Tag Archives: linda permann

Interview with Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux

Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

I’m finally back on track with my posts for (Inter)National Crochet Month, and today I’m sharing an interview with one of my favorite crochet (and knitting!) bloggers and designers, Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux. Back in January, I was honored to be interviewed by Jennifer on her blog, and of course when NatCroMo came around, I wanted to share her story with you all.

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Jennifer can be found online at Fiber Flux, as well as on FacebookGoogle+Pinterest, Ravelry (as iheartfiber and on her designer page), Twitter, and YouTube. I’m also including a roundup of my favorite free crochet patterns from Fiber Flux (as well as one free knitting pattern thrown in for good measure!). All images are used with permission and are copyright Jennifer Dickerson/Fiber Flux.

Jennifer says,

Thanks so much, Marie, for having me here on your awesome site!  I have a lot of admiration for you as a crafter and business person and am honored to be here today.

Thank YOU so much for stopping by, Jennifer!

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Jennifer Dickerson.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Jennifer: I taught myself to knit years before I learned to crochet.  Being a member of Ravelry, I often would come across gorgeous examples of crochet.  I wanted to learn for quite some time and a lovely (and very patient) aunt of mine who is a very experienced and talented crocheter taught me the very basic stitches.  She is known in our family as the “afghan queen” and was the perfect teacher.  After that I was quite taken with the craft and have had the crochet bug ever since!

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Alpine View Wrap, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Jennifer: It is really amazing all of the things you can do with some yarn.  My very first pattern, Lightning Fast NICU and Preemie Hats, was created because I wanted to make a large donation of little hats to a local hospital.  As a mother, I love the idea of wrapping the tiniest babies in something lovingly handmade.

I Like Crochet April 2015 banner

From there, I began making other things inspired by the people around me and from that came a scarf for a loved one, a hospice shawl, and lots more.  I still design each of my patterns with someone in mind as I am creating them.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Raspberry Sorbet Button Cowl, a free knitting pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you definitely have quite a few cowls and scarves. What do you enjoy about designing neckwarmers?

Jennifer: I am somewhat of a scarf and cowl fanatic.  From early fall to mid spring, I honestly wear one every single day!  I have very heavy ones for the coldest of days and lighter ones for the house and when it warms up a bit (hopefully that will be soon!).  One of my blog friends even dubbed me the scarf queen at one time!  When I get together with friends and family, I will often send them home with a scarf around their neck too.  I love to wrap those I care about with a warm wooly neck hug.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Pumpkins on a Fence Scarf, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: You have tons of videos available on YouTube. How’d you get started filming videos and they’re numbered in episodes. What’s your approach to sharing videos with your fans?

Jennifer: Actually I make videos entirely because of my readers.  They have been asking me for years (yes, years!) to make videos of my projects.  I launched my YouTube channel in the fall of 2013 and have had a great time exploring this fun way of sharing information.  I have the most awesome readers and they have been very supportive and appreciative of my new endeavor.  I often accompany a video along with my written patterns, so that people can refer to it if they get stuck or need additional information.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Philomena Shawlette, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: In addition to crochet, you also share knitting and embroidery patterns and tips on your blog. As a multi-craftual lady, how do you divide your time between these different crafts? Do you have a favorite?

Jennifer: Percentage-wise I definitely have more crochet patterns and videos, but I definitely find joy doing both.  Crochet and knitting are so similar in many ways, but just different enough, so when I feel stuck or need to take a break from one craft, I will often switch and pick up a pair of needles or vice versa.

Celebrate National Craft Month

I am thankful for both of them because it often will help me “reset” my creative button from time to time.  I will always knit and I will always crochet. They are both such a big part of my life!

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Ocean Air Scarf, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Jennifer: I suppose many crafty people can relate to this, but I really do find inspiration everywhere…colors of produce at the farmer’s market, the high fashion runway, the local yarn shop, the way a particular fabric drapes over a shoulder, the juxtaposition of texture.  My background in art certainly helps me make creative decisions too…prior to being part of the yarn world, I was a painter, making large abstract paintings and showing them in local galleries.  This training in classical art making with regards to color theory, composition, perspective, etc. most definitely influences me as a designer too.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Crochet Class Cowl, a free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?

Jennifer: I am a bit of a book collector…I have piles and piles of them and enjoy flipping through them often.  I love Sarah London‘s use of color and pretty much anything from Linda Permann.

Laurinda Reddig‘s latest book (that I had the pleasure to review recently) has been an exciting read too.  My stitch dictionaries get a lot of milage are are jam packed with post-it notes, full of things scribbled in the margins, and most of the corners are folded in to mark a spot. (UC comment: I’ve previously reviewed Sarah’s book here and Laurinda’s books here and here.)

