Reason to Join a Local CGOA Chapter #2: Special Guests

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Post by Stacy Vaka of Crochet Kitten.

Welcome back to my blog series on what it's like to join a local CGOA chapter! I joined the Prince William County chapter of CGOA back in January, and I've been writing about what the experience has been like. You can find links to the whole series on this post.

Honestly, I've been having so much fun with this venture that's it's been quite difficult to prioritize my top 10 reasons to join. However, next month our chapter is excited about the opportunity to welcome Lion Brand® Yarn Ambassador Shira Blumenthal to our monthly guild meeting!


This is absolutely an opportunity that we could not take advantage of without being involved in a local chapter, as Lion Brand requires a minimum of 100 guests before they'll send their ambassador out for an event. And not only will we all have the chance to play with Lion Brand yarns, rumor has it each attendee will get a special gift.

If you live in the Northern Virginia area and would like to join us, there's still time to sign up--you need not be a member of our chapter for this event. Here are all the details you need to know:

When: Monday, May 16, 2016, 7pm-9pm
Where: Manassas Church of the Brethren, 10047 Nokesville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110
Cost: FREE!

If interested, RSVP to crochetguildpwc@yahoo.com no later than May 1st to reserve your spot! Friends and family are also welcome. 

Across the Board CAL: Perfect Peony

Monday, April 25, 2016

Welcome to Part 5 of our Across the Board CAL! Can you believe we're halfway done already? For those of you just joining, everything you need to know about the CAL can be found on this post.

This segment is brought to you by Unicorn Fibre, whom you should remember from the Squares of Happiness and Diamond Trellis strips. Once again they are providing a chance to win their Baby Unicorn Gift Set, which contains 4 oz each of their Fibre Wash, Power Scour, and Fiber Rinse products, all topped with a sweet baby unicorn plushy. (And if you don't win this time--stay tuned! There will be one more chance to win this sweet prize in week 7!) This prize is being shipped directly from Unicorn, and is available to be shipped in the USA only.



Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! Entries will be accepted from April 25th through May 8th, 2016, and a winner will be selected on Monday, May 9th.

This segment's strip is Perfect Peony by Bobbie Matela, who in addition to being a crochet designer also blogs regularly for Red Heart.


CGOA Member Spotlight: Mistie Bush

Friday, April 22, 2016

I'm Marie Segares from Underground Crafter and this is the fourth post in a monthly series for CGOA Now! where I shine a spotlight on a CGOA member and share a bit of her story with an interview.
Mistie Bush.
In this month's post, I'm talking with Mistie Bush from American Crochet. Mistie is a wife and mother of five. She considers herself blessed and extremely fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom. Mistie started crocheting in 2004 while pregnant with her youngest and later started writing a few patterns. She soon realized that crocheting and designing were her passion! Mistie is a crochet designer and blogger who can be found on American Crochet and well as on EtsyFacebook, G+InstagramPinterestRavelry, and Twitter.


All images are used with permission and are © Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

Storm at Sea Lapghan, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?

Mistie: My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 16 years old but didn’t really start crocheting until 2004.

Color Block Dragonflies Scarf, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

 UC: When did you start designing?

Mistie: I started designing in 2005.

Enchanted Mirrors Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

UC: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member?

Mistie: 3 years. I like learning from those who are more experienced.

Last Minute Open Weave Baby Blanket, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing?

Mistie: Blankets, scarves/cowls, and shawls, like the Color Block Dragonflies Scarf and the Last Minute Open Weave Baby Blanket.

Springy Top, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself?

Mistie: Clothing, like shirts, jackets and such, like my Springy Top pattern.

Gracie's Shrug, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for warmer weather?

Mistie: Skinny, light weight scarves, open shawls, light weight tops, and shrugs, like the Enchanted Mirrors Infinity Scarf and Gracie's Shrug.

Twist-Ago Washcloth, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts?

Mistie: Shawls, blankets/lapghans, scarves, and items for the home, like the Twist-Ago Washcloth, Stained Diamonds Wrap, and Storm At Sea Lapghan.

Stained Diamonds Wrap, free crochet pattern by Mistie Bush/American Crochet.

UC: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you?

I’m currently participating in Wonder Crochet Blanket CAL

I have a few surprises in the works: blankets, putting together a few more CALs that will gear towards fall/the holidays and summer, patterns for charity, and a few other things.

I want to get my CGOA Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques, start making tutorial videos, get published in major crochet magazines, and hopefully publish a book.

