Okay, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you likely know I have a thing about sparkly yarn. I love it! So I am thrilled that I’ve been asked to design something in Red Heart’s “Shimmer” yarn.
This is a lovely yarn with a subtle color-matched sparkle that is so fun. It’s available in a variety of solid colors and subtle color-changing heathers.
I really like the colorway “Lipstick” that I’m working with. Strands of different colors from purple to fiery reds to hot pink give it loads of punch. And this yarn feels amazingly luxurious for a 97% Acrylic yarn (the 3% metallic polyester is what gives it the sparkle). What is really great is the sparkle isn’t scratchy feeling.
Of course, I can’t show you the design I’m working on, but I’ll let you know when it is available. I’m very sure this won’t be the last design I make in this yarn.
Today I’m honored to be a part of the blog tour for Susan Lowman’s new booklet from Annie’s Publishing “Wiggly Crochet Dishcloths”.
Wiggly Crochet is a fun surface crochet technique that Susan designs wonderful textural colorful pieces with. I’ve always admired Susan’s use of color-work in her designs and had wanted to try out Wiggly Crochet. I was very excited to receive my review copy of her new booklet.
This is a beautifully laid out booklet. The directions are written out in text, with gorgeous sharp photography of the finished dishcloths and clear colorful charts that you follow for the various “wiggle” designs for the surface work. Of course, being the geometry nut I am, I love that all the designs use geometrical terms in the names.
Dishcloths are a fantastic project for learning new techniques. Not a huge committment of time or yarn, yet you end up with something useful (even if you goof a little).
I decided to use what I had on hand in my stash to try out the first pattern in the booklet “Concentric Squares”. I used Lily Sugar’n Cream, which is a #4 (worsted) weight kitchen cotton with my Etimo G (4mm) hook. So my cloth came out 11.75″ x 12″ in size instead of the 10.5″ x 11″ that is the finished size in the booklet.
Susan is going to be very proud of me, I actually read the directions. I have a bad habit of getting ahead of the directions in patterns other than mine. I’ve been crocheting a long time, so I think I know what I’m doing, but sometimes a designer is doing things differently. Some bad experiences have taught me, read the directions and follow them as written…at least the first time thru the pattern.
This part of the project worked up pretty quickly and didn’t take very much yarn. I have always enjoyed filet crochet because of how quickly you can create a significant sized piece of fabric.
I was having a great time crocheting the “wiggles”, it’s rather meditative. Though I did discover it is helpful to lay the project out flat occasionally and look at your work. I was half watching a program on TV at the same time and started going off in the wrong direction.
When I started out on this dishcloth I thought I would put it in the kitchen for my husband (he is my “dishwasher”), but I really like the feel of the finished cloth. So it’s being adopted as my washcloth. With all the texture of the “wiggly” ridges it will be very nice.
So I know you really want to try this technique too. You still have a chance to enter a drawing for a signed copy of this fun booklet, just stop by Susan’s Announcement blog post and leave a comment. I think I am the last stop on her tour, so you will need to get over there quick since the entries are only thru the end of the tour.
If you aren’t lucky enough to win the booklet (or you just read this too late to enter), you can purchase a copy of her booklet either as a print version or as an Ebook at the Annie’s Website. And be sure to visit the Annie’s Facebook page to keep up with all their fun crochet offerings.
You can see more of Susan’s wonderful designs, including other wiggly crochet pieces, and find out where to get them on her Ravelry Designer Page.
For a little giggle: one of the Ravelry groups I belong to has forbidden the use of the word “Dishcloth”, so instead we say “Art Square”. And I think my finished cloth is definitely beautiful enough to be an “Art Square”.
March is just around the corner and March is National Crochet Month!
In celebration of crochet I will be participating with many other CGOA Professional and Associate Professional members in another blog tour “A Tour through Crochet Country”. You can read more about it on the CGOA website.
My date for this particular tour is March 15th, the day after “Pi” day (3.14). I’ll have some fun stuff going on that day for all my lovely readers.
Do check in with the other stops on the tour as well, some may be regular stops for you during your internet browsing and others could be just what you had been looking for.
Meanwhile this is a photo of my finished “Small V-st Mitts” worked in Zitron “Trekking” sock yarn. I’m really happy with how they came out. Finished them just in time as we are getting snowy wintery weather here on the mountain again. Fingerless mitts aren’t just great for texting on your phone, they are also very “handy” to have around for typing, crocheting, knitting and sewing when the temperatures drop (or if you work in a very cold AC environment).
Current temperature is 21F. Brrrr! Looks really beautiful outside though.
Meanwhile I am working on making each pair of mitts in the booklet in LYS sock and fingering weight yarns from my stash. Currently I am working on the “Small V-St Mitts” using Zitron Trekking.
I like to work my mitts 2-at-a-time, because I really struggle with 2nd Sock Syndrome. Basicially any project that requires 2 indential or mirror pieces can be a struggle for me. So I either use 2 balls of yarn, or seperate my 1 ball into 2 equal size/weight pieces. Then I work the foundations and rounds in turns.
I always feel like the work goes faster, and I don’t have to start at the beginning to make the 2nd mitt. No more 2nd Sock Syndrome. Give it a try the next time you are crocheting a pair of something.
Today is the last stop of my week long blog tour, and it is very fitting that it is my friend Julia Meek Chambers of Aberrant Crochet.
Julia and I initially got to know each other thru the Crochet Liberation Front group on Ravelry in 2008. Then we finally got the opportunity to meet in person at the CLF Retreat – Crochet at Cama in October 2010.
