Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 giveaway

I’m excited to share an announcement and giveaway with you today! Knit and Crochet Now! is entering it’s sixth season this month, and the folks at Annie’s are sponsoring a giveaway for a complete set of DVDs for the season to one lucky U.S. winner, so read on for details!

Knit and Crochet Now! airs through local public broadcasting stations. You can find your local schedule here by entering your zip code or state. My local station plays two episodes a week, and each episode is also repeated in a different time slot.

Season 6 includes 13 episodes and 43 new patterns, including 14 scarf and cowl patterns (perfect for the bitter cold!) in the “Scarf of the Week” segment.

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6!
Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6! At left: Butterfly Tee. At right, top: Stripes and Short Rows, and bottom: Star Stitch Long Cowl.

This season, a new designer, Lena Skvagerson, joins the existing team of host Brett Bara and designers Robyn Chachula, Ellen Gormley, and Kristin Nicholas. Jenny King and Drew Emborsky (the Crochet Dude) will also make guest appearances.

You can find all kinds of fun projects and tutorials on the show, and each 30 minute episode is commercial free! And, all of the patterns can be downloaded for free here once you create a free account.

Giveaway

As I mentioned, Annie’s is providing one lucky winner with a full set of Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 DVDs! To enter, leave a comment letting me know when your local station airs Knit and Crochet Now! and whether you’ve seen it before. You can earn extra points by sharing on social media. But remember, I only count entries logged into the Rafflecopter widget below, so be sure to let me know how you’ve entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogiversary and A Tour Through Crochet Country!

Today marks my two year blogiversary, and I’m one of the stops on A Tour Through Crochet Country!  If you haven’t been following along, this is a wonderful blog tour organized by Crochetville.  The tour features over 50 Associate Professional or Professional members of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA).

Click here for the free pattern for the Recantgular Sampler Blanket.

If you’re new here, welcome!  I’m a crochet (and knitting) teacher, designer, and blogger.  In addition to sharing my own projects and news on my blog, I also do a lot of interviews (I’ve even won a few awards) and book reviews.  I’m really honored to be part of A Tour Through Crochet Country.  To celebrate National Crochet Month and my blogiversary, I’ll be sharing a free pattern below.  But first I’d like to talk about how important the CGOA has been to me.

As many of my regular readers know, my grandmother taught me to crochet.  After she passed away in 2007, I didn’t have any important people in my real life to talk with about crochet.  Through my membership in CGOA and my involvement in the CGOA Professionals listerv, I’ve had the chance to virtually meet many wonderful crocheters who share the same passion for the hook as I do.

Me and my grandparents, at about the age when I learned to crochet.
Me and my grandparents, at about the age when I learned to crochet.

Back in 2009, I had the honor of being introduced to a wonderful mentor, Mary E. Nolfi, through the CGOA mentoring program.  When I was first exploring design, Mary guided and encouraged me.  Her primer is a great intro for aspiring crochet designers.  I still remember my excitement at emailing her when my first designs were selected for publication.   I’m also grateful to Michelle Maks, yesterday’s stop on the the tour, for taking a chance on me when she was the editor of Crochet World.  I’m thrilled to have another mentor, Marty Miller (March 13’s stop on the tour), who is helping me explore tech editing.

Now I’m paying it forward by volunteering to write book reviews for the CGOA newsletter and blog, and by serving as a mentor to another designer.

My first designs, published in Crochet World in 2010.

And, of course, CGOA membership has other benefits, even if you aren’t a professional (or aspiring professional) in the industry.  You get a subscription to Crochet! magazine and discounts at national retailers as well as on CGOA educational offerings.  You can also participate in your local chapter.  (I’ve been a member of the NYC Crochet Guild for years and in addition to great monthly meetings where I can hang out with fellow crocheters, they also offer classes and local discounts.)

I’d like give a shout out to a some other CGOA members I’ve met (in real life or virtually) who have been very helpful to me in the past few years.

Vashti Braha (interview) has taught me so much through her Crochet Inspirations newsletter, which has also inspired me to keep experimenting! Kim Guzman (interview) is so generous with her knowledge online and is a great teaching author.  Juanita Quinones (interview) is a wonderful tech editor that is volunteering on the Home work project on Ravelry, which is giving a second life to vintage designs.  Mary Beth Temple (interview) is a very strong advocate for crochet and has been a professional inspiration.  Charles Voth (a.k.a. Stitch Stud) (interview) is a talented – and nice! – designer and tech editor who always shares so much of his knowledge with his fellow hookers online.

If you’ve made it this far, your probably asking yourself, “Didn’t she promise a freebie?”