Thank you so much, Mistie, for sharing your love of crochet with us.

Crochet Geometry by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

Monday, April 18, 2016

Crochet Geometry by 
Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby
         Book review by Mary Jane Hall
                           
Crochet garment books are my favorite! I try to buy as many crochet books I can because I do believe in supporting fellow designers, especially when they design garments, my favorite projects to design. Crochet Geometry by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby, did not disappoint me.  He is also the author of another best selling book,  Designer Crochet, which has all 5 stars, I might add!. As I started looking through the pages I found a nice variety of colors, many of which are cool and vibrant. Nothing drab or uninteresting here. I know other people havd different tastes, but I'm turned off by a book that has all drab, muted colors.

Shannon has come up with 15 interesting designs, and even the pickiest person should find something they can get excited about. I think the first thing that stood out to me was the nice texture in his designs. This is a huge interest of mine and in fact, I have a Pinterest board titled "Textured Crochet".

Circle T-Top - my favorite
 
  Highlights of this Book

1. It has an index - many don't have this.
2. Smaller and larger models which makes it easier to imagine how it would look on a plus size. I'm pretty sure plus sized people would love this feature. The pictures are taken outdoors, which is always more interesting to me. I love nature!
3. He uses a variey of stitches. Nothing boring here.
4. Skill level and finished measurements are stated - a must for most people. Skills are easy, intermediate and experienced.
5. He uses a variety of yarn sizes - # 1 lace wt, # 3 dk and # 4 med worsted.
6. Many stitch charts and diagrams, something readers have come to expect  in a crochet book.

Sleeve Shrug - Isn't this gorgeous?
7. He has come up with some simple designs, but many are more intricate, so you can be challenged if looking to expand your crochet skills. Some designs are closed weave and some open weave, so you have several styles to choose from.
8. Some styles reflect current trends but others are classic shapes that will always be around
9. Sizes small to 5x, which is rare with today's crochet pattern books.
10. There is a conversion table - US and UK terns. He thought of everything!

Split Circle Wrap -  Unique!

11. There are a variety of styles, such as cardigans, shrugs, wraps and pullovers.
12. The reason for the title, Crochet Geometry, is that all the designs are made up of squares, rectangles, circles and half circles.

And now for my favorite designs!

My favorite is the Circle T-Top, shown above. I'm crazy about the Malagribo Sock yarn in this gorgeous color - Tiziano Red, but I love the slit on the sides that the half circles create. Let's face it gals, most of us like a slit to make room for our tush in the back. In fact, I'm kind of the classic pear shape, with a smaller waist, and I have to admit, I put a slit into the sides of almost all of the tops I buy for myself, so they will flatter my figure. I've never liked that squared off look in a top that is boxy - very unflattering. The sleeve length is perfect too. I don't like short sleeves and I don't like long sleeves, because they drive me crazy. My arms are a shorter, petite length, so I make sure all my tops are elbow or 3/4 length, even if I have to cut them off!  I promise you. If I had time to make this top for myself, I'd do it in a heart beat, but who am I kidding? I'm a designer and don't even have time to make my own designs for myself.

Rectangles Top

My other favorites are pictured here, either because I like the texture of the stitches or shape of the garment, not to mention the beautiful colors of the yarn.

I think you would not be disappointed in this book and the beautiful, unique designs. To see all the designs, and many, many more beautiful creations from Shannon go to his Ravelry page here.
To buy this book you can go to Amazon here.

Mainsail Wrap - Nice Texture




Follow Shannon here:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram

Book Review & Giveaway ~Twinkie Chan's Crocheted Abode A La Mode: 20 Yummy Crochet Projects for Your Home~

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hi, everyone!  I'm going off schedule to bust in here and offer up something really special to you!   I am fairly certain you have already heard of Twinkie Chan, but if not, get ready!  She is a fun and inspiring crochet designer, and you're going to have a chance to win a copy of her latest book not only here, but on two other crochet blogs!  


All images in this post are property of Twinkie Chan and are used with permission.

For the uninitiated, Twinkie Chan is a creative mogul with plenty of crochet activities - including a popular blog and YouTube channel, two books, a series on Creative Bug, and collaborations with some of our favorite publications and companies!  Recently, I've seen her lemon stress ball pattern prominently featured to help us weather tax season.  The free pattern was a result of a collab with the Craft Yarn Council. Without a doubt, Twinkie Chan is a crochet powerhouse, and I've been fangirling over her since 2010. 

