2.11.2015

Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival 2015

Its that time of year again!  

Pittsburgh's Knit and Crochet Festival

March 27-29, 2015

This year the fun is moving downtown to give more room for all the great yarn and fiber there is to see and touch!  I am looking forward to the change, I think it will be fun to try something new in a new space.  

Amelia & Wiggles and I are again teaming up to bring you an even larger and more crochet centered booth.  Our good friend, Drew Emborsky, is going to be joining us to take our little booth into the "crochet SUPER booth" zone.  You can definitely expect all the items we had in the past.  We will have all my books, DVDs, and patterns.  Amelia and Wiggles will be bringing crochet kits and their wonderful hand dyed yarn.  We will have some goodies like in past years.  Little items that we know can be hard to find but we love to use.   Drew will be adding his crochet goodies; and, of course, his wonderful infectious charm.  Oh man, we are going to have fun!  You have to come stop by.

As in previous years, I will be teaching throughout the festival.  Drew will be teaching as well.  So if you can't find us, we might be in class; but please stop by Rebecca and Karen will LOVE to chat with you.  They are the best crocheters (and knitters) I know, they love everything to do with yarn and you are going to have a great time no matter what when you come by. 

My classes this year are all brand new.  COMPLETELY!  

Crocheting with Variegated Yarn
Friday 1:30-4:30
Do you have a gorgeous ball of yarn sitting in your yarn basket just waiting to be crocheted; but you don’t know what to do with it?  Come along to this crocheting with variegated yarn class and we will explore all the ways to make great projects.  We will learn about short rows, colorwork crochet, crocheting on bias, and making motifs. This class is for the intermediate level student, must know how to chain, single crochet, and double crochet.  I might have to drag Rebecca in for part of this class.  We are going to be looking at what looks good in variegated yarns by crocheting, but she knows the scientific reasons why they do.  Good thing since she makes the yarn. I will definitely have some of their beauties in class if you wanted to purchase them. 

Crocheting with Color
Saturday 9-12
Come get a taste of how to get powerful results in all your crochet colorwork projects. We will discuss the simplicity of mosaic crocheting, the joy of slip stitch embroidery, and easy ways to stay on track in charted color. This class will get you excited about color and give you inspiration to go have a color explosion. This class is for the intermediate level student, must know how to chain, single crochet, and double crochet.  This class is an extension of a one hour mini class I taught a few years ago.  3 times as much time to crochet, we are going to have a great time!

Tunisian Crochet Lace and Entrelac
Saturday 2-5
Often confused with both knitting and crochet, Tunisian crochet is an art form all unto itself making the most unique woven fabric. In class we will remind ourselves how to make the basic stitches, then dive into crocheting lace and entrelac. We will discuss Tunisian Crochet stitch diagrams and tips to making the most beautiful fabric. This class is for the intermediate level student, must know how to Tunisian Simple stitch, chain, single crochet, and double crochet.  I won't lie, I am really excited for this class. I love teaching Tunisian, it is so fun and we are going to do some cool things with it here!

Creative Crochet Motifs
Sunday 12:30-3:30
Crochet motifs are one of the most recognizable shapes in crafting, but what can you do with them?  In class, we will walk through a number of projects to show you how creative we can get.  We will talk about ways to display just one in artwork, or making it into a bowl, or even fun earrings.  We will learn how easy it is to put a number together to make a great sweater or afghan. This class is for the intermediate level student, must know how to chain, single crochet, and double crochet.  Sunday is always a good day for an inspiration and not a brain drain class,  This is the one,  We are going to look at a million different was to combine and make motifs.  And my hope is everyone leaves ready to make their masterpiece. 

I really hope I get to see you in Pittsburgh this year! 

2.10.2015

Thanks for hosting me Denver!

Last week I got to spend some time in the beautiful sunny city of Denver (and Fort Collins too).  It was part secret work project/ part family check up on my brilliant but stressed brother and sister in law/ and part mandatory mommy vacation.  You know when you just need a day away, well that was me, so my wonderful (and very sick) husband would not let me return early to help, but forced me to spend some extra time away from the monkeys.

