You can find more information on the 2014 Sampler MKAL here, and can order the pattern here. Join in any time for a fun project with great prizes!
This month’s giveaway sponsor is Michelle’s Assortment. Michelle sells her wireworked shawl pins, stitch markers, bookmarks, and charms on Etsy and at fiber events around the country. You may remember that I had the opportunity to meet her at Vogue Knitting Live in January.
I snapped that picture of her in her booth, where I helped out for a few hours. Michelle has some lovely work. In fact, I’m the proud owner of three of her stunning shawl pins.
Michelle will also be the MKAL giveaway sponsor in November. Thanks, Michelle, for your generosity and support!
Michelle will be providing the winner’s choice of any straight pin with a single bead in her shop inventory. You can find her current inventory of straight pins in her Etsy shop here. Be aware that her stock is likely to change by the end of March after the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. (The shawl pins shown above are, from left to right: the Heart Shaped Stone Bead, the Winter is Coming Shawl Pin, and the Glass Bead with Hot Pink Wrap.)
To enter the giveaway, post a picture of any 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-A-Long sampler square you knit during Marcj in the relevant spoiler thread onRavelry by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, March 31, 2014. (KAL participants who are not Ravelry members can instead share pictures with theUnderground Crafter Facebook page or Tweet pictures to @ucrafter.) Each square you share a picture of will count as one entry. One winner will be chosen at random on or about April 3.
Next Wednesday, I’ll be participating in Crochetville‘s A Tour Through Crochet Country blog tour for National Crochet Month. I’m working on something fun (and secret) to reveal next week, but until then, I can share a little progress picture.
lunch at Church Brew Works (recommended by one of the students in my Saturday class)…
and walks and rides over many cool bridges.
The Festival was very fun. My two classes were great – I met a lot of very friendly students and got to watch their swatches grow. In the Marketplace, there were more vendors than I expected. I bought some beautiful buttons from Melissa Jean and several shawl pins from Purdy Thangz. I successfully avoided the temptation to buy more yarn, though I really struggled when passing the Stramba Farm, Jefferson Farms, and Wild Hare Fiber Studio booths.
As far as reading, I just finished Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow. I received a free review copy through NetGalley and I enjoyed it so much that I just bought the next book in the series, Fly Into Fire. I’m hoping this book will continue my reading momentum. My goal is to read 20 non-crafty books this year, and so far, I’ve only gotten through three. (In fairness, I did start and then abandon a few books.) Looks like I’ll be reading a whole lot in the summer…
I’m also looking for suggestions for a new blog reader now that Google Reader is going to shut down. Although I’m not near tears like the person in the link, I am wondering how I’m going to organize the hundreds of blogs I follow.
Every Saturday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be highlighting one of my favorite online crochet resources. Today’s featured site is FreshStitches, my favorite source of tips and tricks for crochet and small (crafty) business.
Stacey’s blog is filled with wonderful pictures. For amigurumi fans, there is a lot to enjoy as Stacey shares projects from her own patterns as well as tips and customer projects from CALs that she hosts. And Stacey also shares her own projects, which include a range of crocheted and knit garments and accessories.
But the main reason I’m highlighting her blog today is because of the regular tips and tricks that Stacey shares with her readers. Here are a few of my favorites for yarn crafts in general:
Underground Crafter (UC): Can you share a favorite crochet project with us?
Stacey: Oh, I don’t know if I could really pick a favorite, but I’ll pick a nice one…
From the time I was 12 years old, I entered my crochet in the county fair every summer. It was a lot of fun, and I really liked getting ribbons.
Then, when I was 17, I was waiting in line to submit my crochet pieces for the year. A supervisor came up to me and said that my work was so lovely… and asked if I wanted to do a demonstration!
I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited! So, I got booked in for a timeslot, and I spent a few hours crocheting at the fair.
I think it was the first time that I viewed my crocheting as something exciting and interesting. Before then, I just thought of it as something my mom and I did… it never occurred to me that other people didn’t!
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to make?
Stacey: I love making stuffed animals. They’re cute, they’re quick, and they make use of the best properties of crochet fabric. They benefit from the density that a crochet stitch can provide.
UC: What are your favorite websites for crochet-related content and community?
I’m in love with Ravelry. I spend a lot of time chatting in the forums, there! I also love Kathryn Vercillo’s blog. It’s full of really great crochet content & trends. (UC comment: I guess great minds think alike because I highlighted Crochet Concupiscence last week as my favorite source of crochet news!)
Thanks Stacey, for stopping by, and for providing such wonderful content on your blog!
Yesterday, Vogue Knitting Live 2013 opened in New York. If you’re in the New York area this weekend, you should stop by! Here’s a quick wrap up of some of what I’ve seen so far.
The gallery exhibits were being set up in the morning, and I had a chance to photograph most of them before it got too crowded. Here are some of the highlights. (And speaking of highlights, keep in mind that these photos were taken in dimly lit hotel corridors.)
Colorful Stitches had an awesome array of knit food displayed like a picnic table. This bowl of cereal with a strawberry was my favorite!
Alyssa Ettinger is a ceramic artist with a studio in my native Brooklyn. I love the soothing pastels of her work.
Adrian Kershaw is a crocheter and knitter working with upcycled VHS tapes as yarn. Because her work is black and the lighting was so dim, the pictures don’t really convey the projects. They’re pretty cool!
Carol MacDonald is a printmaker who makes prints, cards, and tags using her images from her knitting.
Edwina Sutherland is a fiber artist working primarily with needlefelting. She shared her secret for successfully transporting her projects for display with me – wrap them in quilt batting.