Charity Crochet for Project Night Night – The Rectangular Sampler Blanket

Early in my career, I worked for an organization that provided temporary housing for hundreds of homeless families, so the tour’s featured charity, Project Night Night, is really close to my heart.  I wanted to create a project that was beautiful to look at but also fun to make.

blog Rectangular Sampler angle view

The Rectangular Sampler is a variation on the traditional granny square that incorporates a stitch sampler to keep things interesting.  There’s a granny rectangle, an alternating v-stitch, staggered puff stitches, and a fun edging.

blog Rectangular Sampler flat

Click here for the Rectangular Sampler Blanket pattern!

This makes a great stroller blanket or play mat, or even a baby or comfort blanket.  I plan to donate my sample to Project Night Night, and I hope you’ll consider making one to donate to Project Night Night or a local children’s charity.
Rectangular Sampler V st detail

I crocheted the sample with Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in Pacific, Cordovan, and Alaska Sky.  None of these pictures really do justice to the Alaska Sky, which is a pale, sky blue.  I like using non-traditional colors for children’s blankets because I think it gives them a longer life cycle when they can be displayed in more settings.

blog Rectangular Sampler on chair

And now back to a A Tour Through Crochet Country

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the tour.  I’ve actually had the pleasure of interviewing several of the CGOA pros on this list, so I’ve also included the links to those interviews below.  I hope you will stop by and check out all the posts (and tutorials, giveaways, and discounts) the other participants have to offer.  Enjoy the rest of National Crochet Month!

March 1 Shelby Allaho

March 2 Ellen Gormley (interview) and Nancy Nehring

March 3 Phyllis Serbes and Mona Muhammad

March 4 Amy O’Neill Houck and Akua Hope

March 5 Mary Jane Hall and Lindsey Stephens (interview)

March 6 Edie Eckman and Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

March 7 Jennifer Cirka and Annette Stewart

March 8 Andrea Graciarena and LeAnna Lyons

March 9 Dawn Cogger and Angela Whisnant

March 10 Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten and Renee Rodgers

March 11 Joy Prescott and Donna Childs

March 12 Pam Daley and Deb Burger

March 13 Tammy Hildebrand and Marty Miller

March 14 Jocelyn Sass and Jennifer E Ryan

March 15 Andee Graves and Kimberly McAlindin

March 16 Laurinda Reddig

March 17 Brenda Bourg and Susan Lowman for CGOA

March 18 Rhonda Davis and Tammy Hildebrand for CGOA

March 19 Julie Oparka and Cari Clement for CGOA

March 20 April Garwood and Mary Colucci for CGOA

March 21 Alaina Klug

March 22 Erin Boland and Jenny King

March 23 Margaret Hubert (interview) and Jane Rimmer for CGOA

March 24 Bonnie Barker and Marcy Smith for CGOA

March 25 Kim Guzman (interview) and Susan Huxley (interview)

March 26 Susan Lowman and Michele Maks

March 27 me! and Brenda Stratton

March 28 Kathy White and Lori Carlson

March 29 Amy Shelton (interview) and Donna Hulka

March 30 Linda Dean and Kristin Dragos

March 31 Karen CK Ballard and Gwen Blakley-Kinser (interview)

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bruges crochet from the master herself

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

Last week, I finished my post with a bit of a cliffhanger about a surprise that I would share this week.  The surprise is that on Thursday, I started a three-week class on Bruges crochet with the master herself, Tatyana Mirer.

You might remember this Bruges crochet swatch using the Annaleise pattern from the Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula.

I made this swatch as part of my initial exploration of Bruges crochet and while writing my review of Robyn’s book.

Last year, I (briefly) met Tatyana at the Crochet Master Class book signing at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  I had the choice of taking her Bruges crochet class or a woven crochet class with Jenny King, who was visiting from Australia.  I knew that Tatyana also teaches at Knit-A-Way, the LYS around the corner from my Dad’s apartment, so I decided to take the class with Jenny.  Recently, my work schedule seemed to match the Knit-A-Way class schedule, so I called the shop to sign up for the class.  After several conversations about the time and dates with the owner (more about her in this post), I started what has turned out to be a series of private lessons with Tatyana (!) last week.

It’s been a great experience to interact with Tatyana as a student.  I try to see take a class with another teacher at least once a year (more about why here), and Tatyana is truly a master teacher as well as a master designer.  She brought so many amazing pieces of her Bruges crochet work with her, and I was incredibly inspired.

I assumed the shop required me to buy yarn there and I got a bit overwhelmed when I entered the shop five minutes before class.  (I’ve been on a yarn diet for so much of this year that I now feel that every yarn purchase needs hours of contemplation!)  I wanted to buy a natural fiber that didn’t require winding so I could start crocheting right away.  I ended up getting a skein of Lamb’s Pride Worsted from the Brown Sheep Company.  I’ve never used their yarns but I’ve heard a lot of positive things.  On the shelf, it appeared to be more of a lilac color, but it magically transformed into pink once I sat down with Tatyana.  (Ok, the colorway is called Victorian Pink.  But I didn’t notice that on the label when I bought it!)  The yarn itself is lovely, but I should have purchased a lighter weight yarn so the lacy aspect of Bruges crochet would be more evident.

