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Showing posts from 2014

Beautiful Hands, Helpful Hands!

These beautiful hands with hooks ‘aflying  tell a story. They tell of cancer survivors who have risen above the trauma of their experiences to give love and support through their talented hands to others. Preemie babies receive hats crocheted at the hospital where we meet twice a month as the Cancer & Crochet Support Group.

Kathryn Vercillo: An Update on Her Crochet Life

Even though I have previously blogged book  reviews of two of Kathryn Vercillo's books, Crochet Saved My Life

and When Grandma Isn’t Crocheting, She’s Hunting Big Game;

promoted her Hook to Heal project and invited her to be a Guest Blogger here. It seems that I just can’t get enough of her!  She has a presence on the internet and her website, Crochet Concupiscence radiates energy and joy from the community of crocheters that she covers. Recently, Kathryn has embarked upon a new assignment to bring crochet content to crocheters, so I thought it would be fun to touch base with this interesting and generous person again to bring you up to date on her exciting crochet-life.

There are a few key areas of crochet that interest Kathryn: health benefits; organizations that offer people in third world countries the opportunity to use it to support themselves; all aspects of crochet art; and gender-specific aspects. She explains, “The many intellectual and social aspects of crochet really …

Awesome Crochet Blogger Awards: I won for Best Interviews!!

I am super-thrilled an honored to have received the news yesterday that I received the 2014 Awesome Crochet Blogger Award for "Best Crochet Interviews"! This award bestowed upon 31 bloggers, one each day during December, is spearheaded by the prolific blogger and crochet supporter, Kathryn Vercillo. (Be watching for my interview of Kathryn this week!)

Previously my blog has won Awesome Blogger Awards in 2013 for "Best Guest Posts" and "Best Newsletter" 


and in 2011 for "Best Freeform Crochet." 


Receiving a prestigious award like this only adds to the joy of blogging and makes me want to do even better next year at seeking out stories and people who sing the praises of crochet! Ats s the announcements of the 2014 winners continue until the end of the month, I will be highlighting winners who I have included here on my blog:

March 4, 2014: Stacey Trock, author of Modern Baby Crochet; August 27, 2013-Guest Blogger, Marie Segares on Vintage Crochet …

Book Review: The Big Book of Granny Squares: 365 Motifs by Tracey Lord, et al

Like all great things, the granny square has come and gone in waves. In the 70s it was the go-to technique; creative hobbyists and artists alike found ingenious ways to use it with great flair.

In the 90s, it got a bad rap as “tired, trite and needing a lift”. During that period, crochet in general was on an upsurge and unenlightened journalists often used the phrase, “Not your granny’s crochet” to demean the past and focus on the “new present.” These frequent slights fueled a revolution for passionate crocheters, led by the Crochet Guild of America, who stood up for their beloved craft and brought it to the fore not only as a hobby, but also as an art form and fashion-inspiration. That popularity of crochet as art and fashion surged upward and is currently at its apex of acceptance as a valid fiber art.

With the introduction of The Big Book of Granny Squares by Interweave/F+W, the publisher did its part to stir the waters and create a new wave for the granny square. The "bigges…

Magazine Review: Debut Issue of Artists & Makers Winter 2015

Editor Jeannnine Stein explains in her editor's letter that the goal of this exciting new magazine is to “be that friend, that peer, who will guide you through the rough spots, help you celebrate the victories, and inspire you to achieve your wildest dreams” in today's atmosphere where supporting art and handmade goods is the right thing to do.

As I began my first-pass perusal of Artists & Makers I was struck by the incredible information in just the ads! I viewed full-color ads about arts and crafts; things I will probably never do, but are nonetheless inspiring.  These are some examples:  “next steps in painting with fire, video on binding custom books, a mixed media art retreat; and a coffee table book about art studios; and that is just from the first 8 pages!

As I continued to delve into the content of the articles, there was exciting insight to share.
I chose one article to share an in-depth summary because of my interest in Social Media: “Working the Network" …

Book Review: Cozy Toes for Baby ~ Sweet Shoes to Crochet and Felt by Chantal Garceau & Mary J. King

I haven’t been aware of a more heartwarming reason to create a book sommme time! “As I pondered a new direction for my life work and a direction for my design talents,” Chantal wrote, “serendipity intervened and led me to the Imani Project  and  I decided to sponsor a Kenyan child orphaned by HIV/AIDS.” This book is dedicated to the Masheleni children and the Imani Project and pictured is Linet who was one of the first children sponsored by Chantal.
With crochet patterns that are as adorable as they are practical, you can provide fashion for wee ones while keeping tiny toes warm. Instructions for making the soles and even re-purposing the materials from leather elbow patches are included along with how-tos on felting for shape and sturdiness. 
One basic pattern is used for the 7 sets of shoe designs, each in 5 sizes. Incredibly  appealing embellishments and styling sets each design apart from the other. 
Complete instructions and tips help the crocheter achieve results that are professio…

Linda Lehman, Bead-Crocheter Extraordinaire!

Linda Lehman hails from Silver Spring, Maryland and retired from a career in finance many years ago. Since that time, she has focused on her love of crafts. She has had a successful shop on Etsy for 4 years where she sells not only the finished bracelets and necklaces but also patterns for crocheters to make their own jewelry. She is also the author of Bead Crochet Jewelry (Schiffer Publishing).


I am a member of her Ravelry group and was the lucky recipient of her annual drawing where I have won challenging patterns as well as jewelry and beads from her co-moderator, KnotChaCha. Linda also has a store on Ravelry. I am so inspired by her skills when it comes to designing that I wanted to get to know her better.

