Tag Archives: made in k-town

FO Friday: Brooklyn’s Baby Blanket

Way back in February, I learned my cousin had a newborn daughter via Facebook.  Her name is Brooklyn. (Yes, like me, my cousin was born in Brooklyn, but he hasn’t lived there for about 20 years).

I decided to make her a baby blanket using some stash yarn.  I started with the motif from Frankie Brown‘s Jelly Mould Blanket and some leftover Red Heart Super Saver in Candy Print, but I ran out of yarn after 14 squares.  The stiffness of the yarn was the perfect pairing with this pattern.

Jelly Moulds through 2013-02-06

Since I didn’t have another complementary color in my stash, I thought it would be the perfect time to use my 20% off coupon to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  Once at the shop, I decided I wanted to go in a new direction, and instead of choosing more pink, I picked up three skeins of Vanna’s Choice in greens.  (I was feeling a bit spring-like at the time.)  Vanna’s Choice is much softer than the Red Heart, so it wasn’t as suited for the 3D shape of the Jelly Mould motif.

Jelly Mould and African Flower

At around the same time, Barbara from Made in K-Town released her African Flower Square Tutorial, and I decided to make 14 African Flower squares.  I had to make some adjustments, of course, to get the motifs to be the same size.

African Flower

And then, for good measure, I decided to make 14 (modified versions) of Ellen Gormley‘s Sunny Spread motifs.

Sunny Spread Row

I used a stash skein of Caron One Pound in white for all the borders, and joined each of the motifs in rows of 7.

Brooklyn Baby Blanket

I had a bit of a tough time taking pictures (thank you Central Park, for serving as a backdrop!), but I really like how the blanket came out.  It’s about 32 inches square, and I used about 990 yards of yarn (including about 530 yards of stash yarn!).

Brooklyn baby blanket folded

The whole project was much more improvised than my baby blankets usually are.  I guess you could say that the motifs came about organically.  And I used different techniques for joining the squares together to form rows, which helped to even out the slight differences in sizes.  I also used two different methods for joining the rows together (the green join is a very decorative v-stitch join, and the white join is a chain join).  These joins were inspired by ones I found in Robyn Chachula‘s Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia.

Brooklyn baby blanket 2

I think this means that my next blanket may be a bit more spontaneous!

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Favorite Online Crochet Resources: Link Party at Crochet Boulevard

Every Saturday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be highlighting one of my favorite online crochet resources. Today’s featured site is Crochet Boulevard, my favorite crochet link party.

I was first introduced to Barbara from made in k-town shortly after I began blogging in 2011.  I honestly can’t remember how I found her, but I fell in love with her striking photography, great projects, and clear writing.  Soon after I found made in k-town, Barbara started hosting crochet link parties which eventually needed a home of their own — the Crochet Boulevard.

crochetboulevard

There are just so many reasons I love this link party, but I’ll start with the reality.  I’m only aware of less than a handful of others that are only for crochet and not a mix of crochet and knitting.  But even if there were hundreds of crochet link parties, I’m sure Crochet Boulevard would still be at the top of my list.  Barbara’s readers get to be involved with choosing a theme by voting, so people tend to pick topics where they have great projects to share!  Crochet Boulevard is also very international and multicultural.  I’m always introduced to new blogs (many of of which are in languages other than English) and I get to “meet” bloggers from all over the world.  Even amidst these differences, our commonality – the love of crochet – clearly brings everyone together.

Make sure you stop by Crochet Boulevard this week to share your projects in the latest Free Topic Friday link party!  Barbara can also be found online at the made in k-town Facebook page.  Although Barbara is a busy lady including being in the midst of wedding planning, she did have some time to stop by for a NatCroMo interview.  (As a side note, to keep her blog active during this busy time, Barbara has invited some great guest bloggers to made in k-town.)

Barbara Langer
Barbara Langer.

 

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?

