Crochet catching on

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement and environmental consciousness are resurrecting interest in “home arts” that were revered by our grandmas and great-grandmas.

Author provides plenty of easy projects in new book

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement and environmental consciousness are resurrecting interest in “home arts” that were revered by our grandmas and great-grandmas.

According to the Craft Yarn Council, nearly 38 million women, or more than one in three in the United States, knows how to knit or crochet.

Men and boys are discovering reasons to practice such skills, too, said Julie Armstrong Holetz, whose second book, “Uncommon Crochet: Twenty-five Projects Made from Natural Yarn and Alternative Fibers,” was published last month by Ten Speed Press (

Holetz, who lives in Redmond and teaches after-school crochet classes at Horace Mann Elementary, said she grew up in the years when women “wanted to be independent, go to work, not just be identified as moms and didn’t have time to pass on those skills to their daughters.”

Three and a half years ago, this former planner at Eddie Bauer decided she wanted to stay home with her kids and thought it was time to explore her creativity.

“I wanted to make more than just afghans and started experimenting with three-dimensional structures,” she said, such as the handbags, baskets and vases shown in “Uncommon Crochet.”

She started sending patterns to craft magazines, published a children’s book called “Crochet Away” which includes the basic supplies for getting started, and now freelances as a technical editor for Interweave Crochet magazine.

Although “the grandma stigma is hard to shake,” she said with a laugh, “Julia Roberts is a big knitter and there’s a little girl actress — maybe Dakota Fanning — who is setting the example for young girls that it’s cool to make your own clothes, make your own bread, get back to those basic life skills.”

Males who are taking up these crafts do it for relaxation, “skateboarders and skiers like that they can make their own hats, and I’ve seen really smart kids use it for a diversion, even while doing other things like homework,” she said.

For those who are all thumbs, what’s the best way to get started?

Well, besides her kids’ book (for ages 8 and up), Holetz said “Uncommon Crochet” features lots of step-by-step easy projects and also suggestions for designing your own patterns and recycling other materials.

She showed us a favorite project, the red “Hong Kong Bag” that is featured on page 59 of “Uncommon Crochet.”

She incorporated a coin that her mom brought her from Hong Kong, as well as straps and grommets that she took off a bag she purchased at Value Village for $1.50.

Yarn’s not the only medium for these projects, she noted. She’s made sturdy carry-alls out of crocheted leather and embellishments crocheted from wire or jute.

She’ll teach a class at the Kirkland Arts Center this summer and sees her next step as setting up a studio to teach kids practical skills, perhaps at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center or Adair House, the log cabin at Anderson Park. She’s also seeking crochet-happy adults to join the Needle Arts Mentoring organization, possibly creating programs at the Redmond Regional Library.

To learn more, visit her Web site, or e-mail

More in Life

Strumming before running for Redmond Mustang

Redmond High junior runner William Hartman strums his guitar as some teammates… Continue reading

Welcoming Week brings together community for education and conversation

Eastside cities are joining the regional Welcoming Week program to support their diverse communties.

Redmond’s Downtown Park is now open

The grand opening event included a ribbon cutting, community picnic, a performance by Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders and more.

Improving supply helps slow escalating home prices

A look at the regional real estate market.

Moving Art Center hosts concert series at Downtown Park

There will be three performances for the next three Thursdays.

Indian festival draws thousands to Redmond

Ninth annual Ananda Mela showcases breadth and depth of Indian arts and culture.

Annual barrel race to fundraise for paralysis recovery

Melanie Christianson Memorial Race set for August 11

After being connected through home DNA tests through a relative, Lorna Fischer, 54, of Redmond and Bob Monize, 76, of Camano Island, went to Any Lab Test Now in Everett for a DNA paternity test. Olivia Vanni/staff photo
54 years later, DNA test gave answer to ‘Who’s your daddy?’

A Camano Island man and Redmond woman’s mother didn’t recollect being together that summer of 1963.

Providence ElderPlace Redmond celebrates first anniversary

Providence ElderPlace Redmond celebrates first anniversary with celebration and open house

Redmond Kiwanis supports summer meals for children in need

Redmond Kiwanis donates $500 to summer lunch program

Sergeant Julie Beard reads “Officer Buckle and Gloria,” promoting safety to local children at the Little Free Library opening. Kailan Manandic, Redmond Reporter
Redmond police promote literacy and safety at Little Library opening

The event allowed Redmond officers to connect with the community and read to local children.

Redmond High School students complete Western Aerospace Scholars residency

Three RHS juniors complete Western Aerospace Scholars residency