Where do you go for crochet inspiration? I love the fact that there are so many places on the internet to see great designs. I find Etsy to be a great source, and often browse there to see what people are making and selling, and what's trending in crochet. But even more than that, I look for crochet artisans whose work has something really special about it, something I can aspire to or learn from. I find this most often at Etsy shops where people are selling finished pieces rather than patterns. Some are quite affordable too -- especially if I compare their prices to things I might buy in New York which are not even handmade. Today I want to share some of my favorite Etsy shops, with artists who are doing work I consider noteworthy.
Before I launch in, however, a few tips for those who haven't explored Etsy much. It's very easy to use. Start at the "Shop Home" where you can browse through the artisan's offerings, or select categories listed on the left side of the page. If there isn't much in the shop, click where it shows the number of sales the shop has made and you will see more samples of the work. It's also easy to communicate with shop owners via the Contact button, and I've had excellent luck talking to people from all over the world -- very cool!
If you start at the Etsy home page (etsy.com), you can browse under just plain old crochet (and get literally hundreds of thousands of items) or narrow your search down, or sort it -- I actually sorted by highest price first to see what the high end stuff was like. So, here are some of the treasures I found:
One of my top favorites is a shop called "Lilthist." Here's a link:
The artist is from Turkey and everything she does is truly stunning, beautifully made, and very fashionable. For example, don't you just love this exquisite shawl made with Solomon's Knot?!
Or this neck piece using Crocodile Stitch?
Exquisite! I might even treat myself to a present from Lilthist some time soon.
Another super talented lady, from Israel, Lucy Levintovich, can be found at:
Her style is freeform, and her pieces are fashions statements, some very colorful, others in neutral tones. There are a great variety of things here, unlike some Etsy shops where the same item is featured in a gazillion colors. Here are two of my faves.
A different kind of shop I appreciate is Rachel's Scraps:
Now here's a woman who understands the value of vintage doilies! She reworks them to appeal to the modern eye. If they are damaged, she cuts them down and finishes them so they won't rip, then dyes them vibrant color. Such fun!
Bead crochet jewelry is the specialty at the shop of Doris Chi, from Taiwan.
These exquisite pieces are inspired by Irish crochet, as you can see in the first selection here. Irish crochet is gorgeous on its own, and with beads added -- well, it's remarkable, and so expertly done!
A very original designer is Kristina Lazar, who lives in California:
I love the playful, even kooky look of her work, and how she incorporates crochet pieces within it.
Some include doilies and her own crochet. Even the photos show her great sense of style!
I leave you with the work of a textile artist, Karine Aber, whose work is in the category of mind-blowing.
Karine incorporates numerous needle techniques in her pieces, and they belong in a museum -- perhaps some of her work is! Can anyone discredit crochet after seeing this? Thanks Karine for showing us the true potential of the needle arts.
This is only a smattering of lovely shops on Etsy, but I hope it gets you exploring further. Remember too that there is a lot more hand made work besides crochet. In fact, I'd be thrilled if readers post here about their own finds! How about it folks?
Dora Ohrenstein is an author, designer and writer whose most recent book is Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments that Really Fit. Her website Crochetinsider.com is a great source for articles, interviews and techniques, and where she teaches online crochet classes.