 color markers. I was super excited to experiment with the colors, and my mom paid attention to how I used them. Later she told me that when she asked why I combined the colors that way, I explained - “They felt happy together.” Well, I still have that excitement about colors, and l am always on the lookout for new color combinations to work with.

7. I know you have been selling patterns on your website for years, but are these your first books to be sold in book stores and online stores? 
Yes, these are my first books ever! I still have to work on "to be sold in book stores" and I'm working on this, but so far my books are available at ImagicalSeasonsAmazonRavelryEtsyCraftsy  … and more stores to come!

Alla's Ravelry DesignerPage: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/alla-koval?page=1
Alla's website - My Little City Girl Knits: http://mylittlecitygirl.com

Places you can buy her book are listed below

Imagical Seasons (print & digital): http://imagicalseasons.com/?page_id=23002
Ravelry (digital only):
Dawanda (German website) - http://en.dawanda.com/shop/allakoval
Spring - http://www.amazon.com/Imagical-Seasons-Spring-Crochet-Couture-ebook/dp/B0116TQTP8

                                                    Blog Tour Schedule

July 13: Knitting and Crochet – Amy Solovay
July 14: Faina’s Knitting Mode – Faina Goberstein
July 15: Crochet Queen: Royal Ramblings – Gwen Blakely Kinsler
July 16: Crochet Concupiscence – Kathryn Vercillo
July 17: Petals to Picots – Kara Gunza
July 18: Stylish Knits – Simona Merchant-Dest5
July 19: Craft Gossip – Sarah E. White
July 20: Positively Crochet – Mary Jane Hall
July 21: Magic with Hook and Needles – Vendula Maderska

July 22: Cute Crochet – Jocelyn Sass

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Interview with Mary Jane Hall by Rhonda of Oombawka Design

The link below will take you to an interview with me by Rhonda of oombawka design crochet. Thank you Rhonda!

           Colorful Crochet Lace - Review and Interview

This is a beautiful book – filled with stunning designs, beautiful graphics and pretty fonts. The way the book has been put together mimics the designs in the book and is both feminine and chic – you will find swirly title fonts and pretty overlays – Colorful Crochet Lace is lovely to browse through.
The pattern instructions are presented in a clean and easy to read font. Each project is.... 
To read the full review of the book and interview with Mary Jane click on the link below.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Brigitte Wide Belt in Colorful Crochet Lace

Brigitte Wide Lace Belt in Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall
 Brigitte Wide Belt - another design in Colorful Crochet Lace. I wanted to have a few accessories that were quick along with the garments and since my research told me wide lace belts would be a huge fashion statement for 2015, this is what I came up with. Pattern is written for sizes x small - 3× and the ribbon is optional. This could be made in any color and would go with just about anything! To make it interesting and fun, you can weave a different color ribbon through, depending what you are wearing. Even though black is not considered a color, the publisher and I decided that this needed to be in black because it will go with any colorful dress or top.
                                       Did you know I LOVE LACE?!

Widea Belts I found on the Web below. I hope you like my version!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Boutique Bolero in Colorful Crochet Lace

Boutique Bolero - design I am featuring today from my new book, Colorful Crochet Lace. Flattering on every body shape and size, the pattern is written for sizes xs - 2× with a choice of making shorter sleeves. The yarn I chose is Be Sweet Bamboo sport weight, which is one of my favorite yarns that drapes really well. It's so soft and has a beautiful sheen! The bolero fits in w/ today's styles being longer in the back. I love the stitch pattern, and my little dangling Bobbles make it interesting. Of course they are optional. Easy pattern!

Boutique Bolero by Mary Jane Hall in Colorful Crochet Lace

 If you're interested, you can read more about the book on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Colorful-Crochet-Lace-Garments-Accessories/dp/1620336987/ref=zg_bsnr_5132_3