Talented professional jazz musician and composer, Kathy Kelly, says, “My favorite hobby has always been beading and I have been an avid beader since I was a teen, working with many different beading techniques. Lately I’ve been doing a lot less beadwork and more crochet!”
“When I was a kid, my sister and I used to crochet and knit, learning from books with my mom trying to help us. We were all a bit clueless. I began to relearn to crochet as an adult in November 2008 when my sister gave me a set of crochet hooks for my birthday.”
Kathy, tapestry crocheting her own version of Merrick’s Crochet Swirling Bag.
“While searching for crochet projects to try I saw a pattern for a tapestry crochet coin purse. A light went off in my head; I had been carrying a tapestry crochet coin purse around for about 15 years. They never seem to wear out, when they get too dirty, it’s time for a new one. I’ve always loved them for their beauty and function”
“Shortly thereafter I found the Tapestry Crochet website and picked up a copy of Carol Ventura’s More Tapestry Crochet. I used the graph paper in the book to start making my own designs. I also joined Ravelry and the tapestry crochet group there where I was, and still am, inspired by the work of others.”
I discovered Kathy on Ravelry, where she goes by vibeskat. With a name like that, it’s not surprising that she chose to tapestry crochet cats on her first pieces. The feline motif was inspired by a cat on a coin purse bought at a street fair.
Kathy’s first complete tapestry crochet project, 9 1/2” by 6”, June 2009.
Kathy’s next purse was not as large, but the small size made it difficult to attach the zipper with her sewing machine. She designed the heart motif that decorates the bottom.
Kathy’s Coin Purse, Rowan Glace, June-July 2009.
Now, back to Kathy, who explains that, “I like being able to chart my own designs and am constantly challenged by the lack of symmetry that the stitches produce. Alien Owl Coin Purse started with a more detailed chart that unintentionally produced the “alien” effect. I began thinking about simplicity of design and how the brain always tries to find meaning in shapes. For instance, think of the stick figures that everyone recognizes as people, or how we interpret the shapes of clouds.”
Not bad for a first attempt at designing a tapestry crochet motif! What a hoot (sometimes I can’t help myself)! She plans to revise the owl for another project. This purse was crocheted with brilliant DMC Senso 100%cotton thread, perfect for her 70’s style palette. Unfortunately, this size 3 thread has been discontinued.
Alien Owl Coin Purse, Senso cotton, August – September 2009.
She also told me that, “Small purses and eyeglass cases do not allow me to put so much detail into the designs. My objective is to make a simpler design that the mind will recognize as the intended object.”
“I try to let go of the need for exact symmetry. The loons on my Loons Coin Purse have a different graph for the right and left facing loons. I altered the chart to allow for the way the stitches lean.”
Kathy’s Loons Coin Purse, Senso cotton, November 2009.
The eyeglass cases below have flip top lids and button closures and are lined with “posh” lining fabric to protect the glasses from abrasion. The colorful stripes and varied tails set up an exciting, rhythmic composition.
Senso cotton, Boye size 6 hook, September 2009 (left) and April 2010.
The next coin purse was crocheted with her new favorite thread, Patons Grace (Kathy likes the twist and color selection). She carried one or two threads for part of a row to get more colors on certain rows without affecting the shape.
Bates size 3 steel hook, Patons Grace, January 2010.
Testing a roadrunner design for her next project, she decided to make a tiny bag to see how the graph would look tapestry crocheted.
Kathy’s Roadrunner Coin Purse, 3.25″ by 2.25″, Patons Grace, Bates size 3 steel hook, April 2010.
Jazz is very creative and improvisational and so is Kathy’s tapestry crochet. Her newest piece, which is based on another designer’s pattern, combines her loves of beading and crochet. The bottom of this fun bag was crocheted with Rowan Glace and the roadrunner stripes with Patons Grace. Beaded peyote tubes (worked around cotton seine twine) connect a cloth handle at both ends of the zipper closure.
Kathy’s Roadrunner Bag, Patons Grace, July 2010.
When I asked where she gets her ideas, Kathy said, “Things that have inspired me include poetry by Rumi, nature, animals, American Indian and African beadwork, playing and listening to music from all over the world. I believe that any art I am involved in has an effect on any other form of art that I do. The art of life, the life of art.”
Want to know more about this artist? Then you need to listen to Kathy’s music on her website and Myspace page – or catch one of her performances – to really get this Vibes Cat!