Posted by: mamas2hands | April 13, 2014

I Love New York

Running a little late getting a blog post up this weekend.  I was having too much fun traveling last weekend and have spent the time since my return playing catch-up for work. So this post will be a bit longer than usual.

I took a flight into Newark airport Friday April 4th.  For whatever mysterious reason, the flight was 2 hours late leaving Denver. Fortunately I was prepared and had plenty of yarn projects along to crochet on, as well as books to read. Including a hat I was working on for my husband.

I was heading out to visit my dear friend Jan, who lives in New Jersey. As part of our weekend we had planned a Sunday trip into NYC to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya (home of the awesome sauce Japanese Stitch Dictionaries).

Jan had it all figured out for us. We would park her car at the train station near her house and take the NJ Transit to Penn Station, walk to Kinokuniya and meet Mary Beth Temple and my friend Maven there, then have a picnic lunch in the park across the street. Afterward Maven was going to introduce us to the adventure of taking the subway to travel to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, where lots of my NY area friends would be meeting us for some fun time yarn shopping and visiting.

While I was having a delayed flight Jan hurt her foot very badly. Wasn’t broken but it was very swollen and painful to walk on. She managed to pick me up at the airport, but was having real doubts about the advisability of her going into NYC on Sunday.  She suggested that I go to NYC without her, but I didn’t want to do that. Afterall, I came out to NJ especially to spend time with her.

Jan and I have a joke from all our adventures together. We hit a snag in something, or I hit a snag in one of my genius ideas, and I say “I have a plan!” or as is sometimes needed it is, “Okay, Plan B (or C, etc…).” So I looked at Jan Friday evening once we were back at her house. “Plan B time”.

First of all we needed to help Jan’s foot. Fortunately I never travel without my Arnica Gel and my homeopathic Arnica tablets. Referencing the first aid formula for injury, R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), I had Jan sit down and elevate her foot while I treated the bruised area with arnica gel then iced and bandaged the foot. We spent the rest of the evening visiting and crocheting, then got Jan tucked up with her foot elevated and newly iced.

By morning her foot was feeling a bit better but it was clear that she shouldn’t be tromping all over NYC on it. So it was time to investigate another way of doing things. I knew that Mary Beth was planning on driving into the city for Sunday, so I sent off a text message to let her know what was happening.

Mary Beth. being the awesome friend she is, said that she would be happy to come get us Sunday and drive us into the city. Of course Jan felt bad because she lives further south than Mary Beth, so it would be a lot of back tracking to come get us and return us home.

Time for a Plan D at this point.

“Mary Beth what is your address?” I put it into my handy-dandy GPS program on my phone (have I mentioned how much I love my phone?). Jan and I look at it and realize it is actually an easy drive for us to go to Mary Beth’s house. “Okay, how about we drive to you and park there? Then you can drive us into the city?”

The activities for Saturday were a trip to see our friend Pam who lives only 20 some minutes away from Jan. First we made a stop at a local Target store though. I needed supplies for a compression bandage for Jan that would fit inside her shoe.

Ghiradelli Chocolate

And we needed Chocolate. Ghiradelli’s new Intense Dark line is lovely, especially the Cabernet Matinee squares.  I discovered these on our family trip for Spring Break and they are my new favorite chocolate that is easily available commercially.

We had a great time at Pam’s house. Took about 35 minutes to get there because it was a beautiful out and everyone that had a car in New Jersey was on the roadways (okay, probably an exaggeration, but that is what it seemed like). Pam fed us a wonderful lunch then showed us some of the beautiful stuff she has been crocheting lately. She also showed us her gorgeous collection of crochet hooks. The antique steel hooks and their ingenious little cases and such were really amazing. I was having so much fun I didn’t take a single photo. After crocheting together for a while and visiting we headed back to Jan’s house. Fortunately the traffic had improved.

That evening Jan and I spent looking at her hook collection and listening to music while we crocheted and visited. Her foot was feeling better and looking much improved. We were very glad that we weren’t going to be walking all over NYC though, and confirmed with Mary Beth what time we would be arriving at her house the next morning.

