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Blog Tour: Tunisian Crochet for Baby – Mini Interview with Sharon Silverman

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I’m excited to share a mini interview with Sharon Silverman today as part of her blog tour for Tunisian Crochet for Baby. Sharon is a designer, author, and instructor based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Tunisian Crochet for Baby is her seventh crochet book, and she has more in the works. I previously interviewed Sharon here and she wrote a guest post here.

Like me, Sharon is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America, and she is also a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. You can find her online on her website, on Ravelry (as CrochetSharon or on her designer page), on Facebook, and on Pinterest. I’ll also be sharing a giveaway for the new book at the end of this post, so read on for details!

Mini interview with Sharon Silverman about her book Tunisian Crochet for Baby on Underground Crafter blog.

Sharon Silverman

Underground Crafter (UC): What was your inspiration for writing Tunisian Crochet for Baby?

Sharon: On the design side, I have been a huge fan of Tunisian crochet ever since I came upon it in a stitch dictionary. It lets me create all sorts of fabrics and textures that are impossible in regular crochet. I am always glad to find an opportunity to share Tunisian techniques with other crocheters. Baby items, including garments, are very popular and seemed to be the logical next step after my books on scarves and pillows (both from Stackpole Books), and a Leisure Arts title, Tunisian Baby Blankets.

Mini interview with Sharon Silverman about her book Tunisian Crochet for Baby.

Washcloth Quartet.

UC: In your guest post, you mentioned some of the things you love about the look of Tunisian crochet. What about it do you find especially suited to baby projects?

Sharon: Because of their small size, baby projects aren’t too intimidating. The investment in time and materials is much less than it would be for something like an adult sweater. Baby items present a unique opportunity to learn a new skill and end up with a great finished project that can be crocheted quickly. Tunisian crochet stitch patterns seem very well suited to baby items, refreshingly different from typical double crochet fabric. I think crocheters will welcome the opportunity to try these new designs.

And with new babies entering the world all the time, crocheters always need things to make for those precious bundles! I included a variety of items to fit different skill levels, styles, and sizes from newborn through 12 months.

Mini interview with Sharon Silverman about her book Tunisian Crochet for Baby on Underground Crafter blog.

Sherbet Stripes Blanket.

UC: If a Tunisian crochet newbie was to pick up this book, what’s the first project you’d recommend to get them hooked, so to speak?

Sharon: Start with the Nursery Box and the simple stitch washcloth from the Washcloth Quartet. I would also suggest the Sherbet Stripes Blanket. It has some color changes, but the pattern itself is simple and straightforward. The matching Sherbet Stripes Hat would be a good follow-up for someone who is ready to go to the next level.

UC: And which project would you recommend for an experienced Tunisian crocheter who wants to try something new?

Sharon: The Christening Gown (with matching bonnet and booties) is a complex project with a Tunisian X-stitch pattern and some intricate shaping. For something that will be worn more often, the Zippered Hoodie will keep experienced crocheters engaged.

Mini interview with Sharon Silverman about her book Tunisian Crochet for Baby on Underground Crafter blog.

Christening Gown, Bonnet, and Booties.

UC: What else would you like us to know about Tunisian Crochet for Baby?

Sharon: All of the yarn I chose is washable. Every pattern includes written instructions and at least one symbol chart. Photo tutorials are included.

Thanks so much for stopping by Sharon! 

If you’d like to learn Tunisian crochet online, try these Craftsy classes: Online Tunisian Crochet Class and Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet (w/ Dora Ohrenstein)!

Giveaway

Stackpole Books is giving a copy of Tunisian Crochet for Baby to one lucky reader with a U.S. mailing address! For your chance to win, check out Stackpole’s lookbook for Tunisian Crochet for Baby, and let me know which project you would make first. Then be sure to log your entry into Rafflecopter! One winner will be chosen at random. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, September 16, 2014.

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! 

Book Reviews on CGOA Now!

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Two of my crochet booklet reviews were posted on the Crochet Guild of America blog last week.  Both booklets are published by Leisure Arts.

Add-on Crochet Cables
Add-On Crochet Cables by Frances Burks teaches an interesting new method for crocheting cables.  (Reviewed here.)

Make in a Weekend Shawls

Make in a Weekend Shawls is a collection of 12 shawls crocheted in medium and bulky weight yarns.  (Reviewed here.)

Book Review: Knit Stitch Guide by Rita Weiss

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Knit Stitch Guide

Knit Stitch Guide by Rita Weiss of the Creative Partners is a pattern booklet featuring 96 knit stitch patterns.

The booklet is arranged into six chapters. The first five, Simple Knit & Purl Stitches, Ribbings, Embossed Stitches, Multi-Color Stitches, and Eyelets & Cables, include stitch patterns. Each stitch pattern includes a color photograph (about 1/4 to 1/2 of the page size) of a sample in Red Heart Luster Sheen (a fine weight yarn) photographed on a black background; a stitch guide including any terms (outside of the standards like CO, k, p, BO) used in the pattern; and stitch pattern instructions written in U.S. pattern abbreviations. Most patterns take one page, but there are a few that are only half the page (with smaller pictures). Because the stitches are organized into types, it is easier to find a favorite later on. The last section, General Instructions, includes a list of pattern abbreviations and tips for pattern reading.

This booklet is one of the new pocket sized guides published by Leisure Arts. At about 5 inches by 8 inches and 96 pages, this booklet is small enough to carry around in your knitting bag. I see the portable size as the main strength of this book. For those of you that never know what you want to knit when traveling, this book will give you 96 options. Because of the small size, the booklet lacks a lot of the features I prefer in a complete stitch guide, such as illustrated tutorials of basic stitches or unusual techniques. Therefore, it really isn’t suitable for a beginning knitter because you would already need to know the basic stitches and have some understanding of pattern reading.

I would recommend this booklet to knitters who enjoy creating spontaneous projects on the go, or emerging designers who knit during their commute or travel time. A stitch guide collector will find that many of the stitches are already represented in their other books.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Recent Crochet Book Reviews on CGOA Blog

You may know that I volunteer to review crochet books on the Crochet Guild of America‘s blog, CGOA Now!  In 2013, most of my book reviews have been published there.  Here are the links in case you missed the reviews.

This post contains affiliate links.

crochet-saved-my-life1

Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet by Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence

CGOA blog review * interview 1 * interview 2 * mini interview

 

 

Crocheting with Lucy Loop

Crocheting with Lucy Loop by Karen D. Thompson of Hooksations

CGOA blog review

 

 

Learn to Crochet Socks for the Family

Learn to Crochet Socks for the Family by Darla Sims

CGOA blog review

 

 

tunisian cables to crochet

Tunisian Cables to Crochet by Kim Guzman

CGOA blog review * interview

 

 

Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide

Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide by Kim Guzman

CGOA blog review

 

 

Ultimate guide to thread crochet

Ultimate Guide to Thread Crochet by Leisure Arts

CGOA blog review

 

Enjoy!