Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween

 Chief went to school this morning as a Gargoyle. 
Chickee was a Pirate.  Happy Halloween everyone! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo Friday

 See anything unusual about this photo?



One of the neighbor's horses escaped into our backyard. I guess the grass over here seemed greener...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inspiration: Vintage

What was I thinking?

This is the Vintage Rectangle in the Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook.  (I got more books IN by the way, so if anyone needs a signed or unsigned copy... see the right sidebar for the Paypal link).

I was thinking... 'hmm, I could use some motifs in the book with some dimension' and 'I need some join-as-you-go ones too'. 

A dense flowery middle seemed to need a lacy/open background.  To create lace, I introduced chain spaces for maximum openness. Also convenient for joining as you go. The flower has dimension because I added too many stitches in each stitch. By crowding extra stitches in there, it makes them ruffle as they all try to fit. 

Can you see the dark purple base under the blue flower?  I thought this third color helped add "depth" to the motif and set the green off as a "frame" like a photo frame. So, it gives the feel of a keepsake flower, pressed and dried, placed in a photo frame. Another way to add "depth" to the motif is by choosing light, medium, and dark shades to give the illusion of front, middle, back.

And THAT is what I was thinking. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books By the Banks


 (oh! a sneak peek...)
(of the Ohio River!)  Sponsored By Joseph-Beth Booksellers and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Duke Energy (Cincinnati) Convention Center hosted 100 authors of all genres. It was free to the public.  It was a very busy day with a steady flow of visitors all day long!  My pal Anna (LibrarianAnna) and her daughter Zoe (Zoe's one day dress) stopped by for a visit before heading to the children's area for crafts, games and visits with popular book characters. Thanks to another pal, Judy, for taking a few photos of me and the booth.  During the day, I caught a glimpse of award winning popular author, Dennis Lahane, folk singer/writer, Judy Collins.  Sitting across from me was acclaimed author,  Robert Morgan.  I had lunch with 9 time mystery writer, Judy Clemens. (nice to meet you Judy). Where they all sold books because of their name and reputation, my books sold because it was CROCHET!  So many people were attracted to the colors and fibers. So many people commented that seeing the crochet brought about a feeling of nostalgia and memories of loved ones for them. My youngest buyer was 7 (Hi Raven!), and a few people made comments about how my colorful presentation belied the common notion of crochet as boring or for grandmotherly types only. Yay for crochet!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fiction & Non-Fiction

Oh gosh, it's been a while since I told you what I've been reading!  You probably think that since I'm so crazy busy with crochet, that I don't have time to read, but I find the time.  I read at least 30 min every night as I'm winding down for bed and I frequently listen to an audiobook as I go about my nightly kitchen chores. The result is a rather long list of books I've read (or partially read...) since my last book post. :)

Infamous by Suzanne Brockman (on audio) 
This was pretty entertaining. It's about a historian who is a consultant on a movie set.  The movie is an old western based on a legendary character (fictional legendary character).  A wrench is thrown into the mix when a descendant of the character comes and challenges the historian's knowledge of the subject. Throw in a ghost from the past, a murder plot and some romance, and you have a light and entertaining book.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
I admit it... I didn't finish.  There were holds on the book at the library and I didn't have time to read it through when it needed to be returned. By the time I had gotten it again, I had lost interest.  It's a book about a set of twins who were the product of an Indian Nun and a British Doctor who were aid workers in Ethiopia. A real saga of a book. Very interesting, just not compelling enough for me to finish...

Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Dang, another vampire book.  This book is the basis for the HBO tv show, True Blood.  It was an interesting book, not high literature. A pretty young misfit small town girl (with special powers) falls for a big-city Vampire who is trying to be fit into the mortal world. 

The Shack by William P. Young
Whoops, I didn't finish this one either.  A spiritual, Christian allegory about a man facing a crisis of faith who goes in search of peace and finds GOD.  I don't know why I didn't finish it. I'm a pretty spiritual person already.

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay, all by Suzanne Collins
These were really fascinating. These 3 young adult books are a series about a girl, Katniss. The books are set in the future when the United States no longer exist. Instead there are segregated colonies that are forced to compete to the death by sending a teenage representative into a Survivor type game. Only, the game is to the death.  I didn't think that I would like the violence and science-fiction type story-line, but it was very compelling and I couldn't wait to read how it all played out.  I admit, I let Chickee read them and she flew through them too.

