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“Design Your Own Crochet Projects” book review and giveaway!

Hello everyone!  I have something really cool to share with you today, I hope you like it!

Design Your Own Crochet Projects

about the book:

This is a new book that came out in October of this year, and it’s unlike any crochet book I’ve seen before because it takes the guesswork out of designing your own items without limiting you to any specific yarn weight, stitch pattern, or item size.  When they say “Magic Formulas for Creating Custom Scarves, Cowls, Hats, Socks, Mittens, and Gloves,” they ain’t kiddin’!

In the introduction of the book, the author Sara Delaney (click here for her Ravelry page) reviews guidelines for choosing yarns for your projects, and even though I know a good bit about different fibers simply due to how long I’ve been crocheting and knitting I still find this section useful as a reminder of not only how different fibers act (protein vs. cellulose vs. manmade, etc.) but also how the yarn construction (roving vs. plied vs. constructed) and weight effect your projects.  The introduction also emphasizes the importance of the gauge swatch — I know, I know, I don’t like making gauge swatches either, but it does take the guesswork out of things and saves you time in the end.  Sara goes on to explain how to create a swatch properly and what to look for in your swatch.

An entire chapter is devoted to each type of item the book discusses (scarves, cowls, hats — both bottom-up and top-down, fingerless mitts, mittens, gloves, and socks — both cuff-down and toe-up).  Each chapter has standard measurements for the item and useful instructions on how to measure a person properly for the item.  The super cool part of each chapter, though, are the pages you are allowed to photocopy and fill in yourself to keep all of your measurements and information organized.  First, there’s the basic data that includes all the measurements you’ll need to plug in to the formulas:

Then, using those measurements, the book tells you exactly how to calculate the yardage you’ll need:

The book then provides a pattern formula as well as an extended pattern formula for when you are making a pattern with specific stitch multiple requirements (they really thought of everything):

And last but not least there’s a pattern template.  I like this because it has everything you may need to replicate the pattern again later if you want to, instead of having to borrow the gift you gave to someone and squint at it for hours to try and figure out how you made it the first time.  It keeps everything on one handy page:

Sara also included some pre-made patterns in the book, and she goes so far as to show the worksheets above filled out for the patterns so you can see how it all comes together.  These are great examples of how good patterns are made!

This isn’t all there is to the book, though.  There’s a stitch dictionary at the end with gorgeous stitch patterns to get your creativity flowing, and there’s also AN ONLINE CALCULATOR.  You know, in case you don’t want to write everything out or aren’t too confident in your own math skills (like me).  I love this feature.  While the calculator includes all of the formulas you’ll need to make an awesome pattern, obviously it doesn’t cover everything there is to learn in the book so I’d still recommend having the book itself, but I really like that the calculator largely reduces the possibility of human error.

my thoughts:

Obviously, I like this book and the online calculator.  I’m already using it to help me plan out pattern ideas and it’s taking a lot of the frustration out.  It’s worth noting that it uses US terms.  Another really cool thing about this book: the formulas work for making knitting patterns, too!  I don’t know if Sara intended the book to be used for knitting in addition to crochet or not, but it’s equally helpful.  Like for realsies, this book has everything you need and I’m so glad I have it.  Click here for the book’s Ravelry page.

giveaway:

And now for the giveaway part!  This particular giveaway is open only to US residents (but many of the other giveaways I hold are open worldwide).  A lucky winner will receive their own free copy of Sara Delaney’s “Design Your Own Crochet Projects” and all you have to do is comment below with your name and the State you live in (one entry per person please)!  I’d also be grateful if you subscribed to this blog.  Winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator on Monday, November 13th.  If chosen you will receive an email from me requesting your mailing address; make sure you check your inboxes because after 24 hours I will draw again if I receive no response!  Winner will be announced as soon as one has been confirmed!  Good luck everyone!

Please note that while Storey Publishing did provide me with my own copy of this book as well as the giveaway copy, the thoughts and opinions shared are genuine and entirely my own.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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we are knitters abruzzo sweater kit: progress (& life update)!

Hello everyone!  It’s been a long time.  My apologies for dropping off the face of the earth!

Although I haven’t been doing as much knitting and crocheting as I would like, I have managed to finish both the front and the back of the Abruzzo Sweater by We Are Knitters (check out my last post for more details).  The back piece is slightly longer and was a little harder to keep in frame on my small white background, but I got a decent photo of the front!

we are knitters abruzzo sweater front

I really like the simplicity of the pattern and how you don’t have to worry about shoulder shaping.

