Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Book Signing and Classes at Blizzard

I have one more book signing on my Reversible Color Crochet Book Tour for this year. This Saturday, December 13, 11am to 1pm, I will be at Blizzard Yarn and Fiber in Vancouver Washington. Blizzard is a brand new yarn store located on the Northwest corner of Fourth Plain and Andresen near the Vancouver mall, and will be teaching later that afternoon!

This shop is tucked away behind a dentist office, a quilt shop, and a couple other building so it may be a little hard to find. But well worth it! They have already expanded their shop, nearly doubling the space, and allowing plenty of room for tons of gorgeous yarn, as well as events and classes. I have taught a couple of fun classes at the shop so far, and really enjoy the community they are creating in this new shop!

Come on down this Saturday to check out the Full Trunk Show of blankets from my new book (before I give some away for Christmas presents - shh!). Blizzard carries both my new book Reversible Color Crochet, and for less experienced crocheters, my first book Rowan's Learn to Crochet Sampler (right- and left-handed editions). They will have copies available for signing on Saturday morning. This is also a great time to sign up for one of my upcoming classes based on BOTH my books! Keep an eye on the Blizzard Website for updates on future classes, including an on-going Learn To Crochet Sampler Class starting in January!!

I am looking forward to teaching my first 2-part Introduction to Reversible Intarsia Class at Blizzard on Saturday, December 13th and 20th, 2pm to 5pm. I am excited to try this 6-hour class in a 2-week format, giving students a week between the two sessions to practice and process all they are learning. Although the stitches used in the class are basic, this format will give your fingers time to learn the subtle new movements required to create completely reversible designs in crochet!
Coaster made in Into to Reversible Intarsia Class


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WNW: Walker Organizer - Free Pattern

Walker Organizer from Red Heart
What's New Wednesday:
Walker Organizer for my Grandmother

Check out one of several of my new patterns that have been recently added to Red Heart's free pattern website. I designed this Walker Organizer for my grandmother Emily shortly before she passed away. The basic pattern is a great learning tool with panels of single crochet, half doubles, and doubles. I would love to offer this as a class in a nursing home some day.

You can personalize this Organizer by appliqueing on crocheted flowers. My original had Irises, my grandmother's favorite. This would make a perfect, quick holiday gift, which you could make your own by changing colors and adding details for someone special in your life.

Three years ago, Thanksgiving brought both the high and low point of my year. Early in the morning I had received news that my first design was accepted to be published in a magazine. But later that day I had to go to the nursing home where my grandmother spent her final days to say goodbye. My family had come to visit for the holiday because we knew she was near the end, and as we travelled back home the following day, we got word that she had passed.

My Grandmother Emily was part of my inspiration to self publish my first book. She wrote and published her own book back in 1998, a historical novel inspired by our family's pioneer journey across the United States called American Nomads. I like to think she would have approved of my new career, and am pleased to share this pattern she inspired.

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving, and I am sure you are all busy prepping for holiday gift giving. I know I am. So maybe you will want to add one of these handy Organizers to your list of gifts to make.
Photos are from the Red Heart Website
(note: this is not my grandmother) :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle!

I'm hitting the road again this coming weekend, heading to Seattle, WA for Urban Craft Uprising. I will be doing a book signing on Saturday at Noon, and hanging out at the Craftwich Creations booth much of the rest of the weekend helping my buddy Monica sell her hand carved wooden crochet hooks, buttons, etc...

I have heard great things about this craft show, and am excited to check it out. If you are in the area, come on down and say "hello!"

If you are closer to my home turf, near Portland, I will be signing and teaching at one of the new Yarn Shops in Vancouver, WA, Blizzard Yarn and Fiber on December 13th! Stay tuned for more info. or call the shop to sign up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hooked On Hand Dyed: Moss Stitch Fingerless Gloves Pattern

Introducing the latest pattern in my Hooked On Hand Dyed Collection: Studded Moss Stitch Fingerless Gloves. This pattern was very much inspired by the yarn I designed them in. Although they could be made with any fingering weight yarn, Rombouillet is a particular wool that has a lot of extra spring in the wool when it is spun into wool.

