Tag Archives: giveaway

Read Across America Giveaway 2: My First Crochet Book

Celebrate Dr Seuss Day with Kids Crochet Books Giveaway on Underground Crafter

Did you know that March 2 is Dr. Seuss Day (also known as Read Across America Day)?

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It’s a great way to encourage kids to read more while honoring the legacy of one of the most beloved children’s book authors, Theodor Seuss Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss). 

I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan (two more of my childhood favorites are My Book About Me and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!), and I thought the best way to celebrate children and reading during (Inter)National Crochet Month would be by hosting a giveaway for a children’s crochet book! This is my second giveaway (you can find the first one here), and this one is for My First Crochet Book, courtesy of CICO Books.

Giveaway for My First Crochet Book on Underground Crafter

My First Crochet Book is a comprehensive crochet book geared towards children. The book opens with a 1-page Tools and Materials overview, followed by an 8-page Crochet Techniques section that includes written and illustrated instructions for basic crochet stitches, increasing, decreasing, and more. The book uses bright colors and includes cute illustrations of animals playing with yarn or hooks throughout.

The book then moves onto the patterns, which are organized by project type. The first section, Clothes and Accessories, includes 11 patterns. Jewelry includes 7 patterns, Bedroom Essentials includes 7 patterns, and Perfect Gifts includes 10 patterns. Each pattern is written out in U.S. pattern abbreviations and includes multiple illustrations. Some are informative (e.g., to show how to finish a project) and others are entertaining (e.g., an elephant holding a pair of scissors). There are also multiple full color photos of each project. The book ends with a list of suppliers with links to websites and a written index.

Although the subtitle on My First Crochet Book by CICO KIdz is “35 fun and easy projects for children aged 7 years +,” I would actually recommend it for older children in their tweens and teens for several reasons. It is fairly text-heavy, relies on illustrations rather than progress photos to provide instruction, and uses pattern abbreviations in the patterns. I think younger children would struggle with the translation from English to crochet pattern abbreviations (I know many adults do!), so I recommend this book for an older audience that has stronger reading skills and a longer attention span. Also, because the patterns are arranged by type rather than by skill level, I think a younger child might get frustrated if s/he unknowingly chooses a project that is too difficult. However, for an older child, or with parental guidance, I think this book has some really fun projects for kids. The cute illustrations and varied color palette make it visually appealing as well.

So, are you ready to enter the giveaway for My First Crochet Book, courtesy of CICO Books? Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget to enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, March 8. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

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Full disclosure: A free review/giveaway copy of My First Crochet Book was provided by CICO Books. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

Read Across America Giveaway 1: Crochet for Kids

Celebrate Dr Seuss Day with Kids Crochet Books Giveaway on Underground Crafter

Did you know that March 2 is Dr. Seuss Day (also known as Read Across America Day)?

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s a great way to encourage kids to read more while honoring the legacy of one of the most beloved children’s book authors, Theodor Seuss Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss). 

I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan (some of my childhood favorites are I Wish That I Had Duck Feet and Ten Apples Up On Top!), and I thought the best way to celebrate children and reading during (Inter)National Crochet Month would be by hosting a giveaway for a children’s crochet book! I’m hosting two giveaways today, and the first one is for Crochet for Kids: Basic Techniques & Great Projects that Kids Can Make Themselves by Franziska Heidenreich, courtesy of Stackpole Books.

Crochet for Kids giveaway on Underground Crafter

Crochet for Kids is formatted like a high quality beginner crochet book but with details that make it just right for children learning to crochet. It opens with some great introductory material, including A Short Guide to Yarn, Basic Equipment, and Crocheting Step-by-Step. Each of these sections includes many pictures and is written with simple, straightforward sentences. The Crocheting Step-by-Step section includes photo tutorials for all the basic crochet stitches, increasing, decreasing, and more.

The next section, Ready To Go! includes 12 beginner-friendly patterns that kids would love to make, like finger crochet shoelaces, a unisex brimmed hat, and hacky sacks. The patterns are written out in words without abbreviations and include lots of progress pictures to help. The next section, Moving Up, includes 10 slightly more advanced projects, like a slouchy beret with a bow, and appliques to sew on to to t-shirts or jeans for customization. The last section, Projects for Pros, includes 5 more challenging projects. These projects don’t necessarily require more skills, but they do require more patience! These include a blanket and other larger projects with frequent color changes. The book ends with a visual index so it’s easy to find a favorite pattern again, and a bio of the author.