Crochetkween: What got you interested in crochet? Did you learn crochet or bead-crochet first? Do you do other beading techniques?
Linda:  “I first learned to knit, and then crochet and later bead crochet. I’m a self taught bead crocheter.  A student asked me to learn so that I wo…

Book Review: Big Book of Little Amigurumi by Ana Paula Rimoli

Yet another book on the popular crochet-style, Amigurumi, has been added to the stable of offerings. At first glance, one might think the book contains just repeats of oft-seen patterns: the ubiquitous owl, plentiful penguins and common cookies. About then the clever style of Ana Rimoli kicks in to surprise the reader!

The carefree look of the Mommy and Baby Hedgehogs along with their disco-era hair makes you want to kiss them! The Hot-Air Balloon is colorful and clever and as Ana Paula says, “It hangs in the room and watches my children play.”

Little Bunny and Her Carrot Home will provide endless hours of play for the little ones. Once it is done, Ana suggests you fill the carrot with jelly beans and set the bunny on top for an Easter surprise!

By providing a water lily throne, Ana turns a prickly frog into a loveable creature! Just when you thought you’d never need to make another unicorn again, Ana Paula adds a colorful, curly mane to hers; and you won’t be able to resist making on…

Premiere Issue: DIY Holiday ~ The Crafting Life

Three lucky winners can enter for a chance to win a copy of the brand new, DIY Holiday. Add your email on my blog where it says “follow” and email me a note that you did so. US addresses only, please, by December 1 at midnight. Good luck!

I don’t usually expect to find consistent pattern quality in a magazine that is stretched in as many directions as this Premiere Issue published by Interweave/F + W. However, the editors, Amber Eden and Karin Strom, have proven me wrong! Included are 25+ hand-crafted projects for the holidays and you will find familiar names among the designers across many genres: crochet (4 projects); Knitting (4); Quilting (4); Modern Sewing (4); Needlework (2); Jewelry (4); Mixed Media (3); and Weaving (2).

Designated “Cool Crafts on the Cheap,” several projects were also chosen in mind for cost conscience crafters. DIY Holiday has everything one needs to take on a new craft, including downloadable patterns, helpful PDFs, and a bonus tree skirt project. An array o…

Cute Critter Crochet by Maki Oomachi

The only way to describe Maki’s new book is just plain “Cute!” There is a sweetness about each and every one of the 30 patterns she has created that keeps the crocheter moving through the book to make almost every one! I previously blogged  a positive review of Maki’s previous book, Simply Adorable Crochet. She has outdone herself with this 2nd installation for Craftside Publishing.


Maki is an extremely talented artist whose animal figures are realistic yet approachable due to the cheery colors she uses to add a splash of whimsy with  adorable accessories such as a miniature scarf, flowers and a water ring to tell us something about the animal’s personality.

The easy-to-follow patterns provide step-by-step instructions with diagrams and colorful photographs. Download  a free pattern and see for yourself! The binding on the book allows it to lay flat and stay open for the convenience of hands-free crocheting. These must-have projects to make for kids or for the animal-lover in your li…

Craftsy Class: See It, Crochet It, Reading Diagrams Presented by Charles Voth

November 4, 2014


Who better to teach a class on Symbol Crochet than Charles Voth, aka StitchStud? Symbol crochet is an international language that is readable no matter which language you speak. By his own admission, Charles is “an international guy.” He grew up in Columbia, South America, speaks Spanish fluently, and currently lives in Canada.  A contributing editor for a London-based magazine and others, Charles translates patterns into Spanish and is a published designer. His skill and understanding is very apparent throughout this online class, See It, Crochet It, Reading Diagrams presented by Craftsy. Sign up by November 15 and you can enter to win the class for free. For a limited time (December 15), you can save 50% on the cost of the class.

A lifelong crocheter, Charles learned to crochet at the young age of 4; he is also a skilled knitter. In addition to his love of color and the feel of fiber in crochet, he says “symbol crochet is awesome because the crocheter can see the wh…

Book Review: Soul Mate Dolls ~ Dollmaking as a Healing Art by Noreen Crone-Findlay

Sparked by a recent trip to  American Girl Place (AG)  in Chicago with my granddaughter, Chloe, I’ve moved into “doll mode.”  My own AG doll has lived with me for at least ten years and I possess life-long love dolls!

The joy of crocheting fashions in miniature, made it necessary to have someone to wear the fruits of my labor. My granddaughter, Chloe, has enjoyed playing with my doll when she visits; and now, as she approaches the age of five influenced by an older friend, she has begun to want her own. Two years ago I put “dibs” on a plan to be the special one to buy her first A G doll since I am the one who loves dolls, unlike my daughters who were never very caught up in doll play.

On the calendar for two months, our special “Girls’ Day Out” finally arrived! I tried my best to contain my excitement to an acceptable level. It was a great outing for all of us, including high tea at the store with the newly purchased Sarah. What fun!

My love affair with dolls dates back to my childho…

Make the World Better with a Sweater

Thursday, October 16, 2014


"Make the World Better with a Sweater is a woolly wonderful way to do both. On National Sweater Day (Friday, December 12), ask your friends and family to wear their most festive holiday sweaters, donate $5 to Save the Children and spread the holiday joy! Together, with sweaters, we can make the world a better place – transforming children's lives and the future we all share."
For years after my husband and I served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Honduras we supported Save the Children with pennies-a-day donations to support a child in a third world country. We went through more than one child because when they turn 18, the support is suspended. It was gratifying to receive actual letters from the children we "adopted."

We crocheters share the ultimate enthusiasm for sweaters and this is a fun and easy way to make a difference. Find out how you can hold a sweater party, donate or spread the word through social media.