Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 Chic Garments & Accessories
By Mary Jane Hall
Colorful Crochet Lace: 22 Chic Garments & Accessories
“I don’t know about you,” asks Mary Jane, “but lace appeals to my feminine side as well as reminding me of old-fashioned things like antique furniture, our great-grandparents, romance, and eras gone by of a slower life. Crocheted lace makes me feel connected in a wonderful way with my ancestors, and I love the nostalgic feeling that goes along with it.”
This is a beautiful book – filled with stunning designs, beautiful graphics and pretty fonts. The way the book has been put together mimics the designs in the book and is both feminine and chic – you will find swirly title fonts and pretty overlays – Colorful Crochet Lace is lovely to browse through.
The pattern instructions are presented in a clean and easy to read font.
Each project is presented in a similar format beginning with a full page photograph of the design being modelled. Following this is the Project Title Page detailing the Finished Sizes, Yarn Type Recommended (and specific yarn used), any Hooks and Notions you will need, the Gauge measurement you must reach and a description of the design.
The next page outlines any special notes you need to know to make the project, the Stitch Guide for special stitches used in the design; followed by the Pattern itself. The pattern is available in a written format using U.S. Terms. You also receive the Stitch Pattern Diagrams and a Stitch Key for a reduced sample of the pattern and the edging.
Throughout the written pattern, you will find Tips where they are needed. These tips can be found quickly by scanning for italicized fonts within the instructions.
Each project also provides a schematic of the design with the applicable size measurements in inches and centimetres.
Colorful Crochet Lace includes 22 feminine garments and accessories. Most garments are available in sizes S-2X. Some of the designs are also available in XS and 3X. I love how many sizes are included.
The Graduated Stitch Method (GSM) – is Mary Jane Hall’s signature stitch method to create shaped crochet garments without using increases and/or decreases. This process is explained in detail on page 152. The Abbreviations, Stitch Glossary, Sources for Yarn, Acknowledgements Section and Index finish off this book. In total Colorful Crochet Lace is 160 pages in length.
Included in this publication are the following designs:
- Isabelle Sleeveless Tunic
- Monique Hooded Jacket
- Juliette Scarf
- Tres Chic Neck Warmer
- Tunique Unique Pullover
- Le Chocolat Skirt
- La Vie en Rose Rectangular Shawl
- Au Naturel Cropped Top
- Haute Couture Peplum Top
- Amelie Triangular Shawl (Child Size)
- Michelle Ma Belle Shrug
- Brigette Wide Belt
- Cafe au Lait T-shirt
- Daytime in Paris Shoulder Bag (includes instructions on how to line your bag)
- Ooh La La Flared Dress
- Ma Cherie Scarf
- Dominique Dress Overlay
- Boutique Bolero
- Walk in the Park Capelet
- Magnifique Modular Tunic (includes modifications for 4 variations on the original design)
- Parisian Gardens Circular Shawl
- La Fleur Doily Bag (includes instructions on how to line your bag)
I was given the opportunity to ask Mary Jane Hall some interview questions. I would like to thank her for taking the time to answer my questions!
My Interview with Mary Jane Hall.
1. What design are you most proud of in Colorful Crochet Lace?
I am most proud of the Haute Couture Peplum Top that’s on the front cover. It’s one of my favorite colors and I love feminine peplums, and fitted shapes. The top part is worked with my signature Graduated Stitch Method of making shaped garments and accessories without having to use increases or decreases, which is easy enough for a beginner. I like all the projects but my other favorites are the Tunique Unique Pullover, Parisian Gardens Circular Shawl, La Fleur Doily Bag, Ooh La La Flared Dress, Au Natural Cropped Top, Isabelle Sleeveless Tunic, Tres Chic Neck Warmer and the Juliet Scarf.
2. What was the first project you ever designed?
My first design was a poncho in 2004, which ended up in a Kooler Design Studio / Leisure Arts booklet. I had designed several ponchos and capelets, trying to come up with some updated patterns for my friends I was teaching to crochet and the first time I ever submitted a design to anyone Donna Kooler called me from Ca. and said, “We not only want to do 1 booklet of your designs but we want to do 2 booklets of your designs!” Of course I was ecstatic! They paid to have my 14 designs (7 in each booklet), overnighted to them so they could be published in June of that year.