Julia and I are both uber crafty types, maybe it is that Southern Gal thing (my mom is a Texan and so is Julia). We both took Jimbo’s hook carving class at the retreat and had a great time in there. Julia spent a great deal of her time at the retreat working with Jimbo, but we still managed to have lots of time to laugh together.
I love Julia’s crochet work, she is constantly pushing the envelope on what can happen with yarn and a hook (and sometimes she doesn’t use yarn). When it really comes down to it, Jules is just Fun. It’s a small word to describe someone with so much personality and reality in her heart, but it is a very fitting word in every sense.
So click on over to check out her review, and while you are over there cruise around to take a look at some of her older posts. You will very likely find a new crochet buddy that you love visiting regularly.
Meanwhile my friend Amy Curtin sent me this photo she took in her local Jo-Anns. That’s right folks, the booklet has been spotted in the wild. Yay!
And a reminder folks, you have until noon (MST) to leave a comment on my “In the Stores” post to enter my drawing for a copy of the “Texting Mitts” booklet. I’ll post the winning name tomorrow, so hop over there quick!
Stop #6 on our tour is Go Crochet, the blog of crochet superstar (and TV star) Ellen Gormley.
You can watch Ellen in new episodes of “Knit & Crochet Now” on PBS Create. Just about any crochet magazine you pick up in the last 3 years will have at least one design by this talented woman.
She also has 2 wonderful books out: “Go Crochet: Afghan design workbook” and more recently “Learn Bruges Lace”. What really amazes me is she gets all this work done while on the go with 2 young children.
Her CAL this March will be for the beautiful Wintergreen Cowl. I’ve always been intrigued by Bruges lace and Ellen makes it all very easy to follow along with.
My 2 favorite Ellen designs are:
1) The Driftwood Cap, first published in Interweave Crochet magazine Fall 2008. This pattern is now available individually as a PDF thru Ellen’s Ravelry Shop or at the Interweave site.
I used this pattern to crochet a baby hat for a friend. Just switched to sock-yarn (instead of worsted) and a smaller hook. Worked out to a perfect size for an infant. And because of the inherent stretchiness of the fabric the baby was able to wear it until 6-7 months old.
2) The Sunny Spread Blanket, first published in Crochet Today! magazine January/February 2008 Issue and now available on the Red Heart yarn website.
This design just took my breath away the first time I saw it, and really made me pay attention to Ellen’s name as a designer. I found that many of the designs that appealed to me in magazines had come from her fertile mind and talented fingers.
Ellen is a master of using texture and stretch in her designs and was my inspiration for exploring those techniques in my own work. Explorations that I put to use when thinking about creating stretch for my fingerless mitt designs.
It is Day 5 of the tour and it is Valentines Day! I love Valentines day and have celebrated it for years as a day to show my appreciation and affection for my friends (as well as my very best friend: my husband). So it is very fitting that today’s stop is to visit the talented and inspiring Karen Ratto-Whooley of KRW Knitwear Studio.
A little history for those of you that don’t know. I got started as a professional designer by taking an online class with Mary Beth Temple. The class was “Designing for Print Publication”, and our homework was to submit a design proposal somewhere. My submission actually sold. Surprise!
As part of that class though, Mary Beth recommended that we acquire a Mentor through the CGOA Associate Professionals program. Since I was already a member of CGOA I quickly followed her advice. Shortly after that Karen Ratto-Whooley and I were matched as Mentor and Mentee.
It was a perfect match, better than either of us could have anticipated. Karen says I was a super easy mentee. I think part of that was because we were so well paired. Very early on we could communicate in a sort of shorthand. So that sped up problem solving. Best of all, Karen has a knack for helping re-direct me (or kicking my backside) with a cheerfulness and constructiveness that is encouraging and supportive.
I graduated from mentee status awhile ago, but Karen is still an important voice in my work as a designer (as well as an awesome friend and colleague).
Stop #4 on the blog tour is a visit to Poetry in Yarn where we will hear from my good friend Lindsey Stephens.
Lindsey and I have a lot in common, not the least being we are both math geeks. Of course she is also a talented designer (crochet & knit), math teacher and technical editor. We first met online in the chat room of the “Getting Loopy” podcast, then got to meet in person at the Buffalo, NY ChainLink show in August 2009.
The last time I got to see her in person was at the Winter TNNA show in January 2012. But we stay in touch online celebrating each other’s new designs and successes (and more recently commiserating about the incredible amount of snow outside her door).
Our 3rd stop on the tour is to visit the lovely Jocelyn Sass of Cute Crochet Chat. Jocelyn is a talented designer of adorable designs for babies (as demonstrated by the photo above) and quick accessory projects for women and teens.
I read her blog regularly because she always has sometime inspiring or thought-provoking on there. Just be warned, her site is a bit addictive and you can easily find yourself spending a few hours reading and exploring links.
She also recently published a wonderful book, “Crochet Saved My Life”. If you have felt like crochet was a big part of how you maintained your sanity you aren’t alone. You can find out more about this book on Kathryn’s website.
I was really excited when she agreed to review my booklet and do a give-away drawing for a copy of the booklet as well.
One of my goals this week for the blog tour is to show you the mitts from my booklet worked in different yarns from those pictured.
In the photo above I am wearing my Stagger Cross Stitch Mitts worked in Aslan Trends Natural Luxury Yarns “Santa Fe”. This is a lovely 85% merino wool and 15% polyamide sock yarn that had been waiting in my stash for just the right project. I made the Large size mitts for this pair, as I wanted to wear them over my glove liners. I also worked a couple extra rounds to cover more of my fingers.
These are the perfect extra layer over my liners for those nippy mornings when I drive the boys to school.