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Announcement: Masters Program

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The Masters Program Committee is proud to announce a new component of the Masters Program – a series of articles about stitches and techniques. Committee members, who are also portfolio reviewers, will write the articles.

The first article, in the latest Chain Link newsletter, is about “grouped stitches” and looks closely at the similarities and differences in popcorns, bobbles, puffs, and clusters. This article was written by Karen C. K. Ballard, and includes photos, directions for the stitches used in the swatch, and a list of references so that you can study different designers’ thoughts about the topic.

Susan Lowman and Jane Rimmer, the co-chairs of the Masters Program Committee, see these articles as a teaching component of the Program. The articles are intended to help crocheters learn new stitches, practice the stitches on a swatch or small project, master techniques and understand concepts. The Committee hopes that these articles will help crocheters to assess their skill level, and also help them determine if they are ready to take on the Masters Program. The articles will be compiled and archived on the CGOA website so that you can reference them at any time.

The Committee is creating a list of topics for future articles. If you have a stitch or technique that you are having trouble mastering, contact us with your suggestion for an article.

For more information about the Masters Program, check out the CGOA website: http://www.crochet.org/?page=MastersInfo

The Masters Committee members (co-chairs and reviewers) are excited about this addition to the Masters Program! We hope your crochet skills and knowledge will be enhanced as a result of this new component of the Masters Program.

Look for these articles in the latest and future Chain Link newsletters.

Jane Rimmer
Chain Link Masters Program Committee




Come Join the Fun!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hello! I’m the new kid on the board, so I’m just figuring out what the CGOA board is all about. I’m excited to be a part of helping to shape crochet in America and, more important, finding out what it is that you want to see in your CGOA, both on the shiny new website and at the Chain Link conference.

As editor of Interweave Crochet, I am all about crochet. All day, every day. How great is that? Maybe you are just as fortunate. Maybe not.

If not, I have the next best thing for you: Close your eyes. Picture yourself in a place filled with people with hooks and yarn. People who don’t ask you if you’re knitting. People whose eyes don’t glaze over when you respond that you’re crocheting. People who don’t say “Huh, an old lady down the street used to do that.” The people in this room come up, touch your sleeve, ask what crochet stitch that is, where you got the pattern, what yarn you used. They ask if you used an inline hook to get the bullions so smooth. They might ask you if you’ve seen Lily Chin or Doris Chan or Tammy Hildebrand roaming around. Because you are that kind of person -- the kind who hangs out with Lily and Doris and Tammy, just crocheting and shootin’ the breeze.

Ok, now open your eyes and fetch your calendar (go ahead -- I’ll wait). Circle these dates: July 17-21 and October 2-6. Now dial up your Google maps. Figure out how far it is from your house to Indianapolis. Now to Charlotte. Go for whichever is closest. Then sign yourself up for the Chain Link Conference. Because you deserve to be in a room filled with crocheters who love crochet.

And, really? These people are serious fun. Don’t believe me? Check this out. (And in case you missed it there at the end, watch the video that was made at the 2010 Chain Link Conference)

You’ll learn, you’ll crochet, you’ll do nothing but breathe this great craft for three full days (and, yeah, you might have to buy a commemorative hook and a skein or two of yarn, to work on in the lobby with Doris and Tammy and Lily. Because you are that kind of person.)

I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s have a coffee and crochet a motif. Can’t wait!

Best,
Marcy

p.s. If you have some swatches and spare yarn lying around looking for a home, why not whip them up into a blanket? Our friends over at Crochetville are gathering blankets and donations for Project Night Night, which is seeking handmade blankets 50” x 60” or smaller. A patchwork blanket will help you clear out your stash and help a homeless child stay warm and feel loved. Win, win!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hi Fellow Crocheters!

My name is Jane Rimmer, and I’m excited about talking to you about crochet and the CGOA. Thank you to Amy, and Donna, & Crochetville for sponsoring this month-long blog tour for National Crochet Month.

