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!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Classic Red

Yay!  A new pattern!  Finally being able to release a new pattern is so exciting.  Makes me giggly like a 12 year old girl :)

Model: Braelyn C. (my niece)

Having a 2 year old niece has added so much to my life. As I hold her in my lap and read her favorite stories over and over again, all of the classic styles of the illustrations beckon to me; begging to be made a part of her wardrobe.
Naturally, I’m listening… 

Classic Red is more than just a new pattern.  It's the first of the Storybook Classic Crochet collection. As of right now, I know this collection will contain 3 patterns, perhaps 5.  The second pattern has already been written and I've made a sample.  Next step is to get it to a tester to ensure there are no errors.  Then, I'll get it released!  I will be selling them individually or as a collection for a discounted price. 

Classic Red is modern take on the typical beret style hat.  It has a slight slouch to it’s shaping, but not overly large so as to be bothersome to tots.  The fabric created is dense enough for warmth without being bulky or stiff.

Size to fit (shown):  2-5 yrs
Yarn:  2.5 oz / 114 yds, light worsted or sport weight yarn
Shown:  1.5 balls, Angora Banboo, by Patons
Hook:  G/6-4mm or size needed for gauge

I hope you all love this hat as much as I do.
You can purchase a digital copy of this pattern HERE.

Oh!  Before you go, if you have something that is "Storybook Classic" style in your mind, and you'd like to see me add it to this collection, do let me know :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Yep, I'm doing it, too...

No poo.
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about (although I'm quite certain you have not all been hiding under rocks the past few years and have heard/read of this buzz many times over), no poo means quitting shampoo.
I know, ew, right?  You just shivered at the thought of it, didn't you?  Before you start gagging, I should tell you, I still wash. I'm clean. I just no longer spend $14 on a bottle of chemicals that give the false sense of "cleanliness".
There are many many many sites out there that give the down & dirty (dirty! ha!.. get it? dirty!) of the different chemicals in shampoo.  Not only are they fairly hard on your hair... they most certainly can't be good for our beautiful earth. 
Here are a few links for you to clicky if you're interested in the science-y details:

So, couple of things might happen after you go no poo for the first time:
1.  Holy hair-falling-out, Batman!
2.  Oh.great.Thanks. Now I have the world's worst case of dandruff.
3.  I think I must be allergic to baking soda or something, my head kinda stings.

But, fear not, they don't have to.

Let's talk about my first no poo shower. The internal convo went something like this:
"What the heck am I doing? No shampoo!?! Gross. This is going to be so bad. Okay, fine. I'll do it once. Maybe twice. I'll give it a fair shot. Then, when it really sucks, I can honestly say I tried and go back to my beloved rosemary & mint smelling -yes, ridiculously priced, but I totally love the smell & I buy cheap toilet paper shampoo. Vinegar rinse. Gross. Sooo not rosemary & mint. Fine."
Then I pour the baking soda slurry over my scalp and scrub. And scrub. And scrub.
Scrub like I'm not going to get another shower for forever.  It's okay. I can admit it, it's only you and I here, right? Totally worried & freaked out that my hair is going to be all greasy and gross.  So I do the vinegar rinse (pffttt vinegar. not rosemary & mint!) and step out, dry off, pj's on (I usually prefer to shower at night. See, then I can be uniterrupted. Noone has to come in to tinkle-yes, family of 6, 1 bathroom, or ask if they can let the neighbor kid in, or tell me so&so farted on them, or come ask if it's ok to have a candy, or come to tell because so&so had a candy without asking and that's not fair and can they have a candy now, too) & then... the first test.
I get out my wide-toothed comb (because I'm good and know using a small comb or brush will stretch & damage your hair) and whoa, Nellie! Hair everywhere! Falling out like I've been in a bar fight (not that I have any idea of what it's like to be in a bar fight. But I'm guessing a girl in a bar fight might lose a bit of hair, right?)
Uh, remember all that scrubbing I did?
Hurry, quick! Check the mirror! Exactly how much is falling out, here!?! And then, are you kidding me!? Dandruff!? What?! I've never had a problem with dandruff before!
Pssst, the scrubbing...remember?
After the balding panic and dandruff anger subside, I realize... the tingly sensation. Wait, that's  little more than tingly. That's kinda sting-y. Ow.Why is my head kinda hurty?
Um, scrubbing. All the blasted scrubbing!
So, yeah, I did some online research, because the internets knows everything, and turns out, if you scrub too much, you might have a few side-effects.
Let's face it, the truth is, when you're using shampoo, the wonderful foamy lather (ahem, that's the part that's the worst for your hair) makes you feel likes it's washing away the dirt as we rub our hair.  The bubbles. That's the cleaning part, right?-No. 
We've have gotten out of the habit of cleansing our scalp.  You know how when you go to the beauty shop (that's what we Texans call it, not sure what it is in other parts of the world - hair salon?) and when the person "massages" your head & it feels so good & then your hair looks so full & bouncy after? Um. Yeah. That's because she cleaned your scalp, not just ran detergent through your hair. And then she coated it with silicone to make it all shiny. Uh. What? Yeah. Clicky the "why to make the switch" links above.
Anyhow, the point is, the human body is an amazing creation. If given the opportunity, your natural body oils will keep you hair perfectly conditioned, as long as you keep your scalp clean and hair folicles unclogged, just don't go overboard with the scrubbing.

