Page 1

a crochet anthology with substance

passionate hookers

passionate hookers a crochet anthology with substance

Brascoe Publishing

A Brascoe book Published by Brascoe Publishing, 2009 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publisher. Requests and inquiries about reproduction and rights should be addressed to the publisher by email at <>. Each of the writers who appears in this book asserts the right to be identified as the authors of the respective works.

A Cataloguing-in-Publication entry for this work is available from the National Library of Australia. ISBN: 978-0-9805477-1-9 Printed in Australia by FC Productions.

About our book cover Model: Andrea Turelli Photographer: Daniel (Foss) McIntosh


Cool. tweeted a whole bunch of crochet people on twitter. I just love that! a head and body! #crocheting

The house looks like there was a drunken party here, except instead of empty bottles there are yarns & swatches everywhere. is feeling very zen, she just ripped apart about four hours worth of #crochet. Start again! One of the healthiest addictions on the planet, #crochet Crocheting a zombie robot, possibly the coolest concept in the history of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE. #crochet #3wordsaftersex â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time to crochet...â&#x20AC;? hope i can get some time to #crochet every stitch is as much comfort to me as a prayer bead... very meditative I think my haste in making that cute bag has hurt my wrist (again). I should know better but i love my craft! #crochet




ou may be wondering why this book screams ‘hookers’ across the front. No, it has nothing to do with sex workers, but it has everything to do with crochet. In today’s world, you’ll see on craft sites on the internet and across the blogosphere references to ‘hookers’ meaning quite simply ‘crochet practitioners’. This notion throws a lot of people, but it also highlights how both language and perceptions change over time. The general consensus is that crochet has no place in the 21st century. To most people, crochet is nothing other than doilies or nanna’s afghans: and looking at most pattern books on offer—which are filled with granny squares, afghans and toys—this seems to be true. But increasingly young crafters are turning away from notions of ‘cute’ and turning onto true craftbased creativity. In this regard, crochet is one of the most flexible of crafts. While there are basic techniques that underpin it, with crochet you don’t need to worry about dropping stitches, creating nearly irreversible errors, or following set patterns. You can unravel your mistakes easily, and very basic stitches can create stunning items easily and quickly. In a sense, crochet is a craft for the ADD generation. It’s fast to work up, you see your creation start to take shape immediately, and once you’ve worked out how different shapes function you can experiment with it easily. Unlike a craft such as knitting, crochet is intensely visual because of the speed with which items tend to come together. And the thing that we tend to like about it is that you’re not bound by rules. The piece in this book on The AntiCraft illustrates this one rather dramatically.


What some people also don’t realise is that, while crochet is not a ‘traditional’ craft practised by some of Australia’s Indigenous population, it is one that one group, in the Pitjantjatjara lands, have given their own spin. While you might think of crochet as a particularly leisurely ‘white fella’ craft, the Ernabella mukata makers will open your eyes to how some Indigenous Australians have truly made this craft their own. Passionate Hookers is truly an anthology with substance. Sick of the ‘granny’ stereotype that persists now, despite the so-called ‘crochet revolution’, and tired of having to defend our own craft practices as young hookers ourselves, we sought out authors, artists and designers who could contribute something new and exciting to the field. We have hookers within this book who are of both genders; we have exciting works from the young and not-so-young; we have pieces on using recycled materials, and tutorials on true free-form crochet art. In all senses, Passionate Hookers is a unique work. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Leticia & Foss Publishers


Contents Crochet by any other name, by Susie Haydon


Alice Springs Beanie Festival, by Lisa Waller


On crocheting booties, by Rochelle Manners


Slow craft, by Paul & Lara Venzo


Freeform crochet [tutorial], by Paul & Lara Venzo


Star Dancer Beret [pattern], by Cherie Norquay


Hairpin Lace: A basics primer, [tutorial] by Jennifer Hansen


The Little Girl That Could ... Crochet, by Cherie Norquay


Plarn... recycle your way to crochet [tutorial]


The Story of the Ernabella Mukata, by Lisa Waller


Masquerade [pattern], by Jennifer Hansen


The AntiCraft with Zabet and Carin


Recommended blogs & websites


Recommended stitch guides








su si e

ha yd o


crochet by any other name



oving half-way across the world can be daunting. People look different. They act differently. And they use words in unfamiliar ways. It was time for our domestic science class. ‘We are going to knit,’ said the teacher, in her African-accented English. She pointed at me. ‘Do you know how to knit?’ I shook my head. ‘But I can crochet.’ She looked blank. The other girls giggled. They had already established that I didn’t wear head-scarves, didn’t clean my teeth with freshly cut sticks from the bush, and couldn’t balance loads on my head like African girls. And they appeared uninterested in my books and games. ‘I will show you how to knit,’ said the teacher. She handed round bright balls of wool from her bag. Then she took out the needles. They were shiny, thin, and… hooked at the end. I sat dumb. She showed me how to hold one. I made my hand stiff so she wouldn’t suspect the truth. She helped me make a starting


knot, and then loop, pick-up, loop, pick-up—a chain stitch. ‘Do I hold it like this, or like this?’ ‘Like this. Now you take this loop back here.’ She showed me how to do a double-crochet row, then a treble-crochet row. All the while I asked questions that I thought a beginner would ask, and she answered in her halting English. ‘See! You can knit!’ Next week, for domestic science class, we were ‘knitting’ again. The girls were amazed at my sudden proficiency. I had decided to confess. ‘You learn quickly,’ said Laraba. I tried to explain. ‘We call this “crochet”. Knitting, for us, is with two needles. So at first, I didn’t know what the teacher meant. Then, I didn’t know what to say.’ Laraba looked at me strangely. Perhaps she couldn’t understand what had driven me to tell my little lie. Perhaps she didn’t get how knitting could be crochet too. It didn’t matter. I was ‘knitting’ along with the rest of them, and it was pure pleasure.

he Alice Springs Beanie Festival had its beginnings around campfires dotted across Central Australia in the mid-nineties.


know the names for the stitches, but she knew how to crochet and she was also wise to the fact that Aboriginal people love their beanies.

Adi Dunlop, whose job involved travelling to remote Aboriginal communities to teach living skills, would sit down around the fire with the women, pull out some crochet hooks and yarn from her bag, and invite them to make beanies with her as a way to relax and get to know each other.

Many of the older women had been taught to crochet by the missionaries years ago, and they enjoyed having a hook in their hands again. If they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how, Adi and the experienced crocheters were happy to show those new to the craft how to get started on a beanie.

Adi couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t read a pattern and didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

Much conversation and laughter would


follow and the result was a bunch of happy women and a big mob of wonderful, colourful beanies to keep the people warm on cold desert nights. On one of Adi’s visits to a community called Yuendumu, the women made beanies surplus to their families’ needs, so Adi paid them for their work and took it into Alice Springs where her niece Jo’s husband Dave was in a band that was playing at Witchetty’s (where the Alice Springs Beanie Festival is still held). Adi asked if she could hang the beanies from the ceiling and put out an honesty box so people could pay for them. The beanies sold out quickly and those who were there that night still talk of the magic sea of Central Desert beanies grooving to the music. Adi had enough money to buy more hooks and yarn to take to

the Alice Springs

Aboriginal women across the desert so they could keep crocheting, and with the help of the festival’s artistic director Merran Hughes, who recognised the potential for something wonderful in Adi and the women’s work, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival was born.

