Revitalized and Blog Hub Swap, Day 1

This weekend, I participated in the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructor’s Program in Knitting.  This 3-day, 15 hour workshop was led by the fabulous Arnetta Kenney (who was also the instructor in 2007 when I went through the certification training for crochet).  She is a wonderful teacher, who is very generous with her feedback and with sharing tips.

I also had the chance to meet about 20 other knitters, including one reads this blog.  Awesomeness!  And, of course, I had 15 hours where I could knit without offending anyone or implying that I wasn’t paying attention.  All of this got me a bit more excited about knitting – you know I’m much more of a crochet gal.

I mentioned that I decided to pull out my version of A Hat Fit for a Fella by Shana Kreikemeier.  The needles I was using were giving me too much trouble.  Now I am breezing along with these Chiaogoo Red Lace needles instead.

The ribbed (roll up) brim is finished, and I'm into the first cable repeat.

I haven’t been doing much reading for pleasure lately.  You may remember that several weeks back I was reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I really enjoyed it but now there is an enormous waiting list to take the second book out from the library.  I’ve tried to pick up other books since then, but I haven’t been hooked.  Do I need to just buy the book already?  (As much as I love my Kindle Fire, the idea of spending $10 on a book that I can’t later resell or give away doesn’t really appeal to me.  I guess in the end, I do prefer “real” books.)

To add some further excitement to my week, when I arrived home last night, this was waiting for me!

A mystery box this large could only mean one thing – my Blog Hub Swap has arrived!  I mentioned in these posts that I’m participating in a swap with other bloggers through the Blog Hub on Ravelry.  Each of us had to assemble seven items (one a day for a week) for another blogger.  My swap partner was Stitched Together, and she blogged about the goodies I sent her a few weeks back (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, and Day 7).  It was great fun watching her open up her goodies, but I knew it would be even more fun to get my box :).

Ok, so once this box arrived, I checked it for clues.

An international package, you say?
The customs form was intentionally vague (although the mention of chocolate was definitely exciting!).

Obviously, I would need to open the package to find out the details.

What are the odds that my swap partner would also be a native New Yorker?

My swap partner is Heather (also known as nude-ewe on Ravelry) from The Nude Ewe in Bedfordshire, England.  She is actually Canadian (from Ottawa) but was born right here in Manhattan at (the now closed) St. Vincent’s Hospital, where her mom worked as a nurse!  You can check out her Nude Ewe blog here.

Heather included a wonderful welcome note, explaining a bit more about her current home town and apologizing for “the inevitable cat hair.”  Little does she know that I never apologize for those inevitable cat hairs :).

The box included seven secret packages, each with a cryptic sticker.
I chose "Whirli whirli" for Day 1.
Awesome!!!!
My very own drop spindle kit!

Heather explained that the fleece is from a Jacob sheep, an ancient breed that she thinks is one of the most attractive breeds.  Apparently, this is easy to spin and recommended for beginners like me.  This sheep is also from Charlecote Park, where young William Shakespeare poached rabbits and was brought before the magistrates.

I am so excited to have this fleece and the drop spindle – as Heather noted “in a NYC apartment, I’m guessing you’re short of space so a spindle should fit in nicely!”  I really like knowing where the fleece is from and learning about the history of Charlecote Park.  I confess it has me a bit nervous because I’d like to spin it into something fabulous that I can actually use.  (Can you imagine me responding to the famous, “Did you make that?” question with a story about Jacob sheep; Carlecote Park; and my swap partner who was born in New York City, raised in Ottawa, and now lives in the U.K.??)  I doubt that my first spinning explorations will be that fantabulous, but I will give it a shot anyway.  If you have any suggestions for a book on learning to use a drop spindle, let me know!

I’m looking forward to the next 6 days of mystery.

Sheepi sheepi, Loopi loopi, Yummi yummi, Scari scari, Citi citi, and Scarfi scarfi.

For more Works in Progress, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.

Book review and giveaway: Knitting with the Color Guys

Today I’m reviewing Knitting with The Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas, and Projects from the Kaffe Fassett Studio by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  I also be giving away my review copy, courtesy of Sixth & Spring Books, so read on for details.