3. What was the most challenging crochet project you ever designed?
I would say it was probably the Daisy Peplum little girls top that was in the winter 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet magazine. I submitted that proposal as an adult Peplum top and had the pattern all written out ahead of time. The editor said they wanted that design but wanted to know if I’d be willing to do it in a little girls’ size. I said “Sure”, but I was a little freaked out having to convert my pattern to fit a 10 year old girl. My mannequin is a women’s size small and I fit everything I make to my daughter and daughter in law, who are both a size small. It took a lot of time and patience, and with the help of yarn standard measurements, I got it done. Even though it came out beautiful, it wasn’t fun doing that. We follow yarn standards but I like to have an actual body to try it on as I’m working on it. The top was a perfect fit though.
4. What would we find in your crochet tool-kit?
You would find stitch markers, yarn needle, measuring tape, magnifying glass, 71 hooks of all sizes, scissors, fabric glue (for weaving in ends), blocking table, yarn swift, needle and thread, my floor lamp Opti light, and my collection of 28 stitch pattern books, which includes edgings and motifs! I keep lots of hooks on hand in case I lose one I’m using for a design that’s due and I give hooks away to people I teach. I have wood, aluminum, steel, plastic, lucite, ivory and lighted hooks, but use my Bates aluminum ones the most.
5. What type of crochet hook do you prefer to work with?
Most definitely I prefer Susan Bates hooks over any others. I have small hands and the thumb rest on this hook fits best. I use the pencil hold and my yarn doesn’t get caught with this hook.
6. What is your favourite type of yarn to work with?
I love working with smaller yarns such as fingering, sport wt and dk in fibers such as bamboo, silks, cotton or blends of these. I love yarns that are smooth in my hands as well as ones that make crochet garments soft and drapable. I have never liked any kind of yarn that has fuzz but many wools of today are nice though and not too itchy or fuzzy.
7. Where do you sit when you crochet?
I like sitting someplace that is comfortable such as a couch, a lounge chair or sitting on my bed with pillows behind me and my legs propped up.
8. What do you take inspiration from when you are designing?
Since I specialize in trendy crochet garment’s and accessories, I follow fashion blogs, runway shows and trends. I also have subscriptions to 8 fashion magazines, but I do some classic designs as well. I try to work with color trends, which means sometimes I use colors I’m not crazy about as well as my favorite colors, which are plums, greens, purples, blues, etc.
9. How did you learn to design garments?
I learned to sew when I was 12 so I’ve always had a good sense of how fabric is shaped onto the body, and I was making handmade Barbie clothes for my little sister without a pattern back then. I’ve been crocheting a long time, but just had a desire about 10 years ago to start making my own patterns. My first submissions were accepted and I had 57 designs accepted my first year of designing, so that’s why I kept it up.
10. What tools and/or resources would you recommend to a Crocheter who wished to learn how to design garments?
The first thing I would recommend is that she learns how to read patterns, then she should learn how to write them herself in the proper crochet language. To gain experience in learning how to read patterns and important to designing would be to buy some stitch pattern books. This is a great way she can learn several different stitches by doing a small swatch of any particular pattern stitch. There are many stitch pattern books out there and my favorite is the Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda Schapper. A potential designer can start out by making modular garments which are basic squares and rectangles that don’t require increases or decreases. Garments with those shapes (big wide sleeves, etc) are super popular in fashion this year!
11. What advice would you give to other Designers who are interested in publishing their own original designs with a publishing company?
I have blogged about this several times on my Positively Crochet! Blog and have mentored 3 people who had their first designs published within their first year of designing. I also have given local talks on “How to Get Your Designs Published”, if anyone is interested they can read my posts there on this. I will be adding more.
Added Bonus Content!!
As an added bonus, Interweave has generously given me a snippet from Colorful Crochet Lace to share on my website! Here is the gorgeous pattern I requested for you to enjoy:
Au Naturel Cropped Top
S/M (L, 1X, 2X, 3X). Sample shown is size S/M.
Bust: 36 (42, 49, 55, 62)#. (91.5 [106.5, 124.5, 139.5, 157.5] cm).
Length: 18½ (20, 21, 20, 21)” (47 [51, 53.5, 51, 53.5] cm).
DK weight (#3 Light).
Shown here: Juniper Moon Farm Zooey (60% cotton, 40 % linen; 284 yd [260 m]/3½ oz [100 g]): #08 all spice, 2 (3, 4, 4, 4) balls.
Size H/8 (5 mm). Adjust hook size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
1 patt rep (12 sts on Row 1) = 3¼” (8.5 cm); 5 rows = 3″(7.5 cm).
The natural color of this simple lace top worked in a cotton/linen blend yarn goes with just about anything. It will look especially good with jeans or shorts to fit into today’s styles, but would look equally stylish with a skirt for a day or evening look. The edging finishes it off and makes it extra special.
