Book Review: Mindful Mandala Afghans

Mindful Mandala Afghans book review on Underground CrafterIn today’s Granny Square Month post, I’m sharing a review of a crochet mandala-inspired blanket pattern collection, along with your chance to win a copy.

Granny Square Month 2018 on Underground Crafter ] 30 days of granny square patterns, inspiration, and giveaways!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free review copy of Mindful Mandala Afghans was provided to me 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.

Crochet Circular Afghans

Book Review

Mindful Mandala Afghans is a collection of ten mandala-inspired blankets made in Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, a soft, medium weight yarn. The booklet opens with an introduction from Lion Brand’s Design Team and then dives right into the patterns. Eight of the patterns are motif projects and two blankets are made from large circles. Each pattern includes a skill level (eight are rated easy and two are rated intermediate); a “shopping list” including yarn colors and quantities, hook size, and additional materials; and gauge information. Some patterns also include a stitch guide of special stitches. All of the patterns are written with US pattern abbreviations and include at least one full-page picture of the pattern. Five patterns include assembly diagrams and five of the patterns also include international stitch symbol patterns.

The booklet ends with a glossary of pattern abbreviations; information about hook and yarn sizes; US and UK terminology; and tips for measuring and getting gauge. The booklet is the size of a piece of letter paper and is staple bound, so you can easily crochet and read at the same time. My favorite designs are the Circle of Flowers Mandala Afghan, the Star Mandala Afghan, and the Rockwell Mandala Afghan. (You can view all ten patterns on the booklet’s Ravelry page here.) There are some really stunning patterns in here, and if you crochet to relax or to improve your home decor (or both), you’ll love Mindful Mandala Afghans.


Mindful Mandala Afghans giveaway on Underground Crafter

So, are you excited about getting your hands on a copy of Mindful Mandala Afghans? The nice folks at Leisure Arts have been kind enough to set aside a copy for one lucky reader.

This giveaway is open to readers in the United States, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 25, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive a copy of Mindful Mandala Afghans, courtesy of Leisure Arts. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vogue Knitting Live 2014: Day 2


This post contains affiliate links.

My second day at Vogue Knitting Live started off with no hot water at home (and who doesn’t love showering in cold water when it’s sleeting outside?).  In the rush to get out the door, I forgot to take the ceremonial pre-show picture of me in my handmade goodies.  (I was wearing my 2013 Temperature Scarf, which is perfect for cold weather.)

My first stop was an interview with the delightful Kate Atherley from Wise Hilda.  I should be posting it in a few weeks.  I asked her to pose with her two books, Beyond Knit & Purl and Knit Accessories.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Kate Atherley

Then I walked through the fashion and art exhibits.  I’m planning a separate post about these, so I’m sharing just one picture today.  This is a crocheted piece by fashion designer, Gabriela Serigatto.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Gabriela Sarigatto2

My next stop was the Marketplace.  I learned a lot from Rosemary Drysdale‘s Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting, and she was signing books at the Vogue Knitting booth.

VKL NYC 2014 Rosemary Drysdale Autograph

From there, I snuck over to the Leilani Arts table.  You see, they sell this Soft Donegal yarn, which has become the favorite amongst the men in family: soft but charcoal (with a little tweed to keep my interest).

VKL NYC 2014 Studio Donegal

I promised my dad I’d make him a version of this cabled hat, so I needed another skein.  Melissa Leapman rung up my sale.

Then, I went to the Knitty City booth (it’s always a treat to see your favorite local yarn shop at an event) to get my copy of Knitwear Design Workshop: A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits signed by Shirley Paden.

VKL NYC 2014 Shirley Paden autograph

Shirley was really quite friendly and we had a nice chat about her class on Craftsy, which is a companion to the book, as well as the We Love Shirley Paden group on Ravelry.  (Shirley assures me she didn’t name the group!)  The group sounds like a lot of fun and they have even hosted three Design-a-Longs.

I had a few minutes after the book signing to watch the beginning of the Fiber Factor Fashion show.  I learned there will be KALs throughout 2014 and the next “season” will begin in 2015, but I missed the announcement of the winner.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Fiber Factor Rachel Henry Gates of Dawn

This stunning felted dress, Gates of Dawn by Rachel Henry, was one of my favorite Fiber Factor projects on display.

