Gift Ideas for a Crocheter

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love! Not all links are affiliates.

 

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and you may be in search of the perfect gift. Here are some unique gift ideas for a crocheter.

5 Gift Ideas for a Crocheter

 

Gift Ideas for a Crocheter

 

Furls Crochet Hook Pendant (1) – This was given to me as a gift from a designer friend and it is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. I absolutely love everything about it. The quality is amazing and I can actually use it if I forget my hook at home!

Granny Square coffee mug (2) – This coffee mug has a granny square hand drawn on it. It has both of my favorite things. Coffee and crochet. A great combo! There are tons of other great coffee mug designs that have crochet themes.

Yarn Ball Cup by Haldecraft (3) – Perfect gift for the yarn lover. (FYI – it is more of a tea cup size, not coffee mug.) I am currently using mine to hold my stitch markers, tape measures, scissors, and other small notions I don’t want to lose.

Yarn Bowl – There are so many crafters out there selling handmade yarn bowls. It’s just a matter of finding one you love. You can get something like this Ceramic Pottery Yarn Bowl (4) or you can go more basic like this plastic yarn valet (5). You can also search etsy or other handmade marketplaces for different styles. There are TONS out there.

There are many other unique options out there. Choosing one that your crochet lover will enjoy shouldn’t be too hard. What other kinds of unique crochet gifts have your given (or received)?


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Designer Review & Interview featuring Teresa Jimenez

For April, my featured designer is Teresa Jimenez from Harvester Products. As soon as I saw one of her newly released patterns I knew I needed a reason to bump it up on my “to-do” list of things I wanted to make.

 

Designer Review & Interview featuring Teresa Jimenez from Harvester Products

 

Designer Review & Interview
featuring Teresa Jimenez of Harvester Products

 

Throughout 2016 I am doing designer interviews and reviews. Each month I will feature one fellow designer, ask them some questions, and then I will actually make something from one of their patterns and do a review of it.

Read to the bottom of the interview to see my review of one of Teresa’s patterns, and get a discount code to use in her pattern shop.

Interview

 

K (Me): How did you get started designing?

Teresa: I was following so many amazing crochet pages on Facebook. I could follow any pattern, but really had the desire to make my own patterns. Then I just dove in!

K: Do you remember the first pattern you ever designed?

Teresa: I know the first one I ever published was the Starla Hat. I had designed some prior to that, but I don’t remember the actual first one ever. It’s funny, because I am so the “mark the memory” type of person. I wish now that I could remember. LOL

K: Where do you get your design inspiration from?

Teresa: Hmm. This is hard. I think at times it’s from seeing other crochet designs. My brain starts thinking of similar things.  Sometimes it’s a print on a fabric I see at a store, or a color scheme. But mostly, designs just kinda pop into my head randomly. But not when I want them to. When I really have the urge to crochet something new, that is usually when I have zero inspiration at all.

K: What is most important to you when choosing yarn for a design? Look? Feel? Weight?

Teresa: Coming from years of designing character hats, I always went straight to Red Heart Super Saver. It was perfect for holding shape. But now, as I am branching out with more fashion hats, look and feel is important to me. I tend also, to like heavier weights.

K: How long between when you first have an idea to the finished pattern being released?

Teresa: Well, I’d love to say that I just whip it out. But being the master perfectionist and procrastinator that I am has its downfalls. It can be anywhere from a week to months. If I hit a roadblock, it will sit there for a good long while sometimes. I actually have a gorgeous cowl/shawlette hanging on my dress form right now. It’s been there for about 2 months.

K: What makes your designs unique?

Teresa: Off the cuff, I think the way I name them is unique. I am super picky about what I name my designs. Many of them are named after characters or movies that I love.

I also set out to try to make them unique in design. I want them to stand out. I try to make them different from anything else out there. Not an easy task. I design a lot of my hats from the bottom-up. I try to combine stitches as in my Arkenstone hat or the Frost Awakens hat. Or I’ll make a different shape, like in my Grumpy Nova hat, or the Snow Queen Cowl.

K: Do you ever look at a pattern and wish you had been the one to design that?

Teresa: Oh, I do this so often!  There are so many beautifully textured designs that I get totally jealous of! Why didn’t I think of that? LOL

K: Any advice to crocheters that want to keep their work fresh and exciting?

