Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Visit From Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden. Probable murderess. Definitely a celebrated and infamous character. This paper doll by the wonderful and creative Rhonda's Originals designs is a festive addition to any Halloween party. For sure a conversation piece. When I saw the design on her site, I knew I had to have it! My paper doll collection is growing. Yes, I like to play. Especially with homicidal paper dolls. Note the ax. Just sayin! It is perfect for this time of year. 

The coolest thing about these dolls is that you take part in their construction. It is paper art, people. Fun, and inspiring, the dolls that you find at Rhonda's Originals are just that. Original. The digital file is sent to you, complete with all the how to's and if you have a problem, you have support through her site. Very cool. There is every kind of witchy and spooky wonder you could ever want. If Christmas is your thing, she has that too...

So check it out and let her know you saw Lizzie hanging out at She Knits When She Should Be Writing...Got to keep track of those ax wielding homicidal chicks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Knit Red for Heart Health

Gorgeous knitwear--that does good, too! The knitting community has always come together to support a great cause, and Knit Red once again attests to knitters' generous, giving spirit. These 30 beautiful red-themed projects help raise awareness of the number-one killer of women today: heart disease. The patterns are all donated by top designers, including Debbie Stoller, Nicky Epstein, Debbie Bliss, Norah Gaughan, Deborah Newton, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Iris Schreier, Jared Flood, and Ysolda Teague. In addition, the book offers important medical information, a Heart Healthy Resources and Action Plan, and powerful stories from survivors of this deadly ailment.


This collection of projects is a treasure trove. A knitter's paradise! From the first second I set my eyes on the cover, I knew it was going to be good. The inside fulfilled my expectations. There are sweaters, scarves, a spa kit, cowls, capes and a shopping bag that had me drooling. (Even the fear of multiple needle knitting still will not daunt me from trying this project!)

The instructions are clear, with photos that show each project to the fullest. Some of the top designers in the world have gathered together on this quest for heart health. I for one am buying it and adding it to my collection. Check out the recipes and health tips from each designer. Having a glimpse into their healthy habits was inspirational.


Noni Flowers by Nora Bellows

Designer Nora J. Bellows’s extraordinary Noni® bag and flower patterns have earned her acclaim and endeared her to a loyal following of knitters all over the world. Now, in her first book, she offers lifelike knitted flowers that rival the beauty of true botanicals. This is a collection of luscious designs and essential techniques that knitters will turn to again and again. Inside, you’ll find:

   • 40 exceptional knitted and felted flowers, from Angel’s Tears Ddaffodils to ylang ylang

   • 6 beautiful yet practical garment, accessory, and home projects perfect for floral embellishment

   • Clear instructions for knitting, felting, wiring, and finishing your work.


When I saw this book on the bookstore shelves, I knew it had to be mine. No writing to a publisher in hopes they would send one. Oh no. This one was coming home with me. I am a nut for flowers. It is a known fact. This book has such a beautiful take on knitted flowers that it literally took my breath away. 

Overall rating:


If you are a knitter, no matter what level, you need this book for your library. Yes, some of the multiple needle (eeeekkk) techniques gave me a hot flash just thinking about how I was going to learn that, but the good thing about small projects like this is that you learn things you never thought you would. So, this book is now happily sitting on my library shelf and my fingers are itching for an afternoon off to give these flowers a try.

The pictures are great, the instructions clear and other than my own  neurotic fear of tiny needles ( I am indeed working to overcome this!) the projects are a good size to begin something challenging and new.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New In My Crochet Library: Crochet Inspiration by Sasha Kagan

Celebrated designer and renowned colorist Sasha Kagan has created a distinctive crochet reference that showcases her unique sensibility. Containing more than 200 swatch designs in her signature style, this is a must-have manual for beginning and experienced stitchers alike. Special chapters on fabric, motifs, grannies, and flowers highlight a myriad of patterns, including beautiful lace, shell, and cluster stitch variations, and gorgeous circular and hexagonal designs. Each chapter also includes stunning garments, such as a classic Chanel cropped jacket in woven mesh, a lacy shawl with leaf embellishments, and a 1920's cloche cap covered in crocheted blossoms. Every one has a special individuality that transcends "here today, gone tomorrow" trends, so crocheters will enjoy these for a long time."A Main Selection of the Crafter's Choice Book Club."