Beanie Festival

Adi is now the festival’s patron, Merran is still the creative force behind it and Adi’s niece Jo Nixon is the woman on the ground who runs the show with the help of a dedicated committee and an army of loyal volunteers who come from the suburbs of Alice and the far corners of Australia to help with the enormous task of putting the festival on in the last weekend of June each year.

by lisa waller

There were more than 5000 beanies at the 2008 festival, which attracts entries and visitors from around the world and celebrated its 13th year in 2009. There are felted beanies and knitted beanies and woven beanies, but the crochet beanie still rules. During the festival free crochet classes are held for the masses and highly skilled tutors teach small groups the finer points. 3

Crochet gives creative beanieologists the freedom to roam and doodle, to start at the top or the bottom or the side. To build on to the surface, to embellish the edge. To work in 50 different yarns. To follow a pattern or, more likely, just make it up as they go along.

them to enjoy their hobby, and build the skills and opportunities that will enable them to make a small income from their beautiful beanies and have their work admired throughout the world.

Indigenous makers have turned their crocheted beanies into a regional art form that is highly collectable.

The festival is a not-for-profit organisation that invests its money in the work Adi undertook originally â&#x20AC;&#x201C; running beanie making workshops in Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.

The festivalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main aim remains to support women in remote Central Australian communities, by enabling

For more information, and Alice Springs Beanie Festival crochet patterns, visit <>.


On crocheting booties an essay by Rochelle Manners


rocheting booties: Most mums-to-be do it, or try to. Why we bother, especially in Australia where it is generally too warm to wear booties, I have no idea—but it seems like a necessity to have those cute booties made before the bub is born. Do we make them pink or blue? Or yellow, to be neutral? I am generalising here; not every mum-to-be has the time or the inclination, but it seems many do. We like the idea of making something for our babies before they are born. I wanted to sew, knit and crochet beforehand, and while I knew how to knit and sew, I did not know how to crochet. My mum did, so it was off to her to learn how. ‘This one’s cute!’ I show mum a nice pattern. ‘Those flowers are hard though.’ ‘What about this one?’ I read: ‘estimated time per bootie 30 minutes. Sounds easy!’ ‘Maybe, if you have done it before!’ Mums try to be encouraging, but they know how to crochet! I find one more pattern. ‘Here, this one seems pretty simple! We can even use a couple of different colours.’ ‘Well let’s give it a go. Get the hook and the wool, and I’ll show you how.’ Mum tries in vain to demonstrate each step. It takes hours. So much for 30 minutes! And in the end we complete one bootie. There are a few blemishes and holes that are too big, but it seems fairly sturdy so we applaud our own work. Mum leaves me now—time to try the second one on my own. Oh right, I’d forgotten, bless them they’ll need two! So we go through the pregnancy books and magazines, then crochet and knitting books, trying to find easy patterns—ones that include beginners’ talk, not just the steps. I even found a pattern in Pregnancy and Birth Magazine while I was pregnant.


What seems funny to me is that I very rarely see babies wearing these booties. I mean, sure, people make them, but why don’t the kids wear them? Is Australia just too hot? Do the cute little munchkins kick them off ? Or is it because so many of us intend to make them but then don’t finish them? Is there a crafting instinct that takes hold of us? (I know not everyone has this, but there are many of us who do.) It isn’t quite as bad as our nesting instinct, wanting everything perfect and clean for when the little one arrives, is it? Maybe the crafting instinct is suppressed in today’s society where everything is too easy to buy, and delayed gratification no longer exists to allow us to be patient until the work is done. And often it is actually cheaper to just buy. Take sewing, for example: the cost of the material ends up being more than the cost of some cheap clothing. Wool is not so bad, but the time taken to crochet or knit (especially if you are inexperienced) is huge. I know I am not the only mother-to-be who has spent ages on some project or another before the firstborn arrived. If it wasn’t booties it might have been a hat, or squares to make a rug (sometimes the rugs even get finished)—or a lovely little blanket. I was always jealous of the people who could make entire rugs. That takes a lot of dedication! Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers all made something for our mothers when they were born; it seems sad to lose the tradition with today’s busy lifestyle. So is this why some of us continue to do it? I remember showing people what I made for my baby before he was born; so many women exclaimed, ‘I wish I could do that!’ I know I make plenty of mistakes (the holes in the booties or the uneven sewing of a baby’s shirt—things my mum may look at suspiciously), but I am thankful for the opportunity to express these instincts. And as I write this, I reflect on the cute little yellow pair of booties that my mum helped me make when I was pregnant with my first child (who is now two, and now I’m expecting number two). The flowers looked too hard, so she said she would do them for me. Thanks mum! But you know, I don’t think I ever got them back. Or maybe I did and I didn’t finish them! Oh well, perhaps before baby number two arrives! I feel inspired now. Perhaps I will go make a rug, or maybe a toy—at least then, unlike those too-hot booties, it will be loved.


Slow craft


rochet, like knitting, tatting, embroidery and weaving, represents an opportunity for a return to artisanal practices that are driven by a respect for texture, and a thoughtfulness towards how much we consume and the longevity of the objects we use. We—Lara and Paul Venzo, a sibling design duo behind the textile studio VENZO—view these practices as the craft equivalent to the ‘slow food’ movement. That is, we believe in the investment of time and quality materials into every creation that, with a low environmental impact, can be developed into a unique, one-off piece to wear, carry, or simply admire as a work of art. Our signature pieces are

by Paul & Lara Venzo

often made in response to the natural environment (for example, check out our ‘crochet cactus’ below). We have also been inspired by patterns and shapes that come from Turkish carpets,

Moorish architecture and traditional designs from the Scottish Hebrides and Eastern Europe.

At VENZO, we use, whenever possible, 100% natural fibres from plant and animal sources, that have been dyed with nontoxic treatments. Today, a comprehensive range of eco-friendly yarns are widely available online. If you supplement these with fibres made from soy or silk or recycled from a favourite op-shop jumper or hand-medown, you are sure to come up with something special. This way you will produce something that is durable and is an anti-dote to the kind of synthetic, mass-produced garments and home décor products now flooding the Australian market.



f re ef or m

crochet tutorial by Paul & Lara Venzo


nlike the intricate knitted patternwork for which our studio is famous, here we have written a quick tutorial for a ‘freestyle’ project that involves basic crochet skills, but that will stretch those who like to ‘follow the recipe’ to the letter. The real skills needed for this project are not the interpretation of complex patterns but the ability to let go of rigid instructions in favour of letting your project evolve. It’s all about enjoying the journey! The key to the project we have featured here is creative choice: of yarn, colour, shape and density. All of these choices will ultimately determine the impact of your creation. For this project, we took inspiration from the European ‘FoHo’ trend currently popular, and thought it was time to give the humble ‘granny square’ a bit of treatment.


