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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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“Every Which Way Crochet Borders” book review, bonus pattern, & giveaway!

everywhichwaycrochet

Hello everyone!  I was lucky enough to be chosen by Storey Publishing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to participate in a blog tour and review a copy of Edie Eckman’s new book (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).  It’s called “Every Which Way Crochet Borders” and there will be a free border pattern and book giveaway below, so keep reading to learn about this really cool book!  Although the book was provided and the giveaway sponsored by Storey Publishing the opinions below are all my own.  Also, follow the rest of the blog tour for more chances to win the book by clicking here:

crochet-blog-tour-button-vf

review

OK so, there’s really a lot packed into this 218 page book, and it’s not just the 139 cool crochet borders.  Let’s dive in to some of the details!

One thing I often find lacking in patterns of crochet borders is that you’re left to figure out how to turn corners on your own, which can be incredibly frustrating and can frankly just turn me off to using the pattern at all.  Thankfully Edie Eckman has included great detail in her patterns,

each engineered to flow smoothly around the 90-degree corners that you’ll find on blankets, sweaters, washcloths, and other items.

Each beautiful pattern includes both written and charted instructions as well as any necessary additional information on stitches or other notes, and each pattern is tagged with categories for easy searching (categories include: reversible, wide, medium, narrow, undulating, straight, motifs, open/lacy, layered, fringy, and textured).

Before even getting to the patterns, however, there’s a very helpful section of the book called “Design Concepts” which really put this book a notch above other border books and patterns for me.  It gives a very helpful structured approach to choosing borders for your project based on some crochet principles, such as “Form Follows Function,” weighing borders that compliment vs. contrast with your item, recognizing the potential for the huge differences colors can make, understanding scale, and how to choose the right type of yarn for your projects.  Edie even includes advice and details on how to add borders to other types of fabric, which I found very useful.  And while her border patterns are written out with specific detail, Edie encourages customizing the borders in her book (such as widening borders or combining them), and she tells you how to do it with math that is really very straightforward and takes a lot of guesswork and frustration out of making the perfect border for your pattern.  It is so nice not to have to figure this out yourself!  If you’ve ever had to do this on your own you know that the struggle is real.  Wrapping up the “Design Concepts” section are some helpful tips on troubleshooting, starting and ending rounds smoothly, and even how to fudge stitch counts if necessary!

Man, I wish I’d had this when designing the As-We-Go Stripey Blanket!  The border would have been even cuter!  🙂

The borders themselves are cute and varied — there’s something sure to please everyone and go with just about any project.  Experiment and have fun making your own personalized crochet borders!

free border pattern just for you!

As I mentioned before, check out the other blogs on the blog tour to find not only more ways to win a copy of the book but also more free bonus patterns from the book itself!  For my readers I choose to share border #99 straight from the book itself so you can see how each pattern page is laid out!

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99

The Stitches & Notes section is very helpful for those who haven’t tried the Solomon’s Knot stitch before.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Notes

As mentioned above, each pattern is tagged with specific categories.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Tags

The photo and written pattern are clear and concise.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Written Pattern

And the charted pattern is easy to read, with repeated sections highlighted.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders #99 Chart

Excerpted from Every Which Way Crochet Borders © 2017 by Edith L. Eckman. Photography by John Polak. Chart by Karen Manthey.  Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

giveaway

And now for the giveaway part!  This particular giveaway is open only to US residents (but any of the other giveaways I hold are open worldwide).  A lucky winner will receive their own free copy of Edie Eckman’s “Every Which Way Crochet Borders,” and all you have to do is comment below with your name and the State you live in (one entry per person please)!  Winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator on Saturday, Feb. 25.  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!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

books books books!

Guess what I got today in the mail?

IMG_5752

Just published on March 15th, this book has the cutest home decor items:

pie seat cushion

pie seat cushion

birthday cake toilet paper roll cover

birthday cake toilet paper roll cover

donut ottoman/pouf

donut ottoman/pouf

Aren’t they adorable?!?!  Now of course I’m still keeping my New Year’s Resolution not to buy yarn (which makes me want to clap for myself), but I can plan larger projects for the future and maybe do some of the smaller ones with what I have laying around in my stash.  We’ll have to see!

Also, I got this book in the mail yesterday:

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I’m really excited about this, too — already the forward and introduction are speaking to me, so I can’t wait to get to chapter 1!  This was recommended to me by my therapist and I think it’s going to be very useful.

