Monday, October 27, 2008

Houston - Yarntopia Crochet Workshop

I'm on my way to Houston! Well, not actually today - but soon. This Wednesday, to be exact. Early! Real early! I may not even go to sleep on Tuesday night. Because I have to get up EARLY! But it will be worth it. I'm going to the Quilt Festival in Houston, and then I'm going to teach a workshop at Yarntopia, in Katy, Texas, on Saturday morning. The Crochet Dude will be at Yarntopia that same afternoon - launching and signing his new book - The Crochet Dude's Designs for Guys. Check it out here.

The workshop I'm teaching on Saturday (from 10 - 1, and the Dude will be signing at 2) is Crochet in Bits and Pieces. (There is still room in the workshop. You can check it out here.) In the workshop, you will learn how to look at things you want to make, and then break down the pieces into basic shapes - circles, triangles, squares, and all of the variations. Then - you will learn how to make these shapes from bottom to top, top to bottom, outside in, inside out, side to side, etc. It's a lot of fun to teach - and I've been told it's a lot of fun to take. (Not bragging, but this workshop received all 10s - the highest recommendation - at the Portland, Oregon CGOA conference in September.) Now, I don't want to give anything away - but here is a picture of a circle, a square, and a triangle. This is where you'll start - and you'll go on from there.

If you are in the area - come to my workshop in the morning, have lunch, and then go to the Dude's signing in the afternoon. What a great way to spend a Saturday! Crocheting with the Doc and the Dude!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blueprint Crochet by Robyn Chachula

If you could write a book, any book, that would explain how you crochet, what book would it be? For me, it would be one already written, Blueprint Crochet by Robyn Chachula, designer extraordinaire.
Robyn has written a great instructional treatise on how to use stitch symbols when you crochet. This is something I try to teach my students, because more and more I hear "I just can't read patterns." Or "Why can't they just say what they mean?" So - I usually sketch the pattern out for my students - with stitch symbols and diagrams. And then, they get it! They can see what they're doing because the symbols look like the stitches they represent, and the diagrams look like the fabric they're making.
I also use symbols when I'm planning a design, before I actually crochet anything. I figure out multiples, row counts, increases and decreases, and anything and everything else I might need to do with or to my pattern. I also use stitch diagrams when I'm tech editing other designers' patterns. It's a quick and accurate way to check numbers, etc.
In her book, Robyn explains how to read the diagrams, whether the pattern is in rows or rounds. Once you know how to read them, then you can see from the diagrams how to put motifs together.
The patterns in Blueprint Crochet include sweaters and totes and jewelry, and Robyn tells you the plan for each pattern, what you need to know to make the basic stitch pattern, how to construct the piece, and all about finishing it to make it look it's best! Even if you don't want to make the patterns, the information about working with and using stitch diagrams is priceless, and shouldn't be missed!

Click on the link to find out more about Blueprint Crochet!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Crochet Today!

I got back from the Knit and Crochet Show in Portland, Oregon a couple of weeks ago, and it's taken me this long to catch up with everything I had to do at home. Well, I ALMOST caught up.........
In Portland, I had one and a half days free before I started teaching my 6 classes, so - I took a class - Myra Wood's Self Publishing class. It was fantastic! And - along with a couple of other designers (the Crochet Dude and the Yarn Adventurer) I went to a few yarn shops in Portland. And - bought some yarn. I'll take pictures of the yarn, and post them soon.
When I come back from the Crochet conferences, I am so excited. I can't wait to try new yarns, new ideas, new designs. I get home and I don't know where to start! But this year, I've been working on some sweater and vest designs, and when I got home I started going through my stash of yarns to find yarns I can use for them. And - I have found so many different yarns, my list of projects to start is getting longer and longer, and my time to crochet in the past few weeks has been less and less. (Of course, this doesn't mean that I've stopped buying yarns!)
I will take some pictures of the yarns I'm using, and how nicely they show the stitch patterns. Keep in contact, and the pictures will soon be posted.
But now, I want to tell you about my afghan pattern that just was published in the new Crochet Today magazine - Nov/Dec 08. I got the magazine this week, and was pleasantly surprised to see the afghan. I just designed and crocheted it this past summer - and wasn't sure when it would be published. It's called the All Angles Afghan, and all it is is Granny Squares and Granny Rectangles - all in different sizes. It was fun to work up, and great to see the picture in the magazine. Check it out:

And there are other great designers with patterns in this issue: Drew Emborsky (the Crochet Dude), Robyn Chachula (Crochet by Faye). Candi Jensen, Kristin Omdahl and Ellen Gormley, to name just a few. And you can look at all the patterns here: Crochet Today