The Joy of Stitch Charts

Many of us that love to crochet are very visual people. It’s the reason I love stitch diagrams also know as stitch charts. I find them easy to understand and I can get a feel for what a stitch pattern will look like just from looking at the stitch diagram.

When I design I often draw rough stitch charts for my notes. I find it easier to make changes as needed without having to worry that I missed changing something in the text directions. Once I have it all figured out between swatching and stitch charts I am ready to write the text directions for the pattern.

Even before I knew about stitch charts I drew my design notes, using images and brief notes about the stitch order. So the first time I saw a stitch chart I was enthralled. They were exactly what I had been looking for all along.

Before I started designing professionally I was always on the hunt for patterns that included stitch charts. My favorite patterns use both text and charts for the instructions. Now that I am designing, most of the crochet books I purchase are stitch dictionaries, and my favorites are the Japanese published books.

Some Japanese Pattern books I bought in 2014.

Another reason I love stitch charts, they can be understood by everyone, no matter what languages you speak or read. I can’t read the Japanese writing, but the stitch charts and swatch photos overcome the language barrier. There is an element of educated guessing when working this way.

This coming Saturday I will be teaching a class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe called “Stitch Chart Boot Camp”. In the class students will be working from stitch charts only, learning tips and tricks in how to make decisions about the final project. In this class students will work from a stitch chart to create a lovely motif. You’ll learn what the all the symbols in the chart mean and how they can vary depending on the country of origin.

If you are in the greater Denver area, please come join me for this class. You can enroll online at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website.

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For the Love of Crafting

Valentine’s Day is only 9 days away. So it is time for some quick crafting projects to show the special folks in our lives how much we love them.

Today I’m going to be sharing ideas for crafting a bit of love for your family and friends. First off, I have a new coloring page for everyone. You can download this PDF to print and color-in however you want.

20190205 Valentines Coloring Pg – Andee Graves M2H Designs

I have been enjoying coloring books and pages for some time and have decided that I really love having the option to print out the pages I want to color. I have to confess many of my physical coloring books remain uncolored because I didn’t want to “ruin” the images.

Having the option of printing out the pages I am going to color means I can color without worry that I’ll be unhappy with the outcome. It also gives me the chance to play with different coloring styles and mediums. One time I might use only color pencils, the next I’ll get out my Chameleon color-tones markers, or maybe I’ll use both.

When printing out the page from a PDF you can also play with the size of the page. For this Valentines design you can print it out smaller to make the image fit on a regular size greeting card base, or color the page and then cut out the individual elements to use on a smaller card.

The two little cards in the photograph were made using that technique, I used 3 Glue Dots to adhere each heart to a plain card that I had added color to with a marker. I really like using the Glue Dots, no mess on my table and super quick to craft with. The package in the photo was one that I got on my recent trip to the AFCI Creativation show in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. 

For those of you that may not be as much into coloring as crocheting, today’s coloring page includes a stitch chart for the heart motifs that are drawn on the page. This heart may be familiar to those of you that have been visiting my blog for awhile.

It is an update of my “Crocheted Love” heart from 2013 that I revisited last year in my pattern “A Pocket Full of Love”. If you need help with the picot stitch that forms the point at the bottom of the heart you can find a tutorial on my post “The Greatest of these is Love”.

The third craft I am looking at for making fun gifts for Valentine’s Day is needle felting. I’ll be teaching a quick class this Sunday from Noon – 1:30p at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe on how to make these adorable little heart pins.

Students will be provided with a kit of materials that will include a crocheted heart and the fiber to felt a 3-D heart in a contrasting color. The handout for the class will also include the pattern to crochet your own little hearts to needle felt onto.  You can visit the Longmont Yarn Shoppe’s website to enroll in the class.

Update February 8, 2019: My crochet heart coloring page is featured on FaveCrafts. If you are in search of more coloring pages check out their site, but be prepared to get lost on there in the fun of looking at everything.

My October Classes

Wow! 2018 decided to go into high speed. October is half finished, but it isn’t too late to take some classes with me.

I’m teaching 3 classes before October is finished. All 3 classes are great ones for adding to your gift making skills as the holiday season is just around the corner. Best of all they are small projects so you will have plenty of time to finish up a few for the special folks on your gift list.

Saturday, October 20th 1p- 4p  “Curly Sheep Pin”

at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe, Longmont, Colorado.

This sweet little needle felted sheep pin is a wonderful gift item. In class I’ll be covering tips and tricks for needle felting small items, embellishing with mohair locks and how to create a very densely felted piece that will last for years to come. Basic needle felting experience is great, but not required. You will leave the class with your finished pin and the skills to make an entire flock of sheep as gifts for the holidays.

Saturday, October 27th I will be teaching at the Brown Sheep Fiber Arts Schoolhouse in Mitchell, Nebraska. This is a wonderful facility located just across the highway from the Brown Sheep Company. Roomy well-lit classrooms are the perfect place to learn new skills. Mitchell, Nebraska is only 14 minutes from the Scotts Bluff National Monument, so this is a great place to come for a fun weekend.

8:30a – 12:30p “Slippers that Fit!”

There are so many variables when you are crocheting wearables, even if you follow a pattern precisely you may not get the fit you want. In this crochet technique class you will learn what measurements you need and how to use those measurements to make slippers that always fit no matter what size yarn or foot you are working with.