The next morning we packed up a lunch and what we would need for the day, then got in the car and drove to Mary Beth’s house. My GPS on my phone was working great and we were on track, though we kept seeing signs saying we were headed for the George Washington Bridge. Jan was getting a bit worried because she knew we didn’t want to cross the bridge. Fortunately all worked out, turned out Mary Beth would be taking the George Washington Bridge into NYC when she drove us in.

MBT Driver Extraordinaire

Mary Beth Temple: NYC Driver Extraordinaire

At Mary Beth’s house we met Cinnamon, the attack angora rabbit. She was very cute, but wasn’t going to let us pet her. We also got to say hello to Mary Beth’s daughter and see her prom dress, then into the car and on our way to NYC.

We drove around in NYC for a bit and Mary Beth pointed out some of the sights to us. I tried to get a picture of the Empire State Building, but wasn’t quick enough. Soon we were at the Kinokuniya bookstore. Mary Beth dropped us off in front of the store and went to find parking for the car. We actually were there a bit before the store opened at 11 a.m. Just across the street was Bryant Park where we were planning to picnic later.

Once we were in the store we headed straight to the section with all the Crochet and Knit books.  The next 45 minutes sped by as Jan and I explore the books and tried to narrow our choices down. I was amazed at my self-control.

My new books

I ended up choosing only 3 books to purchase, I already have a pretty wonderful assortment of Japanese Stitch dictionaries at home, so that helped me to limit myself. Jan had quite a few that she wanted to get, and since her birthday is next month, I picked one of them to purchase for her as an early birthday gift.

Mary Beth visits the store regularly so she was set for books, but needed to find some stickers for her daughter, she kept wandering back to check on us. Then Maven joined us, she was exercising self-control and wasn’t looking at the books on this visit. Mary Beth showed us the Moleskine graph paper books she had found. She likes to use them for planning designs and likes them in a variety of colors.

3 Moleskin Sketch books

So I had to go investigate the options available. They even had the blank page ones I love, and in every size you could ask for. I chose a set of 3 19x25cm books with gray covers. I like to draw on the outside of them. They are the perfect size for when I travel, large enough to sketch in and slim enough to not add a ton of weight or bulk to my luggage.

Irrestible Earbudsclose up of Owls

I had my choices lined up and Jan had hers, it was time to head up to the cashiers to make our purchases. But then I saw these awesome ear buds. I have been needing to replace my old ear buds for my MP3 player, and who could resist these adorable hot pink little owl ear buds. I was going to, but Jan always helps me indulge. And they are so cool when I’m using them, sort of like jewelry.

Our picnic in Bryant Park

Next on our agenda was some food. We knew we were going to be tight on time during this visit, so we brought our lunches and planned to have a picnic at Bryant Park. We so lucked out because the weather was amazing. It was warm but not too hot and there was music happening at the park, though we had to chuckle at Mary Beth because some of the music was a bagpipe band (her daughter is a champion Irish Step Dancer).

The other Kelpie

One of the really neat things at the park was a display of the maquettes from a project in Scotland called “The Kelpies”. They were so graceful and wonderful to see and are only going to be exhibited at the park until April 22, 2014.  You can see more about the large installation in Falkirk Scotland and some photos of them in Bryant park at this website.

M J and I at Kelpie sculpture

Maven took a photo of Jan, Mary Beth and I in front of one of the Kelpies. Then it is time to head off to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. I had been wanting to visit this store since it opened. Lion Brand is a sponsor at many of the CGOA events I attend and have been telling us about the shop since it opened.

LBYStudio

Finally, we were there! And the display in the front window was the yarn Taj Mahal. We all took some photos of it then headed inside to explore the shop.

Jessie and me

I had been telling my friends in the NYC area that I would be at the shop 1p – 3p.  We got to the shop about 12:45p and one of the first people we see is my dear CGOA mentee, Jessie Rayot.

Me and my friends at LBYS

Then other friends kept showing up. In the end there were 9 of us. We all had a great time shopping for yarn and goodies at the shop, as well as meeting other yarn enthusiasts. We even saw Lily Chin who was teaching classes upstairs in the classroom that day. She was surprised at seeing all of us as well.

MBT and the Lovely Sarah

It was really wonderful to see my dear friend Sarah, who moved from Vancouver, WA to Brooklyn, NY last summer. She came to the shop with her daughter and almost 2 year old granddaughter.

