Tag Archives: freebie

Blogiversary and A Tour Through Crochet Country!

Today marks my two year blogiversary, and I’m one of the stops on A Tour Through Crochet Country!  If you haven’t been following along, this is a wonderful blog tour organized by Crochetville.  The tour features over 50 Associate Professional or Professional members of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA).

If you’re new here, welcome!  I’m a crochet (and knitting) teacher, designer, and blogger.  In addition to sharing my own projects and news on my blog, I also do a lot of interviews (I’ve even won a few awards) and book reviews.  I’m really honored to be part of A Tour Through Crochet Country.  To celebrate National Crochet Month and my blogiversary, I’ll be sharing a free pattern and a coupon code today.  But first I’d like to talk about how important the CGOA has been to me.

As many of my regular readers know, my grandmother taught me to crochet.  After she passed away in 2007, I didn’t have any important people in my real life to talk with about crochet.  Through my membership in CGOA and my involvement in the CGOA Professionals listerv, I’ve had the chance to virtually meet many wonderful crocheters who share the same passion for the hook as I do.

Me and my grandparents, at about the age when I learned to crochet.
Me and my grandparents, at about the age when I learned to crochet.

Back in 2009, I had the honor of being introduced to a wonderful mentor, Mary E. Nolfi, through the CGOA mentoring program.  When I was first exploring design, Mary guided and encouraged me.  Her primer is a great intro for aspiring crochet designers.  I still remember my excitement at emailing her when my first designs were selected for publication.   I’m also grateful to Michelle Maks, yesterday’s stop on the the tour, for taking a chance on me when she was the editor of Crochet World.  I’m thrilled to have another mentor, Marty Miller (March 13′s stop on the tour), who is helping me explore tech editing.

Now I’m paying it forward by volunteering to write book reviews for the CGOA newsletter and blog, and by serving as a mentor to another designer.

My first designs, published in Crochet World in 2010.

And, of course, CGOA membership has other benefits, even if you aren’t a professional (or aspiring professional) in the industry.  You get a subscription to Crochet! magazine and discounts at national retailers as well as on CGOA educational offerings.  You can also participate in your local chapter.  (I’ve been a member of the NYC Crochet Guild for years and in addition to great monthly meetings where I can hang out with fellow crocheters, they also offer classes and local discounts.)

I’d like give a shout out to a some other CGOA members I’ve met (in real life or virtually) who have been very helpful to me in the past few years.

Vashti Braha (interview) has taught me so much through her Crochet Inspirations newsletter, which has also inspired me to keep experimenting! Kim Guzman (interview) is so generous with her knowledge online and is a great teaching author.  Juanita Quinones (interview) is a wonderful tech editor that is volunteering on the Home work project on Ravelry, which is giving a second life to vintage designs.  Mary Beth Temple (interview) is a very strong advocate for crochet and has been a professional inspiration.  Charles Voth (a.k.a. Stitch Stud) (interview) is a talented – and nice! – designer and tech editor who always shares so much of his knowledge with his fellow hookers online.

If you’ve made it this far, your probably asking yourself, “Didn’t she promise a freebie?  And a coupon code?”

Charity Crochet for Project Night Night – The Rectangular Sampler Blanket

Early in my career, I worked for an organization that provided temporary housing for hundreds of homeless families, so the tour’s featured charity, Project Night Night, is really close to my heart.  I wanted to create a project that was beautiful to look at but also fun to make.

blog Rectangular Sampler angle view

The Rectangular Sampler is a variation on the traditional granny square that incorporates a stitch sampler to keep things interesting.  There’s a granny rectangle, an alternating v-stitch, staggered puff stitches, and a fun edging.

blog Rectangular Sampler flat

Download the Rectangular Sampler Blanket PDF Pattern

(You can also find the pattern on Ravelry or Craftsy.)  This makes a great stroller blanket or play mat, or even a baby or comfort blanket.  I plan to donate my sample to Project Night Night, and I hope you’ll consider making one to donate to Project Night Night or a local children’s charity.
Rectangular Sampler V st detail

I crocheted the sample with Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in Pacific, Cordovan, and Alaska Sky.  None of these pictures really do justice to the Alaska Sky, which is a pale, sky blue.  I like using non-traditional colors for children’s blankets because I think it gives them a longer life cycle when they can be displayed in more settings.

blog Rectangular Sampler on chair

Coupon Code

To celebrate National Crochet Month and my blogiversary, I’d like to spread the love by sharing a coupon code for my Ravelry shop.  Use coupon code NatCroMo13 for a 25% discount on any pattern through April 1, 2013.  Thanks for your support of independent designers!

Besides here on my blog and on Ravelry, you can also find me on Etsy, Facebook, Goodreads, Kollabora, Pinterest, and Twitter.

And now back to a A Tour Through Crochet Country

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the tour.  I’ve actually had the pleasure of interviewing several of the CGOA pros on this list, so I’ve also included the links to those interviews below.  I hope you will stop by and check out all the posts (and tutorials, giveaways, and discounts) the other participants have to offer.  Enjoy the rest of National Crochet Month, and don’t forget to enter my current blog giveaways here and here.