I first became aware of Kaffe Fassett when I was quilting.  His colorful and creative quilting projects were always calling to me from the bookshelves.  (Whenever I would look more closely at his books, I would realize how much work was involved with the projects, and immediately return the books to the shelves.)  I only became aware of his knitting work in the last year or so.  I wasn’t very familiar with Brandon Mably’s work until I picked up this book.

The concept: Two masters take you on a journey into their creative process as it relates to color, with a focus on projects that are not garments.  These projects are then artfully photographed at the lovely house of a friend “deep in the English countryside,” along with colorful pictures of various inspirations (e.g., a bouquet of flowers, porcelain urns).

Organization: Following individual introductions from Kaffe and Brandon, the book is organized into four color palettes: Soft Tones, Singing Color, Moody Hues, and Rich Shades.  In each section, each project is described by the designer and photographed along with various inspiration pieces.  The patterns follow the descriptions in each section.  At the end of the book, there is a section called Useful Information, which includes brief descriptions of color knitting techniques (Intarsia and Fair Isle), duplicate stitch, and finishing methods, along with the standard pattern book information (yarn standards, pattern abbreviations, etc.).

The projects:

Pattern difficulty

Beginner: 1; Easy: 10; Intermediate: 10; Experienced: 12

Project types

Scarves/Stoles: 12

Cushions: 8

Blankets/Throws: 6

Fingerless gloves/armwarmers: 2

Legwarmers: 2

Hat: 1

Most patterns use some form of color chart, although 7 use written pattern directions only.  Fourteen of the patterns make a suggestion for the colorwork technique to use (9 for Intarsia, 5 for Fair Isle) and the others include no specific instruction.

Summary

The book has a lot of interesting visual inspiration and more discussion of the design process than is the norm.  There are some instructions, but the authors expect you to know how to knit and how to decide what color work technique to use when they haven’t recommended one.

I found the home decor items striking and could see how even one such piece could definitely “make a room.”  Some of the wearables are lovely, but my New Yorker sensibilities were overwhelmed by the two coordinated sets.

The verdict

This is one of those books that you will probably love or hate, depending on your general response to the work of Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  In addition to the patterns, the book can be used as a design inspiration book/mood board or a coffee table book.  If you are drawn to these projects, bring your skills or expect to learn the techniques elsewhere.

The Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of Knitting with The Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas, and Projects from the Kaffe Fassett Studio by Kaffe Fassettand Brandon Mably, courtesy of Sixth & Spring Books, to one reader with a mailing address in the United States.  The winner will be chosen at random.

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post by Sunday, March 4 at 11:59 p.m., telling me about your favorite exploration into color work.
  • 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!

Milestones giveaway!

I reached two milestones in the past week.  I now have 200 Facebook fans and I just posted my 300th blog post!  To celebrate, I’m having a small giveaway with a little something for the crocheters and knitters who read my blog.

For my crochet peeps:

I’m giving away a PDF copy (via email or to your Rav library) of my Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet ebook, along with 2 bamboo Tunisian crochet hooks sent to you via snail mail.  This ebook includes instructions on the three basic Tunisian crochet stitches as well as three pattern stitches, along with recipes for scarf patterns.  You can use these same stitch patterns for other types of sampler projects, like blanket squares, pillows, scrubbies, or placemats.

For all you knitters out there:

I’m giving away my copy of Stashbuster Knits: Tips, Tricks, and 21 Beautiful Projects for Using Your Favorite Leftover Yarn by Melissa Leapman.  I actually bought this book but have recently received some others that I prefer, and as you can imagine, in a New York City apartment, bookshelf space is at a premium.  I’ll also include the circular needles that drove me insane (Knitter’s Pride Dreamz US Size 9 32″ circular needles), because I know that needles are very personal and someone else might actually like these.

 

Both giveaways are open to domestic and international readers.  The winner will be chosen at random.

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post by Saturday, March 3 at 11:59 p.m., telling me if you’d prefer the crochet prize or the knitting prize, and what your plans for the prize are if you 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.
  • If you use an extra entry, let me know if you are interested in using it towards a different prize.

 

Good luck!

What a Diff’rence a Day Makes

On Saturday night, I was ready to dump this cabled hat project for my dad (details here and here; pattern here) because the yarn kept splitting on the needles.  I ripped it out instead, and started it up again with another pair of circulars.

From 0 to 3 inches with no shredded yarn!