And last – but certainly not least – was the crochet artist, Jo Hamilton. I’ve seen her crochet portraits online and was really looking forward to seeing them in real life. They are much cooler in person because there is much more texture and subtle color variations than a photo can convey.
I met with Danielle Chalson from Makewise Designs for a quick interview after lunch. Until I publish it, I’ll just share this picture of Danielle’s enthusiastic smile.
With over 70 vendors, the Vogue Knitting Marketplace alone could take up many blog posts. So I’ll just concentrate on the colleagues I visited and my purchases.
I stopped by Kollabora‘s booth a few times to say hi and to see my samples on display. Here’s a sneak peak of two of my upcoming crochet designs that they are debuting at Vogue Knitting Live. (The patterns aren’t available yet.)
It was also cool to see two of my other designs featured in their ad in the program.
I also took a picture of their schedule so I can remember to stop by their events. With a program this packed, every reminder helps!
Then I got the chance to meet Shannon Okey (a.k.a. Knitgrrl) in person. I have a pattern in one of the upcoming Cooperative PressFresh Designs: Crochet books so we chatted about that briefly. I somehow forgot to take a picture of Shannon, but here is a picture of the Cooperative Press booth :).I had a chance to check out Dishcloth Diva by Deb Buckingham in person. It looked just as scrumptious as I thought it would! (And I love that I can feel glamorous about making dishcloths!)
And then I saw the North Light Fibers booth. I was drawn in because their tagline is “Block Island made,” and MC used to vacation in Block Island as a kid. In addition to great natural fiber yarns, they sell these cozy alpaca socks.
I had a great chat with the owner and her husband, and I was drawn to their natural care products.
So what did I end up buying?
I bought a pair of cozy alpaca socks for MC, a book for me, and some handmade soap and lip butter from a local company.
You’re probably saying, “What?? No yarn??” You know I’ve been working on stashbusting for the past 13 months. I’m not sure if I’ll buy yarn at Vogue Knitting Live, but I promised myself that I wouldn’t on the first day. I wanted the chance to look at everything and sleep on any potential yarn purchases… Let’s see how I hold up today!
It’s been a while since I shared a Year of Projects post, but as the year comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my crafty accomplishments in 2012 and planning for 2013. I’ve definitely missed the camaraderie of participating in YOP so I thought I would ease myself back into posting on a semi-regular, if not weekly, basis.
Make my mom a special bedspread for her milestone birthday. Unfortunately, I’ve had to put this project aside. I have a very large secret project due on February 1st, and I can’t imagine wanting to complete a bedspread right after that in time for my mom’s birthday. I already talked to my sister about it and decided this bedspread will be a Christmas 2013 gift to my mom.
Learn to spin. My first tentative drop spindling has whet my appetite, and I’m hoping to dive in more deeply in 2013.
If I plan to continue with YOP updates on a semi-regular basis, I’ll definitely need to review my list and decide what to keep and what to change. I’ve been thinking a lot about my general crafty goals for 2013, and I’d like YOP to fit in with my overall goals rather than being another set of goals.
I designed the Twisted Cable Hat because I love the look of mini cables and twisted stitches. My version was made with just over one skein of Patons Classic Wool in Leaf Green. It is super warm and thick because of the way it is crocheted. I haven’t decided yet when I’ll offer a PDF version of this pattern.
The Lattice Shell Tunic is available as a free pattern on their website. (Side note: The schematic hasn’t been uploaded yet, so if you’re getting started on the project, let me know and I can email it to you.) The small is a great one skein project using a jumbo skein of Kollabora’s Nora’s Pantry yarn, which is a soft alpaca.
It’s always fun to see your designs published, but there was other great news this week…
Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival
I’ll be teaching two classes at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival in March, and my mom and I have decided to make it a weekend road trip! I’m really looking forward to spending a few days out of town with my mom. I booked the hotel this week and am already thinking about what to pack. (Can you tell I don’t travel much??) I’ve been wanting to check out Pittsburgh for a while, so this is a great opportunity. And, since my mom is driving us up, we’ll have a car to get around town with, too.
If you’re in the area (or are planning a road trip, like me), I’d love to see you at either of my classes: Knitting Cables 101 on Saturday morning or the Bruges Lace Basics Stitch Sampler on Sunday afternoon. Also, if you have any Pittsburgh tourist suggestions, let me know!
When I won the award last year, I was thrilled, but this year I’m even more excited. It may not be evident, but I put a lot of work into my interviews – probably more time than for any other type of post. But (even without these two awesome awards!!) it is completely worth it because I learn so much from the interviewees and I’ve been able to “meet” some of my crochet heroes by contacting them for an interview.
When I started blogging, I naively thought interviews would be a good way to have content on days when I didn’t know what to blog about. You know how they say that ignorance is bliss? If I would have known then what I know now about interviewing, I might have never started ;). About half of the people I contact may never respond while others may be interested but aren’t available to answer the questions for months because their schedules are so tight. Each interview can require hours of research before I even write the questions – everything from reading the interviewee’s books to searching the web for information about their background. Once the interview answers are returned, taking the time to organize the pictures and links for the posts, as well as editing out typos and adding in my own comments, adds in another hour or two. I feel so honored that Kathryn would highlight my interviews again this year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed them. You can find all my interviews here. (I’m also planning a recap of my favorite interviews from this year later this month.)
This has been an amazing week for me, and I hope yours has gone just as well!
Needlecrafts, handmade creativity, and other good stuff