Top is worked in 2 pieces with seams at the sides and shoulders.
Beg ch is at the lower edge.
If you prefer a looser top, use a size larger hook. Top is meant to be loose, but if you want a more fitted top, you should consider making a smaller size—see actual measurements.
Even though this is a DK- weight yarn, there will be times it is more like a fingering yarn— thick and thin. Just make sure you don’t work your sts too tight when the thin part comes up. Keep your sts even.
Washing or wetting linen yarn makes it much softer.
Shell: (Dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) in same st.
Loosely ch 68 (80, 92, 104, 116).
Row 1: (RS) Sc in 2nd ch and in each ch across, turn—67 (79, 91, 103, 115, 127).
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc here and throughout), 3 dc in same st, skip next 5 sc, 4 dc in next sc, *ch 3, skip next 2 sc, sc in next sc, ch 3, skip next 2 sc, 4 dc in next sc, skip next 5 sc, 4 dc in next sc; rep from * across, turn—48 (56, 64, 72, 80) dc, 10 (12, 14, 16, 18) ch-3 sps.
Row 3: Ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 6 dc, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, 4 dc in next dc, skip 6 dc, 4 dc in next dc; rep from *, ending with 4 dc in top of ch-3 tch, turn—48 (56, 64, 72, 80) dc, 10 (12, 14, 16, 18) ch-3 sps.
Row 4: Ch 6 (counts as dc, ch 3 here and throughout), skip first 4 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc, *4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps, 4 dc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3; rep from * across,
Row 5: Ch 6, skip next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, *4 dc in next dc, skip next 6 dc, 4 dc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, ch 3 skip next ch-3 sp; rep from * across, ending with dc in 3rd ch of ch-6 tch, turn—40 (48, 56, 64, 72) dc, 12 (14, 16, 18, 20) ch-3 sps.
Row 6: Ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 2 ch-3sps, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps**, 4 dc in next dc; rep from * across, ending last rep at **, with 4 dc in 3rd ch of beg ch-6, turn—48 (56, 64, 72, 80) dc, 10 (12, 14, 16, 18) ch-3 sps.
Rows 7–31 (33, 35, 33, 35): Rep rows 3–6 (5 [6, 6, 6, 6] times); work evenly in pattern for 1 (3, 1, 3, 1) more rows, ending with Row 3 (5, 3, 5, 3) of patt. Pull up last lp on hook and set Back aside. Do not fasten off.
See the PDF (the link is under the image directly above the pattern) for the Stitch Key and Reduced Sample of Pattern
Work same as back through Row 23 (25, 27, 25, 27). Front should measure 13 (14½, 15½, 14½, 15½)” (33 [37, 39.5, 37, 39.5] cm) from beginning. Pull up last lp on hook and set front aside. Do not fasten off.
Shape Neck and Right Shoulder
With WS of work facing, PM in center sc of last row worked. Counting outward from this sc (at marker), PM at 11th st to each side of center marker.
Sizes S, L, and 2X only
Row 1: Pick up dropped lp on Front, ch 6, skip first 4 dc, sc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next 2 dc, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps, 4 dc in next dc**, ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, rep from * 0 (1, 2) times; rep from * to ** once, working last dc in first marked st, turn—16 (24, 32) dc; 4 (6, 8) ch-3 sps. Row 2: Ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 6 dc, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, sc in next sc, ch 3**, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 6 dc, 4 dc in next dc; rep from * across, ending last rep at **, skip next 3 ch, dc in next ch, turn—16 (24, 32) dc; 4 (6, 8) ch-3 sps.
Row 3: Ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc**, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps, 4 dc in next dc, rep from * 0 (1, 2) times; rep from * to ** once, dc in top of ch-3 tch, turn—16 (24, 32) dc; 4 (6, 8) ch-3 sps.
Row 4: Ch 6, skip next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, *ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 6 dc, 4 dc in next dc**, ch 3, skip next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, rep from * 0 (1, 2) times; rep from * to ** once, working last 4 dc in top of ch-3 tch, turn—16 (24, 32) dc; 4 (6, 8) ch-3 sps.
Rows 5–8: Rep Rows 1–4 once. Fasten off.
Shape Neck and Left Shoulder
Row 1: With WS facing, skip 11 sts to the left of last st of right shoulder, join yarn in next marked st, ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc**, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sps, 4 dc in next dc, rep from * 0 (1, 2) times; rep from * to ** once, dc in top of ch-3 tch, turn—16 (24, 32) dc; 4 (6, 8) ch-3 sps.