This year is my 4th and final year on the CGOA Board of Directors. It’s been fun and educational working with others who have a love of crochet. Currently I am the Treasurer for the National Board. During my years on the Board, I have been involved with several committees, related to crochet education. I have served on the Event Education committee, and served as both co-chair and Board Liaison. The Event Education committee is responsible for selecting teacher and classes for the crochet portion of the Knit & Crochet Shows. The committee also selects and holds free, education programs such as “Learn to Crochet”, “Learn to Read Patterns” and “Learn Tunisian” that have been held at recent conferences. For more information on this year’s Knit & Crochet Shows, check out the website:

This year I’ve also taken on the co-chair of the Masters Program Committee, working with Susan Lowman and a great group of reviewers. The Masters Program is a correspondence course where candidates produce a portfolio of swatches and answers to questions to show that they’ve mastered the program materials. The portfolios are then reviewed by two reviews, and the candidates received a certificate and a pin when they pass the course. For more information about the Masters Program, check at the CGOA website:

I’ve also been the CGOA email correspondent for several years. This is a volunteer position not related to the Board. It involves answering questions that people pose to the CGOA. The questions can be simple to answer, such as how to make a specific stitch, or explaining a pattern abbreviation, or where to donate an antique crocheted family item; or the questions can require a little research such as substitutions for yarn used in a vintage pattern.

My committee involvement reflect my interest in continuing education I’m an avid proponent of life long learning. And I can attest that you can spend a lifetime learning new things in crochet, and there will always be something new to learn. I have been crocheting for more than 50 years. In the past few years I’ve taken classes in broomstick lace and Tunisian techniques, building on the basics that I learned in the 1960’s. I’ve learned some beading and jewelry making, Entrelac, and delta. This year I’m looking forward to learning the crocodile stitch.

In addition to continuous learning, I love teaching, both math and crochet. I have taught at Knitters’ Day Out in the Harrisburg area, and at the Hershey Public Library, and my local CGOA Chapter. Along with teaching classes and private lessons, I am an instructor on Ravelry’s Learn Crochet group. I am also a contract crocheter, and love working with some very talented designers. I am the co-founder and current President of Those (Y)arn Crocheters, the Harrisburg Chapter of the CGOA. We meet twice monthly, once at the East Shore Library in Harrisburg and once at the Hershey Public Library. We are always welcoming new members. For more information:

My designs are in Tunisian crochet, have been published in the Crochet Pattern a Day Calendar 2007, and Across the Board 2010, 2011 and 2012. Across the Board is a publication by CGOA that features designs by members of the Board of Directors. You can obtain the pattern book by joining or renewing your CGOA membership.

Don’t forget that Crochetville is helping to support Project Night Night throughout the March for National Crochet Month. Project Night Night is a non-profit that provides a tote bag of comfort items to homeless children. I’m going add this worthwhile charity to our Chapter’s list of charities for this year. Please check out Project Night Night:

Get Hooked!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013



Kudos to Amy and Donna for this cross-country crochet tour….it’s been amazing.

I’m lucky because I work in the yarn industry. I live crocheting and knitting 24/7. I sometimes point to my work and my natural aversion to “regular” group meetings as the reason I never joined my local guild sooner. Then I had an epiphany or you could say I got “hooked” (sorry, I couldn’t resist) when the Craft Yarn Council, my employer, organized the first Knit-Out & Crochet events in New York City in the late 1990s. I reached out to area guild presidents asking for volunteers to help us teach crochet basics. The response from the guilds was amazing and that’s when I first got to meet so many of the members of the New York City Crochet Guild

I confess the other reason I hesitated joining the guild was that while I love to crochet and knit and have since I taught myself as a kid I’m happy stitching moderately easy to easy intermediate projects. I don’t aspire to tackle complicated projects so I assumed I’d be laughed out of any guild because I wasn’t creating drop-dead gorgeous projects. Of course I was wrong. I came to realize everyone is at a different level, has a different interest and there are no crochet police lurking at the meetings! It didn’t matter what I crocheted so much as I shared a love of crochet and fiber, which I certainly did.  What is most appealing about the guild meetings is that they are just plain fun. There’s lots of cheering when members show off projects during Show and Tell…and lots of laughs that come with sharing.