Step 1 One of the great pleasures of freestyling is picking up on current fashion trends and interpreting them in interesting ways. Often we will see a commercially made bag draped over a fashionista’s arm and it inspires us to create a hand–made alternative. Once you have an idea in mind, sketch out a rough shape for the bag, and jot down some rough measurements that will guide how big the finished item becomes. Here we


have planned a bag that would measure roughly 30 cm x 30 cm. A sketch enables you to roughly work out what shapes will be required: for example, a gusset, side panels, a handle, and so on. Step 2 Consider the type of fibre or yarn that will best suit the weight and density of the carry-all. These days it is possible to choose from a wide range of yarns and wools: here we have chosen pure new

wool as it is durable and soft to the touch. This is particularly important if the piece you are making will go anywhere near your skin. But more than this, it will add to the longevity of the piece and is more ecologically sustainable. Avoid synthetic yarns: though inexpensive they are really a petroleumbased product and tend to wear badly. Step 3 Select colours. Colour theory is integral to our approach: sometimes we will deliberately go for a clash, at other times we prefer colour harmony, but over time, we have begun to notice that there is a visual similarity across each range we produce. It’s to do with an intuitive sense of which colours are right together, and it’s not always what you think! Be prepared to experiment, and do some test squares before committing to your colour scheme. Here we have opted for squares bordered in black that will really frame the inner colours. This choice will also mean your sewing up is less evident when finished!

Step 4 Next, construct a simple granny square, using a basic pattern of your choice. For beginners, a simple pattern for a square can usually be found in any of the amazing pattern books from the 60s and 70s that are going cheap at your local op shop. Here we have used a style that has a fairly dense weave, so that the bag wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require an insert. About 16 squares were necessary for each side to reach our required size. This is the time you need to take the crochet on the bus or down to the beach and get hooking! Step 5 When you have a bag-load of granny squares, lay them out in a size and shape you think resembles your original sketch (and make sure you have enough for front and back!). Pin the squares together and begin your sewing up. Here we have constructed simple side panels to add a little shape to the finished product. We have free-formed some handles too: if this is beyond your current skill level, consider knitted i-cord* or scour the second hand stores for some vintage cane handles. The other examples featured here illustrate how this simple idea can transform into more complex shapes and designs. While this approach may involve some trial and error, you are more likely to come up with something unique that reflects your own creative flair. If you succeed, you will have embraced the VENZO ideal: a revival of custom-made craft that is a pleasure to make, and to use!



Star Dancer Beret Designed by Chelsea Norquay

Materials needed 2 hanks of Cascade 220 H/5 mm crochet hook

Special Stitches*

Straight Cable (StC) 1 dtc in front post of next 4 dtc, skip next 4 sts. Twisted Cable (TwC) Sk 2 dtc, 1 dtc in front post of next 2 dtc, sk 2 dtc just made, 1 dtc in front post of 1st dtc, 1 dtc in front post of next dtc, sk next 4 sts.


5 rounds and 16 dc = 4 inches (10.1 cm).

Abbreviations ch sl st dc st/sts dtc rnd/rnds sk tog hdc sc

chain slip stitch double crochet stitch/stitches double treble crochet round/rounds skip together half double crochet single crochet

Pattern Ch 4, sl st in first st to form ring. Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as dc here and throughout), 9 dc in ring, sl st in 3rd ch to join. [10 dc] Rnd 2: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 2 dc in each st around. Join. [20 dc] Rnd 3: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next st, 3 dtc in front post of next st 2 rnds below, sk next 2 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st, 3 dtc in front post of next st 2 rnds below, sk next 2 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [15 dtc, 15 dc] Rnd 4: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 2 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 sts. Repeat from (*). Join. [40 dc] Rnd 5: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 3 sts, 2 dtc in front post of dtc 2 rnds below, 1 dtc in next 2 dtc, sk next 3 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts, 2 dtc in front post of dtc 2 rnds below, 1 dtc in next 2 dtc, sk next 3 sts. Repeat from (*) until st 13

left, 1 dc in last st. Join. [30 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 6: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 4 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 4 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [60 dc] Rnd 7: Ch 3, 1 dc in next 3 sts, *2 dc in next st, TwC, 1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 5 sts. Repeat from (*) until last 10 sts. 2 dc in next st, TwC, 1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st. Join. [50 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 8: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 6 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 6 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [80 dc] Rnd 9: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 3 sts, *StC, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 7 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts. Repeat from (*) to last 12 sts, StC, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 7 sts. Join. [70 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 10: Ch 3, dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 8 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 8 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [100 dc] Rnd 11: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 3 sts, * TwC, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 9 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts. Repeat from (*) to last 16 sts, TwC, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 9 sts. Join. [90 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 12: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 10 sts, *2 dc in next st 1 dc in 14

next 10 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [120 dc]

Rnd 13: Ch 3, 1 dc in same st as join, *1 dc in next 2 sts, StC, 1 dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 11 sts. Repeat from (*) to last 23 sts, 1 dc in next 2 sts, StC, 1 dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 11 sts. Join. [110 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 14: Ch 2, 1 hdc in back loop only around. Join. [130 hdc] Rnd 15: Ch 3, * TwC, 1 dc in next 22 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [110 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 16: Ch 3, 1 dc in each st around. Join. Rnd 17: (Note: This rnd is worked in the back loop only.) Ch 2, sk 1st dtc, 1 dtc in next 3 dtc, sk first 2 sts, *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts, (dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts) repeated 3 more times, dc2tog, 1 dc in next st, StC. Repeat from (*) to last 21 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts, (dc2tog in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts) 3 times, dc2tog, dtc in 1st dtc, sl st in first dtc made in this row to join. [87 dc, 20 dtc] Rnd 18: Ch 3, 1 dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, *1 dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [83 dc] Rnd 19: Ch 2, 1 dtc in front post of dtc 2 rnds below, *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog, 1dc in next 2 sts, StC. Repeat from (*) to last

13 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 dtc in front post of next 2 dtc 2 rnds below. Join in 1st dtc made. [50 dc, 20 dtc]

Rnd 21-23: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, 1 sc in each st around, join with sl st in first sc made. After row 23, Fasten off.