Denver and Fort Collins were totally welcoming and fun cities.  I haven't been back for about four years and was thrilled to see all the building and developments (once an architectural engineer, always an engineer, you know!)  The weather cracked me up.  Being from Pittsburgh, PA (and Allentown, originally) I am used to winter.  I like winter.  Denver winter is funny.  My first day it was 60 and cloudy, second 25 and 4" of snow, third 70 and sunny.  You got to love a city where mother nature has a sense of humor!

My secret work project was for my longest running and most welcoming client (you can guess).  They asked me to film 4 videos for them, and who was I to say no?  Out of everything I do, I think teaching is hands down my absolute favorite.  Granted I like teaching live best, but this is not bad.  You get to be creative, and share what you know.  It is so fun!  I will of course tell you as soon as they are ready what the classes are about.  Till then, let me show you some of what I got to have fun with in pictures.

Nothing like starting the day with a little airbrushing ;)  And yes, I am totally 5 at heart.
Thank you Cory for the beautiful job making me look not like a crazy tired mom!

Yes, that is my "I will kill you look".  I am no model, I hate photos.  No wonder why my kids make this EXACT face too when I ask them to smile. 

First video of the day.  The camera guys are so talented.  They ran all three cameras at one time.  Amazing!

Other half of the studio, where Lindsay and Jill can watch for any oops.

Pretty background behind me + my book.  Matches perfectly don't you think?

My Rita and Wren clutch comes in handy!

Playing with Flowers

Lindsay and I at lunch.  And such a good lunch!  I am a soup person, and found two other soup people to share a great lunch.  And not your average soup, like African Peanut, Red Beef Curry, and more.  I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Second video of the day.  Testing my intro.  I stumble through the titles of my books every single time. You think at least the author should get them right?

Day two: fun with fake eyelashes.  My first.  Totally worth it.  Really did make my eyes pop behind my glasses.  And gave my 8 year old self endless amusement taking them off.  

Tray of goodies, to show/ demonstrate/ and mostly, hopefully, inspire!

Garrett working 3 camera at once on day two.  Seriously they are talented.

Me very excited about yarn, so my usual state.

Atenti overnight bag, Yarn Pop project bag, and Rita and Wren clutch.  Seriously, anything I talk about on this blog I totally use myself!

Last video, with a few of my old project friends from Berroco.com and Blueprint Crochet Sweaters.
Thank you so much to Jill Brooke for taking all these photos for me.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.  Trying to remember to say every last detail I want to in my classes usually leaves me brain dead, and taking the photos both reminds me what we did and makes me chuckle too.

Now sadly the actual content of the classes is still secret for now.  They should be released soon.  Till then it doesn't mean we can't have some fun right?  If any of you can correctly guess the topics in each of my 4 classes, I will send you a little prize box of yarn.  You have to get all 4 correct.  There is no time limit, guess away until the videos are ready.  I will privately let the winner know that won and send them the goodies, so make sure there is a way I can contact you.  Enter by leaving a comment here or email me or tweet me.  Now I better run and get the last of those class handouts together!

1.13.2015

Knit and Crochet Season 6 Projects + Annie's New Yarn Shop

Hey everyone!

Hope you all had a great holiday season and happy new year.  If you are like me, you are settling into winter by staying warm by drinking lots of tea and crocheting constantly.

Need some new free projects?

Knit and Crochet Now!  Has published Season 6's projects for you to enjoy. On this season I have a bunch of new patterns that you might like.




African Flower Hat
Uses less then one hank of each of the 3 colors of Berroco Vintage Dk.  The hat is made from crocheted motifs that join as you go, or can be sewn together.  Layout is flat and hat is formed by pinching and bunching top edge to make the crown.  Easily could be a cowl without seaming the top.  Who doesn't like 2 projects in one?  You could get the 3 colors and make one colorway for the hat and use the reverse for a cowl!



Lisbon Capelet
This was first published on Berroco's Knit Bits.  The top is worked from the collar down.  The first repeat is the hardest while you are learning the stitch pattern you are also increasing, but once you are through that it is clear sailing.  There is a lot of fun stitches with the post stitches and Berroco's Fuji yarn is a great blend to make the top feel amazing.




