My favorite posts of 2011

On March 27, I wrote an about and welcome post to this blog, and since then I’ve been posting regularly.  I know I was mostly (only?) talking to myself for the first few months, but I’m glad I stuck with it.  Today, I’m sharing my favorite posts of 2011.











Free stuff


Thanks so much for reading :).

Happy New Year!


FO Friday: Gift pocket bear preview

I finished this sample of the Gift Pocket Bear at some point last week but it makes its F.O. Friday debut today.  (I can’t decide if this is a “he” or a “she,” so I’m going with “it” for now.   What do you think?)


I took these pictures at my sister's apartment on Christmas Day.



Here it is, holding a Starbucks gift card.



Here's a detail of the granny square pocket.


This is the third crochet pattern that I’ll be releasing for free as part of my collaboration with Galler Yarns.  It’s made using Flore II, a fuzzy mohair, wool, nylon blend yarn.  I used 106 as the main color with 015 (black) for the muzzle, and then scraps of colors from another project I’m working on for Galler Yarns for the granny square pocket.

I’m just writing up the last parts of the pattern and will start testing it in January on my Ravelry group.

For other Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis!

Reminder: There’s still time to win this awesome, handmade t-shirt from BRANDED but visiting this post.

Tunisian Crochet Giveaway on Crochet Concupiscence

If you’ve been eyeing my Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet PDF ebook, you can stop by Crochet Concupiscence to enter a giveaway for the ebook and 5 bamboo Tunisian crochet hooks.  Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is only open to those with a U.S. address, and you must enter by midnight Eastern time tonight (12/30/11).   Good luck!

Edited to add: There’s also a discount code for 25% off any order in my Etsy shop through 1/31/12.

2011 Crochet Book Reviews

I’ve done many needlecraft book reviews this year.  But, as you know, crochet is my first, true love (amongst the needlecrafts, that is), so I thought I’d highlight my crochet reviews from this year in case you missed some of them.


Crochet stitch guides - reviews of 20+ crochet stitch guides from my collection (and, yes, I’m working on part II since my collection has since expanded!)

Granny square book review roundup – reviews of 10 granny square books in my collection

Must-have beginner crochet books – my “required reading” list for the crochet newbie

Vintage crochet finds and Sidetracked – a peak inside my growing collection of vintage crochet books


2011 Releases

(in chronological order by book’s release date)

Review and interview with author, Renate Kirkpatrick


Review and interview with author, Ellen Gormley


Reviewed here



Review and interview with author, Val Pierce


Reviewed here


Reviewed here


Review and interview with author, Sarah London


Reviewed here


Reviewed here


Review and interview with author, Stacey Trock


Other book reviews

Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet

Teach a Group of Kids to Crochet by Kay Meadors


What is your favorite new crochet book of 2011?  (Mine is Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from Around the World!)

Thursday craft goals update: 2011 recap

I love welcoming the New Year.  It isn’t a religious holiday, so I don’t have to worry about offending (or excluding) someone when I say “Happy New Year!” It’s also a great time to reflect on the past and think about the future!

About a month after I started my blog in March, I set myself some craft goals to complete by May 1, 2012.  At the halfway mark, I looked back and made some changes to those goals.  My original inspiration for doing this was Cheryl Marie Knits, since she was in the middle of blogging her way through 365 days of craft goals.

Today, I’m tracking my progress to date.

Personal crafting goals

1) Work my way through Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters.  Instead of using the patterns, I’d like to create my own project (for myself and/or for teaching) for each technique/skill in the book.

This has been, by far, my favorite project to work on.  I delayed the start of this project until July 1 so I could join in on the Year of Projects blog meme.  (If you’re not familiar with the Year of Projects, Kathryn at Crochet Concupiscence did a great roundup of everyone’s who is participating here.  It’s never too late to join – the Come Blog-a-long group on Ravelry has more information.)  You can read my original inspiration for choosing this book here and about my meeting with the masters here.

Freeform crochet

My first project was freeform crochet (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4), inspired by the Prudence Mapstone chapter. I made an awesome freeform cat blanket while (loosely) following the Freeform CAL on the Crochet Liberation Front blog.

I also took a great freeform class with Margaret Hubert, the book’s fashion crochet master.

Tunisian crochet

I had a lot of fun with the Tunisian crochet chapter, and even had the opportunity to interview Julia Bryant, the featured master.  For this chapter, I developed a workshop, handout, and ebook with 6 scarf patterns (available for sale on Etsy and Ravelry).  I taught the class at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival and the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in September.  My other Tunisian crochet posts can be found here and here.  My favorite  scarf is the Tunisian Moss Stitch Scarf Recipe, modeled by my mom’s neck (for privacy and such).  Hard to tell – but trust me, the color complements her eyes.

Woven crochet

My next big project was woven crochet (plaid), and I started with a class with the featured master, Jenny King and continued working on my small tartan project here and here.

Tastes of other chapters

I have flirted with a few other techniques from the book as well…

I dabbled briefly with filet crochet (here, here, and here), but have no finished pictures to share. I swatched up some Bruges crochet.  I might actually make a design using this at some point (but not today!).  I had fun with post stitches but never really tackled Aran crochet.  I’m currently making a single crochet entrelac cat blanket.

