Crocheted Mandalas: 20 to Make

Monday, November 21, 2016

I was provided with a copy of Crochet Mandalas: 20 to Make for an honest review. All opinions are those of Jessie Rayot of Jessie At Home.

Crocheted Mandalas: 20 to Make by Lynne Rowe is full of, well, 20 awesome Mandalas to crochet! It is scheduled to release on January 10th, but you can read all about it here, and enter to win a copy of your own! You can also pre-order it HERE.

The book begins with an introduction and a little bit of Crochet Know-How. Then Lynne dives right into the patterns. Each pattern is written in both US and UK terms, in an easy to follow manner. The pattern range from simple to more ornate, and there is a nice variety. There is also a variety of different yarns and weights used which really shows of the versatility of mandalas. Honestly you can make any of them in just about any yarn and weight you want, you will just get a different look and size.

This fabulous book sings out with colour and design! Featuring 20 unique crochet mandala designs in wonderful colours, these little crochet projects are perfectly transportable and great for using up scraps of yarn. They are also perfect for those fairly new to crochet, as the patterns are very easy and competent beginners will get lots of practice with many different crochet stitches.
I really enjoy crocheting mandalas, there is something soothing and therapeutic about them. Plus they have so many uses: coasters, potholders, trivets, embellishments, or even just hang them on the wall!

I decided the best way for me to tell you how the patterns are written was to give a couple of them a go, so that's just what I did.

I started with a smaller but slightly ornate mandala, the Christmas Star. I did not use the recommended yarn for this one, I used some Red Heart With Love I had in my scrap bin. I love that mandalas can use up your scraps! I found the pattern to be very easy to follow, even with some more advanced stitches.

Next I moved onto the Granny Square pattern. I used the recommended King Cole Riot DK, just in another colorway. Again the pattern was easy to follow. There were lots of repeats, but the pattern was written in such a way that it was not at all confusing. Lynne has done an excellent job of writing clearly for any level crocheter!

You can see more photos of the mandalas you can create with this book HERE. Overall, I was impressed by Crocheted Mandalas. The patterns and color choices were lovely, and the instructions were easy to follow. At just $9.95, this book is an excellent addition to your crochet library!

You can pre-order your copy HERE, and you can also enter to win a copy below.

To enter to win a copy of Crocheted Mandalas: 20 to Crochet, you must be at least 18 years old with a valid shipping address. The contest will run from start of day 11/21/16 to end of day 11/27/16 Eastern Time. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email for a valid shipping address. Winner will have 1 week to reply or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you, and good luck!

CGOA Member Spotlight: BreeAnna Laub

Monday, November 14, 2016

I'm Marie from Underground Crafter and this is the eleventh post in a series of interviews where I highlight the work of a Crochet Guild of America member.

BreeAnna Laub.
This month's post features BreeAnna Laub, the crochet designer and blogger behind String with Style. She is also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter.

All images are © BreeAnna Laub/String with Style and are used with permission.

Buffalo Check Obsession Scarf, free crochet pattern by String with Style.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
BreeAnna: My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was about 10. Her arthritis was getting so bad that she couldn't do it anymore and I showed so much interest that I was gifted all of her yarn, pattern books and hooks! I LOVED it!!! Once I started I didn't stop. I asked for hooks and yarn and patterns for Christmas. My parents thought I was crazy but I loved it and I dreamed of being able to do something with crochet for a living someday.

Vertical Textures Afghan, free crochet pattern by String with Style.
UC: When did you start designing?
BreeAnna: I started designing in 2012.

UC: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member?
BreeAnna: This is my very first year being a member of the CGOA and I don't know why it took me so long to finally join. It has been a wonderful year. I would say my favorite thing is the connections I've been able to make and the people I've been able to meet because of it.

Granny Stitch Triangle Scarf, free crochet pattern by String with Style.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing?
BreeAnna: For relaxing I like mindless projects. Something with an easy to memorize stitch count pattern that I can just keep going on without stopping to count stitches or change colors. Afghans, scarves, cowls, those types of projects.

Diamond Weave Hat, crochet pattern by String with Style for sale on Ravelry.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself?
BreeAnna: If I want a challenge I usually dive into thread or lace crochet. I also really love more advanced stitches that offer a fun texture or effect.

Cabled Cutie Slouch, free crochet pattern by String with Style.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts?
BreeAnna: Right now I would have to say hats and fingerless gloves are my favorite gifts to give.

Star Bright Angled Scarf, free crochet pattern by String with Style.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for cold weather?
BreeAnna: I love to work on Afghans in the winter so I can snuggle up under them as I go. I also love to make different scarves, shawls, wraps and hats in the winter. It's like having a whole new outfit when you have a new accessory like that.

Planned Color Pooling Argyle Dishcloths, free crochet pattern by String with Style.
UC: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you?
BreeAnna: In 2016 I have mostly been working on building my pattern base after my year off. It has been challenging with a 1 year old but I think I'm getting a rhythm down. It has been a fun creative year making a lot of things that have been swimming around in my head and the majority of them are being released over the next few months for this chilly winter we have coming.

