Tag Archives: Crochet

PHM…what to do?

I have heard your cry! I have your pleas! Some of you are crying boredom, some information overload, some of you still have Post Holiday Crochet Injuries (PHCI) and even worse, the Post Holiday Malaise (PHM). What to do? What to do!?

Here are a few tips that may help in any of the above cases!

Boredom

  • Everything seems same old, same old? Not likely if you’ve just come to the joys of the crochet world, but if you are a veteran, this happens. You get into a groove, and designers get into a groove and well…it can seem that your options are sparse. Here’s a quick tip for overcoming this feeling of crochet ennui without having to put down your hooks!

                * Doodle with yarn. You have stash! You know you do, lots of bits and pieces of fuzzy goodness that are muffled in some tote, bag or box waiting to be played with by your hands and hook! Take them out of confinement and allow your creativity to play! Swatch, doodle, play with hook sizes and stitches. You could call it “scrumbling” as the free formers do, but you could just play and rip, play and rip…cleanse your palette of the same ol’ same ol’! Try something new, learn a new technique…allow your mind to wander creatively.

Information Overload

  • So many patterns, so little time, 200 wips waiting to be finished, but you want more. You are overwhelmed, you don’t know what to do next. Here’s what you are going to do!!

                    * STOP! Stop looking up what other people are crocheting, take out a small wip and finish it or frog it. Then do another one, and another. Get a few projects finished. Those online pattern searches can wait. Dreaming and wishing is a good thing but it doesn’t get your crochet done.

Post Holiday Crochet Injuries

  • Woah Nelly! This isn’t good! Crochet is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable! Did you out crochet your capacity? Andee Graves (Mama2Hands on Ravelry) is a health writer and retired Licensed Massage Therapist, counseled us at the retreat  to LYB: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!

                     *If you have any pain in your joints, you need to stop, drink water and stretch. You may want to put the hooks down for a little while, and contemplate what hand or wrist movements cause you pain. You may need to change your grip, or get an ergonomic set of handles. You may need to get a massage and tell them you need your neck, back, hands and arms worked on. This is serious! You do not want injuries to cease your ability to crochet!   If you have any kind of numbness or pain get this checked out by a medical practitioner!

Post Holiday Malaise

  • So you aren’t bored, you aren’t injured, you crocheted like a mad fiend all year, and the holidays came and went. It isn’t even like your gifts were appreciated, people may have adored them…so why the let down? Well maybe it’s not the crochet at all, maybe it’s the anti-climax of the holiday season coming to the end…Like the song, “Now the parties over…” Maybe it’s like the baby blues, and when you create a lot of things…that’s alot of babies…here’s what I like to do.

                   * Take a break for a few days. Set the hook down, and do something else. Get outside if the weather allows, go for a walk, or go shopping, buy some new yarn, or hooks, or non crochet related things even! Then, after a few days, start a project for YOU. Yes, that’s right, you’ve been making things for others for so long, that maybe, just maybe you need to take care of you and make yourself a present! Did some very thoughtful relative or friend buy you yarn? Or give a gift card? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, or have that you haven’t done yet? Well, why not start now!

Remember, we crochet because we love it…but as in all relationships sometimes things need to be approached from a fresh angle, sometimes we need a change and sometimes we need a break.

But before this blog post ends….I want to inspire you further!

First of all, I’m working diligently on producing our 2011 year in review video! It shall be entertaining and informative I promise!  Secondly, and drum roll please…Get ready for 2011!

The CLF is going places, in a big way! Are you ready for it? Are you ready to see us really become all that we can be? I’m working hard behind the scenes with a fabulously tech savvy Fairy Godmother to transform us into a “Real Boy”. That’s right, no longer shall we be a talking wooden puppet…but in the flesh and in your face! Ok..well, we’ve always been in your face… but that’s besides the point. Stay tuned!!

And don’t forget to take a look at the CLF First Ever Book, available in hard copy or pdf version! Special rates still apply! You know you want it!

Supporting our Community

Over the past few days the internet crochet community has been buzzing about our podcasters and their fates! Podcasting is going to start to really cost, many of our beloved casters don’t want to take sponsorship in order to retain their creative freedom…which means we the listeners need to help them out!

