Friday, September 12, 2014

Favorite Things Fridays: Hiya Hiya Snips

Now that my book tour is in full swing, it is time to share some of the AWESOME  items I will be giving away to lucky raffle winners at most of my events!

I approached Hiya Hiya (distributed through The Knitting Zone) about donating a few items for book tour raffles because I love and use so many of their products. They was very generous, donating Kitty and Doggie "Snips" as well as Crochet Hooks for the kits for my Reversible Intarsia Make'n'Take at the CGOA Conference in July.

I discovered these handy little scissors during the Rose City Yarn Crawl (in Portland) a couple of years ago. I had just gotten all the yarn in for my book blanket samples (that was a LOT of yarn), so I tried to buy tools at each shop instead of more yarn. I loved them so much that I kept buying new ones, and now have them attached to every one of my larger project bags so I am never hunting for scissors.

These cute little scissors have the head and arms of a cat or dog with a little chain to attach to your project bag (or purse, mine are one and the same since I take a project everywhere I go). The tiny little scissors form the legs of the animal, with the blades locking right into the shoulders for safe keeping. I love the convenience of having them attached wherever I go, as long as I remember to pop the scissors back into their holder. They are so inexpensive I can always buy another pair (and now have them to match each of my Offhand Designs bags).

The only drawback I have found is that every now and then the little scissors do not lock properly into the holder and will slip out because they were too loose. So, I simply recommend taking them out of the package before you purchase them, to give the scissors a tug and make sure they lock into place.

I especially recommend these for intarsia work, since you will be cutting off ends whenever you finish a color, and do not have to hunt for scissors! Come on out to one of my book tour events for a chance to win your very own pair of Doggie or Kitty snips. I usually give away one pair of each!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's New Wednesday: Magazines and Dancette Dress


This week I finally made it in to Barnes and Noble to see all four magazines on the newsstands right now with my designs in them! Left to right: Crochetscene (Interweave Special Issue), CrochetMORE (Love of Crochet's Special Issue), Interweave Crochet Summer 2014, and Crochet! Magazine Fall 2014. They include three garments, a new article on Reversible Intarsia and a scarf to teach the technique.

Here is my latest girl's dress, the "Dancette Dress", featured in the Interweave Crochet Summer issue. I was inspired by a bottom up chevron baby dress I saw in an old Japanese magazine, but decided to turn it on it's head and start from the top down instead. The folks over at Interweave clearly had a lot of fun with the photoshoots and locations in this issue.

The pattern is available in 5 sizes ranging from 3-6 months all the way up to 7-8 years (pictured).  Due to the nature of working with chevrons, I had to adjust the sizes to work with the necessary increases, so you may not see the size you are looking for. But the great thing about little girl dresses is that they tend to fit for a long time. My daughter still wears a few of the dresses she wore as a toddler as a top with pants. So, if you are not sure what size to make, you may want to go with the larger size (also giving you more time to complete the project and still have it fit).

This was my original sample that I submitted and became the Dancette Dress. Get out a camera and my daughter is a little ham, but she certainly helped sell the design! I made the original in Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece (#3 or dk weight), which is much heavier than the Cotton Fine (#1 wt) used in the magazine sample. But I found that the same pattern size worked in the lighter weight yarn worked perfectly down to the smallest size, a 3 to 6 months.

As a result of the added chevrons and increases in the skirt for each size, the final version has a lot more flare in the skirt, and I was really pleased with the way the lighter weight yarn drapes. But I wanted to share the original so you know there are options if you so not feel up to making a whole dress in a fingering weight yarn. And if you do not have a little girl to crochet for, stay tuned next week for the adult top inspired by making this dress!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Yarn Crawl 101 this Weekend!

I have my busiest few weeks coming up for my LYS Book Tour this month....

First, I have to tell you about the newest Yarn Crawl to hit the Pacific Northwest! What's a yarn crawl you say? Just an excuse to visit every yarn store in a certain area, check out new shops and yarns you may not have seen before, and get to know other crocheters and knitters along the way. You can hit every store on the list or just a few. For Yarn Crawl 101, each shop you visit will enter you for a chance to win a raffle basket (including 50% off any of my patterns on Ravelry). But if you visit EVERY shop, you will be entered for the grand prize basket (including signed copies of BOTH my books!).