Loot from LionBrand Shop

Jan and I were having a great time checking out all the yarn and other yarn implements. I managed to find a number of goodies that needed to be adopted. I purchased 3 different color balls of the Martha Stewart glitter ribbon yarn (sparkly) , 2 colors of the Wool Stainless Steel thread cones (more sparkly), and 2 hanks of the amazing bulky wool. I also got some nifty bamboo stitch pins (Jessie thought they would make good shawl pins and I was thinking they look like miniature knitting needles), a set of Hiya Hiya crochet hooks, and a cool South Hampton foldable tote.

Hiya Case Open

I’m very excited about my new set of Hiya Hiya hooks.  This set was amazingly affordable for as many hooks as it contains, as well as the beautiful case. The case even has room for tape measure, scissors and needles.

Tote Bag Open

And this really neat tote bag, it folds up such a handy size to travel with. But opens out into a very generous size. It will definitely be joining me on my trips this spring and summer.

As 3pm drew closer everyone prepared to say good-bye. We loaded up in Mary Beth’s car and settled down for the return trip to her house, then Jan and I hit the road for the return drive to her house. I got to drive for most of it as I am trying to get used to driving her car. This July I will be flying out to Newark again and we will be driving up to New Hampshire for the Knit and Crochet Show.

Monday was my last full day visiting Jan. We had an All-day Jammie day, playing with hooks, yarn and our new Japanese books.  I also got online and registered for the July Knit and Crochet Show. It’s always more fun picking out classes when Jan and I are plotting together.

Tuesday was a rainy drive to the airport. Fortunately I managed to get thru Newark airport security without too many delays or adventures. I had gotten to the airport with time to spare and was glad for it. While waiting for my flight to board there were 2 other crocheters at the gate, so we had fun talking about yarn and different crochet projects. Once the flight boarded I continued working on the hat for my husband and read my book.

After, what felt like a very long travel day I was back home and ready to crawl into my bed and sleep for about 10 hours. That was about 7 p.m. Colorado time, though my day had begun at 7 a.m. East Coast time (5 a.m. Colorado) so it was understandable that I needed some sleep.

As always it was a wonderful time visiting with Jan and seeing the rest of my yarnie friends. I’ve definitely decided I really enjoyed my NYC adventure and I need to go there again in the not too distant future. It certainly is a city with a lot to offer, though I was continually amazed at how many people there were out and about. And that was on a Sunday, which is basically NYC Lite.

Posted by: mamas2hands | April 7, 2014

The Magic of Blocking

Hi there dear readers I have a nice surprise for you today.  You know how I love to block my crochet work (my knitting gets felted, cause well you know me and knitting). My friend, the talented Patty Lyons, is going to be presenting a live Webinar “Fantastic Finish: Blocking Techniques in Knitting”, Tuesday, April 8th at 1:00 pm, EST (If you can’t attend live, register and download it later!).

Image courtesy of Interweave Publishing

Image courtesy of Interweave Publishing

As Patty says “Why spend all that time stitching a garment, only to stop short of making it look great! Blocking is an essential part of finishing your garment off perfectly. Blocking evens out your stitches, sets your size, and in some cases can even mask your mistakes.”

Don’t be put off by the name, this class is very applicable to crochet fabric as well. You can find out more information on the webinar thru this link: Fantastic Finish Webinar.

To Get 15% off just click on the link to register and use the promo code:  PATTYLYONS15
Posted by: mamas2hands | April 4, 2014

Fair Isle Crochet with Karen Whooley

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while, you have read about Karen Whooley on here before. I was very fortunate when I signed up to become a CGOA Associate Professional (in 2009) that I got Karen as my mentor. It was a somewhat random pairing that turned out to be very fortuitous.  We have so much in common and get along great. I graduated from being Karen’s mentee, but she has become a good friend and colleague in the crochet business.

Title Card for Blog

Today I’m pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Karen’s new class with Craftsy.com, Fair Isle Crochet: Demystifying Colorwork. I’ve taken classes with Karen at the Knit & Crochet Show and the Crochet at Cama Retreat. She is an amazing teacher with a comprehensive understanding of her craft and endless kindness and patience in teaching it to others.

