Tag Archives: kim guzman

Giving Tuesday – The Crochet (and Knitting) Way

Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving. I’m sharing some of my favorite crochet and knitting related charity links today in honor of this event, which encourages us to put aside the shopping for a moment during the holiday season. I hope this roundup with inspire you to share your talent (or money!) with charities that are important to you.

If you’re looking for a crochet-a-long, Sunset Family Living is hosting the annual 12 Days of Christmas Charity Challenge (also known as the NICU charity challenge). She is challenging people to crochet 12 hats for preemies in their local neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, over 26,000 (!) hats were donated as part of the challenge, which runs through January 6, 2015. 20 crochet designers have donated hat patterns, and if you’d like to sign up to participate, you can read more about the project here.

Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.

Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.

If you’re more of a hat knitter, check out Denise Balvanz’s free patterns, Dozen Baby Hats (in the round) and Dozen Baby Hats (knit flat). Both patterns were inspired by the Afghans for Afghans June-July Baby Shower, and are great projects to donate to a local charity, too.

Some designers sell specific patterns to raise funds for a favorite charity. Some of my favorites are the Mitered Cross Blanket (knitting) by Kay Gardiner. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern are donated to Mercy Corps, an international emergency response/disaster relief organization.

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.

Dawn Hansen donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat (knitting) pattern to the Autism SocietyCharity Windham’s Ten Stitch Twist for loom knitters pattern raises funds for Frankie Brown’s (interviewed here) favorite charity, the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.  And speaking of Frankie Brown, she has has over 240 (!) free crochet and knitting patterns. She would greatly appreciate a donation to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation through her Just Giving page.

Wheels within Wheels, one of my favorite patterns by Frankie Brown. Image (c) Frankie Brown.

Anastacia Zittel uses the same model, and appreciates a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in exchange for her free knitting pattern, Armwarmers, or for any of her over 65 free crochet patterns. (I also interviewed Anastacia here.)

Alexis Winslow’s Caring Cowl (knitting) is another fundraiser pattern. Alexis donates proceeds from this pattern to the American Red Cross.

Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.

Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.

I donate $1 from each sale of my 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets ebook, which includes 20 crochet and 10 Tunisian crochet patterns that are great for pet blankets, to a local no-kill pet charity each year.

A selection of stitches included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.

A selection of stitch patterns included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.

I also donate pet blankets in the sizes suggested by the Snuggles Project. (I interviewed Deborah Green from Bideawee about blanket donations here, if you’d like to hear how local shelters use these blankets.) The website allows you to search for a local pet charity that accepts handmade blankets. The Snuggles Project is a program of Hugs for Homeless Animals.

Another organization that accepts handmade goodies is Project Linus. Their mission is to “provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.'”You can find out more about donating a crocheted or knit (or sewn) blanket to a local chapter, contributing funds to help defray shipping costs or volunteering on their website.

The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.

The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.

If donating an entire blanket is out of your crochet comfort zone, Warm Up America is another charity that distributes blankets and accessories to a variety of social services agencies. You can send a blanket square, or accessories such as hats or scarves to them for distribution. The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet is a great free crochet pattern for making children’s hats for charity.

Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.

Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.

You might also be interested in the Red Scarf Project from Foster Care to Success. Each year, they coordinate the delivery of Valentine’s Day care packages, including handmade scarves, to young adults who have aged out of foster care as they experience life on their own at college. You can learn more about this charity in the current issue of Crochetvolution here. There are also two great free crochet patterns in this issue, Big Red and Vino Scarf, that would make great projects for the Red Scarf Project. You can also try some of Kim Guzman’s many great free winter patterns. (I interviewed Kim here.) Two of my favorites that would be perfect for the Red Scarf Project are the Reversible Pinstripe Scarf (double-ended crochet) or the Twisted Cable Scarf.

What are your favorite charities to share your crochet and knitting with?