It’s amazing what the proper tools can make you feel ready to accomplish.  I have more of this hat done in one day than I was able to do in the past two weeks on the other needles.  And in case you are wondering, the needles that made me want to cry are Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Dreamz (I should have known that a product with that much “creative” spelling was bad news), and the needles that are making me smile are ChiaoGoo Red Lace.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,” I think of Dinah Washington.  (And, Run Lola Run.)

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In other news, this is my 300th post, which is pretty awesome, so I’ll be back soon with a giveaway to celebrate…

Winner: Gothic Knits

According to Random.org, the winner of the Gothic Knits giveaway (courtesy of Search Press) is…

Larissa

(Side note: Check out Larissa’s blog and Reef Botanicals, her handcrafted soap and beauty company, if you haven’t already.  She won a free knitting lesson from me in a previous giveaway, )

Congratulations Larissa, and thanks to everyone that entered.  (Click here for my interview with the author, Fiona McDonald, and review of the book.)

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bullion stitch blocks, week 2

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I was under the weather this week, and I’m taking the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructor’s Program in Knitting this weekend (14 hours of fun, preceded by many days of swatch making), so I haven’t made as much progress with my bullion stitch blocks as I would like.  I did share an update on Wednesday.

I finished one Poppy Bullion Block, with several added black borders to bring it up to 12″.

This is such a fun block. I definitely recommend it.

I’m so excited that Heartmade Blessings only wants 12″ squares with all of the ends unwoven.  Yes, folks, you heard that right.  Apparently, they received too many donations where people just cut off the yarn when they were finished, tied a little knot, and then everything unraveled later.  So since they can’t tell if your ends are woven in or don’t exist at all, they ask you to leave a 6″ tail at the start and end of every color.  This has admittedly made me more interested in blocks with multiple color changes :).

I hope to have a lot more to show for my bullion stitch explorations next week.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit When Did I Become a Knitter.

FO Friday: Dye Job

Last Sunday, I took the Kitchen Safe Yarn Dyeing class at Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  We were asked to bring two hanks of yarn from a long list of mostly wool Lion Brand yarns.  Naturally, I made three hanks from stash yarn.

Side note – It is almost harder to get a ball of yarn into a hank than it is to get a hank of yarn into a skein!  I found a great tutorial online about how to tie up and then twist the hank, but I forgot to save the link and now I can’t find it to share :(.

Back to the class – Our teacher was Grace.  When I signed up, I thought this was going to be a class about using natural, edible dyes, but it was about dyeing with cake gels.  That required a bit of expectation adjustment on my part.

I know that your first time working with a dye doesn’t usually result in stellar results, but I’m still a little underwhelmed by these.

The first yarn I worked with was Fishermen's Wool. I attempted to use complementary colors (purple and yellow) with this hank.

Grace thought that perhaps I had not wrung the yarn out enough so the dye didn’t really saturate.  In the store, this looked like a big blob of grey, so I’m glad that in intense sunlight (only), there are some hints of color.

My next victim was this small hank of Bernat Lana. I actually like how this one turned out.

I think I had better luck here because the hank was really small (less than 100 yards) and easy to wring out.  I also took the most time with this hank.

This was the most difficult hank to work with, since it was significantly larger than the rest.

I purchased this mysterious yet extremely itchy wool on eBay many years ago when I was not that familiar with working with wool yarn.  I later used it successfully for several Kool Aid dyeing projects based on this tutorial.

Two change purses made with this same wool, dyed with Kool Aid, circa 2007.

This giant cone of yarn is wound with two strands, so the yarn is fairly thick.  It does felt up nicely though.

Back to the class – I tried saturating the entire skein with orange, and then adding different blobs of bright color.  The yarn was a bit darker than the other two hanks to start, so I think the color had a different effect.  This hank barely had time to set in the crock pot during the class and was bleeding colors when I got home.

I did have a good time learning a new method of kitchen safe dyeing, using both the cake gels and a crock pot.  But ultimately, I think the structure of the class is a bit too short.  You need about 30 minutes to soak your yarn before dyeing, another 30 minutes to heat your yarn after dyeing, and another 10 or so minutes to get your hanks prepared to soak (since there are several people sharing two sinks).  That means with a two hour class, you really only have about 30-45 minutes for the actual dyeing and that the class is hard to end on time since there are still yarns in the crock pot.  I felt very rushed and if the class was longer, I probably would have took more time with each hank, and made sure that the water was running clear off each hank before leaving.

