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.

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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.

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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!

 

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Crochet Curmudgeon Revealed

It isn’t often that I am interviewed.  Since becoming a professional crochet designer I’ve been grilled by the best, asked the most penetrating and difficult questions, and have answered as honestly and sincerely as possible.  Most interviews focus on my craft and the crochet techniques I champion. Some are just great opportunities to brag on… I mean, promote… my books, current published designs and whatever I’m working on at the time.  All of them take the form of Q&A, where they send me a list of questions and I send back my answers, and for the most part my words are presented as written, perhaps edited for length.  Don’t blame them.  I do tend to ramble on.

But I worry.  I often worry that something I say could be taken out of context and misunderstood.  I really worry that instead of presenting myself as a competent, innovative but quirky crochet designer I come off sounding like a total geeky, odd-ball curmudgeon (which I am, but who needs to know that?). It’s the rare interview where the questions are put to me in such a way that both personalities are revealed, and published in such a way that I am not embarrassed to let people read it.

VY14_1 23.inddWEBS Summer 2014 Catalog

This brings me to the most recent Q&A I did for WEBS, America’s Yarn Store, for the feature in the Summer 2014 catalog, WEBS <3 Doris Chan.  I love them back, too!  My only tiny and in no way critical issue with the interview is the altered interpretation of that list in the right-hand sidebar.  In the original Q&A, I was asked to list My Five Favorite Things.  If the question had been what are my five must-haves (as published), I would have curbed my normal impulses and limited the list to crochet/craft related objects of desire. But no. Instead I allowed a couple of my geekiest and gooey-sticky-soft-centered answers to sneak onto the page.

Tardis T

So, although I love this interview and deeply appreciate WEBS, Kathy Elkins and Sara Delaney for allowing me the honor, you can understand my wanting to correct the impression that I am a total EEEDIOT.  Yes, baby animals are my favorite things.  I will fall apart playing with a litter of puppies or baby bunnies.  But are they MUST-HAVES?  I don’t actually have any baby animals here at the moment.  Besides, you get them, you feed them, they grow.  You no longer have baby animals, you have monster animals.  Just saying.

I have never been to the WEBS ginormous warehouse of a store in Northampton, Massachusetts.  It’s about time, don’tcha think?  So on my way back from the CGOA 2014 Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire I plan to make the short side trip and visit WEBS for the first time.  If you’re in the area and want to see my face light up with joy and yarn-overload, please come, Monday 28 July, late morning, if I get my butt in gear and leave the conference venue early enough.

Invitation to Design Crochet

CGOA20thAnniversaryLogoThe Crochet Guild of America continues to celebrate and reward excellence in crochet design, as we invite you to participate in the CGOA 2014 Design Competition.  Please download the official information package here and find out what our membership already knows: this is the only competition of its kind and is an amazing showcase for our craft.  This is my sixth year of involvement with the competition and I am so proud that each event brings more and greater prestige not just to crochet and to the competition itself, but also to the participants and the award-winning designers we honor.

Perhaps you saw the back page of the Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Crochet, and marveled at the little face staring out at you.

Crochet Bandit

Marcy Smith, editor of Interweave Crochet, President of CGOA Board of Directors and one of our competition judges last year, was so entranced with this entry, Summer Visitors, that she asked winning designer Sachiko Adams for permission to feature her work in a magazine piece. YAY, Sachiko!Summer Visitors

Of course there’s more at stake here than pride, crochet glory and a gang of prize ribbons. Thanks to generous grants from our magnificent sponsors we have thousands of dollars in cash awards, sweet indeed. Please join me in acknowledging and appreciating these supporters of crochet and CGOA, including to date:

Cari Clement

Crochetville

Interweave Crochet

Gwen Blakley-Kinsler

MainlyCrochet

Red Heart

WEBS, America’s Yarn Store

The competition is open to CGOA members; deadline for entries is July 1, 2014.  Judging and exhibition of entries will be held during the CGOA Conference, 23-27 July in Manchester, New Hampshire. If you’re up for the challenge, please visit the CGOA website at crochet.org to become a member and then get ready to show me your crochet!

DesigningVashti Lotus Crochet

I did promise to show you just what I’ve done to put our new yarn, DesigningVashti Lotus, to work in crochet design.

First I substituted Lotus for a few sportweight gauge pieces from my book Convertible Crochet; the vest Callisto, the shrug Phoebe, the collar Corsair.  Also I used Lotus for the Jolimar Skirt, originally designed in now discontinued NaturallyCaron.com Spa.

