Category Archives: Instruction

My 2015 Fiber Resolution List

At the beginning of each year, many promise to lose weight, get in shape, save more money, or other typical resolutions. Well, I make a fiber-related resolution list. Here’s mine for 2015.

Socks: I made a pair of socks awhile ago and it went, well – okay. I would like to give it another try.
Spin: I haven’t had much time to spin the last few years and I really miss it. I definitely want to give my Rose more use.
Fibery Goodness: At the end of last year, I started a class called The Journey of the Golden Fleece. It is all about spinning and challenging your creativity. I wasn’t 100% happy with my work for the first module. I am half-way through the second module and am giving it much more attention. I feel like I am making good progress. I want to continue my momentum and get the most I can out of the class!
Knitting: I am primarily a crocheter. I do other fiber crafts, but I have always struggled with knitting. I would really like to improve my knitting skills so that I can confidently do at least basic projects.
Felting: Along with doing more knitting, I would like to do more felting – both needle and wet.
Weaving: I bought a loom awhile ago and the first attempt at weaving is still on it. I want to rip it all out and start all over again.
Learn to sketch: This may sound like a funny one. What does sketching have to do with the fiber arts? Well, if you design patterns, it has a lot to do with it. When submitting patterns ideas, many publishers, yarn companies, and the like, prefer to have a sketch of the pattern idea. While I have always want to improve my artistic skills, I have never been able to do so. This year I really want to make that a focus.
Continue to learn: What might be most important is that I want to continue to learn and broaden my horizons. I love all the different fiber arts and look forward to learning as much as I can!

So that’s my list! It may sound like an aggressive list, but I am hopeful I can accomplish it!

What are your fiber resolutions? Share them here or on my Facebook page.

Magazine Review: DIY Holiday 2014

DIY holiday
DIY Holiday 2014: The Crafting Life Interweave/F+W; $9.99

This time I don’t have a book review, but a magazine review. When I first saw the announcement for DIY Holiday 2014, I just knew it was going to be great!

There’s a wide variety of different projects for every level crafter. Whether you like crochet, spinning, mixed media, or jewelry, there’s something there for you. The best part is that all the projects keep budget in mind.

I absolutely love the crochet lights garland and the Christmas trees. Another nice surprise was the directions to make a CD spindle for yarn spinning. When I talk to individuals about getting started in spinning, I recommend making a spindle using CDs and a dowel. It avoids the need to make a purchase when you aren’t sure you if you will like it. The directions in this issue are straightforward to follow and get started spinning!

Holiday Flower Lights
Holiday Flower Lights

A while back I picked up a Zoom Loom. I haven’t had much of a chance to use it up to this point. DIY Holiday includes a project idea for it so I really have no excuse!

I’ve always wanted to give jewelry making a try and the Olympic coin necklace looks like a lot of fun.

The directions for all the different projects are easy to follow and nicely presented in the magazine. There are nice close-up shots of the different projects so you can see necessary details. I highly recommend it.

Best of all, F&W sent me three copies to give away to my readers! As an added bonus, I never heard back from one of the Christmas Crochet book giveaway winners, so I have four items to give away this week!

As usual, the rules to enter are simple:

1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick FOUR winners!

I’ll pull the winners on Friday, November 28th. Good luck!

Book Review: Fair Isle Style

Since most of the country has been in a deep freeze lately, I figured the next book review should be about making patterns that help keep you warm!


This book review is about Fair Isle Style: 20 Fresh Designs for a Classic Technique. This book is full of lovely sweaters, gloves, fingerless gloves, mittens, and socks, to name a few. The collection of twenty patterns assembled by Mary Jane Mucklestone is truly inspiration.

The concept of “Fair Isle” knitting has been produced continuously for more than two hundred years, originating in Fair Isle, a tiny island in the northernmost archipelago of the British Isles.

While I do not knit well enough to attempt any of these patterns, I can certainly appreciate what it takes to knit these wonderful creations. Many patterns come with both written instructions as well as detailed charts. The book starts with a lovely introduction to Fair Isle along with the history of the style. The photography is great and the pieces are just lovely. As I flipped through the book, I especially liked the Mushroom Kelliemuffs – I am a huge fan of fingerless mittens. And I absolutely LOVE the Valenzi Cardigan. I can definitely see myself wrapped up in it!

There is a “design notebook” at the back of the book that includes how to make good yarn choices and how to knit in the Fair Isle tradition. It also includes a little bit about color theory, which I always love to read about and learn more! Just like most books, it includes a glossary of terms and instructions of different stitches required to complete the different patterns.

Like I said, I am far from an expert knitter. But this is a great book I am sure any knitter would love to have it in their library!

And as usual, this book can be yours!

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 Friday, February 7th. Good luck!

