Convertible Crochet Giveaway

No need for me to un-bury the lead because it’s all in the title.  Today begins the sign-up for a prize drawing, the prize being a free hardcopy of my new book, Convertible Crochet: Customizable Designs for Stylish Garments.  You may certainly skip all the doo-dah that follows here, and go straight to the comments, add yours to the list, go back to whatever you were doing and wait for the drawing on Friday.  I wouldn’t blame you.  But for the intrepid crocheters among you, please read on!


In one word, this book is about multitasking.  It is an investigation and a celebration of designs, motifs and constructions that may be re-configured, assembled and/or styled in myriad ways. It is a big toy box filled with shiny playthings with which you are encouraged to build and experiment (like Legos but not exactly because first you have to crochet the Legos, know what I’m saying?). Once you start looking at crochet in this new light, then you can get on with the real fun, which is messing around with what you have learned.

Mostly this book is about my obsessive/compulsive approach to making and assembling outside-the-box motifs. Motifs are not new; crochet design history is overflowing with ideas for squares, hexagons, triangles, octagons and circles.  But who else thinks up garments using pentagons? It can get complicated, though.  It is my hope that the weird constructions will appeal to your inner geek, rather than cause you to run screaming.

Even if my pet pents are not your idea of fun, there are other useful bits to absorb and apply to your own crochet.  It would please me greatly if you took away at least these three things from Convertible Crochet:

  • Ending a round of crochet so that your hook is left in the best position to begin the next round.
  • Finding the point singularity when joining a motif to a place where there is already a join.
  • Looking at every edge as a design opportunity; utilizing the spaces and loops of your crochet and using ribbing, strings, button studs and headers to create your own multitasking miracle.

If you ever have questions or comments about the book, or need pattern support for the designs, please do not post them here on this blog.  We have a group and a forum at dedicated to my work, Doris Chan Crochet.  If  you are not already signed up at Ravelry, go do it because it is the premier on-line source, playground, and social gathering place for fiber enthusiasts. My Rav username is dorisjchan;  I am making myself available in the group chat room this week for two live sessions, Wednesday 29 May at 10pm Eastern time, and Saturday 1 June at 1 pm Eastern time, if you’d care to pile in.  Otherwise, you can post your questions or comments on the forum and the posse (led by my group moderator, Rav username Amerz) will be along to help.

So, if after reading this stuff about the book you still want a free copy, now’s the time to enter your reply to this post.  You may have to click the little bubble at the top of the post… or maybe click “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the post, in order to get to the part where you can leave a comment.  I will announce the winner at noon Eastern time on Friday, 31 May.  If you are outside the US and Canada, and if you win, you will have to provide me with a North American address, please.  And, as always, sucking up to me, no matter how enthusiastically or heartfelt, will not improve your chance of winning!🙂

Good luck to all.  I’ll be back on Friday with a winner.

Convertible Crochet: Feeding Your Geek

Convertible Crochet: Customizable Designs for Stylish Garments, my new book,  is now rolling out.  There is a sneak peek inside the book here.

Yes, it is indeed beautiful.  And totally geeky. I was hoping to do one WHOO-HOO major launch, but instead I find that I am slowly leaking information and images.


For a more comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive look at all the designs, here’s a gallery of my own personal photography of most of the crocheted samples from Convertible Crochet.  Some of the pieces are prototypes, samples done in alternate yarns, which won’t be the same as the ones in the book.  I’m also showing you a few extras, views of different stylings from the front and the back, and also shots of the projects laid flat for blocking, which you may find useful.

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Check back here in the coming days for the next launch installment, where I discuss my geeky crochet perspective and give away a copy of the book!

Kolika Crochet Workshop

Many years ago a friend brought me back a souvenir from a trip to Hawaii.  I expected to receive a flowered shirt, or a lei, maybe a bag of Kona coffee…. or (fingers crossed!) a box of chocolate covered Macadamias.  Nope.  I was presented with a small envelope.  Inside was a rectangular patch embroidered with my name.  Now, in the Hawaiian language, the sounds for “d”, “r” and “s” do not exist.   So the closest approximation for my name is “Kolika”, which is so exotic and falls so prettily from the tongue, huh?  “Doris” is your crabby great-aunt; “Kolika” is a winsome, bewitching hula girl.🙂

Funny, I hadn’t thought about Kolika in such a long time.  But last month, when my Interweave show producer, Anne Merrow, asked me to name the exclusive sweater design for my Top Down Seamless Crochet Workshop, that lyrical little word just popped into my head, and Kolika it became.