I actually didn’t need much yarn for this first class anyway, as Tatyana brought several samples of partially completed “tape” that she showed me how to join.  My homework is to make my own samples of the Bruges crochet curve, square, and oval, and then to create the “tape” for specific lengths that will transform into the circle and the wave pattern in the next class.  I’m now on the lookout for something lighter weight to use for the samples and in the next class.  Does this mean I get to go yarn shopping again??

In other news, I finished my double-ended crochet project from last week.  In case you missed the big reveal on Friday, here is a picture of it.

My very own double-ended crochet camera pouch.

I’m now off to spend some time with my Dad for Father’s Day.  If you are celebrating Father’s Day, too, have a wonderful time!

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Plaid progress

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series.  You can find my other posts about woven crochet here and here.

I don’t have much to report on for my Year of Projects goals this week.  As much as it has been fun to be more active on my blog this month, I am very much looking forward to the end of Blogtoberfest, 2011!  I plan to take a few days off away from the blog, even though I have a few books to review.

Between all of the blogging, a busy season at work, and the secret swatching I’ve been doing for design submissions, I have only made a wee bit of progress on my plaid pillow project, started during my Tartans & Plaids class with Jenny King at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

One panel is finished, but I still have to weave in the ends.
Thanks to my class with Jenny King, my plaid is woven evenly!

I’m still debating whether I should felt the finished project.  Opinions?

For more Year of Projects posts, visit When Did I Become a Knitter.

To find more blogs participating in Blogtoberfest 2011, visit Tinnie Girl.  For Blogtoberfest 2011 giveaways, visit Curly Pops.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Freeform Knitting and Crochet with Margaret Hubert

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series.  You can find my other posts in this series here.

Two weeks ago, I spent my Sunday at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio as part of their Crochet Masters weekend.  After taking the wonderful Tartans & Plaids class with Jenny King, I had some time to browse the store.

Samples of fall-themed Lion Brand Yarn projects on display.
A glimpse of the Mochi Mochi Mochi Mochi Mochi installation by Anna Hrachovec.

(You can see more of Anna’s designs here, learn more about the display here, or visit the Mochimochi Land website here.)

My afternoon class was Freeform Knitting & Crochet with Margaret Hubert.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Margaret back in June, and have been a big fan of her many books and patterns for a while.  Margaret is the fashion crochet master in Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters.

I recently had an exploration into freeform crochet as part of my Crochet Master Class project and wanted to see how Margaret would teach the subject.  I’ll admit that I only did a bit of the homework.  (Yes, I was a bad student!)  I was having trouble imagining how all of these pieces would come together.  I’m a bit on the fence about freeform crochet – sometimes I think it looks like junk, while other times it looks phenomenal.  Margaret’s freeform work seems quite inspired, so I was anxious to take the class with her.

Margaret’s a very generous teacher. She gave each of us an extensive handout…
… and our choice of awesome button.
(My button from the back.)

It turns out that Margaret does some planning to give her freeform a more orderly appearance.  She shared three techniques she uses for making freeform clothing and other projects.

I ended up doing quite a bit of work in class – and not just because I hadn’t done all of the homework!

Margaret advised us to have a “focal point” for our freeform pieces, and I made this flower to serve that purpose during class.

I changed my idea about what I wanted to make and decided to work on a small case for my digital camera.  Silly as it seems, since I lost the case a while back, I have been alternately putting it inside of a fingerless cuff or a stray sock on the occasions where I’ve taken it out of the apartment.  (Like many crocheters and knitters, most of my projects are for other people and the items for me seem to fall lower and lower on the to do list.)

Here’s the start of my camera bag.

Margaret’s teaching style is very hands on, and she spent quite a bit of time with each of us.  She also demonstrated different stitches and, because she brought so much of her own work, she could show examples of many of the techniques she was teaching.  Margaret’s lovely samples included some sneak peek projects from her upcoming The Granny Square Book: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Crocheting Square by Square.  (The projects were awesome, by the way!)

I ended up buying a copy of her Learn to Free-Form Crochet in the Lion Brand Yarn Studio with the student discount.

I confess, I’m addicted to DRG technique booklets!

I used Donegal Tweed by Tahki Stacy Charles (stash yarns) for the class, so I felt I should purchase something in the shop.   I was glad that I could see the book in person because I had been looking at it online.  I’m pretty happy with it so far!  I haven’t made much progress on my camera bag since the class, though – too many higher priority WIPs in the queue.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit When Did I Become a Knitter.

To find more blogs participating in Blogtoberfest 2011, visit Tinnie Girl.  For Blogtoberfest 2011 giveaways, visit Curly Pops.