I’m Hooked

September 8, 2014

hats 4hat back

I remember being told as a child to “calm down” when I got really excited.  I wasn’t exactly the shy and retiring type.  I’m guessing my energy was a little overwhelming for parents trying to deal with five small kids at the same time, or a teacher with a whole classroom to contend with.  These days I may not express it quite so vehemently, but I’m definitely the same person, and I haven’t been this excited in awhile!!!!!

hats flat hats 2

Recently while thrifting, I met a woman who intrigued me with her personal style.  As we talked, I learned that she’s a crochet artist.  I made some granny squares over 40 years ago and had a few frustrating how-to books gathering dust on the shelf, but I was really interested in learning how to crochet for real.  On Friday I had my first lesson.  OMG.

hats 6hats flat 2

A self-taught crocheter from the age of 9, she said things that resonated, things like “You’re creating fabric” and using words like “free form” and “improvisational”.  Music to my ears since anything mathematical is anathema.  I made these two hats over the last two days.  Talk about instant gratification.

hats 5hats flat detail 2

This one can be worn as a wide headband with the “tails” coming over the top.  Or you can wear it more hat-like with the tails coming from the bottom, which make them hang longer (see pictures above).  You can undoubtedly turn it around, with the ruffle in the back, and find a way to tie the tails in an interesting way.

hatshats flat detail

This other one amazed me with it’s versatility.  I tried it on every-whichaway, and loved it every time.  You can see some of the different looks above.  (Look for the same tunic top as your guide.)

The serendipity of meeting my teacher Gina (Instagram @awesomecrochet) has not escaped me.  She’s the perfect person at the perfect time, and I’m so grateful.  I love the fact that I can crochet as I sit with my parents, crochet as I keep Joey company in the studio, and hopefully crochet as I sit on the exercise bike!  That would be perfect.

So that’s what’s going on with me in the moment, taking one stitch at a time.  XXOO

I’m too late for Hat Attack with Judith, but please check her out here!!  However, I am able to join Patti for Visible Monday so please join the party.  See you there!

Also, I have to give a shout out to Melanie of Bag and a Beret.  Her brainchild Vogoff, a spoof of commercial fashion magazines that have to pander to their advertisers (and their money), is a refreshing, irreverent magazine with original content.  Please browse, flip through the pages, and read what resonates.  It’s a collaborative work of art and I’m proud to be a participant.  (Thank you Mel!!!!)






34 Responses to I’m Hooked

  1. Gracey the Giant on September 8, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I love this! These are so cool.

    And you look gorgeous in all of these photos!



    • Jean on September 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Thank you Sweetie!! Hope all’s well in Portland!!! Miss you.

  2. Jazzy Jack on September 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Ha ha! Crochet has you hooked! 😉 it’s so much fun. I also like to incorporate colours. Very easy stitch like single or double crochet, and then lay the colours in use but not on the hook along the top and crochet over them. Then pull them out when needed. Makes a very dense fabric. See a neck piece I made in http://naturalmedley.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/handmade_8.html and I’m wearing it in http://naturalmedley.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/cossack-influences-in-autumn.html
    Always great to see these crafts stay alive. By the way, your hats are awesome! I especially like the fifth photo with it all gathered at the side making flowers and stems! Must investigate. Watch this space!!! I love having inspiring blogger friends like you xo JJ
    PS crochet is the ultimate portable craft. And I think you can still crochet on planes …unlike knitting.

    • Jean on September 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      OOOOH! A kindred spirit!! I’m going to check out your link now. Thank you!!! XXOO

      • Jean on September 9, 2014 at 11:29 am

        All I can say is wow!! It was late when I saw your stuff so I’m going back to try to understand. So beautiful. I can’t wait to incorporate color too. :-)

        I’m guessing you can crochet on a plane because the hook isn’t sharp. A portable craft is exactly what I needed!!! XXOO

        • Sis on September 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm

          Actually, you can take knitting, avec needles, on the plane if you show them to security in advance. I knit a hat between Bangor and Louisville a year or so ago. A great diversion while on a boring flight or long layover.

          • Jean on September 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm

            Good to know, although I won’t be knitting anytime soon. I found it much harder, for some reason. Did you knit a baby hat? :-)

  3. Melanie on September 9, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Jean, let me get this straight: you took a lesson on Friday, you’ve been crocheting for two days, and this is what you’ve made? You’re a genius! Yes, instant gratification for you and for us because these hats are tremendous. Free form indeed. I hear those needles revving. I’m happy that you have a new passion.

