Friday, June 29, 2012

Giveaway and What was I thinking


Above is the finished product! The Peacock Throw, my contribution in Robyn Chachula's new book, Unexpected Afghans. And before I give you the details on the Digital GIVEAWAY, you have to listen to the 'what was I thinking' part. (giggle)

You know I love hexagons. And I love complicated over and under stitching. And while I was so happy with the hexagon, for THIS book, with all these great designers, I knew that I'd have to push the design to a new level. Placing the hexagons point to point (instead of traditional side to side) was just the creative push I needed to make the blanket go from "wow" to "Holy Cow!" The point to point placement then caused a negative space that needed to be filled.  Above is a sketch of how I attempted to stitch a diamond "fill-in" motif, placing taller stitches at the points.
Like most writers, sometimes I struggle with getting just the right words. Luckily, as a crochet designer, I can use visual aids and photos to describe what I'm doing. This photo is used not only for my own clarification and notes, but if need be, I could use it to help the tech editor and answer consumer questions.

Here in this detail photo, you can see that the rows of hexagons are matched at a side, but the next below row, should be staggered like bricks to fit in the spaces. This is where I turned the hexagon on it's head, and made an unexpected change by letting them touch points leaving the space for the diamonds. Here's the link to the project page on Ravelry in case you feel like putting it in your favorites ;)

If you are daunted by sewing in all those diamonds, configure the hexagons in the traditional way and leave the diamonds out.  Either way, I'd love to see your photos on Ravelry. But, if you are going to make the project, you'll need the pattern....(and all the other patterns by great designers: Doris Chan, Kristin Omdahl, Marly Bird, Linda Permann, Jill Wright, Edie Eckman, Tammy Hildebrand, Kimberly McAlindin and of course, Robyn Chachula).

To win your digital copy, leave a comment on THIS post by 11:59 pm July 4.  In your post, leave your FIRST NAME, Last Initial, CITY/Province, AND whether or not you like to be challenged beyond your comfort zone with crochet or if you prefer to move quickly to autopilot with a comfortable project.  A winner will be randomly chosen from among the complete entries. You may enter only once. The winner to be announced July 5 or 6.   The winner will need to email me at Ellen @ GoCrochet dot com  by July 10 to claim your digital copy of the book.

Want to see more from this book?  Check out all the designers blogs this weekend. You might want to start with Robyn's blog, Crochet by Faye, to get the complete itinerary and map to many more opportunities to WIN.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

TNNA Recap Part 4

 More sponsors swag from the Yarn Thing Designer Dinner. Above, Velocity needles and a Knit Check from Susan Bates.  This is just a mere glimpse at the multitude of needles and hooks and tools they carry.
 JHB gave us an assortment of buttons!  You should have seen their booth, button heaven.
 Fiesta yarns! Fiesta yarns gave us a little party in a bag of new yarns to play with. I KNOW these will be among the first of my yarn catch that I'll be playing with.
Here I am with Doris Chan!  I wonder if she is wearing a sneak peek?  We'll have to wait and see.  Tune in tomorrow for something REALLY SPECIAL... psst... giveaway.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TNNA Recap Part 3

More swaggy goodness from the Yarn Thing Designer Dinner at TNNA last weekend.

 The Hadaki Tote Big, beautiful, washable, magnetic closures for happy yarn. Generally my blanket projects are big and this tote is really going to come in handy. Thanks Hadaki!
 Made by Indian Lake Artisans, these hexagonal shaped needles are so fun and fascinating! You all know I like to knit so I couldn't resist giving these needles a quick go.  Made from smooth American Hardwoods, each size of needle has it's own "lake" themed lightweight topper, so you can easily see which needles go together and what size they are.  My toppers are lanterns, but there are all sorts of other toppers, owls, feathers, cottages, arrowheads. Very fun.  I admit that I did poke and prod the owners about making something for the crocheters so we can join the fun too!  We'll see!

 Ok, I admit it, the gift from the Alpaca Yarn Company came with a THIRD ball of yarn. But it was quickly separated from the others and put into my carry-around bag at the conference so I could play with it when I got a minute (which I didn't, but the point is, it was so luscious that I didn't want to be parted from it). These other two are also incredibly luscious, so I know they won't be lonely for long.

Vickie Howell posted a lovely photo of us on her blog! Go check it out.

Here I am with designer Rebecca Velasquez at the Craftsy party.  Rebecca has a new e-book out that I will be reviewing as soon as I get the chance, "Slip Stitch Savvy". If you can't wait and want to go look at it now, here's the link.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TNNA Recap, Part 2

 More great sponsors from Marly Bird's Yarn Thing Designer Dinner event! Above, a collection of yarns from Tahki Stacy Charles including their Cotton Classic Lite, which I used in the Bruges Skirts in the Spring 2012 of Interweave Crochet.  The bottom left yarn is a lovely metallic. The top left is a tweedy, but very interesting yarn with blues and golds.
 Here is a lovely assortment of yarns from (L-R) Skacel's SimpliWorsted by HiKoo     (it's a superwash merino/acrylic blend...very soft); Patons Classic Wool (Superwash) DK (yay for a new DK!); Kraemer Perfection (30% domestic merino and 70% acrylic) yay for the USA!  It's a quality chunky weight yarn.
And the last of today's sponsors: Random House Audio Books!  Most crafters LOVE a great audio book while we work or do chores, and I'm one of them!  In my swag bag was this copy of Anna Quindlen's "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake"  (was it a coincidence that I, of all people, received on that references cake?)

