Leisure Arts recently published Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets by Sharon Silverman, and I cannot stop looking at these gorgeous designs. There's a chevron Tunisian crochet baby blanket right there on the cover! How can you not be captivated by this?
I emailed Sharon about her work and about this new book, and she kindly wrote back so I could share a little of her creative motivation with you. And so I could just show you pictures of the patterns in this amazing little book. Like this.
|Basket Weave Blocks.|
Okay, on to the interview!
How did you learn to do Tunisian crochet? What made you interested in it?
I discovered Tunisian crochet in a stitch dictionary and was immediately intrigued. The fabrics didn't have the "loopy" look of regular crochet--some looked like knit and purl!--but they were created with a crochet hook. I tried Tunisian simple stitch and could not wipe the smile off my face. It was so much fun and went so fast! It was like the best of both worlds joining knit and crochet. I started hunting for everything I could find about the craft. Although it's not new, it was new to me. I'm still excited about learning new Tunisian techniques.
Why do you like to design Tunisian crochet?
It's exactly the right time for Tunisian. Crocheters are getting familiar enough with the craft to be eager for new patterns, yet there's none of the "same old thing" about it. Tunisian gives me the opportunity to try out interesting design ideas.
What do you like best about Tunisian crochet?
You can create so many kinds of fabric in Tunisian crochet, from airy lace to something that's thick and chunky. Because each row is worked in two passes, Tunisian can have amazing color effects, too.
|Frosted Stitch Series.|
Why baby blankets?
An ever-growing market, for one thing! There are always new babies coming on the scene. People love to make special things for those precious bundles, and blankets are perfect because one size fits all--no worry about fit. The decor in nurseries has really expanded, too, and accessories should keep pace with those contemporary styles and colors. I was also looking for a book project that would fit well with Leisure Arts' product line and editorial focus. Baby blankets seemed just right.
What would you say to someone who is new to Tunisian crochet and apprehensive about jumping into a bigger project like a baby blanket?
"What are you waiting for? You are going to love Tunisian crochet! Start out with a large hook and smooth yarn, and practice making a couple of swatches in different stitches. Although a baby blanket is fairly large, it isn't very complicated. There's no shaping for sleeves or a waistline. Even gauge isn't as crucial with a blanket as it would be with a garment. Give it a try! There are great books and videos if you need a little extra help."
Lastly, what is your favorite design in this book?
It's a tie between "Cables and Honeycombs" and "Bright Strands."
|Cables and Honeycombs.|
|Bright Strands. (I think this is my favorite!)|
Tunisian hooks come in different styles. I prefer a bamboo hook with a flexible plastic extension; making something as large as a baby blanket on a long, rigid hook puts a lot of weight on your hands and arms. For me, Tunisian crochet hasn't replaced "regular" crochet, it has just added an incredible tool to my crochet tool kit. My recent crochet book, Crochet Scarves: Fabulous Fashions, Various Techniques, has patterns in both styles. I also like to combine Tunisian and regular crochet, like using regular crochet trim to finish off a Tunisian item.
Thanks, Sharon! These patterns are amazing. To see what other crocheters think about Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, be sure to check out the blogs of Eurona Tilley, Kristin Omdahl, Robyn Chuchula, Kathryn Vercillo, Tammy Hildebrand, and Karen Whooley. (Whew!) They'll be reviewing the book very soon, and I'm eager to see if any of them try out a pattern. Or just check out those blogs because they're pretty great.
Or just go ahead and buy Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets because any pattern you try is going to become an amazing heirloom piece. I think the world needs a Bright Strands blanket in every nursery. My goodness.
A big thank you again to Sharon Silverman to taking the time to talk about this wonderful book and letting me understand the appeal of Tunisian crochet a little bit better.