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)

Book review: 101 Crochet Stitch Patterns & Edgings

This post contains affiliate links.

Today, I’m sharing my review of 101 Crochet Stitch Patterns & Edgings.  I’m also hosting a giveaway of my review copy, courtesy of DRG, so read on for more details!

Book Review

101 Crochet Stitch Patterns & Edgings is a stitch guide, and, like most Annie’s Attic books, it is paperback and filled with glossy pages with a combination of illustrations and full color photos.  The book is organized into 8 sections:

  • Before You Begin,
  •  Swatches 1-77,
  • A to Z Sampler Afghan,
  • Swatches 78-81,
  • Patchwork Squares Afghan,
  • Edgings 82-101,
  • Basics, and
  • Crochet Stitch Guide.

Before You Begin provides a helpful overview of a crochet stitch guide, explaining what stitch multiples are and showing the same swatch in different sizes to demonstrate gauge.

Swatches 1-77 is the largest section and features most of the stitches.  Each stitch pattern includes notes explaining how many colors are used and whether turning chains count as stitches.  Special stitches are usually explained at the beginning of each pattern.  Each swatch includes a large, colorful photo, and a maximum of one pattern is presented on each page, so there is plenty of white space to allow for easy reading.  There are some of the standard stitches you might expect to see in a comprehensive stitch guide, but there are also some stitches I haven’t seen before.  There is a nice range of open work (including several pineapple patterns), solid and textured stitches, and ripples/chevrons.  My favorites in this section are Swatch 21, Swatch 25, Swatch 31, Swatch 35, and Swatch 41.  It is a bit of a bummer that the patterns are not only unnamed, but are also referred to as swatches rather than as stitches.  Swatches 1-47 are authorless, while swatches 48-77 are credited to Darla Sims.  This last group of swatches is used for the A to Z Sampler Afghan, so exact stitch counts are provided for sampler blocks.  It isn’t clear what A to Z has to do with the pattern, since all the stitches are numbered :), but instructions for joining and edging are included.

Swatches 78-81 are credited to Susan Lowman, and because they are used for the Patchwork Squares Afghan, exact stitch counts are also provided for blocks.  As with the other afghan, instructions for assembling and the border are included.  Edgings 82-101 are credited to Bendy Carter and include instructions for dealing with corners.  Each edging is photographed with a solid row of white and an edging row in another color.

The Basics section is more comprehensive than what you find in many contemporary stitch guides.  The information is presented in a lesson format and the topics covered include yarn, hooks, making a chain, counting stitches, the foundation row, the basic stitches (single, double, half double, treble, and slip stitch), bead crochet, changing colors, and reading patterns.  This section is illustrated but also includes photos of stitch swatches.

This book doesn’t lay flat, so it is challenging to read and crochet at the same time.  Also, the stitches aren’t organized in any way that is memorable and since they are also unnamed, it is hard to find a favorite stitch once you put the book down.  The patterns are written in U.S. pattern abbreviations, and don’t include international stitch symbols.  In spite of these issues, 101 Crochet Stitch Patterns & Edgings is a really solid stitch guide (especially for those of you who don’t already have more than 20 others as I do!).  I would especially recommend it as a first stitch guide because of the information contained in the Before You Begin and Basics sections, and to crocheters who love to make blankets because of the two sampler projects and the edgings.  For these two groups of crocheters, I would give this book 4 stars.  For crocheters with several American stitch guides in their collection, I would recommend looking it over in person first to see if there are enough new (to you) stitches to make this book a worthwhile purchase.

 Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of 101 Crochet Stitch Patterns & Edgings, courtesy of DRG.   This giveaway is open to all readers with a mailing address in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, May 16.