Let’s Do the Hop!

No, I haven’t turned into a bunny (or a 1950s teeny-bopper), but I am participating in a fun Flash Giveaway Blog Hop. What in the world is that? So glad you asked.

A Blog Hop is when you visit one blog site and at the end of the post is a link to the next stop. So you “hop” over to the next stop and so forth. No matter which blog you start at you’ll hop around in a circle, so you’ll get to visit each of the blogs on the tour.

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The 8 designers in this hop are each giving away a free pattern. You just have to visit their site to get the coupon code or link for the pattern, but it is only good for 24 hours. This hop goes from September 1, 2015 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to 1 p.m. (EST) September 2, 2015.

Before you go clicking around this fab hop, please remember: You are very welcome and encouraged to share the link to this post with your friends on social media and message boards! But please do NOT share the coupon codes themselves. It’s the visitors to our blogs that allow us to make these patterns free today, so click, share the blog link, and enjoy!

Anna Moebius Cowl - Andee Graves M2H Designs

For this hop I picked my Anna Moebius Cowl pattern. I know many of you are likely feeling the pressure of picking projects to make presents for the upcoming gift-giving season, and this is a wonderful quick one that makes a lovely gift. This pattern is normally available thru my Ravelry shop for $3.99 but for the 24 hours of the Flash Giveaway Blog Hop it is FREE. Just use the coupon code FGBHAnna in my Ravelry shop between 1 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) September 1  and 1 p.m. (EST) September 2, 2015.

If you’ve never used a coupon code on Ravelry before it’s really easy.

Go to the pattern page on Ravelry and click the “Add to Cart” button or the “Buy Now” button.

You’ll get a nifty shopping cart box.

In the new box, look for the little tag that says “use a coupon code”.

Click on that tag, you’ll get a spot to enter the coupon code.

Once you’ve entered the code the price will be adjusted to zero.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Now hop on over to visit the talented Kathy Lashley of Elk Studio.

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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.

Traditional Irish Motifs meet Modern Crochet

I am so pleased to tell you about this new book that my fellow designer and good friend Kathryn White (Kathy) has out from Annie’s Publishing.  “The Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs” is a wonderfully informative and well-written book full of pretty much everything you need to know to get started on crocheting and creating lovely Irish Crochet projects.

Front Cover

When I first saw that this book was coming out from Annie’s I was very excited. I love technique books and the cover looked so pretty that I was itching to get my hands on it.  A moment later I realized that the book was written by my friend Kathy, which of course made me even more determined to purchase it. So I was thrilled when Kathy asked me to be one of the stops on her blog tour.

My favorite thing about this book is the informative and friendly tone. It is like having a patient friend sitting beside you helping you understand the stitches and how all the motifs go together. Kathy’s voice comes thru very clearly, I’m reminded of our many conversations about thread crochet and the history of Irish crochet.

The book starts out with an excellent overview of all the terms and materials you may need when working on an Irish Crochet project. Then Chapter One introduces you to the stitches and techniques that will help you make the motifs from the patterns in the following chapters. I liked how Kathy has included both the classic padding cord methods and some easier shortcuts for creating the padded look in the motifs.

Being I am a very visual person I appreciated the fact that the book is filled with photographs of the various motifs. My only complaint is that some of the larger motifs are shown too small to really see the stitch detail well. Detailed written instructions help make it all clear though.

Back Cover

Kathy and I met at the Knit and Crochet Show in Greensboro, NC. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time together at that show, but I remember being very impressed with the beautiful crocheted thread jewelry I saw her wearing. A few months later we met again at the Winter TNNA Trade Show and got to know each other better.

One of the things that she and I have in common, besides the joy of crochet, is a love of horses. I grew up around them and rode almost daily from age 8 to 18. Kathy trained horses and taught people to ride for 20 years. She had a boarding and training facility in Washington State, but in 2007 a riding accident left her with injuries that made it too painful to ride. Though she doesn’t ride any longer she looks back on those days fondly. Fortunately she was able to transfer her passion to crochet design (especially good news for all the Threadie crocheters out there).

Kathy is truly an artist with thread crochet. She has won a number of a prizes from the CGOA Design Competition with her thread and yarn projects. Everything from amazing intricate doilies and hand bags to light-as-air lacy shawls.  Her designs have been published by Crochet World, Crochet!, Interweave, Red Heart and MainlyCrochet.com. You can see many of her designs on her Ravelry Designer Page.

Photograph courtesy of CrochetnBeads
Photograph courtesy of CrochetnBeads

You can also find her self-published designs on her website like these beautiful fingerless mitts (pictured above) that I was admiring at the Knit & Crochet Show in Reno. I work in thread on occasion, but these mitts completely blew me away. Not only are they beautifully designed, but she worked them in size 80 black tatting thread. My hat is off to her and her amazing eyesight for that crocheting triumph.

Kathy is a bit shy at times, so I thought my readers would enjoy getting to know a bit more about her. The following are her answers to some of my favorite crochet related questions, and a few especially for Kathy’s specialty.

When did you learn to crochet? And who taught you?

I think I was about 10 or 11 when I finally got a chance to learn. The wonderful person who taught me to crochet was my great-aunt on my father’s side. Actually my mother informs me she was a second cousin, but I always knew her as Aunt Haydee so to me she’s an aunt, if only in an honorary position. Whatever relationship she had to me, I bless her every time I pick up my hook for enabling me to do what I so dearly love.

I am the only left-handed person in my family and no one was around that could teach me to crochet. I taught myself to knit, but I just couldn’t make that tiny crochet hook work right. Of course I was trying to teach myself with a size 13 hook and size 30 or  50 thread. Was a threadie before I even got started. When she came to visit one Christmas I saw her crocheting, and realized she was left-handed like me. I begged her to teach me. She gave me some yarn and a G hook and taught me how to chain and single crochet, I took it from there. Wasn’t long and I moved back down to thread, since that is what I really wanted to do. Only now crochet made sense to me.

