Monday, August 31, 2015

Crochet on TV

Don't judge... but I happened to catch a glimpse of Bachelor in Paradise on ABC when I saw THIS:

A beach cover up/tunic type item on the left with fringe that totally could be tiny hairpin lace. AND a boat-neck pullover that is very reminiscent of pineapples. (Does that have odd long tassels too?)  Both in ecru.  I think the garment/stylists for the show like the beachy-trendy crochet-inspired looks!

Friday, August 28, 2015

YouTube and Crochet!

Now that I have a teenager and a soon-to-be teenager, it has come to my attention that I am completely unaware of the impact of YouTube on the world. When it comes to crochet, tell me what I'm missing!  Who is your favorite YouTube crochet video producer/personality?  Why do you turn to YouTube for guidance? Do you go to YouTube before you turn to a book? Are you YouTube unaware like me?

Enlighten me!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fauxchet Bag

I bring you the fauxchet items because they can easily be made in actual crochet with much prettier results (in my opinion!)

I found this fauxchet bag in a Target store. Be inspired!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Sale at Annie's TODAY

Just a quick post. Annie's is having a 40% off sale of crochet books today. Lots and lots of crochet books including back issues of magazines. 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches... it's there. Marvelous Crochet Motifs (which includes how to make partial and half motifs) is on sale already, I don't know if it can be discounted with the sale as well.


Over the years, I have become an expert de-tangler. One of the upsides of having a huge yarn stash though, is that if I get too annoyed at a tangle, I just cut it out. Some yarns are precious and some I have enough abundance that I don't waste the time.

What is the longest amount of time you have ever spent detangling yarn? How long do you work with it before you cut-bait?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Drop Join Motif

Here's a join as you go (jaygo) technique that I don't usually use, but I like the braided look that results. I call it "Drop Join" because you drop the hook from the loop, insert the hook into the space on the adjoining motif, put the loop back on the hook and proceed as if nothing happened. You are not joining with a slip stitch this time.

What's your favorite way to join motifs?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sneak Peek!

The Annie's Craft Festival is going to be SO. MUCH. FUN.

I can't wait!

Come back tomorrow when I describe a joining technique that I don't normally use.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Chickee made her high school volleyball team! We are thrilled that her hard work was rewarded. Go Bobcats! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I ran a race, PW

PW = personal worst. It's ok though. Every step counts. How will you be awesome today?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Author Interview: Colorful Crochet Lace, by Mary Jane Hall