    And thank you so much for joining Vogoff. The letter to your younger self was very moving, filled with apt observations for any of us. I wish I could have worked more with your photos, but as I said, how could I? They were just too amazing. Again, your contribution is more appreciated than you know.

    • Jean on September 9, 2014 at 11:07 am

      All I can say is, it makes sense thanks to Gina’s approach. Somehow the notion of it as fabric, knowing what to look at as it appears, taking chances (it’s super easy to rip out and re-do) completely works for me, whereas counting rows etc. just doesn’t. All the clothing refashioning has also helped with looking at things creatively, I think.

      I can’t wait to collaborate more, be it via Vogoff or something else. Thank you so much for your patience, too. :-) XXOO

  4. Patti on September 9, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Yes, you’re hooked – these hats are so great, and versatile. And love the instant gratification! Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xox.

    • Jean on September 9, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Patti. It felt good to be back at Visible Monday!!!

  5. Vix on September 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

    I love this! I always wanted to learn to crochet, my Mum was brilliant at it but I never got to grips with it. I’ve a huge collection of 1960s & 1970s crochet patterns I love to admire – one day I shall have to try again. xxx

    • Jean on September 9, 2014 at 11:11 am

      I love the vintage crochet stuff! I’m guessing you’d enjoy it once you got started. In addition to whole pieces, you could create great trim for clothing, handles for bags, the list is limitless. Plus, I’m guessing that when you travel with your shop, there’s always that down time when things are slow. Just think what you could create. With free form, having one pint too many wouldn’t matter, either. :-) XXXOOO!!!!!

  6. pao on September 9, 2014 at 9:19 am

    How fun! A hat a day that can be worn all ways. Good to have something creative to go too. Yep, it’s how the universe works I think. Nice to hear from you again, hope your doing okay with your parent sitting. I have a good book to recommend. “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast. It’s a graphic novel actually. Right on.

    • Jean on September 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Yes, I saw that book the last time I was prowling around in a bookstore. It’s so well done, and so poignant. My last visit was very sweet, looking at family photos and having great conversations. But it’s true, there’s a lot of sitting, naturally! I wonder how many things I’ll be able to make when I go up again? Hmmm…maybe I’ll make a free form poncho, or a maxi-skirt, or how ’bout a bedspread…YEAH!!

  7. Curtise on September 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Yes, you’re definitely hooked now! Isn’t it funny how having a go at something at the right time, with the right support, makes all the difference? It’s like sewing for me – years of thinking I couldn’t do it, but at this late stage of the game, I find I can after all!
    Your hat and headband are fabulous, so versatile, and I foresee many, many more creative hooking adventures to come!
    PS. Your contribution to Vogoff was a delight. xxxx

    • Jean on September 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Oh you Cover Girl, you!! Gorgeous. I loved your character and the tongue-in-cheek writing, very clever and fun. The last shot in the fishnets was perfect. :-)

      LOVE YOU!!!!! Glad you’re sewing, too.

  8. Natalia on September 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    How wonderful to meet a kindred spirit – and learn something new from her! Your hats are so adorable, and I can’t have enough of your beautiful smile! I thought your piece in VOGOFF was brilliant, I agree with every word. :) xxxx

    • Jean on September 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you so much. It was good to go back, reflect, and then write! It takes time to distill all those thoughts and words, but so gratifying. And yes, kindred spirits are such a blessing, as you know!! :-)

  9. joni@artfulcloset on September 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Nice work! Love the fact that it can be worn several ways. You’ve been very productive. I was hooked on crochet one year and must have made 15 scarves for everyone I knew. Of course, they were no way near the ingenuity of your creation.

    • Jean on September 10, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Aww shucks! :-) It’s fun, isn’t it?!!

  10. Forest City Fashionista on September 10, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I think there’s a saying that when we are ready, a teacher appears, and apparently, you were ready! I tried taking knitting lessons a couple of years ago, and while I found the process of knitting kind of zen-like, it was also frustrating as I couldn’t remember how to cast on or off, etc. I know there are videos on Youtube, but obviously I didn’t love it enough to keep on with it. Perhaps if I would have made a seriously cool hat like yours it might have inspired me!

    I loved seeing the photos of the younger Jean in VOGOFF, and the letter was lovely.

    • Jean on September 11, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Youtube videos are not inspiring. Good for some perhaps, but not me. Perhaps your teacher will appear. :-) Tried knitting, but like you, I had trouble remembering the process. I find crocheting easier and more organic, less cerebral. Could be my teacher, but it just works!!