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But the ultimate test of this yarn, the real reason I considered designing a yarn because I could never find the right one anywhere else, is to make… pants.  Finally, with the convergence of the perfect yarn at the point in my crochet career when I have the skills to actually do it, there be seamless crocheted pants!

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The same pattern set will offer the Boy Shorts, Tap Pants, Capris and Lounge pants.  Naturally, I had to design tops to go with; a babydoll and a sleeveless tunic.  The tank in Sapphire Lotus is already out, but you may not recognize the design; it’s DJC2 Tank Girl, made in Junior Size S and worn tight and cropped.  I know, I know.  Wearing crochet head to butt is considered to be a bit too much, over the top.  A No-No.  A Fashion Don’t.  However, these are pajamas.  Sleep sets.  Unless you invite the Fashion Police to your next slumber party, who’s gonna know?  Lotus Pants and the tops, oh, and one pretty, flirty little lace dress in one of my favorite crochet stitch patterns are coming to DJC Designs, Spring 2014.  Thereabouts.

Until then, what can you do to get to know Lotus?  If you see this in time, you can join me and the boss, Vashti Braha, in the Crochetville chat room, Friday, 10 January, 1:00 to 2:00 Eastern time.  Check this Facebook event page in the morning for info and a link to the chat location. We will be spilling our guts about Lotus and stuff.  Also, Vashti’s brain has been working overtime and she dreamed up a fun way for you to sample Lotus.  It’s the Lotus Color Chip Kit, yarn snips in each shade, enough to make these itty bitty, goofy but cool color chips.

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Lotus Color Chip Kit

Join us in the Crochetville chatroom and find out how you can get your kit.  I’m already limbering up my typing fingers in anticipation.  Hope to meet you there.

New Favorite Crochet Yarn For the New Year

Today I sit and contemplate the approaching new year.  As is my nature I am not looking back at 2013. It is not my way to evaluate or analyze the events, triumphs and complete bummers of the past.  Rather, I am anticipating the excitement yet to come.  2014, the Year of the Wood Horse, promises to be an auspicious one for me, as I was born in the previous Wood Horse Year.  It’s also going to be a brilliant year for crochet if we have anything to say about it (“we” being me and the boss, Vashti Braha), for 2014 will be the year of Lotus.

Vashti and I, both avid crocheters and professional crochet designers, both writers for and about crochet, really love yarn. Between us, we have tasted and tested hundreds of products from the ubiquitous craft store brands to esoteric and/or ultra-luxe boutique yarns. But, sadly, few yarns in our experience have been completely lovable.

A couple of years ago when Vashti and I were once again bemoaning the fact that most yarn is S-twisted and not very happy for our styles of crochet, she started asking me pointed questions about what I look for in the perfect yarn. I thought she was just making conversation; she was actually taking notes, while her brain was furiously and obsessively planning her new venture.  Since we couldn’t find or buy the yarn we wanted, Vashti set out to design it, have it produced (in the USA) and offer it on her website, DesigningVashti.com. That’s how Lotus was born. It is quite simply the yarn I could live in…. and couldn’t live without.

DesigningVashti Lotus Color Card

Lotus fills a place in crochet in a way that no other single yarn has done. It is a sportweight blend of cotton and rayon, with a gorgeous drape, pretty sheen and just the right amount of Z-twist.  Lotus substitutes perfectly in just about any crochet pattern that calls for sportweight yarn; for example it works well in most of my designs for the discontinued yarn, NaturallyCaron.com Spa. And with a bit of care and attention to tension, you can crochet it in a range of gauges from sock to DK. Lotus is sturdy as well, and holds up incredibly well in garments, even ones you sit on (dresses, skirts, pants). This is, left to right, Becky Barker, me, Vashti, and Diane Moyer, modeling Lotus wear on the runway at the CGOA 2013 Fall Fashion Show, Charlotte, NC.

Lotus Designs at CGOA Fall Fashion Show

I have kept quiet about Lotus until now, but Vashti has already been blogging and news-letting about becoming a yarn designer. Following a soft premier in December (see DesigningVashti Crochet newsletter issue #55) the major promotion begins in 2014. Please join us on January 10th for a live chat at Crochetville; here’s the Facebook Event page for information. Look for interviews and features about DesigningVashti Lotus in magazines and e-zines in the coming months.  And very soon there will be a butt-load of Lotus design support from DJC Designs, my independent pattern line.  Next time I will post a peek at what I’m working on.  For now, the anticipation is killing me!