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!
I’m really excited to share an interview today with Donna Kay Lacey. No, she isn’t featured in Crochet Master Class, but she is the designer I discovered while I was working on the bullion chapter in this book. (You can find my experiments with her designs here.)
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Donna Kay Lacey (DKL): As a child, my love of crochet was sparked by the many hours I spent watching my Dear Aunt Joyce crochet baby blankets and booties for all of the babies born in our family, as well as all those born in the church. I was amazed at how one continuous length of yarn could be worked into something so beautiful. When I turned 16 and started working, I took my first paycheck and went to the craft store where a purchased yarn, a crochet hook and a how to book. I have been hooked ever since.
UC: When were you first introduced to the bullion stitch, and how did you come to work with it so often?
DKL: I have always been drawn to intricate stitches. My first glimpse of the bullion stitch was in an old crochet pattern book (circa 1940’s). At that time I did not have the courage to try it. Upon joining Ravelry, I found a few free-form groups where I again saw the bullion stitch. This sparked my interest and in my quest for something unique and interesting, I began experimenting with it.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
DKL: I join Ravery in Aug of 2011. The first group I joined was Vanna’s Choice Fan Club where I met Margaret MacInnis. This group participates in many swaps where afghan blocks are exchanged. After seeing some of my work, Margaret encouraged me to write out my designs. The first design I wrote out was Bloomin’ Bullions. The design process was really exciting, but there were times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the testing/editing phase. All the hard work paid off and the thrill I got when I started seeing the blocks that others had made from my pattern was awesome! I love to see the joy and pride others have upon completing my patterns. Thanks to Ravelry, I can have direct communication with those working my patterns. I am not only available to help them if there are questions, but I get to hear stories and see photos of what their blocks are being used for. This is truly what inspires me to continue designing.
UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
DKL: My book collection is quite large and contains a large number of vintage pattern books. I love browsing through them. No matter how many times I look through them, there is always something new that catches my eye. Two of my favorite current books are Crochet Master Class by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss and Basic Crochet Stitches by Erika Knight. I am very fond of stitch dictionaries. (UC comment: It looks like Donna Kay Lacey and I have similar taste in books!)
UC: Do you have any favorite crafty blogs or websites to share?
DKL: Most of my internet time is spent on Ravelry.
UC: You host CALs in your Ravelry group, A New Twist. What suggestions do you have for emerging designers for actively engaging crocheters with their patterns?
DKL: Be unique. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box or to bend the ‘rules’ when designing. Always be available for questions or help along the way. I love inspiring people to try new things with their crochet. It is so much fun to see the excitement in them when they accomplish something new. Watching their crochet skills grow along with their enthusiasm of crochet is priceless.
UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
DKL: I am inspired by everything around me. I truly see the world in yarn. I am currently working on a project involving vegetable inspired blocks. The first block I designed for this project was the Kale block. One day I stumbled upon a seed catalog and happened to see a sketch of a beautiful Kale plant and instantly wondered if I could duplicate its beauty in yarn.
It received such great acceptance that I started on the Artichoke Block.
UC: Do you have any news you’d like to share?
DKL: My first published design, Bullion Beach Blanket, will be in the Summer 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet. It is due to hit the newsstands June 12, 2012, but the preview can be found here. I was very excited because this was my first time to even submit a design to a magazine. I was thrilled when they accepted my submission!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Donna! It was a pleasure to interview you.
If these patterns are inspiring you to learn the bullion stitch, check out Donna Kay Lacey’s bullion stitch photo tutorial or video tutorial.
I finished up nine granny squares this week to donate to the Crochetlist April charity challenge, the Binky Patrol in Arizona. These were all made with acrylic stash yarns. Since the squares need to be 6 inches, I’ve made minor modifications to each pattern to adjust the size.
I used the Star Power block and added three more rounds. I think this pattern is super cute, and since it doesn’t have a photo in Ravelry yet, I will probably need to make another one. You know, just to do my part :).
The next three blocks have been sitting around in my stash since 2007 and originated from patterns in 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton. I kind of forgot about these blocks after I moved, and they were just rescued from their hibernation in plastic sleeves over the weekend!
