Before I get started on the shawl itself, I thought it might be fun to give you an intro as to where this self-publishing thing came from.
When I first started as a designer in 1998, my goal was to eventually end up with my own company producing books. Little did I know the internet would be what it is now! :) At that same time I had met my favorite designer, Terry Kimbrough, who had been at that point designing for many years (she actually started in her teens). She and I had talked a lot about how self-publishing was the way to go. She already back in the late 1990s could see the way the industry was trending. And I did self publish patterns back then. I would publish patterns that weren’t picked up in magazines, and I actually self-published 3 books myself in 2002-2003 - which you can see here.
I got a little sidetracked in the early 2000s and started designing primarily for books and magazine companies, but what I discovered over the years is that I like to do what I want to do. I don't like to be given a theme, or colors of the season. I prefer to design what is coming out of me at the time. I guess you could say I like having control over the entire process! :) In the last 2 years, I determined that this was the time to refocus and go back to my dream. In September 2016, I launched to the world Occhi Blue Press - my new book imprint. The first book, A Garden of Shawls, started pre-sales March 1st, just in time for National Crochet Month. And you will notice I am releasing far more indie patterns starting this year. I am shooting for 2 a month!
I have so many ideas in my head and on paper that I will be busy for years to come!
Let’s talk a little bit about Ecliptic! If you know anything about me and my background, you already know that I learned to crochet from my Italian grandmother, who learned to crochet from her grandmother in Italy. I have a strong background in crocheted Italian laces and for this book I really wanted to go back to my roots and use lace in new and interesting ways.
If you are not a lace person, consider this - you don’t have to use tiny thread and hooks to create late. In fact, in my beginning lace classes, I recommend using worsted weight yarns and a J or K hook to get started so that you can get a feel for it.
Ecliptic is born out of that idea. Sure, Anzula’s Breeze yarn is considered lace weight but I used a 3.00 mm crochet hook (between a C and a D) which is considered a much larger hook that a standard lace hook - usually is a size 6 steel at 1.75 mm. So right there I have removed one of the biggest fears crocheters have with lace. The hook is almost double the size!
Ecliptic is worked from the top down as most triangular shawls are. You start with a shell in the middle of the top edge, and then you gradually increase as you go. The entire shawl consists of triple crochet and chain stitches. Triple crochets are heavily used in Italian lace, and I used a simple shell motif that is just a 4 row repeat - one you can memorize easily! And the best part? If you want to make the shawl smaller or larger all you have to do is reduce or increase, respectively, the number of repeats before you make the edging. And the beauty of the edging is that it mimics the shawl pattern, but it isn't the same. More openwork shells as in traditional Italian laces are used to finish the shawl off. And the edging is just one last row! Easy-peasy!
If all that doesn’t convince you - there is a section in the book that explains how you can use heavier weight yarns for ANY of the patterns in the book. So is Squishy more your speed? You can make this shawl using Squishy. Or what about It Could Be Worsted? You can use that too! You have options!
Ecliptic is one of my favorite shawls in the book. Why? The yarn. Who wouldn't want a spring shawl in a linen/silk blend? Breeze is so smooth and easy to crochet with. The stitch definition is beautiful as you can see from all the photos. And the best part is that even with a shawl made out of a dense crochet stitch, the shawl weighs next to nothing! Ecliptic will be the perfect topper for a summer night. Persimmon was my color of choice for this shawl, but with Anzula’s line up of colors you can chose your perfect color.
A Garden of Shawls is now available on my website. You can also purchase the book on Amazon.com (print and Kindle) iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.
I hope that I have inspired you to make your own Ecliptic shawl. And if you do, let me know about it! I would love to see your finished project on Ravelry or you can always contact me anytime over at at my website!