Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Filet Crochet and Me

I wrote a review for the book Filet Crochet: More than 70 Designs with Easy-to-Follow Charts (Stitch Collection) at Crochet Spot. You might want to check it out at

I spotted this book at National Book Store, the biggest book store chain in the Philippines. My eyes goggled as I spotted the price tag: Php150.00--about USD4.00. I quickly snatched it up and marched straight to the cashier, convinced that they had somehow messed up the price (and determined to purchase it before they cottoned on to the error).

I was entranced with all the possibilities that filet crochet had to offer. Still, the newbie crocheter in me was too scared to try anything in the book. I was a little intimidated with the charts, the new techniques to master, and all the counting (!!!) involved.

Knowing I had to overcome this fear, I settled on an ambitious project: the Blessed Mother Prayer Shawl by Kim Guzman (free pattern). It was the perfect way to build my filet crochet skills. I had to undo my work a lot of times. I realized though that with each error I made, I learned something new. Read more about my experience on my Ravelry project page at

Since then, I've made a couple of filet crochet doilies from a Japanese pattern book. Then I moved on, learning other new crochet techniques (and promptly forgot about filet crochet projects). Looking through available patterns now, I came across a few intriguing free patterns that are definitely going on my queue:

Pretty Kitty by Maggie Petsch

Day of the Dead Skull Doily
by Maria Merlino

Jane Austen Cameo Doily
by Margaret C. Sullivan
I started working on the Jane Austen Cameo Doily this afternoon. I was charmed by the author's description:
"A silhouette of a young woman bearing the legend “L’aimable Jane” (the amiable Jane) was found pasted into a second-edition copy of Mansfield Park. It was thought at the time that the silhouette, being of a young lady named Jane and found in a book by Jane Austen, must therefore be a silhouette of Jane Austen. The provenance is a bit dodgy, but Janeites have long accepted the silhouette as being a symbolic representation of their favorite author. We have formatted it into a filet crochet pattern that can be used to make a doily or any item that can be crocheted using the filet crochet method."
The Jane Austen fan in me just had to start the project immediately. I propped open my Filet Crochet book to refresh my memory. Using size 8 crochet thread and a size 8 crochet hook, I started hooking away. Here's what I accomplished in over an hour, 12 and a half rows into the project:
I don't exactly know if I'll use it as a doily or have it framed for my daughter's room. One thing I'm sure of is: I'm happy to have established a friendly camaraderie with filet crochet. Hopefully more crafters master the art, to ensure the perpetuity of this lovely branch of the crochet arts.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Croccy Project - More Photos

Remember my Croccy Preview a few weeks back? I've finished the project (finally!). Crocodile stitches take longer than I thought to make.

It's a triangular shawl! Here are some photos:

The main body of the shawl is made up of crocodile stitches. I added the lacy edging to give it a more feminine look. I used Monaco Raylon and an F hook.

 The pattern will be up on Crochet Spot soon (hopefully). This was the most challenging project for me to design so far, but I pushed through it. I hope the pattern I wrote is clear enough!

P.S. My heart and prayers go out to those devastated by the recent earthquake in Visayas. I'm blessed to report that every one of my friends are safe, but others aren't so lucky. I take comfort in the fact that we Filipinos are resilient and have a positive outlook on life. We will get through this, too.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Standardizing Crochet

Standards. This 9-letter word can be so easy to understand, yet so difficult to achieve.

To be honest, it's one of the things preventing me from sharing free patterns (well, that and laziness). Most knitting and crochet designers should know that patterns (particularly those for sale) have to follow certain standards when publishing their creative works.

Fortunately, the Craft Yarn Council has devoted many resources to help out designers in need. Check out for more information on standard yarn weights, knit/crochet abbreviations and symbols, skill levels, and body measurements. There are a couple of downloadable resources for designers available: Downloadable Guidelines in PDF and Downloadable Skill and Yarn Weight Symbols.

I do understand that following these standards would benefit all crafters in general. It might be a pain for designers to have to follow ALL of these instructions, but I guess it doesn't make sense to release a pattern that nobody could understand or follow. Still, I have a few concerns:

  • Not all crochet stitches are included in their list of abbreviations and symbols
  • Skill levels are difficult to standardize--what's "easy" for one person can be very challenging for another. Good thing the CYC defines the skill levels on their website, but not everyone knows how the skill levels are defined.
  • In the Standard Yarn Weight System, yarns are classified based on gauge. We all know that crocheters and knitters all have different tension in their work. A more accurate classification would be by wraps per inch (wpi).
It might sound like I'm nitpicking on the website, but these are just my thoughts. I think all crafters should be aware of this. We should all contribute to make these standards work for everyone--so this should always be marked as a work in progress.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Croccy Preview

Claireity Crochet is brewing up something pretty! But we gotta keep it on the low down (so shhh!). Here's a little preview of what I'm working on now:

Yep, I'm working on something using crocodile stitches. It's far from finished yet, so I'm pretty sure y'all will be in for a surprise with the finished pattern.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting back into the groove

Yowza! I've been out of the crochet blogging scene for so long. I've been reacquainting myself with crochet pattern templates, blog dashboards, and the latest crochet news. Still, I feel inadequately informed and unprepared.

I guess it's normal to have a little self-doubt. Me being me, though, I'm pretty sure I'll get the job done (and done well!). It just takes a while to get used again to everything.

Since it's a Thursday, here's a little throwback picture of me with one of my first crochet projects:

Haha. I look so happy. Frankly, I was relieved that I was able to finish such a big lace project. This is Doris Chan's Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl - more details about my project on Ravelry here.

I had no idea I'd be capable of customizing, writing, and eventually publishing new crochet patterns. It's such a big blessing to be able to share your creations. I can't get enough of people thanking me for patterns they've used over and over again, specially for gifts. And now, I can't wait to do all of that all over again.

Be blessed and have a great day!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Claireity?

Hi! I'm Claire Ortega-Reyes, and I'm the writer/crafter behind Claireity Crochet.

I used to blog at The Artful Hooker (naughty, I know!). I also wrote crochet tutorials and patterns for Crochet Spot. I decided to create a new blog because I felt like the things I wrote for The Artful Hooker don't exactly jive with who I am now. A LOT of things have happened to me since I stopped writing for my old blog:
  • I switched jobs, trying to find my place in the sun (or workforce)
  • I got married to my best friend, AKA the best husband in the world
  • I became a mom to a beautiful baby girl
  • I lost my mom, but she's happy in heaven now
  • I quit the job I worked hard for, to help with our family business
  • As cliche as it sounds, I realized that every moment we have is a blessing and that we should be thankful always, for everything that happens to us
  • In between all of that I never stopped crocheting :)
In short, I've grown so much as a writer, crafter, daughter, sister, mother, wife, and all the other things that I am. I see life a little bit clearer, because through everything I've gone through I discovered the most important things in life.

Claireity Crochet is all about my journey in life, through crochet and other crafts. By sharing my experiences, I hope that I help other crafters discover what they truly want out of their craft. Every now and then I'll post tutorials and free patterns, too. I hope I can help a lot of people out there!