March 1 Shelby Allaho

March 2 Ellen Gormley (interview) and Nancy Nehring

March 3 Phyllis Serbes and Mona Muhammad

March 4 Amy O’Neill Houck and Akua Hope

March 5 Mary Jane Hall and Lindsey Stephens (interview)

March 6 Edie Eckman and Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

March 7 Jennifer Cirka and Annette Stewart

March 8 Andrea Graciarena and LeAnna Lyons

March 9 Dawn Cogger and Angela Whisnant

March 10 Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten and Renee Rodgers

March 11 Joy Prescott and Donna Childs

March 12 Pam Daley and Deb Burger

March 13 Tammy Hildebrand and Marty Miller

March 14 Jocelyn Sass and Jennifer E Ryan

March 15 Andee Graves and Kimberly McAlindin

March 16 Laurinda Reddig

March 17 Brenda Bourg and Susan Lowman for CGOA

March 18 Rhonda Davis and Tammy Hildebrand for CGOA

March 19 Julie Oparka and Cari Clement for CGOA

March 20 April Garwood and Mary Colucci for CGOA

March 21 Alaina Klug

March 22 Erin Boland and Jenny King

March 23 Margaret Hubert (interview) and Jane Rimmer for CGOA

March 24 Bonnie Barker and Marcy Smith for CGOA

March 25 Kim Guzman (interview) and Susan Huxley (interview)

March 26 Susan Lowman and Michele Maks

March 27 me! and Brenda Stratton

March 28 Kathy White and Lori Carlson

March 29 Amy Shelton (interview) and Donna Hulka

March 30 Linda Dean and Kristin Dragos

March 31 Karen CK Ballard and Gwen Blakley-Kinser (interview)


Free pattern: All Weather Cowl

I’m excited to announce another free pattern in collaboration with Galler Yarns.

Download All Weather Cowl Pattern PDF.

Using one jumbo skein of Galler Yarns Aztec Boucle, an organic cotton yarn with just a little bit of nylon added, this cowl is a great all weather accessory.  The eyelets created by the stitch patterns and the cotton yarn make it breathable in warmer weather, but the length allows you to wrap it around three times for warmth in cold weather.

This is a reversible stitch pattern that can be made even by Tunisian crochet newbies.  It doesn’t hurt that the yarn texture will cover any mistakes you make ;).

The All Weather Cowl is crocheted across lengthwise and then seamed.


Since you will have 80 inches (203 cm) of stitches on your hook, I recommend using a Tunisian crochet hook with a flexible cable.  If you don’t already have some on hand, I sell them in my Etsy shop here.

The Aztec Boucle works up nicely and creates a great gift for any eco-conscious person on your list.  I sell a kit in my Etsy shop that includes a jumbo skein of Aztec Boucle in Ecru along with your choice of bamboo Tunisian crochet hook with a long cord.

You can also download this pattern on Ravelry here and on Craftsy here.  Enjoy!

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 5

(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.)

There are different approaches to gift giving.  Some people say, “It’s the thought that counts,” and anything you give should be appreciated by the recipient.  Others feel that you should try to tailor your gift to the recipient because it isn’t about the giver of the gift.

I have a reasonably large family, and up until about 5 years ago when there was a major rift, I used to make baked goods and handmade gifts for a lot of people.  I tried to combine both approaches, by making holiday gifts that fit my budget and talents while also considering preferences.  I’m not very good at sneaking around to find out more about my giftees, so I would send out holiday gift surveys.

This was before “everyone” was online, so I actually printed the surveys on my home computer and cut them into postcards.  I sent the postcards out in envelopes.  I would write the recipient’s name in the return address area, stick on a mailing label to me, and add a postcard stamp.  It seems like a lot of work, but I’ve returned to these postcards for years to remember who is allergic to nuts and who hates chocolate.  In the spirit of giving, I’m sharing these as a download for your holiday planning purposes.

Underground Crafter Holiday Survey

Once everyone started using email, I made a similar survey for needlecrafts.  Here is what I sent out.

Happy New Year!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to start using up more of my accumulated yarn and fabric. In the spirit of that, I have developed one of my ever loved gift surveys :) Please fill out and return at your earliest convenience.

1) What are your favorite home decor colors and themes?

2) What size bed do you use?

3) What are your favorite clothing and accessories colors?

4) Free association time! When you hear… you think…:

a) Throw pillows
b) Table settings
c) Holiday decorations
d) Accessorize

Disclaimer: Completion of this survey in no way guarantees that you will receive homemade home decor or clothing items this year, though it does mean you are under consideration!

For colleagues or internet buddies, I would also ask for birthday, anniversary, and which, if any, faith-based holidays are celebrated.  Feel free to adapt either survey to make your own!

If you need some inspiration for a Holiday Stashdown Challenge post for next week, here’s the prompt for Tuesday, June 19: Our challenge has been going for six weeks.  Let’s celebrate our successes so far.  For each of us, success may be measured differently: stash organized, list made, awareness of our potential recipients, finished projects, etc.  What have you done so far for the Holiday Stashdown Challenge?  If you’re not feeling successful, what’s preventing you from getting started on reaching your goals?  Or, are your goals unrealistic?