I've been told/read that there is an adjustment or transition period for your hair to become accustomed to this change of routine. Makes sense. I mean, I've only been using shampoo for 30 someodd years...
Today is day 6 for me. My hair feels a little dry. Also to be noted, my lips are cracking and my hands are flaking and itchy... so weather could be a factor, too.
I'll keep you posted on this experiment, and if I forget, just ask.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Easy & Delicious

So, I told you I'd start adding more of my life details. I think one of those things should definitely include recipes, if they're mine, of course.
Okay, first, you must know that this tomato soup is a total cheat. Delicious. But cheat. 

Super Tomato Soup

1 Family size can of Campbell's tomato soup
1/2 soup can of water
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can diced Italian tomatoes

Combine all ingredients in pot, heat thoroughly.

Really, that's it.  It has great flavor and we like the added bits of tomato. If you prefer your soup to be smooth, this can eaily be pureed using a hand (wand) blender- boat motor as Emeril calls it, food processor, whatever you've got. I know, I know... it's all canned & not fresh.... Reality is: sometimes, we have canned dinners around here. And if I can feed my family of 6 happily with this soup and it costs less than $5 (total) and takes 5 minutes (total) to make... well, you do the math. 

It's a fabulously easy "go-to" when you have sudden lunch guests or just want something warm & delicous that is hassel-free.

Uh oh, dtr needs computer for science.  I'll come back with what is in in this glorious sandwich in a bit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More to life

Hello, dear readers.  I have made a decision about the postings, or lack of, on my wee location of the internets.  I've discovered that one reason I seldomly update is, well, I can't.  Designing is a business of secrets.  I contractually bound to not show my work until it's "reveal time".  So, while I am known to most of you because of my yarny adventures, I've decided to do more posting about the other parts of my world.   So expect to start seeing a little more real-life RV on RV Designs :)

I'm pretty sure you all know I'm a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom of 4.  Having 4 kids means doing as much on the cheap as possible.  For me, I have found one way to save money is on laundry.  Because, wow- do we go through mounds of laundry!

So today, I offer: DIY Dryer Sheets
You will need:
1 no longer worn 100% cotton tee, rubber glove, liquid softener, scissors, shallow dish
Cut tee into squares, soak in liquid softener, squeeze out excess (pour back into jug), hang squares to dry.