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs
The second book in a series, the first one was 'The Friday Night Knitting Club'.  This was ok, somewhat predictable. 

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
An interesting story, recently made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.  It's about a young man, driven by tragedy away from his home only to find a new home of sorts with a circus.  He gets a rude education about the ins and outs of circus life and hierarchy of the performers and staff.  Was it set in the 1930's I think? I can't remember. The author did research of the old traveling circuses and had some very interesting notes in the back of the book.  I didn't even like reading about poor treatment of animals in a book, so I'm glad I didn't see the movie because that would have been even more disturbing. Still, an important part of the love story between this animal trainer and the unavailable performer... their love was taboo for multiple reasons.

High Five, Hot Six, Seven Up, Hard Eight All by Janet Evanovich
These are Stephanie Plum novels.  They are all the same... all hysterically funny. Stephanie the reluctant bounty hunter in pursuit of colorful elusive characters all while juggling the on again off again relationship with the steamy police detective, Joe, and the mysterious bounty hunter, Ranger. Too funny.

Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters
I'm still working on it.  I like being able to read the book and know Barbara's voice as I go.  She is very frank about her life and especially her relationship with her special needs sister. She has an interesting comment, that people often say that they wish they had Barbara's life and she says something to the effect of  'then you have to take ALL of it, the good and the bad'.  She didn't always have it easy and it is a good reminder when we find ourselves envious of others and how we perceive their lives to be idyllic.

Quicksilver by Amanda Quick (audio)
It was a dumb book, but it was the only audio book I had at the time to entertain me while I did chores... A period book about a lady with paranormal powers who gets caught up in a serial murder plot. Of course there is a handsome, dangerous, detective of sorts who helps and protects her while they solve the case. Boring and far-fetched.  I think there were several times when I groaned out loud at it.  In the past, I have enjoyed this author, but this series is just not worth my time.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Now, this was worth reading.  Set during WWII, a young Chinese-American boy befriends an American girl of Japanese descent in Seattle.  The two are separated by the Japanese internment camps and they are separated by the racism of his Chinese father against the Japanese.  Very fascinating.  The story spans the generation using effective flashbacks back and forth between the present and the past. As the two struggle to maintain contact.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Inspiration: Eyelet Motif

This is the 'Eyelets' motif from my book, Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook.
It's one of the 10 square motifs in the book.

What was I thinking?
I was thinking about 'negative space', just a fancy word for what's NOT there, the holes!  I wanted to feature the holes in some way. Also, I like the idea of a foreground, a middle ground, and a background all in one motif.  Kinda like a story or piece of music has a beginning, a middle and an end.  The foreground is the long yellow treble crochets. The trebles also serve to stretch out the chain loops of the first round, creating a tension like a bow in a bow and arrow set. The middle ground is the green, and the background is the spaces. You could argue that the green is the background, but I like the way post stitches and overlay techniques create depth in an otherwise 2-D piece.

I was also thinking of crisp white cotton eyelet fabric, the kind that makes lovely summer night gowns, starched kitchen curtains and trims for baby bonnets.   If I had done the motif in all white though, likely it would have been more difficult to see the depth when it was photographed.

Here is an example of eyelet trim fabric from JoAnn's.

Do you already have my book? Want to send me some love by either "liking" the book or writing a review on Amazon to help others find it?  Here's the Amazon link. It also comes in Kindle addition if you need instant gratification. Are there other projects of mine that you wonder "What was she thinking?" Ask me! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Free Pattern: Santa Hat and Beard

HAHA! Did you see this pattern I made for Red Heart?  Get the free pattern HERE.

Tomorrow, Inspiration Wednesday... What was I thinking?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ripple Tapestry Tote

The felted, Ripple Tapestry Tote has been revealed!  In the December issue of Crochet World, this 100% wool Tote is make in a ripple pattern, but colors are changed in a tapestry manner. It's made of Universal Yarns Deluxe Worsted, which has become one of my go-to yarns. I used it in the Reflected Sunlight afghan, Mediterranean Dreams Afghan is made with it. The tote has a zippered top and suede handles. Crochet World is also available in digital edition.