I will probably be sticking with the Kool Aid since I’m more familiar with it than the cake gels, I wasn’t amazed by the results in comparison, and I would have to do a bit more traveling to get my hand on the cake gels.

For more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Thursday craft goals update – Week 43

I’m keeping this update on my craft goals short and sweet.

Since my last update post…

Oodles of projects

I guess it doesn’t surprise anyone that after months of blanket making, I’m now in the middle of multiple small projects.

I can’t seem to settle down with just one project right now.  I loved the Poppy Bullion Block by Donna Kay Lacey so much, I started on three more.

 

Round one, three times.

I also started another bullion stitch block, Hybrid Peas.

 

I'm about half way through the pattern, and then I will need to add some more rows to bring it up to 12 inches.

So far, I’m not as excited about this pattern, since it uses some unconventional terminology.  Also, I must have skipped a step somewhere.  (That’s what I get for crocheting during The Walking Dead.)

I’m making all of these bullion blocks with the same colors, which should really help with my stashbusting efforts.  These will eventually be donated to Heartmade Blessings.

I also completed a few more rounds on the knit cable hat for my Dad.

 

A small bit of progress.

I’m getting a super early start on holiday crafting with this hat (pattern here), so I’m not too worried about the pace.

Not pictured is the blanket I’ve been making for my sister since November (because I vow not to bring it outdoors for photography until it is finished!).  I finished four rounds of gold borders, so I’ll just end with one or two borders in black.  And then, the nightmare of weaving in the ends will begin…

As for reading, I’m planning to start Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg.  It was a birthday present that was on my wishlist for a while, and I’ve heard good things about it.

For more Work in Progress Wednesday posts, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.

Interview with Sandie Petit, founder of Crochet Cabana

In the early 2000s, when I first learned to read crochet patterns, there weren’t many good crochet websites.  One that I would visit time and again for help understanding a new technique was Crochet Cabana.  Even now, as a crochet teacher I often refer beginners to this wonderful site.  So I’m really excited to interview Sandie Petit today, the founder of Crochet Cabana.

Besides the Crochet Cabana website, you can find Sandie online on her blog, her Facebook page, her YouTube channel, her Etsy and Ravelry shops, and on Twitter.  She is less frequently seen on Crafty Corral, her first crochet blog, and Tumblr.  You can also buy Crochet Cabana items at Cafe Press.  All pictures and logos are used with her permission.

 

Sandie Petit.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Sandie: In the summer of 1980, I went on vacation with some girlfriends in Mississippi. They pulled out their hooks and started crocheting and offered to teach me. That got the ball rolling. When I returned home the local TG&Y became my primary source for patterns, yarn, and hooks. The yarn was Sayelle at the time. For many years I thought Boye was the only kind of hook manufactured! With the advent of the Internet a whole new world opened up to me and I now have quite a nice hook collection! My house is often overrun by yarn and I have more patterns than I could complete in several lifetimes!

 

 

First Crochet Cabana banner.

UC: What was the original inspiration behind Crochet Cabana?
Sandie: Crochet Cabana began in 1997 as a couple of pages on my personal website, Sandra’s Backyard. The original purpose was to have an area where I could jot down what I knew about crochet for my own reference. I also wanted to provide information for those just learning to crochet. I wanted to write it all down, with pictures, in a way that I hoped could be easily understood. All of my first tutorials were written with the new crocheter in mind. As I learned more myself – both in the field of crochet and also in web design – more was added.

In my wildest dreams I never imagined the site would get so large. As I got requests for information on this or that topic, I would add those topics also to the site. In 2001, my husband purchased a domain name for Crochet Cabana as a gift for me. Then in December 2004, we decided to purchase hosting space so I wouldn’t have to keep moving the site as it grew too large for the present host.

 

 

Current Crochet Cabana banner.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
Sandie: For designing, inspiration is everywhere. The world around you. Television. The Internet. Sitting in a doctor’s office or in traffic I might notice a particular color or pattern that is intriguing. Quite often it is a matter of need. I need a gift and I have xx amount of time (usually a very short window). It’s actually quite difficult to come up with something new and I always wonder if someone else has already done it. There are so many wonderful designers out there! I don’t feel that I do that much designing really, but when I post a picture of something I’ve worked up I know someone will ask for the pattern as soon as it’s posted.

