This week is all about ripple variations – how to make your ripples pointier, lacier, more or less textured, and so on. This week’s Ripple Mania PDF includes four stitch patterns and one project. Due to Hurricane Sandy, I didn’t take as many pictures as I would usually, but here are the patterns you will find this week.
The CAL is free to join. Each week, an updated PDF will be available to download on Ravelry, and Ravelry members can chat in the Ripple Mania CAL thread in the Underground Crafter group. (You do not have to be a Ravelry member to download the PDF.) Once the CAL ends on November 21, Ripple Mania will be converted to a “for sale” pattern ebook.
The last few days have been really hectic due to Hurricane Sandy. As of this writing, my family and I are safe and we are among the lucky folks who still have power. To be honest, I haven’t been thinking much about holiday crafting for the past few days :). Since revising my list last week, I’m feeling very secure because I only have a few projects left to make. I took a little break from pressure crafting after banging out a series of projects on commission last week. And, of course, with the storm, even if I did make something over the weekend, I wouldn’t be able to photograph it outside, so I decided to just take some time for myself.
How is your holiday crafting coming along? Feel free to share your progress and links in the comments!
I was thrilled when Denise from Voie de Vie invited me to be part of the blog tour for her new pattern collection e-book, Accessories: Autumne 2012. I first “met” Denise soon after I started blogging, when I hosted the yarn swap adventure through the Blog Hub group on Ravelry. (By the way, Denise was a very good sport about that swap. You can read about her swap adventures here, here, and here.) Denise has also been generous enough to offer a free e-book to one of my blog readers, so continue on for details about how to enter.
Denise has done a courageous thing with this pattern collection: She included both crochet and knitting patterns. Even though it seems that about 60% of yarn crafters both knit and crochet, some folks seem to feel pretty strongly that they don’t want the two crafts to mix. Not to worry – if you’re one of those people, you can also buy each pattern in the collection separately.
So what’s inside the collection? As the name suggests, the e-book includes five patterns for fall accessories and is available for $14.99. The e-book layout is like an online magazine, with full page photos, mini essays describing Denise’s inspiration, and many pictures of each design. Denise also includes some process photos for broomstick lace and tassels. A lot of designers skimp on pictures because they worry customers will complain about the ink required for printouts, but Denise has combined the best of both worlds here. She has a visually stimulating layout, but the pattern pages are more-text heavy with only one or two pictures so you can save ink by printing just the patterns.
My favorites are the Enveloped Cowl, which Denise blogged about here, and Le Bouquet Stole, which Denise blogged about here.
Denise is also hosting a JAL (join-a-long) in her Ravelry grouphere. Besides all of the fun of working on your projects alongside other crafters, there are prizes involved for everyone who posts project pictures by December 9.
Thanks, Denise, for providing me and one lucky reader with a free copy of your e-book! If I wasn’t worried about Hurricane Sandy, I might even be outside crocheting up a swatch for one of these projects.
Are you ready to win your copy of Accessories: Autumne 2012? This giveaway is open to all readers with an email address. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, November 2, 2012.
I’m sharing a quickie post today because I’m running out to meet my mom and join the lines of New York City shoppers preparing for Hurricane Sandy. Public schools are closed tomorrow, but I haven’t heard about the colleges yet, so I may or may not be going in to work. I hope everyone in the storm’s path remains safe over the next few days.
On a lighter note, I did make one charity square this morning.
This charity is close to my heart for a few reasons. Early in my career, I worked with a youth program and made frequent visits to foster care group homes. That experience definitely showed me the tremendous challenges that foster care youth face. And, when I first started connecting my passion for crochet with the online crafting community, the Red Scarf Project was the first charity I learned about online where I could send my crocheted goodies.
Due to space restrictions, donations are only accepted between September 1 and December 15 each year. In case you’re interested in sharing some of your crochet or knitted scarves with the Red Scarf Project, I’m including the guidelines from their website here:
RED SCARF PROJECT GUIDELINES:
Size: approximately 60” long and 5” to 8” wide. Scarves should be long enough to be wrapped around the neck, with tails long enough to be tied in the front.
Style: Think unisex collegiate. Fringes are optional. Your scarf should drape, tie easily and be soft.
