Friday, March 30, 2012

Photo Friday

 Good news and bad news.  The overall pet count is down by one. One of our grown-up chickens got eaten by something yesterday :(  A fox? A raccoon? I don't know. Another chicken lost her tail in the incident but seems to be ok. Above is one of the 2 baby chicks. She's about 4 weeks old. Remember her before?
Chief's gerbils are moving up in the world... literally.  The Captain made them this 4-story High rise condo.  The can climb up or down between levels by going through the black tubes.  You can see Ruby on the right poking out of one of the tubes.  It didn't take them long to catch on. You can't see it, but there is also a latch up high on the door, so Charlie won't be able to bat it open.... Not that he would do that ;)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ohioana Library Association

This past weekend, the Ohioana Library Association gave me and many other Ohio authors Certificates of Achievement for our books published in 2011.  Thank you to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for co-hosting the event.  Chickee enjoyed the finger sandwich reception afterward, Chief enjoyed the humongous strawberries. Tom enjoyed seeing a few of the other authors who he recognized from local politics and local historians. All the honored books were on display... except mine, because currently all copies were in circulation (YES!). As advised, I brought a copy of Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook and donated it to the special collection of Ohio authors. (Housed in Columbus Ohio, check out the Ohioana Book Festival at 

Thank you family, for coming with me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Invisible Join Photo Tutorial

I had the honor of learning this technique from Lily Chin at a conference a few years ago. Find more tips and tricks in her book, Lily Chin's Crochet Tips and Tricks.

Here's my photo set on how to do it:

 Here's a little circle. I used a magic loop, ch 2 for the first dc, then put 11 more dc in the loop...
 Go ahead and cut the working yarn leaving a little tail, 2-3"? Gently pull on your hook making the loop so big... that you pull it out through the top of the last stitch you made.
 I use a tapestry needle, so put a needle on the cut yarn you just pulled through the top of the stitch.
 This is important... SKIP over the beginning ch-2 that counts as the first double crochet.  In essence we are re-making the top of the first st, so if you don't SKIP the first st of the round, you will have made an ADDITIONAL st and your count will be off.  So, skip the beginning stitch of the round, insert the tapestry needle from front to back pulling the cut yarn under BOTH loops of the next stitch and pull all the way through to the back.
 This is what it looks like with the cut yarn all the way through.
Take the tapestry needle and thread it through the MIDDLE of the last stitch of the round.  Pull gently so that the new top loops you just made are the same tension as the rest of the stitches of the round.  At this point, you already have the needle threaded, so go ahead and weave in the ends.  And THAT is the invisible join.  :)  You'll love it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Photo Friday

I'll try to do an invisible join tutorial Monday... but in the meantime... here's an interesting giraffe sculpture we saw in Lexington recently.  (Grandpa Dave should note the hubcaps for the body... I forgot to check if they were Mopar). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Standing Double Crochet join , Changing Color, Adding New Yarn to Crochet

 I've started to use a new join technique.  I've known about this one for years, I don't know why I didn't embrace it before. I think with this project I finally embraced it because it is critical to the solid stitching that the motifs be as seamless looking as possible.  Above, is how I typically have joined new yarn,  with no slip knot, I just pull the yarn through the st and begin chaining. In this case chaining 3 (sometimes 2) to begin a double crochet.
 Then if I were to continue with dc, it would look like this (above). The beginning ch-3 just kinda hangs out.
 But, If I do a standing double crochet join (you can do this with all the stitches though, not just the double), you start with a slip knot, yarn over and carefully holding the yo on the hook, insert the hook into the st and finish the double crochet.  The tail end of the yarn is now at the top (instead of the bottom) of the stitch. 
 When I continue in dc, it looks so much more like it belongs with the others. Immediately, I tucked the cut tail down and stitched over it.  Just don't pull on it too tightly because then your first standing double crochet would be all hunched over and not standing tall.
At the end of the round, if you do the invisible join with the yarn needle (do you want this lesson too?) it is much less obvious where the round began and ended.  To further close up gaps, when weaving in ends, I generally put the ends under the lowest part of the stitch under it's "legs" where it goes into the stitch, but here, I wove it more horizontally through the middle of the stitches to literally "fill up" any space that remained between the first and second stitch.  I will likely never join a new yarn the old way again. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vacation & Giveaway

It appears I took an unintentional vacation from blogging!  I didn't mean to...  I have been thinking of you dear readers. I even took photos for you the other day of one of my secret projects.  I have begun joining yarn differently than I had been previously and I intend to tell you about it, so I took photos.  I have been wrapping up a very busy March.  (I can't ever remember being this busy this early in the year... generally January and February are somewhat slow, but this year it has been very busy). 

