12.12.2014

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

If you are anything like me, you are still sorting out your holiday list.   I know I always have the hardest time with the crafty people in my life.  I always want to get them something great that says "I love that you are crafty" without just giving them a gift card to Micheals.  (b/c as a crafty person who is also very absent minded,  I still have gift cards from years ago that I forget to use.)

If it helps, below are a few ideas of what I will be giving this year that are not just yarn and hooks, which every crocheter always loves.



1.  bags- you can never ever have too many project bags.


I love Yarn Pop's Clutch, it is perfect to break out while visiting and easy to toss on your shoulder when the toddler is on the go.



I also love Wren and Rita's new crochet case.  You can request one from her at her etsy shop.  They are very handy when all your hooks are in a jumble at the bottom of your bag (ask me how I know!)









2.  crochet kits- sometimes it is nice when others do the thinking for you.  honestly, I love kits everything you need is in one place



Fresh Stitches has the best toy kits.  Stacy has just the most adorable projects.



Amelia and Wiggles has kits for my Crochet By Faye Patterns.  Their yarn is just wonderful to work with and now you can get it online.










3.  hand care- especially in winter crocheters hands get really dry




I love Bar Lotions.  They go so easy in the diaper bag or yarn bag.  The are not greasy and do not leave a residue on the yarn.





Soak has amazing products, we know that.  They also have fantastic gifts.  One of my favorites are their nail polish.  It makes a great stocking stuffer.



Have you tried Jamberry Nails yet?  They are very clever and make a huge impact.  The brilliant Kristin Omdahl is a rep for them, and I would follow her to the end of the lane on her recommendations.  Check them out and ask Kristin, they are very cool.




4.  classes- there are always new things to learn, and I know I want to learn more all the time.


There is just something so fantastic about going in person and taking a class.  Whenever I can, I try to treat myself to one.  In 2015, there are two great festivals I will be going to... YarnFest in Loveland, CO and Knit and Crochet in Pittsburgh, PA.  I hope to see you there!


Can't get away?  Online classes.  I LOVE mine.  I go back all the time and re-watch the videos.  Annie's has wonderful selection of crochet classes and Craft Daily has a great number of quick classes.


Hope you all have a wonderful and cheery holiday season!

12.10.2014

Knit and Crochet Now! New Season coming soon!

Can you tell I hate getting pictures taken of myself?
Time has flown by this fall and now we are in the holiday craze! Hope all of you are having a great season of crafting!  If you have followed me on Twitter you know that I have been a very busy crafter, too.  I remodeled my studio and the kids playroom top to bottom, started a new secret book, and became obsessed with beading; just to name a few.  As well as another whirlwind was taping the next season of Knit and Crochet Now! in August.



Jenny King (guest) and Brett Bara
(you just know from that look you are going to love that episode!)




Amazing how the time just flies, and now starting in January, PBS will start airing the new episodes.  This season is a bit different then the others.  Yes, we still have both knitting and crochet on the show, and lots of great projects.  But we have a few new faces, and some great returning ones too!




Drew Emborsky and Brett Bara (don't you just love them?)








This season you will fall in love with our guest Jenny King and our newest producer Lena Skvagerson.  Both incredibly talented and so warm you will just love to hear their advice on crafting.  In an awesome surprise, we have Drew Emborsky back to teach us more crochet tricks.  Brett and I are a bit over excited to have him back as a guest, we missed his antics.  But not to worry Ellen Gormley, Kristin Nicholas, and I are still around to chat with Brett and show you some fun new projects.
Ellen Gormley- crochet expert

Lena Skvagerson- knit expert and producer
















Kristin Nicholas (knit expert) and Brett Bara (that sweater is amazing btw)
African Violet Motif Hat on KCN 6



Speaking of projects, this time around I got to bring a whole bunch of my own to show you.  There is motif hat, lace t-shirt, and lace wrist warmers.  I can't wait for you to see them, I really loved getting to work on them exclusively for the show.  Plus, I get to demonstrate the Lisbon Shawl from Berroco.com.  I just loved getting to see my shawl again and getting to show you my favorite parts of it.







Berroco's Lisbon Shawl on Set
(Aren't the new colors of the set great?)


Lacy Tshirt from KCN 6
















Lacy Wrist Warmer From KCN 6
I am really looking forward to this season, and I can't wait to catch it on TV.   Speaking of catching it, Annie's graciously is donating ine set of the DVDs of the latest season to one lucky blog winner.  All you need to do to enter the giveaway, is to leave a comment on the blog here (with a way to contact you (email, twitter, facebook, etc)) or send me an email with giveaway in the subject line by Dec 17th.  I will pick a winner at random next week and get in touch with them.  Good Luck!

