Today starts a two day crochet extravaganza here on Naughty Secretary Club. To start things off I have an interview with crocheting cutie Linda Permann author of the fantabulously adorable new book Crochet Adorned: Reinvent Your Wardrobe with Crocheted Accents, Embellishments and Trims. The cherry on top is that we are also giving away a copy of Crochet Adorned to one lucky reader and believe me – you want this book.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, needle arts and sewing are not my first crafty love. I made it through an afghan for Tallulah while I was too pregnant to do much else other than sit on the couch and my skills halted with that one single stitch. Often I find the idea of an entire crochet project a bit daunting. The afghan took forever. I want to pick out my outfit and make a pair of earrings to match that same day. That kind of instant craft gratification never seemed possible with crochet, that is until I read Crochet Adorned. My quick crochet crafty prayers had been answered.
Want to make your shoes match your sweater, flip right to page 74 and the Like New Shoes Project. Skill level beginner, hells to yeah. You had me at easy embellished shoes. But then Linda goes and takes it up another notch playing to all my soft spots with not one, but three crocheted jewelry projects. My favorite being the Bird Brooches. The home section is also fun and has a very retro feel about it. The Butterfly Apron makes me want to bake cookies in heels just like a perfect 1950’s housewife and you can tune in tomorrow to see how my adventures in the Lace Bowl making department work out.
None of this cuteness surprises me. Linda has been around the crafty block a time or two. She was the founding Craft and Decorating editor at the much missed Adorn Magazine. You can find her crocheted handiwork in books and magazines like Bust, Crochet Today, Knit 1 and Stitch and Bitch Crochet. Not to mention you can read all about Linda’s crafty adventures on her blog Linda Made. Linda is not only insanely talented and creative, she is also a real sweetie. So sweet in fact she agreed to do a little interview for Naughty Secretary Club. Read on to learn more about the designs you can find in Crochet Adorned and be sure to read all the way to the bottom to enter to win a free copy.
Do you find that you make more crochet items from scratch or do you tend to adorn items you already have or purchase?
It depends. I like to make a lot of accessories, but when it comes to garments, I like to add little crochet touches to things. I'm really not much of a sweater wearer, but there are so many fun things that you can do with crochet, and since I have a bunch of leftover yarn sitting around, it just makes sense.
Can you remember the first wearable item you adorned with crochet?
Hmm. About seven or eight years ago I started making crocheted and sewn brooches (basically combining bits of crochet with sewn yoyos and other fun things like beads and pailettes). Although I didn't actually sew them on, I wore them as brooches all of the time. I think it started there.
Do you compulsively walk through stores and think “this would be so much cuter with a scalloped edge around the collar?”
Sometimes! When I was shopping for items for the book- definitely! The cool thing is, sometimes you can use crochet to camouflage an undesirable aspect of a garment. For instance, I was looking for a cardigan to embellish so that I could wear it for a book event, and I found one in the perfect shade of purple, but it was one that tied in the center—which I wouldn't have liked whether or not I was embellishing it. So, since I was covering the front corners of the collar with flowers anyway, I was able to trim, fold back, and stitch the ties in place to conceal them. It's cool to be able to modify something to be "just right" and decorate it at the same time. Similarly, you could totally cover stains or moth holes with crocheted flowers—bonus, especially if you find a cool vintage piece you don't want to pass up.
One of the other projects in the book, the Modern Harlequin Dress, was inspired by a real life dress I trimmed. I found the dress for $10 at H&M, but the neck was just too low, and it was also a little short for work. So I figured that if I added a nice wide trim, and overlapped it with the dress by about and inch, I could lengthen the dress and raise the collar. It worked, and I get lots of compliments on the dress. Another of the projects, the Floral Motif Yoke Top, was one that I originally made for myself—I wanted to use up this pretty fabric that I had, but I only had 1 yard—not enough for a shirt! So I combined it with some stash yarn and the top was born!
Why did you decide to write a book about adorning ready made clothing and accessories with crochet rather than a book that had straight up all crochet all the time projects?
That's a good question, and I had several reasons. First of all, I like projects that are quick and doable—and I don't think I'm alone in that! I still get the satisfaction of making something I'm wearing when I do an embellishment project, and it doesn't take me weeks or months to finish.I also wanted to take the intimidation factor out of making clothes—it can be scary to put a lot of work into something and not know whether it fits, but people can get their feet wet by starting out with crocheted embellishments.
I also wanted to write a book that would appeal to people who are already crocheting, and perhaps attract new crocheters, too. I really think crocheting is a lovely craft, and it's still trying to have its renaissance. I've always loved combining different crafts—I think it's so much fun to use crochet in everything, and I hope that multi-crafty people will see this book as a way to begin exploring crochet. I don't think most people learn new skills unless they want to do something with those skills, so I hope this book is an inspiration point that lights that crocheting fire for some. I like the open-endedness of these kinds of projects—readers can make them exactly as presented, or do their own twist on the ideas.
Also, to put it simply, I don't wear a lot of sweaters! I just don't like to be hot. But I do like a dressed up t-shirt or tank top, and after years of collecting the occasional hand crocheted trim at the thrift shop, it occurred to me that I could make my own trims. I started seeing crochet make a comeback in ready made clothing, and I wanted to do a nice, modern book on applying crocheted elements to clothes (and more) for those who want to do it themselves.
If I were to go through your closets how many items would I find that you have adorned with crochet? What is your favorite item that you have given a facelift to using crochet?
I have quite a few items—the motif tank and dress I mentioned above, my own version of the sweater on the cover, many many brooches that I pin on hats, scarves, jackets and the like, and skirt with an offset doily appliqué. I think my favorite has to be the trimmed dress, but the cardigan with the flowers is giving it a run for its money!
Thanks for the interview Linda, Naughty Secretary Club hearts you and Crochet Adorned! Want to add Crochet Adorned to your collection of craft books? Leave me a comment letting me know your favortie craft books of all time and why? Did Stitch and Bitch teach you to knit? Did Handmade Nation inspire you? Are you scouring flea markets after reading The Naughty Secretary Club. You have one week to leave a comment!