My 2014 Fiber Plans

So as the calendar turns, we all look to make resolutions and plans for the upcoming year. Many have the usual plans – get in shape, lose weight, and spend more time with family to name a few. Well, I make a fiber resolution list as well. Here are my plans…

First, I really want to spend more time learning to weave. I started taking a great class on Craftsy, but as usual, other issues got in the way. I hope to spend time learning and improving my weaving skills. If you haven’t checked out Craftsy, it is definitely worth it. And they have plenty of free classes! I would also love to pick up a Zoom Loom and give that a try!

Next, I want to make another pair of socks. I made a pair awhile ago and I am not going to lie, it was tough. But I am determined to give it another try. There are so many great patterns out there, I am truly inspired!

A year or so ago I did an interpretation of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained glass windows. I would like to do more interpretations of other works of art. I think that will require some visits to some of the great museums in NYC. I know – it will be a tough assignment, but I will take it on.

I want to create more patterns. I have been sketching out some great ideas, but need to put hook to yarn and get them going and sent to publishers for consideration. I plan also to self publish a few! Along similar lines, I really want to write more articles. I felt very lucky to have a few pieces published in the magazine Inside Crochet in 2013. I am hoping for continued success in 2014.

Following along with artistic crochet, I would love to try to do some artistic felting. There is a great book I have been drooling over The Art of Felt: Inspirational Designs, Textures, and Surfaces
for awhile and I would love to give the techniques in the book a try.

I would like to give knitting another try. Years ago (and I mean years) I made a hat and scarf and that was it. I would like to see if I can get a little better at it. Another skill I would like to work on improving is hairpin lace. Jennifer Hansen of Stitch Diva Studios offers great instruction both on her site and Craftsy.

Finally, I want to work on my spinning skills. Just like my weaving, my spinning fell to the wayside in 2013. I really want to get started again. The classes offered by both Craftsy and the Journey to the Golden Fleece can certainly provide some great inspiration!

Well, that’s it. It is an ambitious list, but I hope to achieve all of it. What about you? I would love to hear about your fiber resolutions for 2014!

My Fiber Christmas List

So Christmas is right around the corner and I just realized I haven’t sent Santa my fibery Christmas list! So here we go…

Let’s start out with something I have always wanted to try – Pure Qiviut Yarn. This type of yarn is the ultimate in decadence. It is incredibly soft and depending on the brand, it is available in some absolutely wonderful colors. It also has a hefty price tag. I definitely want to try it out at some point, but it would have to be for a VERY special (and small) project.

Once I have that wonderful yarn, I would need an equally special crochet hook to make my project. So the next item on my list is the Celtic Swan Forge crochet hook. Each hook is a hand-made work of art. John Swan Sheeran works in both silver and gold. I know people that have John’s hooks and they are just wonderful!

This year I started (slowly) to weave using a Cricket Loom. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to use it. There is, however, a new weaving tool I would love to give a try and it is from the maker of my lovely spinning wheel. Majacraft is now making a circular loom and it looks like a lot of fun! And along with that Majacraft loom, I would need to register for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate. The course helps to help boost your creativity and get started with a circular loom. (By the way, stay tuned for an upcoming post about the program!)

I would love to do more needle and wet felting and I really like the idea of doing landscapes in felt.  The book Art in Felt & Stitch: Creating Beautiful Works of Art Using Fleece, Fibres and Threads is a great way to learn about how to get started in felting landscapes.
Continuing along the lines of spinning, I would LOVE to have a pocket wheel someday. I met the designer at the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival a few years ago and it is definitely  on my “want” list!

Finally, I would love to get a Moosie spindle from Journey Wheel. These one-of-a-kind spindles are made from moose antler. They are so popular, there is actually a waiting list to purchase one. I played with one once and it was a dream!

So there’s my list Santa! I am sure as soon as I post this I’ll think “oh wait! I forgot…” I would love to hear what’s on your list!

Book Review: Cozy Knits

As the temperature continues to drop, knitters and crocheters usually begin projects to help stay warm. Hats, scarves, wraps, mittens – they are all great for this time of year! Well, this is the focus of the new Interweave book, Cozy Knits: 50 Fast & Easy Projects from Top Designers.


I don’t know if I would call every project in this book “easy,” but they are Cozy Knitscertainly lovely! More complicated patterns have stitch charts in addition to written instructions, which I am sure knitters will appreciate. The yarn selections are just scrumptious and the photography is the high quality you expect from Interweave.

Designers include Mary Beth Temple, Debbie O’Neill, and Tanis Gray, to name a few. I especially love the Textured Slouch-Hat by Fania Goberstein and the delicate look of the Lace Panel Shrug by Elena Malo. I am a huge mitten fan and the collection in the book is just great! I love the Fair Isle Headband, but not sure if I would use the pouch on the earflap, but I’m sure others would. I’m also not crazy about the I-cord at the top of the Beanie pattern, but I really like the beanie itself.

It has a very helpful glossary at the end of the book that includes a stitch guide, abbreviation list, and “helpful hints.” I always appreciate that little bit of information and read through it in just about every book I have. I always pick up some interesting little tidbit!