Well, that’s all for today, just wanted to share those with you!  Thanks for stopping by!

what’s on the bookshelf? crochet edition

I haven’t gone through my crafty books lately so I decided to look through and share with you at the same time!  Here’s my modest collection of knitting & crochet books:

Hannah's Crafty Books

Today I’m just doing the crochet books.  I’ll get to the knitting ones another time!  First up:

Creepy Cute Crochet

Creepy Cute Crochet is super awesome.  My ex got it for me but I still love it.  I’ve made many of the items, including the vampire princess, the Dia de los Muertos couple, the corporate zombie, and more (and I ad-libbed a Bobba Fett for Chris a long time ago).  They’re fun, quick, and adorable!

Creepy Cute Crochet Nosferatu

 

Creepy Cute Crochet Ninja

 

These pamphlet like little booklets were from my grandma:

pamphlets

 

The next one was from the mother of my ex:

The Great Afghan Book

 

The Great Afghan Book is pretty old fashioned, but I loved the cover image — that’s the only blanket I’ve made out of this in the years that I’ve had it.  Here is a sample of some of the other blanket patterns inside:

The Great Afghan Book blankets

 

Next is Super Stitches Crochet, which I’m scared to use to make my own patterns and write up for you all because I don’t want to break some sort of copyright rule (can anyone enlighten me on this?  It seems very vague to me…):

Super Stitches Crochet

 

And here are a couple of examples of what you can find inside:

Super Stitches Crochet example

 

Super Stitches Crochet edgings

 

The next one, The Cool Girl’s Guide to Crochet, is the book I taught myself with years ago.  In fact, the hat pictured was my first crochet project (only mine was all wonky)!

The Cool Girl's Guide to Crochet

 

The Cool Girl's Guide to Crochet hat

 

The Cool Girl's Guide to Crochet mitts

The next one has a long name so I just call it 201 Crochet Blocks in my head.  It has an alphabet, flowers, blocks, other shapes, and full projects as well, and I’ve used it quite a few times over the years:

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects, and Ideas

 

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects, and Ideas example

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects, and Ideas example

 

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects, and Ideas example

 

Next is Amigurumi! which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t used once.  Chris got it for me years ago but I just don’t really have anyone to make little amigurumi toys for!  My friend that’s having a baby might like some but I’m sure she’ll get so many toys from well wishers that she’ll be wanting to get rid of some, not acquire more, hehe.

Amigurumi!

 

Amigurumi! deer

They have animals, people, food, and more cute things!

Amigurumi! Strawberry

The last one I want to share today is called Crocheted Socks! and I’ve only made one pair from it — I didn’t like them because they were harsh on my feet.  I thought maybe knitted socks wouldn’t be so uncomfortable…

Crocheted Socks!

These first socks pictured represent the pattern I tried and disliked, but perhaps if I’d used softer yarn… I dunno…

Crocheted Socks! example

 

Crocheted Socks! example

 

Well, that’s all for now.  I’ll do a post on my knitting books, and maybe another post on the books that have both knitting and crocheted items inside.  See you soon, thanks for stopping by!  Hope you enjoyed this list!

 

 

 

book review: “Easter Knits” by Arne & Carlos

arne & carlos easter knits book review

This book has been on my shelf for a while, and the eggs aren’t newly made, either.  There’s a post about them from over a year ago, but I wanted to revisit this book in the spirit of Easter!

Inside, there are patterns for a variety of eggs, balls, and bunny plushies, all of which are adorable, and none of them look TOO difficult to make.  The patterns are clear and include easy-to-follow charts.  Once you get the basic structure of the eggs and balls down, you could even invent your own colorwork patterns if you’re feeling adventurous!

Working on DPNs can be a pain and some people avoid them at all costs, but these were easier than other things I’ve used DPNs for, somehow.  The eggs worked up relatively quickly, considering the ungainly nature of DPNs.  I suppose you could use the magic loop method if you wanted to use circulars instead.

Easter Knits by Arne & Carlos book review

I used DK weight acrylic yarn, but I’m sure you could adapt the patterns to make bigger or smaller eggs if you so desire.  An easter egg/ball cushion would be really cool!

Do a Google search for “Arne & Carlos” and you’ll come up with a few places to purchase this book (as well as their other books, which are also great!), so the price may be different depending on what country you’re in, but it’s not gonna break the bank.  I recommend it!

Thanks for stopping by!  I have some crochet stuff coming up, I promise!  The yarn for a couple of projects is in the mail headed to me right now!

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