Barbara: It’s been so long, I actually can’t remember it very clearly. My earliest memory is sitting on the couch on my parents’ balcony (yes, there was a time when we had a couch out there), learning my first chain stitches. I must have been six or seven years old. My first “projects” were potholders and bed socks. Crochet has always been a part of my creative life, so it always felt easy and natural, like painting with watercolors or crafting with paper – the “normal” stuff that every child grows up with.

Barbara still makes coasters.  Click the photo to link to her beautiful Spiral Coaster/Potholder Pattern.
Barbara still makes potholders. Click the photo to link to her beautiful Spiral Coaster/Potholder Pattern from made in k-town.

UC: What inspired you to start blogging? And then how did you decide to host a link party?

Barbara: There was a time in my early twenties when I lost interest in crochet because I somehow felt like there was nothing new to discover (oh, how wrong I was… *gg*). Then, ten years later, I was sick at home for weeks and somehow discovered the colorful and inspiring world of crochet on the internet. I decided two things: first, I just HAD to grab my hook again and try all the new things I had seen on various blogs, and second: I wanted to be a part of the the online crochet community and share my work, too.

icrochet was one of the sites I visited regularly before I even started blogging myself: it was great to look at the pictures, then follow the links and discover even more crochet goodies. I could spend hours browsing icrochet and all the blogs that were connected there! When I started my blog, made in k-town, I wanted to host my own link-party, too – but somehow I wanted it to be different from the others, and so I had the idea of hosting monthly theme-parties, with topics like “granny squares,” “flowers,” “Christmas crochet” and many more. After a few months I decided to outsource the parties to another blog, because I thought it was a pity that those awesome galleries were somehow lost in the archives with all the other stuff I was posting – and so I started The Crochet Boulevard!

A screenshot of the voting section on Crochet Boulevard.  You still have time to choose the next theme!
A screenshot of the voting section on Crochet Boulevard. You still have time to vote for the next theme!

UC: Since it is NatCroMo… Can you share a favorite crochet memory with us?

Barbara: It’s funny, I can still remember the night when I first picked up a hook again after my decade-long abstinence. I had discovered the internet crochet world just before I went to bed, but then I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. So I got up again, sneaked downstairs to my parents’ apartment and searched for my old hooks and some yarn. Back in my own living room, I made myself comfortable on the coach, put on the Country station on satellite radio and started hooking – “just a few stitches” to see if I still knew how to do it. Next thing I remember is my boyfriend getting up the next morning, asking me what I’m doing up so early ;). Luckily, it was a Saturday morning, so I could get some sleep later. That night I had tried all the different granny squares I could find on the internet – they never made it to a bigger project, but I’ll never forget how I got my crochet-mojo back.

Barbara's African Flower Square from made in k-town.  Click the picture to link through to the tutorial.
Barbara’s African Flower Square from made in k-town. Click the picture to link through to the tutorial.

UC: What was your favorite crochet theme party on Crochet Boulevard?

Barbara: Ah, that’s a tough one! I generally think that the parties are getting better with each month, because there are more and more girls who join us and share their work. So our last party, Colorful, is really a pleasure to look at in its whole! And instead of looking back, I’m really looking forward to the parties that are still to come. I’m dreaming of a huge freeform or yarn-bombing link party, but since both topics are rather specific crochet niches, I’m afraid that only very few of us could actually share their work (although we’d all love to see a little freeform or yarn bombing, right?). Maybe one day…

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to make?

Barbara: Oh my, I’m already bored with my answer: blankets and potholders :). On the other hand: who could ever be bored with blankets and potholders?  (UC comment: So true!  Check out the beauties in the Crochet Boulevard Blanket link party here.)

Barbara's double-ended crochet, reversible Magic Blanket is one of my favorite projects from made in k-town.  Click the picture to see all of her Magic Blanket posts.
Barbara’s double-ended crochet, reversible Magic Blanket is one of my favorite projects from made in k-town. Click the picture to see all of her Magic Blanket posts.