Then my involvement with the Warm Up America Foundation brought me to CGOA national and I’m currently a Board member, another epiphany. Hopefully, many of you have heard about this national charity (www.WarmUpAmerica.org) where crocheters and knitters volunteer to create afghans for people in need.  I set up a booth to promote the charity at the Knit and Crochet Show, which hosts both CGOA and TKGA conferences. Of course, seeing the displays of new yarns at the marketplace was great but it was meeting the crocheters from around the country that made the trip so worthwhile. Then there were the classes, informal get- togethers and fashion show that rounded out an amazing weekend.

Ok, I confess I’m probably not going to tackle any expert projects any time soon, but I took away so many ideas from the show that I could incorporate into my own level of projects. Seeing first hand how other crocheters, as well as the industry’s top designers, are using all the interesting new fibers and colors with basic stitches, was inspiring. I’d urge every crochet enthusiast to try to get to a national conference---there are two a year and they rotate around the country—but if you can’t, check out your local guild or start your own. I promise, you’ll get hooked too!

Mary Colucci

CGOA News from our President

Monday, March 18, 2013

While I know many of you and you me, I know that most of you are probably wondering who this person who, for 2013, will be your president.  My name is Cari Clement and I live in Montpelier VT with my husband and two Maine Coon cats.

There's so much we're working on this year:  the new website, increasing membership value, linking up with more chapters, putting together this year's By the Board pattern book, increasing our presence - and contests - on Facebook, and so much more.  I also invite you to create your own page on crochet.org.  You can link to your own website, your Etsy site, your Pinterest board and lots more.  Hope to see your page up soon!

While you'll soon be able to "meet" all your board members from their upcoming profiles on crochet.org, I thought I'd give you a bit of my own background.  I learned to knit at the age of 8 from my mom, an avid knitter, but I'm a self-taught crocheter, having picked it up while in college, thanks to all the inspiring crochet of the 60's.  My degree (from UMass) is in Textiles, but from the Fashion and Marketing/business standpoint.  Yes, I'm probably more of an entrepreneur than anything, as I've only worked for other companies for maybe 3 or 4 years after graduating from college until I sold my last business, Bond America, and joined Caron International as their Creative Director back in 2003.  Late 2011 Caron was sold to Spinrite (Bernat, Patons) in Canada and I became the Editor of two new magazines:  Knit 1-2-3 and, of course, Crochet 1-2-3.  Some of my other experience includes owning a fabric/yarn store in the 70's, a freelance knit and crochet design business in the 80's and a yarn and knitting machine store in the 80's.  When I'm not crocheting or knitting, I love spending time with my daughter, her husband and their two kids, who live just down the street.  I'm also a gym rat every weekday morning, an avid beader (bead crochet, embroidery, kumihimo), gardener and traveler.  In 2003 I founded Rwanda Knits, a non-profit that has helped women in Rwanda earn a living through knitting (and crochet).  The 150+ women now have a knitting center and run a self-sustaining independent business.

My passion for crochet stems from the nature of the needleart itself: free - and fabulous.  While, yes, there are rules and there are patterns and there are charts, there's just one hook and one stitch - and with them you can go wherever you want.  It's the passion of crocheters and the talent of the amazing designers, most of them professional members of CGOA, who have really inspired me.  (I even learned to do Tunisian entrelac, finally master Doris Chan's foundation stitches and, at a conference, learned to do Darla Fanton's reversible bead crochet.)  The skill of the tech editors, without whom there would be no accurate patterns anywhere, is totally amazing.  And the teachers, both professional and the rest of us who teach whoever is willing to learn, who keep skills growing.  However, it's all of you, the CGOA family, who make all of us work as hard - and have as much fun - as we do.  And it's you who we need to hear from:  ideas, suggestions, criticisms, questions, expectations met and unmet - whatever's on your mind you'd like us all to hear - and act on.