This is another high-quality book from Interweave that I am sure knitters will love!

And now, for the usual fun part, 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 the lucky winner on December 4th. Good luck!

Black Friday and Small Biz Saturday for Fiber Enthusiasts

Christmas treeSo we all know that the day after Thanksgiving is “Black Friday.” It usually includes people fighting the crowds at some ungodly hour to come home with things like electronics, toys, and appliances.

Well, here is a Black Friday list for the rest of us. The fiber fanatic!

Craftsy: Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off from 11/27-12/2!

Banana Moon Studio: Enjoy 15% off all patterns on Ravelry from 11/29-12/2.

Too Cute Crochet: Take 25% off all crochet patterns on her Etsy site from midnight ET 11/29/13 through 11pm ET 12/2/13.

The Woolery: Specials from 11/29-12/4 at The Woolery include discounts on jewelry kits, fiber, totes, and more!

Interweave:
Enjoy 50% off savings on a bunch of different items, including patterns, DVDs, magazines – just about everything on the site!

Annie’s:
Use code EYKBRR and get 20% off your entire order. Expires 11/29.

My Etsy Site!
And of course I have to include MY Black Friday coupon code. Use BLACKFRIDAY and get free shipping on anything on my Etsy site until 12/1. No minimum!Small Business Saturday

And on Saturday, make sure to “shop small” and check out your local yarn shops and support them with your business. In 2012, Americans spent $5.5 billion on Small Business Saturday. By shopping local, more of your dollars stay in your community, which helps keep your town vibrant!

As I hear about more sales during this busy Hannakuh and Christmas seasons, I will certainly post them!

Book Review: Lace One-Skein Wonders


There are times we want to make a quick project. Whether it is for a last minute gift or to experiment with a new skein of yarn you just had to buy, one-skein projects are just great. That is the thought behind Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace.

This is the sixth book in the “One-Skein” series and offers patterns for every ability. I absolutely  love the Luxe Mobius Scarf by Sarah-Hope Parmeter. It is  nice and long so it can get wrapped around multiple times. I also really like the whimsy of the Wavelet Hair Tie by Jenise Reid. It looks nice and light with a hint of free form randomness. Any unique hair accessory definitely gets my attention!

Storey has really published some great knitting and crochet books in recent years and I always look forward to their new publishing cycle. And Judith Durant is a well respected editor and artist.

As what is arguably the busiest gift-making time of year quickly approaches, Lace One-Skein Wonders will certainly help you get lovely projects done in plenty of time!

And now, for the usual fun part, 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 the lucky winner on November 13th. Good luck!

Book Review: Knits at Home

My favorite projects to make are accessories and items for the home. I have a few blankets made by my Grandmother and I truly cherish them. The new book Knits at Home: Rustic Designs for the Modern Nest is full of patterns that will give you the opportunity to create your own heirloom items.

Knits at Home
The photography in this book is absolutely top notch. They are nice and close up so you can really see the stitches and how the pattern comes together. There are patterns for every ability level that will flatter any home.

Before each pattern, there is some interesting information related to a feature of the pattern, such as “creating texture” before the ribbed fruit bowl cover. Each section provides great information!

I think my favorite pattern in the book is the patchwork pillow cover. It has a free-form feel to it and there is nothing better than a comfy pillow when hanging out on the couch. I also really like the seascape wall hanging. To top it all off, they talk about another favorite subject of mine – vintage buttons!

This is a great book from Interweave by Ruth Bridgeman. You will certainly not be disappointed!

And now, fo0r the usual fun part, 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 the lucky winner on November 6th. Good luck!

Book Review: Knits of Tomorrow


I think this week’s book is my favorite so far! When I went to ComicCon in New York last week, this book was on my mind all day. If you have anyone in your life that regularly has their geek on, this is the book for you!

The book, might you ask? Knits of Tomorrow: Toys and Accessories for your Retro-Future Needs
is all about the “future that never was” to quote Interweave. As I flipped through the patterns in the book, it really reminded me of the Walt Disney World Tomorrowland of my youth. The People Mover was my favorite ride, by the way.

The book begins with a fun little introduction and provides all the necessary “basics” for the projects in the book, as well as guidance for general knitting. The end of the book also includes a conversion chart. There are also lots of great tips along the way. The type is large and easy to read. As usual, it does have my one pet peeve – a standard perfect-bound spine. I really feel that if more publishers would use a spiral-bound spine for their books, it would make a world of difference for all crafters!

I think my two favorite patterns in the book are the Atomic Laptop Cover and the Men’s Radio Mast Socks. Instead of using simple “easy” or “difficult” descriptions for ability level, points are used – just like in classic video games! Most patterns are in the 40-60 points, which I would consider appropriate for an intermediate knitter. There are, however, some easier as well as more difficult patterns in the book, so I would say if you are looking to step up your skills progressively with some really fun patterns, this book is definitely for you!

So as usual, here comes the fun part, 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 the lucky winner on October 24th. Good luck!