UC: What are your favorite websites for crochet-related content and community?

Barbara: Although there are lots of crochet websites I’ve bookmarked for further investigation, it always comes down to two: Pinterest and Ravelry. Pinterest is my daily crochet inspiration and my favorite resource for general browsing. I’m following lots of crochet boards there, and everytime I visit Pinterest, there’s always something new to discover and re-pin. When I’m looking for something specific, I rely on Ravelry. They’ve got a huge database, and so far I was always lucky to find exactly what I was looking for.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Barbara, and for creating and maintaining my favorite crochet link party!

Sharing the crochet blog love

Confession time: I never read blogs until I started blogging.  I would occasionally Google something and find a blog post that answered my question, but that was about it.  I never subscribed or returned or remembered which blog I had read.  The main barrier for me was my (irrational) fear of blog readers – the descriptions always seemed overwhelming, and with no place to organize the blogs I was interested in, I couldn’t really keep track of any.  (I eventually started using Google Reader, which is much less overwhelming than it seemed to me when I read about it!)

This is my second year participating in Blogtoberfest, and I want to spread the blog love today by sharing five crochet blogs I started following this year.  For me, this was easier than trying to pick from the larger group of blogs I’ve been following since last year :).  These aren’t necessarily blogs that are participating in Blogtoberfest, by the way.  If you’d like to check out any of the 300+ blogs that are participating, stop by I Saw You Dancing.

alottastitches

This blog is written by Linda74, who is a prolific ripple crocheter.  Although I only learned about this blog a few weeks ago, I actually dove into the archives and found some really cool posts!  Linda74 does a lot of charity crochet, and common posting topics are finished objects, yarn hauls, and information about upcycled crafts.

Some of my favorite posts:

Lanas & Hilos

I’m a big fan of this bilingual blog.  (I even interviewed Ana as part of my Hispanic Heritage Month series.)  Ana is participating in the motif challenge along with Barbara from Made in K-Town, and you can find her finished motifs here.

Crochet Boulevard

And speaking of Made in K-Town (which I’ve been following since last year), Crochet Boulevard is my new favorite crochet link party.  I always find awesome new blogs there.  Unlike many of the other blogs I follow, Barbara seems to have a very international following.  You can find bloggers from all of the world posting on her link parties.  The current theme is Free Topic, so why not stop by and link up one of your favorite projects?

Stitch Story

I’m not quite sure how I originally came across Shelby Allaho‘s blog, but her designs are wonderful and I love how she shares her inspiration for different projects.  Some of my recent favorite posts are her reveal of the Natalie Cowl design and A Dozen Ways to Wear the Ruffles Scarf.  (I’m sort of styling challenged, so I love when people show me how to wear things!)

Crochet Nirvana

Robin is one of the bloggers who joined in the Year of Projects this year.  She is a librarian and often shares research in her posts, which I find really interesting.  She also really engages her readers with posts and questions.  Some of my recent favorite posts are Robin’s tips for stiffening crochet lace and her explorations of the granny square.

 

If you aren’t already following these blogs, I recommend that you check them out!

Have you found any new (or new-to-you) crochet blogs recently?

 

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and  CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Interview Series: Ana BC from Lanas & Hilos

This post is part of my 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month interview series.

Today, I’m interviewing Guatemalan crocheter Ana Contreras, the bilingual blogger behind Lanas & Hilos.  I’m a big fan of Ana’s blog and the great pictures she shares of her projects.  Ana, also known online as AnaBC on Ravelry, is also a crochet (and, occasionally, knitting) designer.    Her patterns can be found online here.  All pictures are used with Ana’s permission.

Ana BC.

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

Ana: My mom taught me how to crochet and knit when I was a teenager. I continued learning through books and magazines.  The funny thing is that now my mom calls me “teacher,” because I am sharing with her new techniques that I have been learning through my reading and internet research, which is mostly in English (and my mom is not so fluent in it).