As I wrote on Crochet Spot, "Twinkie Chan’s Crocheted Abode A La Mode ~ 20 Yummy Crochet Projects for Your Home  is chock-full of joyful, exuberant, delicious, crochet fun."  Paging through the book is like shopping at your favorite, specialty supermarket for all of the best things to eat.  My enthusiasm for this book is BIG, and we're lucky that the publisher is allowing me to give away not one, but three copies!  I'm giving one away here on CGOA Now, and two on other blogs. Read to the bottom for full giveaway details.


If you are like me, you'll want to crochet everything in the book.  The only problem is where to start.  This book will inspire you to dress your home in new and interesting ways using crochet.  I decided to begin with the Allsorts Licorice Afghan.  It's not because I love that candy.  In fact, I don't really like licorice.  It's because I loved the simple, bold, graphic design.  Instead of dropping everything and driving directly to the craft store, I tempered my enthusiasm and shopped my stash.  As is often the case with stash-busting projects, I will need to buy just a few balls of supplemental yarn to round it out, but it has been BIG FUN doing this.  It feels great to crochet Twinkie Chan patterns!


After the afghan is done, I'll do the Cherry Zipper Pulls, followed by the Cherry Pie Seat Cushion & the Carnival Pen Covers to jazz up my office space!  Since a lot of Twinkie's projects use colorwork or don't require much yarn, they are a great way to use up oddments. You can browse all the patterns in the book on Ravelry.


The best way to experience this book is in person, so please enter to win not only here on CGOA Now, but also on Art, Like Bread and Crochet Spot.

I am running each giveaway until May 30 so that there is plenty of time to enter. To enter here, please use the giveaway widget. To enter elsewhere, visit the blog, search "Twinkie Chan" and follow instructions on the correct post.


If you want to get started crocheting your fun foodstuffs now and simply can not wait, just visit Twinkie's website for any of her scrumptious free patterns. Other Twinkie linkies are: Her active Ravelry group, her blog, her YouTube channel, and her clothing line.

To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget above. 


This crochet is full of flavor, so let's keep the conversation going.  Have you ever crocheted food-themed items?  Which patterns make your mouth water?  Please leave a comment here on the blog, and let's connect on social media!  I can be found on facebooktwitterPinterestInstagramTumblrGoogle+,  and YouTube.  Join my monthly newsletter about crafts, crochet, and education. 

Across the Board CAL: Think Crochet

Monday, April 11, 2016

Welcome to Part 4 of our Across the Board CAL! For those of you just joining, everything you need to know about the CAL can be found on this post.

This segment is brought to you by Knitter's Pride, a company who prides themselves on producing high quality knit and crochet supplies. They are providing us with their Waves Crochet Hook Set for this segment's giveaway. The 9 hooks are aluminum with soft color coded grips in a faux leather case with see-through vinyl. Bonus: There are no shipping restrictions on this prize, so international crocheters may feel free to enter!


Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! Entries will be accepted from April 11th through April 24th, 2016, and a winner will be selected on Monday, April 25th.


This segment's strip is Think Crochet by Marcy Smith, editor of Interweave Crochet.

April's QOTM (and Your Favorite Stitches)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Happy April, everyone!  Are you still recovering from such a jam-packed National Crochet Month!?  It was a lot of fun for me, and I hope you enjoyed it as well.  

 

After posting my first Question of the Month, I was delighted to learn about some of our fellow crocheters' favorite stitches.  It seems that it was a pretty tough decision, though.
For example, Allison (abjCrochet) from Ravelry's Cyber Crochet Chapter of CGOA, wondered how to pick a favorite stitch!  She ended up sharing the following: 
"Well to take up on your extended sc, i love the extended dc for making the squares in my filet projects more square. Oh and standing dc and chainless starting dc i love so much for doilies and mandalas and, well, anything with a chain or new color at the start of a round/row. And chainless foundation stitches for the chain counting impaired (and those who get frustrated with working into a chain)… how to pick a favorite stitch???"
Joyce (dunnica) chimed in on the conversation and echoed Allison's sentiments.  It seems like it's more of a "stitch du jour" than favorite thing for her.
"I’m with Alison on this one…how do you choose a single stitch? I design a lot of afghan blocks, so I love things that give me some texture on the surface of the fabric. I do alternating sc and tr, working from the wrong side, to get little bubbles on the right side, or long stitches in the round before last, to get a smooth lump of yarn dipping down over the previous round. I have a block coming out in a week or so that uses foundation dc to form a center motif, working in the back bar to get a raised chain on the surface, and those long stitches that I mentioned. 
"Yeah, I can’t choose a single stitch. In fact, I can’t even choose a favorite technique. At the moment, I’m torn between Tunisian and slip stitch."
I don't know about you, but I am liking the idea of alternating sc and tr.  Nice for texture!

