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 booklet was provided by Leisure Arts. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
I think this means that my next blanket may be a bit more spontaneous!
Every Monday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be interviewing crocheters. Today’s interview is with Johnny Vasquez, a crochet teacher.
As a crochet and knitting teacher, I’m constantly looking for online resources to share with my students so they have additional supports when I’m not around. I can’t remember how I first came across New Stitch A Day, but I regularly refer my students (and my crocheting and knitting friends) to it. Today I’m excited to share an interview with Johnny Vasquez, the Founder of Craftory Media.
I should mention that Johnny offered to use his technological abilities to set up a Skype video interview, but I wasn’t able to figure out scheduling on my end, so he was gracious enough to do a regular interview via email.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting and knitting?
Johnny: My great grandmother was big into the fiber arts. She was a weaver, a spinner, knitter, and hand dyer. She’s gone now, but my dad still has her spinning wheel and loom.
My grandmother, on the other side of the family, worked as a seamstress for years and has been knitting and crocheting most of her life. I often got crocheted afghans for Christmas. But they were exactly what you would think they would be like: Red Heart scratchy yarn in horrible color combinations. Basically whatever colors were on sale at the local craft store.
The funny thing is, even though yarn craft was all around me, I never had an interest. I thought knitting and crochet was for old people.
Then I heard about this Kickstarter project by Rebecca Burgess. She wanted to source all of her clothing for a year from within 150 miles of her home. The idea was to be more connected to the people who are involved in making these garments that are so intimate to our lives.
She documented going to an organic farm to plant the indigo dyes, buying waste wool from a sheep stock rancher, and working with an old mill to process that into yarn. She took that yarn to a local knitwear designer and had it turned into a hat. (UC comment: You can read more about Rebecca’s Fibershed Project on her website here.)
At that moment a light clicked in my head. Something about the story of how that hat was created really resonated with me. I decided I wanted to knit a sweater so I could be more connected to my clothing.
But first I needed to learn to knit. So I went Walmart, bought a teach yourself to knit kit, two balls (skeins I found out later) of Simply Soft, and the rest is history.
UC: What inspired you to start teaching?
Johnny: I’ve been teaching in different capacities most of my life.
I started teaching bible study in Jr. High.
In high school, I directed plays and was section leader in choir. I also started an alumni chapter for a leadership program that had all of LA county as its jurisdiction.
In my college years, I was a substitute teacher and taught an after school drama program.
So I’ve led and taught for a long time. When I learned to knit and crochet, the transition was pretty natural.
UC: Why did you launch New Stitch a Day?
Johnny: That’s a LOOOONG story.
I was in Chicago at a yarn store called Loopy, and I was chatting with this lady about knitting. I had only been knitting about 6 weeks. She was looking at one of those perpetual knitting calendars and mentioned that it would be cool to knit one swatch a day for a year from the calendar and then turn it into a sampler afghan. I thought . . . “that would be cool . . .”
A few months later at Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a couple of stitch dictionaries. At the same time I had been following another blog called New Dress a Day. The girl who ran that site gave herself $1 a day to make a new piece of clothing out of stuff she got from the bargain bin at a local thrift store.
I thought that was a great project and I was reminded of that lady in Chicago and her stitch a day calendar. I figured it would be cool to do my own blog to help me become a better knitter and I would call it New Stitch a Day.
That thought festered in my mind for a few days, until I was trying to knit a particular stitch out of one of the books and I couldn’t figure out the instructions. I tried going online to find a video to help and there was none for that specific stitch.
I’ve been doing stuff with video since I was a pre-teen. When I was a freshman in high school, I made a short film instead of writing a final project in English. I’ve worked on a reality TV pilot, some short films, and an indie music video.
I knew I could put together better videos than a lot of what I was seeing and I had an HD camera in my iPhone. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to put out a new video tutorial each day. But I’m also the kinda of person who thinks, sure, I can do a triathlon with three months of training. My ambition is often bigger than my ability.
UC: Tell us about how it’s grown since then.
Johnny: I started doing 1 video knitting tutorial every Monday through Friday.
The first video took me 8hrs to complete. I got that down to about 4 hours per stitch, but for the first year and a half I never did get a stitch a day out.
Eventually I added one crochet stitch video on Saturdays, but that was pretty sporadic.
One day in the spring of 2011, my wife and I were in New York for work and we tweeted to the Lion Brand people that we wanted to visit their store, which also happened to be their offices. They said to let them know when we dropped by.
