Once upon a time, crochet may have been the hobby your grandmother or aunty used to pass the time. Their needlework generally resulted in doilies, tablecloths, kitschy detailing on dresses, and those often-ill fitting waistcoats that were briefly popular in the Nineties. (I’m speaking from personal experience, here).

That was then.

There’s been a HUGE renaissance in fiber arts in recent years. Thanks in part to Bust Magazine’s Debbie Stoller, there’s been a new wave of women versed in the needle arts, who proudly refer to themselves as Stitch and Bitch. There are craft mafias. Knitting, sewing, and crochet have become tools of self expression. Your grandma or aunty’s hobby of choice has become a fresh avenue of fashion for today’s generation. Allow me to share some of my favorite crochet finds with you!

Earrings by Star Crochet Designs

If you want to dip a toe into the world of crochet, I think the best place to begin is with accessories.
Lovenia Leapart, designer of StarCrochet Creations, makes gorgeous earrings that will for sure get you noticed. Check me out in her Purple Lacie Teardrops. $20, and the color and style is so on trend for Fall it isn’t even funny!

StarCrochet designs are colorful, funky, and bright without being childlike. Her Looptyloops are interlocking crochet circles that move individually and come in alternating colors. Tres chic! And the Peace Signs look awesome with jeans, especially in shades of blue. Love Lovenia’s work, and love the prices!

You can add a little crochet to your look AND support fair trade initiatives, look no further than Harriet and Leo. Their Hand Crocheted Butterfly Pins are $15 for a set of two, and they’re made in Peru out of local wool.

Harriet & Leo butterfly pin

I love the purple pair — and I totally wore one to the Blogalicious bash here in Chicago, to compliment my La Grande Dame lilac dress! I know — how Mariah of me! But I couldn’t help it. These clever little crochet butterflies are very cute, very whimsical, and as summer wends towards autumn, they’ll allow me to keep a touch of warmth and sunshine in my style.

Those crochet designs whet my appetite for wanting to master the art myself. But I can barely tie my shoelaces, dare I dream of being a skilled crocheter? According to wonder twins Erika and Monika Simmons — it isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and practice can definitely make perfect!
Erika-frontand twin

Together Erika and Monika are known as the Double Stitch Twins, and they make crochet that’s sexy and fashion forward.

The twins picked up their skills when they were in the 4th grade. “One of our favorite teachers, Mrs. Pugh, taught us in an after school program. I remember making a hair item. But Erika made an afghan and won a school competition!”

The sisters admit to coming to be skilled quite quickly. They’re both great with their hands (and are also amazing hair braiders!). But they make things accessible for those willing to learn with their pattern book, Double Stitch Designs for the Crochet Fashionista. $20 and it comes personally autographed by the twins! The book includes patterns for some of their sickest fashions, which range in price from $50 for a hat to $450 for a dress. They’ve made items for Common and Eve in the past, and their future is limitless.

“Crochet is so endless. You can make home accents, children’s clothing, jewelry… and it’s not even the items it’s the way we do it. We tend to make items that are brighter, we use feathers… we feel free to dive into the world of home accents now.”

Check out some of the fly stuff Monika and Erika have made!

You can learn more at Double Stitch Twins.com, purchase items from the Double Stitch Etsy page, and the twins host a program and feature videos on Virtue One Radio.com, a contemporary Christian network where they uplift listeners and viewers through their handicraft.

Don’t be surprised if someday soon you see these gorgeous twins hosting their own crafts show on television, teaching classes around Chicago, or (and I LOVE this idea) hosting a craft cruise! I’d love to learn in that kind of environment!

Do you already know how to crochet? What kind of stuff have you made? Or are you like me and just want to learn?

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Tha Connoisseur says:
September 17, 2009, 10:55 am
Love the earrings, they are gorgeous! I was one who started with needlepoint at a young age, then moved on to crochet in my teens and now I knit. Girl, pick it up - you will be surprised how skilled you become after some time! :) Nice finds! I will be sure to check them out - thanks lovely!
b. says:
September 17, 2009, 11:09 am
Nice, fresh post! Thanks for the info :D Another site for the crafty ones is Ravelry.com. It's for knitters, and it's basically a social network as well as a source of great info.
KF519 says:
September 17, 2009, 12:20 pm
Wow...it is amazing what they're able to crochet! :)
Tara says:
September 17, 2009, 2:12 pm
Love this post - thanks for showing how an art that is seemingly old-fashioned can be funky and contemporary! I am also a crochet jewelry designer (Spontaneity). My work can be found on www.spon-taneity.com and at the Silver Room in Wicker Park (Chicago)*shameless plug* :-) Thanks for showing designers like us some love!
glamazini says:
September 17, 2009, 2:44 pm
interesting. i JUST saw a lady in the cafeteria in a red crochet long jacket and thought "i love that, but is it dated or back in style...i need a crochet top". YAYNESS!!!
Carmen says:
September 17, 2009, 8:13 pm
I have a round pink pair of earrings http://tinyurl.com/mqcfme by Star Crochet. She's very approachable and great at her craft. I gave a hand at crocheting. It takes a lot of time and dedication to make these items. So much love and appreciation to all the Crocheting Artists!
Coily Hair says:
September 17, 2009, 8:44 pm
Wow, I absolutely love the fashions they have developed from stiching... and love the hair btw ;-)
puregoldlady says:
September 17, 2009, 9:21 pm
wow, that gallery is amazing. I am motivated to use the sewing machine I bought 2 months ago which has only been used once....ahem. :-)
Lee says:
September 19, 2009, 7:30 pm
These ladies are very talented. Good post.
JazE says:
September 19, 2009, 8:50 pm
It's good to know that I am not the only one who wants to pick up this hobby. I tried when I was around 14, and I think that lasted all of a month or two. I've been looking to see if Michael's had any 101 classes since the first week of September. Wish me luck! :-)
Akilah Nisa says:
September 22, 2009, 12:45 pm
I have to make sure I put you on to another crochet desinger in Chicago .. Mona Lisa of www.knottyloop.com. Her designs are super awesome, custom and affordable! She's plus-sized and designers for everyone!
sunnyraindrops says:
September 22, 2009, 6:33 pm
Hi! I just found your site today and I am sooooooo loving it. lol If you crochet you might want to sign up for ravelry - a super great site for knitters and crocheters - there is a wait list but you should probably be added in about a week. Once you do you can connect with me if you want - I go by "sunnyraindrops". :)
sunnyraindrops says:
September 22, 2009, 6:34 pm
I should have mentioned that I can't crochet yet...but I'd like to learn (I already knit). There are tutorials within ravelry to learn once you're there.
Pat says:
September 24, 2009, 3:50 am
I am a crochet addict and I want to mention that Ifya Ibomu has written two wonderful books about crochet. http://nattral.com/nattral-store.html?page=shop.browse&category_id=1
Brandi says:
September 25, 2009, 11:52 am
I took a class to knit and have since taught my sister. With that said, it usually requires a lot of patience, most of which I haven't acquired yet. But it is pretty amazing when you create something and get compliments on it.
caramelhoney says:
October 4, 2009, 10:15 am
wow. i've learned to knit about 2 weeks ago, and im pretty good. i catch on fast. but i would love to crochet and create my own jewlery/clothes. i think i'll buy the book, thanks for the awesome post afro bella!
Miss artistic says:
December 28, 2010, 12:34 pm
I am also a fellow crocheter and knitter!! and i jus admire seeing people taking an interest in something that once was done just be grandmothers. So now when you refer to a crocheter or a knitter, you don't automatically think, "Ooo your grandmom did it". Instead you can say, "No I DID IT!! :)