Jude of Random Thoughts by Jude stopped by the blog to sing the praises of linked doubles.  
"I really like linked doubles. They are easy to do, there are no gaps between stitches, and the work goes very fast. Here's a link: http://newstitchaday.com/ldc-linked-double-crochet/"
Hey, Jude.  Thanks for the idea and for the link, as well.

 

So the question of the month (QOTM) this time is "What is your ideal crochet environment?"

Crochet is great because you can do it almost anywhere, but I love rustic cafes & comfy chairs the most for hours of crochet.

Now it's your turn.  Let your voice be heard and tell us about your ideal environment for making crochet magic!  

Please leave a comment here on the blog, on our facebook page, or in the gossip thread of Cyber Crochet of CGOA on Ravelry.  


I can be found on facebooktwitterPinterestInstagramTumblrGoogle+,  and YouTube.  Join my monthly newsletter about crafts, crochet, and education. 

Book Review - Mandalas to Crochet

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Title: Mandalas to Crochet - 30 Great Patterns
Author: Haafner Linssen
MSRP: $21.99 USD

Book review by Pia Thadani - Stitches'N'Scraps



Mandalas have been really popular recently, and this book has some gorgeous ones! From easy, solid circles to intricate, lacy designs, there's something here for everyone.

Book Review - Mandalas to Crochet - Cover

The book starts out with a full 25 pages of detailed, valuable, introductory information. It includes an introduction by the author, some interesting background on the history of mandalas, and tips on selecting yarns and colors. There are also instructions on reading the charts, some great technique hints, and diagrams/tutorials of all the basic stitches.

Next is the mandala selector section, with pictures of all the mandalas in the book. The one called "Confetti Time," which is made up of lots of little circles, is my favorite. It's so unique!



Each mandala pattern includes written instructions and a large, easy to read chart. I love charted instructions because you can really see how the stitches come together. The last section of the book contains several beautiful patterns created with these mandala designs. There's a bag, a scarf, a rug, a blanket, and more!



I know you'll love this book as much as I do, so I'm excited to tell you that you can win your own free copy! This prize is generously provided by the publisher, St Martin's Griffin. To be eligible, you must be 18 years of age or older, with a valid, US or Canada shipping address. The winner will be contacted by email, and must reply to that email and provide the shipping address within 1 week in order to receive the prize. If the winner does not reply within 1 week, a new winner will be selected.

The giveaway ends on April 29th, 2016 (at 11:59pm, central time). Hurry and enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A free review copy of Mandalas to Crochet was provided by St Martin's Griffin. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. All images of copyrighted material are used with permission.

Reason to Join a Local CGOA Chapter #1: Local NatCroMo Events!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Post by Stacy Vaka of Crochet Kitten.

Welcome to my blog series on reasons to join a local CGOA chapter! Back in January I joined the Crochet Guild of Prince William County for the first time, and I couldn't believe what I had been missing!

As you know, March is National Crochet Month. Prior to my joining the Prince William CGOA, what this meant to me was a heavy dose of blog tours, online sales, and charity drives. This is the first time I've ever had a physical event to go to for NatCroMo, so my first reason to join a local chapter is:

The opportunity to take part in local events for National Crochet Month!

In addition to setting up crochet display cases at the local library, my local chapter set up a large booth at the local mall to entice passersby to learn about crochet.

Guild members Rhonda Reese and Lauren Capehart greet curious shoppers.

Across the Board CAL: Squares of Happiness

Monday, March 28, 2016

Welcome to Part 3 of our Across the Board CAL! For those of you just joining, everything you need to know about the CAL can be found on this post.

This segment is brought to you by Unicorn Fibre, who also sponsored the Diamond Trellis Strip. If you missed your chance to win the Unicorn Baby Gift Set, here's your second chance to win! The set contains 4 oz each of their Fibre Wash, Power Scour, and Fiber Rinse products, all topped with a sweet baby unicorn plushy. This prize is being shipped directly from Unicorn, and is available to be shipped in the USA only.


Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! Entries will be accepted from March 28th through April 10th, 2016, and a winner will be selected on Monday, April 11th.


Many of our members have started (even completed!) this segment's strip already, but for those of you who haven't, this segment's strip is Squares of Happiness by Tammy Hildebrand, former vice president of CGOA and owner of Hot Lava Crochet!