Has the majority of your crochet work been with thread?

Thread has always been my favorite medium. I love the intricate look you can get with thread. It shows off the stitch definition much better than yarn. And I love seeing what I can do with the stitches. That to me is the ultimate challenge. I can paint a much more intricate picture with my stitches with thread than I can with yarn.  

When (if) you work with heavier yarn is it a difficult adjustment for you?

It takes me a bit to adjust. But once I get going I am fine. I don’t like to work with the bulky yarns. There just isn’t enough stitch variety in a piece to hold my interest. You can only do so much when you can only fit so many stitches into a piece.  

Have you ever had any trouble with your hands hurting from working with such tiny hooks?

Crocheting has never really bothered my hands. But then I try to take precautions. The only time they ache a bit from crocheting is when I switch over to the larger hooks and yarns. I am not used to the weight and bulk in my hands. I have to remember to take more breaks with yarn. The small hooks have never bothered my hands. But then I don’t grip the hook. it rests in my hand and I move it only as much as needed. No gripping, no tension. no pain.

What do you do to prevent injury to your hands and body when crocheting?

 As I said I take precautions to make sure my hands last me as long as possible. I want to crochet forever you know. I take breaks every 15 minutes or so. No marathon crocheting for me. I go check out posts on Face book or do something about the house for 5 min. Then go back to work. Less stress on the hands this way. Have been doing this for years. I have 2 chairs I normally work in. The one at my desk and my TV chair. Both fit me well so I can work comfortably while maintaining a good posture, which I think is very important. I also remember to stretch my hands and body when I take my breaks. It only takes a second and I think it helps immensely. I try to remember the exercises  you showed us during Professional Development Day at the Knit & Crochet Show.

You know I still manage to get an incredible amount of crocheting done working this way.

 What is your favorite thing about crochet?

I love the fact that with nothing more than a piece of string and hook we can make the most intricate and beautiful pieces of art. It’s literally making something from nothing. I absolutely love watching an idea take shape and substance. I love making my ideas become a reality you can physically touch and visually see. If it inspires a sense of beauty and wonder I am thrilled beyond measure.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Kathy a little better. She is an inspiration to me and I am going to enjoy spending more time with her book. As it says on the back cover of her book, “Kathryn White has taken lovely vintage Irish crochet motifs, as well as her own original designs, and has rewritten them in a way that makes sense to the modern-day crocheter.”

Annie’s Publishing very generously provided me with an extra copy of Kathy’s book to give away to one lucky reader.  Because of postage costs, this give-away offer will only be available to readers with a U.S. mailing address. Just leave a comment on this blog post before noon (Mountain Time) January 24, 2014 and I will announce the winner on Saturday, January 25th.

And the Winner is…

Carrie! She receives a copy of “Texting Mitts” from Leisure Arts. Carrie, I’ll be emailing you later today to get your mailing address to send the booklet to.

Now if you didn’t win the copy there are still lots of chances.  Just visit some of the other blogs that were involved in my tour this past week.

Ellen Gormely of Go Crochet is giving away a copy, you need to enter her drawing by 11:59 pm Monday February 18th.

Julia Chambers of Aberrant Crochet is giving away a copy, you need to enter the drawing by 2p (CST) February 19th.

Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn is giving away a copy, you need to enter her drawing before 11:59pm February 20th.

Jocelyn Sass of Cute Crochet Chat  is giving away a copy, drawing will be Thursday, February 21st.

If you missed the other 2 reviews this week, you can find them at the links below:

Susan Lowman, The Crochet Architect

Kathryn of Crochet Concupiscence

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.

SmVsin progress

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.

It’s in the Stores!

My “Texting Mitts” booklet is available in Jo-Anns stores now, a few stores will be getting it on their shelves in the coming week.

Photo courtesy of Leisure Arts Publishing
Photo courtesy of Leisure Arts Publishing

In celebration I’m having a blog “tour” with some of my online crocheting friends. Each day I’ll have a post with a link to the tour blog of the day, but if you want to check out their blogs before then the links are below.

Susan Lowman, The Crochet Architect

Kathryn of Crochet Concupiscence

Jocelyn Sass of Cute Crochet Chat

Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn

Karen Whooley of KRW Knitwear Studio

Ellen Gormley of Go Crochet

Julia of Aberrant Crochet

As additional celebration of the booklet being in stores I am going to be giving away a signed copy to one lucky winner.  Just leave a comment on this post before Noon (Mountain Time) on February 16th and I’ll announce the winner on February 17th. Unfortunately I do have to limit this prize to folks in the United States.

Mountain Ruana

Photos courtesy of Crochet! Magazine/Annie’s

For those of you that have been following my blog a while, you might recognize the yarn in my latest published design. This ruana is made with the Universal Yarn “Mohair Mountain” that I told you about earlier this year in the post “Now That’s a Ball of Yarn”.

The stitch pattern used in my design is super stretchy, so keep that in mind if you are a little shorter and work fewer rows for all the panels. Or if you want a wider ruana increase the Back Panel foundation by 8 stitches (this will add 2 shells/5 inches to the back panel and 1 shell to each front panel), and decrease the number of rows by 2 rows.

You can find this pattern and over 40 others in the Fall Special Issue out from Crochet! Magazine : Warm & Cozy Crochet.  It will be on newsstands now.  I have an extra copy of this issue, and as a little goodie for my readers I am going to have a drawing for it.

Just leave your name and a comment telling me what your favorite crochet projects to work on in the winter are by 6 p.m. (Colorado time) Friday, October 12th.  I’ll announce the winner’s name here Saturday, October 13th.