Launching My Crochet for WEBS: The Designer in Residence Experience

Logo DiRWEBS, America’s Yarn Store. WEBS, my Yarn Store. They opened wide their doors and their hearts to me and I stumbled in. Kid in a candy store, only I emerge not with a face smeared with chocolate and pockets crammed with Jelly Babies, but with an entire catalog of WEBS Valley Yarns to feed my crochet design engine. I can only assume/hope that Kathy Elkins and Sara Delaney (WEBS owner and marketing coordinator, respectively) know what they’re doing, inviting me to serve as their crochet designer-in-residence for 2015. Although they are majorly supportive of crochet, appreciative of my work, and tell me anything goes, I fully understand that this means anything within reason.

Spoiled for yarn choice and reeling from the responsibility, I have no idea what this year’s six designs will bring, except for #1, obviously, because it is launching right now. New this season to the Valley Yarns Superwash family, Superwash Bulky lends itself perfectly to a super-exploded lace stole with a shawl collar.

Shawl Collar Stole back Shawl Collar Stole front

I forget who first described it as meltingly soft. Anyone who has wrapped this baby around the shoulders does not want to take it off. Truth be told, I enjoyed the lush softness of the piece while I was creating the sample; this from a crocheter who has allergies, among them wool. Thick yarn, big hook, zero finishing, quick work, nearly instant gratification. The pattern is available as a printed copy or digital download here. Sara has already blogged about the launch, the program and leaked my answers to a few designer questions on the WEBS blog here.

What comes next depends mostly on how the yarns speak to me. I will definitely be playing with two Valley yarns I have come to know and love: Goshen, my go-to non-wool worsted weight favorite, and Charlemont, a sock weight beauty.

Doris Chan DiR FebruaryIf you have any thoughts about how I should fill in those question marks, I’d enjoy hearing about them and might even pay attention. Visit the Valley Yarns pages at WEBS to peruse the materials I have at my disposal, and let me know if there’s something specific (within reason!) you’d like to see in crochet design by leaving a reply to this blog. And please follow here as my year-long Designer in Residence adventure unfolds.

Introducing DJC Lotus Wings: A Set of Crochet Pretties

Lotus P Wing

Lotus P Wing

May I tempt you with these three projects created for DesigningVashti Lotus yarn, gathered into one collection, DJC: Lotus Wings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One can’t quite call these little beauties shawls; each using just two balls of Lotus, they’re not designed for full coverage. Besides, in this stunning, drapey, luminous fiber they will not keep you warm as you might want from a full-sized shawl.

Think of these pieces as accessories, wardrobe accents, like generous scarves or really big jewelry. As such they have three excellent attributes:

— Quick to finish (actually requiring little to no literal finishing),
— Shaped to stay on the shoulders, and
— Make you feel special (in the most wonderful way).

Oh, there is another brilliant thing about Lotus Wings. They make exceptional gifts if you can bear to part with them.

Will you be adding a Wing or two to your crochet marathon this season? :-)

Crochet Design Competition: And the winners are….

CGOA 2014 Design Competition Winner List

With each year’s Design Competition, we are reminded of the crochet love and the depth of talent that abounds and abides in the membership of the Guild. The brilliant designs in this year’s field of entries made me gasp, laugh, cry (in a good way) and quite a few made me enormously envious… like, why couldn’t I have designed that envious. But most of all, working with these entries makes me feel proud to be a crocheter.