To make this more interesting, I’ll be hosting a giveaway for people who post in the Holiday Stashdown Challenge next week :).

Free pattern: Twisted crocodile stitch keyhole scarf

I am pleased to share another free pattern in collaboration with Galler Yarns!

Download Twisted Crocodile Stitch Keyhole Scarf PDF Pattern.

I actually finished this keyhole scarf around Thanksgiving, but have been waiting to release the pattern before sharing pictures.  (I took these pictures in Central Park on the same day as my Chubby Sheep free pattern photos, so you may see some background similarities.)

I love keyhole scarves.  I commute on the subway and share a work space (and coat rack) with many people, so I don’t like carrying around a lot of big stuff in the winter because there is no place to keep it.  If you’ve been to New York City in January, though, you know you still need to bundle up  in the winter.  A keyhole scarf is my compromise because it keeps you warm but is small enough to stuff in your pocket when you hang up your coat.  (Hint: It is also a great last minute gift, since it is much faster to make than a full length scarf!)

This is a self-portrait of me wearing the completed twisted crocodile stitch keyhole scarf.

I made this keyhole scarf using Galler’s Heather Prime Alpaca.  This yarn is a DK/sport/#3 weight superfine alpaca grown from Peru.  I love alpaca yarns, and Heather Prime Alpaca is super soft.  Somehow, even though I didn’t pick the color myself, the folks at Galler Yarns must have known that I love everything in the purple family because they sent me color 207, which is a heather purple.  The yarn skein is so large (0.5 lbs or 600 yards!) that you can make two of these keyhole scarves with one skein, and still have some yarn to spare.

Here’s a more artsy self-portrait, in black and white.

I really have to thank my pattern testers, Daynawithay, patriciaelizabeth, soxvixen, and ss9904 on Ravelry, for all of their great suggestions, including the one about reducing the size of the keyhole in the final pattern.

Here’s a detail of the keyhole opening. It is small to keep the warmth inside.

I really had a lot of fun with this stitch…

Here’s a stitch detail.  You can see the yummy heatheriness (ok, I know it isn’t a word) of the yarn.

… but it was hard to explain.  So I included a one page photo tutorial in the pattern.

A picture from the photo tutorial.

I took the pictures for the tutorial over the weekend at my sister’s place.  She has great natural lighting and a white desk, so I didn’t even need a background piece.

If you like the pattern, please show it some love on Ravelry!

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis!

Free Pattern: Chubby Sheep

I’m excited to share my first free pattern on the blog, Chubby Sheep.

This is one of the super secret projects I’ve been working on, in collaboration with Galler Yarns.  The Galler Yarns blog has a growing collection of free patterns.  They also have a Facebook page.

Download Chubby Sheep PDF Pattern or the Kollabora Make-A-Long Version.

(Note: A correction to Rnd 24 was made on 12/7/2012, so you should download a new copy if your version is older.)

I made this using Flore II, an awesome blend of kid mohair, wool, and nylon.  The kid mohair really makes the difference in the final texture.

Just in time for the holidays, the pattern also includes (optional) instructions to transform Chubby Sheep into an ornament or hanging decoration.

Exact gauge is not critical for this project but stitches should be small so that fiber filling doesn’t show.  This project uses about 100 yards (91 m) in the main color and about 35 yards (32 m) in color b. You will also need a small amount of brown embroidery floss, a stitch marker, fiber filling, and a yarn needle.

This pattern was tested by aimeefae, anamoji, ayoung, and ss9904 on Ravelry.  It takes about 5-6 hours to complete.  Enjoy!

If you like the pattern, show me some love on the Chubby Sheep page in the Ravelry database :).

Freebie: Care instructions and parody gift tags

As I work my way through my holiday crafting gift list, I thought I would share some freebies with those of you in the same predicament: printable care instructions and priceless parody gift tags.

Care instructions gift tags
Priceless parody gift tags

Here’s my technique for using gift tags.

  • My downloads are formatted for pre-scored inkjet business cards (Avery 8371 or Staples 610381), but you can also print on card stock and then cut afterwards.  (To cut the card stock yourself, print on an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet in portrait.  After printing, trim 1/2″ off the top and bottom margins and 3/4″ off the right and left margins.  Each tag measures 2″ x 3-1/2″.)  I print both labels the on the same sheet (care instructions on one side and priceless parody on the other).
  • Personalize the tags.
A sample personalized care tag.
A sample personalized parody tag. (I used the U.S. federal minimum wage, though of course I wish that artisan labor was valued higher!)
  • After printing and dividing the tags, I use a 1/8” hole punch to create a small hole in an upper corner.
  • With a yarn needle, I thread a small amount of yarn (very cute if it is a scrap from your project!) through the hole and into my handmade gift.

These are formatted so that you can print 10 of each tag on a page.  Enjoy!

Underground Crafter Parody Tags 2011

Underground Crafter Care Labels