Color: Red! However, this could mean burgundy, cherry, russet, red stripes with other colors, or multicolor hues including red.
Finished & tagged: Yarn ends should be securely sewn in. For a personal touch, attach a tag saying “Handmade for You” with your first name, city, and group affiliation, if any. Donors have also included washing instructions, messages of encouragement, gift cards, and more.
Mail to: Foster Care to Success, Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive Suite 130
Sterling, VA 20166
NOTE: Scarves are accepted between September 1 and December 15 annually. As we have limited storage space, please send your scarves only during this time period.
As I was looking over the Red Scarf Project website this year, I saw that there are links to nine pattern pages, but only one is to a crochet pattern :(.
After working relentlessly on secret projects for the past week, I’m in the mood to mindlessly follow someone else’s pattern. Now that I’ve been so good about busting stash, I only have about 250 yards of red yarn left, so I did a Ravelry search for low yardage, unisex scarf patterns. I came across the Eva’s Ribs Scarf Pattern by Vashti Braha (interviewed by me here). I remember Vashti’s slip stitch explorations in her newsletter, so I’m excited to try this out. Who knows, if I like slip stitching, I might end up making myself the Eva Shrug…
Confession time: I never read blogs until I started blogging. I would occasionally Google something and find a blog post that answered my question, but that was about it. I never subscribed or returned or remembered which blog I had read. The main barrier for me was my (irrational) fear of blog readers – the descriptions always seemed overwhelming, and with no place to organize the blogs I was interested in, I couldn’t really keep track of any. (I eventually started using Google Reader, which is much less overwhelming than it seemed to me when I read about it!)
This is my second year participating in Blogtoberfest, and I want to spread the blog love today by sharing five crochet blogs I started following this year. For me, this was easier than trying to pick from the larger group of blogs I’ve been following since last year :). These aren’t necessarily blogs that are participating in Blogtoberfest, by the way. If you’d like to check out any of the 300+ blogs that are participating, stop by I Saw You Dancing.
This blog is written by Linda74, who is a prolific ripple crocheter. Although I only learned about this blog a few weeks ago, I actually dove into the archives and found some really cool posts! Linda74 does a lot of charity crochet, and common posting topics are finished objects, yarn hauls, and information about upcycled crafts.
And speaking of Made in K-Town (which I’ve been following since last year), Crochet Boulevard is my new favorite crochet link party. I always find awesome new blogs there. Unlike many of the other blogs I follow, Barbara seems to have a very international following. You can find bloggers from all of the world posting on her link parties. The current theme is Free Topic, so why not stop by and link up one of your favorite projects?
Robin is one of the bloggers who joined in the Year of Projects this year. She is a librarian and often shares research in her posts, which I find really interesting. She also really engages her readers with posts and questions. Some of my recent favorite posts are Robin’s tips for stiffening crochet lace and her explorations of the granny square.
If you aren’t already following these blogs, I recommend that you check them out!
Have you found any new (or new-to-you) crochet blogs recently?
This post was originally published on April 18, 2011. I’m rerunning an updated version today, along with additional links to teacher interviews, as part of Blogtoberfest 2012.
Last year, while updating my email contacts I discovered that I had taught over 100 people to crochet or knit since 2008! That is pretty awesome (to me anyway), considering that I work full-time in another field and also have other part-time jobs.
I’m in several teaching groups on Ravelry, and the topic of how to get started as a local needlecrafts teacher comes up periodically. To celebrate the breaking of the 100 beginner student barrier, I wrote a series of posts on starting out as a local needlecrafts teacher.
Feel free to contribute if you are currently teaching needlecrafts or dreaming of teaching needlecrafts!
(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting. You can read more details here.)
I’ve made some progress on my crocheted snowflake cards in the past week, but I haven’t had time for blocking or starching. I found that most of the snowflakes are larger than the cards I already have, so I’m going to buy bigger cards (half fold size rather than quarter page size).
I also reviewed my Holiday Stashdown Challenge list again. As we get closer to my self imposed deadline, I made some decisions about what I can still reasonably accomplish. Interestingly, since I have actually destashed quite a lot this year, I’m short on yarn that would be ideal for some of the people on my list. (For instance, I don’t think my uncle would look great in the more feminine colors that remain now that most of the grey yarns are used up.)