You can find Getting Loopy, host of the CLF’s Annual Crochet Awards (The Flamies), at http://www.gettingloopy.com   . Reluctantly, Mary Beth Temple has put a donate now button on her site (cause the community badgered her to! We love the show!), if you can donate please do!

The Yarn Thing Podcast also faces a similar dilema, and Marly could also use donations! You can find the Yarn Thing Podcast on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing .

We need to support those who support us! If you can’t donate anything, at least help get the message out there, any help is good help! Thank you so much in advance for anything you do in this great effort to keep crochet represented on the web!

All about the Yarn…

There is so much we can do with crochet! I am constantly in awe of the thousands of projects in the CLF group pages (and pages and pages).

As I scan through the images, I can’t but be filled with wonder at the creativity and talent that comprises our membership! From our beginners who are boldly and bravely trying new things and taking that scary step of showing the world their very first or second or third project…to our designers and master crocheters who display such a high level of artisanship and creativity that one just has to sit and take in the visual for a while…

Often when I see projects, I take a look at the construction and the yarn, now one could argue that many of the proejcts aren’t “good”…I would argue that they are all as good as they can be, and that the difference between crafted and artisan work is the level of knowledge, whether concrete or intuitive regarding tools and materials.

Knowing what various yarns do in various stitches makes all the difference in the world! For example, textured yarn is best used in very simple stitches, often with a hook diameter that is slightly larger than the widest part of the yarn circumference (for those that hate math, in English it means that you use a way bigger hook than the width of the yarn)… To create well constructed lace you want to use a smaller hook and keep tight tension…One hook is not enough to meet all of your yarn needs. Everyone should have a set or at the very least four or five different sizes, that way you can play with your tension, play with your yarn!

Once you have your hook/yarn ratio figured out, then you need to play with fiber content! Silk and wool are NOT the same beast…and yes, Merino is wool but it has a different quality to it than most other wools, it has a minimal stretch memory compared to many other wools, which is why it is so very soft and drapey…soft and drapey often equate to a fabric that has little stretch memory…but hey we’re crocheters and we can play with stitches to add to our stretch memory…think of front post/back post stitches, or adding a bit of chained meshing in a tight tension…

You know I’ve been promising you that book, yeah, the one on yarn and crochet…I’ll let you know a little secret…I’m writing it. Yup, I am…slowly but surely, with concrete information that will be helpful to your project and design needs. When will I be done? I dont’ know yet, still working on it. But I can promise you it will have charts, and pictures and graphs…all kinds of neato stuff… It is a work in progress and I think you’ll love it.

In the mean time you can for a VERY affordable price download the Secrets of Yarn Guide, and have a quick reference for all of your yarn crafting needs. 

Now…speaking of LOVE …Karen Whooley has announced the winners of the Etimo Hook Drawing on her blog! Check it out to see if you won!

And this is why we love it…

Pre-Winter Crochet Week is at it’s mid-way point…I have to say it’s been so much fun on the CLF message board on Ravelry.com, and on our facebook page.

It seems I have a new local group, my best friend (who can crochet, but prefers I make the hats…sigh…”you’re quicker” she says…but at least she handspins lovely yarns and I get to play with soft and yummy goodness) and another friend who fell in love with Amigurumi and wanted to learn. We’ve decided this shall happen every tuesday at my best friend’s house (she is the famous pair of feet in my Bestest Friend/Loopy Lou sock pattern only $.50 for a download, special CLF Savings 😀 I am going to raise the price back to $4.00 after the holidays!). I have to say that this gal who’s initials really are CLF (It’s fate I tell you), is the BEST novice crochet student I have ever had. In our first lesson we went from chaining straight up to single crochets and shaping! She made the body of her piggy the first lesson, tonight? We made the snout, legs, ears and curly queue tail 😀  I made up the pattern on the fly, and she got it…every step of the way and tonight? She learned to READ the pattern! Talk about gratifying!

 Front view of sir piggy wiggy…no eyes yet, she’s gonna get him all googlified…

      And a rear-view of that cute little tail! This is her very very first ever crochet project!!!   

