Jazzing things up

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On a number of occasions I have seriously contemplated designing my own crochet patterns. After some serious introspection I’ve decided it’s definitely not for the faint hearted and given my personality I’m not quite sure I have the patience to embark on this process.  In fact I’ve resigned myself to being the type of crafter that likes to take a pattern and “jazz it up somewhat”. Bling it as my one friend Moira would say.

Having recently worked with Brenda Grobler and MoYa Yarns on a bespoke project for Ideas Magazine (which will be available in an upcoming issue of Ideas Magazine) I quickly realised that designing a pattern whether it be for crochet or knitting requires passion and a skill. It’s not simply a matter of putting pen to paper and off you go. When I spoke to Brenda yesterday I asked her to tell me in her own words what her views are on designing a crochet or knitting pattern.


“I  have a love/hate relationship with pattern designing. Every single time, especially after a gruelling pattern, I promise myself, no more. I’m done. Only to immediately dust off the two or three new designs that’s been brewing in the back of my mind. I can’t imagine a world where I’m not creating. It’s a deep seated need. It’s part of who I am. I constantly have dozens of ideas floating in my mind somewhere, pictures are scribbled everywhere with notes attached. Let’s not fool each other. Pattern designing is difficult. There are so many variables to consider. Firstly, the yarn has to ‘talk’ to me. It’s insanely hard to create something halfway decent, if you hate working with a particular yarn. Secondly, when I design I want know that all the sizes of a particular garment will look equally well on the lady that makes the smallest size, to the lady that makes the largest size. I never, ever want someone to walk down the street, wearing one of my designs, and be laughed at. Getting that balance right, between a beautiful design, all the way to actual wearability across sizes, is probably the biggest challenge. During my career, I must have frogged more garments than the actual items I’ve completed. Challenges aside, once a pattern is finally done, and I can step back and it looks like the picture in my mind, that right there, must be one of the most awesome feelings in the world.”

I came across a wonderful online article where they list 12 key steps you should take when designing a pattern. If you are thinking of designing your own pattern, you should definitely make the effort and read the article.

So having given up my ambition to design a pattern I’ve decided to explore my creativity by jazzing up a simple design.

I used the beautiful knitted sideways garter vest pattern by purlbee (the pattern is available for free). I used the most awesome imported yarn called Gianzia Filati Torre which I bought at I Love Yarn!



I then finished off the final design by adding 2 very effective crochet edges. I firstly used the gorgeous curved edge which can be found on Crochepedia and then the delightful little pompoms from Once Upon a Pink Moon

PicMonkey Collage6

That was not enough for me so I asked Cornel and Elsbeth to meet me at the awsome new coffee shop “Milk Bar” at Amatuli where they showed me how to create woolly tattoos on my garter vest.

amatuli collage copy


I was so excited and amazed at the difference this simple touch of detail made to the vest.

Dottie Angel is such an inspiration and the absolute guru of woolly tattoos. The Hellohart team just love her style and creativity.

PicMonkey Collage

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The only limit to jazzing up any handmade item is your very own creativity. Pinterest is such a source of inspiration. Take a look at the following great examples I found:

Why don’t you try make your own buttons. The pattern is simple


The colourful and decorative trimming and ribbons on the inside and outside of a knitted jersey are just amazing.  And the beautiful colour combination and creative buttons on the knitted garment simply takes it to the next level


My challenge to you this week is to take something simple and “jazz it up” to reflect your personality. I can guarantee you it will be a one of a kind special garment.

May your week be filled with much jazz and bling!

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6 thoughts on “Jazzing things up

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