As President, I hope to see the organization through some significant, positive changes this year which include a plan for bringing on many more members, increasing membership benefits to all members, building the crochet.org website, working to make conferences the best they can be, launching a scholarship program, supporting Susan and Jane while they make the Masters Program grow and develop, involving more CGOA chapters being spearheaded by Mary and Jack, helping contribute to Tammy's amazing social media projects, working with Marcy on making that website run like clockwork and working with Karen Knies, our Executive Director, to make CGOA the best it can be.  Yes, it takes time - but we have the will - and the skill - to make it a reality.

And a thanks to the duo at Crochetville for making this tour possible!

- Cari Clement

National Crochet Month and Professional Development

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I'd like to thank Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka of Crochetville for hosting this exciting blog tour in celebration of National Crochet Month! I have enjoyed reading all the posts each day this month. You can find the complete list here in case you missed any of them.

Please join us in supporting Project Night Night which is an organization that provides homeless children with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children's book, and a stuffed animal -- all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. You can find all the details here.

For those of you that don't know me, I am Tammy Hildebrand and I am thrilled to be serving as your Vice President this year. Having previously served as CGOA's mentor coordinator and the professional development chairperson, I'd like to take this opportunity to share some of the great benefits CGOA has to offer.

Did you know the Crochet Guild offers a mentoring program at no additional charge other than the cost of membership? We've got professional members ready to help you achieve your goals whether you're working towards a career in technical editing, contract crocheting, teaching, and of course designing. You must already be actively pursuing your goals on your own but if you qualify, our mentor coordinator will place you with an established professional to work with one-on-one for up to two years!

Currently in development is a brand new online teaching group. Some of your favorite conference teachers will share their experience and knowledge on topics such as how to propose and prepare classes, creating handouts for your students, how to gauge your time, material fees and so on. This is not a class on teaching so you must already have some teaching experience.

And speaking of the conference, we will be in Indianapolis, IN July 17-21 for our summer show and in Charlotte, NC October 2 - 6 for our fall conference. Read about all the exciting events and classes planned for the annual Knit and Crochet Show. One of my favorite events is Professional Development Day, also known as PDD. This is a daylong event that kicks off the conference first thing Wednesday morning. Each year we have a different theme, various speakers and topics, and interesting formats to help you increase your knowledge about what it takes to be a professional.

Also at our conferences we hold a  "Designer Meet and Greet" with editors and publishers from your favorite       magazines and yarn companies. This is such a unique opportunity to have actual face time to show your designs to the publishers. It is not uncommon to sell a design right off your back! Where else could you do something like that? So what are you waiting for? Stop by our website to learn more and you too could be a member of the Crochet Guild of America!

Be sure to pop over to This is Crochet, our other stop on the tour today. Turquoiz Blue is one of our  professional members that designs beautiful fashion, accessories and home decor. Be sure to check out her Fleurette Scarf, a clever piece done in Tunisian Knit Stitch that I think is so pretty.

You can find me on my blog at Hot Lava Crochet and also on Facebook at Hot Lava Crochet. I hope I will  see many of you at an upcoming conference. Please be sure to come up and introduce yourself!

National Crochet Month and the CGOA Masters Program


First of all, I want to thank Amy Shelton at Crochetville for putting together this National Crochet Month Blog Tour: “A Tour through Crochet Country”! Please consider supporting Project Night Night, the charity we’ve chosen to support during March, 2013, for National Crochet Month. For more information about Project Night Night and this crochet blog tour, please visit the Crochetville blog post here: http://crochetville.com/a-tour-through-crochet-country-natcromo-blog-tour/.