I started out posting my updates on Mondays, but I shifted my Year of Projects updates to Sundays since that is when most of the other bloggers participating are posting.



2) Make something handmade for my mom and sister for the holidays (or their birthdays).  Possible sources of inspiration include Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks or something from my growing collection of vintage crochet books.

My magnum opus for the past six weeks or so has been the double Irish chain granny square blanket I’m making for my sister in New Orleans Saints colors.

My charted progress as of last night. (Gray areas are completed.)


I expect to complete it by mid-January, in time for it to get to her for Super Bowl Sunday.

3) Read Knitting from the Top and 4) Create a contemporary interpretation of one of the vintage patterns I have in my collection.

Other than skimming the book to provide a description in my knitting design book roundup, I’ve made no progress on either of these.


5) Limit new yarn purchases, increase the ratio of natural to synthetic fibers in my stash, and continue to destash any yarn or notions that I won’t be using in the near future. and 6) Make and donate more charity crochet projects in 2012 than in 2011.

I’m so excited about these two goals.  I’ve joined in on the Surmount the Stash 2012 challenge with Revelations of a Delusional Knitter.  On Monday night, I started making my own grab and go project bags from my stash.  Here’s my bag for the Xavier Beanie by Evelyn at Project: Stash.  I figure this can be a great unisex gift to have on hand, for any occasion.

I knew I saved those Knitty City plastic bags for a reason. (A reason other than an addiction to saving bags, that is.) I have two skeins of the long departed Lion Brand Wool Ease Sport, a printout of the pattern, Size 7 circular needles, and my recently purchased copy of "The Magic Loop: Sarah Hauschka's Magical Unvention" by Bev Galeskas. I took the picture outside to illustrate the "grab and go" concept in all of its glory!

In 2011, I donated six hats, a pair of mittens, and two scarves to Hats 4 the Homeless via the Lion Brand Yarn Studio; several toddler hats, scarves, and mittens along with some soft, acrylic yarn to Knits for Infants; and six scarves for Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Owicakiyapi, Inc. (LOWO), a charity I learned about through the Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation.

7) Participate (however briefly) in a Ravelry CAL.

While I did look around Ravelry at the various CALs for 2012, I haven’t made a commitment to any yet.



Professional crafting goals

1) Read Producing Video Podcasts.

I consider this one completed.  I read most of the book, and decided podcasting wasn’t for me.



2) Create and post at least three videos (tutorials or projects/patterns) on my blog or website.

I made four videos as part of my Crochet 101 CAL.  I need to update my video “studio,” but I will definitely make a few more in 2012.



3) Publish at least five patterns.

I’m happy to say I exceeded this goal.

A self-portrait in Central Park, wearing the Twisted Crocodile Stitch Keyhole Scarf.



4) Blog at least twice a week. and 8 ) Figure out how to do super cool stuff on WordPress.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job here, too.  I learned how to embed videos (a bit harder to do on a self-hosted WordPress site) and I’ve been getting better with trackbacks.

I blogged every day in October for Blogtoberfest, and have (so far) posted every day in December.  I even won the 2011 Awesome Crochet Blog Award for Best Interviews from Crochet Concupiscence.



5) Teach in at least two conferences/festivals.

I met this goal in September, when I taught at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival and the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.



6) Read The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.

I finished this book back in May and wrote the review here.



7) Write the book proposal that I’ve been thinking about – and send it out.

I’ve actually been working on this all along, but haven’t sent anything out yet.


9) Take better photographs, along with all that entails.

This is still a thorn in my side.  I have really relied on public spaces in New York City for outdoor photos.  I haven’t established a permanent indoor photography set up yet.


10) Become a CYC Certified Knitting Instructor (Level I-Instructor).

I am officially signed up to attend the Knitting Certification program in February at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  I just received the email with all of the homework on Tuesday, so I have to get started swatching.


Did you meet any of your craft goals for 2011?

WIP Wednesday: When will the Saints come marching in?

I suppose it is no surprise to anyone that I didn’t finish the double Irish chain granny square blanket, in the colors of the New Orleans Saints, in time for Christmas.  I’m at the point in the project where I dread looking at it.  My fingers ache just imagining the 375 grannies involved in creating it.  If it wasn’t for my sister, I would hide it in the closet forever.

Ok, I’m exaggerating.  But only a little.  I thought I would have more time to work on it during the holidays, but I was sick for two days and didn’t crochet at all (gasp!).

Why yes, dear reader, I am standing on a chair in the cafeteria to take this picture. Thanks for asking!

It’s getting harder to photograph in decent lighting since it is pretty large now.

This chart shows my progress as of this morning. The gray areas are completed, so I'm about 60% finished with the squares. (But only about 10% finished with weaving in ends.)

For more works in progress, visit Tami’s Amis.

Winner: Knit Noro Accessories

According to, the winner of my review copy of Knit Noro: Accessories: 30 Colorful Little Knits, courtesy of Sixth & Spring Books, is #26…

Cindy Z!