2) Another scarf for one of the ladies in my dad’s family. I have a back up plan here – I found a scarf that I made a few years ago but never wore which I can gift if I don’t have time to make something new. I don’t want to leave her out since I already finished scarves for the other three women in my dad’s family.
3) My Uncle M – A hat. I may need to buy yarn for this but I should still have time for a quick crocheted had in bulky yarn.
The Maybe List
1) CG, my BFF from high school - I’m not as worried about time for this one, since we usually don’t meet until after the holidays anyway. I would still like to make something with this yarn that I bought with her in mind.
2-3 ) My sister and my mom - I’m at the point where I may not make anything for these lovely ladies. I made my sister a bedspread last year (ok, I finished it in March, but it was for Christmas, 2011!) and I’m working on a bedspread for my mom’s birthday in February. If I have time, I think I’ll make house slippers or finish this shawl for my mom.
3) MC, my special guy – If I have time, I’ll make him a pair of house slippers or a new hat since he has pretty well worn out the one I made him a few years ago.
Bumped off the list
1) My cat – I just made him a new cat blanket so I’m not too worried about holiday gifts.
2) JM, one of my high school BFFs – I don’t think he will feel sad if he doesn’t get a homemade gift, so I decided to save myself the pressure.
3 – 6) Aunt K and Uncle T, and RP and CA, my colleagues and work buddies for the last four years - We don’t always exchange gifts, so I decided not to add the handmade burden for this year.
7 – 8 ) Mom’s dog andDad’s cat - These two were always a long shot!
How is your holiday crafting going? Are you reconsidering your list or just getting started? Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!
Today, I’m interviewing Amy Shelton, the co-owner of Crochetville and the current President of the Crochet Guild of America. Amy is obviously a big supporter of the crochet community, both online and “in real life,” and she happens to be a pretty busy lady, too – so I’m really glad she had some time to share her thoughts.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Amy: My third-grade teacher taught all the girls in the class how to crochet. (The boys weren’t interested.) We sat on the back steps of the elementary school during recess and learned how to make the basic stitches. My mom and grandmother were both skilled crocheters, so they helped me further my skills and knowledge at home. By the time I was in 8th/9th grade, I was making all sorts of thread projects using my mother’s Magic Crochet and Decorative Crochet magazines.
UC: Many crocheters know you as one of the owners of Crochetville. How did you go from being a member to a co-owner?
Amy: It’s sort of a long story. Are you sure you really want to know? Actually, I think it’s a pretty interesting story, and I’m happy to share.
In 2004, my aunt sent me a gorgeous purple scarf using four or five different novelty yarns that she had crocheted for me as my Christmas present. I hadn’t crocheted much for several years, but the scarf made me pull out my old hooks. I searched for online crochet message boards and came across Crochetville in January, 2005.
At the time, there were fewer than 800 members and the site used free message board software. In February of that year, Donna Hulka (co-owner of Crochetville with me) had to move Crochetville to a new site host and new message board software due to the number of members and site visitors. I didn’t post much at the time, as I was admin for a message board for a small indie business in another industry.
In 2006, I became involved in helping run the site when someone with extensive message board admin experience was needed to help Crochetville make the transition from being a small site where everyone knew each other intimately to a much larger site with new members joining on a regular basis. Within a month of my involvement, Donna made me a co-administrator of the site.
As 2006 progressed, Crochetville continued to grow exponentially. The number of concurrent members and guests on the site meant we had to move from a shared server to a dedicated server, because our site volume was crashing the entire server. Crashing the sites of those businesses that share the server with you doesn’t tend to make you a lot of friends!
Dedicated server hosting plans are quite expensive. Donna and I decided it was time to turn Crochetville into a business so it could pay its own bills. We could no longer justify paying Crochetville’s operating expenses out of our personal household budgets. In January of 2007, we took the plunge and formed the legal entity of Crochetville LLC. We’re pleased to say that Crochetville LLC has been profitable from the very beginning!
We now have over 63,000 registered members and an average of 123,000-170,000 unique site visitors each month. Our periods of heaviest traffic tend to be the months of October through February.
UC: Sometimes joining an online community can be a bit overwhelming. What suggestions do you have for a newbie who wants to get her (or his) feet wet on Crochetville?