Although the book was originally written in German, it does seem to be translated clearly and I don’t anticipate children struggling through it. I do wish the lighting was better in the Crocheting Step-by-Step photos, but I’m sure that most children have better eyesight than I do ;). It’s filled with brightly lit pictures of children crocheting and wearing crochet gear, so it makes crochet seem really fun. It also doesn’t ask children to make the mental translation required for reading pattern abbreviations. The author seems to really understand how to teach children to crochet. If your child is confident about reading, this would be a great book to nurture a love of crochet.

So, are you ready to enter the giveaway for Crochet for Kids, courtesy of Stackpole Books? Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget to enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, March 8. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: A free review/giveaway copy of Crochet for Kids was provided by Stackpole Books. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

Book Review and Giveaway: Tapestry Crochet by Renate Kirkpatrick

Underground Crafter Crochet Specialty of the Month Tapestry February 2015

Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

This post contains affiliate links.

Today, I’m excited to share a review of Australian crochet designer and teacher Renate Kirkpatrick‘s Tapestry Crochet: 64 Playful Patterns for Children (Milner Craft Series) as well as a giveaway for a copy of the book, courtesy of Sterling Publishing.

Tapestry Crochet by Renate Kirkpatrick

I’m a big fan of Renate’s work. I had the pleasure of interviewing her back in 2011 here, and I’ve also included her Crochet Techniques (Milner Craft Series) on my list of Must-Have Beginner Crochet Books. So it’s perhaps no surprise that I also enjoyed Tapestry Crochet.

Renate’s purpose with this booklet is to introduce her readers (and students) to a new technique through a sampler rug (that’s a blanket to U.S. readers). She opens the booklet by describing 3 different crochet colorwork techniques – intarsia, tapestry, and jacquard. Interestingly, she describes jacquard as what we call tapestry crochet in the States – where the unused color is worked over.

Renate then shares an 5-page Crochet Fundamentals section which includes tips for changing colors, maintaining tension with frequent color changes, reading grids, finishing, and blocking. A 6-page How to Work the Squares section includes general instructions for the squares and edging, tips for joining, and illustrated instructions for double crochet (U.S. single crochet) and crab stitch.

The rest of the booklet includes 64 full-color charts for squares. Each chart also includes a photograph of the finished square. Renate includes a handful of numbers and letters (1, 2, 3, and A, B, C), but most of the charts are more detailed graphics including signs, people, transportation, food, household items, and animals. Most charts include multiple colors. Each chart includes a full count of rows and stitches, directional arrows to remind you of how to read the chart for alternating rows, and numbered counts for each group of colors within a row – basically, everything you need to keep track of your color changes ;).

This is a great booklet for a crocheter interested in trying out color changes using tapestry crochet or other colorwork methods. It’s also a great book for a crocheter who enjoys making blankets or gifts for children, since the patterns come together to make a great baby blanket. Because each square includes the same number of stitches, the squares are easy to mix and match with each other, or with your own designs.

The booklet is shorter than some of Renate’s previous books, and it doesn’t include as much detail. However, since tapestry crochet (and other methods of changing colors using single crochet stitches) is much more straightforward than the topics covered in her other books, I think the length is appropriate. As with other (mostly) pattern books, your enjoyment will be increased if you like the included patterns. Unfortunately, the square patterns are not listed on Renate’s Ravelry page, but she does share images of 24 of the squares on her website here.

I would recommend this booklet to a beginner crocheter who wants to start experimenting with color, or a more advanced crocheter who enjoys tapestry crochet and/or making blankets.

I’m pleased to offer a giveaway for a copy of Tapestry Crochet: 64 Playful Patterns for Children (Milner Craft Series) today, courtesy of Sterling Publishing. The giveaway is open to U.S. readers only. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 for your chance to win.

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Review disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review and an additional free giveaway copy. While I accept free items for review, I do not accept additional compensation for positive reviews.  Additionally, when accepting a review sample, I do not guarantee a positive review to the company.  My reviews are entirely based on my honest opinions and I always indicate whether I’m reviewing something I received for free.

Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 giveaway

I’m excited to share an announcement and giveaway with you today! Knit and Crochet Now! is entering it’s sixth season this month, and the folks at Annie’s are sponsoring a giveaway for a complete set of DVDs for the season to one lucky U.S. winner, so read on for details!

Knit and Crochet Now! airs through local public broadcasting stations. You can find your local schedule here by entering your zip code or state. My local station plays two episodes a week, and each episode is also repeated in a different time slot.

Season 6 includes 13 episodes and 43 new patterns, including 14 scarf and cowl patterns (perfect for the bitter cold!) in the “Scarf of the Week” segment.

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6!

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6! At left: Butterfly Tee. At right, top: Stripes and Short Rows, and bottom: Star Stitch Long Cowl.