As far as what's next, I would really like to step into the video space that has become so popular. I'm working on offering some new things this coming year in 2017 that I think are going to be really fun and also valuable to my friends and followers.

Thanks for sharing your love of crochet with us, BreeAnna!

Winter '16 Holiday Crochet Along Prize Entry Post

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Oh my goodness.  I can't believe that we are done with this wonderful journey and we each have two lovely wraps to keep or share.  And since you've done them once, you can go ahead and make more and more!  That was kind of the point of this Holiday Crochet Along - to provide you with pieces you can make fairly quickly and give as gifts!

Your Instructions:  
1. Enter to win the giveaway by the end of the day on Nov. 19, 2016 using the Rafflecopter widget below.  To earn extra entries, link to pictures of your finished objects in the comments.

Win What?
Each prize is fabulous and different and each one has different shipping restrictions.  Click on links below and scroll down for full descriptions.
  1. Shipping Worldwide: Three Skeins of Tatamy Tweed by Kraemer Yarns in Rose and Taupe.
  2. Shipping Worldwide: Three Skeins of Tatamy Tweed by Kraemer Yarns in Blue Jean and Taupe.
  3. Shipping to North America: Two Skeins of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend by Fairmount Fibers in your choice of color.
  4. Shipping to the U.S. and Canada:  A Eucalan Gift Pack
  5. Shipping to the United States:  A Unicorn Clean 4 oz. Gift Set.
  6. Shipping to the United States:  A Unicorn Clean 4 oz. Gift Set. (Same as above)

Pictures of Your Finished Objects

Optional:  Please link to pictures of your finished "All the Stars Above" and/or "Lace Ripple Fans" by copying and pasting the URL to your photo in the comment section, then earn 3 entries for each finished object by pasting your link into the Rafflecopter widget.  I really want to see your work and I will visit your blog or page to Ooo and Ahh over your pieces! 

And, of course, thanks so much to each of our giveaway sponsors:

Let's keep the conversation going.   If you're not already a member of the CGOA Crochet Along Facebook group or Ravelry group, please join us so we can all stitch together!   Do you want to connect with me on social media?  Caissa (@artlikebread) can be found on facebook, and Instagram.  Join my newsletter about crafts, crochet, and education. 

Getting To Know You - Rosemary Chance

Friday, November 11, 2016

Welcome to "Getting To Know You" on the blog. This is an opportunity for our members to share a little bit about themselves, and for us to learn more about each other and continue the family feel after leaving the annual conference. Although we may crochet by ourselves in our own homes, we are not alone in our love of crochet, and we have more in common than we realize. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we will all learn something new about each other and the art of crochet! This month, enjoy getting to know...

Rosemary Chance

Jacksonville, Texas.  That’s in east Texas about a two-hour drive southeast of Dallas and about a two-hour drive west of Shreveport, Louisiana.

How many years crocheting and/or how did you learn to crochet?  
My mother-in-law taught me basic stitches in 1970, and women at a yarn shop in Houston, Texas helped me crochet baby booties and a sweater for my first-born son.  I have been crocheting off and on since then.  Now that I’m a retired professor of library science I have time to crochet a few hours every day.

Do you crochet with your left hand or right hand and how do you hold your hook? 
Right hand. Pencil hold.

What is your favorite hook?  
Susan Bates, size H, metal.

What is your favorite yarn?  
Currently, Lion Brand Heartland, all colors, #4, acrylic, for making beanie hats and scarves.  I also like Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton for making dishcloths and tote bags.

What is your favorite crochet stitch and why?  
To create a comfortable cuff for fingerless mittens, I like alternating front post half double crochet and back post half double crochet.  My newest favorite stitch is broomstick lace.  Thanks to Darla Fanton’s excellent class in Charleston, South Carolina!  

Do you prefer a written pattern, a chart, or both, and why?  
When the talented women in Houston helped me learn to crochet, they also taught me how to read patterns.  Interpreting a chart is fascinating but new to me, so my preference is a pattern.

What is your favorite item to make and why?  
About five years ago I started making fingerless mittens made of sock yarn, using a free Red Heart pattern, “Crochet Lace Fingerless Mitts,” designed by Andee Graves.  I love that the mitts are pretty and practical for wearing in a cold office or outside in cool weather.  By now I have made about 60 pairs of mitts in many colors, have given them as gifts to friends and family, and have sold the mitts at local festivals. (See photo.)

Who do you crochet for?  
I crochet for myself, for the women in my family, for women friends, and for our local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program.  In our town the program director requests hat and scarf sets for teens, the majority of young people the program serves.

Have you ever participated in a yarn bombing?  
No, nor had I even heard of one until this year.

How long have you been a CGOA member?  
Two years.  