10.08.2014

Crochet Motif Construction Webinar

Octogon Motifs with Void Filled with Diamond Motif
What are you doing next week, specifically October 15, 2014 at 1pm EST?

I hope that is joining me at my webinar...

Crochet Motif Construction: How to Build Your Next Project with Crochet Motifs Live Web Seminar


Blossom Kimono, Interweave Online Store
Do you love crochet stitch dictionaries for their beautiful motifs but do not know what you could do with them? Or have you ever wondered what else can I do with this crocheted doily? Have you mastered joining a few motifs together in a strip but wanted to know how you could transform that into a sweater or a bag?

Then come join me as I walk you through how to build and construct you next project with crochet motifs.
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I will guide you on how to join square motifs seamlessly, as well as how to spice them up with a fun crochet joining that makes a totally unique fabric.

With this webinar, you'll learn:
Paige Sweetheart Top, Interweave Online Store

  • How to join crochet motifs seamlessy.
  • To crochet motifs together for a unique lace.
  • How to layout and customize square motif projects.
  • Different hexagon and circular motif layouts.
  • How to fill in voids in your motif fabric.
I will show you how a simple trip to your local office supply store can be the key for unlocking those motif sweater layouts. I will break you out of the box with how to layout hexagon, octagon, or circular motifs.

Lastly, I will show you that keeping your old swatches can make joining and filling in voids in your fabric fun. Come join her and get ready to grab your hooks and stitch dictionaries after class to build your next gorgeous crochet motif project.

And don't worry, if you are busy on the 15th the class will be available for download at the Interweave Online Store.

Hope you can join me!
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10.07.2014

Learn to Crochet Sweater's at Annie's Attic

3 months how is that possible?  I won't go into all that has been going on in this post, but lets just say, quiet blog means I have been busy!  You know, the secret kind of busy that only months later you get to talk about.  LIKE...... my new class over at Annie's Attic

Last week, Learn to Crochet Sweaters went live on their site. I couldn't be more thrilled.  I have been wanting to share about this class for a long time.  I have been holding on to these sweaters for months now, and I am thrilled I can finally share.

The project had simple enough goals.  Annie's asked me to teach a class about how to crochet your first sweater.  Of course, my crazy brain at the time was in the middle of designing the most complex stitch pattern sweaters I have made yet, and the grinding of the brakes I am sure was heard far and wide in my house. Honestly, I stink at designing beginner level things.  I think because I just don't like beginner anything.  Whenever I have learned something new (like my current beading obsession (separate post soon enough)) I always gravitate to whatever has caught my eye, not the skill level.  Usually I don't go for super complex anything, I like to look at something and try to imagine reverse engineering it.  If it sticks in my mind that long, then its time to learn the skills to make it.

So with that idea of wanting sweaters that are not complex and not the typical beginner boxes, I chose to go middle of the road.  Sweaters that each teach one or two crochet techniques while we chat about the construction of each style.

For Example:

Andi Lace Raglan
We start the class working on the Andi Lace Raglan.  It is a classically constructed sweater made from 4 panels (one for each arm, back and front).  This first sweater we talk about shaping, since that is the number one thing  (besides gauge and blocking) that can be scary.  The sweater is symmetrical, so once you get the shaping for one side you have learned it for both.  The lace stitch pattern is really a simple repeat made just from a few chains and single crochets. We talk about how crochet symbols really can break down working on shaping and give a clear picture of what you do next. We also jump right into seaming and why it does not have to be such a challenge to join your panels together.   The pattern is written for 6 sizes, 35 inches (small) 38 inches (medium), 41 1/2 inches (large), 44 1/2 inches (X-large), 47 1/2 inches (2X-large), 51 inches (3X-large).  It uses Nazli Gelin Garden Size 5 cotton thread, which is a wonderfully soft and enjoyable thread to crochet.

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Ruby Pullover
We next move to the Ruby Pullover.  This sweater is a top down sweater, one of the most fun to crochet since you can literally try it on as you go.  The stitch pattern I tried to make as simple as possible with rounds of double and treble crochet between round of single crochet.  The one twist was we will be placing the single crochets in the middle bar (not either of the top two loops), which makes that ridge that runs horizontally on the sweater.  Since the stitches are really quite simple once you see where to place your hook, we talk about how you can modify the sweater to fit you even more.  (Like longer torso or more open neckline)  The pattern is written for 6 sizes, 31 1/2 inches (X-small), 34 1/2 inches (small), 37 1/2 inches (medium), 40 3/4 inches (large), 43 3/4 inches (X-large), 47 inches (2X-large).  The yarn is another favorite of mine, Berroco Vintage, a very affordable wool blend.