As to inspiration for tutorials and videos, that generally comes from visitors to the site who inquire if I can show them how to do this or that. If enough people seem to be having the same problem or are interested in a particular technique, I consider adding it to the site. I do fairly often get requests for me to do a video or tutorial on how to work a particular pattern. That is something I cannot do because of copyright issues.

 

 

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(One of Sandie’s videos.  We start our foundation chain the same way!)

UC: You are a true pioneer of the DIY/craft scene on the internet. What were the benefits of establishing yourself online early, and what are some of the changes you’ve had to deal with in recent years?
Sandie: How nice of you to say! When I first began, I had no clue how to put up a website. My husband created the original site and showed me how to update it. Since then, I’ve done most of the work myself though my family, who are much more computer literate than I, have been a great help over the years. My daughter created the logo presently on the Cabana.

One of the benefits of being established so many years ago is that I can appreciate the technological advances available today. I clearly remember having to move the site over a dialup connection! What took many hours then would take mere minutes now. I am still using the same program to update the site (Microsoft Front Page). It is no longer supported so I will eventually have to find a new program to use – which is something I dread.

In those beginning days, way back when, one didn’t have to worry about Internet theft. In recent years, there has been a problem with people taking the work of others and claiming it as their own. Just a few months ago I found photos lifted from one of my tutorials on which the person had placed her own name right on the photos and put them on her site as her own. It was a foreign site and though I requested she remove them, that didn’t happen. You really have no recourse in these situations and it is quite discouraging since it is a lot of work to take photos, edit them, and add all the text to a tutorial, as well as making videos. Sadly, this has also happened to other designers. Sometimes you will even find people selling your patterns on Ebay, particularly if they are free patterns. They just copy them and sell them. It’s really terrible. In fact, I removed all the patterns I had on the site after one such incident. Since then, I’ve put a few back and opened Etsy and Ravelry shops. There are still quite a number I haven’t put up anywhere again. I am really torn about what to do as I love sharing my work with others. (UC comment: What a shame!)

Another change is that people are more and more moving to video teaching. I LOVE video teaching. It is amazing to me that I can create a video demonstrating how to do something, giving the tips I’ve learned through the years, and have someone in another country watch it and learn the technique. I guess I am showing my age here, but it just fascinates me. I often wish I had my own video studio and staff! I still have much to learn. I hope the industry doesn’t change too much while I’m learning!

Yet another change I have seen is the availability of e-books and e-patterns, both free and for sale. Being able to get a pattern you want immediately certainly has its up side. One thing I like about this is if I sell a pattern this way, I know exactly who purchased it and if I update it or find a significant error, I can let them know quite easily. Along with this is the self-publishing industry, such as Lulu, which has grown tremendously in the past few years.

The problem with all this availability is that much of it is free. This hurts the designers for whom crochet sales are a significant part of their earning power. I think this may be why we are seeing more complex designs as magazine publishers have to find a way to entice people to spend their discretionary income. It’s a dilemma I’m sure we will be addressing for some time to come as the industry works to find a balance between paper publishing and e-publishing.

 

 

One of Sandie's charity scarves, donated to Knit Your Bit.

UC: You do a lot of charity crochet. Can you tell us about some of your favorite charity projects, causes, and organizations?
Sandie: There are so many worthy organizations out there. I find that people generally gravitate toward a cause that is in some way meaningful to them. For example, I have lost many loved ones to cancer so if an opportunity arises I might donate to that cause. I had two preemies so I will occasionally donate preemie hats and afghans.

I also like to help out organizations that are based in my own state when I can. I also love to make scarves and squares. Those things came together for me in Scarves for Special Olympics where I could donate to the Louisiana branch of their organization. I was even able to deliver the scarves and meet the people there. That was rather exciting. They do require you to use particular brand and colors of yarn and there are size specifications, but I find that a challenge. I like to try and find different ways to make the scarves unique within those boundaries. This is an annual project so if you haven’t participated in the past you can always pick up and join in the next go round.

Then there is the National WWII Museum’s Knit Your Bit which is also located nearby and accepts scarves. I have had many family members in the military, including my son, and I am happy to be able to do something for the soldiers who put their lives on the line for us. Knit Your Bit gives a bit of a thank you to those soldiers. They accept any pattern, any color so it’s very easy to participate. Most of the vets are men so colors tend to lean in that direction.