2014 Crocheter’s Gift Guide: Books and Subscriptions

It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about gifts for others – and for ourselves – so I’m sharing a series of gift guides for crocheters. In this series, I’ve shared 10 yarn clubs and community supported agriculture projects that are accepting new members/shareholders for 201511 handmade crochet stitch markers sets, and 10 unique crochet hooks (and crochet hook handles). Today, I’m sharing a roundup of great crochet books and subscriptions for crocheters.

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve divided up this gift guide into three sections: new book releases for 2014, evergreen books, and subscriptions for crocheters. All prices are in US dollars.

2014 New Book Releases

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog100 Colorful Ripple Stitches to Crochet: 50 Original Stitches & 50 Fabulous Colorways for Blankets and Throws by Leonie Morgan: Leonie has created a great follow up to 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet (reviewed here). As in her first book, Leonie shares colorful stitch patterns that will inspire you to crochet some amazing home decor projects. The book includes both stitch patterns and chevron/ripple motif patterns. Each pattern is written in US crochet abbreviations and stitch symbols. This book would be a great gift for any crocheter who love to make blankets and/or who wants to explore chevrons, ripples, and waves. (Retail price: $21.99 paperback.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogReversible Color Crochet: A New Technique by Laurinda Reddig: This book explores a method of crochet colorwork by sharing tutorials and a series of 28 blocks, arranged in order of difficultly, with 10 resulting afghan patterns. Laurinda’s method is similar to tapestry crochet but uses half double and double crochet stitches. She provides clear instructions for carrying colors in different situations to create reversible blocks. This would be a great gift for crocheters who like to try new techniques, explore colorwork, and/or make blankets and motif projects. (Retail price: $24.99. Also available as an ebook.)

 

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogThe Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs by Kathryn White: This is one of my favorite crochet books of 2014, and I even nominated it for a Flamie Crochet Award. You can read my full review here on the Crochet Guild of America blog. It would make a great gift for anyone who has been wanting to try Irish crochet but is intimidated by it, crocheters who like working with lace, and/or crocheters looking for portable projects. (Retail price: $14.95. Also available as an ebook.)

 

 

 

 

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

The Crochet Workshop by James Walters: This book is a reprint of the classic book from 1979. I shared my excitement about the original here as part of my 2013 Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week series. Although I haven’t yet seen the reprint, I’m very happy with my Dover reissue of Knitting Counterpanes, so I have no doubt this book will be awesome. This would make a great gift for the true “crochet nerd,” artists who want to explore crochet as a medium, and/or budding crochet designers. (Retail price: $24.95. Also available as an ebook.)

 

 

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

Amamani Puzzle Balls by Dedri Uys: Although I haven’t yet had the chance to check out this booklet, it has been causing quite a buzz and the patterns look great. (You can see them all on the Ravelry source page here.) Dedri has created 6 amigurumi patterns that create fun versions of Amish puzzle balls. This booklet looks like a fun gift for crocheters who want to try out new construction techniques, crocheters who love amigurumi, and/or crocheters who like to make gifts for children. (Retail price: $10.99. Also available as an ebook.)

 

 

 

Evergreen Crochet Books

There are several books that I keep on my crochet gift list, even though they are not brand new. Each would make a great gift (although perhaps not for the crocheter with a large book collection!).

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

The Fine Art of Crochet: Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists by Gwen Blakley Kinsler is a unique addition to the library of any crocheter or artist. You can find my review here and my interview with Gwen here. (Retail price: $34.99. Also available as an ebook.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogTunisian Crochet Stitch Guide by Kim Guzman is a great resource for any crocheter who is looking to expand their Tunisian crochet skills. I reviewed it here on the CGOA blog, and you can check out my interview with Kim here. (Retail price: $9.99. Also available as an ebook.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People by Allison Hoffman is a cool take on amigurumi. This book is ideal for someone who has some experience crocheting amigurumi but wants to learn how to customize their projects. (Retail price: $17.95.)

Craftsy

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blogThe Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, 2nd Edition by Margaret Hubert is my go-to recommendation for a great all around crochet reference book for newbies and more advanced crocheters alike. You can read my review of the first edition here and my interview with Margaret here. (Retail price: $24.99. Also available as an ebook.)