Brooklyn Motif Tunic
The last sweater and style we look at is the Brooklyn Motif Tunic.  It is a motif tunic that once we learn the motif, we basically have totally mastered the pattern.  The ribbing is simply single crochet in the backloop and the cowl is extended single crochet (easily you can sub in hdc here).  Both which are so quick to learn, I had to toss in how you can modify the sweater.  Motifs are one of my favorite construction methods since it is the closest to building blocks.  We talk in class how you can quite easily turn this into a cardigan, vest, t-shirt and more.  All with just playing with the layout of the motifs.  It is super fun, and very addicting I will warn you!  The pattern is written in 6 sizes, 31 inches (X-small) 34 inches (small), 38 inches (medium), 40 inches (large), 44 inches (X-large), 50 inches (2X-large).  The yarn is Universal Yarn Uptown DK, which is an acrylic that with blocking looks so luxurious. 



Besides introducing you to the 3 sweater constructions, we discuss fit, gauge, and blocking.  I know that sounds boring, but I try my best to explain why they are so critical when making a sweater.  One thing you will notice that these sweaters require very minimal finishing, and I don't go totally crazy in explaining customization. That is on purpose, these sweaters are just a step into making sweaters.  Styles that look great on most silhouette and really do not need a ton of customizing.  But when you are ready to move up, I suggest looking at my book, Blueprint Crochet Sweaters, or Crochet Sweater Studio, or Finishing Techniques Master class.  This Annie's class is my prequel (so to speak) to those classes and patterns. That said, I still think there is a lot to love in the class.  I tried to toss in a bunch of fun tips to make any project you choose the best for you.

Hope you enjoy!


7.01.2014

Have you met the new Crochet! magazine?

Starting with this Issue, my fabulous friend Ellen Gormley takes over as the new Crochet! magazine editor.  She has a ton of new ideas for the magazine, and in the current issue she got to roll out a few.   Some of you who in the past (looking at me) may not have connected with the projects, I think will be in for a pleasant surprise. I know I found quite a few that I thought were great when I flipped through my copy.



My biggest problem with Crochet! when I was starting out crocheting, was the lack of stitch diagrams.  Being dyslexic I had to have diagrams to understand when those abbreviations were getting the best of me.  Since Crochet! didn't have any, I had to move on to others that did.  Well, as you will see, that is changing.  Inside the new Crochet! you will find great stitch diagrams and directions for using them. Every issue will have more and more too!



Celedon Cardigan
I have always loved Ellen's motifs and afghan designs, and her style really comes out in the issue.  The afghans are just fabulous.  I want to stitch them up myself.  The issue also has a 2 new squares from Ellen herself that you can crochet up and make into a number of projects.



There are a bunch of other tutorials and articles all that I think really makes the magazine come to life.  Be sure to check out the video on their site with Ellen talking about the issue too.



I want to thank Ellen for having me be apart of the new issue with my two projects as well as my article. Celedon Cardigan is a raglan shaped sweater with a touch of texture for dramatic interest.  Carmine Cropped Cardi is a motif lace sweater that works great at the office or casual outings.  I feel so lucky to be apart of her new venture.  I wish them all the best and I can't wait to see what they come up with next!
Carmine Cropped

Blueprint Crochet Patterns now available for download

Interweave posted a few patterns from Blueprint Crochet as individual downloads.   They are using the book as a test to see how pulling patterns from older books will sell.  I am selfishly hoping they do amazing.  That would open up traditional publishing into some new benefits for us authors, and I love that.  I also love seeing these patterns again, it kind of tickles me since I designed them over 7 years ago.  If you want to see some of my thoughts behind them you can check out this post from before the book came out.













6.24.2014

Meet Susan Lowman, our expert crochet guest today!

 Today is our last guest author and last chance to enter our summer class sweepstakes.  Be sure to head over to Susan's site (link at the end) to enter as well.  Susan is a crochet extraordinaire, she designs and tech edits for all the major publications.  I know Susan's work for her thread and jewelry designs.  I got to demo one of her necklace's on Knit and Crochet Now, and I have to say it was so fun.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her better.  Make sure to leave me a comment or send me an email by Saturday, and I will pick a winner Monday and send them an email next week.  GOOD LUCK!

video

Susan Lowman, on set of Crocheting with Thread
 What is it about crochet thread that makes some people cringe? It’s really not that scary! Trust me! It really can be an enjoyable process to create beautiful doilies or other items with cotton crochet thread. If I can do it, anyone can! The process of making the stitches is identical to crocheting with yarn. The only difference is smaller hooks and fiber. Yes, it can take a little while to adjust your tension to be able to make your stitches smaller. But once you do that, you’ll be off and running on some fabulous projects with crochet thread (there are some “knock-your-socks-off” gorgeous thread crochet projects to be found these days, too!).

