Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yum food at the Knit and Crochet Show

In Indianapolis, at the Knit and Crochet Show, I went out to dinner with Cari Clement, Kimberly McAlindin, and Haley Zimmerman... (Thud! Just a little name dropping there... couldn't resist). And we ate at this fabulous little Italian place called Napolese. 
Goodness, the pizza was so fantastic, I took a photo:

 It was roasted tomatoes, portabello mushrooms, fresh mozzarella... goodness.  So here's my question... what's the best pizza sauce for this type of pizza? Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thank YOU!

You have to read what a nice student wrote about my Annie's Online Class, "Learn to Crochet"....

"Hi Ellen, I just wanted to let you know that I have tried to learn how to crochet unsuccessfully for about 3 years now. Thanks to this class and the excellent way you have taught it, I have finally successfully completed my first project! Because I took this class, I learned that I had been doing everything wrong and that's why nothing I made ever turned out right. I mean, I couldnt even make a swatch look good before I took this class. LOL. Anyway, because of the washcloth project, I now have a very strong understanding of how to do these stitches and I just wanted to let you know that it really benefited me. Thanks!"

Isn't that nice?  Thank you for the nice compliment! It made my day and I had to share!

  This class and my other class, Crocheting with Beads are both available online (where you can ask questions) or as a DVD. Find both versions at

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Mountain

Schachenmayr yarn has a new advertising campaign called "My Mountain". Their yarns, fresh designs, great fun.

See my Perfect North Hat and hear about My Mountain on Facebook here.

The August Go Crochet Newsletter goes out in a few days! Sign up on the right side bar before August 1 to get the newest issue.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review: The New Tunisian Crochet

 The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs from Time-Honored Traditions is written by Dora Ohrenstein who writes the Talking Crochet e-newsletter and is the mastermind behind The Crochet Insider online magazine.


This book is TWO major components. One very important component is something you might not guess... it's also a Tunisian Stitch DICTIONARY with 33 Tunisian stitch patterns. And they aren't just written but SHOWN in symbol diagram form.  (revolutionary for Tunisian!). She comments on working a circle in short-rows, the history of Tunisian Crochet, double-ended crochet hooks, and entrelac crochet. The second important component is 11 patterns.

The 11 patterns are a variety of accessories, garments and home decor. Dora taps the talent of her friends to create the patterns. Vashti Braha, Doris Chan, Lily Chin, Margaret Hubert, and Charles Voth to name a few. The projects are: A woman's cardigan, a skirt, a man's cabled vest, a pullover, a blanket, hat and mittens, a luscious scarf, a wrap, a tote, slippers, and a rug. One of the most striking projects is the Marisol Cardigan, (shown above in red) by Andrea Graciarena.  It's lovely in Madelintosh Tosh DK. But the project that will likely get made most often by readers is a luxurious scarf by Dora in Lion Brand LB Collection Angora Merino. This book is a great reference tool for various aspects, techniques and stitches in Tunisian Crochet.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: Crochet at Home

Remember last week when I revealed my Nested Squares Dishcloths and my Overstuffed Seat Cushions?  Let's talk about the rest of the book!

Brett Bara teamed up with Interweave to make another star studded color filled collection. Crochet at Home, 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living is her second crochet book in a row with Interweave. The first, of course was Clever Crocheted Accessories. I was honored to have the cover project, the Saturday Beret on that one! (Bruges Lace no less!)

Like Clever Crocheted Accessories, Crochet at Home is a compilation of various designers. Crochet at Home is 143 pages of colored bliss.  Many of the patterns have stitch diagrams, but many are easy enough that stitch diagrams aren't really necessary. Whether beginner or more challenging all of the patterns are big on color.

There is a huge variety of patterns in Crochet at Home. Everything from dishcloths and chair cushions (mine!) to a tea cozy, a table runner, a door stop, a trivet, several throws, an adorable nesting doll set, pillows, coasters...

You'll be thrilled to see the names of familiar designers and curious about many names you may not yet know! Susan Lowman, Linda Permann, Kathie Eng, Robyn Chachula, Amy Polcyn, Linda Cyr, Kim Kotary, Doris Chan, Kathy Merrick.... goodness, need I go on?

Joe Hancock with his signature crisp, bright style photographed the collection. You'll find details such as embroidery, textural stitches, and beading here and there through the book. Fill every room in your house with crochet accents with this fun and surprising book!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chain Link 2013 More Recap!

 At the Knit and Crochet Show, it's easy to find unique yarn from independent vendors. Often these are small family-owned companies. Here I am with the owner of Cestari yarns, Francis Chester. Francis and his wife, Diane, operate their farm in Virginia and sell the yarn all over the United States, Canada, and more exotic places like Brazil.
 This is the Super-Bulky wool yarn from the Cozy Collection that I chose to take home :)
Here are my pals, Donna Stinson from Red Heart Yarns, and Tech Editor, (and one of my Ravelry helpers) Haley Z!

If you missed all the fun in Indianapolis, you have another shot for Knit and Crochet fun in Concord, NC in October.  (Don't miss it twice!) Also, if you are interested in becoming a CROCHET PROFESSIONAL... you NEED to get to this October event and attend Professional Development Day. It is the smartest way to get the fastest boost at learning "the ropes".  The Design Competition, classes, and fashion show will all also be held at this event.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chain Link 2013!

The Knit and Crochet Show in Indianapolis just wrapped up! Festivities started on Wednesday with Professional Development Day. Classes offered by the Crochet Guild of America were all weekend long. Events, fashion shows and meet-ups were all weekend long while the market floor offered a wide variety of yarns and products.