Raglan Lace Tee
Need a new spring/ summer top?  One that you can actually wear without a cami?  This sweater is light and airy and perfect when you want to look put together. It uses one of my favorite threads, Nazli Gelin Garden 5.  Once you try it I promise your other cotton thread will be jealous.  The top is actually quite simple and is perfect when you want a brain break, and just crochet.  Body is all treble and single crochet, lace sleeves are an easy chain space mixed with v-sts.  You will have to try it to believe me.



Doily Wristlets
Have a some half balls of yarn laying around?  This quick hand warmer will use that up.  The project is one doily in superwash merino yarn that is buttoned to turn into a wristlet.  Place your thumb in any of the open spaces and you are finished.  Where it with the buttons in or out, the choice is yours.



Want the yarn to Build Your Own Kit for on of these projects?  Check out Annie's yarn shop.  They have overhauled their system to make it easier to browse and find what you like.  Plus for a limited time (til Jan 23) you can get 20% off on yarn by using the code: NEW YARN.  What does that really mean?  That means you can crochet the t-shirt for a little over 20$ in time for spring!  You definitely would not be able to do that even if it was on sale in a store.  Definitely take a look and stock up on some of your favorites before the sale is over!


12.12.2014

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

If you are anything like me, you are still sorting out your holiday list.   I know I always have the hardest time with the crafty people in my life.  I always want to get them something great that says "I love that you are crafty" without just giving them a gift card to Micheals.  (b/c as a crafty person who is also very absent minded,  I still have gift cards from years ago that I forget to use.)

If it helps, below are a few ideas of what I will be giving this year that are not just yarn and hooks, which every crocheter always loves.



1.  bags- you can never ever have too many project bags.


I love Yarn Pop's Clutch, it is perfect to break out while visiting and easy to toss on your shoulder when the toddler is on the go.



I also love Wren and Rita's new crochet case.  You can request one from her at her etsy shop.  They are very handy when all your hooks are in a jumble at the bottom of your bag (ask me how I know!)









2.  crochet kits- sometimes it is nice when others do the thinking for you.  honestly, I love kits everything you need is in one place



Fresh Stitches has the best toy kits.  Stacy has just the most adorable projects.



Amelia and Wiggles has kits for my Crochet By Faye Patterns.  Their yarn is just wonderful to work with and now you can get it online.










3.  hand care- especially in winter crocheters hands get really dry




I love Bar Lotions.  They go so easy in the diaper bag or yarn bag.  The are not greasy and do not leave a residue on the yarn.





Soak has amazing products, we know that.  They also have fantastic gifts.  One of my favorites are their nail polish.  It makes a great stocking stuffer.



Have you tried Jamberry Nails yet?  They are very clever and make a huge impact.  The brilliant Kristin Omdahl is a rep for them, and I would follow her to the end of the lane on her recommendations.  Check them out and ask Kristin, they are very cool.




4.  classes- there are always new things to learn, and I know I want to learn more all the time.


There is just something so fantastic about going in person and taking a class.  Whenever I can, I try to treat myself to one.  In 2015, there are two great festivals I will be going to... YarnFest in Loveland, CO and Knit and Crochet in Pittsburgh, PA.  I hope to see you there!


Can't get away?  Online classes.  I LOVE mine.  I go back all the time and re-watch the videos.  Annie's has wonderful selection of crochet classes and Craft Daily has a great number of quick classes.


Hope you all have a wonderful and cheery holiday season!

12.10.2014

Knit and Crochet Now! New Season coming soon!

Can you tell I hate getting pictures taken of myself?
Time has flown by this fall and now we are in the holiday craze! Hope all of you are having a great season of crafting!  If you have followed me on Twitter you know that I have been a very busy crafter, too.  I remodeled my studio and the kids playroom top to bottom, started a new secret book, and became obsessed with beading; just to name a few.  As well as another whirlwind was taping the next season of Knit and Crochet Now! in August.



Jenny King (guest) and Brett Bara
(you just know from that look you are going to love that episode!)