We’ve had so much fun, and the best part as her guide, has been watching her sense of satisfaction and accomplishment along the road. In her “spare” time, she is a 4-H leader and has a gaggle of pre-teen and teen-aged girls at her heels, she wanted to learn to make critters for them as gifts…too  much fun!

That’s why I love crochet, with a simple tool (though if you ask an anthropologist they will explain the complexities of using a hook versus a straight object) and some long fiberous stuff we can make ANYTHING from beautiful lace to cute pigs and dolls. We’ve had community, laughter, the joy of eating good chocolate and watching someone feel just GREAT about learning something new, and finishing a project…she even wove in her ends. (Much better than her teacher who never bothers unless I have to…isn’t that what kids are for?)

Yes, I will be writing up this and  the other patterns I make up on the spot for my pal CLF, maybe I’ll make a little booklet 😀 They are quick and fun 😀

Hope you are enjoying your Pre-Winter/Pre-Sumer (OR heck Pre-Solstace Seasonal Shift) Week

Don’t forget you can still order the CLF Book hard copy or pdf download from the CLF Website! While you’re there you can check out the new gear 😀

Thread Heads

I… Love…Threadwork…

Chant with me…I …. LOVE…Threadwork…

What?

I know, I know modern crocheters shy away from thread…why oh why I’ll never know. For me thread is the quintessential medium in which to crochet.  It’s just counting people, so much of beautiful thread work is just a series of negative spaces created by chains at repeated intervals. Don’t fear the steel hooks (we need more cowbell)…

Beautiful and quickly made ornaments and appliques can be easily achieved with so little effort! Don’t let people fool you, it’s not hard, it’s just a matter of paying attention to your counting! So, why not make some snowflakes or flowers? If you don’t like thread, MANY sock yarns will work up beautifully too!

Let me inspire you with some of the thread work I’ve found on Ravelry…and may this inspire you to dust off those little hooks, grabe some size 10 thread, and have jingly and merry crochet time 😀

Click on the pretty pictures to get to the pattern pages on Ravelry 😀

By CLF member KidMay using a Patons pattern

These cute stars were made by catsmum on Ravelry, the pattern (click on photo to get there) is by Julie A. Buldoc for JPF Crochet Club.  Love MUCH!

SHINY!!! SPARKLEY! Now that's what I'm talking about!!

 I love the glass ornament covers! WOWSIES…and they aren’t as difficult to make as they look…the fabulous use of negative spaces involves really long chains, that’s it folks…COUNTING…I know you can do this!! This lovely pattern was designed by Susan M. Allen, click the pretty picture to get to the pattern download on Ravelry.com!

Pretty Angels, flat even 😀

These angels are just too dainty 😀 Click the photo to get to the project page on Ravelry.com. Designed by Pascilla Hewitt, this pattern is free via a direct PDF download on the project page on Ravelry!

I just thought they were too sweet…
Stunning cameo effect…

In the words of Molly from the musical Annie, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!” This is such a beautiful keepsake ornament! It’s worth EVERY penny of the $5.00 price tag! Click on the photo to go to the pattern download page on Ravelry.com. Designed by Sue Pendleton. I have to say I am in love with this beautiful piece!

Now, if you have trouble crocheting with thread because of the small hook shaft, take a few pointers:
A) Loooooseeeeennnnnnn up! No death grips…that leads to injuries, trust me. Just think about how you hold your knife or pencil, you don’t death grip those do you? (I dunno maybe you do, so lighten up!)
B) If you can’t seem to lighten your grip there are several things you can do.
     1) Get foamy hook covers that help with ergonomics
     2) Get the egg shaped hook handles that you can put over your steel hooks.
C) Don’t be afraid of thread at all…and get this, you can make the same kinds of ornaments in sock yarn 😀 I usually use a C or D hook, and crochet tightly 😀
Don’t be afraid of thread, it doesn’t bite!! It’s fun…it’s fast…and it’s pretty 😀 (Well unless you’re making a bedspread or a table cloth, but that’s another story!!)

Special Pre-Winter Crochet Week Happenings…

I’m getting holly jolly excited about the pre-Winter Crochet Week starting Sunday Dec. 5th running through Saturday Dec. 11th.