Now, to finish up with a photo of more great people I got to see this weekend:
Here I am with Marcy Smith, editor of Interweave Crochet. She is wearing a design by my good pal, Tammy Hildebrand.  What a great compliment. One day, maybe Marcy will wear something of mine... we'll see.

Monday, June 25, 2012

TNNA Recap Part 1

So, I just got home from a few lovely days in Columbus Ohio at the The National Needlework Association's Summer Show.  Yarn companies, hooks/needles, book companies come from all over the world to show off their new products and colors.  It's an industry event and it's big business and great fun.

The ever talented and entertaining Marly Bird, designer and host of the Yarn Thing Podcast, organizes a dinner every year. Companies sponsor the event and give the designers "Swag" of great products to try out and use in our work. O MY GOODNESS, there are so many great yarns and products that I'll be telling you about probably for WEEKS.  It's so exciting.  The list is LONG of companies who shared their new stuff with us.  AND I'll be looking into doing a GIVEAWAY next week, because, it's simply too good not to share.

Here's a few of the sponsors and products
For the second year in a row....Namaste bags was a sponsor!  I STILL use my ZUMA bag that I received last year and I LOVE it.  They make bags specifically to meet the needs of fiber folks.  Animal friendly, PVC-free materials, great features that help crocheters and knitters keep track of our little tools while offering great spaces for snag-free yarn storage.  Not to mention the bags come in a variety of cool styles.  This year, I received the Skinny Mini bag in Eggplant. Gorgeous!  The perfect size for many crochet hooks, a pair of scissors, my tapestry needle, etc.  really, a great piece to go inside my Zuma bag. It comes in many colors so you can match it to your project bag or get a contrasting color.

(this is Namaste's photo) THANK YOU Namaste for making consistently great products.

Another sponsor from Last year who continues to support designers is... XRX books, Knitter's Magazine and Stitches Expos (All the same people).
They provided a variety of books from their line-up!  This year, I received:

Swing, Swagger Drape Knit the Colors of Australia by Jane Slicer Smith  and last year I received Gwen Bortner's Entree to Entrelac.  This weekend, I was able to take a class from Gwen about the business of teaching. 

The third sponsor for today's list is the Simplicity/Boye group who have some awesome new hooks and needles out!  Drew Emborsky, the Crochet Dude has some ergonomic crochet hooks in his line of tools. I'm looking forward to trying them out. Follow the link to check them out. I haven't take a photo of mine yet.

Left to right, Marly Bird, Kristin Omdahl, Mary Beth Temple, me, Jill Wright.  We were all contributors to Robyn Chachula's Unexpected Afghans book. The blanket shown is Linda Permann's blanket from the book. You can't see Robyn, because she was busy signing for LYS owners, but it was great fun.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brilliant Bolero Revealed!

Red Heart is offering my Brilliant Bolero sweater pattern as a free download! It's a raglan top-down construction in one color-changing yarn to get this landscape effect!  Generous and roomy it's ideal for layering.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Spider Web Throw Revealed!

The folks at Red Heart blogged the other day about my new Spider Web Throw.
Here's the link to their blog post where you can get the details on this pattern and dress-up crochet patterns for kids. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What was I thinking? Serene Meadow

The lacy edged Serene Meadow blanket is in the current Summer issue of Crochet! Magazine. It is stitched in Red Heart's "With Love" yarn.  The blanket itself is an easy meditative double crochet field.  The edging is where it shows it's pizazz.

I was thinking that I wanted to do a blanket where the EDGING was the focal point for a change. Generally, my work tends to focus on the interior of the blanket and I often don't want to call too much attention to the border because of all the interesting goings on in the middle.  This time, I wanted to play with the reverse.  Because of this, I planned the edging first and calculated the math of the interior based on what I needed for the first row of edging. If I could do anything differently, I would have done the edging BIGGER.  On the swatch the edging seemed huge, but compared to the finished blanket, I wish I had made it a good 2-3" bigger. 

What do you think? Which is the feature you focus on when choosing a project to make? ... the interior or the edging/border?  Do you love a great edge or is the edge an afterthought?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Girl Scouts Rcok the Mall

We're back! Chickee, her Girl Scout troop, and I joined about 250,000 other Girl Scouts in DC this past week to "Rock the Mall"  We saw all the sights before the big main event on Saturday at the Washington Monument.  Here is her troop (in blue, Chickee in green shorts) and a troop from Hawaii (in brown).  The girls swapped pins that they made to give to the other scouts. She even brought home one that had been crocheted!  I'll photograph it and show it later. 

Here's Chickee in front of the Capitol building.

But now, there's a huge backlog of work waiting for me. Totally worth it though. Chickee had a great time with her friends.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo Friday: Separated at birth?

Chickee's friend's parents took a bunch of girls to the zoo and got them "back stage" at the bird show, where they had a close encounter with this penguin "Penny".      A DOR A BLE

 Separated at Birth?