DVD Cover

Doris on set

I had the best time shooting this workshop, but have been dreading the release of the DVD. Holy Crap, do I really look like THAT??!!!!  It is so embarrassing to view videos of yourself, isn’t it?  Seeing yourself as others see you is a major source of cognitive dissonance; the image is somehow wrong. I imagine that’s because you are so familiar with your face in the mirror, backwards from the way the rest of the world sees you.  Plus, the stylist gave me wavy hair, eyeshadow and mascara. Let’s just say that this face is more Kolika than Doris.  Here’s a preview of the video.  YIKES!  I can’t seem to stand still.  TIme to switch to decaf, huh?

Never mind. I’m going to be the only one who does not recognize the person in this DVD workshop. Otherwise, I am thrilled with the results. Top Down Seamless Crochet is a brilliant presentation of techniques, demonstrations and tips for making a Kolika that fits you. Here are some random images from the shoot:

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You can get the workshop as a DVD or as a download from the Interweave Store.  Enjoy!

Filet Scarf and Stole: Cookie’s Last Dance

It is with enormous pleasure that I offer the adorable filet crochet that I created in remembrance of my dog (see previous post Cookie’s Last Dance). In DJC: Cookie’s Last Dance, Cookie the Chihuahua spins merrily in anticipation of his supper, up and down the length of a scarf and around and around the panels of a stole.  Even for those who don’t give a toss about Chihuahuas or have never contemplated working in filet crochet, there’s plenty of content in this file to help you add to your skills.  Along with the instructions for a scarf and a stole, the pattern holds many extras, including an overview of filet crochet, extensive filet charts for single and double width Cookies, step by step technique tutorials and suggestions for yarn substitution.

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Not to burden the pattern with too many image files, I prepared a separate photo tutorial for two special techniques that I think will make your project dance better: Foundation Double Crochet and Beginning Extended Double Crochet.  Although the swatches and stitches in the images are taken from this specific design, the information may prove useful for all.  So if you purchase the pattern and need to see the stitches up close, or if you are interested in these techniques, please view this new tutorial page.

So I’m a sentimental idiot; I can’t yet wear my scarf or stole without getting… sort of… verklemmt.  I did love creating and crocheting these samples.  Even the pattern writing was less the usual nuisance, and more therapeutic than I had imagined it would be.  I believe I am ready to let go of them both, the filet design and the tiny, twirling terror that inspired it.  DJC: Cookie’s Last Dance is available for download for $3.99.  Please visit the design page at for complete information about the pattern and purchasing.  Enjoy!

One last note.  A wonderful, talented and crazy friend crocheted this and sent it to me along with her best wishes.  I hesitate to share it with you because I do not wish to be inundated by requests for the pattern.  I DO NOT HAVE THE PATTERN.  But he is so cute and even has a blanket, as suggested by her daughter as a necessary accoutrement for a heat-seeking Chihuahua.  Awww, he even has a little collar and dog tag.  “C” is for Cookie.🙂

Haley's  Cookie

Gifting Crocheters: Win Clever Crocheted Accessories

A woman of my word, I am keeping to my policy, actually more of a guideline, of not burying the lead.  At the end of this post you will discover how you can enter to win a copy of the new book, Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects (Interweave Press, 27 November 2012) edited by Brett Bara. Now back to fluff.

There’s something about Christmas that brings out the best (and occasionally the worst) in people. Crocheters who participate in the yearly hand-made gift crunch can become heroes on Christmas morning. We can also turn into zombies. The two outcomes are not mutually exclusive. I truly enjoy the holidays and over the years, during those few brief lucid moments before the onset of total brain death, I have written about it ( see Crochet Marathoning). I have also offered a cute little Mini Stocking pattern. For civilians (non-crocheters), figuring out what sort of holiday gifts would be appreciated and cherished by crocheters can be a daunting endeavor.  In the past I have written some helpful hints (see 2008, 2010) and even shared a recipe for smelly ornaments. This year I have an idea that will cover all this ground.Released today, the new book from my crafty friend Brett Bara makes a brilliant gift for yourself if you are a crocheter… or for a civilian to give to a crocheter who enjoys crocheting gifts to give to you.  Too meta?  Brett is one of those editors who is real good at herding cats, a skill that served her well in gathering the rock star designers who contributed to this pattern collection. From the first project, Saturday Beret (on the book cover), designed by Ellen Gormley, to the last, my own Chunky Capelet (in super-fast broomstick technique), Clever Crocheted Accessories is a happy guide to making quick work of your gift list. I’m going to have to refer to Ellen as my bookend friend from now on. 🙂

Click here for a look inside the book, or see this slideshow of just some of the designs, please to maintain composure and resist drooling.

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You’ll find Clever Crocheted Accessories at bookstores and yarn shops, or you can order from Amazon and from Interweave Press.  Thanks to Brett and Interweave Press you can also enter to win a copy right here right now. Leave a comment to this post below and I’ll choose a winner at noon EST on Friday, 30 November. Please keep your replies brief.  Sucking up to me will not help your chances at all.  Happy happy joy joy to all and best of luck.