Category Archives: Community

Book Review: Indispensable Stitch

To everyone who is a first time visitor for National Crochet Month – welcome! I am happy you joined in the on the fun!

As many of my regular readers know, I have a HUGE library of fiber arts books. I am lucky enough to occasionally get some from publishers to review and then I get to give them away! Today, I get to bring you my review of Melissa Leapman’s Indispensable Stitch Collection.

I absolutely love stitch collections and this book doesn’t disappoint. This book is full of great stitch patterns complete with step-by-step directions and charts. The photos are nice and clear so you can see each part of the stitch.

The short introduction provides suggestions on how to use the book and read the patterns. There is also a nice added section about designing from scratch and shaping pieces, which will be a huge help when using these stitches to making a special garment. The stitch patterns in the book are broken down by category: solids, shells and fans, openwork and lace, textures, and edgings. The end of the book has a help section with how to complete stitch.

There are several patterns I liked in this book. As slow as working in single crochet is, I love the look of the alternating front and back loop single crochet and the Soft Moss Pattern. The Rose Trellis pattern is especially lovely and delicate. And I always love textured patterns and use a basket weave pattern often. Some day I plan to tackle crochet cables!

Overall, this is a great book. Of course, as my readers know, I have one pet peeve – it is perfect bound. Especially when you are trying to follow a specific stitch pattern, I always feel that a spiral bound book is important. But other than that, you will not be disappointed with the patterns in this book.

And now as usual, you can win this book! Again, the rules are simple:
1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick a winner!

I’ll pick a winner on Sunday, March 19th. Make sure to check back on my Facebook page to see if you are the lucky winner! Good luck!

And again, to those of you who have visited my blog for the first time, I say thank you. I hope you visit often!

2017 National Crochet Month Blog Tour

2017 National Crochet MonthOK, I know. I haven’t been doing a very good job blogging regularly. I’ll spare you the excuses and get right to it. If you are a fiber fanatic, especially when it comes to crochet, March is a VERY exciting month!

March is National Crochet Month. And of course Amy and Donna at Crochetville have done another awesome job putting together an exciting event full of blog posts, giveaways, and more. Check out the official National Crochet Month Facebook Group for all the latest information. Find out about the latest info from crochet designers, local yarn shops, and indie dyers and spinners, and find out about new patterns, sales, coupons, giveaways, and free patterns and tutorials! It is always a great event!

My post for National Crochet Month will be on March 16th. I’m lucky enough to share the day with two heavy hitters – Vashti Braha and Marty Miller. I love reading the posts each day throughout the month. I always learn something.

I hope you will check it out! I promise you will not be disappointed. You may even win one of the great daily giveaways!

All Aboard The Crochet Express

March is National Crochet Express and there are some awesome events planned!

National Crochet Month 2016Thanks to the great efforts of Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka, Co-Owners
Crochetville, there are some great events planned. Want to check the special events that will take place every day? Check out the complete list on Crochetville.

My post day is March 20th and I’ll be doing a special giveaway. I hope you join in on the fun!

Neuroscience Proves What We’ve Known All Along

I came across a study recently released by “knitting therapist” (really? who knew that even existed!) Betsan Corkhill that says there is a direct relationship between the frequency of knitting and respondents’ perceived mood and feelings. Frequent knitters (those who knitted more than 3 times a week) were calmer, happier, less sad, less anxious, and more confident.

Now, even though the study is based on the information from 3,545 knitters, the results can easily be applied to any type of textile craft. The study concluded, “Knitting has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to well-being and quality of life.”

The study also found that people who knitted as part of a group were even happier than solo knitters. We used to have a stitch ‘n bitch at a company where I worked and we loved it!

According to her study, “the skills and feelings experienced whilst knitting and stitching can also be used to facilitate the learning of techniques, such as meditation, relaxation and pacing which are commonly taught on pain management courses, or in the treatment of depression.” Even Albert Einstein was known to have knitted between projects to “calm his mind and clear his thinking.”

So next time you get grief about buying too much yarn, just pick up your WIP and go to your happy place!

Upcoming Fiber Arts Exhibit: Coal – Not in Any Backyard

The following is a press release from a wonderfully gifted fiber artist Bonnie Meltzer. The exhibit will be at the Buckley Center Gallery, University of Portland and will run from January 13th until February 6th. A reception will be held Saturday, January 18th from 2:00 – 4:00 with a short gallery talk at 3:00. I hope you check it out!

Coal mined from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming would travel on barges and trains through our beloved Northwest (including the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area) and on to Asia by mega-ships. At the time of this writing, three out of the six coal terminals are still waiting for permits to be approved or denied.  Three of the original six proposals have withdrawn but the three left would have a destructive daily impact. Dozens of trains will stop traffic and spew toxins.  Meltzer not only makes art about the issue but testifies at hearings, organized an informational rally, and writes a Facebook page about coal.

Born in New Jersey, Meltzer came west to get her MFA in Design at the University of Washington — and she never left. She has exhibited throughout the Northwest and across the nation.  Her work is in many private and public collections including the the National Science Foundation, the City of Portland, the Community Music Center and the University of Washington School of Business. The sculpture, “Global Warming”, which will be shown at this University of Portland exhibition, is on the cover of the new book The Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakley Kinsler.

When Meltzer saw Thom Caccamo’s ceramic fish skeleton series and Kelly Neidig’s traffic and cloud paintings she invited them to exhibit with her. Their artworks fit right into the coal and environment theme.