Amazing how the time just flies, and now starting in January, PBS will start airing the new episodes.  This season is a bit different then the others.  Yes, we still have both knitting and crochet on the show, and lots of great projects.  But we have a few new faces, and some great returning ones too!




Drew Emborsky and Brett Bara (don't you just love them?)








This season you will fall in love with our guest Jenny King and our newest producer Lena Skvagerson.  Both incredibly talented and so warm you will just love to hear their advice on crafting.  In an awesome surprise, we have Drew Emborsky back to teach us more crochet tricks.  Brett and I are a bit over excited to have him back as a guest, we missed his antics.  But not to worry Ellen Gormley, Kristin Nicholas, and I are still around to chat with Brett and show you some fun new projects.
Ellen Gormley- crochet expert

Lena Skvagerson- knit expert and producer
















Kristin Nicholas (knit expert) and Brett Bara (that sweater is amazing btw)
African Violet Motif Hat on KCN 6



Speaking of projects, this time around I got to bring a whole bunch of my own to show you.  There is motif hat, lace t-shirt, and lace wrist warmers.  I can't wait for you to see them, I really loved getting to work on them exclusively for the show.  Plus, I get to demonstrate the Lisbon Shawl from Berroco.com.  I just loved getting to see my shawl again and getting to show you my favorite parts of it.







Berroco's Lisbon Shawl on Set
(Aren't the new colors of the set great?)


Lacy Tshirt from KCN 6
















Lacy Wrist Warmer From KCN 6
I am really looking forward to this season, and I can't wait to catch it on TV.   Speaking of catching it, Annie's graciously is donating ine set of the DVDs of the latest season to one lucky blog winner.  All you need to do to enter the giveaway, is to leave a comment on the blog here (with a way to contact you (email, twitter, facebook, etc)) or send me an email with giveaway in the subject line by Dec 17th.  I will pick a winner at random next week and get in touch with them.  Good Luck!

10.08.2014

Crochet Motif Construction Webinar

Octogon Motifs with Void Filled with Diamond Motif
What are you doing next week, specifically October 15, 2014 at 1pm EST?

I hope that is joining me at my webinar...

Crochet Motif Construction: How to Build Your Next Project with Crochet Motifs Live Web Seminar


Blossom Kimono, Interweave Online Store
Do you love crochet stitch dictionaries for their beautiful motifs but do not know what you could do with them? Or have you ever wondered what else can I do with this crocheted doily? Have you mastered joining a few motifs together in a strip but wanted to know how you could transform that into a sweater or a bag?

Then come join me as I walk you through how to build and construct you next project with crochet motifs.
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I will guide you on how to join square motifs seamlessly, as well as how to spice them up with a fun crochet joining that makes a totally unique fabric.

With this webinar, you'll learn:
Paige Sweetheart Top, Interweave Online Store

  • How to join crochet motifs seamlessy.
  • To crochet motifs together for a unique lace.
  • How to layout and customize square motif projects.
  • Different hexagon and circular motif layouts.
  • How to fill in voids in your motif fabric.
I will show you how a simple trip to your local office supply store can be the key for unlocking those motif sweater layouts. I will break you out of the box with how to layout hexagon, octagon, or circular motifs.

Lastly, I will show you that keeping your old swatches can make joining and filling in voids in your fabric fun. Come join her and get ready to grab your hooks and stitch dictionaries after class to build your next gorgeous crochet motif project.

And don't worry, if you are busy on the 15th the class will be available for download at the Interweave Online Store.

Hope you can join me!
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10.07.2014

Learn to Crochet Sweater's at Annie's Attic

3 months how is that possible?  I won't go into all that has been going on in this post, but lets just say, quiet blog means I have been busy!  You know, the secret kind of busy that only months later you get to talk about.  LIKE...... my new class over at Annie's Attic

Last week, Learn to Crochet Sweaters went live on their site. I couldn't be more thrilled.  I have been wanting to share about this class for a long time.  I have been holding on to these sweaters for months now, and I am thrilled I can finally share.