This season, a new designer, Lena Skvagerson, joins the existing team of host Brett Bara and designers Robyn Chachula, Ellen Gormley, and Kristin Nicholas. Jenny King and Drew Emborsky (the Crochet Dude) will also make guest appearances.

You can find all kinds of fun projects and tutorials on the show, and each 30 minute episode is commercial free! And, all of the patterns can be downloaded for free here once you create a free account.

Giveaway

As I mentioned, Annie’s is providing one lucky winner with a full set of Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 DVDs! To enter, leave a comment letting me know when your local station airs Knit and Crochet Now! and whether you’ve seen it before. You can earn extra points by sharing on social media. But remember, I only count entries logged into the Rafflecopter widget below, so be sure to let me know how you’ve entered!

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Guest Post: Yarn Substitution by Pam Powers & Blog Tour Giveaway

I’m thrilled to share a guest post from Pam Powers today, on one of my favorite topics – yarn substitution! This post is part of the blog tour for Pam’s new book, and Stackpole Books is sponsoring a giveaway, so read on for details!

Guest post by Pam Powers, Knitting designer, on Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links.

About Pam Powers

Pam Powers, the author of Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More, is a California-based knitwear designer. In addition to her self-published Art Fiber Design patterns, her work has also been published by Interweave Knits, KnitCrate, Knit Culture, and Twist Collective.

Pam can be found online on her website, FacebookInstagram, Pinterest, Ravelry (as psquared and on her designer page), and Twitter.

Guest Post: Yarn Substitutions by Pam Powers

I get many inquiries regarding yarn substitutions for my patterns. As knitters, we are always trying to find stash-busting projects, especially accessories such as scarves that only require 1-2 skeins. I am going to share with you how I choose an alternate yarn for an existing pattern. Disclaimer 1: I am not the aficionado on all things yarn, but I do know when something doesn’t quite work for me. 

Gauge – This is the first consideration I make. I like the gauge on the ball band to be within one stitch for a 4″ / 10 cm sample of the yarn I am substituting. This gauge should also be accomplished using needles within one needle size of the original yarn also. For example, if a pattern calls for a gauge of 20 sts per 4″ / 10 cm on a US 8 needle, a potential substitute yarn will be anywhere from 19 sts on a US 9 to 21 sts on a US 7.

Yardage / Weight Ratio – I calculate the yards per gram for both yarns by dividing the yards per skein by the grams. If there is more than a 10% difference, I know the drape and feel of the project will be different. Disclaimer 2: I once had someone tell me that this is a ridiculous system, so take it for what it’s worth.

Shirring Cowl by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Shirring Cowl by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Content – It is important that the substitution yarn has a fiber content that behaves similarly to the original yarn. Different fibers have varying densities and body, regardless of the gauge. For example a hemp yarn will probably not be a good substitution for a wool yarn in a pattern that requires substance or body, like when there are ruffles involved. Most of the scarf patterns in my book have texture and/or dimension to them, so having a yarn that “stands up” is crucial.

There are also other factors such as loft, ply and color (solid versus variegated) that will have an effect on the finished product. I tend to substitute with a yarn that is similar in these areas to the original yarn.

Challah Infinity Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Challah Infinity Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

I get a lot of emails from knitters asking if a certain yarn will work as a substitution in one of my patterns. The only way of really knowing, even if this yarn meets all of the criteria above, is to knit a swatch. And let me just say, if you have to talk yourself into believing that the yarn works, it probably doesn’t. However, my intention when knitting a new sample of a pattern is to have the new project emulate the original. Whether something “works” or not is really up to the knitter. In the end, that is the beauty of making a handmade project—creativity rules!

Giveaway

Thanks, Pam, for sharing these tips!

Gingham & Wool Cowl and Fraulein Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Gingham & Wool Cowl and Fraulein Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Like me, Pam clearly has a passion for neckwear! Her book, Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More, includes 24 gorgeous knit patterns for scarves, ascots, cowls, and kerchiefs. You can see stunning full page pictures of each design them here in the Stackpole Books look book.

By the way, if you’re still intimidated by yarn substitution, several of her book designs, including the Chantilly Lace Ascot and the Cowboy Cowl, are available as Craftsy kits (along with Ruffled and Ruched Scarf and other great designs by Pam).

Guest post by Pam Powers, Knitting designer, on Underground Crafter

If you love knitting scarves, you’ll want to enter this giveaway for Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves, courtesy of Stackpole books! This giveaway is open to U.S. readers. Enter by Tuesday, January 13 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, and be sure to add your giveaway entries to the Rafflecopter widget (since that’s how a winner will be chosen at random). Good luck!

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