This beautiful book is on my craft table and I adore it. Filled with new and interesting ways to piece together granny squares and lovely flower designs, this book is a must for anyone who crochets. One of the delicate floral patterns hooked me right away and I knew I had to put this wonderful book in my library.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Interweave Knitting Lab Announces Scholarships!

Interweave Books Magazine Events Communities TV Video Patterns and Projects

Interweave Knitting Lab Announces Scholarships for Free Tuition to 2012 Events on East and West Coasts

Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2012

Loveland, Colo. Feb. 2, 2012: Interweave Knitting Lab, a national knitting event taking place in San Mateo, Calif. November 1-4 and Manchester, N.H. October 4-7 announced today that it is now taking applications for two scholarships—one for each 2012 Knitting Lab retreat—to be awarded to passionate knitters who are eager to take their knowledge to new heights. Knitters who are 18 years or older and who have demonstrated that they are actively developing their knitting skills and sharing that knowledge with the larger community are eligible to apply.

The application is available online at:

The Interweave Knitting Lab Scholarship is designed to bring knitters to Knitting Lab who have much to offer the community both at the event and beyond, and who would otherwise not be able to attend.

"Our hope is that the knitting community will benefit by the infusion of in-depth education and the acknowledgement of the importance of recognizing and compelling the exchange of ideas, skills and stories," explains Karin Strom, Editorial Director at Interweave Knits magazine. 

Interweave Knitting Lab offers knitters opportunities to learn from knitting legends and experts in small, intimate class settings. This premiere event was created especially for passionate knitters who want to take their knitting skills to new heights. The event presents immersive workshops and project-based classes, lectures, enticing panel discussions and other special evening sessions, plus three days of shopping opportunities at the Knitters’ Market.

The Knitting Lab scholarship program is modeled after the scholarship program for the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat, an Interweave event that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Two Knitting Lab scholarships will be awarded in all—one for each of the event’s 2012 locations. A distinguished committee of editors, publishers and knitters will review the applications and determine the scholarship recipients.

The Interweave Knitting Lab Scholarship covers the full fee for the Knitter's Weekend Package. This allows the recipient to sign up for as many workshops, lectures, demonstrations and evening events as the schedule allows throughout the four-day event. All other fees and expenses related to attendance at the event (hotel, transportation, meals, etc.) must be paid by the recipient.

Once awarded an Interweave Knitting Lab Scholarship, scholars are expected to participate fully in Interweave Knitting Lab, attending the sessions, connecting with the community and immersing in the educational experience. Scholars may be asked to be introduced to the other participants during an evening program at Interweave Knitting Lab. Following the event, scholars are expected to submit a report related to their experience at Interweave Knitting Lab, outlining how the scholarship helped them proceed toward their goals.

Applications and additional information are available online and the deadline to enter is March 15, 2012. All scholarship recipients will be notified by March 30, 2012.

Interweave Knitting Lab is put on by arts and craft media company Interweave, publisher of Interweave Knits and Knitscene magazines, as well as the online knitting community,
For more information and the latest updates, interested participants should sign up for the event e-newsletter online at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seamless Crochet Scarf

Well, after discovering my error in pattern reading, I was determined to make this scarf turn out cute after all. Using methods in Seamless Crochet, I finished it this morning.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Knitting Glass Guy Hooks and Circular Knitting Needles

Looking at these hooks the first time on Facebook, I think I may have drooled on myself. These glass (pyrex) crochet hooks are the creation of Knitting Glass Guy Chris and he has been working with and creating his wonderful glass crochet hooks and knitting needles since 1996. 

Right now, for the next few days, he is having a contest on Facebook to win 2 hooks or 2 needles. Here are some of his links if you want to pop over and say hello. (And start your list of all the hooks you must have.)

Find me on FaceBook as "Knittingglassguy Chris"
Find my artist page on Facebook as "KnittingGlassGuy"
Find me on Twitter as "KnitGlassGuy"
Find me on as "KnittingGlassGuy"
Feel free to contact me by phone, or email, anytime.
Chris 661-547-2555

You can also check out his galley and website at:

Make sure you enter the contest by February 5th! 

Seamless Crochet Blog Tour and Giveaway

When I first came across this book in the Interweave Crochet Accessories special edition for 2011, I was hooked. The Radiance Sparkling Skinny Scarf caught my eye and I was intrigued by the idea of a seamless scarf done in a pattern. Picking up hook and yarn, I played with it but realized something rather quickly. One must learn to better follow diagrams to avoid the urge to stab ones self in the eye with ones hook.

