Monday, May 28, 2012

Complements Collection!

Ya'll, Kristin Omdahl has released yet more beautiful patterns. (I know, not at all surprising!) I have had the pleasure to hang out with Kristin on several occasions and I am glad to call her a friend. She is as wonderful a person as you could imagine. It is such fun to be a part of the introduction of new patterns for my designer friends. I truly love my job! Okay, on with it, then

Complements Collection is a fabulous booklet of 12 patterns in both knit and crochet. Yes! BOTH!! How exciting is that for the bi-crafty (like me!!)?! Shawls, cowls, sweet little scarves, hats and mitts.
Truly, a great collection of the fun accessories we all love to make so much.
All of the pieces are practical and wearable, which I love!

My favorite pieces are the Protea Textured Crochet Hat & Keyhole Scarf

See! Totally cute, right!?

and the Lily of the Incas Knit Ribbed Shawlette
So very pretty and elegant, yet would look fabulous over a tank with jeans!

Of course, when you're working Bijou Basin Yarns, you're guaranteed gorgeous!
And yes!, of course I get to give away a digital copy :)
Simply leave a comment and a winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday the 30th.
If you simply can't wait until then (& I totally don't blame you), pop on over HERE and pick up a copy of Complements, really, you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Seamless Crochet! Yes, really!

You're going to be all super jealous and stuff, but I have to tell you anyway; Kristin Omdahl sent me a copy of her latest book for me to look through! In total honesty, if you are a crocheter, or even thinking about it, this book is a must for your shelf.
It's genius! No, really. It is. While I know she isn't the "inventor" of this technique, she definitely made it her own and we all owe her HUGE thanks for bringing it into the light.
AND, did you see!?! It comes with an instructional DVD!! Ya'll that's so cool it's sparkly. (ok, I added in the shiny, but it totally deserves it)
It's truly the coolest techniqe  - I'm trying to think of words to describe...

Seamless Crochet

Let's be honest, I am NOT a motif person. They are lovely and beautiful and ohhh then ends to weave in makes me shudder just thinking of it all. Now that I've tested and understand this seamless motif business, OHHH, I'm a believer!

Yes, I got right to work, because this is something I had to learn.  I chose a small project as my first piece and also wanted it to be something useful, so I chose the Jamie hat.  Speaking of small and useful, there are a few potholder projects in here that are awesome and great beginning pieces - but I also wanted to challenge myself - so went with the hat :)

The diagrams given are great.  I'm a very visual learner, so having these made all the difference to me!
If jumping straight into a hat is a bit scary, Kristin thought of that! Each motif/project has a "trial" diagram that you can study/make to get your feet wet and really grasp the concept before diving in to the full committment. Cool, right!?

Also, because my daughter was to be the recipient of the hat, she requested it be not a tight beanie, but rather a slouchier beret style.  So, I upped my yarn and hook size and yarn. Hindsight, I should have used a G rather than an H, it's a little too slouchy. But E likes it :) I am very happy with my choice of Noro Silk garden. the color changes in the continuous motif was really fun to watch! Also, because I was running out of yarn, I changed up the band to something that I would be able to just stop when I ran out.

If you love the look of motif crochet, but are hesitant to commit because of the ends... This book is your answer!!!
Shawls, hats, scarves, baby blankets... You want it, it's in here!! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

How I Keep Track, my To Do Journal

Over the past couple of weeks I've been recreating my "To Do" book of last year.  It has not only helped me accomplish what needs to get done, it has helped me to embrace the messy of my everyday activities.  How?  Well, when you have to hurry and jot things down and rush to get this/that on a page, you know, before it escapes your brain, sometimes, words get squished in, mis-spelled and scribbled out.  I also tend to circle/star/highlight bits that I think might get lost in the chaos of the page.  At the end of the day, it's not as pretty and organized as I would have liked for it to have been.  It took some time, but I realized that... In order to get stuff done, sometimes, you gotta make a mess.
Once I accepted this, I started to enjoy it's random chaos.  I would catch myself doodling swirly hearts & paisley designs while on the phone or between thoughts.  And this bit of pretty here & there made me happy.
Then, about mid-way through the year, I was introduced to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling and we started implementing 20 minutes of quiet, nature study into our day.  In the beginning, I would have to sit outside with the kids to keep them quiet and observant during their 20 minutes and one day, had my book with me and did my own drawing of a plant sprouting between slabs of sidewalk in the backyard.... What an enjoyable time.  I began doing it on a regular basis.   Another day, the backyard was absolutly covered in feathers.  Don't know why.  But they were everywhere.  We all made notes of this in our journals (see that word change, there?) and each of us glued a feather onto that day's page...
Another thing that was added along the way was the recording of the days temperature and just little bits of information here and there... I did this, because my mom gave me a daily planner from 60 years ago that belonged to my great grandmother.  She wrote in the days temperature and what she did for the day.  Trips to the grocery store and how much she spent, down to the penny.  What a neat little piece of her history.