Rnd 20: Ch 3, 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 dc in next 3 sts, *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts. Repeat from (*) around. Join. [57 dc]

stitch detail: top

stitch detail: bottom edge

stitch detail: cable

stitch detail: seam


Presented by

Hairpin Lace: a basics primer Below is a primer on the basics of hairpin lace, presented by Please visit those guys online for a more in-depth introduction to the art of hairpin lace. STEP 1. Set the loom to the width for which the pattern calls. Secure yarn with a slip knot to the left prong of the loom. Wrap yarn from front to back over the opposite prong. STEP 2. Holding working yarn to back of loom, insert hook from bottom to top through the front thread of the loop on the loom and yarn over. Pull through one loop, then ch 1. STEP 3. Prepare to turn the loom by twisting hook so that the handle side faces up and insert the handle end of the hook through the loom above the work. Keep the loop on the hook. STEP 4. Grab hook from opposite side of loom, still keeping the loop on the hook. STEP 5. Flip the loom so that the right prong (Side B) comes towards you, allowing yarn to wrap around the loom as it turns. Keep yarn at back of loom. STEP 6. Insert hook under thread of topmost loop on left prong, and sc through this loop (pictured). Repeat steps 3-5 to flip the loom. STEP 7. Continue to sc in the uppermost left front loop, then flipping the loom. TIP: Keep work as low as possible on the loom to allow maximum room for your hook to pass between the prongs. Maintain tension on the yarn with your non-hook hand to control placement of loops on the loom. 16

The girl that could… crochet by Cherie Norquay

Designer and author Cherie Norquay is a 16-year-old, life-long crocheter. Her work has appeared in craft magazines and also on her own, very popular, website. Designing her own work really opened up a new world for her.


he little engine tugged her way over the steep mountain pass, and I silently cheered, ‘hooray!’ as she accomplished her mission. An avid reader, I can best relate my life to a myriad of favourite children’s stories. My life as a crocheter is most like the story of The Little Engine That Could. I got my start when I was five years old; similarly, my grandma learned to crochet when she was a young lady. Crochet seemed easy to learn while I was with her, and it seemed to have the same effect on both of us! The most memorable times I spent with my grandma were learning how to crochet at her side, chaining away to make little bookworms that decorated my childhood books. Besides being known as a little crochet whiz, I also had a reputation for taking home projects I would start at grandma’s, and never finish at home. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to know how many I had going! While it was very exciting to begin new projects, it wasn’t so much fun looking at the heap of unfinished ones. I felt like

the little train engine that didn’t believe she could get over the mountain. A natural progression in my life was learning to design my own patterns. I had lots of fun making hair scrunchies, and developed a pattern that was fast and easy. My mum sold home-made soap at craft shows then, and it was very exciting when she invited me to sell my scrunchies with her soap because I sold nearly every one I made. Designing had opened up a whole new world for me. Most often, I didn’t finish what I started, but it was the thought that counted back then: ‘I think I can... I think I can...’. I was still having fun crocheting and designing when my mum showed me some information for a wool contest. The basic rules required the entrant to make an article of clothing that was at least sixty per cent wool. My mum assumed I would sew a historical cloak because I was an admirer of vintage fashions. But I had a different idea. Going to my bookshelf, I pulled out a crochet magazine and flipped to a page that 17

displayed a brilliantly crocheted trench coat. I watched my mum’s jaw hit the ground as I displayed the work of art I wanted to crochet. After recovering from shock, she asked me how I’d ever make the coat in three weeks. I told her that if I spent every minute crocheting, from the time I got my yarn to the time of the contest, I was sure I could do it. I had progressed past the ‘I think I can...’ stage. Now I told myself: ‘I know I can...I know I can...’ over and over, and chugged my way over the mountain. Not only did I begin and finish crocheting the trench coat in three weeks, I won the contest! Today, my work looks more professional: I earn money, not just by selling my crochet goods like I did in my earlier

days, but also by designing and selling my patterns to other crocheters. When you look where I am today, you’d be surprised by how much my crocheting has changed. Dauntlessly I crochet projects that are more advanced, rather than small crafty items. Gone are the days where my rows jut in and out. Consistency in where I place my stitches and even tension are the result of many years of practice. I’m not hesitant to purchase better quality yarns which tend to be softer, nicer to work with, and produce a higher quality end-product. My creations are unique and compliments abound as I wear them with pride. As a little girl, I chugged my way toward the mountain. Now I have fond memories of my journey up and over the mountain, just like the little engine that delivered toys to children. Crocheting has been a successful venture in my life so far, and I plan to chug up many more mountains, always thinking: ‘I know I can...I know I can...’. Chelsea’s numerous helpful crocheting articles and easy patterns can be accessed at her website, <>.


recycle your way to crochet


While the process of crocheting with plastic yarn is very straightforward (itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exactly like crocheting with any other type of yarn, apart from the due caution needed to prevent tears in the material), many people struggle with the preparation of it. This visual tutorial takes you through the dismantling of plastic bags, and the process of turning them into plarn. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very simple: potentially a lot easier than you ever thought possible.

How to turn plastic bags into plarn

Step One On a flat surface, smooth out the bag so that its joins are neatly at the top and bottom.

Step Two Trim joins off and smooth out all folds so that the bag lies flat in its true size and shape.

Step Three Fold the bag over four times, in equal widths, ensuring to keep it smooth. From the bottom end cut strips of equal width.


Step four Smooth out the strips into their full-sized loops, once you have cut them all. The photograph illustrates how large the loops are compared to the strips you cut off.

Then all you need to do is link the large loops into a chain, and there you have one long strand of plarn, which you can use like any other yarn. It will appear to be double thickness, but this provides essential added strength. Depending on the colour of the plastic bags you use, you can achieve beautiful patterns, with the benefits of both the strength and waterproof nature of plastic.


he t y f the E nabella M kata by Lisa Waller

Ernabella is an Aboriginal community located in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in the north of South Australia. The women of the area have spun and worked with their yarns since time immemorial. 22


lice Springs Beanie Festival founder Adi Dunlop first visited Ernabella with her bag of crochet hooks and yarn in 2002, where she met a group of highly skilled textile artists who were delighted to be reacquainted with crochet after many years, and were keen to get their hands on some sheep’s fleece so they could spin their own wool. Ernabella is home to the oldest Aboriginal arts centre in Australia, which celebrated its sixtieth birthday in 2008, and continues its proud textile tradition to this day through the women’s world-renowned batik work and their amazing ‘mukata’ (Pitjatjantjara for ‘beanie’). In its mission days, Ernabella operated as a sheep station and the women had a plentiful supply of quality fleece for spinning, weaving, knitting and crocheting in the arts centre. Their work won many prizes and their beautiful rugs fetched top prices at stores such as Myer in Melbourne in the late 1950s and early 60s. But when the people secured their land rights and the mission left, so did the sheep and the women’s supply of wool. The Alice Springs Beanie Festival has brought wool crafts back to Ernabella, and the women love spending the cooler months spinning and crocheting again. The women prefer to work with a medium-sized hook but generally use two strands of yarn, so their mukata really keep the wind from whistling in the wearer’s ears. They work their handspun yarns into some mukata but the handspun is precious stuff, and generally reserved for exhibition pieces, which will be decorated with emu feathers, seeds and hand-painted gumnuts. The women begin crocheting their mukata from the top and often create a ‘bump’ at the start, which may be left as it is on a plain mukata, or built into a creature or used as a base for feathers, or other decorations. The Ernabella mukata makers love to crochet, and it shows through their brilliant use of colour and humour. They are always keen to learn a new stitch or technique and also enjoy the challenge of working to a theme for the Beanie Festival. In the past they have made birds, women and ‘wild animals’, which were a sharp comment on their environment. Instead of kangaroos and possums, they made camels, rabbits, cats and camp dogs. The Beanie Festival is a highlight on the arts calendar for the Ernabella mukata makers, who start spinning as soon as the weather begins to cool in April/May, and enjoy workshops with a visiting artist and a few weeks of intense crocheting in the lead-up to the festival—where their work is always a sell-out and they take out a prize or two. Being able to see the public admire their creativity is a buzz for these talented artists. They travel hundreds of kilometres into Alice Springs for the festival weekend to enjoy seeing the exhibition, to catch up with friends, and to give demonstrations of their traditional spinning to rapt crowds.



by Jennifer Hansen


rochet yourself into whoever you want to be for just one evening. This little project is a fast and fun introduction to hairpin lace, and makes for a wonderful, last-minute costume. Presented more as an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;illustrated recipeâ&#x20AC;? than an actual pattern, these easy, simple project instructions can serve to help you create a mask as pictured, or, better yet, you can easily modify the edging treatment to create a wonderful masked creation that is entirely your own.