When we got there we were greeted by Jessica, who handled their social media at the time. She let me know they loved what we were doing and wanted to know how they could help. A few months later, they were our first official sponsor. They provided yarn and paid a small advertising fee to have their product featured in our videos.
That’s the first time I thought this could be a real business. By June, my wife was graciously working a couple part time jobs and both our parents helped out from time to time so I could work full-time on the site.
By the next June, I was getting a bigger and bigger vision for what I wanted to accomplish, but I didn’t have the man power to do it. My wife, Lacie, was pretty tired of living in CO where it was actually cold during the winter. So I convinced my brothers to help out. We sold pretty much everything we couldn’t fit in a couple suitcases and moved back to Los Angeles.
Today we put out 1 knitting and 1 crochet tutorial every Monday through Friday and it takes us about 2.5 from start to finish for each. And they’re completely free to watch. In fact, all of the more than 500 videos we’ve made so far are Creative Commons, so people can use them on their sites and even sell them in their patterns for free.
One thing we started at the beginning of 2013 is our Yarn Craft Academy, which is our premium education classes. This is where we go in depth on topics like double knitting, Tunisian crochet, and making amiguriumi toys. The classes last between an hour to two hours and most come with two practice patterns to test out your new skills.
The coolest thing though, is we do a free version of every class about once a week. We do this through a live Ustream event and I actually get to interact with people all over the world in real time through the chat room. If they want to watch the class again, they can purchase a recording that has a bunch of bonus content. We also have an all you can eat option where people can pay per month to access all of our classes.
Another cool thing is everyone gets to vote on what classes we do next. Every couple of weeks we have a survey where we post 8 options for future classes. These come from suggestions from our audience in previous surveys. They pick their top 3 or 4 and we turn them into classes.
We’ve only been doing those for about 5 weeks, but we’ve had an average of 1,000 people register for each, often in as little as 36 hours. (UC comment: That’s great news, Johnny. It’s wonderful to see your site expanding.)
Side Note: Erika Knight edited the Harmony Guides, which we use all the time for New Stitch a Day. I met her a couple weeks ago at TNNA. (UC comment: The National NeedleArts Association trade show.) She’s super cool and very British. I love her sense of style, especially the neon pink tennis shoes she wore with her pant suits every day.
UC: What advice do you have for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Johnny: Well, first, don’t call your site “(Something Random) a Day”. It’s a huge commitment and for the most part unnecessary. If I were to start again I’d call it knitting stitch weekly, or crochet stitch a week. There are advantages to posting content on a daily basis, but it’s very taxing if you’re doing it by yourself. I’m lucky to have an uber supportive wife and a brother who gets the vision.
Two: Building an email list is incredibly important to communicating with your audience. If you visit our site, we call people who join our email list VIPs and they get special benefits that random visitors to our site do not get. Things like free patterns, invites to live classes, special discounts, and contests and giveaways.
Email is really important to interacting with our community, so we have lots of opportunities to sign up on our site. If you don’t have an email list, it’s free to start one through MailChimp. (Disclaimer: MailChimp did give me an awesome crocheted monkey hat to say that.)
Three: Don’t be afraid to put stuff out there for free. And by free I mean people don’t pay you money for it. We give out free patterns all the time, but you have to be on our email list or share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest in order to download it (see Sidewinder free for an example).
Four: Community is essential to success.
If you’re a designer, feature some of the projects people have posted on Ravelry of your stuff in a monthly newsletter.
If you own a yarn store, pick a customer of the week and put them on your Facebook page.
If you blog, ask your audience who they want you to interview or what questions they want you to answer. Better yet, interview someone from your audience!
When people feel involved in your process they will help you succeed. We have rarely done advertising for New Stitch a Day but we’ve grown to almost 17,000 email subscribers through word of mouth because we make people feel like family. (UC comment: Thanks for sharing these great suggestions, Johnny!)
UC: What is next for you and New Stitch a Day?
Johnny: For New Stitch a Day we’re working on a new year long Knit and Crochet a Long we call the New Stitch Afghan. We’re planning a monthly design contest where our subscribers have to use a stitch from our site to make a 12 x 12 inch afghan square. We’ll put three up for a vote on Facebook and the winner each month will win a prize of some sort from one of our sponsors. That should get started in late March.