So, now you know how I got started on my book and why I do a bit of what I do.
Here are a few pictures and a bit more information about my book.  Before I jump into them, I am sharing this (very important to me) process, because I want you to be as successful as you can be and I know this book is a crucial bit of my day. Maybe it's what you've been missing?

To show "how far I've come", (haha) this is the cover of last year's book.  Both are made from the lowly composition notebook you can get at your local super mart for .49 cents.   --- I don't know why the picture is sideways, because blogger is stupid.
I went to Michaels and bought a few scrapbook pages and sticker sheets I liked.  I also added some ribbons and charms hanging out of the spine because I saw this in a "smash journal" tutorial.  I may end up cutting this off. 
Title Page!  There used to be a sticker next to the hummingbird that read "Enjoy", but it fell off and the cat chewed it up :(
The next few pages are for writing down the big goals you'd like to accomplish. I skipped a total of 12 pages between the 'dream BIG Goals' page and the double page spread of 'Blog Log' and 'Daily'.  

This kinda sounds complicated, but it's really easy.  The Blog Log is where I write down ideas of things I'd like to blog about.  This portion of the book goes in reverse, so I turn the pages from right to left.  Make sense?  It's not meant for lengthy paragraphs, just main idea type titles/thoughts, so you can come back to it later. Next, you can see a few pages from last years' book and what my "Daily" pages look like.
There is yet another portion to my book, and it is also worked in reverse.  On the very last double page spread, I labeled it for January, turn the page left and its Feb...and keep going until december.  I use these pages to write down the active submission calls for all the different magazine/books/eMags.  On the left, I write the date and company, with a tiny detail of what the call is for (ie. Winter 2013) and on the right, I tape in a printed copy of the actual call w/ mood board & whatnot.  There is a handy option on my printer of "print __ pages per sheet" if you select 2 pages per sheet, the document will print out on half a page and is the perfect size for the composition books :)
Another thing I've done, that isn't shown in a picture, is added a list of all the mags/emags/yarn companies on the inside of the back cover - so I don't forget to check all the websites periodically for calls I might have missed.  Last, I covered the back page with this fun, hot pink, glittery card stock and ran a length of super-shiny duct tape down the spine.
I hope you have enjoyed the somewhat lengthy tour of my To Do/Journal/Work book.  As always, if this has inspired you to create your own or post about how you keep track of it all, I'd love love love to see what you do!  Leave a comment telling me where to look :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Read. Every day

What better time to start something than a brand-spanking new year?! While talking to my friend, Ellen, yesterday, she mentioned that she tries to get in a bit of reading time every day. I should do that, I thought.
I used to be quite a reader. And then, well, homeschooling my 4 kids, being wife & mom, and dedicating myself to working my crochet designs.... Somewhere along the way, I stopped. So last night, I went to my bookshelf and pulled off:
Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot, by Mary Beth Temple.
I'm really enjoying this book and have already picked it up to sneak in a page or 2 a few times this morning. One thing I have noticed as I'm reading is that I can "hear" Mary Beth. I have had the honor of meeting & getting to know her. She writes this book in her true language and I find the genuineness of that adds to the humor & readability.
If you, too, are a crochet zealot, I encourage you to pick up this book the next time you are out. Join me in a bit of reading every day. I'd love to hear what book is on your nightstand.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all wonderfully successful and productive year that includes loads of friends & family and plentiful days of relaxation. (and fur babies to guard your bed & keep it warm for you)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog Tour: Simply Crochet

^ LOOK! ^  I made that! - on the COVER!
Ya'll!  You've no idea how excited I am to finally get to tell ya about this book! 

First of all, I have to say, being asked to contribute to this book was such an honor.  Robyn Chachula (yes! of Crochet by Faye fame) is an amazing designer and getting to be a part of any project she is in charge of is straight awesome.

The idea for this book is great.  Robyn has organized the projects according to how much yardage they need.  Many of the pieces in this book are created with some truly indulgent yarn.  Which is often "not in budget".  But, have I got some really great news for you!  There are 8 fabulous projects in this book that take only 1 ball!  The Iced Ascot, my contribution, is one of them.

Indulgent yarn, indeed.  This ascot/scarf is made using only 1 hank of Royal by Blue Sky Alpacas. It's so soft and dreamy.

I love this scarf!! Not only because the yarn used is out-of-control amazing, but the look of it.  It's so simple, and yet, not.  Doesn't the model look just so.... together?  Casually yet, elegantly "done".
Love, Love, Love it!

Be excited.  This book is full of awesome.

You can download the eBook now from Interweave Press, HERE or Pre-order the paperback version (to be released in just a few days 12/07/2011) HERE.

Continue to hear more from the designers of Simply Crochet!  Tomorrow, Margaret Hubert will be chatting about her Flapper Hat in the book!