I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Susan Lowman. I’ve been a professional member of CGOA (Crochet Guild of America) since 2003. In July, 2012, I was asked to join the CGOA Board of Directors as the secretary and Liaison to the Masters Committee. In October, 2012, I became one of the two Co-Chairs of the CGOA Masters Committee (the other Co-Chair is Jane Rimmer). I’ve also been a Masters portfolio reviewer since September, 2010.

I thoroughly enjoy being an active member of CGOA, which is comprised of members of all ages, skill levels and nationalities. We’re all very supportive of each other and help each other improve our crochet skills and knowledge. Corporate, professional and individual members mingle effortlessly at the annual CGOA Conferences and on the CGOA website. We support and encourage each other in our crochet endeavors, whether we’re professionals or hobbyists. We all love crochet and we speak the same crochet language!!! Joining CGOA is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Many professional opportunities have opened up in my crochet career (and in many other crochet designers’ careers) because of being a CGOA member and attending the annual conferences. My crochet skills and knowledge have improved through CGOA, too. I can’t imagine not being part of such a fantastic organization with members who are dedicated to the advancement of crochet!

As Co-Chairs of the Masters Committee, Jane and I work to improve the Masters program, correct errors in the program, oversee the portfolio reviewers, train new portfolio reviewers and answer questions about the program. I am passionate about teaching and helping others improve their crochet skills and knowledge. I consider it an honor to be part of the CGOA Masters program and to carry on Jean Leinhauser’s vision for the program.

The Masters program is a way for CGOA members to assess their crochet skills and knowledge, as well as to show their mastery of crochet stitches and techniques. Once enrolled in the CGOA Masters program, each candidate receives the written instructions for the course, which is comprised of making 48 crochet swatches and answering 13 questions. The Masters candidate compiles all of their swatches and their answers to the questions into a portfolio. When they’re all done, they notify Offinger Management Co that their portfolio is ready to be reviewed (Note: Because of the huge response to the program, there is currently a waiting list for reviews). Once the candidate reaches the top of the waiting list, their portfolio is reviewed by 2 volunteer Masters portfolio reviewers and returned to the candidate with a detailed written review of the work in the portfolio. If the candidate passes the program, they receive a certificate of completion and a Masters pin, as well as recognition in the CGOA newsletter and at the CGOA Conference. If the candidate has too many errors in their portfolio to pass, they are given the option to correct the mistakes and resubmit the new swatches/answers for another review. Hundreds of CGOA members have enrolled in the Masters program, testing and increasing their crochet skills/knowledge through the Masters program.

CGOA has had several Masters programs in the past, which are no longer offered. In 2010, the late Jean Leinhauser created the current Masters program, “Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques”. For more information and/or to enroll in the Masters program, please visit the CGOA website here: http://www.crochet.org/?page=MastersInfo.

When I’m not working on the CGOA Masters program, I’m busy blogging and designing crochet patterns for publication on my website at http://www.TheCrochetArchitect.com, as well as in crochet books and magazines. To see all of my published crochet patterns, please visit my Ravelry designer page here: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/susan-lowman. I also tech edit crochet patterns (to find the mistakes and correct them before the pattern is published) and teach crochet classes, as time allows. I’ve taught crochet (and shuttle tatting) classes at the CGOA Conferences in 2009, 2010 and 2012. I’m scheduled to teach 6 crochet classes at the upcoming CGOA Conference in Indianapolis this year in July. I’d love to meet you in one of my classes at the conference this year! You can see the full list of crochet (and knitting) classes offered at the conference here: http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/. I’m not sure when registration begins, but if you’re a CGOA member, you’ll receive an e-mail when it’s time to register for the conference.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look inside the CGOA Masters program. If you’re not a member of CGOA, I hope you’ll check it out and seriously consider joining. And if you can’t attend a CGOA Conference, please look for a local CGOA Chapter to join so you can connect with other crocheters in your community! The CGOA website is http://www.crochet.org.