The first two blocks were originally intended to be part of a gift for my aunt. I later decided she wasn’t crochet worthy :).
This was actually a finished Willow block, but I unraveled a few rounds and then used two single crochet rounds to square it off at 6 inches.
This block started as the Tricolor Square, but it was also too large. I unraveled a few rounds and then finished it with a round of single crochet.
Overall, these grannies have been nice diversions in a stressful week, where I worked until past 8 p.m. every night (usually 10-11 hours a day). I don’t think tomorrow or Saturday will be any better. But it is comforting to know that I’m slowly dwindling my stash while making something fun for a good cause. Since I’m not making a blanket, I don’t have to stress about coordinating colors. My guess is that these blocks will ultimately make their way into several different Binky Patrol blankets.
Also, thanks to everyone who shared their opinion about where to host a 365 project. The general consensus is that Flickr is the best option since I plan to use a camera and not my phone (Instagram was a close second). Once things slow down, I’ll set up on Flickr. (And yes, I have been taking my daily photos.)
I’ve recently been hit by an attack of the granny square. Perhaps (finally!) finishing the granny square blanket for my sister has reminded me of my tremendous love for grannies and of blanket-making. In any event, since last week I’ve dug through my stash to work on several granny square projects for charity.
I revived this long-term charity blanket project on Saturday afternoon by adding some length to one strip and joining the two rows together.
(You can find a list of patterns I used for these squares in this post.)
I’ve also finished seven individual grannies, but I’ll save those details for Friday :).
Besides the grannies, I’m working on some other scrappy projects which will eventually turn into pet blankets to donate to Bideawee. I’m glad to finally be spending time working on my charity and stashbusting goals. I dream of the day when another plastic tub of yarn will be used up, but there are a lot of granny squares and pet blankets between today and that day.
I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest in the nick of time last Wednesday, by staying up reading until about 1 a.m. The book was removed from my Kindle by the library before I woke up for work that morning. You can check out my review on Goodreads.
On a related note, I’ve been thinking about doing a 365 project (taking and posting pictures every day). This is to encourage me to use my camera more frequently and to, of course, improve my photography skills. Has anyone done one of these before? If you have, I’d love to hear your suggestions about where you posted your photos. Did you use a blog, Flickr, 365 Project, or another site? I should mention that I’m sort of cheap, which is why I haven’t just plunked down the twenty-five bucks for a Flickr Pro account, and am instead asking you all for free advice :).
In the early 2000s, when I first learned to read crochet patterns, there weren’t many good crochet websites. One that I would visit time and again for help understanding a new technique was Crochet Cabana. Even now, as a crochet teacher I often refer beginners to this wonderful site. So I’m really excited to interview Sandie Petit today, the founder of Crochet Cabana.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Sandie: In the summer of 1980, I went on vacation with some girlfriends in Mississippi. They pulled out their hooks and started crocheting and offered to teach me. That got the ball rolling. When I returned home the local TG&Y became my primary source for patterns, yarn, and hooks. The yarn was Sayelle at the time. For many years I thought Boye was the only kind of hook manufactured! With the advent of the Internet a whole new world opened up to me and I now have quite a nice hook collection! My house is often overrun by yarn and I have more patterns than I could complete in several lifetimes!
UC: What was the original inspiration behind Crochet Cabana?
Sandie: Crochet Cabana began in 1997 as a couple of pages on my personal website, Sandra’s Backyard. The original purpose was to have an area where I could jot down what I knew about crochet for my own reference. I also wanted to provide information for those just learning to crochet. I wanted to write it all down, with pictures, in a way that I hoped could be easily understood. All of my first tutorials were written with the new crocheter in mind. As I learned more myself – both in the field of crochet and also in web design – more was added.
In my wildest dreams I never imagined the site would get so large. As I got requests for information on this or that topic, I would add those topics also to the site. In 2001, my husband purchased a domain name for Crochet Cabana as a gift for me. Then in December 2004, we decided to purchase hosting space so I wouldn’t have to keep moving the site as it grew too large for the present host.
UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
Sandie: For designing, inspiration is everywhere. The world around you. Television. The Internet. Sitting in a doctor’s office or in traffic I might notice a particular color or pattern that is intriguing. Quite often it is a matter of need. I need a gift and I have xx amount of time (usually a very short window). It’s actually quite difficult to come up with something new and I always wonder if someone else has already done it. There are so many wonderful designers out there! I don’t feel that I do that much designing really, but when I post a picture of something I’ve worked up I know someone will ask for the pattern as soon as it’s posted.
As to inspiration for tutorials and videos, that generally comes from visitors to the site who inquire if I can show them how to do this or that. If enough people seem to be having the same problem or are interested in a particular technique, I consider adding it to the site. I do fairly often get requests for me to do a video or tutorial on how to work a particular pattern. That is something I cannot do because of copyright issues.
(One of Sandie’s videos. We start our foundation chain the same way!)
UC: You are a true pioneer of the DIY/craft scene on the internet. What were the benefits of establishing yourself online early, and what are some of the changes you’ve had to deal with in recent years?
Sandie: How nice of you to say! When I first began, I had no clue how to put up a website. My husband created the original site and showed me how to update it. Since then, I’ve done most of the work myself though my family, who are much more computer literate than I, have been a great help over the years. My daughter created the logo presently on the Cabana.
One of the benefits of being established so many years ago is that I can appreciate the technological advances available today. I clearly remember having to move the site over a dialup connection! What took many hours then would take mere minutes now. I am still using the same program to update the site (Microsoft Front Page). It is no longer supported so I will eventually have to find a new program to use – which is something I dread.
In those beginning days, way back when, one didn’t have to worry about Internet theft. In recent years, there has been a problem with people taking the work of others and claiming it as their own. Just a few months ago I found photos lifted from one of my tutorials on which the person had placed her own name right on the photos and put them on her site as her own. It was a foreign site and though I requested she remove them, that didn’t happen. You really have no recourse in these situations and it is quite discouraging since it is a lot of work to take photos, edit them, and add all the text to a tutorial, as well as making videos. Sadly, this has also happened to other designers. Sometimes you will even find people selling your patterns on Ebay, particularly if they are free patterns. They just copy them and sell them. It’s really terrible. In fact, I removed all the patterns I had on the site after one such incident. Since then, I’ve put a few back and opened Etsy and Ravelry shops. There are still quite a number I haven’t put up anywhere again. I am really torn about what to do as I love sharing my work with others. (UC comment: What a shame!)
Another change is that people are more and more moving to video teaching. I LOVE video teaching. It is amazing to me that I can create a video demonstrating how to do something, giving the tips I’ve learned through the years, and have someone in another country watch it and learn the technique. I guess I am showing my age here, but it just fascinates me. I often wish I had my own video studio and staff! I still have much to learn. I hope the industry doesn’t change too much while I’m learning!
Yet another change I have seen is the availability of e-books and e-patterns, both free and for sale. Being able to get a pattern you want immediately certainly has its up side. One thing I like about this is if I sell a pattern this way, I know exactly who purchased it and if I update it or find a significant error, I can let them know quite easily. Along with this is the self-publishing industry, such as Lulu, which has grown tremendously in the past few years.
The problem with all this availability is that much of it is free. This hurts the designers for whom crochet sales are a significant part of their earning power. I think this may be why we are seeing more complex designs as magazine publishers have to find a way to entice people to spend their discretionary income. It’s a dilemma I’m sure we will be addressing for some time to come as the industry works to find a balance between paper publishing and e-publishing.
UC: You do a lot of charity crochet. Can you tell us about some of your favorite charity projects, causes, and organizations?
Sandie: There are so many worthy organizations out there. I find that people generally gravitate toward a cause that is in some way meaningful to them. For example, I have lost many loved ones to cancer so if an opportunity arises I might donate to that cause. I had two preemies so I will occasionally donate preemie hats and afghans.
