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.

UPDATE: Our little guild's visit from Shira was a roaring hit! (I say "roaring" because Shira's Twitter handle is @ShiraRoars.) We did get a wonderful little goody bag stuffed with a tape measurer, notebook, Laugh with Lola comic book, reusable shopping bag, a catalogue of Lion Brand's complete line (including their premium LB Collection, which is only available online), and a skein of their new Shawl in a Ball in our choice of color. Just one skein is enough yarn to make a whole crochet shawl! I can't wait to try it out on my Clapochet pattern.

Oh! And check out the second photo from the bottom in this blog post from Shira. That's me with Shira, both of us wearing sweaters made from Vanna's Glamour! She's wearing Lion Brand's Curvy Girl Drop Stitch Pullover and I'm sporting my Dolled Up Blouse. What a fun evening it was! And I just want to give a big thank-you to Shira and Lion Brand Yarns for their visit.

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:

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:"
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.
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