Believe it or not, I had time for two more quick stops before reaching my final VK Live destination.  I took a picture of Virginia from Yellowfarm (interviewed here), who I met at last year’s event.

blog VKL NYC 2014 YellowFarm Virginia

And, then I visited the Full Moon Farm booth, to snap a picture of Laura.  My interview with her will be coming up soon.  We met last year, too.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Full Moon Farm Laura

And then I headed off to the Michelle’s Assortment booth.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Michelle

I helped out in Michelle’s booth for a few hours in the afternoon, so she could stretch her legs and walk around the Marketplace for a bit.  It was a great opportunity to learn more about her creative process.  She’s sponsoring two months of prizes for my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long, so it was great to meet her in real life and see all of her awesome shawl pins, bookmarks, and stitch markers.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment circles

I particularly like Michelle’s round shawl pins.  It was also great to see her collaboration with other indie business owners.  Michelle had several samples from Ash Kearns on display to show off her shawl pins including Havelock (left) and Everton Lace Wrap (right), along with the print versions of the patterns.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Ash Kearns samples

Of course, I couldn’t spend all that time in Michelle’s booth without falling in love with some shawl pins.  I was initially drawn in by the circles, I ended up choosing two straight pins for myself.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment goodies

These will definitely need to be re-shot in natural lighting because you can’t see the beauty in this picture.  I’m off to get some rest before Day 3!

Year of Projects, Year 2: North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival 2012

This post contains affiliate links.

I scheduled today’s post because I’m teaching at the fourth annual North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.   I had a great time last year, so I decided to return this year.  I taught a class on Friday and I’ll be teaching another one today.

The festival is in Ridgewood, New Jersey and I can get there pretty easily with New Jersey Transit and a short walk.  I took off from work on Friday and headed to the festival with plans to arrive a little after noon.  I started a new project during the ride, using a motif pattern from Granny Square Crochet: 35 Contemporary Projects Using Traditional Techniques.  (If you haven’t already, you can read my interview with author Catherine Hirst here.)

I got a wee bit lost during the walk from the train (thank goodness for smartphones and Google Maps), so I only had a few minutes to set up before my first class.  My new project was immediately pressed into service as a coaster – after all, I didn’t want to destroy the table!

After the class, I took a trip around the first floor to check out all the vendors.  I’ve been fairly good about decreasing my stash as part of my efforts to Surmount the Stash this year, but I brought cash to the festival and a plan to purchase as many as 5 skeins of yarn.

Yep, I met the quota.

My first stop was Mimi’s Needlebasket.  I’ve been dreaming about the Chiaogoo Twist RED Lace interchangeables since I learned of their existence and my eyes were drawn instantly to the sets on the table.  Unfortunately, she only had the mini kits in stock, and I’d like to buy the whole set, so I went on to the next table, Leilani Arts.  While I was really intrigued by the recycled sari yarn, I’m a sucker for tweeds and there was some very soft Donegal tweed on the table.  I couldn’t decide on colors, so I vowed to return later.

My next stop was WendyClay Pottery.  There were some AMAZING buttons, but I couldn’t think of a project I would make so I decided not to buy anything.  (Perhaps today will be my day?)  And then I found Yarn Monkey Productions.  Angela and her friend were just about the friendliest people I’ve ever met vending at a festival.  I had a great chat with Angela and fell in love with many of her colorways.  She was very tolerant of my complete indecisiveness and offered some tips.  I eventually settled on these two lovely skeins of superwash wool.

Two skeins of Yarn Monkey Productions SuperSaki, in colorways Anastasia (top) and Aella (bottom).

The colors don’t appear accurately on my monitor, but you can get the general idea.  I’m thinking that the Aella will end up as an accessory for me and the Anastasia is a possible gift or blanket motif.  (I’ve been dreaming of a superwash wool blanket for myself – that will definitely be a 2013 or later project!)

I then had a little moment of amazement at the Hearthwise booth.  There were all kinds of stunning drop spindles, which immediately brought to mind my YOP goal of learning to use a drop spindle.  I had a chance to chat with Jessica Suiter, the instructor teaching Basic Dropspindling at the festival, and it seems like she might have an extra spot for me in the class on Sunday (fingers crossed!).

Finally, I returned to Leilani Arts.  I decided to go with a charcoal and dark red combination.  I imagine this eventually turning into a shawl or wrap for me.

Imported Studio Donegal Soft (Merino) Donegal in Charcoal and Dark Red.

Even though I bought 5 skeins of yarn, I didn’t use my whole budget.  I still have $19 to spend, so perhaps there are some buttons in my future…

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

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