Row 2: Work same as Row 4 of right shoulder.
Row 3: Work same as Row 1 of right shoulder.
Row 4: Work same as Row 2 of right shoulder.
Rows 5–8: Rep Rows 1–4 once. Fasten off.
For Medium, 1X, and 3X only
Row 1: Pick up dropped lp on Front, ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 2 ch-3sps, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sp**, 4 dc in next dc; rep from * across, ending last rep at **, 4 dc in 3rd ch of ch-6 tch, turn—24 (32) dc; 4 (6) ch-3 sps.
Rows 2–8: Starting with Row 3 of patt, work evenly in patt. Fasten off.
Shape Neck and Left Shoulder
Row 1: With WS facing, skip 11 sts to the left of last st of right shoulder, join yarn in next marked st, ch 3, 3 dc in first dc, skip next 2 ch-3sps, 4 dc in next dc, *ch 3, skip next 3 dc, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next 2 dc, 4 dc in next dc, skip next 2 ch-3 sp**, 4 dc in next dc; rep from * across, ending last rep at **, 4 dc in 3rd ch of ch-6 tch, turn—24 (32) dc; 4 (6) ch-3 sps.
Sew shoulder seams. Sew side seams, leaving 6 (6½, 7, 7½, 8)” (15 [16.5, 18, 19, 20.5] cm) armhole openings.
Rnd 1: With WS facing, working across opposite side of foundation ch, join yarn with sl st in first ch to the left of one side seam (this will be at the base of the first 3-dc group), ch 1, sc in same ch, ch 3, skip next 2 ch, ** *shell in next ch, ch 4, skip next 4 chs, sc in next ch, ch 3, skip next ch, sc in next ch, ch 4, skip next 4 chs, rep from * across to within 8 ch sts of next side seam, skip next 4
chs, shell in next ch, ch 3, skip next 2 chs, sc in next ch (at base of last 4-dc group), ch 3, skip seam**, sc in next ch; rep from ** to ** once, join with sl st in first sc, turn.
Rnd 2: (RS) Sl st in first ch-3 sp, ch 1, sc in same sp, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 sp, *ch 1, [sc in next dc, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next ch-1 sp] twice, sc in next dc, ch 1, sc in next ch-4 sp, ch 3**, sc in next ch-3 sp, ch 3, sc in next ch-4 sp; rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.
With RS facing, join yarn in left shoulder seam of front, ch 1, sc in same sp, sc evenly across left neck edge to corner, keeping work flat, *sc in next dc, (sc, ch 2, sc) bet next 2 dc, skip next dc, sc in next dc, sc in sp before next dc, sc in next dc, (sc, ch 2, sc) in sp before next dc, skip next dc, sc in next dc*, 2 sc in each of next 2 ch-3 sps; rep from * to * once, sc evenly across right neck edge to shoulder seam, sc evenly across back neck edge, keeping work flat, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.
Rnd 1: With RS facing, join yarn with sl st at underarm seam, ch 1, sc in same sp, sc evenly around armhole working 42 (49, 55, 61, 67) sc, join with sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sl st in each of first 6 sc, *ch 3, skip next 2 sc, shell in next sc, ch 3, skip next 2 sc, sc in next sc, rep from * 4 (5, 6, 7, 8) times, sl st in each of next 6 sc, sl st in first sl st. Fasten off.
Rnd 3: With RS facing, join yarn to 2nd ch of first ch-3 at beg of last rnd, *[sc in next dc, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next ch-1 sp] twice, sc in next dc, sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, sc in next ch-3 sp; rep from * 4 (5, 6, 7, 8) times, sl st in 2nd ch of last ch-3 sp. Fasten off. Weave in ends. Block to correct size if needed.
See PDF (link under the photo at the beginning of the pattern) for the schematic drawing and measurements.
About the Author
Mary Jane Hall is a crochet designer and best-selling author of Positively Crochet! and Crochet That Fits, which was voted “Best Crochet Pattern Book of 2008!” by Crochet Liberation Front.
She is a mentor with the CGOA and speaks at various crochet gatherings and fashion shows.
Mary Jane has designed for popular magazines including Interweave Crochet, Vogue Knitting Crochet, and Fifth Avenue Magazine and has appeared on the TV show Knit & Crochet Now.
All images and excerpts are used with permission from Interweave, a division of F+W Media, Inc.
Photography © 2015 Joe Hancock. For more information about Interweave, visit their website, Facebook or Twitter!