After learning to crochet as a teenager back in the 70’s, I quickly progressed to using crochet thread. Since I’m a frugal person by nature, I love the fact that I can buy hundreds of yards of crochet thread for just a few dollars. And with those hundreds of yards of crochet thread, I can make quite a few projects, especially gifts for others. I love to give crocheted gifts and when I use crochet thread to make them, it doesn't break the bank or my budget!

Starlight Filet Coaster
So what can you make with crochet thread besides doilies? Well, you can make just about anything you want, such as bookmarks, coasters, towel edgings, pins, wiggly crochet hot pads & coasters, Christmas ornaments, lots of jewelry, garments and much more! The sky’s the limit! Yes, you really can make garments with crochet thread, too! I made the jacket that I wore in the video with 2 strands of size 10 cotton crochet thread and a Japanese pattern! It’s one of my favorite crochet garments!

I had a blast preparing for and filming my Annie’s class last year in Berne, IN in January, 2013. In my class, I demonstrate how to make 7 projects: 2 bookmarks, a filet coaster, towel edgings, a flower pin, a necklace and earrings and a beginner’s doily. All of these projects make wonderful gifts for others. And they’re really fun to make, too! You can see all of the class projects here.  

I also made symbol crochet charts for each of the 7 class projects and explained how to read symbol crochet charts in the class. All of these patterns and charts are yours when you sign up for my class. So if you love reading and following symbol crochet charts, you’ll be right at home! And if you've never followed a symbol crochet chart before, you may fall in love with symbol crochet charts, just like I did many years ago!

Flower Pin
Another thing I love about crocheting projects with thread, especially projects for the home, is the fact that I don’t have to make them fit! That’s a HUGE plus for those of us who have “gauge issues”, like me! If a coaster comes out larger or smaller than the target size, will it really matter? How about a bookmark or a set of crocheted jewelry? Heck, NO! Obviously, the towel edging should be the correct length to fit the width of the towel. But if it’s slightly taller, it really won’t matter! And unless you have a specific size that your doily needs to be, it probably won’t make any difference if it comes out a little larger or smaller, either.

Of course, I still crochet some garments and accessories, too. Who doesn't? But I keep coming back to crochet thread to make lovely, lacy projects!

There are so many beautiful crochet techniques that are best made in crochet thread because of the delicacy that can be achieved, such as Irish Crochet, Filet Crochet and Bruges Lace, too. I've never regretted for one day learning to crochet, especially with crochet thread!

If you’re already a “threadie” (a threadie is someone who enjoys crocheting with thread), but you've never crocheted a doily before, check out my Annie’s class called “Beginner’s First Doily”. It’s a shorter class that will teach you how to make your first doily worked in rounds, plus I will demonstrate how to weave in the ends. This is a special class that costs just $4.95. And if you decide to take my “Crocheting With Thread” class afterward, you’ll get $5.00 off the full-length class! With any knit or crochet class purchase at Annie’s, they include a special class on Crochet & Knit Blocking Techniques that will teach you how to block garments, doilies, lace and more! And if you have any questions while watching the class video, you can ask me, just as if we were face-to-face in a classroom!
Easy Elegance Necklace and Earrings

I hope you’ll give crocheting with thread a try! It will open up a whole new world of crocheting possibilities to you that you've never dreamed of (or have you?)!!!

Happy crocheting,




6.17.2014

Meet Ellen Gormley, our super creative guest author today!

Ellen Gormley on set of Crochet Lace
Today my good friend and amazing crocheter, Ellen Gormley, is stopping by to tell us about her brand new class, Crochet Lace.  Ellen and I have been friends for years and it always tickles me to see what she has come up with next.  Her latest book is just about to be released as well and it looks like another fantastic one.  Don't forget to leave me a comment on what you think is the most interesting part of her class (or send me a email) to be entered into the class sweepstakes!





Hi, I’m Ellen Gormley, Editor of Crochet! magazine, and I was WRONG. I admit it. I can admit I was wrong, here among friends, right? I was wrong about the difficulty of crochet lace.

Back in my first days of crochet, way before I made it my career, I would not have ventured into Broomstick Lace or Hairpin Lace. Why expand into more lace and tools when there is so much to be done without?

