NatCroMo 2014

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

CELEBRATING NATIONAL CROCHET MONTH!

I love March! It marks the end of a long and dreary winter, and brings us together to celebrate National Crochet Month and our love of the craft itself.

Spring FlowerTopping the list of celebrations is the National Crochet Month Designer Blog Tour, hosted by Crochetville’s own Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka. A big “thank you!” to both ladies for allowing me to take part in it again this year.

Today, I’m introducing a new free pattern, Spring Flower. It measures about 2½” across when worked with sport yarn, and has two layers of five petals each. Use it to  embellish hats, bags or whatever else you can think of.  Click on the link above to download the free pattern.

As an added bonus, my new Grab & Go Tote, will also be free for a period of one week, only, through April 3, 2014. Starting April 4Grab & Go Tote, it will be available on Craftsy and later in the Crochetville Pattern Shop for $3.95. It’s just the right size for a small crochet project, a book, your tablet or e-reader, or even your lunch. Toss in your wallet and keys, and you’ll be out the door in a jiffy! As above, click on the link to download the pattern.

This year, Crochetville and the Designer Blog Tour are focusing on Halos of Hope, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founded by Pam Haschke, who is a survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. Halos mission is to provide hats to cancer centers across the country. Please consider supporting them by making a hat or two to donate. To learn more about this wonderful charity, visit the Halos of Hope Web site or visit them on their Facebook page.

Crochetville proudly supports Halos and has volunteered to collect hats for them, which Amy will deliver on April 11, 2014, at Stitches South. You may send your hats to Amy’s home at:

Crochetville LLC
ATTN: Amy Shelton
103 Scarlet Oak Circle, Harvest, AL 35749

Learn more about it on the Crochetville Web site, follow along with their blog, and check out their Facebook page. Also, be sure to hop over to see Marie Segares at Underground Crafter who shares Day 27 of the blog tour with me.

Sweetheart Rose Baby Afghan

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Sweetheart Rose Baby Afghan-sm Announcing the publication of my Sweetheart Rose Baby Afghan, which appears in the April 2014 issue of Crochet World magazine!

The origin of this baby afghan actually dates back about 5 years. I was visiting my mother at the time, and she asked me to accompany her to an appointment with her hairdresser. Not being one to sit with idle hands, I grabbed my crochet bag on the way out the door.

Most of the floral motif was designed that day at the hairdresser’s. But, as I didn’t have any immediate plans to submit it, I tossed it into my “someday” drawer of bits of crochet where it stayed until early summer 2013.

I originally intended to self-publish this and some other yet-to-be-revealed designs. But, when I met up with my friend, Carol (Alexander, executive editor of Crochet World magazine, former co-worker and long-time business partner) at the 2013 CGOA summer show in Indianapolis, IN, I couldn’t resist showing them to her. She was interested in purchasing all of the aforementioned designs, and the rest is history. Sweetheart Rose Baby Afghan is the first to appear in print.

Sweetheart Rose_CloseupPublishing this design means a lot to me. It represents what I consider a renewed commitment and full-time return to crochet designing. No more semi-retirement for me!

 

 

 

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PHOTO CREDIT
Photos copyright Crochet World magazine, April 2014, published by Annie’s.
Used with permission.
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A Work of Art

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Horse AfghanThe other day, I was digging around in my studio and came across this afghan I’ve been meaning to photograph for some time. I have always loved afghans in general but, when I came across this one in a thrift store almost 15 years ago, my heart skipped a beat.

I actually acquired the pattern for it many years before I found the afghan itself, and I always thought I’d like to make it. But, my own design career kept me busy, and I never did attempt it. Now that I have this one, I most likely never will, choosing instead to admire the one I already have.

In the grand scheme of things, I have seen more elegant afghans with color schemes that are more suited to today’s decor, but there are several things that I admire so much about this oHorse Afghan2ne. The sheer scope of it is mind-boggling. Once the dense, crocheted background is completed, the embroidery would take nearly as long to complete as the basic afghan. The design itself is brilliant. Flowers are one of the design elements that are closest to my heart, and I have been in love with horses all of my life. I’ve even owned a few. As you can see by the date in the lower right-hand corner, this afghan is quite old. I was a small child at the time it was created, well before I learned to crochet. At 55 years of age and made of wool, it is in very good shape.

What saddened me is the value the thrift store placed on it…a mere $12.00! I wish I knew who created it but I hope whoever she is, wherever she is, she somehow knows that I greatly admire and appreciate her work.

Happy “I Love Yarn Day!”

Friday, October 11th, 2013

I Love Yarn Day

 

Today is a very special day in the lives of fiber artists all over the world. It is a day to celebrate the crafts we love and the fibers we work with.  I will be spending my day photographing yarn, working on a specially requested hat design for two of my grandsons, putting together some design proposals for publication, and working out some amigurumi designs I hope to release later this year. How will you spend your day?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Crochet it
  • Knit it
  • Post it
  • Tweet it
  • Share it
  • Give it
  • Carry it
  • Enjoy it

While you’re at it, you might want to check out the I Love Yarn Day official Web site!

Fall Colors

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

 

Fall is my favorite time of year, and the beautiful colors of the season are just beginning to show up here in my part of the Midwest. Our local weatherman says it will probably be another week or two until it reaches its’ full potential, so I have satisfied myself in the meantime by adding a little crocheted color to my screened porch. The weather is still mild, so I’m looking forward to at least a little more porch-sitting before the cold north winds drive us inside.

The quick–to-stitch mat shown here is not one of my designs. I found it many years ago in one of the small Annie’s magazines. I have long-since misplaced the pattern, but I’ve made it so many times (and in many different colors) over the years that I no longer need to refer to it.