But what I’m super excited about is our newest venture called Yarn Nation. This is going to be the heart of a new network of sites we’re developing for the yarn craft industry.
Want a sneak peak? Here’s some of the stuff we’ve got planned:
Fiberstory.TV – Interviews with People doing cool stuff with yarn
Yarn Tripper – A travel show for fiber enthusiasts
Knitting Helpline – A live Q&A show where you get your knitting and crochet questions answered by industry professionals (preview here)
Yarntreprenuer – Business advice for designers, yarn store owners, and fiber arts professionals of all kinds
Yarn Review Daily – Daily video product reviews
The Yarnist – a new kind of online magazine for yarn lovers.
Yarn Nation will be a community that connects these awesome sites together and will let you share your passion for yarn with people all over the world. You can sign up for a free invite by visiting YarnNation.
We’ve got some other cool stuff planned too, but I’ve already said too much!
If you want to become a New Stitch a Day VIP sign up for our email list and get free tutorials in your inbox every day plus a bunch of other cool stuff.
Thanks so much for having me! If you have any questions put them in the comments. I’d love to chat with you all!
Thank you for stopping by for an interview, Johnny, and for sharing such great resources online. (Hint: New Stitch A Day will be featured this Sunday as one of my favorite online crochet resources.)
It’s amazing what you find out through Facebook. For example, I had no idea my cousin’s wife was even pregnant until she posted pictures of her newborn, Brooklyn Sophia.
Being of the old fashioned naming sort, I assumed that Brooklyn was an adjective describing Sophia. (As in “born in Brooklyn” Sophia.) Later, I came to understand that is her actual name. I imagine that I should be proud to see my home borough reaching a status like Paris where people are just naming their children after it. Apparently, my cousin is feeling a bit of nostalgia for the place he, too, was born, but hasn’t lived in for about 20 years. Either that or he is now a Nets fan.
I plan to make this blanket entirely out of stash, so when I run out of Candy Print, I’ll need to decide if I’m using another color for the rest of the blocks or a completely other design. I do have a good amount of white, which I plan to use when I square up these blocks.
I’m so glad that I said the Ripple Mania CAL giveaway winners would be selected randomly because it would have been impossible to choose my favorite projects from among all of the great entries! I had a wonderful time during the CAL, and I hope you did, too. I want to thank everyone who participated and everyone who entered the giveaway, and of course, the fabulously generous prize sponsors: Magique Enterprises, Lion Brand Yarn, Leisure Arts, and Red Heart Yarn.
You can find full sized pictures of all the entries in this thread on Ravelry or here on my Facebook page. (You can also find most entries on my Ripple Mania Pinterest board, along with some other ripple inspirations.)
But I know what you’re really waiting for – the winners! I made a list of entries in the order they were posted, and then used Random.org to select someone on the list randomly for each prize.
The first prize goes to abhall76 for her Buckeye’s Blanket. She started this project about 20 years ago (!) and finished it up during the Ripple Mania CAL. This definitely gives me hope for all of my lingering works in progress.
Melissa is the winner of the Eleggant Hooks set from Magique Enterprises, which includes the Eleggant comfort crochet handle, six interchangeable hooks (in steel sizes 1.25 mm, 1.75 mm, and 2.25 mm, and in aluminum sizes 3.5 mm, 5.0 mm, and 6.0 mm), and o-rings.
I will be contacting all winners via private message on Ravelry so the sponsors can ship the prize packages out as soon as possible. Again, thanks to everyone who participated in the CAL and who entered the giveaway. I’d like to host another CAL in February, when everything is settled down from the holidays. If you have any project suggestions, feel free to share them here!
Whether you’re just joining in or you’ve been participating in the Ripple Mania Crochet-a-long since October, I know you’re excited to hear more about the prizes! The Ripple Mania CAL has four fantastic sponsors, Coats & Clark, Leisure Arts, Lion Brand Yarn, and Magique Enterprises, who have each put together a great prize package. This post describes the prizes, explains how you can enter the giveaway, and includes the schedule for the Ripple Mania CAL. All images are used with permission.
Lion Brand Yarn is sponsoring a wonderful Ripple Mania prize package – 4 skeins of Amazing in Strawberry Fields, enough yarn to crochet the Candy Color Ripple Cowl. You’ll have a fashionable accessory just in time for the deep cold of winter!