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet by Kathryn Vercillo is a great book about the health benefits of crochet. This would be a great gift for anyone in a helping profession or crocheters who like to read non-fiction. I reviewed it here on the CGOA blog, and you can check out my interviews with Kathryn here, here, and here. (Retail price: $17.95. Also available as an ebook.)

 Subscriptions for Crocheters

Subscriptions are the gifts that keep on giving all year round! These are ideal for crocheters who like to explore new patterns all the time, and for crocheters who like to access patterns on the go.

2014 Crocheter's Gift Guide: Books & Digital Subscriptions on Underground Crafter's blog

  • I Like Crochet is a digital crochet magazine available for iPad or desktop/laptop. Issues are released every 2 months (6 issues a year) and include 30 projects and 7 tutorials in each issue. I’ve had patterns and articles published in every issue to date, so I’ve had the chance to see the great quality of this magazine through my contributor “copy.” Subscriptions range from $19.97/year for iPad only through $34.97/year for iPad and desktop access (including printing).
  • Mainly Crochet is an online pattern subscription service. For just $24/year, you can access all of the patterns in their collection, which currently number over 200. New patterns are added periodically throughout the year.

I hope you enjoy this gift guide! Many of these items are on sale through Cyber Monday (December 1, 2014), so you may want to check them out soon!

NaBloPoMo
I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

The Flamies Nominations!

FlamiesI’m excited that the Flamies crochet awards are back this year after a two year absence. I’ve seen some great posts by other crochet bloggers sharing their nominations (like this one from Stitch Story and this one on Ambassador Crochet), and I decided to do the same! If you’re going to nominate, do it today! Voting starts in November.

This post contains affiliate links.

Best crochet blog

I read so many crochet blogs that it was tough to narrow it down. I decided to nominate two: Crochet Concupiscence and Fresh Stitches. You can read my interviews with Kathryn Vercillo from Crochet Concupiscence here and here, as well as a post I did for National Crochet Month talking about why I love her blog here. I interviewed Stacey Trock from Fresh Stitches here, reviewed her book, Modern Baby, here, and talked about why I love the tips she shares on her blog here.

Best crochet YouTube channel

I nominated Tamara Kelly from Moogly for her YouTube channel. I previously interviewed Tamara here. Truthfully, I don’t watch many YouTube videos. However, I have seen that over the past few months, Tamara has been posting videos for many of her new patterns, and I watched a few to check out her video technique (hoping for some tips!). Her videos have clear audio and video and seem really integrated into her blog.

Best crochet magazine and digital magazine

I nominated the newcomer, I Like Crochet, in both categories. (If Crochet Today hadn’t shut down, it would probably have gotten my vote for best print magazine.) I Like Crochet is a new digital subscription magazine that includes a range of different designs. I’ve had my patterns and articles published in several issues and so I’ve had a chance to read through those issues and find some fun projects.

Best handcrafted or artisan made crochet hooks

I nominated Diane Soper from Sistermaide on Etsy. I developed a bit of a fascination with bullion stitches a few years ago, and Sistermaide sells these wonderful tapered crochet hooks that make bullions so easy to crochet. You can see the two hooks I ordered from her below.

My two Sistermaide hooks.

My two Sistermaide hooks.

Best commercial crochet hook

Once again, I had to nominate two companies. I think it’s well established that I like Tulip Etimo hooks.

My trusty Tulip Etimo sneaking it's way into a tutorial picture.

My trusty Tulip Etimo sneaking its way into a tutorial picture.

But I recently discovered the Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hook set when one of my free patterns, Tadley’s Diagonal Blanket, was featured on their blog here. These are now my go to hooks for Tunisian and double-ended crochet projects.

Best instructional crochet book

I gave a 5 star review to Kathryn White‘s The Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs. (You can read the full review here on the CGOA blog.) I nominated this book because it finally demystified Irish crochet!