Materials needed • Main Yarn [MC]: Approx.10 yards (double stranded) dk weight drapey yarn. Featured Yarn: 1 skein Tilli Tomas Plie (100% Silk, 140 yds, 50 gm) in color Atmosphere • Contrast Yarn [CC]: Approx. 10 yards sequined dk weight drapey yarn. Featured Yarn: 1 skein Tilli Tomas Disco Lights (100% Silk with petite sequins, 225 yds, 100 gm) in color Gloxinia

long. Lay a ruler along center of strip and count total lps on both sides of the strip in a 4” (10.1 cm) length.

Size One size fits all

Special stitches Picot: Ch 3, sl st to base of ch 3.

• (Optional for beaded edging) US Size 12 (1 mm) steel crochet hook

Beaded Picot: Ch 2. Remove crochet hook from stitch and place bead on steel crochet hook. Insert the steel crochet hook into the 2nd chain, and slip the bead on the hook over the stitch. Slip this beaded chain back on the original crochet hook, ch 1, then sl st to base of ch-3.

• Hairpin Lace Loom (Adjustable to 1” or 2.5 mm)


• US Size H-8 (5 mm) crochet hook, or size required to obtain gauge • Six (6) safety pins or clip-on markers

• Clear Halloween mask to serve as mold • Stiffy brand fabric stiffener (available at any craft store) • (Optional) Approx. (39) size 6 seed beads—Aqua color with silver lining • Tapestry needle

Gauge required Gauge is not critical for this project. Just make sure you are in the ball park! 35 lps = 4” (10.1 cm) unstretched (yarn held double-stranded) Measure gauge of a hairpin lace strip by creating a strip at least 4” (10.1 cm) 26

ch sl st MC CC RS WS lps sc dc hdc tog

chain slip stitch main colour contrasting colour right side wrong side loops single crochet double crochet half double crochet together




1 - Make the Hairpin Lace Strip Make strip holding MC double-stranded. Although we state a count, exact loop count is not crucial for this project: Just work to get the correct length and make sure to leave 4” tails at the beginning and the end of the strip. If you must count - just count loops on both prongs of the loom when following pattern instructions. Make a strip as follows: Loom width = 1/2” (1.27 cm), 162 lps, [Approx. 18 1/2” or 47 cm]

This mask is created by working a hairpin lace strip. The ends of the strip are woven together to create a round, and then the strip is dipped in fabric stiffener. Next, the moistened strip is positioned over a plastic Halloween mask in the desired mask shape and left to dry overnight. Once dry, the strip is edged at both eye-holes and the outside perimeter, and 2 twisted cords are created for ties. Stranding Hold two strands of yarn together to create the hairpin lace strip. The edging is worked with a single strand of yarn. Edging the Mask For edgings, keep RS of the mask facing and work into untwisted lps throughout. Choosing a Loom Width settings of adjustable hairpin looms vary among manufacturers. Use a loom that can adjust within 1/8” of the specified width setting. We prefer the Jenkins Woodworking Hairpin Lace Loom. Visit <>or your local yarn store to purchase.

2 - Join Hairpin Strip into Round Making sure not to twist the hairpin lace strip, lay the beginning and end of the strip next to each other and use the beginning and end tails to weave the ends of the strip into a continuous round. Determine which side of the strip you would like to be the RS, then weave the tails along the WS of the sts in the strip. 3 - Moisten strip with fabric stiffener Pour some fabric stiffener in a cup, jar or bowl, then completely immerse the strip in the stiffener so that it is completely drenched. Be gentle with the strip, be careful not to stretch or distort. Delicately squeeze excess stiffener from the strip. 4 - Position strip as desired on mask and leave to dry Before placing the strip on the mask, try the mask on. It is helpful to use a clear mask and to mark the exact position of your eyes on the outside 27

of the mask with a marker so that you can have an “eye position” reference when positioning your strip. Position the hairpin lace strip in a ‘figure-8’ shape as pictured on the mask, paying attention to making each side of the ‘8’ relatively equal. (You can count if you would like to be exact, but this quick and dirty mask was entirely ‘free-formed’!). Once you have achieved the desired shape for the mask, use a straight pin to pull straight any ‘wrinkled’ loops.You want the strip to dry with all loops laying flat, straight and uniform and ready for your crocheted edging. Leave the mask to dry completely, this takes about 12–24 hours.


5 - Edge outside perimeter With RS of mask facing, CC (singlestranded) and larger crochet hook, attach yarn with sl st to any of the loops at the outside edge of one of the sides mask. Ch 1, then work [(sc, picot or beaded picot) in the next loop, then sc in following loop] around, working a sl st to first ch-1 to join the edging in a round. At the outside curves (sides of the mask), you will need to work a ch-1 between the scs in the loops in order not to constrict the sides of the mask. Additionally, at the inside curves (above and on the nose) you will need to work sc2tog between 2 loops to prevent flair

and keep the edging even. Whether you need to increase by making a ch-1 in between sc sts, or decrease by making an sc2tog between 2 lps, just remember to make your picot or beaded picot above every other sc or sc2tog st. 6 - Mark Eyehole Loops At both the right and left inner eye, use a safety pin or clip on marker to join the 2 middle loops from the top of the mask to the 2 middle loops of the bottom of the mask (see photo next page). One safety pin will join the upper and lower left inner eye-opening (shown in dark green), while the other safety pin will mark the corresponding 2 loops on the right (shown in light green). You will have 4 adjacent loops marked at the center of the mask. Make sure that your eye openings are of equal size! 7 - Mark Outer Eye Loops Try on the mask. Hold up a pen or pencil vertically in front of the outer corner of each eye, and mark the upper and lower eyehole loops - marking 2 loops at each eye as pictured by the blue dots in the photo at the upper right. 8 - Edge Eyeholes (work once for each) With larger hook and RS of mask facing, attach CC with sl st at one of the marked outer eye loops so that you will be working towards the inner eye. Work in rounds without turning. Round 1: Ch 1, sc into each loop up to and including first marked inner eye loop. Turn mask and sc into marked loop

opposite the last sc made. Continue to sc evenly until next marked loop (outer eye), and sc into this st. Work hdc into each of next 2 lps then work dcs into each loop until 2 lps before the start of round. You will find that you need to work dc2tog into most of the lps at the outer corner of the eye so that the work does not flare - just use your judgement to work evenly in dc and dc2tog so that the outer eye does not flare. Work hdc in each of last 2 rem lps then sl st to first st of round.