I’ll be blogging again on my website on March 26th for my “designer” stop on the National Crochet Month Blog Tour. Please stop by and see what I’ll be giving away that day!

Happy crocheting,
Susan Lowman

Book Review: Crochet Saved My Life

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Title: Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet
Title: Crochet Saved My Life
Author: Kathryn Vercillo

Book Review by Marie Segares (www.undergroundcrafter.com)

If you’ve ever turned to your hooks and yarn when times were hard, you will probably see yourself in Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet. Kathryn Vercillo, the blogger behind Crochet Concupiscence, has written and self-published this compelling non-fiction book which tells the stories of 24 crocheters (including herself) who attest to the healing power of crochet.

Kathryn’s personal experience using crochet as part of a comprehensive plan to manage her depression sparked her interest in researching the mental, physical, and social benefits of crochet. The book takes a journalistic approach to exploring research into the potential for using crochet as part of a treatment plan for several physical and mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, bipopular disorder, Alzheimer’s and other age related memory conditions, and stress). Kathryn also explores the use of crochet as part of pain management and occupational therapy regimens.

Each chapter includes a clearly written overview of research as well as existing programs using crochet (or other needlecrafts) to treat these conditions. Kathryn’s writing style is accessible and casual, but she has clearly done her homework and documents her sources. She also peppers the anecdotal experiences of the many crocheters she interviewed for the book throughout the relevant chapters, so you can learn about how crochet helped them manage their health.

The book includes appendices with mindfulness activities, hand stretches, and other exercises for crocheters. Kathryn also shares the complete story of each crafter she interviewed in “Meet the Crafters” profiles. Crocheters who are active online will recognize many of Kathryn’s interview subjects, who include bloggers, Etsy sellers, and designers. The profiles provide a personal touch and a window into the many ways that crocheting, creativity, and a community of crafters can support healing during difficult times.

Although the book is self-published, it is well written and thoroughly edited. Other than the unconventional font (which is highly readable), there is little to distinguish it from a book produced by a major publishing house. Before picking up the book, I feared it would be depressing, but it is actually quite uplifting and inspiring. Through the profiles of these creative women, the reader gets to experience the healing powers of crochet.

Fans of Kathryn’s blog will recognize her conversational tone and enjoy the opportunity to learn more about other active members of the online crochet community. This book would also make a delightful gift for anyone in a helping profession or caregivers, since there are some great suggestions for using crochet specifically and needlecrafts in general to support healing.  

Retail price: $17.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle edition). This book is also available to borrow via the Kindle Lending Library for Amazon Prime Members.

Book Review: 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet


Title: Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet
Title: 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet: Beautiful Patterns to Mix and Match for Afghans, Throws, Baby Blankets and more
Author: Betty Barnden

Book Review by Marie Segares (www.undergroundcrafter.com)

Bestselling British needlecrafts author Betty Barnden has created a book of crochet motifs inspired by flowers.

In the introduction, Betty explains that her love of gardening inspired her to create floral blocks. Some of the patterns are modifications of traditional motif patterns with abstract floral influences, while others are complex designs that attempt to literally capture the look of different flowers. The book features motifs of different shapes (circles, diamonds, hexagons, squares, and triangles), but blocks of the same shape are made the same size so they can be easily combined. The samples in the book are made with DK (sport weight) yarn and a size E crochet hook and measure between 5-6 inches.

The book starts with a 20-page section called Useful Techniques. This includes a review of yarn and hooks, an overview of US pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols (including a thorough explanation of the significance of different arrangements of symbols and tips for reading charts in the round or in rows), tips for making stunning motifs (including techniques for invisible finishes, weaving in ends, and starting in the round), and a chart that explains the care symbols on yarn ball bands. There are also tips for arranging blocks, blocking, joining motifs, and planning block projects. The section on edgings includes tips for working around the sides and corners as well as 6 patterns for edgings.