1:30p – 4:30p “Sweet Angel Ornament”

Needle felting is a wonderful craft for creating lightweight wool ornaments for your holiday decorations. You’ll learn how to work with a variety of needle felting sculptural techniques to create a dense long-lasting felted ornament that will be loved for years. Project will introduce using a template for starting your sculpture, creating shapes separately then joining to your sculpture and directional gathering of fiber to create 3 dimensional shapes. Class is ideal for those that have a little experience with needle-felting already

Click on any of the class names to go to the enrollment pages for more information on taking one or more of these classes.

Needle Felting with Students

Last Saturday I taught a needle-felting class at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The shop is very small, so a full needle-felting class is only 6 students. This makes for fun classes where each student gets personal attention from the teacher. I have such a great time teaching and often time my students come up with new ideas or ways of looking at the project that really add to the experience for everyone.

3 of my students were a mother with 2 young daughters (9 and 12).  I generally don’t design my classes for children under 13 years of age, but these 2 young ladies were both very dedicated yarn crafters already. When the shop called to check with me I said let’s give it a try.

Saturday morning we had one student cancel because she had the flu, so we ended up with only 5 students in the class. We all had a great time and my 2 youngest students were intrepid and diligent in the class. The 9 year-old was really determined to work on one of the more challenging techniques for creating the “fleece” of her sheep.

This technique is one I used for creating my original Sheep Toy for the SBVFAF class I taught last September at the SBVFAF in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. It requires quite a bit of patience as you make loop after loop in yarn and needle them into place.

The 12 year-old came up with a fun technique of her own for making a bumpy “fleece”. She wrapped bits of plain roving around her needle and then pushed them into place on her sheep.

My other three adult students were having fun making “curly” sheep using mohair locks for the fleece. Again there was so much creativity amongst the students about how they would incorporate the locks. One student made a soft cloud of locks that she had gently teased apart.

My young students mom had fun creating a special curl over her sheep’s forehead.

The last student was very charmed by my original “curly” sheep, so she worked on adding her locks similar to how I had used them.

We had quite a fun little flock of sheep by the end of the class. Best of all, all 5 students were feeling very inspired and wanted to do more needle felting. I’m always happy when my students are excited to continue with the craft.

I’ll be teaching more needle felting classes this Fall and hope to create some that combine needle felting with crochet.  Keep an eye out here for more news about my upcoming classes.

 

Some Pretty Crochet

Today I decided to make a little PWT shawlette for myself.

I love this “Folio” yarn from Berroco Yarns and had a little bit of green left over from another project. I thought it would go nicely with some raspberry colored that I also had.

I made a swatch and did the calculations to figure out how big a shawlette I could make. Looks like this will be about 32 inches wide and 16 inches long at the point.

I’m going to add some beads to the next to last body row and to the border for some bling. This little shawlette will be more like a necklace than a shawl. I’ll show you the finished project tomorrow. I’m hoping to wear this to my class I am teaching or I may use it to demonstrate adding beads to our shawl projects.

Playing with Triangles Class

Today was my Casual Crochet group at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. We had 8 people there, counting myself, there was lots of fun showing off finished projects and those that are still in progress.

Margie had one of her “Frida’s Flowers” afghans with her.  She is making 2, one in pastel colors and one in bright jewel tone colors. She had the bright one with her today. I just loved the black background motifs.

I also found out today that my class this Saturday has 3 students already. That means I have room for a few more students. If you are in the area and want to learn more than you thought there was to know about crocheting a top-down triangle shawl come join me for my “Playing with Triangles” class this Saturday.

The class starts at 12 noon and goes until 3 p.m. It will be 3 full hours of the basics and beyond of working triangle shawls with any yarn and hook combination that appeal to you. You can sign up for the class online at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe website, or call or stop by the shop.

Speaking of classes. Today registration opened for the Chain Link – CGOA Conference in Chicago this July 26-29. You can sign up for classes and get your tickets for all the fun events. Online registration is open until July 20, 2017.

 

Tis the Season for Fiber Events

Ah summer-time! The best thing to me about summer is that there will be fiber events all over my region. This coming weekend will be the Estes Park Wool Market and September 9th & 10th is the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair in Nebraska.

Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair logo

I’ll be teaching 3 crochet classes and one injury prevention class at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair. Registration is now open at the event website. You can enroll in classes online or download a PDF registration form to use to enroll by mail.

Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat

Friday, September 9th I’ll be teaching “The Perfect Fit Crocheted Hat” class in the morning.

Art Science Spirals

I’ll be teaching “The Art and Science of Crochet Spirals”class Friday afternoon.

1st PWT back

Saturday, September 10th I’ll be teaching my “Playing with Triangles Shawl” class in the morning.

Dont let your Hobby Hurt

I’ll be teaching my “Don’t Let Your Hobby Hurt” class Saturday afternoon.

You can click on any of the class names above to go straight to the class information pages on the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair website. Or click here to go to the home page for their website.

If you don’t live in the area you might consider coming out to this event. Scotts Bluff is a beautiful area in Nebraska and there is a lot to do at the Fiber Fair as well as opportunities to take a fun tour of the Brown Sheep Company’s Yarn Mill.