Round 2: Ch 1, sc into each st of round until the first hdc st of the outer eye is reached. Hdc in the first hdc, then work evenly in dc to turn the outer corner of the eye—again working dc2tog, and perhaps even a dc3tog at the center to keep the work flat. Starting with the first dc st, work a picot above the st, then work a picot above every other dc/dc2tog/dc3tog st at the outer eye. Make a hdc in the last st of round and sl st to first st of round. Tie off. Finishing: With tapestry needle, weave in all ends. Make 2 twisted cords: Use (3) 36” strands of CC for each cord (see Twisted Cord Tutorial) to yield each 18” twisted cord. Tie each cord to the edging of the mask at desired location with a short length of CC and weave in ends. Twisted cord tutorial Twisted cord is very versatile and will greatly expand your repertoire of finishing options. Step 1: Pull one strand of yarn so it folds on itself into the number of equal lengths specified in the instructions. Tie one end of strands around a fixed point (ie: door handle). Hold the other end tautly and twist clockwise until the strands are firmly twisted. (You can test completion by taking tension off slightly, strands should slightly twist upon themselves). TIMESAVER: Use a handmixer instead of your hands to twist! Step 2: Keeping strands taut, fold the twisted cord in half. Allow strands to twist upon themselves naturally in a counter-clockwise direction, guiding gently for a uniform twisted cord. Secure loose end with an overhand knot and complete further finishing based on pattern instructions. More information, online tutorials and videos! Need help with working in the round, basic crochet or hairpin lace? We’ve got you covered! Visit us online for free, fully illustrated and new video tutorials <>.


The AntiCraft isn’t anti-craft; rather, it’s anti-cute. Zabet Stewart, Editor-in-Chief gives us a rundown on the AntiCraft, its history, how it’s run, and much more.


Zabet Stewart, editor of the AntiCraft

1. The Anticraft is a forum and magazine for those who are anticraft or against the notion of ‘cute’. Can you give me a bit of a rundown on how the Anticraft came together, and how you’ve built it to its present state of popularity? Ok, first up, we are The AntiCraft. Don’t feel embarrassed; no one gets it right. That’s what we get for deciding to capitalize in the middle. To further confuse things, when our book came out, it was called Anticraft (plus long and stupid subtitle that was chosen by our publisher). Secondly, prepare to be disappointed because the truth is never as interesting as mythology we’ve built up online. Are you sure you want to continue? All right, read on. We chose the name The AntiCraft because everything truly witty was already taken and it was the best of the truly lame names that were available. We also reckoned aligning our name with The AntiChrist would be a fabulous shorthand to communicate what we were all about. We were giving the public an enormous benefit of the doubt there, which is unlike us, and in general they’ve yet to fail to disappoint us with their capacity to misinterpret. The very first glimmer of The AntiCraft was envisioned during a hot summer Stitch ‘n Bitch at my house. There were very few people there that day, only 5 or 6 of us all together, and we had been talking about the proliferation of books we’d seen lately that were “Girls’ Guides.” (i.e., The Idiot Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, The Bad Girl’s Guide to Life, etc.) One of us, we 32

can’t remember who, said that there should be a Goth Girl’s Guide to Knits. We started coming up with the kind of projects you’d find in such a book. (Eternal Embrace and Emotional Baggage both came from this first day.) Well, like a dog with a bone, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I drew up some designs and showed them to my friend Renée Rigdon. Renée is pretty competitive, so she came up with designs of her own. We started refining ideas. Suddenly, we realised we had enough material to make a book. Enough material, yes, but not enough capital to self-publish and not enough contacts (or know-how about proposals) to get a publisher. So I said, “Hey, I do websites for my day job. They are pretty much free. Want to make a website?” Renée was in, and off we went. When the time came to launch, we were counselled about press releases and Google AdSense, but all we did was have our friend Sarabeth drop a short note on the LiveJournal Knitting community saying that there was a new webzine. We got 36,000 hits in the first week. Our first issue was all knitting projects because Renée and I are primarily knitters, but we had the intention from Day One for it to be open to all kinds of craft projects. Renée used to always say, “We’re more of a lifestyle magazine,” and I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s one of the things that’s resonated with people. Punks, goths, geeks, pagans, etc., are used to having to make clothes, accessories, etc., because the market for their particular flavour of aesthetic is pretty narrow and costs can be prohibitively high. Also? They network like mad. We spread by word of mouth alone. We didn’t even advertise (as in,

build an actual ad and have it display on someone else’s website) until about 4 months ago. It was something we tried on a whim and might do again. Adding the forums really changed things for us, too. We knew that there were people out there who were likeminded: cynical, jaded, annoyed by what was largely available, and creative, and the zine was a place for them to come but not to really hang out and have a presence. I think we knew the forums were the right way to go when one of our members, Poison Ivy, introduced herself by saying, “I hate everyone.” We

people who would have never found us otherwise have come in this way. 2. How is the Anticraft run? How does it gain its funding? In the beginning, it was Renée and me. She would handle the tech editing, I would handle the HMTL, we’d split (or double-check each other) on everything else. Registering a domain name is about US$15/yr, so we split that cost. Then hosting ran another US$10/month, for which we took turns paying. Materials for anything we made came out of our own pockets; materials for anything designers made came out of theirs. We took a firm anti-advertising stance because advertising just seems to defeat the purpose of the site, and every project we post consists of donated time, effort, and love. (Which, having just put up Issue #13 and feeling that every issue we do is the best issue yet, is saying a LOT. I love our community of freaks.)

In autumn 2007 Renée decided to go back to school to earn a degree in Social Work. That’s when I put out the call for a Hat of Horns - AntiCraft - Samhain 2006: Fear Itself volunteer tech editor to fill the void and suddenly found myself immediately thought, “Gooble-gobble, with five tech editors. My logic ran like one of us!” this: I can’t pay this person, so I want to monopolize as little of their time as In an unexpected way, the forums have possible, yet I need as much pan-craftia added to our popularity because if you knowledge as possible. Well, each of do a search for anything—parmesan the tech editors has a different specialty cheese, leather whips, Polycystic Ovarian as well as a large overlapping base of Syndrome, whatever—there’s a chance general craft knowledge, which is good. that it’s been discussed in our forums There is more than one so they can and will show up in the hit list. A few 33

double-check each other (and I can then triple check them), which reduces errors greatly. And since the work is spread out across five people whereas before it had just been poor Renée, none of them feel overwhelmed. As a plus, when we get together to chat (they are located all over the U.S.) we bounce ideas off each other and our creativity multiplies exponentially. It’s amazing. Back to the original question of funding: we don’t get any. No, wait, that’s not entirely true. We sell stickers and t-shirts, which trickles money in. I put that towards project costs, prizes, and, before the book, hosting costs. Renée and I live on that constant edge of brokenness, so that after paying designers (a perk of getting money from the publisher) we only put enough towards the website to cover hosting until 2011—assuming we stay unpopular enough that bandwidth doesn’t become a major issue. 3. What sort of projects and items can be considered ‘anti craft’? Why this title particularly?

