Friday, February 26, 2016

Project Page Appreciation: fraspost's Floral Encrochetment

It's the last Friday of the February. It is already time for another Project Page Appreciation post. How quickly time passes! This time I am featuring fraspost's Floral Encrochetment, which uses the morning glory from my Morning Glory Garland. This is what she had to say about her project:

"I used the pattern for the Morning Glory flower only and found it quick and, to my appreciation, accurate in trying to show the colourway of the flower itself. I made an early colour change to light blue after round 6 and fastened this off as instructed for white. A quick and easy crochet for a striking flower corsage."

What a creative idea! If you'd like to be featured for a Project Page Appreciation day, simply work up one of my patterns and post a project page to Ravelry. You never know who is going to win! The prize is two free patterns.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Wallingford Slouch Hat Crochet Pattern

Good morning! Today I bring you a new pattern, fresh from testing: the Wallingford Slouch Hat. Slouchy hats have been trending like crazy lately, so I couldn't help but design my own cozy, pretty version. It is primarily made of extended single crochet. If you're in the mood to painlessly learn a new stitch, give this one a try! The pattern is available on Ravelry and Craftsy.

The Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle is the namesake of this comfy hat. It is a relaxed place with fun, friendly people. This hat is the perfect everyday accessory. The slouch style is youthful and trendy, but the thoughtful design ensures that it is functional, keeping you warm with no slippage around the brim. A pom pom finishes things off with some flair. If you’re looking to learn some new, simple stitches while creating an item that is versatile and gift-ready, come spend a few hours getting to know the Wallingford Slouch Hat!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Some Sad News (with a Silver Lining)

For a while now I've been talking about how excited I am to reveal my secret crochet projects to you. There are two of them, one large and one small, that I worked on last year. Unfortunately, it seems the smaller project has been killed by the publishing company.

Let me explain. Sometimes publishing companies request that designers send them ideas for patterns that they can use in books, on websites, and more. In this case the submission call was for a compilation of hat patterns. Last January, the publishing company selected three of my designs for inclusion in the book and paid me for them. I was very excited and supplied them with samples and instructions. Here's the sad part... Yesterday, I received an email from the publisher saying that the project has been "killed". This means that they have decided that publishing the hat book is no longer a smart business decision for them. I will be getting my samples back, as well as the rights to my patterns. I get to keep the design fees that have been paid to me.

Obviously I'm pretty disappointed. This would have been the first book to include my designs. However, I am still very much looking forward to revealing the larger of my two secret projects, hopefully soon.

Where's the silver lining? Well, since I am getting the rights to the patterns back, I will be releasing them soon as individual patterns on Ravelry and Craftsy. I'm going to send them through a round of testing and add some photo tutorials, but as soon as those steps are complete the patterns will be up for sale. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yarn that Changes Color in the Sun!

OH MY GOSH, you guys! I just saw this neat yarn the other day at one of my local yarn stores.

It's yarn that changes color in the sun! I have never seen something like this before. Have you ever worked with it? It's called Abracadabra by HiKoo, distributed by Skacel. So cool. What would you make with it? There is clearly pattern potential here. Hmm...

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tips for Managing Miserable Crochet Tasks

Crochet: It ain't all sunshine and roses. Like any hobby, crochet has its not-so-fun bits. Instrumentalists have to empty their spit valves, carpenters have to sweep up their shops, and paper crafters have to tend to their paper cuts. There are likely a few crochet tasks that you're not too fond of. Here are a few of mine along with tips to trick yourself into dealing with them in a timely manner. You may even be able to avoid them altogether!

Tip #1: Crochet over your ends.
Whenever possible, I crochet over my ends by laying them along my working row of stitches. So long as you work over at least six inches of tail you should be golden. No ends to weave in!
Tip #2: Don't save them all for last.
Weave in an end here and there, perhaps every time you put the project away for the day. That way you will slowly work through them over time.
Tip #3: Tough love.
So, you've waited too long and now all you have left to complete of your project is weaving in a million ends. Well, guess who isn't allowed to start a new project until they are woven in? You, that's who!

Tip #1: Avoid the base chain altogether by starting with foundation stitches. 
Check out tutorials for foundation single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet. These will change your life fo sho.
Tip #2: Take mini-breaks. 
Do a little dance and pat yourself on the back every 20 stitches or so to keep yourself enthused.
Tip #3: Pick a decadent yarn.
If you're able, pick a yarn that is simply delightful to work with for this project. That way crocheting into the chain won't feel like a chore.