Teresa: I’d say to keep informed of what is trending with fashion, but also look for new angles. You never know when one of your designs may become a new trend! Also, a trip to the yarn store is always inspiring! Seeing different colors and textures always gives me new ideas. My Arkenstone hat actually was inspired by a sweatshirt I bought for my daughter in the girl’s section at Target.

K: Where do you see crocheting going as an artform?

Teresa: The creativity of the art has matured so much since I first started 30 years ago. I think we will always see people added to the crochet community – learning and creating, and it’s popularity will continue to grow steadily. It’s very exciting, almost as inexhaustible as music!

 

QUICK QUESTIONS

 

K: Favorite part of designing?

Teresa: Seeing the product take shape.

K: Least favorite part of the designing?

Teresa: Typing the pattern.

K: Favorite yarn?

Teresa: Red Heart with Love

K: Do you have a crochet “hero” or someone you look up to in the industry?

Teresa: I’ll name a few: Playin’ Hooky, Elk Studio, Crochet by Jennifer.

 

Review

 

Designer Review & Interview featuring Teresa Jiminez from Harvester Products - This is my version of her Outlaw Queen Cowl. Read my pattern review.My version of the Outlaw Queen Cowl by Harvester Products

 

As soon as I saw her Outlaw Queen Cowl pattern I knew I needed a reason to make it. Maybe it’s the country girl in me, but I love almost anything with fringe. I was drawn to the color combo, stitches, and fringe combination.

For my review, I used Hobby Lobby “I Love This Yarn!” in Olive & Ivory. I love Teresa’s brown & cream combo, but I’m trying to use up skeins from my stash, so I switched the brown to olive green. TIP: If you’re going to substitute the yarn called for, check the yardage on the yarn label and make sure you will have enough. Read these 2 articles I’ve written for more info and help.

5 Tips for Substituting Yarn – overall help for choosing a different yarn

Tips for Substituting Yarn – info based on yarn label

This pattern works up quick and is easy to follow. Teresa uses a special technique to overlap the “v” effect (the openwork stitches), but don’t let it scare you. Once you do the first few it’s super easy to follow. My absolute favorite feature of the scarf is the design concept. It’s designed like a poncho, but it doesn’t hang down in the back, only the front (almost like a bib), so there’s no bulk for you to try to stuff under your jacket, etc. Genius!

Overall…. I love how it came out! Whether you’re looking for a quick gift, or something to make for yourself, this is a fun and easy pattern to try.

My next pattern purchase from Teresa’s shop will be the Pirate’s Cove Cowl…. more fringe!

 

Pirate's Cove cowl by Harvester Products

 

Teresa is is offering my readers 40% off your purchase of $3.95 or more in her pattern shop. The discount will run from April 27 – May 7th. Head over to her Ravelry shop and enter code SAVE40 at checkout to receive the discounted pricing.

For more information, visit her at the links below:

Ravelry

Facebook

Teresa has a unique style that you’ll want to check out. I’m sure you will find something in her pattern shop that you love!

If you have any questions you’d like me to ask in upcoming interviews, leave a comment and let me know. Make sure you come back next month when I interview Kristin Ohmdahl!

Other designers in this series:

Jocelyn Sass

Shelby Allaho

Janet Brani

Susan Lowman

April Garwood

 

Happy Crocheting!

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3 Simple Steps to Writing Your Own Pattern

 

Have you ever crocheted something and wished you knew how to write a pattern for it? Or do you have dreams of being an aspiring designer? Writing your own pattern doesn’t have to be scary. Here are 3 simple steps to help you get started.

 

3 Simple Steps to Writing Your Own Crochet Pattern

 

3 Simple Steps to
Writing Your Own Pattern

 

We all know there are well written patterns, and then there are patterns that have mistakes, aren’t clear, or are just poorly written. Some of those mistakes can be avoided with a little bit of knowledge and care when you write.

I’ve come up with a 3 step checklist to help you get started. Here they are, in all their simplicity. They seem so obvious, and yet somehow, sometimes, they’re overlooked.

Plan – Plan it out. Think about all the information you will need to provide to the crocheter. Yarn weight/brand, hook size(s), gauge, sizing, difficulty level, etc. Have you used any special stitches that will need instructions written out? Never assume anything. Better to include too much information, than to have some missing.

Do – Make the item and write the pattern. Make sure your written pattern will match your sample. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to purchase a pattern and have the stitch in the written pattern different from the stitch in the sample photos. (Yes, this has happened to me.) Also, you will want to write the pattern so that a beginner could read it. (They may not necessarily have the skill set to do it yet, but they will at least have the confidence to try if it is written well.)