The project had simple enough goals.  Annie's asked me to teach a class about how to crochet your first sweater.  Of course, my crazy brain at the time was in the middle of designing the most complex stitch pattern sweaters I have made yet, and the grinding of the brakes I am sure was heard far and wide in my house. Honestly, I stink at designing beginner level things.  I think because I just don't like beginner anything.  Whenever I have learned something new (like my current beading obsession (separate post soon enough)) I always gravitate to whatever has caught my eye, not the skill level.  Usually I don't go for super complex anything, I like to look at something and try to imagine reverse engineering it.  If it sticks in my mind that long, then its time to learn the skills to make it.

So with that idea of wanting sweaters that are not complex and not the typical beginner boxes, I chose to go middle of the road.  Sweaters that each teach one or two crochet techniques while we chat about the construction of each style.

For Example:

Andi Lace Raglan
We start the class working on the Andi Lace Raglan.  It is a classically constructed sweater made from 4 panels (one for each arm, back and front).  This first sweater we talk about shaping, since that is the number one thing  (besides gauge and blocking) that can be scary.  The sweater is symmetrical, so once you get the shaping for one side you have learned it for both.  The lace stitch pattern is really a simple repeat made just from a few chains and single crochets. We talk about how crochet symbols really can break down working on shaping and give a clear picture of what you do next. We also jump right into seaming and why it does not have to be such a challenge to join your panels together.   The pattern is written for 6 sizes, 35 inches (small) 38 inches (medium), 41 1/2 inches (large), 44 1/2 inches (X-large), 47 1/2 inches (2X-large), 51 inches (3X-large).  It uses Nazli Gelin Garden Size 5 cotton thread, which is a wonderfully soft and enjoyable thread to crochet.

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Ruby Pullover
We next move to the Ruby Pullover.  This sweater is a top down sweater, one of the most fun to crochet since you can literally try it on as you go.  The stitch pattern I tried to make as simple as possible with rounds of double and treble crochet between round of single crochet.  The one twist was we will be placing the single crochets in the middle bar (not either of the top two loops), which makes that ridge that runs horizontally on the sweater.  Since the stitches are really quite simple once you see where to place your hook, we talk about how you can modify the sweater to fit you even more.  (Like longer torso or more open neckline)  The pattern is written for 6 sizes, 31 1/2 inches (X-small), 34 1/2 inches (small), 37 1/2 inches (medium), 40 3/4 inches (large), 43 3/4 inches (X-large), 47 inches (2X-large).  The yarn is another favorite of mine, Berroco Vintage, a very affordable wool blend.




Brooklyn Motif Tunic
The last sweater and style we look at is the Brooklyn Motif Tunic.  It is a motif tunic that once we learn the motif, we basically have totally mastered the pattern.  The ribbing is simply single crochet in the backloop and the cowl is extended single crochet (easily you can sub in hdc here).  Both which are so quick to learn, I had to toss in how you can modify the sweater.  Motifs are one of my favorite construction methods since it is the closest to building blocks.  We talk in class how you can quite easily turn this into a cardigan, vest, t-shirt and more.  All with just playing with the layout of the motifs.  It is super fun, and very addicting I will warn you!  The pattern is written in 6 sizes, 31 inches (X-small) 34 inches (small), 38 inches (medium), 40 inches (large), 44 inches (X-large), 50 inches (2X-large).  The yarn is Universal Yarn Uptown DK, which is an acrylic that with blocking looks so luxurious. 



Besides introducing you to the 3 sweater constructions, we discuss fit, gauge, and blocking.  I know that sounds boring, but I try my best to explain why they are so critical when making a sweater.  One thing you will notice that these sweaters require very minimal finishing, and I don't go totally crazy in explaining customization. That is on purpose, these sweaters are just a step into making sweaters.  Styles that look great on most silhouette and really do not need a ton of customizing.  But when you are ready to move up, I suggest looking at my book, Blueprint Crochet Sweaters, or Crochet Sweater Studio, or Finishing Techniques Master class.  This Annie's class is my prequel (so to speak) to those classes and patterns. That said, I still think there is a lot to love in the class.  I tried to toss in a bunch of fun tips to make any project you choose the best for you.

Hope you enjoy!