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Cherries in Bloom Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Jennifer: To get a big picture view of what is going on in the craft word at any given time, I am a frequent visitor of Ravelry and craftgawker.  I just love to peruse the beautiful handiwork and see the collective beauty of so much talent!  I am so grateful to have made friends with lots of other bloggy stitchers who inspire me not only with their talents, but their wisdom and business savvy as well…I find myself hopping onto their blogs regularly too.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Renaissance Button Wrap, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?

Jennifer: My crochet hook is pretty much an extension of my hand, I will most likely be doing what I already do on a daily basis…crochet, crochet, and more crochet!

Thanks again for stopping by, Jennifer! I’m looking forward to oodles more videos on your YouTube channel.

And, if you like neckwarmers as much as Jennifer and I do, you may want to check out my Crochet Neckwarmers Pinterest board!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Neckwarmers on Pinterest.

Book Review: Crochet Red

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Today is National Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association‘s annual event to bring attention to women’s heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S.  This year, Jimmy Beans Wool founder Laura Zander is bringing her Stitch Red campaign to crochet, with Crochet Red: Crocheting for Women’s Heart Health, a collection of 31 patterns. Since I don’t have much red in my wardrobe, I thought I’d spread awareness by reviewing Crochet Red, instead.  (A portion of the proceeds from this book are donated to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to support The Heart Truth campaign.)

crochet red

The book opens with a stunning image of a stack of red crocheted items, and then shares a thumbnail of each of the designs in the table of contents.  Not surprisingly, the book then launches into a series of notes, forewords, and prefaces (by the director of the Heart Truth, Deborah Norville, Vanna White, and Laura Zander), each of which discusses women’s heart health.

The next section of the book, Projects and Profiles, includes 30 patterns.  Each pattern includes a designer profile.  In many of these, the designer shares their own story related to heart health.  Most patterns also include a health tip from the designer, such as their favorite heart healthy foods or exercise.  Most patterns, especially the wearables, include multiple views of the project.  The exceptions are the two wraps, neither of which is shown on a model, and the smaller projects, like the mitts, which just include one picture.  The garment patterns also include schematics (in red, naturally).  All patterns are written in U.S. crochet abbreviations, and five patterns also include international stitch symbols.

The next section, Heart-Healthy Living, includes a variety of information about heart health, such as self test, exercise recommendations, tips for staying motivated about healthy lifestyle changes, and nine recipes.

The Crochet Know-How section shares the standard “back of book” information like a glossary of abbreviations, hook sizes, yarn weights, and a US to UK abbreviation conversion chart.  It also includes short photo tutorials of the basic crochet stitches (chain, single, slip stitch, half double, and double crochet) and the adjustable ring for crocheting in the round.  The book ends with a bonus pattern, a list of yarn suppliers, and an index.

Throughout the book, images of mountains of red yarn, piles of red crocheted fabric, and models in red garments are presented against mostly white backgrounds.  The contrast creates a really beautiful effect and you just want to keep flipping through the book.  The layout is particularly helpful in the Heart-Healthy Living section because it contains a lot of text.  The contrasting colors and the images break up the wall of text and keep the book visually interesting.

Overall, the book includes 31 patterns.

Pattern Type

  • Women’s top (cardigans, tunics, shrugs, pullover, etc.): 9
  • Women’s coat or jacket: 4
  • 3 each: cowls, scarves, bags
  • 2 each: hats, blankets, wraps
  • 1 each: pillow, mitts, sachet

 

Difficulty Rating

  • 13 easy,
  • 13 intermediate, and
  • 4 experienced.

 

Three of the designs – the Tunisian Chevron Scarf by Sharon Silverman, the Tunisian Shrug by Kristin Omdahl, and the Vintage Tunisian Shell by Rohn Strong – are Tunisian crochet patterns.

My favorite designs are the Flower Garland Cowl by Robyn Chachula, the Gingham Afghan by Tanis Galik, the Heart Shaped Coat by Nicky Epstein, the Petal Cabled Hat by Linda Permann, the Slouchy Cowl by Edie Eckman, and the Sweater with Cowl by Marly Bird. Ravelry members can see the 30 main patterns on the book’s source page here.  (The bonus pattern, Kristin Nicholas‘ Heart Sachet, is visible on the book’s front cover.)