Amy: Crochetville is now so large (with over 2.4 million posts) that it can definitely be a bit overwhelming for people new to the site, especially if someone is also new to message boards in general. Crochetville is a very friendly community thanks to all of our wonderful members who spend time there every day. Here are my tips on how to make friends and begin to feel at home at Crochetville:
If you’re new to message boards in general, take the time to read our FAQ document. It has lots of information on how to navigate the forum, respond to a discussion thread, start your own discussion thread, and more.
If you’re just new to Crochetville, spend some time on the main page of our site. Make note of the different sections into which the site is organized. Read the folder descriptions so you’ll know where you’ll be able to find certain types of information. That will also help you know the best place to start a new discussion thread.
Before making your first post, spend some time reading through current posts on the forum. Once you’ve got a feel for the atmosphere of the forum, jump right in and post a thread to introduce yourself. Jump into any other discussions of interest. Our forum members are some of the nicest crocheters I’ve found. They’re always happy to welcome new members, answer questions, help direct you to patterns.
If you have a crochet business, take some time to read our general advertising policies. If you have an indie crochet business (pattern designer, hook maker, yarn dyer, etc.), read our free advertising policies. There are many different ways you can promote and advertise your business for free on Crochetville, getting your name out to hundreds of thousands of dedicated crocheters throughout the year. Indie businesses frequently have very limited advertising/marketing budgets, if they have one at all. We know it’s difficult to get the word out about your business, so we’re happy to provide an easy, free outlet to help you reach your target market of dedicated, enthusiastic crocheters. (UC comment: Thanks for sharing this great resource for indie crochet entrepreneurs!)
UC: You’re currently the President of the Crochet Guild of America – thanks for your volunteer efforts on behalf of the crochet community! How can crocheters become more involved with the CGOA or local chapters?
Amy: Serving on the board of the Crochet Guild of America has been an amazing experience. I’ve truly enjoyed the opportunity to help promote CGOA’s mission to preserve and advance the art of crochet. I encourage everyone to join the CGOA. The cost is only $35 per year and many benefits come along with membership.
For more information on CGOA, please visit the website. You can check out the list of member benefits here. One of the best things about CGOA is Chain Link, our crochet conference. Held twice a year, the conference offers crochet classes to suit every level of crocheter. There is also a show floor with vendors selling yarn, patterns, hooks, tools.
For those aspiring to become a crochet professional, CGOA offers a free mentor program to members. You can be paired with a crochet professional who will provide information, assistance, and encouragement to you. Members can also become involved at the national level by serving on various committees.
There are also many CGOA local chapters around the country. Most chapters offer monthly meetings where you can meet with others who share your love of crochet. Some meetings are informal sit-and-stitch events while other meetings may include classes, workshops, and other in-depth instruction. Many chapters also contribute to various crochet charities on a regular
basis. To find a chapter near you, visit this page. If there’s not a chapter near you, consider starting one. You can find information on how to start a chapter here. (UC comment: I also recently learned about the Cyber Crochet online/virtual chapter on Ravelry when I interviewed crochet tech editor, Juanita Quinones.)
UC: I’m sure it is hard to find time to crochet for yourself with such a demanding schedule. When you do have a few moments to crochet, what are your favorite types of projects to make?
Amy: It is sometimes difficult to find time to crochet, but I do my best to work crochet time into my schedule as often as possible, even if it’s only a short period each day. Garments and accessories are my absolute favorite things to crochet. I love to make tops, sweaters, jackets, shawls, scarves, and handbags.
UC: You’ve had a variety of roles in the crochet industry, including community builder, designer, and teacher. What advice do you have for aspiring professionals?
Amy: Don’t quit your day job right off the bat! Most crochet professionals are in the business because of their deep love of crochet, not because it’s a get-rich-quick industry. It takes a lot of effort and time to create a regular, sustainable crochet income.
If you want crochet to become your full-time job paying you a full-time living wage, be prepared for a lot of hard work. Most professionals find that in order to make a full-time income from crochet, they have to wear many different hats: selling designs to publishers, independently publishing patterns, teaching (locally and/or nationally), writing books and pattern leaflets, tech editing, and more. The more you can diversify with different income streams, the more financially successful you will be. The number of people who can make a full-time living from crochet is quite small indeed when compared to all those who consider themselves crochet professionals or aspiring professionals. I don’t want to discourage people or crush anyone’s dreams, but it’s important to recognize the current reality of the industry.