Go-to book of Irish crochet motifs

Best crochet technical editor

I nominated the wonderful Juanita Quinones, also known as BoricuaCrochet on Ravelry. After interviewing her as part of my Hispanic Heritage Month series in 2012, I started working with Juanita for my independently published patterns. She is very thorough, timely, and also provides great feedback and suggestions! (Hopefully, this nomination doesn’t lead to her becoming too busy to tech edit my patterns!)

Best new crochet designer

This was a tough category because it seems that many of the designers I’ve been following have been publishing since before 2012. I nominated Lorene Haythorn Eppolite from Cre8tion Crochet. You can find Lorene’s pattern page on Ravelry here. I love her color sense and the shapes and textures that she creates.

Lifetime achievement award

This was also a tough category, because Lifetime Achievement always implies that someone is about to retire. I decided to nominate Kim Guzman, even though I’m sure she has many more years of designing, teaching, and writing ahead of her. Kim is a very talented designer and she is always willing to share her advice and (virtually) mentor those entering the yarn industry. She is also a great teacher. I learned so much from her Pattern Grading class on Crochetville, and also from reading her many great books. I had the honor of interviewing her here, and you can read my reviews of three of her books here, here, and here.

Giveaway: Learn Drop Stitch Crochet

This post contains affiliate links.

To celebrate my blog relaunch, I’m continuing my week of giveaways with your chance to win Learn Drop Stitch Crochet by Kim Guzman, courtesy of Annie’s.

Learn Drop Stitch Crochet

Learn Drop Stitch Crochet includes 8 patterns using a variation of crocheted broomstick lace to create a look similar to dropped knitted stitches. Kim (interviewed here) has shared another technique twist to keep crocheters engaged. At the same time, she has created some fun and flirty designs that will be perfect for early fall. You can see all of the designs here on Ravelry.

This giveaway is open to anyone with an email address. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, August 22, 2014 for your chance to win Learn Drop Stitch Crochet! One winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post: Sharon Silverman on Tunisian Crochet

This post contains affiliate links.

Today, I’m sharing a guest post with Sharon Silverman as part of her blog tour for her latest book, Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets.  I previously interviewed Sharon here as part of her blog tour for Crochet Scarves: Fabulous Fashions – Various Techniques.  I was all ready to write an introduction to Sharon, but she’s been kind enough to introduce herself in the guest post!  You can also find links to where to find her online at the end of her post.  All photos are copyright Sharon Silverman and used with permission.

I’ve inserted a few comments in purple.  Enjoy the post!

Tunisian Crochet Hits Its Stride

by Sharon Silverman

Tunisian Honeycomb Stitch.

Tunisian Honeycomb Stitch.

Thank you to Underground Crafter for the invitation to write a guest blog. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on Tunisian crochet.

First, a little bit about me. I became a crochet designer in a roundabout way. After writing several travel guides for Stackpole Books, editor Kyle Weaver asked me to do another guide to an area about ninety minutes away from my home. It just wasn’t the right project for me. My children were little, it would have involved a lot of commuting, and I didn’t have the essential insider knowledge that the book deserved. However, we really liked working together, and Kyle mentioned that Stackpole had just started a craft line. His exact question to me was, “Can you do anything?”

Why, yes! I crochet. The timing was perfect, since Stackpole had just released Basic Knitting. They hired me to write Basic Crocheting: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started. I rediscovered my love of the craft, was introduced to the fabulous yarn produced today, met a lot of fantastic designers, developed a great working relationship with photographer Alan Wycheck and editors Mark Allison and Kathryn Fulton at Stackpole, and have never looked back. After that first volume, I wrote Beyond Basic Crocheting, Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting, Crochet Pillows, Crochet Scarves, and Tunisian Crochet for Baby (coming September 2014), all for Stackpole; and Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets for Leisure Arts. My designs have appeared in the 2006 Crochet Pattern-a-Day Calendar and in Crochet Red: Crocheting for Women’s Heart Health (reviewed by Marie here).  I am a design member of The National NeedleArts Association and a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America. I have taught at venues large and small, and was featured on three episodes of HGTV’s “Uncommon Threads.”

