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Book Review: Poetic Crochet ~ 20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems by Sara Kay Hartmann

I often say about crochet, “There is nothing new under the sun,” because I’ve been at it for over forty years!  Theme books like this book's title intrigue me because again, it is difficult for me to find books that offer truly new and creative twists to all the crocheting I’ve done over these many years. 

Art to Wear Exhibit: WomanMade Gallery, Chicago

Yes, my specialty is crochet, and yes I am the author of the Fine Art of Crochet: Innovative Works from Twenty Contemporary Artists. However, I love fiber in all of its forms and Art-To-Wear is no exception. The Art Wear movement established firm roots in the decade of the eighties with the publication of Julie Schafler Dale's incredible book, Art To Wear.

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Broaden your horizons: be on the look out for all kinds of fiber art shows. You might even run into a cnocheted piece of art now and again and for sure a lovely sky to gaze at too!

Book Review: Customize Your Crochet by Margaret Hubert

Prolific author of popular crochet books, Margaret Hubert, has once again produced a “sure to please” book that will be used over and over by readers as a reference for achieving form-fitting fashions! Margaret’s description in the introduction: "This bookis a guide that will help you crochet garments to fit your measurements and your style, expertly finished so you will be proud to wear them,” truly describes the expert advice the reader will find within.
If you are someone who often finds yourself apologizing, (I only make afghans), then this book will give you the courage to expand your skills and to find the fun in garment making. Precise in its step-by-step layout, Margaret's detailed explanations show how to crochet a cardigan sweater with variations that describe how to fit each of the 4 classic body shapes: rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, and hourglass.
This is not your typical pattern book in that there are only 4 cardigan designs along with a bonus crop top in…

Book Review: Crochet Refresher ~ Brush Up on Your Skills with Baby gifts! by Sharon H. Silverman

If you are a former crocheter with a special baby on its way into your life, it is only logical that you have become inspired to make a lasting treasure for that baby. This book has everything you need to refresh your skills and to present something special on the blessed day!

Crochet is Hanging Over My Head!

Crochet is my life; it is how I define myself. I am a Gemini, okay, so do give me credit for having a "life."
I really hate to admit that there could be anything negative about the crochet about which I am so passionate.

I am not stranger to having 3 or 4 projects going at one time. There's usually the complicated one that takes concentration. There is the one that is repetitive and is good for just keeping the hands busy in front of daily tv sessions; and there is the "traveling project" kept in the car for using those moments as they appear to stitch a row or two with no deadline to get the project finished. So, why oh why, am I feeling such pressure? Let's explore....

Book Review: Quick Crocheted Accessories: 3 Skeins or Less

Sharon, also the author of It Girl Crochet  which I reviewed, has assembled a stellar group of crochet fashionistas who have designed accessories that are not only quick but they also underscore the praises of clever crochet!
There is a unique quality about each person in this group of designers yet a commonality in how they look at crochet that unites the designs in this book. Sharon, a fabulous designer in her own right, has tapped into those qualities to ensure you will want to add it to your library.

Many of the designers within are women whose crochet I have greatly admired in the past while crocheting marvelous projects from their patterns. Several of the designers are European-born which, it seems, exposes them to a legacy of needlework and fashion sense. Others in the book bring graphic design skills and television costume design experience.

Quick Crochet Accessories is published by Interweave/F+W and is available now for $23.99

Comforting Hugs from Baskets

I have a thing for baskets and quite a collection of them, I must say. They comfort me and when I look at them, I feel joy. I've collected baskets for many years from craft fairs, travels and from other countries I've visited or lived in.

21st Annual Chain Link Crochet Conference Report

We always come home from the Crochet Guild (CGOA)-sponsored conference on such a high. It does take a while to come down from the excitement. This year I came home on the "red-eye," San Diego-Chicago, and spent all of Sunday in a fog-like trance. Probably won't do that again!