The next section is a 20-page Directory of Blocks which includes a photograph of each block, arranged thematically by color/garden inspiration. Each block includes the pattern name and page number where the pattern appears.

The Instructions section is the meat of the book, and includes instructions for 78 motif patterns arranged by shape. Each pattern includes the difficulty level and the method of construction, a large photo, and a pattern written with US pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols. There is a key to stitch symbols at the beginning of each pattern, making this a great book for those new to stitch symbols.

The final section, Projects, includes assembly instructions for four projects made with the motif patterns from the book: a hexagon throw; lined, frame purses using different shaped blocks; a cushion made from squares; and a triangle motif scarf.

75 Floral Blocks to Crochet includes blocks in a variety of shapes. In spite of the floral inspiration, many are abstract enough to make unisex designs with different color choices. The book is the only major compendium of motif patterns I’ve seen that includes blocks constructed in decreasing rows or diagonally. The use of both written abbreviations and stitch symbols, the range of skill levels included in the patterns, and the technique tips shared makes this book a great choice for a broad range of crocheters. This book would appeal to crocheters who love motifs or portable projects, those who want to learn to read stitch symbols, and crocheters who enjoy working with color.

Motif types: 13 triangles, 26 squares, 6 diamonds, 20 hexagons, and 13 circles.
Skill levels: 33 Easy projects, 34 Intermediate projects, and 11 advanced projects.
Construction methods: 64 in rounds, 4 in rows, 1 diagonally, 2 decreasing in rows, and 7 combining two construction methods.
Retail price: $21.99

Full disclosure: A free review copy of 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet was provided by St. Martin's Press. 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.

Book Review: The Beaded Edge 2


Title: The Beaded Edge 2: More Inspired Designs for Crocheted Edgings and Trims
Author: Midori Nishida/CRK Design

Book Review by Reneé Rodgers (www.crochetrenee.com)

Following on the successful heels of The Beaded Edge: Inspired Designs for Crocheted Edgings and Trims, this second volume does not disappoint. As a professional craft artist, Nishida was inspired by an exhibit that she saw on Turkish embroideries and Oya. Oya are decorative edgings made of thread, knots and beads that are traditionally found on Turkish women’s headscarves. Nishida set out to create a crocheted technique inspired by what she saw.

This sequel has 26 different edgings and trims, and the author shows several different ways in which they can be used. From simply wearing the trims as necklaces to applying them to clothing and accessories (including shoes!), there are detailed instructions every step of the way. Instructions are presented in written form, stitch and bead placement diagrams and even photographic step-by-step instructions. Everything one needs to know is right here to produce delicate, sparkling and beautiful embellishments. There is a double page spread covering materials and tools, including the brand names. The copy I am reviewing stated, “the contact information for manufacturers is shown under the table of contents on page 3”; however, that information is missing, so hopefully that is something that will be edited. A quick internet search would likely reveal where to find the materials listed.

One of the best things about this book is that one can take an old garment, such as a T-shirt or skirt or even a purse or pair of shoes and elevate these items to something new again. With just a few beads, some thread and a crochet hook, something one might have thrown out can become a favorite item again! Not only is that “green”, it’s fun, too! One of these trims given as a gift would be appreciated by anyone as well.
I highly recommend that everyone have this volume on their shelves. I know I am adding it to mine!


(Interweave Press, 2012, 88 pages, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-59668-559-8)

Full disclosure: A free review copy of  The Beaded Edge 2: More Inspired Designs for Crocheted Edgings and Trims was provided by Interweave Press. 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.