Gentle Waves Hairpin Lace Scarf
The truth is, I think as a new crocheter, I was intimidated by Crochet lace. All that loose yarn, and the big loops that could so easily become jumbled and unruly. Simply keeping count of traditional stitches and learning shaping seemed like a big enough task.  I was wrong, it’s not that hard. The learning curve is SHORT. I’m talking like 20 minutes.  In 20 minutes of practice with each skill, Hairpin, Broomstick, and Bruges Lace, you can gain tremendous comfort with the techniques.

Why should the knitters have all the fun getting to use more than one tool at a time? And Bruges Lace, you don’t even need anything special, just ONE crochet hook. So if you aren’t ready add more tools to your tool bag, start with the satisfaction of Bruges Lace first.

Once a crocheter has learned the basics of crochet (Check out my Learn to Crochet online class!) and maybe learned how to crochet with beads, (Check out my Crocheting with Beads online class!) it might be fun to branch out into Crochet Lace!

Sweet and Sassy Hats from Learn to Crochet
In my BRAND NEW Annie’s online class I demystify the tricky juggling of a hairpin loom and the broomstick along with the winding path of Bruges lace all in one class!  There are 2 projects for each technique and many lessons for you to see exactly how to get a handle on the tools and methods.



As a designer, I learned these techniques because there weren’t many patterns for them, so I figured I could be more marketable with Bruges, Hairpin and Broomstick patterns.  As a crocheter, the three techniques are just so much fun and rhythmic that I see a whole new world of possibilities.  

6.10.2014

Meet Jenny King, our fabulous guest today!

 Today I am very happy to introduce you to Jenny King.  She is a faboulously talented crochet designer and wonderful teacher.  I know first hand too, since I have gotten to edit some of her work.  Honestly, you are just going to fall in love with her and her designs.  Be sure to check out her website and more about her Annie's class. Don't forget to leave me a comment on what you think is the most interesting part of her class here (or send me a email) to be entered into the class sweepstakes!


Jenny on set with her great projects

G’day my name is Jenny King and I am an Australian crochet addict!




 Let me come visit and sit down with you and show you just how to do Bavarian crochet. Yes, at your place. In this Anniesonline class you will feel like I am there. I will do what the Mother and daughter from Bavaria had endeavoured to do in Australia and that is how to create the beauty of Bavarian crochet without need for translation.  You will love it and you will become addicted.




Baby Crop Cardigan
 I walk you through the process slowly and repeat myself so much that you may nearly get sick of hearing my Aussie accent telling you to pull through 2 and pull through 2. I am grinning ear to ear as I say this to you.



 We start with a headband working in a simple strip to demystify the stitch and its 2 row repeat.  Although this class is taught in USA crochet terms I couldn’t help but tell you how to do it in the terms used by the rest of the English speaking world so no-one gets left out. So if you live in the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand or Australia you will be able work along with me as well.





I originally wanted to call it this the Mystery history stitch as the origins of this amazing stitch eluded me for over 15 years of thorough searching. I even took samples to USA to consult with the experts. Funnily enough all searches led me back to my own state of Queensland, Australia.  You can hear all the history as I explain the stitches.




Bavarian Wrap
I have simplified this original Mother and Daughter design  and instead of only working it in a square  I have experimented to make all manner of shapes . Let me show you how to do this stitch in a long strip as a scarf, as a decorative edging on slippers, and finally extend your skills to create a top-down seamless baby jacket, and nearly everything else  in between. 



 I should warn you though that Bavarian crochet is just delightful and you may become addicted. It can be worked in any color combination of your choice or you can experiment with the wonderful textured stitch if it is done in just one color as in the wrap vest in charcoal.  That is just Yummy.

See you soon at your place. I can’t wait.

Jenny


video

6.09.2014

Summer Sweepstakes!

Jenny King
I have some super fun news today.  Me and a few of the other crochet instructors over at Annie's are going to be taking over each others blogs/ websites for one day in the next 3 weeks.  They will be letting you why they love what they teach and what they think is the best part of crocheting.  While they are chatting you will be getting an opportunity to enter to win our Annie's sweepstakes.

Susan Lowman
Here is how it will work:   When I have a guest on my site, just leave a comment (or send me an email) about what you think you would most enjoy about their class.  Then be sure to click over onto their site, and leave another comment to enter again.  At the end of the month, each of us will pick one winner to get any free Annie's class of their choosing.   So at the end of the month there will be 4 lucky winners, and a 12 times you can enter  (now that's not bad odds!)

Be sure to check back often!
Ellen Gormley