This new Yarn Crawl will hit 14 yarn shops from Ocean Park, WA to Brookings, OR in 3 days! Next weekend, I will be taking part in Yarn Crawl 101 by doing a Trunk Show and Book Signing at Coastal Yarns in Cannon Beach, OR. Drop in and see me anytime on Saturday, September 13th between 2pm and 6pm.

I actually did my own mini yarn crawl last summer, driving up Highway 101 from camping on the Coast. So I have visited many of these shops, and had a delightful chat with the owner of Coastal Yarns, who crochets as well as knits. It is a cute little shop on the main road through Cannon Beach. Parking can be at a premium, but there is a parking lot and street parking behind the building.

I will also be doing another Trunk Show at La Favorites in Kelso, WA this coming Sunday. I will have all 10 blanket samples and books to be signed between 10am and 4pm. This is also where the local Crochet Guild of America group meets, so you can find out more about the CGOA!

So, mark your calendars! If you cannot make it this weekend, or happen to live in Northern California, be sure to check out the rest of my events coming up this month: Cannon Beach and Kelso WA this coming weekend; 3 shops near the California Bay Area next week; and signing, teaching and judging at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival at the end of the month! (check the website out today if you are interested in sending in items for the Crochet Competition! They have to be postmarked by tomorrow - or you can bring them late at the site, before noon Friday, Sept. 26th)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's New Wednesday: Mira Shell

I have had such a busy summer I have gotten behind on sharing all my new patterns that have come out recently. But now that the kids have returned to school, I will try to post about one of my new patterns each week.

Let's start with the Mira Shell and Tea Time Fascinator in Love of Crochet's summer Special Issue, Crochet MORE. Both designs were made with just 2 skeins of La Jolla by Baah! Yarns. This hand dyed fingering weight yarn is just gorgeous and a delight to work with.

The Mira Shell was my first design to get on the cover of a magazine, and only my second adult garment design to get published.

I actually started working on the shell the week before I headed to TNNA last January. I had swatched up this lovely lacey pattern which was so stretchy I had been dying to make a garment with it. I knew I would be seeing the folks from Baah! that weekend and wanted to finish it in time to show them.

This year TNNA was in my hometown, San Diego, so I visited a lot of friends and family. I was having dinner with my friend Andrea on the first night when I needed to decide where to put the armholes, so I made her try it on. Two days later, I met the editor of Love of Crochet and she said she was looking for 1 to 3 skein projects for a special issue. I showed her the sample I had just finished on the spot and she picked up the design.

The Tea Time Fascinator was something I had made a while back, inspired by a headband I had seen someone wearing at the local Farmer's Market. I loved the idea of a collection of various shaped and textured flowers crocheted all in one shade of this beautiful hand dyed yarn to give them more depth of color.

I think they chose a great model to show off this one. The various textures of the flowers sit so nicely in her curly hair! Or you could take any one of these flower patterns on it's own to adorn an accessory or garment.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dyers in Their Studios: Art by Eve


This month I am pleased to introduce Eveline Chapman of Art by Eve. I met Eve during the Rose City Yarn Crawl last year where she showing off her yarn and felted work at two of the participating yarn shops. We got to chatting about her yarn and her farm, and she was one of the first dyers to send me yarn for my Hooked on Hand Dyed project. I am excited to share my latest creation inspired by her signature lace weight baby alpaca and silk blend "Anne", but until then you can learn more about Eve and her yarn...
Every Summer Eve sets up her outdoor dying studio right on her farm!
How long have you been dying yarn? About 5 years
How did you get started dying?
I’ve loved fiber arts for as long as I can remember and started to dye yarn to add to my various fiber art activities, and fell in love with dying immediately.
What is your background?
My Grandmother taught me to crochet when I was about 3 and to knit by the time I entered Kindergarted.  I remember getting “in trouble” at school because I brought my knitting with me to knit at recess and was told it was not safe for me to handle the sharp knitting needles on the playground.
Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dying?
My degree is in Architecture, so I studied the arts and design and color in college, art were my favorite classes. My background is in drawing, watercolor, pencil, and oil  mostly.
Your Yarn
What makes your yarn special or unique?
My yarns are carefully selected for their handle and feel. Then they are all dyed in small batches and carefully re-skeined after dyeing.
What is something interesting about your dying process that non-dyers might not know? We live on a small farm and practice only what we consider environmentally sounds farming practices. We have NEVER used any chemical pesticides or industrial fertilizers. We practice only natural methods. We also believe in recycling, so it is with that in mind that I practice dyeing. I use table vinegar to set my dyes, environmentally safe detergents to wash the yarns and only the safest dyes I can find. At the same time my yarns are consistent in color from dye batch to dye batch. It is always recommended to buy all yarn for a project at once, but in our case there is a good chance one could not tell a color difference from one dye batch to the other.
How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
I try to have a spectrum of colors available in each yarn so that no matter what the season of the year or the mood for the project, there might be a color available to suit.
Where do you find inspiration? In Nature.
Just The Facts
How many colorways do you have? Anne has 22. Betsy has 17.
Then there are other yarns that are limited edition and these vary.
Do you create seasonal or special order colors? Yes
How many and what types of bases do you use?
Anywhere from 5-10 and they change. My signature yarns are combinations of Alpaca, Silk and only the finest Merino.
Where do your yarn bases come from?
Oregon, these are my limited edition yarns, and Peru for the Alpaca. I try to source local when ever possible.
Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?
If you go to my website, there are links to online stores and also on the retail location page you can see which shops carry the yarns.

