All the way back in August 2012 I did a post on 7 crochet books I was looking forward to seeing in 2013. One of those was Kristin Nicholas’ 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt: Patterns and Projects Packed with Lush and Vibrant Color That You Will Love to Make. The book is now out, I’ve enjoyed working from me and today I’ve got an interview with the author and then a giveaway of a copy of the book for you.
Crochet Sunflowers Review
First let me say that I love the niche theme of this book which shows a bunch of different ways to craft sunflowers. There is just something so fun and joyful about sunflowers; how could you not be happy making them??! The book has instructions for both knitted and crochet motif flowers (as well as a few other garden related things, like a crochet ladybug pattern). Then it also includes 15 different knit and crochet projects, like a giant sunflower crochet pillow. I haven’t done any of the big projects, yet, but I’ve made several of the crochet motifs in the book and am really enjoying them.
I really loved that the flowers are made primarily with simple stitches but also offer the opportunity to practice a lot of different techniques. Just in crochet a few of the sunflowers I was able to practice:
- Crocheting in a spiral
- Creating layered, textured pieces by crocheting one round in a front loop and one in the back loop of the same base round
- Crochet along chains when working in the round
- Color changes
- Increases and decreases for a flower with a stuffed center
I feel like I learned a lot about crochet flower petal design just in working a few of the motifs so this is also great inspiration for coming up with your own designs inspired by what you see here.
Interview with Designer Kristin Nicholas
I was lucky to get to interview the designer. Here’s what Kristin Nicholas and I talked about:
I started taking photos of them and posting them to my blog. The different colors and varieties were gorgeous. It was fun to share the sunflower love with my readers. Then I began knitting them. I taught classes on how to design sunflowers and other flowers. I wrote a handknitting pattern for knitted and felted sunflowers and sold it on my website. I wrote a book proposal about sunflowers and it got accepted. It all began with one little seed and some raw earth.
Kristin said: Yes, this is the first book I have written that includes crochet. I learned how to crochet when I was about 10 years old. I liked it much more than knitting when I was a kid; it was much easier and more forgiving. My grandma Frieda was an unbelievable crocheter and she helped me through the questions and problems. Somewhere along the way I fell off the crochet bandwagon. I began knitting in college and then worked as a Creative Director at a yarn company – Classic Elite Yarns. Crochet was pretty much in the doldrums during that period of time. Most crocheters didn’t use our yarn; it was natural fiber based and cost way more than the acrylic yarns that were popular with crocheters at the time. But now crochet seems to be experiencing a rebirth in popularity. The new crocheters are willing to spend more money on yarn.
Professionally, I never HAD TO crochet for my job. I knew the basics and have been a casual free-form crocheter for years. When this book project developed, the publisher wanted half the projects to be knit and half crochet. (50 Sunflowers is part of a series that sells very well at chain stores like Michael’s and Joann’s and their yarn customers are primarily crocheters). They asked me if I could do it and of course I said yes. They didn’t need to know I didn’t know how to write a crochet pattern nor had I picked up a hook in years! I had faith in myself that I could figure it out.
I began with the crochet projects first because I knew that the sunflowers would naturally grow easily with crochet. They did – it was hard to stop when I reached 25. Every evening I dreamt of crochet sunflowers. When I got to the critter and bug part of the book I had to split the techniques in half. The crochet critters are the ladybug and the monarch butterfly. They were easier to design in crochet rather than knit.
I have always been a dabbler in many different crafts. Because I am, I always assumed that everyone else dabbled too. But that isn’t true. Many knitters I know consider themselves knitters and that is the only craft they know and the only one they ever want to know.I hope knitters, crocheters and crafters start branching out into trying different crafts – crochet, knitting, sewing, embroidery, pottery, painting, quilting. It is way more fun. By learning a new craft, it always helps to bring new interest and techniques to the craft I already know. I learned how to make pottery back in 1991. When I did, it made me look more sculpturally at my knitting. Each craft informs the next you learn and vice versa. It makes them all more fun!
Knitted bobbles are built on rows. They grow from one stitch to many in the first row and then the increase stitches are worked for a few rows and then decreased back to one.
Crochet bobbles are built by increasing into one stitch. I made them by inserting a longer stitch into a shorter fabric. That way they pop right out of the fabric. Crochet bobbles are also much quicker to make. I had never made one until this project! They were fun to experiment with and to add different colors in a flower with crochet bobbles – thus mimicking what a real sunflower looks like.
When I am following someone else’s crochet pattern I tend to use both sets of instructions simultaneously. When I write instructions for crochet now, I use whichever technique (written or drawn) will be more clear to the tech editor. Sometimes I give the pattern both ways.
Get the Book in This Giveaway
Kristin and St. Martin’s Griffin Press generously donated a giveaway copy of the book for one of my readers. Want it? All you have to do to enter is spread the word. Do one or more of the followings things then leave me a single comment on this post letting me what you did and how to confirm it (for example, if you posted on Twitter share a link to the Twitter post).
- Share any of the images in this post on Pinterest and link back to this post. Kristin and I are both on Pinterest and would appreciate your follows as well! Her book even has a Pinterest board.
- Share this post on Facebook. Make sure to like / mention Kristin Nicolas and Crochet Concupiscence.
- Share this giveaway on Twitter. Give the follow and @mention to @KristinNicholas and Crochet Concupiscence.
- Let your G+ followers know about this giveaway. Mention that it’s from Crochet Concupiscence.
- Share this giveaway on Sulia and mention CrochetBlogger on Sulia. I’m trying to spread the word about this image-rich social site since I’m one of their crochet experts so I’ll give 3 bonus entries to anyone who does this! Note that Sulia is unaffiliated with this giveaway but I do get a small honorarium for my work with them (disclosure).
Giveaway closes Friday May 10th at midnight PST. Sorry, due to shipping costs this giveaway is for US entries only. Winner will be selected at random.
Note: The real sunflower, the ladybug and the photo of Kristin came from her; the rest are photos of crochet flowers I made using her patterns from the book.