Although this book has a stunning layout and a great collection of patterns by many of today’s most popular designers, there are a few things I wish were done differently.  I would have liked to see the wraps on models, particularly since they can be challenging to style.  I think many crocheters would want to see more patterns with international stitch symbols.  Most of the garment patterns are in 3-4 sizes and some crocheters will be looking for more.  The Heart-Healthy Living chapter is a bit lost at the end – putting it up front would have made everyone look through it and would probably have a greater impact on awareness.  I wish there was more information about how much of the proceeds were going to The Heart Truth.  (Is it a percentage?  A fixed amount per book?  Is there a maximum donation? etc.)

This is a surprisingly affordable collection of patterns, particularly since there are so many garments.  I would give it 4 out of 5 stars for a crocheter who likes pattern collections and who enjoys crocheting projects for women.

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.

Book Review – Crochet Noro: 30 Dazzling Designs

Yay, it’s my first book review of 2013!  (I actually read this book back in December, but life got in the way of me posting a review earlier.)

The book I’m reviewing today is Crochet Noro: 30 Dazzling Designs, and the publisher, Sixth & Spring Books, was kind enough to send me a review copy.

Crocheters who are fans of Noro Yarns – or of Sixth & Spring’s two prior Noro books, Knit Noro: 30 Designs in Living Color and Knit Noro: Accessories: 30 Colorful Little Knits – have been waiting for this book for a while.  The concept is simple: 30 crochet patterns that are perfect matches for the color combinations found in Noro yarns.

The book is made up of patterns by 21 designers (including 8 by Kazekobo/Yoko Hatta and 2 each by Mary Jane Hall and Linda Permann).

There is a range of skill levels and project types included.  All patterns are written in U.S. pattern abbreviations, and several also include charted stitch symbols.  Here is a breakdown of the patterns in this book:

Skill level:

  • 12 Easy
  • 16 Intermediate
  • 2 Advanced

Project type:

  • 7 Garments (2 Cardigans, 1 Pullover, 1 Skirt, 2 Tunics)
  • 7 Scarves/Cowls
  • 5 Shawls/Capelets
  • 4 Hats
  • 3 Bags
  • 2 Mitts/Wristers
  • 2 Home Decor (1 Throw, 1 Nesting Bowl)
  • 1 Necklace

Techniques:

  • 8 Motif projects (5 assembled using join-as-you-go methods)
  • 3 Beaded
  • 1 Felted
  • 1 Short Rows

Stitch Symbol Charts:

  • 13 charted in pattern
  • 3 charted in back of book

 

I had the opportunity to see a trunk show for the book at the December, 2012 meeting on the New York City Crochet Guild.  I was looking forward to seeing the samples for Doris Chan‘s Bias Mini Skirt and Yoko Hatta’s Flower Blossom Purse and Lacy Capelet.  (Warning: Keep in mind these pictures were taken in a church basement.)

Bias Mini Skirt.

Flower Blossom Purse.

Lacy Capelet.

I wasn’t disappointed.  I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the Chrysanthemum Shawl by Anna Al.

Chrysanthemum Shawl.

 

All of which brings me back to my book review.  My overall reaction to this book is virtually identical to my review of Knit Noro: Accessories.  To my eyes, this book is presented as an artsy tribute to Noro yarns and not as a crochet pattern book.  While I can attest to the fact that the designs are, in fact, quite beautiful (because I’ve seen them in real life), there is so much going on visually in this book that it is often difficult to see the projects.

Most projects are photographed against walls with floral wallpaper, on models with clothing in bold colors with elaborate patterns or adornments.  It’s almost as though the entire layout is competing with the projects for your eye’s attention.  Nonetheless, the projects overall are quite lovely (and would probably work well in other yarns, if you’re not a Noro fan).

This is a hardcover, and it does lay flat while you crochet.  Crocheters who enjoy working with thinner yarns or colors will definitely enjoy these projects.  The range of skill levels make this book appropriate for all but beginners to pattern reading.  As with all pattern books, your enjoyment will be closely related to how much you like the designs.  Ravelry members can view images of all but one design on the book’s source page here.

My overall rating is 4 out of 5 stars.  Though I have concerns about the presentation, the patterns I’ve looked through are clearly written and the projects I’ve seen are beautiful.  If you were hoping for a giveaway, you’ll have to look elsewhere because I’m keeping my review copy.  I’m hoping to make at least one of these projects in 2013.

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.

FO Friday: Baby legwarmers and Winner: 30 Min-Knits

For the second week in the row, I’ve finished a quick project from stash yarn for my friend AW’s new baby.

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This is my version of the Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers from Linda Permann‘s Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers.  (The pattern is also available as a free download here.)  I used about half a skein of Bitsy Knits Bitsy’s Sock in the Quite a Party colorway.

I bought this yarn at the 2011 Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival.

It’s the yarn in the front.

Once I wound it up, I realized it wasn’t going to work for an accessory for me since it was too… lively for my tastes.

