WIP Wednesday – And baby makes four

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for the Fall, 2011 KnitCircus PDF pattern collection by visiting this post.  I’ve reached over 100 Facebook fans, so I’ll be giving away two issues! And don’t forget that KnitCircus is hosting quite a few giveaways during the next few weeks on their blog, their Facebook page, and their Ravelry group.

This week I’m in major project planning mode.

Baby blankets are some of my favorite things to make – all the fun of making a blanket but with less work 😉 and they actually tend to get used and loved.  One of MC’s best friends and his wife are expecting their second child.  They don’t have a registry up (do people do that for the second child?) but I remember that for their first child they had a strong preference for organics and cotton fibers.  I was contemplating making a variation of my sunshine blanket in one color.

The Sunshine blanket and pillow in Issue 20 (August, 2011) of Inside Crochet.

Another option would be a motif project.  They are just so much more portable and I do a lot of crocheting on the subway.  But if you survived my hexagon baby blanket project, you know I will complain plenty, even though it always ends up being worth it.  I love hexagons but squares are fun, too.  The third option is to use the same pattern I did for their first child, which was basically a large granny square.  A final option would be a one piece in stripes.  (A ripple, perhaps?)  I have really been wanting to use Biscuits and Jam‘s Random Stripe Generator since I learned about it through the Ravelry Afghans & Blankets group. For yarn, I was considering Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton.

Some gender neutral color possibilities from Blue Sky Alpacas.

What do you think?

Other projects in the works:

  • I have five pattern tests going on Ravelry.
  • I’m working on a crochet-a-long/crochet school idea for the fall, inspired by the Quilt Class 101 by Chasing Cottons.  If you’d like to join, I’m still taking ideas for subjects to cover :).

For more awesome WIP Wednesday posts, check out Tami’s Amis!

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Tunisian Crochet

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series.  You can find my other posts in this series here.

You may have noticed that for the last two weeks (this post and this post), I have not been posting any updates about my project.  I must confess that I could not sustain my interest in the filet crochet :(.  I thought that making a filet project using a phrase that I liked, rather than using an existing pattern, would keep me interested.  Since I haven’t finished the filet project, I’ve felt like I shouldn’t continue on to another chapter.

But I decided to re-read my initial post kicking off the project yesterday, looking for inspiration.  I realized that I must have anticipated my lack of persistence with certain techniques because I said

So what I plan to do is work through each chapter with a project (large or small)…For some techniques, I may just work up a swatch, and for others I have a large project planned.

I’m glad I gave myself an “out” ;).

So today I’m moving on to Tunisian crochet, which is actually one of my favorite techniques. In Crochet Master Class, Julia Bryant is the featured crochet master.  She converted her first Tunisian project from an afghan pattern into a poncho because it was “too beautiful to be used as a blanket.”  That first experience inspired her to start designing, since there were limited patterns available for Tunisian crochet.  Although there has been much more interest in Tunisian crochet in the last few years, at times it still feels like the red-headed stepchild of crochet (no offense to red heads or step-children).

I’ll be teaching intro classes on Tunisian crochet at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival and the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in September, so I’m focused on making class samples and writing up handouts.  I haven’t been able to take good pictures of my work since I’m staying indoors because of Irene but I will be starting up tests of the patterns I will be using in these classes in the next few days.  If you’re interested in helping out with a pattern test, let me know!

You can find more Year of Projects updates here.

How is your year of projects going?

Review: Nuno Magazine

Recently, I learned about Nuno magazine through an interview with its creators on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog.  I contacted Elizabeth at Nuno to request a review copy to feature on my blog.

If you’re a Gen X child of the ’80s/’90s like me, you probably have fond memories of awesome ‘zines from your teen years and early ’20s (as well as even more awesome memories of how you got your hands on these underground mags).  Nuno really evokes that DIY ‘zine feel – in a good way.  It doesn’t at all feel or look “polished” like other craft e-magazine such as KnitCircus or Tangled. This doesn’t mean that the magazine isn’t professionally presented and amazing eye candy, though!  Nuno is actually a real treat for the eyes and includes probably at least 60 full page color photographs in each issue that I’ve seen.

The cover of the current issue, Painted Dessert.

I would describe Nuno magazine as a self-contained art project with a collection of craft recipes included in its pages to inspire other artisans/readers.  This is in contrast to what you may be used to seeing in other craft magazines, which are typically structured around editorial features (e.g., reviews, “how to” articles) and project/pattern directions.  There is no advertising of any kind in Nuno, which adds to the art project feel.  Each issue has a theme (e.g., Forest, Shades of Gray) and includes lush photographs and illustrations highlighting the theme.  At various points, project pictures are injected.  Patterns and instructions are at the end of the magazine.

A knitting project from the Summer 2011 issue.

Nuno is entirely produced by just three contributors, who do all the writing, photography, and project design.  There is a clear emphasis on an eco-friendly lifestyle, with most projects made using upcycled or repurposed materials.  This leads to a certain consistency since most magazines have many voices with contributions from multiple designers and authors and an editor.  On the other hand, Nuno‘s project directions are rather informal and there doesn’t appear to be a style guide, so instructions are not always consistent from one issue to the next.  In other words, the artistic vision is obvious and uniform throughout each issue, but the project instructions are more casual and varied than you might expect from a magazine.

The cover of the Fall, 2010 issue, Forest.

There is also quite a range of craft projects, including sewing, knitting, crochet, paper crafts, painting, stamping, papier-mache, etc., in each issue.  At over 150 pages long, Nuno is quite a value for $5.

Wrist warmers from “reclaimed wool yarn” in the Forest issue.

So who would love Nuno magazine?  If you find inspiration from natural photography and artwork, if you are concerned about your carbon footprint, if you are a fan of the indie ‘zine ethos, if you enjoy reading on your computer/tablet, if you are proficient in (or enjoy making things in) a few different crafts, and/or you are the type of person who never follows a pattern exactly but likes to see one to get your creative juices flowing, you will probably really enjoy Nuno.  If you are a newbie and/or tend to follow patterns very exactly, you may find the instructions in Nuno a bit free flowing for your tastes.  Also, if you are someone who must have a physical copy, you will probably not like Nuno.  With over 150 pages of (mostly) full color, high resolution images, it would be impossible to print out cost efficiently at home.

If you are multi-craftual, I definitely recommend picking up a copy, especially if you are interested in that issue’s theme.  Thanks to the folks at Nuno for providing me with access to review copies of their Summer, 2011 and Fall, 2010 issues!

Full disclosure: Free electronic review samples of this product were provided by Nuno. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. You can read my complete review disclosure here.