Here are a few photos I took during the packed weekend.  I didn't seem to get any photos of me doing the book signing at the Crochetville booth on Saturday or the Meet & Greet at the Annie's booth.

 Here are L-R Bobbie Matela from Red Heart, Jenny King (author and designer), Tammy Hildebrand (author and designer), and Amy Shelton, the co-owner of Crochetville.
 Here I am with the lovely Kimberly McAlindin. She is wearing an innovative yet simple Hairpin Lace top. It seems we've both taken up running and managed to get in 9 miles together during the weekend.  (I know she got in more than me before I arrived!) Thanks for running with me!
L-R, My roomie and Tech Editor extraordinaire, Haley Zimmerman, designer and CGOA Mentor coordinator, Renee Rodgers, and me!

More details to come as I unpack and re-group! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nested Squares Dishcloths Revealed!

Soon, I'll review the whole book, but for now, here's my second design in Brett Bara's book, Crochet at Home 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living.

Nested Squares Dishcloths!

So easy, so fun, so functional. Add some color to your home! I have one we use daily.
(photo by Joe Hancock for Interweave)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Overstuffed Seat Cushions Revealed!

My super squishy Ravioli inspired Overstuffed Seat Cushions are in Brett Bara's new book, Crochet at Home.

I think the oval is a totally underused shape don't you? So I try to use it whenever possible....

I worked on a few different color configurations for the seat mats before the blue one became the favorite.
They are motifs sandwiched on either side of foam for awesome puffiness. The seat cushions are made of Berroco Comfort Nylon/Acrylic blend.

I'd like to be more known for my obsession with ovals...

 The two above motifs are from my book, Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook.
The Dots and Dashed Blanket from Simply Crochet.
There is at least one oval going to make an appearance in Book FOUR too, so stay tuned.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Flashes of Diva

I like to think of myself as pretty low maintenance, but this morning I started to think about some of the quirky things I do on the Knit and Crochet Now show that shows flashes of Diva. It's actually pretty funny that now that I have taped TWICE, I suddenly think of myself as some sort of veteran.

What you may not know about the show:

1. I wear running shoes with my nice outfits.  As long as I am tall enough next to Brett, I choose shoes for comfort!

2.  I only drink my water through a straw.  Now, really I'm not doing this to be a Diva, but it's out of respect for Amanie's great work on my make-up.  I don't want to mess up my lipstick, so when I drink water between takes, I use a straw to lessen the chances of smearing and making her re-do it.

3. When we are taping, it's the ONLY time you will EVER hear me ask someone "How's my make-up?" Because 90% of the rest of the time in life, I don't wear make up.

4. I've been overheard saying crazy things like, "Can you look at me through the monitor to see if this shirt is too sparkly?" and "Will my goosebumps show up in HD?". lol

5. And, there's a wealth of jokes to be told about the microphone packs we wear.... generally, jokes about turning them on and off before visiting the ladies room and making sure you don't drop them...

I hope you are enjoying the current season of Knit and Crochet Now! I'm hearing reports that people are finding the show. Remember if it's not in your area or you can't find it, you can order the dVD through

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Motif Mania

I just can't stop making motifs. I don't know why. I love them. They are the building blocks of so much!

I'm on a design binge and so far... it's all motifs.  (big surprise, huh?)

Is it time for another motif book? 

Monday, July 15, 2013

To-go Crochet

Sometimes I look forward to Monday to get back in a routine after a busy weekend. With Summer-time though, every day feels like a weekend. Lots of running around. carrying my work in my new Chica-a bag everywhere I go.

In my Chic-a bag right now is...
A ball of Univresal Deluxe Worsted and
A ball of Nazli Gelin Garden 3 mercerized cotton
and hooks to go with both.
measuring tape
tapestry needle

I don't know what the yarns will become but it's good to have something to play with while I'm out and about.

It's July! That means it is time to look at GOALS from January and see where we are in the chase for 2013 goals.

I'm feeling a design binge coming on! It's time to sit and do nothing but design for a day or two and amass as many ideas as I can.

What's in your to-go crochet bag today?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Photo Friday

Wow!  I can't believe I haven't written in a WEEK. And I didn't even go anywhere!  Let me sum up:

I finished off 30, yes THIRTY projects for my next book PLUS 3 additional "alternate" projects just in case and Mailed them off.  Whew. 

Swim Season is ALMOST over, (Thank goodness)

My RunStreak is over... I ran 40 times in 40 days for 102 miles.

The July GoCrochet Newsletter went out! If you missed it, here's the link... JULY NEWSLETTER

The last few days, I've been Editing the Galley copy of my new book with Shelby Allaho, Crocheting Clothes Kids Love.

I designed an 8" square for Silk Road Textiles August "I-75Yarn Crawl".

Chickee broke her wrist. :( boo

I look forward to getting back in the blogging swing of things but next week is the CGOA Knit and Crochet Show, in Indianapolis... Will you be there?  Stop by and see me! 

(Chickee on the Right)

Chickee made this Instagram photo of her and the "in-house" pets.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

 Happy 4th of July everyone! The two chickens in the front are from our newest batch of 4.
And the other two new ones are on the right corner of this photo.  They are all exactly the same age.  Even that little one that we call "pigeon" is the same age as the two in the top photo.  When we chose chicks, apparently we chose a variety!  They pretty much all look the same when they are born and  become more unique looking as the grow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TNNA Two more highlights...

A larger than life backdrop of me and Brett at the Annie's booth.  LOL I couldn't resist sending this photo of me to the Captain.
I still can't believe Candi Jensen knows my name... (AND hired me for the SHOW!)