I picked up a couple hanks of Knitted Wit Featherweight Rombouillet during the Rose City Yarn Crawl last year. Once I wound up the first hank into a ball, I just sat there pulling a length of yarn between my fingers, delighted to watch the yarn spring back. I think my friends thought I was a bit crazy as I kept showing them, they just didn't get how cool it was.

Combining this springy yarn with a stretchy stitch worked perfectly for snug fitting fingerless gloves. The “moss stitch” is often used to create more stretch in crocheted fabric by working single crochets into chain one spaces. Although the resulting fabric is a little bit lacy, the 100% wool yarn keeps your hands warm and toasty.

This pattern uses only basic stitches and was designed to use as a teaching tool in classes. By working in the round from the wrist up, we practice shaping and adding a new color, as well as forming the thumbhole and finger opening. I will be teaching a project class on this pattern at Twisted in Portland on December 9, 2014, 5-7:45pm. Sign up on their website to reserve your spot, with plenty of time to whip these up in time for Christmas gifting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WNW: Endless Cables Cowl in Crochet!

What's New Wednesday...

My Endless Cables Cowl made the cover of the
Winter Issue of Crochet! Magazine!
On newsstands now!
With traveling and whatnot over the past few months, I am a bit behind on sharing my recent designs that have been published in magazines and online. So, I'll start with some of the most recent, and try to get to the rest in the coming weeks. Lots of fun projects that would make great holiday gifts! Now is the time to get busy finishing up those projects you want to make and gift come December.
Closeup of the scalloped edging you get from edgeless cables.
I am excited to share the Endless Cables Cowl, a reversible cable pattern that goes all the way up to the edges of the fabric. The magazine issue includes a "Learn It, Do It" article I wrote on how to make your cables both edgeless and reversible. So be sure to grab a copy while they are still on newsstands so you can try this unusual technique!

This is my second design to make the cover of a magazine this year (and ever), and it was especially sweet to share with my best friend and sometimes contract crocheter Carissa who made this particular sample. As one of my few right-handed contractors, she makes a lot of my cable samples, to avoid left-handed cables that cross in the opposite direction to the average crocheter who might be making the pattern.

I was really pleased with the Soufflé yarn the magazine chose from Tahki Stacy Charles. With 42% angora, this yarn is so soft and cozy I actually wear the sample all the time now that I have it back. This comfy cowl is just right to throw on when I am heading out of the house now that the weather has begun to cool here in the Pacific Northwest. 
Soufflé is such a brand new yarn that we had originally planned to make the sample in their blue tone, but the yarn was not dyed in time for me to make the sample for this issue. However, the light brown we ended up using has caught the eye of a number of Outlander fans. I have seen Soufflé in several of our Local Yarn Stores already, so check your LYS, and see if you can score some of this lovely yarn, and let me know if you give the cowl pattern a try.

(And now, after typing Soufflé so many times tonight I will be helping my 9yo son make a cheese soufflé for dinner!)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dyers In Their Studios: Lorajean of Knitted Wit


This month I am pleased to interview Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit yarns right here in Portland, Oregon. I believe that Lorajean was the very first hand dyer that I met when I started checking out the local yarn shops around town and visiting fiber events like OFFF (Oregon Flock and Fiber). In addition to dyeing gorgeous yarns and fiber for spinning and running a business, she sometimes works at Twisted in Portland (where I have taught as well), and is mother to THREE children who keep her quite busy.

Just this year, Lorajean was able to move her business out of her family home and into her own studio space where she has been hosting classes to teach others about dyeing, in addition to producing beautiful products sold all over the country. Knitted Wit was able to grow into it's own studio with the help of their Community Supported Yarn program. This ingenious type of yarn club allows customers to buy memberships to receive yarn each month for four months. By having customers pay ahead of time, Lorajean has the money upfront to purchase all of the fiber and tools necessary to produce the yarn customers are paying for, as well as expanding her business to produce more and varied products in the future!