I also like to help out organizations that are based in my own state when I can. I also love to make scarves and squares. Those things came together for me in Scarves for Special Olympics where I could donate to the Louisiana branch of their organization. I was even able to deliver the scarves and meet the people there. That was rather exciting. They do require you to use particular brand and colors of yarn and there are size specifications, but I find that a challenge. I like to try and find different ways to make the scarves unique within those boundaries. This is an annual project so if you haven’t participated in the past you can always pick up and join in the next go round.
Then there is the National WWII Museum’s Knit Your Bit which is also located nearby and accepts scarves. I have had many family members in the military, including my son, and I am happy to be able to do something for the soldiers who put their lives on the line for us. Knit Your Bit gives a bit of a thank you to those soldiers. They accept any pattern, any color so it’s very easy to participate. Most of the vets are men so colors tend to lean in that direction.
I also like to be sure my work makes its way to the people for whom it was intended. With that in mind, I am cautious about sending to people I don’t know. I have known Sandy Holladay for many years and have no qualms about sending items to her for The Bridge and Beyond Project, which helps the homeless. She accepts many different items including scarves, mittens, and socks. She does amazing things with donated squares, putting together afghans which are then given to one of several local missions. Each day I am thankful that I have a roof over my head, clean clothes, and food to eat. It’s a shame there are so many who don’t have these basic needs met.
Heartmade Blessings has been around quite a number of years. They accept 12” squares which are put together into comfortghans. Several people I know personally have benefited from this effort. (UC comment: I’m actually working on several squares right now to donate to Heartmade Blessings as part of the Crochetlist March charity challenge.)
Crafting for a Cause is a wonderful group that supports our Native Americans. Most of the items made are sent directly to the reservation so you can be sure they are getting where they are needed.
In addition to official organizations, I like to donate where I can locally. As time goes on, postage costs for mailing packages has gone up so anything I can deliver is a plus.
That said, I occasionally like to send to SIBOL, way across the pond from me. I just love to go to Sue’s blog and Flickr page and see all the beautiful things. Everything is so artfully shown. She accepts 6” squares which are joined into lapghans for nursing homes in her area. Her challenges are fun too!
UC: You are a CGOA Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques and a CYC Certified Crochet Teacher. Tell us why you decided to pursue these certifications and how/if they’ve been helpful to you.
Sandie: I am going to share with you my REAL reason for taking these courses. Shhhh. I never think my work is good enough and I thought that if I took these courses someone else could tell me if I was doing things correctly and, if not, I could learn the proper way. Having the certificates does not mean that I am a wonderful crocheter, but it does mean, to me, that I’ve run the course and persevered to complete it successfully. I may have a tiny bit more confidence than I had before since I did pass the courses.
I also thought that having the certificate would give a bit more weight to my qualifications as an instructor if I decided to teach community education classes or even paid classes through a craft store. (UC comment: I am also a CYC Certified Crochet Instructor and Teacher, and will actually be attending classes this weekend to become a CYC Certified Knitting Instructor and Teacher. For more discussion on the pros and cons of certification, see this post.)
The two courses are very different. I did learn some new techniques through my work on both courses, particularly the CGOA course because it covered more of a variety – like hairpin lace, which I’d not done a lot of before.
I find that every step you take is one step closer to your goal. You mentioned knitting. I’ve been trying to learn to knit for many years. I can cast on and I actually can knit, but if I drop a stitch, that is it for me. However, every time I try I get a little bit further in my understanding. It is the same with crochet. When I did the CGOA course, I did not work much with thread and I had to complete a filet thread project with thread, which I did successfully. I did not pick it up again until recently, but those things I learned at that point have come back to me and I find I just love filet!
I don’t know if the certificates mean anything to those who look at my work. I think your work really has to speak for itself. When I pick up a magazine or look online at a pattern I may purchase, I don’t know if that person has a certificate or not. I just like the pattern, the colors, and the way it was photographed, perhaps the stitches used or the yarn. I think taking the course was for me more than anything.
I would dearly love to take Pauline Turner’s course. I understand it is difficult and I think if I passed that one I would really feel like a crochet master.