National Crochet Month just around the corner

So February is over after today. I can never figure out why it seems like such a super short month, after all it’s only 2 days shorter than most of the other months. Though, once again, it went screaming by.

Tomorrow is March and National Crochet Month. I’m reminded of the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” I’m really hoping there is some truth to that this year.

Front Deck to Left

This is the scene outside my front door right now.  It’s rather beautiful with the sunshine and blue sky, but the temperature is a balmy 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

Front Deck to Right

I am definitely in the mood for crocheting warm accessories. As many of my readers know, my very favorite accessory to crochet is a hat. And in keeping with my goal to create “teaching” patterns I am pleased to announce I have published my first one.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat
Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat

My “Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat” pattern/lesson is available now in my Ravelry shop for $6.50.

This pattern was based off my Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat class that I have taught the last 2 years at Longmont Yarn Shoppe. I’ll actually be teaching this class at the shop again next weekend. But for those of you that are too far away to join me for a class, this pattern is a chance to be able to learn the skills for making hats that are exactly the size you want.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat
Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat

What I like the best about this pattern/lesson is that you can use the formula taught in it to use any size yarn or hook to create a hat that is just the right size. A great way to use up the bits and pieces of yarn you may have left in your stash, since I usually only need about 110 yards of worsted weight yarn to make a standard woman’s size hat, even less yardage is needed to make hats for children.

So celebrate some crochet this month with making a warm hat or 2 for yourself or others you care about. Hoping we will all be seeing a more “lamb” like March by the end of the month.

 

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So Many Changes

Change may be the natural order of life, but some days it can really throw you for a curve.

This past year, really 18 months, have been full of changes. Some were more in the nature of upheavals, like the 1000 year flood that hit my little mountain community in September 2013.  There were some unpleasant changes from 2014 that involved me not getting paid for a work that took up a great deal of my time the first half of 2014. Then there are the changes in my routine with the boys attending school down in Boulder.

Some of the biggest changes I have been dealing with personally have been in my path as a crochet designer and teacher. The month of December sort of slid by me, I taught some small classes and individual crochet lessons at my local yarn store Longmont Yarn Shoppe. But mainly any spare time not spent preparing for a fun Christmas holiday with my family was spend pondering what was next. So the blog was very quiet.

I went to the TNNA Winter Trade Show the 2nd weekend of January. The week before I left I was hoping that I would discover an answer to the “What is next?” question by the time the weekend was finished. This is where that old saying about being careful what you wish for comes in.

As always, TNNA was a visual feast for my creative soul. Yarn in every texture, weight and color you could imagine and loads of other wonderful products. I also took 2 classes during the weekend: “Digital Marketing” with Zontee Hou and “How to stage your event like a Broadway Show Manager” with Patty Lyons.

Lots of great information in both classes, and many bright shiny new ideas hopping about in my head inspired by them. The hardest part of taking the classes was that they started at 7:45 a.m. Some of you that know me well know that I am not at my best before 9 a.m. Those mornings were a bit of a rough start, though well worth it.

Nothing will wake you up faster than taking a normally 3 hour long class with Patty Lyons when she has to fit it into 2 hours. All I have to say is, compared to her, I talk very slowly.

One thing that Patty mentioned in her class that has been sticking in my head was about trends with crafters and the hobbies they pursue. She said that most crafters switch what is their primary hobby every 5 years. One reason I find this interesting is that it has been 5 years since I started working on selling my crochet designs (and sold my first design). So it got me wondering if that is part of what is happening with my design mojo recently?

I still have lots of ideas for designs, but I’m more interested in pursuing alternate forms of publication. When I sell a design to a magazine or yarn company to publish, I have very little say in how the finished pattern is presented. Most of those sources publish patterns to a set format and style. That format and style is great for some crocheters, but doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

When it really comes down to it, I like to teach. And when I design crochet garments in particular I like to incorporate unusual techniques, those don’t always lend themselves to the traditional pattern format and style. So I’ve decided that I need to marry my teaching tendencies and unusual techniques into writing “teaching” patterns.

I’m hoping to be publishing a series of patterns over the next 6 months that will have not only the typical pattern instructions, but will include photo tutorials and tips on how to modify the pattern so that crocheters can add to their repertoire of skills and create wonderful finished projects that they will be proud to wear themselves or give as gifts. Eventually I will be adding links to videos that demonstrate the techniques in these patterns as well.

If you are in the Greater Denver area of Colorado this next couple of weeks, you can come take a class with me in person. I’ll be teaching at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe the next 2 Saturdays.