I was also a bit worried about pooling.  (If only I had read this post from Le Tissier Designs then — I would have known exactly what to do with this yarn!)  I’m not too stressed by pooling in infant legwarmers, though ;).

I may have time to make another quick project, but I might just mail these out with the booties, a card, and some children’s books.

In other news, according to Random.org, the winner of the giveaway for my review copy of 30 Min-Knits: What Can You Knit in Half an Hour or Less? by Carol Meldrum, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Series, is number 5…

Jane!

Congratulations, Jane, and thanks to everyone who entered!  You can read my review of the book here.

 

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis!

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Handmade Gifts to Make

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Happy Thanksgiving!

In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) signifies the official start of the holiday shopping season.  In the spirit of keeping the holidays a little more handmade and small business and a little less mass produced and corporate, I’m sharing several holiday gift guides today.

Handmade gifts to make

This time of year, many crafters are using every spare moment to make holiday gifts for their loved ones.  Tracie Barrett‘s Gift Giving Guide on the Fibers by Tracie blog gives some great suggestions for quick-to-make holiday gifts and Fearless Leader recently posted a teaser for the Crochet Liberation Front‘s upcoming Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving.

My personal favorite last minute crochet gift projects are scarves made with bulky yarns (or multiple strands of yarn), hats, and cotton washcloths.

For scarves and washcloths, I turn to my stitch guides for inspiration.  Don’t have any stitch guides?

Not sure how many stitches to start with?  This post in my Crochet 101 CAL explains how to use your gauge to figure out how many stitches to start with if you want to make a project of a specific size.

Some of my holiday 2011 washcloths.

Hats make wonderful, quick holiday gifts.  Some of my favorite crochet hat patterns:

Stocking Caps. (Photo (c) House of White Birches.)

I just reviewed 60 More Quick Knits, which has some great knitted hat patterns, as well as patterns for mittens and scarfs.  My favorite crochet mitten pattern, amazingly available in 8 sizes from infant to XL adult, is Heart Strings by Cathy Pipinich.

Amigurumi can make a fun gift, too.

Filled with great gift ideas!

Speaking of books I haven’t had a chance to review yet, there are three great patterns in Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers by Linda Permann that would make speedy children’s gifts: Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers (6 mo – 2 years, and available here as a free excerpt), Tiny Tee Appliques to add to store bought or hand sewn clothes, and Beanie and Bonnet (in baby, toddler, and child sizes).  (Beanie and Bonnet errata available here.)

handmade gift bag can be a wonderful addition to a handmade or store bought gift.  These bags can be also reused, unlike conventional wrapping paper, making them more eco-friendly.Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence has a great list of crochet patterns for bags in this blog post.  The Mel Stampz blog has a list of 50 templates and patterns for papercrafts gift bags.

Deborah Atkinson from Snowcatcher has excellent crochet patterns and tutorials in her Snowflake Monday posts.   (It would be great if you could contribute to her charity of choice, Bike MS, so that she can send you a PDF of her 20 most popular designs.)  These snowflakes would make great holiday decorations or embellishments for gifts.  Some of the patterns would also work well as a set of holiday coasters.

With all of this holiday crocheting and knitting, you may be running low on yarn.  So why not stop by your Local Yarn Shop to celebrate Small Business Saturday?  You can even register your American Express card in advance to get a $25 credit on your statement if you spend at least $25 at a small business on Saturday, November 26.  Your LYS employees are guaranteed to have some additional project ideas and maybe even a few new patterns or yarns for you try out.  (If you’ll be yarn shopping in NYC, check out my Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn Shops.)

If you aren’t in the mood for knitting, crocheting, or papercrafting, handmade food gifts are another option.  I like to make jar mixes:  I don’t exhaust myself with last minute baking, the mixes last longer and can be used after the holidays end, and the jars can be reused in the kitchen or for craft storage.  Nestle‘s Very Best Baking is a good site for finding classic gift recipes.  My favorite jar mixes to give are the classic Toll House cookies mix, the chewie brownie mix, and the hot cocoa mix.  For those who don’t like chocolate (and there are some of them out there), I like the pumpkin cranberry bread mix or the oatmeal chip cookie mix (substituting butterscotch chips, raisins, or craisins for the chocolate chips).  You can also check out the Best Cookie Mix in a Jar Recipes and Dry Soup Mix Recipes pages at Allrecipes.com for more ideas.  If you can’t find canning jars in your area, there are many online options for ordering these days.  Just remember that if you are shipping jar mixes, you need to be careful about packaging.

Enjoy the first gift guide, and feel free to share your favorite gifts to make in the comments!