"You can certainly see Tammy's love for bright, vivid, contrasting colors in the strip she has designed this year using jade, lavender, coral, and shocking pink. Tammy is also well-known for her love of motifs and the join-as-you-go technique, which eliminates the need to sew all your motifs together at the end. Nobody has time for all that sewing, not to mention the extra ends you'd have to weave in. So make Tammy's strip and learn how great joining-as-you-go can be."

If you've been avoiding granny square projects because of the sewing involved, then this is the strip for you! Joining as you go eliminates much of the tedium typically involved with motif projects. Find the pattern on page 6 of the Across the Board 2015 booklet.


Share your progress in any of the following ways:
  • Add a photo to this post using the "Add your link" button below (see this tutorial on how to do this) 
  • Post questions or comments in the comments on this post
  • Join the discussion in our Ravelry and Facebook groups

*Special thanks goes out to Red Heart for donating the yarn that was used in the pattern book!


CGOA Member Spotlight: Jessie Rayot

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I'm Marie Segares from Underground Crafter and this is the third post in a monthly series for CGOA Now! where I shine a spotlight on a CGOA member and share a bit of her story with an interview.

In this month's post, I'm talking with Jessie Rayot from Jessie At Home. Jessie is a crochet and knitting designer, blogger, and YouTuber. Jessie has a background in costume design and studio art which influences her design process. I had the pleasure of meeting Jessie in real life at Stitch N' Pitch last year, and since then we've become pals. We even co-host a monthly knitting (gasp!) link party together. (If you also knit, check it out here.) Jessie can be found online on Craftsy, Etsy, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, Twitter, and YouTube.


All images are used with permission and are © Jessie Rayot/Jessie At Home unless otherwise noted.
Jessie Rayot wearing her Emily's Super Slouchy Hat, a free knitting pattern. Jessie also has a free crochet pattern version

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Jessie: I first started to crochet when I was 8 or 9. My great grandmother taught me. I wrote about it a few years ago for NatCroMo. You can read the whole story here.

Amalthea, a free crochet shawl pattern by Jessie Rayot.

UC: When did you start designing?
Jessie: I started designing costumes in high school. I went on to earn a BFA in Costume Design from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. I worked as a costume designer and costume shop manager until I was 28. I had always kept my love of crochet with me, and I very rarely used patterns, I just improvised. Shortly after my twins were born, I started my blog, Jessie At Home, as a way to keep my family up to date on the girls. Eventually I started adding crafty posts, and in October of 2009, I posted my first written pattern.

Retro Ornament Throw, free crochet pattern by Jessie Rayot for Red Heart. Image © Jessie At Home.

UC: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member?
Jessie: I joined CGOA in 2013. I love so much about it. I think my favorite thing about the CGOA is the opportunities it has opened up for me thanks to the comradery it fosters. It’s wonderful to be part of an organization that encourages working together, and helping each other!

Flight Hat, free crochet pattern by Jessie Rayot.

UC: How do you celebrate National Crochet Month?
Jessie: I usually try to find something fun to do on my blog. This year I'm planning on LOTS of product reviews. Most of the reviews will be for products that will be included in the 2016 Yarn and Wine Tasting next month. 

Joseph's Puff Stitch Blanket, free crochet pattern by Jessie Rayot.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing?
Jessie: Something that is easy to memorize, but not so simple it becomes tedious. My Skylark in Wonderland pattern is an easy to memorize 4 row repeat, and I found it quite relaxing to make!

Skylark in Wonderland, free crochet pattern by Jessie Rayot.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself?
Jessie: Something with new or difficult stitches, learning new skills. Tamara's Kismet Square is one of my most challenging patterns, which is why it includes videos and photo to help you along.

Tamara's Kismet Square, free crochet pattern by Jessie Rayot. 

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts?
Jessie: Cowls, hats, scarves… things most people will actually use. Several years ago I designed a set of winter patterns that I used to make nearly all of my Christmas gifts. If I can figure out something that is perfect for the person I’m gifting it too, that’s even better! Basically, I love giving what will make the recipient happy. 

Eli, Ali & Leo Winter Set, 6 free crochet patterns by Jessie Rayot.

UC: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you?
Jessie: Everything!! Total Crochet World Domination! :)

I’m really excited about the Yarn and Wine tasting I'm running at a friend's vineyard next month, and about all the conferences and trade shows I'm attending.

Thanks so much, Jessie, for sharing your love of crochet with us.
 
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