Now I just need to kick it into high gear and get those sleeves done!  It’s starting to cool off here (finally) and I wanna wear this soon!  It’ll be my first [complete] knitted sweater!

we are knitters abruzzo sweater front

The color is more accurate in the first photo.  Sometimes in closeups my iPad decides to severely change the temperature of photos, so much so that it’s hard to correct the photos afterward.  Can’t wait to show you the rest when I’m done!

As I also mentioned in a previous post, I started a new job in August.  I work at a psychiatric hospital now as a “human services coordinator” (basically a counselor who also makes sure that the treatment team is functioning properly and doing its job).  I really like it so far, even though it can get a bit intense!

There have been some more life changes as well.  A family member passed away since I last wrote, and I might be moving across town within the next few months (we’ll see).  My car became quite unreliable so I have a new (to me) one, which is great, and my puppy is now a significantly larger dog who doesn’t like to hold still for pictures:

I’ve been doing quite a bit of drawing lately, too, which is something I used to do all the time.  In kindergarten I used to say I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, but I never pursued it in school.

This is a character from an anime TV series.  I wish I could claim credit for the whole thing but I did use a picture on the Internet as a reference.

And if you made it all the way to this point in the post, you get a heads up to something neat coming up soon: a giveaway!  I won’t say too much now but stay tuned, it’ll be in about a week (probably my next post)!

we are knitters abruzzo sweater kit – begin!

Hey everyone!  It’s been a while — so much has been going on!  A family member recently passed away, I got a new job that I start at the beginning of August, my car is in the shop and might be unfixable, my mom and I went on vacation, and all of this plus some other big life stuff has got me really busy (not to mention overwhelmed, minus the vacation)!

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit slow with the crafting, but I did want to do a little update post on what I’m primarily working on now.  I have occasionally picked up my king-size chevron crochet blanket but I’ve been really excited about a knitting kit that the nice people at We Are Knitters were so kind as to send me for review: the Abruzzo Sweater kit!  Here’s some of my progress:

Abruzzo Sweater Kit Progress

First off, let me say how grateful I am to them for letting me try out the Abruzzo Sweater kit because I really do love all of their yarn I’ve tried (and I’m not just saying that, I even used it for my free knitting pattern earlier this year, the Olympia Cowl), and I’d been wanting to try a pattern/kit for a while.  So thank you so much to We Are Knitters!

The photo above is the back side of the sweater.  It’s knit with the cotton yarn from WAK & their size 8 (5 mm) needles.  I’m making the size medium using the colors Salmon & Terracotta and I love both the yarn and how the colors are coming together!

Abruzzo Sweater Kit Progress

There will be much more detail in the in-depth review that I will post about the kit once the sweater is complete, and I’ll continue to post progress here and on my Instagram (@notyouraveragecrochet).  If you’ve made this kit or any other kits from We Are Knitters (or even if you’ve just tried their yarn), let me know what you think in the comments!

progress: chevron blanket

It’s been hard to do much crafting lately.  I’ve been really busy with other important life stuff.  Some progress has been made on the king size chevron blanket though:

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I know it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

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Don’t know why I’m in such a crafting slump.  I just don’t feel like doing anything.  I’ll think ‘oh, it would be nice to work on that blanket or that shawl,’ but then I just… don’t.

Bleh.  Do you get in really long phases like this too?

a slow start

2017 was all set to be productive and had gotten on a decent roll until I fractured a metacarpal in my right hand on Jan. 31.  They said 6-8 weeks was the healing time, and that’s over, and my hand feels normal.  Just a little pain if I hit it the wrong way on something hard (on accident, of course).  Of course that meant I had to take a break from pretty much everything for a little while, and I didn’t knit or crochet at all for over 2 months (with the exception of trying 1 time before I went to the doctor and found out the hand was fractured).

It’s been hard to get back going.  Ravelry hasn’t enthralled me as much or taken up nearly as much of my time, the projects sitting around haven’t been calling me to get to work.  I’ve bought yarn only once.

Finally the other day though a #widn tag on Instagram prompted me to drag myself out of my lethargy and actually DO something crafty.  I got to work more on my second Arlequin Shawl:

These Knit Pro Zing needles are awesome af for wool or stickier yarns (silk I’m sure would just slide right off).  I really want to get the new circular interchangeable set and the double point sets.  And I’m loving this pastel rainbow yarn from Devon Suns Yarns.  So gorgeous.

There’s crochet stuff to work on too, like my king size vintage pink chevron blanket, but I haven’t picked that back up yet.  Now that I know I’ll need to buy even more yarn and that it will take longer than I figured it has me a bit reluctant.

But at least I’ve got something started, and I wanna pick it up again tonight.  I’ll probably do a life update soon because, you know, life happens.

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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