Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Autumn WiP-Along Starts Tomorrow

I'm joining in with Love Charlie Crochet's Autumn WiP Along that she's running with Gosling and Plumb. It takes place throughout the month of October so is starting tomorrow. WiP stands for Works in Progress and any craft qualifies: knitting, crochet, sewing... etc. It's happening on Instagram with the hashtag #AutumnWal17  Charlie is a new crochet podcaster I've been following for a while and she is extremely sweet and very talented but she doesn't seem to know it. Head over to her LoveCharlieCrochet You Tube Channel to check it out.

And good news - my sock crojo has been rekindled by a Sock-a-long run by StarryEyesAli. It's called the Strictly 2017 Sock-a-long and you're only meant to work on your socks while you're watching Strictly Come Dancing. This is a British show that I've enjoyed in the past so I thought I'd try out the US equivalent which just started, Dancing with the Stars, but it's not going work because even though we have lived in the US for five years I don't know any of the stars. I just don't watch enough TV obviously. However, the rules for the Sock-a-long are very flexible and you're allowed to work on your project as long as you're watching a podcaster who is participating in the Sock-a-along. Of course I love this blatant rule-bending because I've discovered more lovely podcasters: Little Drops of Wonderful (by StarryEyesAli herself) and Nordic Stitches by knitting designer Lilli who lives in Norway. And my socks are coming along nicely. There must be other podcasters also taking part - I need to hunt them down using the #strictly2017socks hashtag on Instagram and in the Ravelry thread. Do let me know if there are any more!

No doubt I'll be sharing the latest on my Back To School Sweater CAL (and I have a "Garment in progress" spot in our blog hop on the 14th of October so you'll get more chatter on my specific garment from me then). I finally made a yoke that fits - hurray! - and I'm just about ready for the next stop on our blog hop from lovely Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast. It's on the subject of Finishing, Washing & Blocking. Check it out here on Fay's company website which is: Knit it Hook It Craft It  and have a wonderful week everyone!

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Back to School Sweater CAL is underway!

Our Back to School Sweater CAL started just one week ago... and it's just so exciting. It's probably in my top three most exciting crochet-related things that have happened to me along with getting a job at my local yarn store and teaching at the Houston Fiber Fest. I have really got to stop checking our hashtag #BackToSchoolSweaterCAL on Instagram so often. I've become quite obsessed. There are over 150 posts as I write this ... and every day there are more. And we have 50 voices in our CAL Ravelry thread in the Crochet Circle Podcast group. I've forgotten about ALL my other WIPs. It's all consuming.

I am making Zora by Dora Ohrenstein. I thought I'd get to know Dora a little better and if you read this blog or listen to my podcast version you know that I absolutely love my podcasts. I found an interview on the excellent Power Purls Podcast which took place around about the time that Dora released her book Top Down Crochet Sweaters.

Kara Gott Warner doesn't have many crochet guests on her podcast so that's an indication of how great Dora is and after listening to this
I have a total fan girl crush on her and I've had to buy another one of her books called to The Crocheter's Skill-Building Workshop: Essential Techniques for Becoming a More Versatile, Adventurous Crocheter just to see if I'm adventurous enough yet. Maybe I am, maybe not! It's a technique book and I love techniques.

My Zora is not really going very well. My yoke is too wide. I'm on my third try. But I am loving it anyway despite my low level frustration and Dora's book Top Down Crochet Sweaters has a decent technique section to help. There are V stitches and lace parts with picots. It's lovely. Fortunately this week's blog post on our fabulous blog hop is on the subject of alterations. It's by Sam of Sing A Simply Melody. She is a crochet designer and tech editor (in fact she edited my leftover sock pattern). Check it out: Making Alterations.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bring Back the Stash

As you may know I live in Houston in Texas and was very fortunate to stay dry throughout Hurricane Harvey last month. One evening the water came halfway up my front yard. It was quite scary at the time. An estimated 10,000 homes were affected and my neighborhood was one of those that flooded. Five friends from my Yak and Yarn group and the sweet owner of the yarn store where I work lost most of their belongings including their yarn stash. So when Claudia from the Crochet Luna Podcast, who would make an amazing reporter by the way, mentioned "Knit Two Together for Hurricane Relief" in her latest podcast Oh Boy I had to investigate, sign up and felt compelled to help spread the word.

Copying verbatim from the Ravelry group Knit Two Together For Hurricane Relief here:

"Yarnies unite! There has been much devastation due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and we'd like to help get yarn back in the hands of those who lost their stash! Please join whether you wish to donate OR are in need of stash! 

Knitters/Crocheters/Yarn lovers in Louisiana understand how it is to lose your entire house, possessions and stash. We want to give back!

Please join us as we try to bring back the stash for so many who lost their yarn stash in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Specific details forthcoming, but our goal is to match up recipients with a knitter/crocheter who can gift some stash to someone who lost theirs in the storm.

We ask that those who can, agree to mail at least 1 skein to a recipient. Personal information will not be shared, the recipients address will only be given to their match partner.

IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF STASH! You are MORE than welcome to join the group!!! Please do! But you can also find the google link to receive stash here:

We will post more details ASAP! Thank you for helping!!!"

The group has, at the time of writing this, almost 700 members which is wonderful to see. The organizers provided me with the cute Texas image for my site. I'll be sharing the group all over social media - please do help me to spread the word too. Thank you in advance!!