Placemat While I love intricate, lacy doilies, I also enjoy the nearly instant gratification provided by a mat such as this made of worsted weight yarn for a quick pop of color. Although I can’t direct you to the exact publication for this particular pattern, you can do the same thing with any of the small doily or coaster patterns that are readily available. There are only 11 rounds in this particular pattern, 2 of which are single crochet. Worked with a size H/8/5.00mm hook and Red Heart Super Saver yarn, it measures 12″ across.

Using Up Yarn Scraps (Part 2)

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Magic_BallThere are so many things you can make from leftover yarns. The list I included in the last entry, Using Up Yarn Scraps (Part 1), was only the tip of the iceberg. Whole books have been dedicated to covering the subject, so I will restrict my suggestions to the few things that I personally like to use them for, listed in no particular order.

Magic Ball
If you are not already aware what a magic ball is, it’s simply a lot of yarn scraps tied together with 4”-6” yarn ends dangling. The rather messy photo at left is one example, although for this one I have crocheted my scraps into chains and then tied them together, which makes a heavier yarn. My intent is to crochet it into a rug for my garage when it gets large enough, so I don’t particularly care whether I like the color combinations that I have used. You can let the yarn ends dangle when you crochet it into whatever you are making, or you can crochet over the ends as you work. I will likely use single crochet when I make the rug, which makes concealing the ends super easy if I decide to do that.

Granny Squares
There are tons of decorative afghan designs available. I’m even “guilty” of designing many of them. However, granny square afghans will always remain among my favorites, and they are a perfect way to use up scraps of yarn. Granny squares can be made into practically anything, including bookmarks, afghans, clothing, purses and totes, scarves, pillows and many other things.

Be sure to check out Using Up Yarn Scraps (Part 3) which will be coming soon.

Using Up Yarn Scraps (Part 1)

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Yarn_ScrapsIf you’re like most people who knit or crochet, you probably have odd skeins and bits of leftover yarns to deal with after completing a project. It’s not too hard to find a project to use up the leftover whole or even half skeins, but what do you do with the smaller bits and pieces? Personally, I can’t bear to throw them away, so I save them to work into other projects.

Following is a list of of the common projects I incorporate my scraps into, although this is by no means a complete list of the possibilities.

  1. Motifs for gift blankets or other items
  2. Magic balls
  3. Donation (schools, senior citizen centers, etc)
  4. Hats
  5. Scarves
  6. Slippers
  7. Coasters
  8. Potholders
  9. Dishcloths
  10. Scrubbies
  11. Water bottle cozies

There is some controversy over whether to use cotton or acrylic yarn for some of these projects, which I will go into in more depth in a future blog entry. The point is, that even though you may not have enough yarn to complete a single largish project, using coordinating colors in a pleasing way can turn your scraps into something beautiful, useful or both.

Blog Tour Sneak Peek

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Sneak_peekAlthough our winter has been relatively mild this year for the Midwest, it is beginning to feel like it has gone on forever. I’m so ready for spring! Too many cloudy, overcast days have me longing for bright blue skies with lots of sunshine and all of the fresh colors of spring and summer. However, since our weather forecast calls for more cold weather and cloudy skies, I’ve been consoling myself by playing with some brightly colored yarn.

I have always loved bright colors. Looking around my office the other day, I realized that for someone who designs crochet patterns for a living, it is seriously devoid of any crochet-type decorations, except for whatever project(s) I may be working on at any given time. So, with the aforementioned brightly colored yarn at hand, I decided to brighten up my space a bit. The photo pictured at left is a cross-section of a free design that I will unveil on March 27th, the date that my spot on A Tour Through Crochet Country comes up. In the meantime, please enjoy the other blogs on the tour, but remember to come back here on the 27th to see this design and anything else I may have in store for you!

Crochet Tips Page

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Just added: a new Crochet Tips page. Check it out! The list will be expanded as I think of more tips. Have one to share? Let me know!

ArtBin Needle Arts Caddy

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

ArtBin Needle Arts CaddyLast week, when making a trip to JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts for yarn for a project I’m designing, I was thrilled to find this Needle Arts Caddy by ArtBin. I’d owned something similar many years ago made with wooden dowels and cheap fabric but it didn’t survive in the long term. I used it a lot and was annoyed when it broke. Since then, I have been searching for one of better quality, and now I’m happy to say I’ve found it.

The Needle Arts Caddy is made with a matte black powder-coated metal tubing frame and heavy canvas. It measures 20”x18”x2” and comes with a needle roll (which holds both knitting needles and crochet hooks) and a zippered pouch that has 3 roomy pockets. Each can be snapped onto the outside of the top of the frame while in use. If you want to use it on the go, just unsnap the needle roll and pouch from the frame, roll them up and secure them with the sturdy ties provided and place them inside the caddy.

Now, at the price listed on the Web site, I admit it is a little pricey. However, I purchased mine in-store where the color choices were burgundy and navy blue, and they were  marked $24.99—a considerable savings! But, since I rarely go to Joann’s without coupons, and I just happened to have a 50% off coupon that day, I paid only $12.49 for it. A real deal! In fact, after thinking about it for a couple of days, I rummaged through the remaining coupons I had for Joann’s that week and came up with several more that were 50% off. I went back to the store and bought 2 more caddies, one for a gift for my daughter-in-law, Denise, who is learning to crochet, and a backup for me “just in case” anything ever happens to the one I already have. It’s always good to be prepared, right? Anyway, I don’t feel too guilty, since I bought 3 of them for less than the price of 1 listed online.

I have long been an ArtBin fan. I have several of their products, and find them to be of the highest quality and workmanship. And, in case you are wondering, no, I am not a paid spokesperson. I just really, really like their products!