Invitation to Design Crochet

CGOA20thAnniversaryLogoThe Crochet Guild of America continues to celebrate and reward excellence in crochet design, as we invite you to participate in the CGOA 2014 Design Competition.  Please download the official information package here and find out what our membership already knows: this is the only competition of its kind and is an amazing showcase for our craft.  This is my sixth year of involvement with the competition and I am so proud that each event brings more and greater prestige not just to crochet and to the competition itself, but also to the participants and the award-winning designers we honor.

Perhaps you saw the back page of the Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet, and marveled at the little face staring out at you.

Crochet Bandit

Marcy Smith, editor of Interweave Crochet, President of CGOA Board of Directors and one of our competition judges last year, was so entranced with this entry, Summer Visitors, that she asked winning designer Sachiko Adams for permission to feature her work in a magazine piece. YAY, Sachiko!Summer Visitors

Of course there’s more at stake here than pride, crochet glory and a gang of prize ribbons. Thanks to generous grants from our magnificent sponsors we have thousands of dollars in cash awards, sweet indeed. Please join me in acknowledging and appreciating these supporters of crochet and CGOA, including to date:

Cari Clement

Crochetville

Interweave Crochet

Gwen Blakley-Kinsler

MainlyCrochet

Red Heart

WEBS, America’s Yarn Store

The competition is open to CGOA members; deadline for entries is July 1, 2014.  Judging and exhibition of entries will be held during the CGOA Conference, 23-27 July in Manchester, New Hampshire. If you’re up for the challenge, please visit the CGOA website at crochet.org to become a member and then get ready to show me your crochet!

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DesigningVashti Lotus Crochet

I did promise to show you just what I’ve done to put our new yarn, DesigningVashti Lotus, to work in crochet design.

First I substituted Lotus for a few sportweight gauge pieces from my book Convertible Crochet; the vest Callisto, the shrug Phoebe, the collar Corsair.  Also I used Lotus for the Jolimar Skirt, originally designed in now discontinued NaturallyCaron.com Spa.

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But the ultimate test of this yarn, the real reason I considered designing a yarn because I could never find the right one anywhere else, is to make… pants.  Finally, with the convergence of the perfect yarn at the point in my crochet career when I have the skills to actually do it, there be seamless crocheted pants!

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The same pattern set will offer the Boy Shorts, Tap Pants, Capris and Lounge pants.  Naturally, I had to design tops to go with; a babydoll and a sleeveless tunic.  The tank in Sapphire Lotus is already out, but you may not recognize the design; it’s DJC2 Tank Girl, made in Junior Size S and worn tight and cropped.  I know, I know.  Wearing crochet head to butt is considered to be a bit too much, over the top.  A No-No.  A Fashion Don’t.  However, these are pajamas.  Sleep sets.  Unless you invite the Fashion Police to your next slumber party, who’s gonna know?  Lotus Pants and the tops, oh, and one pretty, flirty little lace dress in one of my favorite crochet stitch patterns are coming to DJC Designs, Spring 2014.  Thereabouts.

Until then, what can you do to get to know Lotus?  If you see this in time, you can join me and the boss, Vashti Braha, in the Crochetville chat room, Friday, 10 January, 1:00 to 2:00 Eastern time.  Check this Facebook event page in the morning for info and a link to the chat location. We will be spilling our guts about Lotus and stuff.  Also, Vashti’s brain has been working overtime and she dreamed up a fun way for you to sample Lotus.  It’s the Lotus Color Chip Kit, yarn snips in each shade, enough to make these itty bitty, goofy but cool color chips.

Lotus_Color_Chipsc9face1a301e

Lotus Color Chip Kit

Join us in the Crochetville chatroom and find out how you can get your kit.  I’m already limbering up my typing fingers in anticipation.  Hope to meet you there.

New Favorite Crochet Yarn For the New Year

Today I sit and contemplate the approaching new year.  As is my nature I am not looking back at 2013. It is not my way to evaluate or analyze the events, triumphs and complete bummers of the past.  Rather, I am anticipating the excitement yet to come.  2014, the Year of the Wood Horse, promises to be an auspicious one for me, as I was born in the previous Wood Horse Year.  It’s also going to be a brilliant year for crochet if we have anything to say about it (“we” being me and the boss, Vashti Braha), for 2014 will be the year of Lotus.