And for those of you who have been longing to try an Eleggant crochet hook after reading my review, Magique Enterprises is sponsoring a set including the Eleggant comfort crochet handle, six interchangeable hooks (in steel sizes 1.25 mm, 1.75 mm, and 2.25 mm, and in aluminum sizes 3.5 mm, 5.0 mm, and 6.0 mm), and o-rings.
Now that you’ve heard about all the amazing prizes available, you may be wondering how to enter this giveaway. Read on for details!
Ripple Mania Giveaway Rules
To enter the Ripple Mania giveaway for your chance to win one of these great prizes:
Photograph your Ripple Mania project! Smaller projects (accessories, baby blankets, cozies, washcloths, etc.) must be completed. Larger projects (adult sweaters, large throws, or bedspreads) must be at least 1/3 finished.
Projects must have been started and/or completed during the Ripple Mania CAL (between October 17 and November 28). You can use any crochet ripple pattern, though of course I’d love it if you used one of mine :).
Share a photograph and description of your Ripple Mania project by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 28. Each project counts as one entry in the giveaway.
To share your project on Facebook: Post a Wall photo on the Underground Crafter page. (Remember that if you don’t “like” the page, I won’t be able to message you on Facebook, so you’ll have to check back to see if you’ve won.)
To share your project on this blog: Post a link to a project photo (on your blog, Flickr, etc.) in the comments.
To share your project on Twitter: Tweet @ucrafter #ripplemania with a link to a photo of your project.
This giveaway is open to all crocheters worldwide.
By entering the giveaway, you are granting permission for your project photo to be shared in a collage of all entries on this blog.
On or about December 1, 2012, four winners will be chosen at random and contacted for mailing addresses. Winners must respond by December 15, 2012 or their prize will be forfeited.
Thanks so much for joining in, and I can’t wait to see the projects!
This week is all about squaring up a ripple – how to combine a ripple pattern with a straight edged stitch. This week’s Ripple Mania PDF includes a baby blanket project.
I’m also very excited to announce two more sponsors for the Ripple Mania prizes: Magique Enterprises and Lion Brand Yarn are joining Red Heart and Leisure Arts by contributing awesome prizes for participants! I’m gathering together pictures of the prizes and hope to share them next week.
The CAL is free to join. Each week, an updated PDF will be available to download on Ravelry, and Ravelry members can chat in the Ripple Mania CAL thread in the Underground Crafter group. (You do not have to be a Ravelry member to download the PDF.) Once the CAL ends on November 28, Ripple Mania will be converted to a “for sale” pattern ebook.
It’s been three weeks since I last participated in F.O. Friday, but I’ve actually finished quite a few projects in that time.
I made three secret projects using this yarn, along with about eight swatches, for Kollabora, a new maker community.
The big reveal was supposed to be this week, but it was delayed due to the after effects of Sandy. Rumor has it that pictures may be posted early next week, and once that happens, I can share all the details with you.
I just finished this scrappy ripple scarf last night. I was greatly aided by my new post-Sandy commute (2+ hours each way). In all seriousness, I’m grateful that I fared so well during Sandy. So many people have lost their homes and businesses or are still without power.
I used up about 300 yards of stash wool yarn. The question now is whether I should felt it. I love the texture but I’d like to gift it to someone who definitely isn’t the handwashing type. What do you think?
Prior to that, I finished this eyelet ripple infinity scarf which I’ve been wearing almost non-stop for the last two and a half weeks. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the colors, but they have really been cheering me up during the many grey days that New York has been experiencing.
And, because my cat would definitely be disappointed if he didn’t get something out of all this crocheting, I made him a cat blanket a few weeks ago.
We put it on top of an end table and positioned it next to my desk. The blanket has helped a lot when my cat wants to walk all over my desk while I’m typing. Now I can just push him onto the blanket and he will sit down and be (slightly) less disruptive.
All three stitch patterns are included in Ripple Mania. It’s free to join in by November 21.
This week is all about ripple variations – how to make your ripples pointier, lacier, more or less textured, and so on. This week’s Ripple Mania PDF includes four stitch patterns and one project. Due to Hurricane Sandy, I didn’t take as many pictures as I would usually, but here are the patterns you will find this week.
The CAL is free to join. Each week, an updated PDF will be available to download on Ravelry, and Ravelry members can chat in the Ripple Mania CAL thread in the Underground Crafter group. (You do not have to be a Ravelry member to download the PDF.) Once the CAL ends on November 21, Ripple Mania will be converted to a “for sale” pattern ebook.