And Karen has provided a fabulous gift for you my dear readers, you can use this link: 50% off the fee for the Fair Isle Crochet at Craftsy.com

The wonderful Karen Whooley photo courtesy of Craftsy.com

The wonderful Karen Whooley
photo courtesy of Craftsy.com

I’ll definitely be taking this class at Craftsy myself very soon, but for this blog tour I wanted to interview Karen. It’s always fun to interview my friends in the industry because I learn about aspects of their crochet (or knitting) journey that I hadn’t known before. So without further fanfare, here is my interview with Karen:

When did you learn to crochet and who taught you?

I learned to crochet in 1974! My Italian Grandmother who was way ahead of her time thought my sister and I watched too much TV.  I was 7 years old when she put that hook in my hand. In 2 hours I had made a covered coat hanger with the traditional colors of the 70s – greens and golds.

Are you willing to tell us how long you’ve been crocheting? And if Yes, how long has it been?

This summer it will be 40 years! ACK!

How long have you been teaching Crochet?

I’ve been actively teaching crochet since about 1998 or 1999.  At first it was with smaller groups in the San Fransisco Bay area, then in 2000 my family moved to Washington state and I started teaching at local shops in 2001.  I started teaching on a national level in 2004!

Who were your first students?

My first students were friends in my neighborhood in California. When I got to WA, I took over teaching at a local store called Pacific Fabrics and Crafts from a fellow Guild member and designer who decided to retire. You may have heard her name, Bev Dillon

What inspires you to teach crochet?

I grew up in a teacher’s household.  My mom taught 1st grade for 9 years before I was born. Then she returned to teaching (the 3rd grade) once I got to High School. So teaching is in my blood!  But I specifically teach Crochet because it is a craft I want to see go on forever!

When I learned to crochet, my grandmother and I were the only two people I knew that crocheted.  In 1996, when I became a stay at home mom after the birth of my first child, I discovered the whole world of crochet out there on a Compuserve List-Serve group called Crochet Partners! (Am I dating myself?) But all those years of not knowing many people in the world that crocheted, when I was given the opportunity to teach… I did!

Did your mom give you advice on teaching when you started teaching crochet?

Mom didn’t so much give me tips as much as my watching her in action in the classroom. Though growing up, she did tell me stories about how nervous she was that first year of teaching, not so much with the students but dealing with the parents. She just pushed through and got over the stage fright.

When I was working full-time as a System Support Engineer for a Company that developed Software for Dental Offices, however, I was asked to teach classes to our field personnel on the system.  I was put in a class to help me get comfortable with that.

What inspired you to explore Fair Isle techniques in Crochet?

When I was a teenager, I had this beautiful bulky knit fair isle sweater. It just fascinated me.  At the time, I didn’t know how to knit, but I was dying to learn so I could make my own sweaters using the Fair Isle motifs. It wasnt until I was 37 when I learned to knit, and then a couple of years later I learned stranded knitting. It was at that point I knew I could replicate fair Isle knitting in crochet!  So after lots of trial and error (which I talk about in the class with samples!) I hit upon what I felt was the best replication I could get of Fair Isle stranded Knitting in crochet.

You knit and crochet, do you find Fair Isle easier in crochet or knitting?

Well, honestly it depends. Because I have been crocheting longer than knitting, I find it easier to crochet but knitting isn’t hard. The difference for me is that in knitting I have all those live stitches with the potential of dropping one or more.  In crochet that isn’t a factor. Because both charts are the same and are read the same way, either one works for me and depending on the look I am going for, I will swap out one for the other.

I love the hat in the promotional photos for the class, was there a particular inspiration for that design?

Mostly it was that I wanted something that looked like a traditional Fair Isle knit hat.  After pouring through Fair Isle motif dictionaries, I put together some of my favorites.  I chose traditional greens and greys of the Shetland Islands and there was my hat!

The hat looks like something that would appeal to the teenagers in your house, are there requests being put in for hats from your family? 

Funny you should ask. That hat is my 15-year-old daughter’s favorite piece from the class. Teal green is her favorite color.  But she doesn’t want me to make it now as summer is coming.  Probably for next year!

I know you must be really excited about offering classes thru Craftsy.com, what do you like the best about this style of teaching?