Review – Have someone test your pattern. Sometimes, if it’s a more difficult pattern, I will even have more than one person test it. You may even want to consider having a tech editor look at the pattern for you. (If you’ve never heard of a technical editor, here is some info.) The reason you need others to review, test, and edit it for you is that no matter how well your pattern is written, you know what it is supposed to say, so you can’t be a good judge of how others will read it. An outsider will be able to pick up on things you may miss.

Mistakes do happen – after all we’re human – but there are some things that can be prevented with a little bit of time and care. Take your time to do it right because rushing only results in errors.

Have you ever written your own pattern? Do you plan to in the near future?

P.S. I have a free download sheet for taking notes on patterns you’re writing (or reading). All you need to do is sign up for my newsletter and the pdf will be delivered to your inbox.

Happy Crocheting!

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My Top 5 Yarns Dream List Roundup

Do you every build dream lists? Things you’d love to buy someday. I have one many of those kinds of lists. One of them is a dream board of yarns I would someday love to design patterns with. I decided to pick my top 5 yarns and make it into a Friday Five roundup to share with all my yarn loving friends.

 

My Top 5 Craftsy Yarns Dream List Roundup - Wish list for yarns I would love to design with this year.

 

My Top 5 Yarns
Craftsy Dream List

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love!

 

It was hard to narrow it down to just 5….so hard! I love yarn and my “someday” list is long. So I added some guidelines to make it easier to pick just 5. I picked 5 companies I have never purchased any yarn from before. then I picked 1 skein/hank from each of those companies. My goal is to design something with each of these yarns this year.


Cascade Ultra Pima
 (1) – I am starting to work with cotton again, and this just sounds like exactly what I’ve always wanted in my cotton yarn.

Rowan Truesilk (2) – It has sheen, and it’s silk. Sounds & looks amazing!

Cloudborn Highland Worsted Semi Solids (3) – Semi solids….just the thought makes me smile. Just a hint of color change to peak my interest.

Artyarns Exclusive Milano Fade (4) – All I can think of when I see this is, I wish I had found this before I designed my Gray Skies Gradient Shawl…

Madelinetosh Tosh DK (5) – I’ve done tech editing for quiet a few patterns that have used this yarn, and every time I get my hands on a project that has used it all I can think is….Someday I’m going to try this yarn!

 

Do you have a dream board or wish list of yarn? What kind of yarn would you love to purchase and try?

Be on the lookout for more Craftsy favorites because I have online classes and kits to share in the coming weeks.

 

Happy Crocheting!

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One Skein Baby Projects Book Review

One Skein Baby Projects by Sharon Silverman - book review & giveawayOne Skein Baby Projects

 

Publisher: Leisure Arts

Author: Sharon Silverman

Number of Pages: 32 pages

Number of Projects: 9 individual patterns; some with variations (the blocks have different versions)

Types of Projects: Toys & accessories (bibs, booties, hat, & more)

Difficulty: Easy, Easy+, Intermediate – I’m going to assume Easy+ is an easy rating with an addition that may not be “easy” for everyone, but it’s not enough to include it in the intermediate category.

  • Easy – Projects using basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping.
  • Intermediate – Projects with a variety of stitches, such as basic cables and lace, simple intarsia, double-pointed needles and knitting in the round needle techniques, mid-level shaping and finishing.

Yarn Used: #3 & #4

First Impression: Quick projects that would be great for baby showers or last minute gift making.

My Favorite Project Pick: Pretzel Rattle – babies love color, so I had to go with this as a favorite.

 

One Skein Baby Projects by Sharon Silverman - book review & giveawayPretzel Rattle

 

Review: The very first thing that stood out to me was that the patterns with sizes are color coded. I love this! I eliminates the need for trying to figure out which stitch count goes with which size. Just remember what color you’re crocheting. Perfect!

The projects are condensed well and written in the easiest form possible. If you like to know exactly which yarns are used for projects (and not just what weight yarn is used) there is a Yarn Information section in the back of the book. Leisure Arts has included general information (gauge, terms, abbreviations), as well as basic stitch visuals you may need.

Bonus: There are over 2 dozen links in the ebook that will take you to online video tutorials. I believe this is an invaluable tool for those who are visual learners. 