Vashti and I, both avid crocheters and professional crochet designers, both writers for and about crochet, really love yarn. Between us, we have tasted and tested hundreds of products from the ubiquitous craft store brands to esoteric and/or ultra-luxe boutique yarns. But, sadly, few yarns in our experience have been completely lovable.

A couple of years ago when Vashti and I were once again bemoaning the fact that most yarn is S-twisted and not very happy for our styles of crochet, she started asking me pointed questions about what I look for in the perfect yarn. I thought she was just making conversation; she was actually taking notes, while her brain was furiously and obsessively planning her new venture.  Since we couldn’t find or buy the yarn we wanted, Vashti set out to design it, have it produced (in the USA) and offer it on her website, DesigningVashti.com. That’s how Lotus was born. It is quite simply the yarn I could live in…. and couldn’t live without.

DesigningVashti Lotus Color Card

Lotus fills a place in crochet in a way that no other single yarn has done. It is a sportweight blend of cotton and rayon, with a gorgeous drape, pretty sheen and just the right amount of Z-twist.  Lotus substitutes perfectly in just about any crochet pattern that calls for sportweight yarn; for example it works well in most of my designs for the discontinued yarn, NaturallyCaron.com Spa. And with a bit of care and attention to tension, you can crochet it in a range of gauges from sock to DK. Lotus is sturdy as well, and holds up incredibly well in garments, even ones you sit on (dresses, skirts, pants). This is, left to right, Becky Barker, me, Vashti, and Diane Moyer, modeling Lotus wear on the runway at the CGOA 2013 Fall Fashion Show, Charlotte, NC.

Lotus Designs at CGOA Fall Fashion Show

I have kept quiet about Lotus until now, but Vashti has already been blogging and news-letting about becoming a yarn designer. Following a soft premier in December (see DesigningVashti Crochet newsletter issue #55) the major promotion begins in 2014. Please join us on January 10th for a live chat at Crochetville; here’s the Facebook Event page for information. Look for interviews and features about DesigningVashti Lotus in magazines and e-zines in the coming months.  And very soon there will be a butt-load of Lotus design support from DJC Designs, my independent pattern line.  Next time I will post a peek at what I’m working on.  For now, the anticipation is killing me!

CGOA 2013 Peoples’ Choice

The winner of the CGOA 2013 Design Competition $100 Peoples’ Choice Award, sponsored by Karen Whooley/KRW Knitwear designs, as voted by attendees at the CGOA Conference, Charlotte/Concord, NC, is

Sparkling Shells Evening Shawl, designed by Susmita Mullick:

“This “sparkling shells evening shawl” is designed by Susmita Mullick. It is a light and lacey shawl done in Lion Brand Vanna Glamour yarn in a platinum with diamond color shading. The design features diagonal shells which are interconnected with a slip stitch on both sides of the shawl. This sparkling shells evening shawl is perfect for holiday gifts or to wear on gala occasions.”

Sparkling Shells by Susmita Mullick

Sparkling Shells by Susmita Mullick

CGOA 2013 Design Competition Results

CGOA 2013 Design Competition Results, as announced during the Awards Ceremony at the CGOA conference in Charlotte, NC, 3 October 2013:

In the category Accessories, sponsored by WEBS, America’s Yarn Store:

Honorable Mention

Fiji Flowers on Flowers (61), designed by Linda Dean

Fiji Flowers on Flowers by Linda Dean

Fiji Flowers on Flowers by Linda Dean

$100 Third Prize

Josephine’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcape (86), designed by Maxine Pike:

Josephine's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Maxine Pike

Josephine’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Maxine Pike

$200 Second Prize

Windowpane Wrap (19), designed by April Garwood:

Windowpane Wrap by April Garwood

Windowpane Wrap by April Garwood

$300 First Prize

Dragon Wing (1), designed by Joyce Lewis:

Dragon Wing by Joyce Lewis

Dragon Wing by Joyce Lewis

Dragon Wing is also the winner of this year’s $200 Technical Merit Award, sponsored by Designing Vashti, for outstanding, fresh use of Tunisian crochet techniques.

