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

5.12.2014

Crochet Finishing Techniques Class

While away last weekend, another one of my super secret projects released.  So secretly, that I was having a wonderful lunch with Ellen Gormley when she congratulated me on the new online class.  I looked at her like she was psychic, since I knew I didn't tell her.  She laughed and said it released that morning by email.  It was really funny, I honestly was amazed by her psychic ablities.

Anyway, I am so happy to talk about another DVD/ Video Download class I have for you guys.  You should know that I LOVE to teach.  Unfortunately, I can't travel as much as some of my fabulous colleagues with the little people being so young.  So doing these online workshops, I just adore.  I get to teach and hear from all of you fantastic crocheters, and now I can be wherever you are.

In this class, Crochet Finishing Techniques, I took everything that is in that little paragraph at the end of patterns and one by one explained how and why you want to do what it says.  Have you ever done exactly what that little finishing paragraph says and wondered why it took you as long or longer then to just crochet the panels?  Have you ever thought wait, how do it "block, seam, edge, add buttons"? Have you ever wondered what happens if you just take a scissors to your swatch and cut it?

On set
I go through in lots of detail how to do everything.  And you are not wrong.  Finishing properly does take time, but if you do it "right" it can be fun.  And you can actually completely change the look of a sweater to be custom to you.  I know it doesn't sound fun to say seam or edge a sweater, but it can be and it can be creative.  In class, I show you exactly how I finish all my sweaters and what I do to keep it fun for myself too. I also show how to cut your crochet, both in the row and on the edge; when you have a mistake or want to add an afterthought button or pocket.

Closeup of set
Here is what you can find in the class:
- Blocking- Step by step on how to block by steam, water, and spray.  And what fibers like what method.
- Seams- Sewn seams and when to use them, Crochet seams and why they are fun, fast, and STRONG.
- Cutting Crochet- Anything from moving a buttonhole (like in my tutorial) to adding in pockets
- Edging- How exactly to "sc evenly along the edge" and ribbing that is elastic, ribbing that lays flat, embroidery that can save you heartache later, ruffle and lace
- Closures- How to easily add in zippers, hook and eyes, buttons, and frog closures
- Szechuan Sweater to practice your new skills
- and a handout to follow along in the class

Set and Cameras
You will notice in class I brought with me a literal ton of sweaters to look at.  I have sweaters from Blueprint Crochet Sweaters, Simply Crochet, Blueprint Crochet , Interweave Crochet and more to take apart and look at how they have been finished.  You can see from my backstage photo that I really did bring a ton, every segment has at least 6 new sweaters to look at.  If the set looks familiar, you are right!  I filmed the workshop in Cleveland on Vickie Howell's Knitting Daily TV set.  Isn't the colors fantastic?  I love the salmon, aqua, gray, color scheme.  It was so bright and cheerful for the snowy wintery day we filmed.  And we filmed in record time, once again!  I got to the set probably at 9 or 10, and by five we had finished.  That includes and hour for makeup, and hour or more to set up, and hour for lunch; and stopping every 2.5hrs so I could pump.  Talk about crazy!  I am never that much on point.  I guess when you are really excited about what you are talking about it can go very fast.

Backstage, each tray holds one segment we filmed
I hope you all enjoy the class.  It really should take all the guess work out of finishing your next project!

4.28.2014

Berroco Free Patterns Collection

If you have been following along on Twitter and Facebook, you know that I did a collection of crochet patterns for KnitBits that are available for free on their website. The last of the patterns was released last friday.

I adored working on this collection of patterns.  I worked very closely with everyone at Berroco and Norah Gaughan.  I am extremely proud of this collection.  I know every designer loves the latest project they finished, but these I really love and it is over a year later.  The theme was texture and lace on modern shapes.  It blends what I adore on Norah's style and what I love to crochet.  Working with Norah, really "up'd" my game I think. Her style inspirations for me where perfect for crochet.  Being free to not worry about space, we could do stitch patterns that did not have to fit in a few short pages.  Our stitch patterns could be more intricate and longer, not necessarily harder.  Just bigger.  Not to worry, every pattern has many detailed stitch diagrams that guide you through every step.  One of my favorite things about working with Berroco is they are so affordable for really great quality yarn.  Some of these projects you can make for under 30$, and not with crummy yarn but really nice quality yarn.

My favorite thing is watching real life reactions to the projects.  I had a number of them on display in my booth at Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival.  I stopped counting the first day after the 50 person said "no way, these are crochet?"

Here is the complete collection

Berne Vest
Ravelry Photos
Captiva Yarn












4.07.2014

Learn to Crochet Jewelry

Last week my secret project went live:

Annie's Online Class: Learn to Crochet Jewelry



We filmed this in one quick day in January during a snow storm in the charming Berne, IN.  It was quite the trip.  Little man came along since he was too small and I am nursing.  I wanted to make sure I was as fast and efficient as possible so that the crew could get home safely and we still had plenty of time for me to nurse every 3hrs.  As you can imagine, it was pretty comical with me running out after I completely changed (just in case he spit up), then running back banging out another segment, over and over.  Annie's crew were fantastic to work with, and extremely laid back with filming.  But again, for me the shorter time I was traveling with the baby meant the more sleep I would get when we got home!  I can't tell you how glad I was teaching jewelry, something that I have taught a lot and I love.

In the class, I demonstrate 5 jewelry projects.  I use each project to teach a crochet technique or two.  In class, we learn about basic things such as reading crochet diagrams to more advanced ways of doing bead crochet.  The class makes making jewelry a breeze so you can pick up any stitch dictionary or wire and beads and create your own unique projects.

Some of the many topics I talk about are:
- Explaining all the tools and materials you will need to make jewelry.  (Not as many tools as you may think!)
- Reading Crochet Diagrams and Understanding Written Directions
- Working with Crochet Thread
- Adding beads to our crochet in 2 different ways
- How to stiffen thread crochet
-Tips on working with Wire, Hemp, Leather, and more
- Jewelry Basics including, jump rings, adjusting chain lengths, making spacer beads with eye pins

The projects you receive with the class (also pictured here):
- Snowflake Beaded Earrings
- Flower Motif Necklace
- Pansy Cuff (2 versions)
- Golden Petals Ring
- Pineapple Pendant (2 versions)

At the end, I try to explore our creativity with what else we can do with the motifs we learn in class.  I talk about how switching the wire or thread for DK or worsted weight yarn can make you any project from wall art, rugs, afghans and sweaters.  I specifically show you how the Stellar Snowflake Tunic and Garden Afghan both use motifs we learn in class.  Stellar Tunic uses the motif from the Snowflake Earrings to make a sweater.  And the Garden Afghan uses the motifs from Pansy Cuff and Flower Necklace in worsted weight yarn.  Both the sweater and afghan patterns are available for purchase at Annie's or here on the blog.

It is a really fun class if you are looking to add a bit of sparkle to your projects or want to learn some quick and easy new techniques.  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

The awesome people at Annie's are offering one lucky blog reader this class for free.  All you need to do is leave me a comment here or send me an email/ tweet/ facebook message by the 15th, make sure you leave a way that I can reach you if you win.  What a great tax day gift right?

Hope you enjoy as much as we did planning and filming it!