 

One Skein Baby Projects by Sharon Silverman - book review & giveawaySnow Bear Lovey

 

If you’re looking for quick (and mostly easy) patterns this would be a great addition to your crochet book library.

Leisure Arts has offered to give away a copy of the book to one of my readers. To enter please head over to Leisure Arts and then come back and leave a comment telling me which project is your favorite. Giveaway closes at midnight on 4/14/16. Winner will be announced 4/15/16.

 

Happy Crocheting!

 *Disclaimer* – This book was provided to me for a review, but all opinions are strictly my own.
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Grace in Goal Setting – March 2016

Have you ever looked at your calendar for the upcoming month and thought… “Yikes. It’s going to be a busy month!” That’s what I thought as I looked at my March calendar last month and saw publisher deadlines, designer deadlines/commitments, and interviews I had made for National Crochet Month, not to mention extra personal commitments like 2 dance competitions and out-of-state family here for Easter. As I wrote out my to-do list I wondered how I was going to get it all done.

How to adjust your creative business when things don't go according to plan

When looking at my list, at first glance, there was nothing that could get put off until April. I work well under pressure, but I felt this was more extreme than my normal crazy, so it still stressed me out! Here was my reality….

  • I had 2 tech editing deadlines with publishers.
  • I had 2 designs due.
  • Crochet orders due.
  • 3 written interviews for National Crochet Month. (Two have been published so far and you can read them here. Crochetville NatCroMo blog tour & CGOA Member Spotlight)
  • I agreed to help admin round 9 of Battle of the Stitches.
  • My girls had 2 weekends of dance competition.
  • I had my brother and sister coming in from out of state.

And this was all on top of my already crazy schedule! (which involves homeschooling, dance studio 5 days a week, and my regular workload). The first decision I made was to take the week my brothers and sister were here off from school. We hadn’t all been together in 12+ years, so that was my priority. I wanted to spend as much time with family as possible. We are way ahead of schedule in school (we started in July after my ACL surgery last summer) so even with a week off we’re on track to be done end of May. One less commitment that week….phew! Unfortunately that was about the only thing I felt could get taken off my list.

As the month progressed, there were days where I felt like I was drowning in work. At some point, more than half-way into the month, I realized something. I wasn’t going to get it all done. Not only was I not going to get through my “extra” workload list, but I hadn’t made my March goal setting list a priority either. I could get upset and feel like a failure, or I could learn to allow myself some grace.

 

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

 

So, I decided to let go of what I couldn’t do, deadlines I couldn’t meet, and just enjoy my family time and be happy I didn’t crash all together from the crazy schedule. When I was doing my monthly goal planning and review I had to keep in mind how far I’ve come in just a couple months, because I wanted to get discouraged by what I haven’t done yet.

 

Grace in Goal Setting

 

 

How to adjust when things don't go according to plan


* This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Please note: I will never become an affiliate partner for a product or service that I don’t use and love!

I made myself a promise when I wrote the post 5 Things I Will NOT Do in 2016. The very last thing on that list was “I will not give up on my goals for 1 full year”. To clarify that comment and take it a step further, I’ve never had any intention of “giving up” on my goals altogether. I just seem to go through fazes where, if I get overwhelmed, I burn out and take a month (or more) off from everything. That’s the part I won’t do this year!

One of the key things I have done this year to keep myself motivated is to stay plugged in to learning. Personal development is key! Here are 3 things I am doing this year to stay motivated.

    1. Personal Development – Every day I try to read 10-15 minutes from a book that is considered a self-help book. Some are based no personal growth and some are business based. One book this year has stood out to me the most. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) gave me some eye opening insight into how to get more done in my day. It laid out a daily game plan for my morning and if I stick to it I get tons accomplished each day.
    2. Stay Connected – Support is so important when you have a creative business! I found the perfect community (for me and my business needs) when I found Marketing Creativity. Lisa’s blog posts just resonate with me like I’m sitting in a room with her and she’s speaking directly to me. So I joined The Luminaries Club (which is her private membership club with coaching, support, and classes). I believe so strongly in the support I get from there that I made a decision to cancel all other coaching emails and subscriptions I have! When you find what works for you, stop looking.
    3. Make a Plan – I use a daily/weekly planner (like the Erin Condren Life Planner) to keep track of all my personal, business, and blog commitments and deadlines. I also use the Your Best Year 2016 planner by Marketing Creativity. It is the only life/creative business planner I will use. I use it to evaluate and plan my year, as well as keeping me on track with my dreams and goals.