I think what I like the most is that the class is there forever. Students have the class to go back to for help or just to remind them of some part of Fair Isle Crochet they may have forgotten. The Computer geek in me loves the platform. The fact that they can take notes right on the video for themselves is just amazing. And those notes are there for them to access forever too!

I also love the fact that I can reach students all over the world!  I don’t have that opportunity with teaching live. Lots of times I’ve gotten emails from potential students telling me that they cannot attend an event because it is just too far or too costly. They want to know if I am ever coming to their area. That isn’t always going to happen, so this way they can actually have me teach them in their living room! Or office, or even on the couch next to them!

Do you have a preference of designing or teaching?

That is a hard question because I love them both.  Because of the way I was taught to crochet, by a non-English speaking grandmother, the techie in me loves the challenge of creating something from scratch. But there is something about that light bulb moment students get that gives me great satisfaction. It’s like a visual confirmation that the craft will continue.

Do you dream about crochet? About yarn?

Oh gosh, all the time!  Some of my best design concepts come from dreams! Sometimes when a particular pattern is not working out, I get the solution in a dream. I cannot tell you how often that happens.  In dreams and on the treadmill walking.  Those are my two go to places when I need to work out something in crochet (or knit too!).

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today Karen, I was wondering if you have any final words of encouragement for those that might be intimidated by Fair Isle and this class?

Thanks Andee for having me!

For those of you who may be intimidated by colorwork, this is definitely the class for you! During the class I break down every piece of the pattern, along with having tips in there for you. I have already had students who bought my Fair Isle books, only to be intimidated by all the color changing, send me photos of their swatches from the class. They are excited about how I walked them through the process.

The cool thing about these Craftsy classes is the platform. The “Pause” and “30 second repeat” options allow you to go back and see once again what I just showed you. And you can do that as many times as you need until you get the idea down.  You can also ask me a question at any time, and I will be answering! So don’t be afraid to try it!  I’m there to help along the way!

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 23, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action

No, I haven’t gone Hollywood on you. But I am doing quite a bit of video work these days.

As some of you may be aware I am writing the “Technique 1-2-3″ articles for “Crochet 1-2-3″ now.  Issue #12 coming out this May will be my first article in my new role.  As part of this assignment I needed to make videos demonstrating the techniques.

I had been wanting to do crochet videos for a long time. But being a recovering perfectionist was getting in my way. Fortunately, the job offer from “Crochet 1-2-3″ forced me to finally jump in and give it a try.

At first I thought I would need a fancy digital camcorder, then Kimberly McAlindin (the editor in chief at Crochet 1-2-3) told me that she recorded her videos with her smart phone. Really? That surprised me, and got me wondering how well my smart phone would work.

Last March I had splurged and purchased the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone for my business. I’m still exploring all the bells and whistles on it. I was delighted to discover that I could shoot good quality video with it. I still needed a tripod so that I could use both hands in my demonstrations. I figured the local camera shop in Boulder (Mike’s Camera) would have something that would work.

1 jobympodmini

When I got to the shop I found the types of tripods I was looking for right away. There were loads of ones designed for use with the IPhone. Unfortunately the options for a phone as large as my Note were very limited. With some help from one of the camera specialist though we finally matched a tripod to my phone.

My Smartphone held in the tripod from the back.

My Phone held in the tripod from the back.

I wanted one of these with the bendable legs so that if needed I could grip it around the top of my regular camera tripod. This is the Joby Mpod Mini.

Smartphone in the tripod from the front.

Phone in the tripod from the front.

I really liked how this tripod allowed me to see the screen of my phone without any obstructions.

When I got home I started experimenting with how to get the right angle and distance from my hands for filming. The little tripod was great, but it wasn’t high enough off the table. My regular tripod was too tall for what I wanted. I know, it all sounds a bit Goldilocks.

Then I hit upon sitting the camera on top of a little box, perfect height, but it kept wanting to tip over and was wiggly when I was filming. I needed something sturdier. So I dug out a glass jar, filled it with pennies and decorative glass marbles to give it plenty of weight. Popped the tripod on the top and squeezed the bendable legs tightly around the lid. Unfortunately, when the camera was at the proper angle the little tripod and camera wanted to topple off the top.

5 Tripod height solution

Never fear, there is always Duct Tape (and mine is Purple).  Taped up the little tripod and suddenly every thing was perfect. Setting up the rest of my “studio” was easy after all the tripod drama.