In the category Afghans and Home Décor, sponsored by Red Heart:

Honorable Mention

Granny’s Tree of Love (42) designed by Deborah Bagley:

Granny's Tree of Love by Deborah Bagley

Granny’s Tree of Love by Deborah Bagley

$100 Third Prize

Alpine Lodge (88), designed by Sue Solakian:

Alpine Lodge by Sue Solakian

Alpine Lodge by Sue Solakian

$200 Second Prize

Octie: Flower to Octagon Blanket (70), designed by Jessie Rayot:

Octie Flower to Octagon by Jessie Rayot

Octie Flower to Octagon by Jessie Rayot

$300 First Prize

Simple Pleasures (24), designed by Julia Bryant from Canada:

Simple Pleasures by Julia Bryant

Simple Pleasures by Julia Bryant

In the category Small Accessories, sponsored by Tulip Company, manufacturers of Etimo cushion grip crochet hooks:

Honorable Mention

Rainbow Crochet Carryall (100), designed by Cynthia Fiebig:

Rainbow Crochet Carryall by Cynthia Fiebig

Rainbow Crochet Carryall by Cynthia Fiebig

$100 Third Prize

Is That A Platypus Scarf? (74), designed by Laurinda Reddig:

Is That A Playpus Scarf by Laurinda Reddig

Is That A Playpus Scarf by Laurinda Reddig

$200 Second Prize

Purple Cascade (56), designed by Jean DeMouy:

Purple Cascade by Jean DeMouy

Purple Cascade by Jean DeMouy

$300 First Prize

Fair Isle Love Beanie (2), designed by Deja Jetmir:

Fair Isle Love Beanie by Deja Jetmir

Fair Isle Love Beanie by Deja Jetmir

In the category Thread Crochet, sponsored by Boye and The Crochet Dude, Drew Emborsky:

Honorable Mention

Rendezvous (9), designed by Kathryn White

Rendezvous by Kathryn White

Rendezvous by Kathryn White

$100 Third Prize

Rose Ensemble (20), designed by Kathie Earle:

Rose Ensemble by Kathie Earle

Rose Ensemble by Kathie Earle

$200 Second Prize

Calcutta Doily (8), designed by Kathryn White:

Calcutta Doily by Kathryn White

Calcutta Doily by Kathryn White

$300 First Prize

Princess of Circles (25), designed by Carol Booth:

Princess of Circles by Carol Booth

Princess of Circles by Carol Booth

In the category Fashion, sponsored by Interweave Crochet:

Honorable Mention

Summer Lace Dress (94), designed by Janelle Ponte:

Summer Lace Dress by Janelle Ponte

Summer Lace Dress by Janelle Ponte

$100 Third Prize

Frilly Summer Cardigan (13), designed by Susan Walsh, from Australia!

Frilly Summer Cardigan by Susan Walsh

Frilly Summer Cardigan by Susan Walsh

$200 Second Prize

Connemara Beauty (51), designed by Jennifer Ryan:

Connemara Beauty by Jennifer Ryan

Connemara Beauty by Jennifer Ryan

$300 First Prize

Afternoon Tea (6), designed by Kathryn White:

Afternoon Tea by Kathryn White

Afternoon Tea by Kathryn White

And in the category Artistic Expressions, sponsored by Jenny King Designs:

Honorable Mention

Meeting Mr. Tumnus by the Lamp in Narnia (41), designed by Deborah Bagley:

Meeting Mr. Tumnus by the Lamp in Narnia

$100 Third Prize

Owl Sit With You (43), designed by Deborah Bagley:

Owl Sit With You Bean Bag Chair by Deborah Bagley

Owl Sit With You Bean Bag Chair by Deborah Bagley

$200 Second Prize

Philomena (96), designed by Kate Buckner:

Philomena by Kate Buckner

Philomena by Kate Buckner

$300 First Prize

Summer Visitors (63), designed by Sachiko Adams:

Summer Visitors by Sachiko Adams

Summer Visitors by Sachiko Adams

Summer Visitors is also the winner of the $100 Founders Prize, sponsored by CGOA founder Gwen Blakley Kinsler;

And finally, the $1,000 Grand Prize sponsored by Crochetville and MainlyCrochet.com:

Mille Fleurs Dress (32), designed by Dot Drake:

Mille Fleurs Dress by Dot Drake

Mille Fleurs Dress by Dot Drake

One last prize, the Peoples’ Choice Award,is still to be decided by popular vote during the course of the conference; winner to be announced on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, enjoy a slideshow of the entire competition, all images provided by Doris Chan.

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