Book Review: Crochet Textures for Home & Baby





Title: Crochet Textures for Home & Baby
Author: Sheryl Means

Book Review by Reneé Rodgers (www.crochetrenee.com)

As a debut publication for Sheryl Means, Crochet Textures for Home & Baby, is a wonderful start from a new designer. When asked to comment on her first publication, Means replied, “With Crochet Textures, I wanted to showcase the beauty of highly textured stitches. Crochet fabric is beautiful and deserves to be celebrated”.

There are 12 projects included. The breakdown is: one afghan, two pillows, two baby blankets, two baby toys, three dishcloths and a luncheon set with matching placemat and napkin ring. The Bohemian Chic Sampler Afghan features nine different stitch patterns. The bonus is that any of the featured stitch patterns would also make nice spa or dishcloths in their own right.  

Of the two baby blankets, one is pictured in more boyish colors while the other is created with very girly colors. Both designs, however, would lend themselves well to either gender with a change of color palette, as Means has avoided making either blanket overly frilly or too plain.

All of the projects are worked in medium (#4) weight yarn, with the exception of the Both Sides Now Pillow, which explores utilizing both medium and bulky (#5) weight yarn in the same project. With all projects rated “easy”, this book has a variety of projects that will appeal to both beginning crocheters as well as seasoned stitchers.

There is also a good explanation of how to do foundation single and double crochet in the “general instructions” section of the book, for those who have not yet learned these skills. Most of the patterns actually begin with these techniques, with the exception of the Pedal Pusher Stroller Blanket and the Star Bright Snuggle Toy.  

This is a good book with a nice variety of projects, suitable for stitchers of all levels. So join the author in celebrating the beauty of textured crochet!

(Leisure Arts, Inc, 2012, 40 pages, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-60900-352-4)

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Crochet Textures for Home & Baby was provided by Leisure Arts, Inc. 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.

Book Review: Crochet Cowls

Title: Crochet Cowls
Author: Lisa Gentry

Book Review by Reneé Rodgers (www.crochetrenee.com)

Lisa Gentry has created a collection of ten crocheted cowls that will appeal to a broad audience of stitchers. The designs are worked in a variety of yarn weights, from lightweight (#3) yarn to super bulky (#6) yarn. The brand of yarn is not listed in the actual patterns, but there is a yarn guide in the back of the book for those who wish to complete the projects as they are pictured.

While there is a “general instruction” section covering gauge and some finishing techniques, this book is strictly a pattern book. For those who know the basic stitches, the projects will be easy and very satisfying to complete. New crocheters will need to have an instructional guide in hand if they do not know the basics; but all of the patterns are rated “easy”, so these designs will give new crocheters something new to learn on other than the proverbial dishcloth or plain old single stitch scarf.

Cowls have been trendy for a few years now, and it looks like they will continue to be a popular fashion accessory. Gentry’s designs are fashionable, classic and functional. Any of the cowls in this book would be an accessory any woman would love to have in her wardrobe!

(Leisure Arts, Inc, 2012, 32 pages, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-4647-0399-7)

Full disclosure: A free review copy of Crochet Cowls was provided by Leisure Arts, Inc. 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.

Crochetville Sponsors "A Tour Through Crochet Country"

March is National Crochet Month and Crochetville is sponsoring a month-long blog tour, A Tour through Crochet Country.

Professional and Associate members of the CGOA are participating in the blog tour. There are an unprecedented 50+ blog participants in the tour.

From the website:

You will get a special surprise at each stop along the blog tour. You might pick up a free pattern created just for this event. Maybe you’ll get a sneak peek at a designer’s crochet studio. Maybe you’ll find a stitch or technique tutorial. You might even get a chance to learn some fascinating crochet history.

This tour is our way of saying thank you to crocheters everywhere for supporting the crochet community with your purchases of individual  patterns, books, magazines, crochet hooks and tools, yarn, and thread. We hope you enjoy what we have to share with you this month!


The Tour is supporting Project Night Night, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides over 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children.

Join these CGOA members as we celebrate our own special month. Visit the website here for more information and links to all the participating blogs. What a party! Enjoy!



 
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