I had the pleasure of reviewing a complimentary copy of Mary Jane Hall's newest book, Colorful Crochet Lace.,204,203,200_.jpg
I'll leave the stats about projects and page counts and jump to some questions that I think other reviewers won't ask! Click on the link above for more information on Amazon. All the photos are also posted on Ravelry.
Ellen asks: Can you tell me a little about how you found Paris as your inspiration?
Mary Jane replies: I've been to several countries, and lived in Asia for 3 years when I was young, but it's always been a dream of mine to go to Paris and Italy (where my ancestors were from). I love sidewalk cafes and that European look in buildings and decor. I was born near San Antonio, Texas and if you've been to the Riverwalk with sidewalk cafes everywhere, it would remind you of cities in Europe. I told my editor I would love to have the photos for the book taken at a sidewalk cafe as well as photos outdoors, because I love nature. Photo shoots on other books were in the middle of winter making it impossible to shoot the photos outdoors. The publisher of Positively Crochet! (Krause) asked me to come to Wisconsin, and it was so cold, the wind chill was 45 degrees below zero!
For the new book, Colorful Crochet Lace, the publisher (Interweave Press) liked my Parisian idea and agreed so they found some gardens and a quaint sidewalk cafe in Denver where the photo shoot took place. Then I had the idea to give each project a French name or phrase. I even named one of the projects Michelle Ma Belle Shrug after Michelle Bredson, my editor, which is also a song from my favorite group. Can anyone guess? Btw, Michelle was a French major so she loved the idea too!
Ellen: Do you have any hints to offer about how you choose the right yarn to match up with a garment shape?
Mary Jane replies: Kerry Bogart, book acquisitions editor, talked to me about using warm weather yarns since the book would be released in the summer of 2015, and that was great with me because I prefer working with cotton, linen, silk, bamboo and soft sugar cane yarns. I knew I wanted fibers that would drape well and wanted a variety of weights such as lace, fingering, sport and dk. I was under pressure to get everything done, due to other circumstances in my life not related to designing, so I wanted to do quick projects while at the same time trying to come up with ones I thought would appeal to a wide variety of people. For example, I used lace weight on two of my shawls, but you'll notice I worked long stitches with a  very open pattern for the Parisian Gardens Circular Shawl, making it not only go quickly but also made it light as a feather! On the La Vie en Rose Rectangular Shawl, I decided to double the lace weight yarn to speed up the process and it still cane out very lightweight and drapable. Both shawls are light enough to roll or scrunch up to be worn as a scarf. I'm pleased with that, because it feels like I'm offering more projects to choose from. Using a larger hook (G and H) than what most would choose on a lace weight also made them a quicker than usual project.
To boil it down, I rarely use any other weight than sport or fingering on garments anymore, but occasionally I'll use # 3 dk depending on the project such as the Monique Hooded Jacket and the Tres Chic Neck Warmer. I used a dk on the jacket and a worsted on the neck warmer since I wanted a little more structure. As for the bags, I prefer a sturdier yarn such as 100% cotton and a smaller hook making them more durable. Nylon is not something I used in this book, but many times I'll use that for a bag since it is studier.
Ellen asks: I noticed there were not any skill levels listed for the patterns. Can you tell me about the decision not to use them?
Mary Jane replies: I am all for stating the skill level in a pattern and was counting on the tech editor to help me with that, assuming it would be added. If I had it to do over I would have made sure skill levels were listed, but you can be well assured that most of my projects in the book are pretty easy with 80% being for the intermediate crocheter. Nowadays with the very clear stitch pattern charts, I don't see why an advanced beginner couldn't tackle most. The Haute Couture Peplum Top shown on the front cover is a beginner level as far as the main body of the top, which uses my signature Graduated Stitch Method of making shaped garments without increases or decreases, but the Peplum pineapple stitch pattern would be more of an intermediate level. I don't think any of the projects have an advanced skill level.  It's easy to tell that the Walk in the Park Capelet and the Ameliae Triangular Shawl are both at the beginner level.
Ellen asks: I love how you offered notes on variations for many of the patterns. This is fascinating! Tell me about your decision to include these notes.
Mary Jane replies: Some people know that I have an obsession wanting to come up with ways of making different projects with the same pattern. I've been doing this for years. I have a caplet pattern I came up with in 2006 that I included in Crochet That Fits (2008) showing how to make 6 different projects with that one basic pattern. That exact same shape is formed into a capelet, skirt, bag, hat, turtleneck capelet and a poncho. I also designed a "Cabled Cowl" pattern 5 years ago that can be made into 7 different projects. A post on my blog shows the different ways it can be done using the exact same yarn wt, stitches and same hook, unlike the Basic caplet in CTF which has projects of the same shape but may use a different size yarn or hook. See the Cabled Cowl here that is the same pattern for a cowel, capelet, hood, tote bag, pillow, tube top and skirt!
I've been telling publishers and editors for years "Ideas help sell books!" If I had had the time and space I would have actually made those extra projects from my ideas, such as making the Dominique Dress Overlay into a shorter top, tunic and skirt.
Ellen says: The "Notes" section is a short summary, a "road map" even about how the design is constructed. I love that you included this. It sounds like this is critical information you wished you could give readers and so you did!
It's very important to me stating whether the beginning chain is at the bottom, the neck or the side. I always wanted to know those things for myself before I started designing and many patterns don't include that. I guess you could say the whole time I am designing and writing down my instructions as I go, I am thinking about how it was when I was a beginner many years ago and I still remember what I thought would be helpful in a pattern. I am very thorough and even write lots of notes to the tech editor making sure she knows what I'm trying to say. I always have it in the back of my mind to help make crochet easier for people, especially my patterns. It is a priority with me! I guess you could say I'm known for that because many of the reviews for my books say my patterns are very easy to understand. I draw energy as I'm designing from comments people have made over the years of what they want to see in a design or things that would make it easier to follow a pattern.
Boutique Bolero
Ellen asks: I especially love the Boutique Bolero. It looks like such an easy to wear and versatile layering piece. Which of the garments do you think would be a constant piece to add to your wardrobe?
Mary Jane replies: I'm glad you like that Ellen. Now that you mention it, the Boutique Bolero is probably the one I would choose to be the piece that one would most likely wear for many occasions. I used that same shape for a bolero in Positively Crochet, but of course made this one longer, with totally different stitches. Something interesting about this bolero is that it looks really good even before you add the sleeves. 
Another project I think is something that can be worn with jeans or dressed up with a skirt for any occasion is the Au Naturael Cropped Top. It seems to appeal to many people no matter what their size and is a favorite on Ravelry.
Ellen says: Thank you, Mary Jane for this fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into your book!

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Niece's new puppy

This is Sven. I got to meet him this past weekend. Adorable! You're right, this has nothing to do with crochet. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Choosing projects and yarn and names for the next issue of Crochet! Magazine. After fun days like this it's impossible to make any more decisions. Cake or ice cream? Yes. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

San Diego Sights

At the CGOA conference there were paths that connected buildings. All the paths were lined with rose bushes of many colors. Gorgeous.

This is the "roof" or the underside of the overpass at the San Diego airport. This is where we got our shuttle to the hotel. There was ocean-inspired artwork in the ceiling.

I found this little guy charming. Instead of a stone lion standing stately and tall, this little lion cub was at the entrance of one of the resort buildings. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Knit and Crochet Show, 2015 more randomness

I've since ripped this out but I was having fun playing with linked stitches.

The Yarn Over Truck visited the show, and I spotted this crochet design by Rebecca Velasquez.

Using my knees as an impromptu swift again...

Yarn It!  So cute.

One of our youngest ever winners in the design competition. Grace (14) with her mother, Sasha. Congratulations Grace! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crochet Lesson on a Plane


My last flight home from the Knit and Crochet Show, I sat next to this lovely 8 year old who was on her way home from a family vacation. (Her dad and brothers were sitting across the aisle and her mother behind). She asked for a crochet lesson and I couldn't say no!  So, I whipped out some Berroco Vintage and a Tulip Etimo hook and set her on her first single crochet stitches!

Yay for another crocheter!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Knit & Crochet Show 2015, Random photos

Jackie Daugherty, managing editor of Crochet! and Crochet World with designer/author, Tammy Hildebrand.

Me with Tammy! She was my mentor when I first joined the CGOA and her expertise and attention was extremely useful. Thank you Tammy!

Above and Below, here I am with pal, Vashti Braha. Check out her awesome yarns at 
I'm telling you, her especially crochet-friendly yarn with the z-twist, spun right off the shelves! People could not get enough. Luckily, she didn't have to ship much home because it all went home with happy shoppers.

I'm feeling a little 1950's Mad Men in this photo... before the fashion show.

I got to meet Gene Saunders, the Crochet Dad! Thanks for stopping by to say hello!