4 My Video Studio

Currently my filming studio is my dining room table, nice big window to my left lets in loads of natural light and there is room for my backdrop, additional light and the necessary project supplies. Eventually I hope to be filming in my design office or art studio. Who knows it might be both locations, depending on the craft and technique I’m showing.

Check out the Crochet 1-2-3 website in May to see my first videos. For my first foray into the waters of video work I think they came out fairly decent.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 15, 2014

Celebrating Crochet by Teaching

Today I’m honored to be a part of the 2014 Crochetville NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour. Amy Shelton and Donna Hulke of Crochetville included me last year in their National Crochet Month tour to celebrate crochet and it was great fun. These two are the right women to lead the celebration of all things crochet, visit them at the Crochetville site or their blog and you’ll know just what I mean.
You can find the links and dates of the other designers participating in the blog tour at the Crochetville Blog and on the Crochetville Facebook page.
 Thing 2s Scarf
My focus this year for NatCroMo has been teaching others to crochet. It’s been very exciting that my youngest son is learning. Above is his latest effort, he wanted to make a scarf so I got him started with the first row of this little V-stitch scarf and he is amazing me at how well he is doing. It’s also a great excuse for some cuddle time as we snuggle together on the sofa and crochet.
Wall w Crochet Sign
 Today I will be at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe from 12p – 1:30p with my local CGOA Chapter showing folks how to get started crocheting. We will be making quick fun little beaded bracelets that students can make and take away with them. Beaded crocheted chains are a fun easy project that give beginners the chance to make something beautiful with minimal crochet skills.
Bracelet sample
Our projects for the “Make & Take” will use plain worsted weight yarn and plastic pony beads.
Close up Tahki necklace
Switch out the yarn to something with silk or glimmering threads and the beads for lovely glass or semi-precious beads (just need holes big enough for the yarn to go thru), and you’ve got a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Tahki Necklace
Look at the lovely necklaces we have on display at the shop, these were all made just by stringing beads on the yarn then working crocheted chains to the desired length.
Mother of Pearl n Silver beads
For those of you that can’t be with us today I have included photos and instructions for you to practice at home. Or if you are an experienced crocheter teaching some one else how to get started, this is a great starter project as they get accustomed to working with the yarn and hook.
If you’ve never crocheted, or it’s been a long time since you crocheted, you may have forgotten how to hold your hook and yarn. These photos Show how to hold the yarn and hook if you are right-handed. For left-handed crocheters just reverse which hand holds the yarn and hook. The most important thing to remember when crocheting is to keep your hands relaxed.
Making a slip knot to place on your hook
making sl knot
I create a loop with the working yarn (coming from the ball of yarn) going over the top of the beginning tail, then reach thru the loop with my hook (or fingers) to pull up a loop from the working yarn, I place that loop over my hook and gently pull on the working yarn to snug the loop on my hook.
Holding your hook
There are 2 fairly common ways to hold your crochet hook…
Knife hold
The Knife or Toothbrush hold….
Pencil Hold
Or the Pencil hold.
Try them both out and see which is most comfortable to you.
Tensioning (holding) the yarn
You may need to adjust how you hold the yarn depending on how dry your skin is and the texture of the yarn you are working with.
Holding the Yarn 1
I loop the yarn around my left-hand pinkie…..
Holding the Yarn 2
then weave it thru my fingers over and under so the yarn going to my hook comes over the top of my index finger.
Holding the Yarn 3
I then use the middle finger and thumb of my left hand to hold at the base of the loop on my hook. This allows my hook to move freely in the loop.
To make a chain stitch
Step 1 Ch stitch
I scoop the tip of my hook from the front to the back of the strand of yarn coming from my index finger, then “hook” the yarn and pull it thru the loop on my hook.
Now you are ready to start on your bracelet project.
Simple Beaded Chain Bracelet
Slide bead up close to hook.

Slide bead up close to hook.

Materials needed:
Worsted weight yarn
Approximately 15 “pony” beads in desired colors
Size I (5.5mm)  or J (6mm) hook
Instructions:
 String 15 pony beads on yarn (note you may have beads left-over once your reach your ideal bracelet length).
Chain 1 and capture bead.