Last year, I did "March Madness" where I "set my hooks free" and let myself have a month of designing at whim with no deadlines.  Well, that didn't happen this year. I have one more project this month, then I'm going to have an "Awesome April" (but only for 10-14 days, because I can't take "off" the whole month this year).  I just hope it doesn't end up being an "April Fools" joke on myself.

Last year in March Madness, I designed the Bruges Skirts, the Bruges 'Wintergreen' Cowl and another Bruges piece that you will see soon (All published by Interweave) ... I'm trying to think of what else I did last March, but it was very productive and I'm hoping that this productivity happens again in my Awesome first part of April.

 Today might be the last day to enter Ravelry's HUGE mega book giveaway. They are giving 25 lucky winners prize packs of 26 books each!  All you have to do is take the tour of Ravelry's new and improved library feature.  Here's the link Of course, my book is in the prize pack along with Robyn Chachula's book and Linda Permann's and a several other crochet books along with many beautiful knit books.  The winners will be notified by email on Friday, so enter today.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just saying...

Circle August 17, 2012 on your calendars.... that's the projected date for the publication of my new project.  More details will emerge in a trickle here and there as I'm allowed to reveal them. It's safe to say that I LOVE the new projects that are in this new collection. 

It's so hard not to tell you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bruges Lace Skirts Revealed

 Little girl's skirt with short row flare! Above, it's shown in Caron Spa

 The green skirts are in Tahki Cotton Classic.
Adult skirt (no short rows) but fun swingy movement. These are in the new issue of Interweave Crochet, Spring 2012.  Are you seeing a pattern yet?  :) 

I got to keep the purple one! It's made of discontinued Vicki Howell Collection, Stitch, Rock, Love by SWTC.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Smoldering Coals Blanket Revealed

Featured in Universal Yarn's new book "Classic Shades: City Neighborhoods", a book of 9 knit and crochet designs for $15.99

Join as you go squares with dimensional popcorn stitches. It's two colors the red color way and the blue/gray colorway. Thanks to Andrea for contract stitching this blanket! You did a fantastic job.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Review: Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments that Really Fit

Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments that Really Fit by Dora Ohrenstein

Thank you to Lark publishing for sending me a complimentary copy to review.  The book is 144 pages with 10 sweater shapes. The book is separated into 17 lessons, about 2 lessons per pattern, to address every area of a sweater that may need a custom fit. Everything from neckline adjustments, length and width adjustments.

The book has patterns of several types of sweaters. In this book Dora tackles drop shoulder, raglan one piece top down, rounded yoke and motif sweaters. There is a sweater vest to address armhole lessons, longer length tunic sweater to address waist placement. What's interesting, is that the sweater patterns don't even begin until page 49.  That means she takes the first 48 pages to teach about sweater construction, shape, reading schematics, taking measurements, choosing the right size, choosing the right fiber, understanding gauge, understanding repeats.  But the learning doesn't stop there, the lessons continue as they are applied to the sweaters within the book. The sweaters are all very classic in style, and at first glance may not appear to be cutting edge, but this is a book about learning the basics.  While the patterns offer eye candy, the real star of the book is the text and the lessons you'll learn by reading the patterns.  Also included:  stitch diagrams, schematics, multiple photos per pattern, yep, there is math.

This book is going on my "reading" list.  I want to read it and see what new lessons or new perspectives I can gain from it.  If you want to make the leap from accessories to garments, this book might give you just the support you need to give it a go! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Patina Shrug Revealed

The second pattern I have in Universal Yarn's new book "Cotton Supreme, book 3: Spring Forward" . Is the Patina Shrug. There are 10 patterns total in the book for $15.99.

 Here's the prototype I made in light blue: 

Friday, March 2, 2012

English Garden Shawl Revealed

Universal Yarn has published a book of patterns with TWO of my designs in it. "Cotton Supreme Book 3: Spring Forward" has 10 projects for $15.99 using the very lovely Cotton Supreme. (You've heard me talk about that yarn before, I really like it, it's probably my favorite cotton).

Here is my English Garden Shawl:

 They are 'join as you go' hexagons.  Oh! These photos are BEFORE the edging...You decide.  I'll show you the second pattern maybe tomorrow.  Monday there will be a book review.  See you then.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

National Craft & Crochet Month

All month long, the Stitch, Craft, Create blog is interviewing crafting authors. Starting today there is a feature "10 questions with..."  I'll be on at some point, I don't know the exact date yet, but you may enjoy reading about all the different authors all month long.  I know I'll be curious! Of course, I'll tell you when it's my day when I know.