Each square can last up to 20 loads! *If you start to notice static, or when it no longer smells as strong as you'd like, switch to a new square.  When all squares are used, soak, squeeze, dry. Repeat from *





Tuesday, October 4, 2011


My little sister had a baby :)

What an amazing miracle she is.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Color

I've taken to repainting my nails about once a week. I know this is critical information for you to know ;-P

Currently I have loads of work going on here at RV Studio, just nothing I can share at this moment. So, I offer: Wet Cement

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Finally home for the night from all the this & that's my kidlets get themselves into. Going to rest my weary legs (this mornings episode of C25K was a little rough on me), and knit this sample to go out. Wait... Yes, I will have a knit piece published soon :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Mystery Project

Still on my quest for a clean & organized office. No paper, box or basket is being left unturned. Projects in different states of completion are being moved from here to there.

This also means there has been ripping. Plenty of it! No longer like this, never truly liked that, anyway... And then there's the 'what is this?' pile. Such a shame. No memory of the yarn choosing process: the pondering, touching, envisioning- the excited anticipation that come with each and every beginning slipknot.

A shawl, it seems. Returning the stitch markers to my nesting doll, the needles to their hanger and winding the lace yarn to be placed on the shelf...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Desk! I has one

Most of my Friday was spent cleaning & organizing my studio. I didn't take a before pic, but trust me, it was b.a.d. Though its come a long way, there is still much to do, so for now, I offer a peek at my clean desk (look carefully, you just might spot a sneaky peeky or two).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stash Bash, joining in

My friend and fellow designer, Kristin Omdahl, posted her "stash" today. Following her lead, thought I'd show you mine, too.  But first, here's why:  Interweave is having a StashBuster Sale, a new, annual post-Labor Day event. Now through Sept 16th. Not just a sale, but a contest, too! There is also Stash Bash Flickr Group. Check out everyone else's stash and upload your own photos (this is how to enter for prizes!!). One lucky winner will be selected at random from all the Flickr group entries winning their choice of 5 NEW BOOKS from Interweave Books' 2011 collections to add to their book stash. Five additional winners selected at random will win copies of the new book INSIDE THE CREATIVE STUDIO: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space by Cate Coulacos Prato (available October 1, 2011). Winners will be chosen on September 17. So here it is, my stash of stuff:

One of my 2 bookshelves, the top shelf is loaded up with all of my laceweight yarn.  The bottom shelf is full of knitting & crochet books that I don't look at often, but am not quite ready to be rid of.

The second bookshelf.  This sits right behind my desk, all books within reach for easy referencing.  You can also see my long needles on the floor to the left with shorter needles and dpn's on the top, along with my treasure of crochet hooks.

My cube storage boxes.  They hold my magazines, yarn that is next up for contracted projects and yarn that I have set aside to swatch with.

This little section of real estate in my studio is dedicated to my spinning habit.  It holds my wheel, a Louet S15, drum carder & wool in various colors and stages of fluff to yarn.

So, join in, won't you!? Leave a link to your stash bash in comments so I can see yours :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Go Crochet!

Welcome to the next stop on Ellen Gormley's blog tour!!

book cover

Not only is Ellen an amazingly talented designer, she is a wonderful person. But you don't need me to tell you that. When you read the descriptions and notes she has written on these pages, you feel her warmth and genuine love of crochet.

Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook is so much more than your typical afghan pattern book. It is, well, a workbook. A class.
It begins with the basics, tools you will need and why, how to read a stitch diagram, how to measure gauge and why. It has clearly drawn and written instructions of the various stitches you will need to know. And then (yes-more! I'm telling you, it's a great book!), the discussion on choosing colors. Then.... wait, we'll come back to this part.


Next, 50 original motifs. 5 different shapes, 10 of each: Square, Rectangle, Triangle, Hexagon, and Octagon. Grab a snack and a cup of coffee (I like mine with a little french vanilla creamer!), spend some time flipping through the 60 pages of possibilities. Big, beautiful pictures. Detailed, colorful stitch diagrams of each.

Now that you have made the decision of what motif you love the most, you can flip back to the beginning of that shape, where Ellen provides "puzzles", line drawings of how to arrange the shape you picked.


Now also, is the decision of motif joining. Of course, she schools you on this, too. Pictures and choices at the end of section 1 (I told you we'd get back to it!).