I’d like to introduce this year’s judges, who had the impossible task of choosing tonight’s winners:

Jenny King, Susan Lowman, Karen Manthey

Thanks to our magnificent sponsors, we have a gang of cash prizes. Please let them know we appreciate their generous support:

Gwen Blakley Kinsler

Boye, and the Crochet Dude

Cari Clement

Creative Yarn Source

Designing Vashti

Interweave

Mainly Crochet

Red Heart

Tulip Company

WEBS, America’s Yarn Store

Category: Fashion, sponsored by Interweave Crochet

Honorable Mention: “Seashell Dress”; designed by Linda Jefferies

Seashell Dress, designed by Linda Jefferies

Seashell Dress, designed by Linda Jefferies

Honorable Mention: “The Claudia Sweater”; designed by Susan Walsh

Claudia Sweater, designed by Susan Walsh

Claudia Sweater, designed by Susan Walsh

Third Prize $100: “Purple Majestic Vest”; designed by Maxine Pike

Purple Majestic Vest, designed by Maxine Pike

Purple Majestic Vest, designed by Maxine Pike

Second Prize $200: “Fantasy Skirt”; designed by Kathryn White

Fantasy Skirt, designed by Kathryn White

Fantasy Skirt, designed by Kathryn White

First Prize $300: “Peach Stack”; designed by Annette Hynes

Peach Stack, designed by Annette Hynes

Peach Stack, designed by Annette Hynes

 

Category: Accessories, sponsored by WEBS, Americas Yarn Store

Honorable Mention: “Reversible Rabbits”; designed by Hazel Furst

Reversible Rabbits Scarf, designed by Hazel Furst

Reversible Rabbits Scarf, designed by Hazel Furst

Honorable Mention: “Waterfall Collar Necklace”; designed by Jessie Rayot

Waterfall Collar, designed by Jessie Rayot

Waterfall Collar, designed by Jessie Rayot

Honorable Mention: “Riviera Shawlette”; designed by Kathryn White

Riviera Shawlette, designed by Kathryn White

Riviera Shawlette, designed by Kathryn White

Third Prize $100: “Pearls”; designed by Jean DeMouy

Pearls, designed by Jean DeMouy

Pearls, designed by Jean DeMouy

Second Prize $200: “Crimson Fiesta Shawl”; designed by Theresa Kehrer

Crimson Fiesta, designed by Theresa Kehrer

Crimson Fiesta, designed by Theresa Kehrer

First Prize $300: “Fall Leaves Wrap”; designed by Jessie Rayot

Fall Leaves Wrap, designed by Jessie Rayot

Fall Leaves Wrap, designed by Jessie Rayot

 

Category: Afghans and Home Decor, sponsored by Red Heart

Honorable Mention: “Summer Breeze”; designed by Rena Watson

Summer Breeze, designed by Rena Watson

Summer Breeze, designed by Rena Watson

Third Prize $100: “A Soldier’s Christmas”; designed by Deborah Bagley

A Soldier's Christmas, designed by Deborah Bagley

A Soldier’s Christmas, designed by Deborah Bagley

Second Prize $200: “Around the World and Back”; designed by Annette Hynes

Designed by Annette Hynes

Designed by Annette Hynes

First Prize $300: “Star Bright Cot Blanket”; designed by Joan Peate

Star Bright, designed by Joan Peate

Star Bright, designed by Joan Peate

 

Category: Thread Crochet, sponsored by Boye and the Crochet Dude

Third Prize $100: “Flutter”; designed by Rose Ramirez

Flutter, designed by Rose Ramirez

Flutter, designed by Rose Ramirez

Second Prize $200: “Pretty Pathways Doily”; designed by Joyce Geisler

Pretty Pathways, designed by Joyce Geisler

Pretty Pathways, designed by Joyce Geisler

First Prize $300: “Secret Garden”; designed by Kathryn White

Secret Garden, designed by Kathryn White

Secret Garden, designed by Kathryn White

Category: Artistic Expression, sponsored by Tulip Company, makers of exceptional tools including Etimo cushion grip crochet hooks

Third Prize $100: “The Deadly Dragon”; designed by Rachel Schuster

The Deadly Dragon, designed by Rachel Schuster

The Deadly Dragon, designed by Rachel Schuster

Second Prize $200: “Steampunk Amigurumi Soiree”; designed by Donna Childs

Steampunk Amigurumi Soiree, designed by Donna Childs

Steampunk Amigurumi Soiree, designed by Donna Childs

First Prize $300: “Backyard Visitors”; designed by Sachiko Adams

Backyard Visitors, designed by Sachiko Adams

Backyard Visitors, designed by Sachiko Adams

Special Award for Technical Merit, sponsored by Designing Vashti, the online crochet pattern boutique.