Tip #1: Don't save up a big pile o' blocking.
Block each project right after it is finished, don't wait until you have several to complete at a time.
Tip #2: Splurge on nice blocking materials.
$50 to $60 up front can cure a lifetime of the blocking blues. With nicer mats, wool wash, pins, and wires you will be able to block more efficiently and come away with a more polished finished product.
Tip #3: Steam block it instead.
Too darned impatient to wait overnight? Get instant gratification by hovering your iron over your dry, pinned project and steaming the heck out of it. *BOOM* Dry in 10 minutes.

Tip #1: Avoid the join by joining as you go.
There are many methods for joining as you go that will circumvent the dreaded joining of a million motifs. Edie Eckman has a great class on Craftsy that includes this and other skills.
Tip #2: Crochet your joins instead of sewing them. 
If you don't mind a slightly raised texture, slip stitches and single crochet are much quicker and less labor intensive than whip stitch or mattress stitch.
Tip #3: Knock it out.
Instead of dragging the task out, find several uninterrupted hours and join everything all at once. Painful in the short term, but it may save you weeks of dreading joining.

Tip #1: Cry.
I'm kidding...kind of. Seriously, tangled yarn can be super frustrating. It's okay to let out a sigh or even a colorful word to acknowledge that.
Tip #2: Be gentle and patient.
Now that your frustration is out of the way, treat the yarn delicately. Lightly shake it to loosen it up instead of pulling. Pulling and tugging only makes it worse.
Tip #3: Outsource it.
You just can't even? Well, there's a group out there who would love to help you out.

Tip #1: Go look at project pages on Ravelry.
Remind yourself of your reasons for choosing this project by appreciating others' finished versions. Get inspired again!
Tip #2: Work up a quick instant gratification project.
It might be that you miss the feeling of completion and pride that you get when you finish a project. Make something small that can be finished quickly to get those hooks moving again.
Tip #3: Be honest with yourself.
Some projects may not be for you. It's okay to appreciate that thread-weight tablecloth pattern without working it up yourself. Try to select projects that you will maintain enthusiasm for. It may take a while to figure out what you're really into.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Personal Challenge: Progress Photos

Do you like to post progress photos of your fiber work? I've always been fairly nervous about it. Perfectionism can be a helpful trait at times, but it is also a trait that hides who you really are from others. If you don't show others your struggles others may have a hard time understanding you. You have probably noticed that I don't really post progress pictures very often. It's always BOOM project BOOM pattern... but that's not how those things come to be. Those things take weeks and weeks of work, and some of it isn't glamorous. However, for some reason I find myself hesitant to share any project that's incomplete, a pattern that's in development, or a picture that is less than perfect. It's just like Facebook: An artificial representation of oneself in front of an audience.

Today, I am turning over a new leaf. I have decided to share more progress photos with you. Many other bloggers share their progress and it is a fun experience for them and their readers, so I hope that this will turn out that way as well. I also hope to continue to accept the parts of myself that aren't perfect, and to be authentic in all areas of my life :)

Let's start small. Here is a cabled knit scarf I am working on. It is my fifth knitting project.

The yarn I'm using came from a friend and had lost its label, so it is a mystery! The pattern I'm following can be found on Ravelry, the Beginner's Super Extremely Simple Cabled Scarf. I am taking way longer to complete it than I should be and need to work harder/spend more time with it :)

What's in progress on your hooks and needles?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wearing Your Crochet Creations

Do you like to wear the crochet items that you make? Do you prefer to see others wearing them? Most often I wear the scarves that I've designed since it would be rather difficult to wear a baby blanket! Recently, I noticed that the light blue of one of my Blair Headbands goes perfectly with the light blue in my space leggings.

Thus, I wore it them both to work, along with a black dress. That headband pattern is so underrated. Seriously. Sometimes designers imagine patterns that don't initially get a lot of love. For me, the Blair Headband Collection falls into that category. It's a free pattern, so check it out if you haven't already.

What crochet projects have you worn out recently?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

TNNA Fiber Arts Survey 2016

I learned from Crochet Concupiscence that there was a neat fiber survey being put out by TNNA (The National Needlearts Association), so I had to go check it out. I had a lot of fun taking it! You might want to give it a whirl. It will make you feel good about the projects that you finished last year. Finally, I can share my secret crochet with someone! Even if that someone is an anonymous survey :p Any day now...