Make Sure to Visit Your LYS

In the last month I received word that two local yarn shops in my area decided to close. While they were for very different reasons, it was still very sad to me. Both shops were run by wonderful ladies and they had great shops. They would not just sell yarn, but run classes and help their customers. Oftentimes when anyone would head in either shop, you would see customers happily sitting working on their projects.

I certainly wish them well in their future, but it is a good reminder to all of us to support our local yarn shops. They provide a level of personalized care that will far surpass anything you may receive at the big box stores. They offer a wide variety of yarn brands – also by other small business owners – you will not find elsewhere.

So the next time you need (or let’s face it – to WANT) to make a yarn purchase, seek out your local yarn shop first. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Crochet for Oklahoma

Dee’s cousin’s house before the tornado and after.

This week were all watched in stunned amazement at the destruction from the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I simply can’t imagine what it was like to live through that nightmare or lose a family member or friend. We all want to do our part to help get them back to normal living.

One person who has a direct connection to that devastation is crochet designer and fiber artist Dee Stanziano. Her cousin’s house was destroyed in Oklahoma so she is doing her part to help her cousin by giving her all the money she makes from her pattern sales this weekend. Dee has some beautiful patterns available and is an incredibly gifted designer. If you have been thinking about picking up a new few patterns, I encourage you to check out her designs and make a few purchases so your crochet can help one family in Oklahoma get back on their feet! Please consider spreading the word to other crocheters in your circle. Thanks all very much!

Peters Valley School of Crafts Annual Open House & Historic Bevans Day Celebration

If you are in the northern New Jersey area today and looking for something to do and enjoy this beautiful weather, there is a wonderful event going on I highly recommend you attend. The Peters Valley School of Crafts is hosting Annual Open House & Historic Bevans Day Celebration. This is a great event that I have attended several times in the past.

There are tours of all the different studios, which include blacksmithing, ceramics, fiber, fine metals, photography, weaving, and woodworking. At each studio visitors will be treated to an artist demonstration of that media! Additionally, there will be artist demonstrations scattered throughout
campus and professional artists selling their wearables, jewelry,
ceramics, sculpture, and more!

The Peters Valley Store & Exhibition Gallery features fine craft from over 300 artisans.

There are hands-on activities for the kids include making paper and weaving on a loom. For the adults, there will be an exhibition of roughly 12 different artists selling their work.

You can learn more about historic Bevans from the Walpack Historical Society. Bevans was the town formerly on the grounds where Peters Valley is now located and many of the builds of Peters Valley are original to Bevans.

The event runs from noon to 5:00 p.m. today. For more information, check out the Peters Valley website. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Best of the Web – March 2013

So in the spirit of sites like Facebook and Pinterest, I thought I would start my own “best of” list for all things fiber art.

Lily Chin’s Latest Release is The Crocheter’s Toolbox. This is definitely on my “want” list. Lily Chin’s books are always great, so I certainly look forward to picking this up!

We all love Malabrigo yarn. Well, I came across this awesome looking scarf  using their Merino Worsted yarn. I think it is just great! I keep looking at it to see if there is a way to make this into a crochet pattern.

You may not know this, but I love owls. I came across this little owl magnet on Etsy. The colors are just great and it just looks perfect to me!

The last link and photo I want to share for March’s “best of” is of a yarn bombing by the Ladies Fancywork Society. Now for those of you who are new to the concept, yarn bombing is an artsy form of graffiti using crocheted and knitted pieces as opposed to using paint. In recent years, yarn bombing has really taken off. This project -The Flower Garden Fence – is a fence in the Downtown Denver Union Station neighborhood. Just awesome!

I hope you liked this first list. Do you have a link you would like me to include? Email it to me at:
andrea@alvbfiberart.com.
I would love to hear from you!

National Crochet Month Blog Tour – My Turn

As I mentioned in a post in February, Crochetville’s Amy Shelton organized a great blog tour. Each day one (and in some cases two) crochet artists, designers, and enthusiasts do a post specifically to celebrate crochet. I decided to share a free pattern with all of you – a kitchen scrubbie.

Crochet Kitchen Scrubbie

crochet kitchen scrubbieAnyone who does dishes by hand knows that a little texture to go along with elbow grease goes a long way! Well, this kitchen scrubbie will certainly help get your dishes clean.

Yarn: Lily Sugar & Cream
Hook: Size “H” hook (5.00mm)

Foundation: Ch 10, join with sl st to form a ring.
Round 1: *Ch 5, sc in ring,* rep from * to * 35 times total.
Round 2: *Sc in next ch 5 loop, ch 3 (counts as first dc), 7 dc in same ch 5 loop (for a total of 8 dc), rep from * to * around all ch 5 loops, join with sl st to base of original ch 3.
Finishing: Ch 12, sl st at base to form a ring as a hanger, weave in ends.

Abbreviations:
ch: chain
sl st: slip stitch
rep: repeat
sc: single crochet
dc: double crochet

I know many people who also use these as shower puffs. The best part is that you can just throw them in the washing machine to bring them back to life.

I hope you enjoy this pattern as well as reading all the other posts! Tomorrow is Joy Prescott and Donna Childs. I hope you will also consider signing up to receive my newsletter that is sent out once or twice a month. Finally, if you love crochet as much as those of us participating in the blog tour do, please consider joining the Crochet Guild of America. It is a wonderful organization!