I had the first motif on the scarf looking awesome. The second one was gorgeous. Then I ended up in the middle of the two with nary a place to go. Rip. Rip. Ribbit. Read directions again. 

There is a happy ending. I got super good at triple crochet clusters and I have a scarf that is morphing into something that is going to look great once I adapt it to the non pattern solution I just came up with.

Happily, my copy of Seamless Crochet arrived and I was able to look in the back of the book and see very detailed instructions on how to read the diagrams, both by color code (which matters) and in how the diagram works in general and for the projects in the book. There is even a DVD to explain further. You can bet on my day off tomorrow, that is where I am going to be. Hook in hand in front of the television, learning more about this awe inspiring book.

What I liked:

The diagrams in the book are clear once you understand the method behind them. So are the written directions. Combine the two and you have a marvelous system that is truly unique. One of the things I hate about motif style work is the amount of ends you have to weave in. Oh the horror. Not with this book though. Kristin Omdahl has done a great job of crafting projects that have little to no pieces to join and Yay (insert happy dance) hardly any tails to hide. 

The other thing I liked was the basic layout of the projects. You have a pattern block so if you want to adapt the theme to a project other than the one listed, you can do it. (Or like me who is learning how to read diagrams and made a detour or two that will have some creative offshoots from the original piece.) The projects themselves are lovely and I am itching to sit down and work through them. I love lace and the open style to these patterns is very appealing.

What I didn't:

Not a thing. My own inexperience was a stumbling block, but I am stubborn and am learning. The diagrams, once I received the book for review, are clear and I began to understand some of what I had missed in the magazine article. 


This book uses geometric patterns to create a project base that will delight crocheters of all levels. There are 18 projects but infinite possibilities that will change the way you crochet and have you looking to change other patterns to reflect the methods taught here. The DVD included, in addition to the information at the back of the book is supremely helpful and will lead you to success.


About the author:

Kristin Omdahl designs knit and crochet garments and patterns under her label KRISTIN and website She appears in every episode of Knitting Daily TV on public television as the show's Crochet Corner expert, conducts seminars around the country and teaches knitting and crochet in her DVD workshops, including Innovative Crochet: Motifs. She is also the author of Wrapped in Crochet, Crochet So Fine and A Knitting Wrapsody. Kristin's work has appeared in many magazines and books. She enjoys knitting and crocheting in her orchid garden in sunny southwest Florida.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hairpin Lace Scarf Project

Every new project is a journey. After working on this particular one, I believe it even more. I had never tried hairpin lace before and was thrilled to pick up the loom and give it a whirl. 

My pattern came from the very amazing crochet book:

You can also find this wonderful pattern on the Stitch Diva website. 

I found some of my most basic information on how to start this project on YouTube. 

This video really broke everything down to the basics, so I could quickly do the hairpin lace portion.

Then I started on the edging instructions and just about freaked out. I was doing fine on row one. My hook was too big, but well, it was going great until ROW TWO. (insert corny doom music). Wow. After about ripped out much of my hair, I contacted some lovely folks on Ravelry and Facebook and went to knitting class, book and project in hand. 

My wonderful knitting class mentor Mary suggested I get a smaller hook and helped me to work through some of the instructions. My new Ravelry friends meanwhile had been dissecting the instructions from what they remembered about their own experiences with this project and were able to give me something for someone in my stage of learning. Boy, did I learn a lot on this project. Crochet directions without the chart are kind of like algebra. I bet you can't guess how good I was at that? (insert snorts of laughter here.) 

Anyhow...With the patience of my new friend Lisa, who literally transcribed the pattern line by line, I finished the scarf for my mother tonight. She is turning 70 at the end of this month and I wanted to show her my progress from knitting with baseball bats (as she calls them) to crocheting with a size E and not gauging out  my eyeballs with it. (mostly).

So, in conclusion. I have learned this today...

Crochet charts are good. Written instructions begin to resemble algebra problems to the inexperienced eye and do just about the same thing to my mental state.

Have chocolate nearby.

Ravelry is your friend. Bless you ladies! Mwah!!!

Hairpin lace is actually non-scary and totally easy. It's the edging that might get you.

Team efforts work. Yes, yes they do. Thank goodness for knitting class.

Victory is possible when it comes down to making it for your Mama.