Chain 1 and capture bead.

Make a slip knot in yarn,  ch 1, slide 1 bead up close to hook, ch 1 capturing bead, continue with alternating plain chain stitch and beaded chain st until strand measures 7 inches long (or long enough to fit loosely around wrist), finish with a final plain ch 1. Fasten off.
Tie ends together using a square knot, trim ends to 1″ long.
You can read more about my initial beaded chain projects in my post: The Beauty of Beads

Thanks again for making my blog one of your visits for our blog tour. I hope you come by to visit again soon.  Meanwhile if you are a more experienced crocheter, and like to make hats, please join us during NatCroMo in crocheting (or knitting) hats to support the Halos of Hope organization. There are many patterns at the Halos of Hope website to use for this effort or you can use my “Pi Recipe” to create a simple stretchy hat that will be very appreciated.

Crochetville has received a lot of support from the crochet community over the years. They believe strongly in the importance of giving back. In 2013, Crochetville became a corporate sponsor of a wonderful organization called Halos of Hope. You can read more about Crochetville’s fundraising efforts and hat collection on the Crochetville blog.

Halos of Hope is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founded by Pam Haschke, herself a survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. Halos of Hope’s mission is to provide volunteer-crafted hats to cancer centers across the country. – See more at: Halos of Hope website  and the Halos of Hope Facebook Page.

As Amy said, ” Wouldn’t it be cool if we could somehow reach all of the 1.7 million crocheting households in the United States? If you’re going to dream, dream big, I say!”

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 11, 2014

Boys can Crochet Too

I always chuckle when people tell me it’s too bad I only have boys, assuming that only girls are interested in hand crafts.  I hope to teach my boys that they can do and learn anything they want to, regardless of other folk’s assumptions of gender related roles.

It is interesting how there is an assumption, in American culture at least, that only women knit, crochet or sew.  Historically that hasn’t been the case.

Up to and during World War II many men knitted and sewed.  Darning and knitting their own socks was a regular occupation for WWII soldiers. Before the industrial revolution most of the Knitting Guilds were male only.

And closer to home, when I taught a “Crochet Club” at our local school my star pupil was a 5th grade boy.  It was so fun to see the boys (and the girls too) getting excited about crochet and building on their skills each week. The mother of  my star pupil said that he and his sister won gift certificates at our local Michael’s Hobby and Craft store.  When they went to use their prizes they both headed straight to the yarn section and had a wonderful time picking out yarns to purchase.

Today was a real celebration and time to bond with my youngest. He finally decided he wanted to learn to crochet. I had some of those big pink Lion Brand hooks and some nice chunky yarn that he was fascinated by. He will soon be turning 8 years old, so it’s a perfect age to learn to crochet.

Flamingo Bites the Yarn

Flamingo Bites the Yarn

He named his hook “Flamingo” (because it is pink and has a pointy head) and made up a whole story to remember the steps of making a chain stitch. “Flamingo goes under the yarn, then bites the yarn, puts his nose down and pulls it into his den”. He was having so much fun crocheting that he didn’t want to stop. Truly he is my son.

Is there a youngster in your life that would like to learn to crochet? A great way to celebrate National Crochet Month is helping others learn the joy of playing with yarn.

Posted by: mamas2hands | March 3, 2014

Whoot! It’s National Crochet Month

Saturday was the first day of March and the beginning of NatCroMo. An entire month to celebrate all things crochet.

Outside Window

I didn’t get a blog post up because I was out celebrating crochet. I was at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe to do a book signing of my “Texting Mitts” booklet and to teach an afternoon class on the Granny Fans Scarf.

Had a really great time with my students and it’s always fun to hang out at the yarn store. I even bought a couple more balls of yarn. Both were for projects I already had in the works.

CP Mochi Plus

I needed an additional ball of Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in the beautiful blue/green toned colorway. I had started a short version of my Granny Fans Scarf, but one ball wasn’t quite enough. Fortunately LYS had a ball of the same colorway and dye lot that I had started my project in.