For the past two days, I’ve ruminated on what kind of pre-wintery goodness we can come up with! Now, I realise this is northern hemisphere biased, sorry folks in OZ, but you southern hemisphere types can participate as well by taunting us up North with your summery yummy goodness!

What’s gonna happen?

Crochet Bloggy Goodness… Here on the CLF Blog each day of the Pre-Winter Crochet Week there will be wonderful hookalicious goodness to inspire you!

If you are a crochet blogger I encourage you to post wonderful pre-wintery crochet stories and links to positive crochet in the news on your own blogs! Let’s get a real happening crochet presence out on the web!

On the CLF Message board on Ravlery.com we shall exhort the greatness that is crochet and all we love about it…and I may have a few fun little projects to share  here on the blog.

Currently, I’ve been playing with some Jelly Yarn making some yummy bits for my tree 😀 I’m thinking these will make it up on the blog tomorrow 😀 Simple, quick and fun!

Fearless Leader Decrees…First Annual Winter Crochet Week!

As Fearless Leader of the CLF I hear by decree the very first Pre-Winter Crochet Week…December 5-11, 2010

During this week, we shall do the following:

  1. Seek out the best of the best in crochet to highlight here on the board as well as on our blogs! Let’s show the world how wonderful we really are!!
  2. Have an entire week where we discuss all crochet in a positive light! We can leave What Not to Crochet to that blog and ignore it for a while.
  3. Have an entire week free of the compare and contrast discussions with those who use sticks. We need compare our craft to no other.
  4.  Support each other in our crochet crunch time for those of us who wait to the last minute to finish holiday crafting…(like me)…
  5. Actively seek out cool crochet stories in the news, ignoring what the reporters get wrong,because seriously they really don’t care as much as we do, if it’s really bad we can revise the thought..or wait till the next week…

The GOAL? To empower ourselves, to showcase why we LOVE our craft, to show the public why we love our craft and to support each other in our crafting efforts..On this day, December 1, 2010 I, Fearless Leader in a Captain Picard like manner (only with way more hair) here by declare to the members of the CLF… MAKE IT SO!

Oh baby! Show me them knuckles!

Need some quick Holiday crochet ideas! I love fingerless gloves just for that purpose, quick gifts that you can whip up in a jiff! Now you can make more complicated patterns with complicated stitches too, and those are fabulous, but if you’re checking over the gift list and find you’re missing someone, these are a great, fashionable, and popular item! Kids and adults love them! So here are a few I have found in the CLF projects on Ravelry.com. Not all of them have patterns, but we have several GORGEOUS patterns in the CLF First Ever Book, which is only $9.99 as a pdf download off our website 😀 Or you can hunt for patterns on Ravelry! Tons of them there 😀 Enjoy the inspiration!  Click on the photos to view the project page on Ravelry.com!!

So many kinds of fingerless gloves…HECK just go check out the wonderful projects listed JUST in the CLF HQ group on Ravelry.com! It’s amazing!!!

A time to contemplate the season…


am2010hats

Originally uploaded by HoosierLadyB

After the post Thanksgiving consumer fest that is Black Friday thru today Cyber Monday, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of shopping bags and receipts. The news will tell you it’s you helping the economy, and the commercials tell you that you have to have it…that you can’t live without it…but how much of what is bought is personal?

In these very difficult economic times with huge amounts of joblessness so many families around the country are being impacted in tragic ways. It’s not about stuff, it’s about simply not having enough to live. It’s not about how much we have, it’s about having enough to survive cold winters, with full tummies and warm hands are feet. As much as it is a strain on parents and grandparents, imagine being a child; imagine being a hungry and cold child…

That is exactly what our dear CLF Member HoosierLady did; Then  thinking of her community has crocheted (at last count) 55 original hats in child to adult small sizes and five hat/scarf sets to be donated to a local charity in her home town. You can read her story in the project notes posted on Ravelry.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/HoosierLady/50-hats-for-kids

If you’re not on Ravelry, let me just sum up how bad the situation is in her area, Elkhart , Indiana.