I also like to be sure my work makes its way to the people for whom it was intended. With that in mind, I am cautious about sending to people I don’t know. I have known Sandy Holladay for many years and have no qualms about sending items to her for The Bridge and Beyond Project, which helps the homeless. She accepts many different items including scarves, mittens, and socks. She does amazing things with donated squares, putting together afghans which are then given to one of several local missions. Each day I am thankful that I have a roof over my head, clean clothes, and food to eat. It’s a shame there are so many who don’t have these basic needs met.

Heartmade Blessings has been around quite a number of years. They accept 12” squares which are put together into comfortghans. Several people I know personally have benefited from this effort.  (UC comment: I’m actually working on several squares right now to donate to Heartmade Blessings as part of the Crochetlist March charity challenge.)

Crafting for a Cause is a wonderful group that supports our Native Americans. Most of the items made are sent directly to the reservation so you can be sure they are getting where they are needed.

In addition to official organizations, I like to donate where I can locally. As time goes on, postage costs for mailing packages has gone up so anything I can deliver is a plus.

That said, I occasionally like to send to SIBOL, way across the pond from me. I just love to go to Sue’s blog and Flickr page and see all the beautiful things. Everything is so artfully shown. She accepts 6” squares which are joined into lapghans for nursing homes in her area. Her challenges are fun too!

 

 

 

One of Sandie's charity scarves, donated to Knit Your Bit.

UC: You are a CGOA Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques and a CYC Certified Crochet Teacher. Tell us why you decided to pursue these certifications and how/if they’ve been helpful to you.
Sandie: I am going to share with you my REAL reason for taking these courses. Shhhh. I never think my work is good enough and I thought that if I took these courses someone else could tell me if I was doing things correctly and, if not, I could learn the proper way. Having the certificates does not mean that I am a wonderful crocheter, but it does mean, to me, that I’ve run the course and persevered to complete it successfully. I may have a tiny bit more confidence than I had before since I did pass the courses.

I also thought that having the certificate would give a bit more weight to my qualifications as an instructor if I decided to teach community education classes or even paid classes through a craft store.  (UC comment: I am also a CYC Certified Crochet Instructor and Teacher, and will actually be attending classes this weekend to become a CYC Certified Knitting Instructor and Teacher.  For more discussion on the pros and cons of certification, see this post.)

The two courses are very different. I did learn some new techniques through my work on both courses, particularly the CGOA course because it covered more of a variety – like hairpin lace, which I’d not done a lot of before.

I find that every step you take is one step closer to your goal. You mentioned knitting. I’ve been trying to learn to knit for many years. I can cast on and I actually can knit, but if I drop a stitch, that is it for me. However, every time I try I get a little bit further in my understanding. It is the same with crochet. When I did the CGOA course, I did not work much with thread and I had to complete a filet thread project with thread, which I did successfully. I did not pick it up again until recently, but those things I learned at that point have come back to me and I find I just love filet!

I don’t know if the certificates mean anything to those who look at my work. I think your work really has to speak for itself. When I pick up a magazine or look online at a pattern I may purchase, I don’t know if that person has a certificate or not. I just like the pattern, the colors, and the way it was photographed, perhaps the stitches used or the yarn. I think taking the course was for me more than anything.

I would dearly love to take Pauline Turner’s course. I understand it is difficult and I think if I passed that one I would really feel like a crochet master.

 

 

 

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
Sandie: There are so many! Those that jump right to mind are Quick and Cozy Afghans which I use quite a bit; the Vanna books, particularly Vanna’s Afghans A to ZDonna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet; and Margaret Hubert’s The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet. I have dozens of pattern and reference books and leaflets though. That just scratches the surface. One of my recent purchases was Super Finishing Techniques for Crocheters by Betty Barnden. Her Filet Crochet book is great also.

 

 

One of Sandie's charity scarves, using the "V for Victory" pattern by Rachel Vives, donated to Knit Your Bit.

UC: Do you have any favorite crochet websites/blogs to share?
Sandie: I don’t get around to the blogs as much as I used to, but here are a few that I visit often:

Generally, I look at my blogroll to see who has updated and I will visit the top five or ten of them and sometimes the sites they recommend in their blogroll.

After reading other interviews on your blog, I also started following Vashti.   (UC comment: Thanks Sandie!  I am honored to have you as a reader.)

 

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Sandie!