Technical Merit Award goes to Jennifer Ryan, designer of Celtic Coral Charm and Feileacan Shawl

Celtic Coral Charm, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Celtic Coral Charm, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Feileacan Shawl, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Feileacan Shawl, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Anniversary Award $100, sponsored by Gwen Blakley Kinsler

“Backyard Visitors”; Sachiko Adams

Peoples’ Choice Award $100, sponsored by Cari Clement

“Chrysler Art Deco Jewelry Set”; designed by Shari White

Chrysler Art Deco Set, designed by Shari White

Chrysler Art Deco Set, designed by Shari White

$1000 Grand Prize, sponsored by Creative Yarn Source and Mainly Crochet

“Nicky’s Caribbean Adventure”; designed by Dot Drake

Nicky's Caribbean Adventure, designed by Dot Drake

Nicky’s Caribbean Adventure, designed by Dot Drake

 

 

Crochet BOLOs

Can you tell I watch too many police procedurals on the tube?  Be on the lookout for this crochet stuff in the coming week: 1)  the unveiling of CGOA 2014 Design Competition winners, 2) a side-trip to a crochet happy place, and 3) a lucky do-over.

CGOA20thAnniversaryLogo

1) I’ve been involved with the CGOA Design Competition since 2009; for 2014, the year of the guild’s 20th anniversary, I am producing the event. This means that ALL of the entries are currently in my house, having been photographed, bagged, tagged and otherwise prepped for judging, and are now ready for transportation to the CGOA Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire.  This means I get to tetris all of it into my car (a big, fat car) at the crack of dawn tomorrow (22nd July) and drive a few hundred miles without being able to see out the back windshield. Oh, what we won’t do for love of our craft!

But mine is not actually the hardest part.  This year’s judges, Jenny King, Susan Lowman and Karen Manthey, have the most difficult task of choosing winners.  Wouldn’t want to be them.  Nope.  You see, I have been handling and processing entries for nearly a month and I have seen crochet designs that made me gasp, laugh, cry (in a good way), and made me seriously envious.  The why-can’t-I-design-like-that sort of envious.  Therefore I know all too well how impossible it’s going to be for the judges to decide.  No worries.  I’ll withhold food and drinks from them until they come up with the right answers. :-)

During the Awards Ceremony on Thursday evening, say around 6 pm eastern, while we are announcing the prizes on site, I’ll be posting the winners list here on this blog, along with images of all the designs. So, there’s your first BOLO.

logo_webs-main

2) On my way back from Manchester on Monday the 28th, I’m scheduling a little side-trip to visit my friends at WEBS, America’s Yarn Store.  My car will still be tetris-ed to the roof with Design Competition stuff, but if I work it just right there should be a bit of room for new yarn.  If you’re in the area, Northampton MA, look for me around midday.  But do not, I repeat, DO NOT drive or park your car anywhere near mine, as I still won’t be seeing out of my back windshield!  So be on the lookout for me…. REALLY!

July 30, 2014, 1:00 pm Eastern

July 30, 2014, 1:00 pm Eastern

3) It’s not often that we are offered a do-over. My Interweave live webinar, Chainless Foundations, was so popular the first time around that I’m presenting it live again, Wednesday, 30th July at 1:00 pm eastern. Preregister here.  I love a do-over.  It gives me the chance to do it… well… better.  Address all those little things that embarrass and annoy you about the way you talk.  The tiresome strings of run-on sentences.  Losing your train of thought and not being able to get back on the rails.  Umming too often. You know what I mean.  I can’t promise that this time will be any different.  My brain and my mouth are still the same.  But there’s always hope.  At least it gives you the opportunity to join in the live event in case you missed it. I will be on the lookout for you in the audience then!