      I LOVED your Vogoff contribution. The picture that got me the most was the one where you’re levitating…so cool. The whole concept was great.

      Hope you’re happy and doing well. I know you’re looking forward to your trip to NY!!!!!!

  11. Shawna on September 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    I suppose I am not the first person to tell you that you are really beautiful. But here you are absolutely glowing and it’s amazing. I love your creations and look forward to seeing more. I have very very basic skills when it comes to knitting and crocheting and I tend to knit more but I do love it. I find it almost like a meditation and it is relaxing but also something you can do while visiting someone, watching a show or waiting and needing to pass time. I am currently knitting a large blanket in many coloured squares but the project after that one is to be a hat. It probably won’t be as creative as yours though.

    • Jean on September 11, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      I love the idea of a large blanket and think I may try to “crazy crochet” something like that. Should be interesting!! Your colorful blanket sounds beautiful. Do you have a particular hat style in mind? I have another lesson tomorrow and I should be learning how to make an oversized beret. Can’t wait. I agree about the meditative aspect of the work (a huge plus), in addition to being able to be social yet still creating something at the same time. Pretty much perfect.

      Looking forward to seeing some of your creations and sharing mine. XXXXOOOO!!!!

  12. sandra on September 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    You are a crochet legend! seriously! these are so good, you have wonderful vision – I absolutely cannot crochet, it has evaded me, I’m left handed so I don’t know if that’s a problem! nevermind I can admire your creations! I adored you in VOGOFF x x x

    • Jean on September 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      All I know is, I’m having fun, legendary or not! :-) Thanks for your Vogoff love. I was so happy to trust Melanie and her vision. I was in good hands.

  13. Jan Graham-McMillen on September 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Hello, Lovely Jean! As always, inspired by your creativity and ability to do ANYTHING with ANY textile medium. You do it all. I thought of you the other day when I was in the Big City in a sewing machine specialty shop looking for a double needle and a missing extra spool pin. The woman there was so condescending that I needed any information about the process I was trying to learn. Cow. Anyway … I thought of how cool you are and about how much I want to get better at being able to personalize my wardrobe.
    So I held my tongue and didn’t demolish her little world with my sharp tongue. Dan said nothing, until we left the shop when he commented “That was decent of you …”
    Congrats again on your Vogoff appearance!
    Did I say how much I love your hats? I DO!

    • Jean on September 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      You know, I love that compliment from Dan! Decency is good. You should pat yourself on the back. Plus I’ll bet it was hot, and I know for me that wears me down. Hope you were able to get what you needed at the store. Those kind of interactions are so common…everyone is tired and hot, you know?

      Thank you for the lovely support! Most days I don’t feel very “cool”, just sort of weird actually. I pendulum swing between feeling utterly boring and utterly ridiculous. Occasionally I’ll hit the sweet spot and feel just right. All we can do is try! :-) You are such a wonderfully intelligent and creative friend. Thank you for stopping by. XXOO

  14. Rose on September 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Jean, just thought I’d wish you a Happy Half Birthday! I started this half-birthday milarky because Gorgeous Husband was born the day after Christmas, so I always made a fuss of him in June. Now he is returning the favour, and I got a pair of earrings this year. Awww! The card was incredibly cute too, but it was full of in-jokes, so no point telling you about it. Hope you are having fun with the crochet hook. If you’re not careful, you’re apt to inspire me!!

    Much love from England,
    Rose from http://www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

    • Jean on September 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Hi Sweetie! Happy to hear from you!! I like that- a half-birthday. I understand about that day after Christmas stuff. My father-in-law is the 28th, and it’s so hard to muster up the celebratory energy. Yes, crocheting is my new obsession. It’s the right creative activity for this time. In addition to being portable, it’s very meditative and calming once you get going. Just what I need! XXOO

  15. Rosalind on September 16, 2014 at 8:26 am

    In one of my (many) childhood Cicely Mary Berry fairy books there’s a fairy with a hat I’m sure looks just about identical to that first image. SO cute!
    Apart from – of course – loving the creations themselves, I love your exuberance and excitement at developing a new craft. You actually fizz with creative possibility in the photos themselves. it’s impossible not to smile straight back at your beaming, beautiful face.

    • Jean on September 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      I LOVE the idea that I’m wearing a fairy hat!!! I was obsessed with fairy tales when I was young, and I vividly remember the illustrations from my favorite books. I’m glad you liked my smiley face, too. Glad it feels contagious. XXOO

  16. Feda on September 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    You are just a beautiful expression of love! I’m so glad you’re enjoying your crochet adventures!!

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