When I was browsing through a stitch dictionary while designing for Beyond Basic Crocheting, I came across something I hadn’t seen before: Tunisian crochet. I didn’t have a long Tunisian hook, but I tried a few stitches on a regular crochet hook. Wow! I had never seen fabric like that created with a crochet hook. It immediately hit me that Tunisian crochet was the perfect solution to the problem I refer to as “rivers of double crochet.” That look does not have much to commend it, in my opinion, and I am always disappointed when I see it in today’s designs. (I think when people disparage crochet, that’s the style they’re reacting to. Can’t blame ‘em.)

Anyway, Tunisian had none of that “loopy” look. I started with a swatch of Tunisian simple stitch. It went so fast! I remember laughing out loud because it was simply so much fun to do. Soon I grabbed some scrap variegated yarn to see how that would look. The way the colors on the return pass appeared between the vertical bars of the forward pass…it was stunning. In short order I tried every single Tunisian stitch pattern in that book. Wait a minute: you mean I can make fabric that looks knitted and purled? Lace? Cables? Relief stitches without having to work around a post? And I can do all of that with a crochet hook? I’m in!

Tunisian Checkerboard Stitch (Medium)

Tunisian Checkerboard Stitch.

After putting one Tunisian pattern in Beyond Basic Crocheting, I started thinking about a book with all Tunisian patterns. With the right size hook and the right weight of yarn, Tunisian didn’t have to be bulky or just for blankets. It was perfect for garments and accessories as well. I wanted to call the book Tunisian Crochet: Not Just for Afghans Anymore! but Stackpole preferred the more sedate Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting.

At that time is wasn’t unusual for crocheters to say, “Huh?” when I mentioned Tunisian crochet. But everyone I taught it to was crazy about it. This was near the beginning of what I happily think of as the Tunisian crochet renaissance. Other designers were discovering or re-discovering Tunisian and doing fantastic things with it.

Fast forward to today. The Tunisian crochet group on Ravelry has almost 5,000 members—we’re waiting for you! Major magazines now feature Tunisian patterns as a matter of course. And the books! Scads of books either exclusively Tunisian crochet, or with a substantial number of patterns. The Tunisian Crochet Group on Yahoo is an excellent resource and a place to get questions answered. And, of course, you can check YouTube for tutorials.

One indefatigable proponent of Tunisian crochet is Kim Guzman (interviewed by Marie here). I think I have all of her Tunisian crochet books. Kim wrote a wonderful post encouraging all of us to be Tunisian crochet cheerleaders. You can read it here.

Along with Kim, many other designers are hard at work creating fantastic Tunisian patterns. I hesitate to name them because I know I’ll forget somebody—whoever you are, please forgive me, and post your name in the comments!—but some people whose work you might be interested in are Doris Chan, Dora Ohrenstein (interviewed here, book reviews here and here), Kristin Omdahl, Robyn Chachula (book review here), Vashti Braha (interviewed by Marie here), Marty Miller, Lily Chin, Karen Whooley, Sheryl Thies (book review by Marie here), Tammy Hildebrand (interviewed by Marie here), Darla Fanton, Jennifer Hansen, and others. A quick search for “Tunisian crochet” on Amazon gives a long list of titles.

As for my own work, my most recent Tunisian publication is Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets from Leisure Arts, available here.  (Ravelry members can see the book’s patterns on its source page here.)

TCBB cover (Medium)

The book gave me the opportunity to try some interesting Tunisian techniques, including stranded colorwork. I used that for the Bright Strands blanket.

Bright Strands (Medium)

Tunisian Crochet for Baby is currently going through the editing process. Here is a sneak peek at some of the projects.

Sharon Silverman Sneak Peak Collage

I hope you are inspired to do some projects in Tunisian crochet! Please share them with me on my Facebook page and my website. You are welcome to visit my Pinterest page also. Happy crocheting!

 

Thanks for stopping by, Sharon!