Crochet with a Twist class sample
Crochet with a Twist class sample
Handy HDC Class Swatches
Handy HDC Class Swatches

Saturday, February 28th I’ll be teaching “Crochet with a Twist, Mastering the Moebius” and “Handy Half Double Crochet”.

Granny Fans Class Photo
Granny Fans Scarf class sample
Crochet the Perfect Fit Hat class samples
Crochet the Perfect Fit Hat class samples

Saturday March 7th I’ll be teaching “Granny Fans Scarf” and “Crochet the Perfect Fit Hat”.

Whether you join me for a class or decide to purchase one of my “teaching” patterns I hope you keep on learning new skills in your crochet (or knitting) journey. After all, Change is the natural order of things.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Pocket Heart

I made the little “pocket” heart above with some surprise chunky yarn that came to me from Edie Eckman. She was mailing back 2 of my little birdies from the “Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home and Tree” book, and she said she thought they needed a little nest.

I liked the tones of red in the yarn color and felt like the browns and oranges balanced it enough that it wasn’t too feminine for a gift for my husband. 18 years ago he asked me to marry him on Valentines Day, so it’s a special celebration for us.

Even before I had a partner in life though, I always liked Valentines Day. I think we don’t celebrate Love enough in our lives, so it is nice to have one day a year that is dedicated to celebrating that emotion.  I’m very blessed to love and be loved by good friends and dear family members. Plus there is always my love of art and playing with yarn.

It’s simple and quick to make you own “pocket” heart. A great little envelope for a small gift or note for a loved one.

I used my heart pattern from the blog post “A Tour Through Crochet Country”, the chunky yarn and my new Clover Amour Size 7mm hook.

I crocheted 2 of the hearts, completely finishing them off with weaving in tails.  Then held them wrong sides together and sewed the edges together, leaving an opening of 6 stitches along the top of each heart. Tidied up the ends and put some candies inside with a note. Took me maybe 30-45 minutes from start to finish.

I hope you all have a Happy Valentines Day. Now I’m off the computer to go enjoy some chocolate.

Where’s Andee?

Hey there, yes the blog has been very quiet.

Mainly because I have been very busy with lots of challenges and changes in my business. I’m working on implementing some new ways I publish my designs and expanding how and where I teach crochet and healthy crafting.

One of those changes may be moving my blog to a more customized website, the learning curve for that has been a bit more extensive than originally expected. I have every confidence in accomplishing it, just takes more time than I have easily to hand.

Meanwhile, here is some eye-candy for you yarnie ones. The following are  few of the wonderful goodies I acquired at the TNNA Winter Trade Show in Phoenix the second weekend of January. Was a perfect time to travel south as the weather in Colorado and on my mountain was very cold and snowy. Spending a couple of days in warm and mostly sunny Phoenix was a nice change. Brutal returning to snow, ice and freezing temperatures when I came back though.

Yarnit

This was an exciting new product that I first saw being used by another attendee. The “Yarnit” is just too darn cool. Completely protects your ball of yarn and travels along with you easily. You can learn more about their products and where you can purchase them at their website.

Clover Amour Large Hooks

I’m really enjoying these new larger sizes of the Clover Amour hooks. They come in a range of sizes. K-6.5mm, then 7mm, 8mm, 9mm and 10mm size. The handles are shaped just like the Amour Yarn hooks, but the material is different. The hook part is a wonderfully smooth hard plastic with the handle a slightly softer plastic.

The best thing about these larger hooks are they have a decent length of shaft above the handle. This is really key if you want to crochet any stitches taller than a single crochet. Most of the larger sizes of hooks with handles on the market sacrifice shaft length to accommodate the handles.

ElementalAffectsyarn

The yarn above is from ElementalAffects and I’m going to be doing some exciting things using their yarns this coming year. The 2 hanks I brought home with me are both Fingering weight, the Cormo is 100% Cormo wool and has a lovely tight twist that gives marvelous stitch definition; the Civility is 70% Merino wool with 30% Mulberry silk so very soft with luxurious drape.

I only got a little bit of yarn during this show. Monday is usually the day at the show that I get samples of yarn, but our time on the floor was cut short when the fire alarm went off around noon. Then it was time to catch the shuttle to the airport and head back home.

Since my return I have been finishing a slew of patterns that will be self-published on Ravelry over the next couple of months. Currently they are out for final testing and technical editing. I’ll let you know as they become available.

Where I am now? Learning new stuff and creating new products for other crocheters and crafters. I’ll be back soon, I promise.