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

7 Days & Counting Until the CAL

Yay - it's seven days and counting until our Back to School Sweater CAL starts on the 16th of September.... It has been SOOO hard not to get started on my sweater. Some people have been a little bit naughty and in their enthusiasm have already started on theirs (and even finished!) Anyway, please do go over to the chatter thread in the Crochet Circle Podcast group on Ravelry to join us and you'll see which patterns and yarn choices people are making. I've guestimated we have at least forty makers... going by comments in the group and those on Instagram using our hashtag #BackToSchoolSweaterCAL (this is another way to join in if you're not a Ravelry person).

And our accompanying blog hop is underway already. I was first up, two weeks ago and my post 5 reasons to make a crochet garment is already my third most popular of all time on my blog. And I'm stunned by how many comments I've had. I love it! Jo (JoJoTwinkleToes) wrote a fabulous second post last week on Current Trends and Choosing a Style to Suit you and it really got me thinking this week about my garment making history - the successes and the huge fails. Why did some garments turn out so badly? And when they looked good, how did this happen? I've come up two theories:

1. The style has to suit your figure
Jo was right that you've got to carefully choose a style that suits you and that you've got be honest about your body shape. I'm not going make a cropped top and my upper arms need covering up. A garment that is shaped to my waist works because of my curvy figure. And I find a wider neckline balance my hips. I very carefully scrutinize all of the project photos on Ravelry to see what the garment looks like on different body shapes.

2. Fitted garments look better in lighter weight yarn

I've found that fitted garments made from thicker than a DK / light worsted weight yarn just don't look flattering on me. I am not going to link you to one of these horrors. However, I have had success with a heavier worsted weight yarn with my Butterfly Garden Cocoon Shrug because it wasn't loose fitting. Helen is writing about this in her blog post this week Making at number 14 so I'm looking forward to more insight on yarn choice.

Anyway I'd love to know if you have any alternative theories about making successful garments! Let me know in the comments below...

Still on the subject of the CAL, I wanted to let you know that the Crochet Project have very kindly offered CAL participants a discount until the 20th of September on the patterns in their Ravelry store. The 25% discount code backtoschool25 can be applied to individual garment patterns as well as books that contain cardigans, sweaters or tees  

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Six CALs for Fall 2017

I thought I'd do a little CAL round up this week because we have a few starting this month including my very own - the Back To School Sweater CAL!! I just LOVE a good crochetalong . Check out my post 5 Reasons to Join a CAL in my blog archives! 

1 Back To School Sweater CAL
I'm hosting this CAL (the accompanying blog hop is already underway) with Helen of Making at Number 14! It starts on the 16th of September and runs for 8 weeks until 17th of November. All the details are on my CAL page on my website here. You can chose to make any crochet garment and a few enthusiastic folk have started already!!  We're using the hashtag #BackToSchoolSweaterCAL to share our progress on Instagram and there is chatter in Fay's Crochet Circle Podcast Ravelry group here

2. Spotting Clouds Top CAL
Clarisabeth from the Crochet Cakes Podcast is hosting a Spotting Clouds Top CAL. This top is designed by Christina Hadderingh who designed the extremely popular Hotel of Bees Shawl so I know the pattern will be well written because I've made this shawl. It started on 21st of August and runs until 14th of October so there is still time. You could make this one for your Back to School Sweater CAL... that's a possibility!! The details and chatter are here in the Podcast Ravelry group.

3, September Shawlalong 
Hannah from the Cozy Cottage Podcast is hosting a shawl crochetalong called the September Shawlalong which runs for the months of September and October. I'll definitely be joining in with this ...  and I may well be double dipping with the next CAL on this list. But I am also very tempted by the crochet version of the Wonder Woman Wrap designed by Clarissa Browning who also designed the knit version. And I still haven't made a Blurre Shawl and I really want to.  The chatter thread for the shawalong is on Ravelry here. Hannah is also going to be running a Tunisian Crochetalong with Claudia from the Crochet Luna Podcast and I believe Claudia will be talking about this in her podcast this weekend. Another CAL to look forward to!

Emma from  the Potter and Bloom podcast has a shawlong (well it's actually a stolealong rather than a shawl) with a pattern that she designed herself Liula which runs through September and October. Emma's stole is a beautiful stitch pattern and uses a color changing cake of gradient yarn hence the name #cakecal. Here's the chatter thread in the Potter and Bloom Ravelry group. I just watched Emma's most recent podcast and the CAL will run for an additional two weeks to a month to give everyone a chance to buy their yarn. 

5. #HiddenTempleCAL
Rohn Strong has a crochet sock CAL running in collaboration with Happily Hooked Magazine which started just yesterday, September 1st. There is a Happily Hooked Crochet Along group on Facebook to join. The design looks lovely. I am a total sucker for crochet socks so I might have just have to join in while I wait for my CAKECAL yarn!!

6. Welcome Blanket CAL/KAL/QAL
This CAL/KAL/QAL (is a quilt along called a QAL?) is already running and the dates to get your blankets sent off by has recently been extended to November 4th. The blankets are currently being displayed at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. When the show ends all of the blankets will be given to refugees and immigrants to welcome them to the US. We moved here five years ago and were made to feel very welcome in Texas so I feel that this is a good craftivism cause to participate in. Further details (and patterns) are here. I'm using one of the designs but rather than crocheting squares and joining them together I am making a tapestry crochet blanket in two colors with tassels at the sides (see the photo).

Anyway I'd love to know if you're joining in on one or more of these CALs and if there are any more CALs going on please add these in the comments for us all to see. Have a wonderful week everyone!!

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