DON'T forget!  I'm looking for Susan, in Franklin, IN who won Robyn's new book from Wednesday's Giveaway. Oh Susan! YooHoo! Susan!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pet Count, down by 1

I just took Chief's toad, "Slimer" off the pet count in the right side bar. Slimer passed away sometime yesterday. Chief is very upset. Pets teach many life lessons, not all of them fun.

Winner!

Susan in Franklin, IN! 

You have won a copy of Robyn Chachula's new book Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia!  Send me an email at (Ellen @ GoCrochet dot com) with your mailing address and I'll pass it along to the nice people at Wiley Publishing. 

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia

 GIVEAWAY DAY!
 Everyone loves a good stitch dictionary, but this one is something to see!  With an author like Robyn Chachula, how can it not be a winner? Robyn teamed up with Wiley publishing to bring one of the most comprehensive (and pretty) stitch dictionaries I have ever seen. There are several special things about this book.  For one it's HUGE. 272 pages. Full color. There is a Stitch diagram for EVERY pattern.  I like how in the stitch diagram, there is a shaded area that shows you exactly where the repeat is!  Not just stitches for rows, Robyn also included her signature motifs (and how to join them) and many new ones. 

Here's another reason I'm excited: almost 30 pages of TUNISIAN stitches. YAY!  That's 35 Tunisian stitch patterns.

Gasp!  She has my new obsession (hint, hint):  Bruges/Brussels Lace!  I'm so glad to see this simple yet beautiful technique.

Textured sts, lace sts, motifs, colorwork patterns, and EDGING patterns.  Embroidery stitch patterns, whew.

You can GET IT on Amazon for only $16.49.  $16.49 for a HARDBACK, 272 page book. Incredible.
That is... if you don't WIN it here first!  To enter the giveaway to win a copy of Robyn's new book, leave a comment on THIS post, by Thursday at 6:00AM (Eastern time).  I'll randomly pull a winner from all comment entrants. You MUST leave at minimum, your first name and a city.  Come back on Thursday to this blog to learn who won! The winner should email me  (Ellen @ GoCrochet dot com) with your full name and mailing address by Tuesday 10/18/11.  
Thank you Wiley publishing for supplying my review copy and offering a copy for a lucky blog reader.
Check out Robyn's other blog tour stops at these other locations:
Tour Schedule:
Oct 11- Yarn Thing
Oct 12- Go Crochet
Oct 13- Hook and I

Oct 18- Modeknit,
Oct 19- Knitgrrl
Oct 20- NexStitch

Oct 25- Yarn Craft
Oct 26- Crochet Doctor,
Oct 27- Lindamade

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sneak Peek

Shh, it's a sneaky peek.  And I can't wait, cuz I get this one back!  Make sure you come back tomorrow, it's a GIVEAWAY DAY!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Photo Friday

This morning the Captain said, "It's so foggy the birds are walking".  We had to stand out front with a flashlight so the school bus could find us. This is an old photo from last year. This morning, the fog encompassed the road and the house too, not just the river. I wonder if I could crochet something inspired by fog?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Inspiration: Reflected Sunlight

 Considering the color orange has never been one of my favorites, you can imagine my surprise when I found it featured prominently in my book, Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook. Don't get me wrong, I chose all the colors throughout.  Matter of fact, during the 50 motifs I often asked myself, 'what color scheme haven't I used yet?'  Knowing that I tend to gravitate toward blue and purples, when stuck, I grabbed my lesser favorite colors to break out of my comfort zone and expand my creativity.

From the book, Reflected Sunlight, remains one of my favorite full projects and it uses one of my favorite of the 50 motifs.

The big octagon in the book is called "Oro Sol".  The orange, gray and white combination paired with the solid circle middle and "rays" of the octagon points led me to think of Mexico and the ruins of the Native people.  Now, I've never been to Mexico and can only imagine what it might look and feel like to stand at the top of Kukulkan's Pyramid at Sunset. The warmth, the brilliance of the sun, the cool gray of the stone.  The photo is from this site: Chichen Itas: Mayan ruins (I know nothing about the business behind the site, I'm not endorsing it, just giving photo credit). 

Every motif and project has a snippet introduction about the inspiration or my thoughts. So many of them have to do with food, family, color...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Pattern: Reveal: Slouchy Beret

The new Slouchy Beret Pattern from Red Heart. Made of Red Heart's new yarn, Boutique "Magical".  This hat is made of just one yarn!  It has 4 different textures and colors within one fiber. It's a free pattern, Thanks Red Heart!