It was not without great forethought and trepidation that I attended this year leaving my husband with 24-7 caretakers in charge. All went real well from start to finish for both him and me. I couldn't have had smoother travel. I loved my hotel room and enjoyed the balcony and the near-perfect San Diego sun & air. I logged lots of steps on my Fitbit. To my great relief, I found everything in good shape when I returned and thank goodness for texting as I was able to keep in close touch with my dear husband every day and often!

I arrived Thursday afternoon and enjoyed a leisurely time getting the lay of the convention center, getting registered, and running into familiar faces. Oh yeah, and I …

Book Review: Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall

I loved reading Mary Jane’s introduction, and felt like I was right there in the room with her as she shared her excitement for creating this book of chic crochet patterns for us. Inspired by the architecture, fashions, gardens and culture of France, the patterns all carry French-inspired names. I couldn’t wait to take a look at this collaborative approach and to see how Mary Jane translated her inspiration into crochet!
Known for her exquisite styling when it comes to her pattern designs, this book is no exception! The pineapple is a classic crochet pattern, but used as a peplum on the cover design, Haute Couture, it is a perfect example of how Mary Jane uses vintage style to create on-trend fashions. She has also developed the use of another classic technique which she calls the Graduated Stitch Method as her signature approach to create elegant shaping in her garments.
As we’ve come to expect from the folks at Interweave, great diagrams, beautiful color photos and even symbol crochet…

Book Review: IMagical Seasons Crochet Couture for Kids 2-12, Vol.1-Spring; Vol. 2-Summer By Alla Koval

The interesting title of these books sets the tone for what crocheters will find inside! Making use of the “portmanteau word” which blends two or more distinct forms like smoke + fog = smog, Alla has blended the words "imagine" and "magical." You'll find imaginative and magical designs for the little ones in your life.
Alla Koval “creates happy fashion designs by combining colors, texture and materials that make her designs unique and enticing.” After selling hundreds of custom-created children’s fashions, she decided to start writing up the designs to instruct others to make them. She is well suited to create original fashions that will thrill mothers as much as their children! At first Alla feared that she would burn out, but she now feels that writing the patterns is what makes her the “happiest person in the world!ead!” Read the whole story in my in-depth interview with Alla.
At first glance, I was so inspired by her fashion sense. Before I even received th…

Interview: Alla Koval, Kids Couture Designer

I am participating with 9 other bloggers in the Blog Tour to promote Alla Koval's 2 new books: Imagical Seasons Volumes 1 and 2. See my review here on the blog at 8:00 AM (CST) on July 15, 2015. To join in the blog tour and see other reviews, interviews and give-aways, see the schedule below.



CrochetQueen: Your kids fashions are charming and unique. What inspires you?
Alla: Thank you so much, Gwen! Sometimes, the idea for a design just comes into my head and I don't know from where. I just visualize it clearly and then somehow turn the mental images into something real.
Other times, I find inspiration in paintings and photographs—Pinterest is an amazing source of inspiration and eye-candy. I look at things and try to understand if I can see something special that has to be noticed. Many times I start by looking for unusual stitch patterns, and start building my ideas from them. It’s so interesting to see how a stitch pattern evolves when you start modifying it, especially when …

Upcoming Blog Tour: IMagical Seasons by Anna Koval

Imagical Seasons - Crochet Couture for Kids 2-12/Spring 2015 ANDImagical Seasons - Crochet Couture for Kids 2-12/Summer 2015.  These books are adorable and whimsical and perfect for the crocheter who loves making custom children crochet garments and accessories.  The books will be available for pre-order mid-June and will officially go on sale early July, Etsy being one of several sites where they can be purchased.

Return here on July 15 to read my complete review during the Blog Tour of the first two volumes for Spring and Summer. Below is a complete schedule of the talented bloggers who are participating on the tour. Check in often to read varying takes on the books, chances to win prizes and in-depth interviews of the author, Alla Koval!

Alla Koval Blog Tour 2015

July 13:  Knitting and Crochet - Amy Solovay http://knittingandcrochet.net/
July 14:  Faina’s Knitting Mode – Faina Goberstein http://fainasknittingmode.com/blog
July 15: Crochet Queen: Royal Ramblings – Gwen Blakley Kinsler http:…