What are your favorite colors?
Purple, and then all others, depending on the season.
Favorite fibers?
I love Alpaca and Silk, but then depending on the project others too.
Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?
1st crochet, 2nd knit, 3rd spin, 4th dye, 5th raise my own fiber animals now too.

Link Up
Ravelry Group?
Twitter? Not yet

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Sign Up Now for Classes at OFFF and Astoria Stitchfest!

I am excited to announce that I will be teaching at TWO great Oregon Events this Fall! There is just one week left to get the Early Bird pricing for any of my classes at Astoria Stitchfest, and OFFF is coming up soon!
  • Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) in Canby Oregon, September 26th - 28th, will be the first event to offer my Introduction to Reversible Intarsia as an all day class on Sunday of the Festival. I will also be judging their Crochet Competition and doing a book signing (stay tuned for more details, but start thinking about what you might submit to the competition!).
  • Astoria Stitchfest is an awesome new retreat being put on by the Astoria Fiber Arts Academy, October 10th -12th. I will be teaching TWO days of classes at this event, along with three awesome knitting instructors. The event will kick off with a "Stitchfeast" on Friday night (including fashion show and book signing). What a great excuse to hang out on the Oregon Coast with other "yarnies" for a weekend!
I hope any crocheters in the Oregon and Washington area will consider coming out to these awesome events. I am excited to see crochet classes included at these events, and honored to get to teach at them!

If you are thinking about attending be sure to Sign Up Soon to ensure the classes are not cancelled! You can sign up on the websites above, or print out their registration forms to send in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Recent Events and Coming Soon!

Since I have been doing so many Book Tour Events the past month (with many more coming up), I have decided to try a new weekly feature: Tour Tuesday. Check back each week to see where I've been and find out what events are coming up next!

Last Week, even while camping with my family on the Oregon coast, I managed to get in a Book Signing at The Wool Company in Bandon, OR. I met the new owner of The Wool Company at Black Sheep Fiber Festival in June. We were sitting at the same table at lunch one day and got to chatting (as I tend to do). She was wanting to bring more crochet into her shop, and was so excited to host an event that she emailed me right away and we decided on a date.

Since Bandon is a bit farther from home, we decided to hold the event on Thursday of the week I would be camping with my family (only 2 hours north instead of 4 or 5). My sister kept me company for the drive from Beachside National Park down to Bandon, and helped me set up my trunk show and signing (and took lots of pics). I followed the Signing with a Mini-Class, introducing my Reversible Intarsia Technique, before heading back north for our last night of camping.

Last Saturday,attended the Tigard Crochet and Knitting Guild's Knit-out and Crochet Event (you can read all about that and see some pics in yesterday's post).

This Coming Saturday I will be doing a Demonstration of my Reversible Intarsia Technique at The Big River Fiber Fling in Stevenson, WA. The demonstration will be at 2pm, followed by a Book Signing with the Eugene Textile Center booth. This is only the second year of this event, and I am looking forward to being a part of it!  The marketplace is a little smaller than many larger events, but they offer some marvelous drawing prizes (including my new book). The vendors include several of the Local Hand Dyers that I have been featuring in my Hooked on Hand Dyed Series, including Shaggy Bear Farms and Three Fates Yarns (featured this month!)