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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blue Ribbon Crochet

Crochet World just published a special issue:

 . . . that can be purchased at your local bookstore, newsstand or on-line at:
Inside there are two projects that I created :
Loopy Flower Ring
Paisley Trivet
Both of these projects work up quickly. The ring is made with a thin wire and several tiny seed beads.  Very basic crochet skills are used to achieve a pretty result.  The hot pad is made with a double-strand of Lion Brand's Kitchen cotton.  This makes for a very thick project that will decorate and protect your table.
Do you enter crocheted projects into your local fair?  My daughters and I just began entering our projects in our local fair and it has been a wonderful experience. All of the volunteers are very helpful and encouraging.  Plus, it is so much fun to attend the fair and see your projects on display with blue, red or white ribbons attached.  This past year we took home almost eighty dollars in prize-winnings and even won a Best of Show award for our school project. (see photos below)
Connemara Beauty

Olaf Sculpture by Catherine -
Her own design and pattern

Cotton Candy Vest by Catherine
Elsa Necklace by my 9 year old

Our Secret Garden - Best of Show - School Projects
Our homeschool science project after studying plants
This is mainly made out of recycled materials-
Look closely and you can see some crocheted elements

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Scallops and Stripes Jumper

Here is another design that can be found in the current Spring 2015 issue of Crochet! magazine. (www.crochetmagazine.com)

I love a scalloped edging and thought it would be pretty to add it along each color-change.  I used a yarn I had never crocheted with before - Berocco Weekend in Lilac, Cornsilk and Daisy.  It is a beautifully soft cotton yarn that is perfect for spring and summer projects. 
I think this would make a great Easter dress for any little girl.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Formal Jewelry by Karen McKenna


Today I would like to share about Karen McKenna's new book, Formal Jewelry, published by Leisure Arts. (www.leisurearts.com)

I had the pleasure of meeting Karen this past summer in Manchester, NH for the annual CGOA conference.  She is easy to talk to and so kind that you feel like you have already known her for years.  It was fun to discover that our designs were in many of the same publications and I'm glad we've kept in touch since then. 

First of all, the book is beautiful! All of the photographs (by Jason Masters and Ken West) are wonderful and perfectly highlight all of Karen's jewelry projects (which range from necklaces to barefoot sandals).  They capture the 'dreamy' quality that weddings and formal events evoke as we prepare for and experience them.

At the beginning of every project's instructions it is written to first check the Basic Technique's section at the end of the book.  This Basic Technique section is full of excellent graphics explaining all the crochet and jewelry making skills you need to complete every project.  I especially like the step-by-step photos of how to use a 'bead stop' when stringing beads and how to use an eye-pin and end cone when finishing your piece.  Knowing the proper finishing techniques makes a big difference in how good (and professional) your project will look in the end - It is great that Karen's book takes the time to explain these steps with such clear diagrams.  Another bonus  - different sizes are written with varying colors.

And if you learn better by having someone show you how to do the various crochet and jewelry techniques, then you must check out the on-line videos on Leisure Art's website.  The videos (which take you through every step of each project) are of the highest quality and very helpful.

The only thing I would have liked to see included in this book is a list of jewelry tools needed for all projects put together - perhaps in the technique section - and some photos of the thread used (in skein form).  Although, the lists of supplies and information for each project are very clear and thorough on every page.

I wanted to try a project since I love metallic thread and beads.  So, I picked the Floating Pearl Necklace found on page 20 (It's also the necklace pictured on the cover).  I used some light pink metallic thread and 6mm pink pearls that I had on hand.  I was able to complete the necklace in less than 30 minutes and I love the results! The pearls go great with the metallic thread!

I would most definitely recommend this book to any crocheter - especially one who was planning a wedding or looking to go to a fun night out in a fancy dress.  I could see a wedding party getting together to make these in the wedding colors.  Karen's simply elegant jewelry designs would be the perfect accessory.