Monday, June 29, 2015

Mandalas for Marinke

As you have probably noticed, I regularly post to my blog on Tuesday. Hearing the news today that Marinke, aka Wink, succumbed to suicide last Friday, I feel compelled to post today in the hopes that reading this will underscore the great support from the crochet community that we all know and understand.

Wink was featured in Kathryn's book, Crochet Saved My Life, which I reviewed in 2012. Depression was a long and difficult battle for Wink and her creative endeavors greatly comforted her and motivated her to reach out to other crafters through her blog, A Creative Being. This time unfortunately, being creative and reaching out was not enough. For those of us who so believe in the healthful benefits of crochet and crafting, this is devastating. Seeing her blog which is brightly colored and happy-looking is so sad and ironic when the realization sinks in that she was suffering deeply.

My contribution crocheted from Wink's pattern: Spoke Mandala
Crocheting one of Marinke's beautiful free mandala patterns and contributing it to Kathryn Vercillo's community art memorial will be both comforting and beneficial for any of us who wish to participate. Awareness that depression is both an invasive and difficult condition is so important. That understanding can lead to prevention so that tradgedy's like the family of Marinke are going through today will not happen again! Kathryn has generously put together an avenue to help all of us through the grieving process as well as to honor the legacy of Marinke. Thank you, Kathryn!

I know first-hand how healing it can be to reach out and step out of our self-centeredness now and again. On my Ravelry page, Cro-Kween Designs, we honored and memorialized one of the Courtesans who died suddenly. Thanks to my wonderful Moderator, Twisted1, and several other volunteers, a very successful group effort contributed generously to a cause dear to our departed loved one's heart.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: Creative Kids Complete Photo Guide to Crochet by Deborah Burger

As the author of one of the earliest kids’ crochet books myself (Kids Can Do It Crocheting, 2003), I know a thing or two about how to teach children to crochet. I highly regard the book Deborah has produced. It is chock-full of everything one needs to know in order to become an enthusiastic crocheter; yet she breaks it down into progressive parts that serve to hold a child’s interest without them getting discouraged.

In July 2014, Deborah was a featured Guest Blogger on my blog where she wrote about her passion for teaching children to crochet and revealed that she was working on a book on the same subject!

With 34 years’ experience teaching in venues as diverse as park districts, needlework conferences and homeschooling, Deborah has degrees in both English and Theatre. All of her teaching experience, bundled with her passion for crochet, makes for an excellent guide book that helps children to learn to crochet and carry on the legacy we all love!

Deborah’s touching “Message for Grown-ups” is proof positive that she knows what she is talking about. Here she offers 4 important tips that, if followed, will lead to success for the learner. Deborah’s hope is that her book will “inspire a new generation of creative young crocheters.”

Also included is an “Introduction for Creative Kids in which she encourages kids to have a grown-up nearby to help them stay on track. She also suggests that they start at the beginning and progress through each project in order to learn all the skills needed to learn to crochet.

"Making a Stitch on Top of a Stitch"
As we’ve come to expect from the folks at Creative Publishing International, the content is colorfully presented through full-color photographs and illustrations. The projects are “happy” and kid-friendly. Stitch symbols are even included to ensure that all types of learners will have success! Starting with the simplest Friendship Bracelet made of chains 

Friendship Bracelet
and progressing through skill levels to project number 12, Bright Triangles Pillow

Bright Triangles Pillow
precise and detailed guidance ensure a fun journey for children who want to learn crochet.

Deborah Burger exudes enthusiasm for all things artistic and she lives a joyful life surrounded by family, nature and her many creative endeavors. Also the author of Crochet 101 and How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques, I heartily endorse her third book, Creative Kids Complete Photo Guide to Crochet! It's official publication date is July 15, and it  retails for $24.99.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Review: HAPPY-GURUMI by Vanessa Chan

“Cute” is the only word to describe the twenty patterns found within this book by animator, Vanessa Chan. As she points out, “There are endless possibilities to create whatever you want with just a few stitches.” You’ll learn how with these patterns ranging from easy to complex.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book Review: Crochet Coral Reef by Margaret & Christine Wertheim

Reviewer’s Note: As a participant myself in the very first Coral Reef Project in Chicago, I also featured the project in my book amazon, The Fine Art of Crochet in the section entitled Era of Collaboration.

If you also participated as a crocheter in one of the many and varied Coral Reef around the world, you will want to buy this book which includes YOUR name, as a keepsake! Even if you didn’t crochet a hyperbolic model for the reef, you will want to own this coffee table-style book that is full of colorful fiber art created by activists and collaborations of makers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book Review: Honk! Beep! Vroom! by Cathy Smith

Honk! Beep! Vroom! by Cathy Smith

This new book published by Martingale has not only projects for children but also for adults. Crocheters everywhere will enjoy making these interesting vehicles as gifts. Eight projects complete with moving parts are featured including a police car, taxi, ambulance, convertible care, dump truck, VW Beetle, bus, and firetruck.