Thursday, November 20, 2014

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).

Shisha Ornaments by Susan Haynes Opdahl
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 of sophisticated (but not necessarily difficult) projects encourages the reader to dabble in other creative avenues and to explore a new skill.

Pine Trees by Yumiko Alexander
Perfect for Holiday gift-giving, you will also find yourself referring to this issue over and over because the designs will carry you not only through the holidays but will inspire during the entire calendar year. Included among many are these two unique designs:  mittens made from a sweater and a pillow based on the mathematical constant “pi”  which you can finish in time to Celebrate Mathematics on March 14!

Envelope Clutch by Erin Harris & Pi Pillow Malka Dubrawsky
Colorful and creatively designed, this magazine has a wealth of information; and be sure to note the advertisements to be in the know about the latest and greatest in the world of creative arts!

Available from the good folks at Interweave/F+W, DIY Holiday 2014: The Crafting Life is available for $9.99.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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 life will teach you so much about crochet construction through the 200+ color photos & 300+ diagrams.


Published in October 2014 this worthwhile publication is available for the retail price of $21.99.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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

November 4, 2014


Taught by Charles Voth
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.

Charles Voth aka Stitch Stud
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 whole project right from the start!”

This class is a very thorough guide to symbol crochet with the benefit of Charles’ patient teaching skills included “live.” He speaks slowly and his demonstrations with the crochet hook and swatch are easy to view and they reinforce what he has just said.

Live Demos Help Clarify
There is also a “30-second repeat button” which the participant can use to review any tricky techniques. In-between the lessons,  informative tidbits like “Symbols were used as early as the 19th century; “symbol diagrams don’t give preference to right or left-handed crocheters;” and “Ami” is Japanese for knit and crochet" are offered on the screen.

This class is comprised of 7 lessons: Basic Symbols; Reading Row Diagrams; Advanced Row Diagrams; Textured Stitch Diagrams; Diagrams in the Round; 3-D Diagrams and Diagrams around the World.” Each lesson has several chapters; and at any point during Charles’ presentations, participants can write in questions and he will answer them. They are also available for future reference.


I highly recommend this method of learning about crochet in general, and See It, Crochet It, Reading Diagrams is no exception. There is a 100% money- back guarantee on all classes; classes can be watched where and when desired; and their access never expires.