I love Noro colours. Would love to win this book.

Congratulations to Cindy Z, and thanks to everyone who entered.

If you are still in the mood for giveaways, you can enter to win an awesome t-shirt from BRANDED here by January 1, 2012.

Yarn stash club

As you know, I’m joining in with Revelations of a Delusional Knitter‘s Surmount the Stash 2012 challenge in hopes of reducing my yarn stash to more manageable levels.

After writing my original post for this challenge, I came across this post by mk carroll, who suggested the idea of making kits from your stash yarn.  She herself was inspired by this post by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot).  The idea of having pre-assembled kits of hook, yarn, and pattern at the ready for me to grab in the morning is pretty exciting.

I’ve never been a “morning person” – yes, even as a kid, my parents struggled to drag me out of bed in time for school – and I’ve been known to be downright annoying when I’m running late for work, but I still have to find “that yarn” before I leave in order to have something to do on the subway ride.

I’ll also confess that while I’m still in the middle of what seems to be the world’s largest blanket project, the idea of other – shorter – projects is quite appealing.  Last night, I started imagining my own yarn stash club, and here is my first set of ideas for kits.

This is, of course, in addition to all my plans for dwindling my acrylic stash through charity crafting.  I know I want to make more granny squares in 2012, so I decided to create some order in the pattern chaos there, too.  I plan to start with the newest book in my granny collection, The Granny Square Book: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Crocheting Square by Square by Margaret Hubert.  I scanned through it and found a set of 14 relatively sturdy looking grannies in 3 colors or fewer – just perfect for charity crafting with stash yarn.

Now all I need to do is finish the bedspread for my sister and those three design projects, and I’ll be back on track for pleasure crocheting (and knitting).

Gift ideas for next year

I saw this display in a local wine shop window…

…and it got me thinking about gifts for next year.  I didn’t gift any wine this year, but I think I will have to next year, just so I can work up a pattern for a wine cozy hat and scarf set.  What a fun use for scrap yarn!

Back in the day, I used to get started on holiday gifts in August.  I dread shopping, so visiting a store after “Black Friday” is out.  I made a fair amount of handmade gifts, so I needed some lead time.  In the past few years, life has gotten more hectic and the number of gifts I made declined.

I’d like to make more holiday gifts next year, so I hope to borrow some inspiration from many of the blogs I follow where people have been making holiday gifts in earnest since August.

My Handmade Holiday Gift List… and Giveaway!

I was inspired by this post by Stacey at FreshStitches to share the handmade items that I bought as holiday gifts this year.  I try to buy handmade and/or support small businesses with most of my holiday gifts.  (All pictures are from the Etsy shop or website where the gift was purchased.)

My first stop for handmade shopping is usually Etsy.

This great Kindle case is from Gothic Creations.

I thought this was suitably masculine for the recipient. When I received a Kindle Fire (!) as a gift, I ordered myself a custom case from this shop, too!

I wanted a peppercorn mix to go with some spice grinders I bought, and Gusto Spice had the selection I was hoping to find.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm. This mix is definitely the best smelling gift I bought this year.

I always look for unique t-shirts for the men in my life, and every year, my first stop for t-shirt shopping is BRANDED.  This year I bought a Tree of Life shirt…

…and this shirt inspired by Night of the Living Dead.

I paired that shirt with a zombie Christmas card from Kawaiistarz.

(Through a series of bizarre events, I also ended up with a Beetlejuice-inspired shirt in red XL.  I’ll be hosting a giveaway for this one, so read on for details.)

I like to do some of my handmade shopping in person, too.  Last weekend, I visited two craft fairs.

At Brooklyn Craft Central, I stopped by sono ei‘s table and picked up some super cute cherry birthday candles.  The candles adorned my sister’s birthday dessert on Tuesday night.

At the Lyceum Holiday Marketplace, I bought another t-shirt, which I had previously seen in an Etsy treasury, from Jes Switaj.

I saved on shipping by buying this at the Lyceum instead of on Etsy :).

I hope that those of you who are celebrating holidays this time of year are enjoying giving and receiving handmade gifts :).

And now, for the giveaway!

This giveaway is for the red XL version of this great shirt from BRANDED.  This giveaway is open to any person with a mailing address in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

To enter,

  • Leave a comment on this post, telling me about your favorite handmade gifts to buy, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, January 1, 2012.  Be sure to include your email address (which won’t be displayed) so I can contact you if you win.  (Please note that my comments are moderated, so if you are a new visitor, your comment will not appear immediately.)
  • For another chance to win, like the Underground Crafter Facebook page.  Then you can either post a comment on Facebook or here again so I will give you another entry.  (If you already like my Facebook page, just post a comment for another chance to win.)
  • For another chance to win, join my Ravelry group.  Then you can either post a comment on my Ravelry group or here again so I will give you another entry.  (If you already are in my Ravelry group, just post a comment for another chance to win.)
  • For another chance to win, share the link to this giveaway via Twitter, Facebook, or your blog.  Then post a comment here with the link to your Tweet or blog post, or leave a comment on my Facebook page so I will give you another entry.

Good luck!