 

Through allowing myself some grace for March I realized a few things. Because March is National Crochet Month, I need to make a note of that for next year so that I can plan better and not over commit.

 

Goal Setting

I was committed to making monthly goals and then tracking my progress here….accountability works! Here are my results for March and my new goals for April.

MARCH GOALS:

  1. Create my opt-in freebie
    This is done! It felt so good to cross this off considering it’s been on my to-do list for months!
  2. Create 2 new patterns to publish
    Only 1 – Oakley Fringe Cowl
  3. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns
    Only 1 – Rainforest Poncho
  4. Publish 10 new blog posts in March
    Only published 8.
  5. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth
    – While I didn’t see the growth in my numbers the way I had hoped, I did spend consistent time on social media. The 3x a day for a few minutes each seemed to work better for me and my schedule/lifestyle.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,168 to 1,285 (10% goal) – 1195
    Facebook – 6,595 – 6,727 (2% goal) – 6620
    Pinterest – 2,128 to 4,256 (100% goal – going for broke!) – 3528
    Twitter – 550 – 605 (10% goal) – 563
    Instagram – 88 – 176 (100% goal) – 120
  6. Continue to work through Your Best Year 2016 planner + Luminaries Club
    I’m not crossing this off because I did very little this month. It just got bumped down on my priority list because of everything else going on. It won’t happen again!
  7. Finish unpacking my school/work room.
  8. Track income and expenses.

 

APRIL GOALS:

  1. Create editorial calendar for 2016 – allowing for some wiggle room.
  2. Create 2 new patterns to publish.
  3. Finish and publish 2 unfinished patterns.
  4. Publish 10 blog posts.
  5. Spend 10-15 min/3x day on social media growth.
    Growth Goals:
    Blog Newsletter – 1,195 to 1,250
    Facebook – 6,620 – 6,700
    Pinterest – 3,528 to 5k
    Twitter – 563 – 600
    Instagram – 120 – 150
  6. Continue to work through Your Best Year 2016 planner + Luminaries Club course.
  7. Track income and expenses.
  8. Outline course details.

What worked – I was all set to postpone #1 off to April. On March 30th I decided I had been putting it off for about 6 months and I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to do it again. So I sat down for a couple hours and designed a pdf. It’s primary function is for taking notes while writing a new pattern, but would equally as well for jotting down notes from a pattern you’re reading. You can now receive my “Pattern Notes” pdf when you sign up for my newsletter.
Pattern Notes

 

What didn’t work – I will definitely make a note for next year to make sure I don’t over commit to March.  National Crochet Month is something that can be managed with a bit better planning.

My #1 priority for April is to make an editorial calendar for the rest of the year – one that works for me and has some flexibility. Despite the crazy March I’m feeling like I’m seeing growth and progress overall. Are you still making progress with your goals for the year? It’s not too late to jump back on track and keep moving forward.

Happy Crocheting!

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How to Add Fringe to Your Crochet Project

Do you ever just want to add a finishing touch to your crochet project? Fringe goes on just about anything. Scarves & cowls, purses & bags, skirts, and so much more. Below I will show you how to add fringe to any crochet project in 4 simple steps.

How to Add Fringe to Your Crochet Project in 5 Simple Steps

 

How to Add Fringe
in 5 Easy Steps

 

Step 1: Cut your fringe to slightly more than double the fringe length you need. For my Oakley Fringe Cowl the finished fringe length was 5″. I cut each piece to 12″.

Step 2: Hold group of fringe pieces together and fold in half.

 

How to Add Fringe to Your Crochet Project in 5 Simple Steps

 

Step 3: Using a crochet hook, pull loop at top of fringe through spot in project where you would like your fringe placed.

 

How to Add Fringe to Your Crochet Project - Step 3

 

Step 4: Pull group fringe ends through loop.

 

How to Add Fringe to Your Crochet Project - Step 4

 

Step 5: Gently tighten and secure without pulling fringe away from project – which could create an unintended space/hole.

 

How to Add Fringe to Your Crochet Project - Step 5

 

Repeat Steps 1 – 5 until fringe is placed as closely or spaced out as you need it to be.

It’s as simple as that! You can add it to anything to give your project a different look or style. What kinds of things do you add fringe to?

Happy Crocheting!

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