What is a fond memory from a CGOA Conference you have 
I attended my first conference this year and had an excellent experience with the classes I chose.  I was impressed by my experienced and knowledgeable teachers and by my mentor, Carolyn Calderon, a talented and generous person.

Do you belong to a local CGOA chapter in your area?  
No, but I have organized a group of women who meet every Tuesday afternoon at our local public library.  We refer to our group as “Hooks and Books!”  Most of us love to read as well as to crochet, so we informally discuss our favorite titles while working on individual projects.

What are your crochet goals for the future? 
I plan to continue a combination of learning new patterns and stitches, making gifts for friends and family, selling items locally, and donating to CASA. 

Do you have any other pastimes, interests, sports, or crafts you enjoy doing?  
My husband and I raise pygmy goats to help keep weeds and grass under control around our property.  Currently, we have 26 goats and three Great Pyrenees dogs that guard the goats from wild dogs that roam the area.  Each spring we average 15 newborn kids, and I name each goat.  In 2016 17 kids were born, and I named each one after a favorite movie star. Sometimes it takes very little to amuse me.  Two of my favorite kids are Helen Mirren and Sam Heughan, partly because they (the goats) have beautiful pale blue eyes.  Do I milk the goats?  No.  Do I crochet for the kids?  Not yet, although they would love to nibble yarn.

Thank you for sharing with us Rosemary, it's been fun "getting to know you"!
Become a CGOA member today, click HERE to join.

Have a great day!
Brought to you by blogger contributor:
Carolyn Calderon
If you would like to be a featured member, please contact her HERE.

Book Review - 150 All-Time Favorite Crochet Blocks

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Title: 150 All-Time Favorite Crochet Blocks
Author: Sarah Hazell
MSRP: $22.99 USD

Book review by Pia Thadani - Stitches'N'Scraps

Never again struggle to find the perfect crochet block for your project! Whether you're looking for something lacy or solid, chunky or delicate, classic or contemporary, you'll find it in 150 All-Time Favorite Crochet Blocks.

Cover - 150 All-Time Favorite Crochet Blocks

Aside from the blocks themselves, my favorite part of this book is the way it is organized.The squares (and one rectangle too!) are all laid out in the beginning of the book, with different background colors corresponding to 8 categories: Traditional, Textures, Lace & Mesh, Shape Changers (so fun!), Crosses, Colorwork, Flowers, and Special Techniques. The backgrounds match color coded tabs on the edges of the page, so you can easily flip to the pattern section you are looking for.

Color coded sections

The pattern for each square is presented in both written and charted formats. If you're new to reading crochet charts, check out the reference section at the back of the book. It has an easy to understand and very detailed explanation of chart symbols and how to read them.

Pages 102-103

Because of the way these are sorted, the squares within each category have a similar feel to them and go well together. Combining squares from a single category will give your project a coordinated look. For a bolder or more graphic look, with contrasting textures and techniques, try combining squares from different categories.

Pages 12-13

So about that project - need some ideas? The book has 5 great projects you can make too! Use the recommended blocks, or choose different ones. What will you make?

Projects Section

Enter to win your own copy of 150 All-Time Favorite Crochet Blocks! 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 Canadian 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 November 30th. Hurry and enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A free review copy of 150 All-Time Favorite Crochet Blocks 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.

Winter '16 Holiday Crochet Along: Lace Ripple Fans Shawlette Part Two!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Yeee!  We're almost done with our crochet along!  We are moving quickly through the stitches and this one works up smoothly.  I love the open stitch pattern.  How's it going for you? 

If you'd like, you can see the entire crochet along schedule & details about getting started here.
Lace Ripple Fans is a versatile, rectangular-shaped shawlette stitched in a lovely, open lace pattern.  Stitched in long rows using DK weight yarn and a big hook, the piece works up quickly and can be styled in many ways.  Whether loosely wrapped around the neck like a cowl, or draped over the shoulders and styled with a pin, this piece is a showstopper.  Enjoy crocheting this gorgeous piece and you'll want to make more!

We'll be crocheting this in just two parts: doing half in one week, and half + finishing in the second week.  So in just two weeks, you will have a lovely, new accessory to gift or wear.

Your instructions for this week:  
1. Crochet rows 8-13 of Lace Ripple Fans Shawlette, block and add ribbon!
2. Share progress pictures and ask questions in the Facebook group and in our Ravelry thread.  We'll help each other out!
You Could Win!
We are very fortunate that we have several excellent sponsors who have really stepped up to make this CAL lots of fun for us!  At the end of the CAL, you can enter to win a fantastic prize package!!

And, of course, thanks so much to each of our giveaway sponsors:

Let's keep the conversation going.   If you're not already a member of the CGOA Crochet Along Facebook group or Ravelry group, please join us so we can all stitch together!   Do you want to connect with me on social media?  Caissa (@artlikebread) can be found on facebookInstagram, and SnapChat (It's fun!).  Join my newsletter about crafts, crochet, and education. 

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