Lately I have been crocheting more than knitting, maybe because I find it easier and faster.  But I actually love both.  Each has its own charm.

 

Ana's Circles and Stripes Blanket. (Click for blog post.)

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Ana: I would define my inspiration in two words: easy and modern.

EASY.  I confess I don’t like “difficult” when it comes my yarn crafts.  It has to pleasurable for me…it is a hobby, not torture.  Therefore, I am always looking for ways to make things easier and likable.

MODERN.  I am always looking for modern options of classic or old-fashioned styles.  Yarn pieces don’t have to be boring.

Both goals have kept my mind in a creative mode.

 

Ana's Wave Blanket pattern. (Click for free download.)

UC: Tell us about the crochet scene in Guatemala. 

Ana: In general, here in Guatemala, crocheting and knitting are considered crafts for grandmothers and older people.  But I think things are changing.  Younger people are wanting to learn to knit or crochet, because nowadays there are more modern patterns and options in the yarn crafts.  The yarn stores are now offering classes.

The problem that we have here in my country is that there are not many yarn stores; and the variety of yarn available is very poor.  But we learn to work with what we have, and make the most of it.  Personally, when I have the chance to travel, I love to make a stop at a yarn store and buy something special.  (But, how much yarn can you bring in a suitcase?  Not much!)   (UC comment: I love visiting yarn shops when I travel, too!  You can find shop reviews from my last trip here and here, and my Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn Shops here.)

 

Detail from Ana's Circle in a Granny project, along with her inspiration. (Click for blog post.)

UC: Tell us about your blog. Why did you decide on blogging in English and Spanish, and what are some of the challenges associated with bilingual blogging?

Ana: I started my blog a few years ago.  I named it “Lanas & Hilos” which is Spanish for “Yarn and Thread.”  I started blogging in Spanish, my native language. But later I started to connect and follow other bloggers in the world (from England, Germany, Holland, U.S., Canada, Israel, and Greece).  Then I thought of adding an English version to connect and share with them.

I kept the Spanish version because I know many of my Latin friends don´t speak English.  But adding English opened up the world for me.

 

Ana's Plaid Granny pattern. (Click for blog post with pattern & tutorial.)

UC: You have some great photos on your blog, and your own style of watermarking them that doesn’t look tacky. Do you have any advice for aspiring bloggers, especially on photography for those who struggle with capturing those perfect pictures?

Ana: From experience, I have a few tips for new bloggers:

  1. Keep it clean and simple.
  2. Show big pictures and keep the text short.  Most people don’t have the time to read long posts.
  3. Take your photos with lots of light, but not direct light.  Later, you can always PhotoShop them.  If you don´t have a computer program, there are a few free photo editors online, such as FotoFlexer, LunaPic, and PicMonkey (this last one is the one I usually use, and I love it).   (UC comment: I use PicMonkey a lot too, and it is really fun!)
  4. Watermark your photos (with the photo editor), preferably with a fading effect in order not to spoil the picture.  Believe it or not, people “steal” photos in the internet, and the watermarks is a deterrent.
  5. Share details of the pieces you are showing that might be interesting to readers, such as the pattern you used, and where you can get it, as well as yarn type, hook number, colors, etc.

 

Ana's Baby Boy Booties project. (Click for blog post.)

UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet or craft blogs to share?

Ana: There are too many to even mention.  Among my favorites are the ones I have on the sidebar of my blog.

I highly recommend searching blogs beyond “your circle of friends,” because there are a lot of new and interesting blogs opening every day.  Side bars are very useful in this way.  When you visit blogs, leave a comment.  Many of them will visit your blog in turn, and that is a great way to meet new bloggers and make new friends.  (UC comment: I completely agree.  It’s actually through a German blogger, Barbara from Made in K-Town, that I discovered Ana’s blog.  Barbara hosts a great monthly link party on The Crochet Boulevard and it is a great way to find crochet bloggers from all over the world.)