Not many projects actually meet these standards (though a very few have been damn close), and we know the bar is set astronomically high, so we’ll pretty much take anything well-made that makes us laugh till we pee or recoil in horror. It’s entirely subjective and has been known to change with the relative humidity. We don’t exactly call actual projects or

A Maiden’s Glory - the AntiCraft - Beltane 2006: Unclean (it’s sacreligious!)

The ultimate AntiCrafty project would have all of the following qualities: 1) It would be a twist on a traditional idea or a new idea that lies entirely outside mainstream consciousness. 2) It would evoke a strong emotion (this can be love, revulsion, anger, laughter—which isn’t an emotion but should be). 3) It would be exquisitely crafted with a high level of precision and fabulous technique. 4) It would be 34

painfully complex and require skills in more than one crafting area.

what we do “anti craft.” That’s just the name of the zine. Those few projects that are suitably AntiCrafty get billed as having the difficulty level ‘AntiCraft Superstar’ (a play on Marilyn Manson’s AntiChrist Superstar), which just means you have to have mad craft skillz and a buttload of your own creativity in order to successfully make the project.

4. What is the demographic at The AntiCraft? Do you find a particular age group, nationality, or gender dominates the forums? On the forums the girls greatly outnumber the boys. It was 20:1 or so the last time I checked and I’m sure it’s gone up since then. We have a wide range of ages and seem to do well between 25-55. I constantly get emails saying, “I’m sure I’m not the demographic you want,” or “You probably didn’t think a grandmother would say this but I love your site.” It’s amazing how many people feel like they ought to be excluded based on age. We think if you “get” us—if you can look at a tumor-shaped baby toy and find the humor in it—then by Gods, you are one of us.

 5. Did you ever consider running a printed magazine? Gods, no. Do you know how much print costs? Plus shipping? Yikes. And that’s not even taking the environmental impact into account. Also, it’s a lot easier to communicate quickly via blog rather than wait for a quarterly publication to come out. I am constantly seeing things in the major knittings mags here in the States where my thought is, ‘Wow, I saw that on the internet a year ago. Way to keep up with the times’. 6. You guys have a book that you’ve released. Did that hit a chord with your audience, and are you looking to follow it up with any specific items, like for particular crafts? People who already loved The AntiCraft loved AntiCraft. It was like the website

but on crack. And prettier. A lot of other people, though, just don’t know what to do with it, because it has so many different kind of craft projects in it. A knitter complained that there was too much crochet. A crocheter complained there was too much knitting. (There are even amounts of both, plus a crapload of stuff that is neither.) It comes back to that ‘We’re a lifestyle magazine’ thing again. If you could understand that (and appreciate our humor) you had much better odds of liking the book. It you couldn’t fit it neatly into a little category in your brain, you hated the book. We’re ok with that. There’s not another book in the making, for two main reasons: we’ve not been asked by our publisher (and are too lazy/ busy to write a proposal ourselves) and we’ve had no brainwave ideas, so putting out more of the same would be just boring.

 7. Has The AntiCraft ever come under attack from any craftsters for being too weird or out there?

 Oh yes. It’s sort of funny, actually, because people seem to think that because we’ve made something and put up instructions, it’s like we’re mandating that they also make said abomination. I’ve never understood what it is that makes people think that way—that they can’t just say, “Yikes. Not for me,” and go on with their lives. Instead they have to write long missives about how awful it is and how screwed up we are and how they would NEVER make it, etc., etc. It’s as though it has never occurred to them that anything that they’ve made has at least one person out there who 35

thinks, ‘Jesus, that’s awful. That person must be so messed up. I would never make something like that’. I hate to break it to them, but there is someone out there who hates everything they do, just as much as they are out there hating everything I do. This is why, thank the Gods, we aren’t forced to do the same stuff. 8. What are the most amazing crochet works you’ve seen from AntiCraft members? Why were they over and above the best?
 I’ll be honest, crochet and The AntiCraft have had a troubled and rocky past. Crochet projects came across our inboxes rarely, and we got lots and lots of complaints from hookers about not having enough crochet. (To which we always replied, ‘We’re not crocheters

ourselves, but we look forward to viewing your submission!’ That never once got us a crochet submission, by the way.) However we have had a few excellent crochet projects, just not as many as other projects. I’m a big fan of A Maiden’s Glory, by Erssie Major (see page 34), because of the level of detail involved. Erssie designed her own flowers and the whole thing is just fabulous. And I know a lot of people hate Hat of Horns by Ruth Paisley (aka Woolly Wormhead) (page 33), but I think it’s fantastic. It’s just very out there. Ruth isn’t afraid to be surreal, and I have huge appreciation for the surreal. More recently we had an amigurumi chainsaw and axe (Splitter) by our own Carin Huber that were just ridiculously realistic for amigurumi, very polished.

 9. Do you think that forums and zines like AntiCraft have underpinned some of the recent craft revolutions, such as the crochet revolution? Has it been essential, do you think, in getting younger or alternative folk into textile arts?

I think that there’s a give and take for the revolution. I probably wouldn’t have learnt to knit if I hadn’t been reading someone’s blog who knitted, I certainly wouldn’t have met Renée if I hadn’t learnt to knit, and we definitely would never have started The AntiCraft if we had never met. I know I would have never done it alone because I would have dismissed it as Splitter - the AntiCraft - Imbolc 2008: Get Stuffed another one of my time-consuming crazy ideas; I needed Reneé’s help 36

and encouragement as a catalyst, and she needed mine. In turn, we provide another facet to the revolution where like-minded folks can gather and be part of the greater movement without having to stare down all things deemed ‘hip’ and ‘funky’ by over-50 publishing execs who don’t even know how to craft, or without having to muster up enough perky to fake being a Grrl Power 3rd Wave feminist. (For the record, I am a feminist, but 3rd Wave by timing only. I’m just not into embracing all the girly stuff because I’m not a very girly kind of girl. Ask my husband—he feels guilty for never buying me flowers, but it’s because I tell him not to. What’s the point? They are dead, and the flower industry is pretty evil if you look at how they treat the environment and their workers.) I honestly don’t have any data or evidence for anyone ‘younger’ (I’m assuming we mean under 18 here?) getting into textile arts because of The AntiCraft. (Email us at <> if you know someone who has!). Generally our projects are time-consuming or use more than one craft skill, so you need have developed some patience and skills before The AntiCraft is more than just a collection of pretty pictures for you. 10. How much time do you guys spend on The AntiCraft? Is it less a side-project these days and more of a full-time occupation?

 I still have a full time job, so it is very much a hobby. An expensive, time-consuming hobby, but a hobby nonetheless. I probably do about 35–40

hours of work on each issue, depending on how things go, if I need to take photos for a designer, how many times we have a staff meeting, etc. The bulk of the work that I do is in the week before the issue goes up; I usually do about 20 hours that week. The rest of the time is spread out over the two months before an issue goes up. I tend to hibernate after every issue for a good three weeks to recharge.