With three kids underfoot (and Halloween coming), Lorajean managed to answer most of my interview questions by typing them on her phone while her little one slept. I can certainly relate to the life of a working mother!
Lorajean's youngest "helper"
How long have you been dying yarn?
I've been dyeing yarn as Knitted Wit since 2007.  
How did you get started dying?
In 2002ish a friend invited me over to do some natural dyeing and that was my first time doing the craft, it was a blast!
What is your background?
I have no formal training, but I do read and research both dyeing and running a small business. 
Sinks in the new Knitted Wit Studio
What is Community Supported Yarn?
As a small business owner it can take a little extra capital to get projects started and completed. By buying a share or membership, you are helping Knitted Wit grow. What each round of CSY will fund depends on how many memberships sell.
What do supporters get for their CSY membership?
Members receive four skeins over four months, to arrive shortly after the 15th of each month. Depending on the yarn weight, each skein should be large enough to make the average shawl or pair of socks. You pick variegated or semi solid, we make the color magic happen. With each shipment you'll receive a love note with dye inspirations, pattern suggestions, and pertinent news.
How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
My color names can be pretty funny. They're usually what ever pops into my brain first when I'm looking at the color. I don't restrain myself from the ridiculous when naming. 
Where do you find inspiration?
While the world around me is inspiration, so is my collaboration with shops, designers, and customers. 
Drying racks full of colorful fleece

How many colorways do you have?
I dye for 100 colors that are repeatable, and also create new colors seasonally.
Do you create seasonal or special order colors?
How many and what types of bases do you use?
I dye 13 different yarn bases, from lace weight to super bulky, there's a yarn for everybody!
Where do you source your yarn bases?
I use yarns that are sourced from sheep to skein in the USA. I also have yarn with cashmere, the cashmere being sourced in china of course.

Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?
The full range of yarns are available on my Etsy shop and in 40 yarns shops around the country.
What are your favorite colors?
My favorite color is rainbow. I don't like choosing one because I love them all and all their shades! 
Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?
I knit, spin, crochet, sew, cross stitch. I don't do nearly as much as I want with three young kids, but I do what I can. 
   Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/knittedwit
   Blog: http://www.knittedwit.blogspot.com/  
Ravelry Group? http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-sass-class 
Facebook? https://www.facebook.com/KnittedWit 
Twitter? https://twitter.com/KnittedWit

And finally a little yarn tasting!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches with Marty Miller

I have had the pleasure of taking several classes with Marty Miller at various conferences over the past few years. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review her brand new Craftsy Class: Mastering Foundation Crochet Stiches. I have taken a couple of Craftsy Classes, but until recently there just wasn't much selection for crocheters. So I am excited to see all the New Crochet offerings they have added from great instructors and designers like Marty!

This class begins with a lesson on extended stitches. You may be wondering why a class on Foundation Stitches starts off talking about the elongated versions of regular crochet stitches, and so did I. But I quickly realized that they are basically the same thing. Although I had done both types of stitches before, I had not realized that the extra chain that makes an extended stitch longer is the same as the beginning chain formed when making your foundation stitches.

Be sure to have yarn and hooks ready to swatch each of the stitches as Marty demonstrates them to get that hands on experience. She repeats each new stitch several times to give you plenty of time to get the hang of it.

Once she shows how to make foundation stitches in each of the basic crochet stitches (single, half double, and double crochet), she goes on to demonstrate how to use these stitches with unusual and hard-to-work-with yarns, then moves in to alternative stitch patterns.

Marty gives TONS of tips and tricks along the way, as she explains the benefits of starting with foundation stitches rather than a beginning chain, and explores alternative ways of using foundation stitches beyond the first row. I had never thought of using foundation stitches to create buttonholes! Marty shows how much better they look than the standard way of making buttonholes by working into a chain space.
Foundation Filet eyelets and Shells
One walks away from any of Marty Miller's classes with so many new techniques and tips that it may be awhile before you have the opportunity to use them all. The great thing about her Craftsy Class is now I can refer back to any of the techniques I learned about in this class whenever I am ready to apply them to a new project, so I don't forget anything. And all from the comfort of my own home! I have to say I am excited to see Craftsy adding so many new crochet classes to their line up over the past year. I am looking forward to checking out many more, and hope to see more from Marty as well! Go check it out today!

Foundation Ripples!