* 60% of the children in the school district qualify for the free lunch program
*30% of them qualify for the reduced lunch program

When she found out about this in August, she put her hook into action, When I read through her project notes, I couldn’t help but swell with pride to have such a wonderful member in our group. After all, this is the season of giving, of showing love and compassion for our fellow humans.

She isn’t alone, so many of our crocheters make hats, scarves, blankets and more for so many charities. We know how important it is to give just a little (or a lot) of our time and love to help someone else make it through their holiday season, or heck even just their day.

If you know of any great charities in your area, please list them here in the comment section.

BTW I think my favorite hat is the pupppy dog one! Who ever gets that hat will be one lucky kid!

Crochet The Postive, Eliminate the Negative…

Hey all! We’ve had quite a discussion going on at the CLF HQ on Ravelry.com regarding a certain catalog that tends to cater mostly to the pointy sticks. The discussion revolves around whether we are merely being paid lip service or if they really do get what crochet friendly really does mean. I think the discussion has been rather civil personally, these types of debates can be quite heated.

Am I mentioning the company here? Nope. I hold my own opinions about them and several other companies that pretty much make mouth music about crochet, and or patronizingly pat our hands and tell us to be good little girls and boys and be quiet over there in the back of the class, in the corner. I’m not one to settle for spending my dollars where they are not treated equally, and since I spend a LOT of my dollars on yarn and accessories etc, I choose to patronize companies who really really appreciate my money!

 I will not talk about the companies I do not shop at, because I have not one IOTA of intention to give them free marketing dollars. Remember ALL PRESS is good press, and frankly I am not in the business of advertising those with whom I have zero desire to patronize.

But, what I really REALLY love to do is to send you to folks that DO LOVE US! So here’s a few linkies to a few of my favorite crochet friendly people and companies, or even better those who treat us just like the folks we are, equal to every other craft in the world. Now that is worth talking about.

  • Coveted Yarns , owned by Robert Porter, this is one of the FRIENDLIEST yarn stores for any craft that I know of! Robert is a great supporter of crochet and even donated yarn to the CLF RETREAT!! Yay!! He sells yarn in his brick and mortar shop as well as online. He runs wicked sales, and he’s one hell of a guy!
  • Threadart.com for the THREADIES! Size 8 and size 10 thread at really reasonable prices. Smaller balls, but still affordable in lots of colors.
  • Jelly Yarns, owned by Kathleen Greco, another VERY CROCHET POSITIVE person! She too donated beaucoup yarn to the retreat, and her stuff is FUN FUN FUN! Can you say glow in the dark?
  • Pinch Knitter Yarns,  yes, this is a VERY Crochet Friendly yarn store. I should know I teach there!
  • Designing Vashti patterns from the delicious Vashti Braha and equally tasty Doris Chan at great prices and a wonderful free newsletter!
  • KRW Knitwear Studio From Karen Whooley, designer and teach par excellence!
  • Hooked For Life Publishing From our BELOVED Mary Beth Temple and hostess with the mostest of the Getting Loopy Podcast she so rocks & so do her designs!
  • Lacis  just start drooling now…and catch it after you go through the pages. One of the most awe inspiring stores/museums I have been to in my life!
  • Stitch Diva Studios Gorgeous patterns, gorgeous yarns gotta love it!

These people adore us, love us, want our dollars, and back up their love of crochet and those who do crochet! So put our money where our mouth is shall we and support them back? Like I said, we don’t need to whine and moan about those who don’t serve us…let’s support those who do..

Speaking of those who do, two online magazines that I TREASURE

Crochet Uncut ~ The unofficial official magazine of the CLF. Articles, patterns and more! Support them please! It’s a volunteer effort truly worthy of more than just a glance! WE LOVE THIS MAG!

Crochet Insider – Dora brings us great articles and news about those who crochet, and our beloved art/craft!

Oh and before I get comments from folks who do “both” crafts wondering what all the fuss is about…Well, let’s put it this way, pretend you didn’t do the acceptable one and then walk in the shoes of someone who is just looking for a crochet pattern when the ratio is 15:1 then you will see why…It’s a stupid bias, it’s moronic…and frankly I refuse to spend my hard earned $$ with those folks…I would rather support those who do cater to my needs and wants. Hence the linkies 😀