If all you want is some extra income as a supplement to your other income, then things will be much easier for you.
Social media is becoming more and more important as well. You need to have an outlet to reach customers and build a relationship with them. Having a presence on Crochetville, Ravelry, Facebook, and your own blog or website is imperative. Be careful with what you post. Customers want to feel a connection to you, but you don’t need to draw them into the minute details of your personal life.
The best piece of advice I can give is to take advantage of CGOA’s free mentor program. The professionals who volunteer their time to serve as mentors are doing so because they love this industry and they want to give back some of what was given to them on their way to professional status. I think it’s pretty amazing that they’re willing to train and instruct their future competition, all for free, don’t you? (UC comment: I participated in the mentor program a few years ago, and learned so much from my mentor, Mary Nolfi. I can’t speak highly enough of this opportunity!)
Do a lot of research and network with other professionals. Attend Professional Development Day at CGOA’s Chain Link conferences. You’ll get to meet and talk with many other professionals in pretty much every crochet discipline. At Chain Link, designers can also participate in Meet-and-Greet sessions with crochet editors on Saturday. It’s an excellent opportunity to show your portfolio to editors face-to-face, a chance that you’ll only find at this conference.
UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
Amy: My crochet friends who know me well can tell you that I have a love for making garments designed by Doris Chan. The first conference I attended, I think 90% of my crochet wardrobe were pieces designed by Doris, and I hadn’t even realized it at the time! So I’d have to say my favorite crochet books include all of Doris’s books.
UC: Do you have any crafty blogs or websites to share?
Amy: Crochetville will be unveiling our new blog in the near future. (If we haven’t done so by your time of publication.) The blog will provide us an ideal format to post our own articles about the crochet industry, crochet tutorials, book and product reviews and more. We have many exciting things planned for the new blog in 2013!
I really enjoy reading Vashti Braha‘s crochet newsletter. She includes wonderful insights into her design process and detailed information about stitches or techniques she’s currently working with. You can sign up for her newsletter here. (UC comment: I’m also a huge fan of Vashti’s newsletter, and I interviewed her about it here.)
Doris Chan’s blog is another favorite full of crochet information.
UC: Besides the blog, what else is new at Crochetville?
Our booth also features exclusive crochet kits, crochet books (and author book signings), custom-made jewelry, shawl pins,and buttons in colors designed to perfectly match/coordinate with Red Heart yarns, Dreamz interchangeable flexible Tunisian crochet hook sets, and something new: access to our digital pattern store.
You can purchase digital patterns right in the booth, print them in the booth, then log in to your account later to download your pattern to your own computer or mobile device. This makes it so easy to buy and print a pattern, buy the yarn and other supplies you need, and take everything with you so you can start your project immediately.
We do our best to make our booth the most fun booth at these events. Drop by to play our game show called “Let’s Make You Squeal.” Drop by many times throughout the day to see what will be on sale for a 15- to 20-minute period during our special Flash Sales.
Thanks for stopping by, Amy, and sharing your advice with us!
Yesterday, I had to make an emergency visit to Downtown Yarns to pick up a Royal Ball Winder. Yes, it’s true, I do already own a Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder. But I got a last minute call for some freelance work that would require a whole lot of yarn winding on short notice. (Like almost 2.5 pounds of yarn worth of winding.) I thought there was a good chance my neighbors would kill me if I ran the electric winder after getting home from work at 9.
I wish I could tell you more about what I’m working on, but I’m supposed to keep things under wraps until the agreed upon moment for the big reveal.
I will mention that I’m working with Kollabora, a new and awesome online maker community. If you haven’t heard of Kollabora, definitely check out the site and their blog. Be aware that the “Knitting” community includes both knitting and crocheting. (Crochet Concupisence had a great post about crocheters being welcomed by “knitting” entities last week, by the way.)
I’ll probably be online less than usual this weekend, since I’ll be feverishly knitting and crocheting…
A quick reminder:
Crocheters, join in my Ripple Mania CAL! Check out this post for more details.