Boboli Lace w fabric

I had purchased 2 balls of Berocco Boboli Lace, but needed a third ball for the project I wanted to create. But LYS didn’t have a 3rd ball of the color I had selected so I returned the 2 balls (I hadn’t actually started crocheting with them yet) and picked out 3 balls in a different colorway. Actually it was a happy accident, because I think I like the new colorway better. It is crocheting up beautifully and I can hardly wait to show all my wonderful readers what I’ve made. That’s for later this month though.

So how are you planning on celebrating NatCroMo? Look around your area for events to crochet with others or learn to crochet if you’ve always wanted to. I’ll be at LYS quite a bit this month, as well as making a trip down to Denver to visit all my stitching friends at the LambShoppe. If you are in the Denver or Longmont area stop by and say hello. You’ll get to meet lots of people that love to play with yarn.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 21, 2014

The Weeks go Marching By

2014 is proving to be a very busy year for me, March (and National Crochet Month) is just around the corner. I have lots of exciting projects going on that I can’t quite reveal yet. Though I can show your my most recently published design.

touchofStyleapr_300_medium

My “Convertible Cardigan” can be found in the April 2014 issue of Crochet World Magazine. This was a cardigan that I made for myself to wear last summer at the TNNA show in Columbus, Ohio.

Of course I picked a hot pink colorway, since this was for my own wardrobe. The editors liked the color so much that they used my original cardigan for the photo shoot. Worked in Tahki Cotton Classic Lite it is a great layer for wearing in air-conditioned venues, though right now on my mountain I can’t really envision a need for air-conditioning.

The sweater is back with me now and if you come to TNNA in May or the Knit & Crochet Show in July you may spot me wearing this cardigan.

Be sure to stop by again often in March. I’ll have lots of fun blog posts to share with all my wonderful readers to celebrate NatCroMo, including a post on the 15th as part of the Crochetville’s 2014 National Crochet Month Designer Blog Tour.

Posted by: mamas2hands | February 13, 2014

Valentines Day

I’ve been told I have a big heart. I don’t know if that is always true, I do try to be a generous person and to treat folks fairly and kindly.  The past couple of years I have posted a number of patterns on my blog of heart motifs. Most of them are small quick projects.

With Valentines Day only a day away, it’s good to have a quick project to crochet up.  So I wanted to show you what another blogger, Cintia came up with using my “Crocheted Love” heart pattern.

Heart Baskets

These adorable baskets. The ones pictured above I made using Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Weight with a size L (8 mm) hook, and Lion Brands Thick n Quick Super Bulky yarn with a size M (9 mm) hook.

You can find Cintia’s tutorial on making this sweet little basket at her blog My Poppet.  Her idea of using a super bulky yarn got me thinking about doing that with some of my other heart patterns.

2 Hearts together

So I decided to work up 2 hearts using my “Simple Sweetheart” pattern and Lion Brands Thick n Quick Super Bulky yarn with a size M (9mm) hook.

Running Stitch

I fastened off the 2nd heart with a long tail and wove in the center tails on both and the ending tail on the first heart. Then used the long tail to sew the 2 hearts together with a running stitch just below the tops of the stitches.

Sewing the Heart pocket

I left the stitches at the top of the hearts un-sewn to make a little pocket. There is a Dove Dark Chocolate heart in there, and would be room for a little note or card as well.

Hanging Heart

Then I used a length of yarn to make a loop to hang the heart with and knotted it together.

Candy in Heart

I made the loop just long enough that it can be moved out of the way to insert a candy and/or note. When the loop is pulled up it holds the pocket closed.  You can hang it up somewhere for your Valentine to find as a sweet surprise.

I hope all my readers have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, filled with the joy and laughter of loving friendships.

Posted by: mamas2hands | January 30, 2014

Yikes! Almost Forgot

A couple of weeks ago my blog was one of the stops on Kathryn White’s blog tour for her wonderful book “The Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs”.

Front Cover

I was giving away a copy to readers that left a comment on that post. I had planned to post the winner on the 25th, but the weekend got away from me.

The lucky Winner is…. Amy!

Congratulations Amy, I know you are going to love this book. For those of you that didn’t win the book give-away on my blog or any of the others involved in the tour, be sure to grab a copy at your favorite craft bookstore. And if you are coming to the Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester this summer, bring it along to have Kathryn sign it for you.

If you missed my review of Kathryn’s book you can find it here: Traditional Irish Motifs meet Modern Crochet.

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