Want a no-brainer? An afghan that is expertly & beautifully chosen? You got it! The last section of the book has 10 amazing blankets. Again, amazing photography & charts! My personal favorite:


So, now that we've walked through the Afghan Design Workshop, let's talk about the "more" I mentioned about this book. Who says you must use the motifs for a blanket? Not me! While I LOVE to wrap in the comfort of the afghans my grandmothers crocheted for me, making an afghan is not high on my list of things to do. On my list, of course, but not anytime soon.
For me, the real fun in this book is the possibilities of motifs! Truly, you can make anything using them. Be picky and purposeful in the yarn you chose.
Cotton worsted: chose a solid octagon motif for a purse, or an open one for a market bag
Sport/DK weight wool: pick a lovely square for an easy cardigan
Lace weight bamboo: chose an open triangle for a dreamy spring shawl
Worsted wool: opt for greys & warm browns, make a manly scarf from a rectangle

Really, the possibilities are endless. I know what I'm going to do.


You can find it a on Amazon, ~OR~ you can get an autographed copy from Ellen's site. It is definitely one book on your shelf that will not gather dust!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Hooks in My Life.... part 1

I have oodles of crochet hooks. Some work for me, some don't. Thought I'd take some time and share with you my thoughts.

This one was a gift. The information on the hook says "Accento Craft Inc, Handy Hook".
It's a size K, which is a size I don't use often. It does require a bit of getting used to, and I wouldn't necessarily say that it causes less 'tiring' of my hand. My guess is that it is probably very comfortable for a "pencil grip" person. But I'm a knifer. It's fun to look at though!

Several years ago, I went through a phase where I decided I needed to have cute, fun and fancy hooks.
Here are a few I ordered from eBay sellers. I don't remember who I bought them from, sorry. As you can see, 2 were customized with my EweDevil sheepie of the time. 2 of these hooks have a bit of a squish to them & are marked with "JY 305". The other is a harder, polymer clay (I think). Although, this little sheep has lost it's head & horns :( But it's quite comfortable to work with.

For the "Ooo, Fun!" factor, I bought this hook that lights up. Yes. There is a little led light in the handle that shines through the clear hook. It is another size K, so is rarely out. And honestly, I tried working with this once during a movie (we were at home, don't throw popcorn!). It was more annoying than helpful, for me. They are called "Crochet Lite" and are made by Clover, but aren't on the website.

And my purty hooks:
Ooops, looks like a plain one snuck into the picture... It is 10" long and has "Size 15" stamped in it. It is one of the hooks from my grandma's collection.
So the fancy hand-turned hooks are from Jimbo's Front Porch. They are a pleasure to behold and have a great hand. However, for me, not really useful. They have a bit of a Susan Bates hook, and I'm a Boye hook type. Unsure of what I mean by that? Tune in tomorrow for more on hooks!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Slipped Shawlette

I saw a post (sorry I don't remember where) a while back on a slipped stitch beanie. And thought to myself "wow, that's pretty cool". And moved on, leaving this concept to linger in the back of mind.

A few weeks ago I made this gorgeous shawlette, the Multnomah By Kate Flagg, the body is knit in garter stitch with a feather and fan edge. I love garter stitch. The look. The squish. The easy, rhythmic stitching.

I sat wishing I could make something similar in crochet.
And then, yep- you got it!, Aha! That slip stitch beanie!
I knew exactly the right yarn from my stash.
It was magical. I grabbed a hook, and started. Changed hooks. Changed hooks again.
Changed hooks again. Again. Closer, but changed again.
And finally - okay, so magical was a bit embellished, whatever, the process was still sparkly in my mind so I'm leaving it in.

My first independently published pattern is for sale.
Slipped Shawlette

Slipped 3
Slipped 2
Slipped 1

It is $3.00 HERE

I'm very excited about it. I love love this little shawl and will be making another for myself in a bamboo for the spring & summer months.
I hope you enjoy it and please make sure to send me pictures if you make it!