From Carin Huber, primary hooker at the AntiCraft 1. What do you like best about The AntiCraft, and how does it fill the crafty gap in your life? The inventiveness of the project designers. They aren’t afraid to try new things, or use old techniques in new ways, or just make things up as they go along. They “think outside the box,” even when the project *is* a box. Crafting used to feel like something I got to do when all my work was done. As 37

we all know, the work is *never* done. There are always more dishes to wash, more laundry to fold, more tidying to do. And I’m a terrible housekeeper. Since joining the AC staff, crafting has gained status along with the housework– but it’s not a chore! It’s something that I have to do, that I just happen to love! 2. What are the most amazing crochet works you’ve seen from AntiCraft members? Why were they over and above the best? I think the most impressive (and creepy) crochet project to come out of Angstylvania (where all good AntiCrafters live) is the Whilameenas, a two-headed rat found in the book, AntiCraft: Knitting, Beading, and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister. PD Cagliastro’s apparently hairless vermin is (are?) a masterpiece of shaping and construction, not to mention sheer twistedness!

3. If you weren’t involved with The AntiCraft, what would you be doing instead? I come from a very crafty family. My mom always had some craft going on, and my dad always had (and still has) some bizarre project being planned, built, or played with. If it weren’t for The AntiCraft, Dad and I would just be holed up together amongst his resistors and knife switches, cackling to each other. With The AntiCraft, I have a whole community to cackle with! 4. Why is crochet your poison? One of my hobbies is collecting hobbies, and crochet is part of my collection. The motion of the hook in my hand just feels so natural, completely unlike those tricksy knitting needles, always letting the yarn slide off their pointy tips! When it comes to original designing and ease of creation, hooking is my bag, baby!

the Beholder - the AntiCraft - Imbolc 2008: Get Stuffed


Blogs & websites Not sure what sites on the web are worth trawling through? Try some of these.

Patterns, designs, ideas, and directories <> instructions, knit/crochet combination patterns, tips, tricks, free patterns, links to useful forums and directories <> American site, includes useful tutorials on crocheting for beginners, basic stitches, special stitches, creating shapes, and various other resources

<> simple patterns and some great granny square ideas <> open source crochet patterns - for personal or commercial use, and all are free! <> dishcloth and facecloth patterns, of all types <> free patterns, pattern store, links, and more -- all for little girls


<> directory of patterns <> all the different afghan patterns you could possibly want

<> unique and stylish design: wearables and accessories <> useful and decorative crochet; much of it vintage


the most enormous directory of links Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever seen for crochet patterns, tutorials, charts, filet, and a whole lot more

<> Chelseaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blog, featuring patterns and original designs

Suppliers <> Australian site including definitions, links to tutorials, and left- and right-handed stitches. Crochet Australia is also one of the largest crochet supplies stores in the country.

<> yarn and supplies, plus beautiful works <> custom and handmade crochet hooks... these are themselves works of art!

<> handmade hooks


Tutorials <> American site, but includes useful tutorials on crocheting for beginners, basic stitches, special stitches, creating shapes, and various other resources


Australian site including definitions, links to tutorials, and left- and righthanded stitches - also one of the largest crochet supplies stores in the country

<> playlist of video crochet tutorials on YouTube

Vintage <> a huge resource of free vintage patterns, includes crochet, tatting, and much more, going as far back as 1830 <> all about vintage crochet, including vintage stitches and patterns

<> vintage crochet with lots of different patterns, charts, and graphics <> a huge directory of links to patterns and more, including Australian vintage and wartime patterns <> useful and decorative crochet; much of it vintage


Recommended stitch guides Given that there are multitudes of fabulous resources related to crochet stitches of all levels (absolute novice through to expert) available on the internet, we chose not to replicate them here. However, what we have done is go through some of the huge mass of websites to find the best basic stitches guides online. The sites below will tell you everything you need to know about chains, doubles, trebles, increasing and decreasing, and much more besides.

Australian/UK Stitches <> This guide includes crochet, crochet on the double, crochenit, cro-tatting, tunision crochet, and more. Within the crochet sections there are guides for left- and right-handed crocheters, guides to threads, reading patterns and charts, guides to stitches, and conversion charts.

US Stitches <> This guide includes the following stitches: chain, double-triple, slip, single, halfdouble, triple, picot, popcorn, back-post double, front post single stitches, and increasing and decreasing techniques.


Authors Jennifer Hansen is the founder and lead designer of Stitch Diva Studios <>. Her innovative crochet work has been featured in various books, magazines and television shows. She has been described as ‘One of the names that immediately comes to mind when thinking of the creative forces that have helped transport crochet from the realm of acrylic afghans to the sexy world of figure-flattering fashions’ (Yarn Market News). Susie Haydon lives in Adelaide, South Australia, and is, very slowly, studying Professional Writing at TAFE SA. She has tried her hand at many different crafts, but still can’t knit. Rochelle Manners trained as a teacher, is an author of educational texts, short stories, essays and poetry. She is an entrepreneur who runs an independent publishing house, Wombat Books, that mainly publishes books for children and young adults. She is married to an entomologist and they have two young children. Chelsea Norquay is a home-schooled 16-year-old, and has been crocheting for 11 years. She lives on a small sheep farm in the US that produces just enough wool to keep her hook busy year-round. You can read about Chelsea’s latest endeavors on her website, <> Paul and Lara Venzo are a sibling team who specialise in one-off handmade craft-art. They live and work in coastal south west Victoria. Paul is a writer and academic in the field of communications and children’s literature, and Lara is trained in painting, ceramic and textile art. Their designs revolve around quality and sustainability, as an antidote to the culture of mass production and disposability. 43

Lisa Waller lives in Ballarat, Victoria. When she’s not spinning, crocheting, knitting or mucking around in a dyepot she’s reading and writing because she’s also a journalist and an academic. When she tires of words and yarns she enjoys a cup of tea, or a visit up the road with Sovereign Hill’s big mob of friendly Clydesdales. Zabet Stewart is responsible for The AntiCraft <>, a free, online, quarterly craft zine, and is co-author of Anticraft: Knitting, Beading, and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister. She’s currently obsessed with designing for cross stitch (but, strangely, not stitching it) and frequently contributes to the Quirky Nomads podcast at <>.


Supporters Passionate Hookers wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have been what it is without the assistance and kindness of some key organisations. We very proudly present to you the people who helped to make this mook happen.

Stitch Diva Studios


The crochet revolution came and went, but it never died. Its hookers didn’t disappear when the revolution changed gear: they merely dived back underground.

Passionate Hookers

isn’t about cute, or even necessarily functional crochet. It’s about crochet as art and, in some cases, as a way of life.

* ... a crochet anthology with substance

From the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, to freefrom crochet, to musing non-fiction and patterns and tutes, there’s something in this book for the hooker in all of us.

Passionate Hookers  

The crochet revolution came and went, but it never died. Its hookers didn’t disappear when the revolution changed gear: they merely dived ba...

Passionate Hookers  

The crochet revolution came and went, but it never died. Its hookers didn’t disappear when the revolution changed gear: they merely dived ba...