 

Ana's Baby Blanket Nina knit pattern. (Click for free download.)

UC: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Ana: Probably most people think of me as a crocheter, but I love knitting as well.  Actually I have been working on a knit scarf pattern, and I will share it with all of you soon!

Thanks for stopping by, Ana, and we’re looking forward to seeing that new knitting pattern soon!

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Thursday craft goals update – Week 37

Thursdays seem to come around pretty quickly.  Here is my weekly update on my craft goals .

 

Personal crafting goals

1) Work my way through Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters.  Instead of using the patterns, I’d like to create my own project (for myself and/or for teaching) for each technique/skill in the book.

I started on the Irish crochet chapter and have been making some progress on an Irish rose project for myself.  I’m very excited about an interview with one of the crochet masters that I’ll be posting on Sunday (hint, hint).

 

5) Limit new yarn purchases, increase the ratio of natural to synthetic fibers in my stash, and continue to destash any yarn or notions that I won’t be using in the near future.

I survived a trip to my favorite yarn shop without buying any yarn.  I also donated 12 crochet hooks that I had in my stash to the Hollis Branch of Queens Library.  (I taught a 3-part crochet class in the after-school program, and the kids had so much fun they are continuing a crochet circle there.  The hooks will help them get started.)

On the other hand, I joined the birthday swap on Crochetlist.  It looked too fun to ignore :).

 

 

7) Participate (however briefly) in a Ravelry CAL.

Thanks to everyone who read and responded to my CAL whining last week.  I haven’t committed to anything, but two CALs are really calling out to me:

I plan to drop in and out as my schedule allows, but I’m going to remain flexible.  So, I won’t be committing to make 100 squares from Edie Eckman‘s Beyond the Square: Crochet Motifs with Made in K-Town, but I will make some :). And I don’t know if I will complete an entire Wool-Eater blanket (especially on Sarah London’s timeframe), but I will try out the technique.  For both projects, I will kick off with stash yarn, which will support goal # 5 and my efforts to Surmount the Stash in 2012.

 

 

Professional crafting goals

3) Publish at least five patterns.

I’m still toiling in secret on a sample for a pattern that should be published later in 2012.

 

 

4) Blog at least twice a week.

I’ve posted 5 times since my last weekly update.  Yay!

My favorite posts of 2011

On March 27, I wrote an about and welcome post to this blog, and since then I’ve been posting regularly.  I know I was mostly (only?) talking to myself for the first few months, but I’m glad I stuck with it.  Today, I’m sharing my favorite posts of 2011.

Series

 

Interviews

 

Projects

 

Reviews

 

Random

 

Free stuff

 

Thanks so much for reading :).

Happy New Year!

 

Blanket retrospective

Barbara at Made in K-Town is hosting one of her awesome link parties, and this month the theme is crocheted blankets.  I was inspired to share some the blankets I made before I was blogging.

Way back in May, I posted about the project journal I used to use for my crochet projects before blogging.  Thanks to those lovely files, I have some great pictures of blankets from back in the day.  Be warned, these pictures were all taken indoors and I didn’t originally plan to share them with the world :).

2005

… was the year of the throw (a.k.a. lapghan) for me.  I had finally learned how to make a granny square (courtesy of a this free pattern from the JPF Crochet Club by Julie A. Bolduc).

This was my first project made by joining granny squares together.

I made this for my dad’s birthday.  I had never joined granny squares before so I hadn’t really thought about all of the ends that would need to be woven in.  I finished it on time, but was totally overwhelmed by the ends (48 squares, each with two yarn tails, plus I whipstitched the squares together with yet more yarn tails).  I actually took it back from him (yep, I did wrap it, ends and all, so I would have something to give!) and then let it sit in my closet for two more years until I was brave enough to attack the ends.  Since then, I’ve learned to weave in my ends as I go :).

I found the Lapghans pattern by Marilyn Coleman on the Coats and Clark website shortly thereafter, and took to making one-piece granny blankets.

A lapghan for my god daughter. My cat Yang, a.k.a. Mr. Cranky (rest in peace), had a way of working himself into the picture.
This one ended up as a Christmas present.

My first bedspread sized blanket was Garden Stripes by Aline Suplinskas in the Afghan Collectors Series from The Needlecraft Shop.

This was an engagement present. (Now that they are no longer together, I wonder what happened to it?)

I also made my sister a lapghan when she went away to college.  I used the Campus Colors pattern by Carole Rutter Tippett from Quick and Cozy Afghans.

Go Lords!

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the crocheted blankets I made in 2005.

Monet Pineapple

This is one of the patterns I fell in love with after 2005.

Monet Pineapple, circa 2006.

Monet Pineapple by Janie Herrin is one of my favorite designs in my beloved copy of 100 Afghans to Knit & Crochet by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. I made several versions, but the one in this picture was a wedding gift.  It’s unfortunate that you can’t see the detail of the beautiful pineapples in my picture.

And, for good measure…

I’ve thrown in a picture of my favorite quilt.  I call it Log Cabin by the Sea.  This is the first first quilt I started (in November 2005), which I finally finished quilting in February, 2008.  I love it!  We sleep under it every night and it is super cozy.

What are your handmade favorite blankets?

Nan’s handiwork

Tuesday would have been my maternal grandmother’s 85th birthday, and I thought this week would be a good time to show off some of her handiwork on my blog.

Here I am with my Nan and Gramps in their backyard. This would be a year or two after she taught me to crochet.

I was inspired by Barbara from Made in K-town‘s recent posts (#1 and #2) featuring her grandmother’s crochet to do a post highlighting some of my Nan’s work.  My Nan was an amazing needle artist.  She was an accomplished seamstress, a machine-like knitter and crocheter, and also enjoyed embroidery now and again.  My Mom and her youngest sister picked up the sewing, but neither really took to crocheting or knitting.  As a kid, my Nan taught me to crochet, knit, sew, and embroider, but the only thing that really stuck was the crochet.  (I picked up the other crafts again as an adult.)

Here I am with my Nan at my junior high school graduation. I'm wearing a super cool dress designed and made by my mom.
And I here I am with my Nan at my college graduation. (I didn't crop it because I thought her half smile could easily be explained by the horrific mess in my dorm room! I won't even pretend it was only that messy because I was moving out.)
For some reason, in the mid-'80s I staged individual photo shoots starring each of my stuffed animals at this table setting. (Have I mentioned yet that I was a weird kid?) Here is one such photo featuring a bear made by my Nan.
Here is another photo featuring one of my Nan's famous crocheted bears.

I have only a few of my Nan’s creations in my apartment.  On Wednesday, MC and I walked over to Central Park and I took some photos of them – kind of an updated picnic version of the childhood photos above ;).

 

I love the character on this bear's face. And he looks pretty good considering he's probably in his 30s! My cat likes to sleep in his lap, too.
My Nan knit the blocks for this name pillow for me when I was an infant, but didn't sew everything together until much later.

My Nan was infamous for leaving pins on the floor by her sewing machine cabinet.  In fact, she had  rule that you could never go barefoot in her house and always had to wear slippers.  She would say it was because it wasn’t sanitary to bring feet that touched the floors into bed (even though she kept the house immaculate), but I think the real reason was so that we wouldn’t end up with pins in our toes.  When I brought this pillow from my Mom’s to my apartment, I discovered there was still a pin or two embedded in the stuffing :).

This little guy is pretty cute. Maybe all of these little bears are why I like amigurumi!

It’s amazing how much joy a handmade gift can bring, even many years after it has been given.  Each one also holds some really cool memories.  What’s your favorite handmade memory?