Happy Clappy Crochet

Celebrating Crochet with a Positive Spin

Quarterly WIP CAL/KAL Update

Not sure if the work-in-progress CAL/KAL, is for you? Please check out the following information and maybe that will sway you into participating.

Quarterly WIP CAL/KAL Rules & Regulations

1.  Contest will start at 12:01am CST on April 1, 2015 and will end at 11:59pm CST on June 30, 2015. Any entries time stamped after 11:59pm CST on June 30, 2015 will not be eligible for that month’s prize.

2.  There will be THREE prize drawings:

  • one for items finished in April
  • one for items finished in May
  • one for items finished in June

3.  Contest is open to all; International winners will be responsible for any VAT taxes on their prize, but I will pay to ship the prize to you.

 

How can you win?

Starting April 1, 2015, the WIP CAL/KAL Begins blog post will go live. To participate in the CAL/KAL, please do one of the following:

  1. Post a comment to the blog post starting April 1, 2015, which includes your name, email address, and link to a Ravelry project page for the unfinished item.  When you have finished the item and posted that information on the Ravelry project page, comment again on any of the future WIP CAL/KAL blog posts (they will be published weekly) with your name, email address, and link to the Ravelry project page for the now finished item. Each finished item will get you one entry into that month’s drawing.
  2. Not on Ravelry? Comment on the blog posts as listed above, but send an email to decchilddesigns@gmail.com that includes your name, the Project name, Pattern used (if applicable), yarn used, hook / needle size, and attach a picture of the work in progress. When you have completed the item, send me another email with your name, the project name, and a picture of the finished item. Each finished item will get you one entry into that month’s drawing.

I ask for your email so that I can contact you two ways – first, to let you know that I have seen your finished item and that you are entered into the drawing for that month, and second, to notify the winner for that month.

You may have multiple entries for each month, but you are only allowed to win once over the three month period.

Want to increase your chance of winning? I’ll offer you this option. I’m a BIG supporter of Halos of Hope. Send me an email at decchilddesigns@gmail.com letting me know that you have a knitted or crocheted hat for donation. I will respond to your email with an address where you can send the hats. Please include your name and email address on a piece of paper shipped with the hats so I can credit you. Each hat I receive will be eligible for one entry for that month’s drawings. Collected hats will be donated to Halos of Hope at Stitches Midwest in August.  Please see the link for Halos of Hope for information on hat sizes and acceptable yarn choices.

So that’s the contest in a nutshell.  If you have any questions, please comment below and I will answer them as soon as I can. Otherwise, I look forward to see all of the projects that will be completed over the next three months.

 

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Under Construction

logo 3This year, I have lots of goals. A few of them have already been accomplished, like submitting to be included in a book and publishing my first independent design. Another goal is to have an official web site – a one-stop site that connects my Ravelry shop and my blog and whatever else I think needs connecting. I am working on that goal and I hope to have it all up and running very soon! Think of this post as a little teaser of what is to come.

Have a great day, all!

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Deleted Scene

On Friday, March 13th, I was one of the designers featured on the Crochetville 2015 Blog Post Tour. (If you are interested, you can read it here.)

There were lots of questions to answer on the interview form, but due to space, not all of the items made it into the final post. I was really proud of one of my answers that didn’t make the cut, so I wanted to share it here.

The question is “Do you have any advise for brand-new crocheters?”

My answer: Don’t be afraid to pay to take a class or to buy a pattern. Yes, there are lots and lots of free resources available out there, but if you only limit yourself to what is free, you’ll never get the whole picture of what crochet can do or become.

YouTube videos are a great resource, but they can’t answer questions on how to adjust holding yarn to fix your personal tension, or why the chain I made ended up having that bumpy thing on both sides instead of just one side like the video shows. Taking a class with a flesh-and-blood teacher can help you answer those questions and guide you towards becoming a better crocheter.

Free vs. Paid patterns is its own debate subject, and I’ll leave that crazy discussion for another post. I will add that I’ve paid for patterns in the past, and will continue to pay for them in the future.

Before I finish this up, I just want to remind you about the poll question on the March 16th post regarding a WIP CAL. I have had a couple people ask if they could do knit projects as well and my response is “Of Course!” We all like to play with yarn, so I have no problem with both crafts being included. Please vote on the poll and add your voice to the mix!

 

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Quarter Quell – Crochet Style

I was doing a little cleaning and organizing over the weekend, which included moving a basket full of project bags housing WIPs (works-in-progress), and an idea came to me. So, I’d like to share the idea with you all.

April 1st is the start of a new calendar quarter (hence the Hunger Games reference), and I thought it might be a great time to start a WIP CAL. Time to take those unfinished projects languishing in a forgotten corner somewhere in your home and give it a little love to get it done.

Please participate in the poll below to let me know if you would be interested in something like this, and if enough people are, I’ll put together guidelines for the CAL.  And since I really enjoy giving things away, there may be some prizes involved as well. You have one week from today to cast your vote!

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Welcome Blog Tour Readers

If you have arrived at this webpage because you read about me on the Crochetville blog tour, I’d like to extend a very warm welcome. I hope you find this blog both informational and entertaining, and that you’ll come back in the future to check out what is going on.

First of all, I love crochet. I love the feeling of calm I can achieve with yarn sliding over my fingers and looping around my hook. I love watching a pattern grow into something beautiful. I love all of the different ways you can crochet – broomstick, tunisian, hairpin, love knot, slip stitch. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish an item. I love the feeling of hope in my heart when I crochet something for charity.

I also believe that crochet can equally co-exist in the crafting world with knitting. Neither craft is “better” than the other. Both create amazing works from incredible designs and should be appreciated for that artistry. Plus, we all like to play with yarn, so why should there be a problem 🙂

I hope you will take a little time and look at previous posts, and that you will share your crochet journey with me in the comments section. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

Okay, now to the stuff you have been waiting for. Last week, I released my very first indie pattern on Ravelry – the What’s Behind the Ivy Cowl. In honor of being part of the Crochetville Blog Tour for the very first time, I am offering this pattern for free for a limited time. Between March 13-31, you can purchase the cowl for free on Ravelry with the coupon code “birthday” – because today is my Mom’s birthday. You may only use the code once during this time period, and after the 31st, it will go back to its regular price.

In addition, anyone who posts a (non-spam) comment on any of my blog posts from today to the 31st will be entered into a drawing to receive three (3) balls of Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in the colors of the winner’s choice. The yarn will be enough to make the cowl pattern I designed.

That’s it for today. I’m really glad you checked out my blog, and I hope you will keep coming back.

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Crochet Love on Twitter Pt 2

Back for more? Let’s jump right in with Designers Who Go Above and Beyond!

For me, @KristinOmdahl has to top this list. Not only is she the author of five crochet books, but she helped design a new delicate wash scent for Eucalan, which is her night-jasmine scented Wrapture, she started her own yarn line which includes Be So Fine and Be So Sporty, she sends out weekly newsletters full of stitching information and amazing recipes, and her latest project is working with Erin.Lane.Bags to create new, colorful fabrics based on Kristin’s original drawings. All that plus she is an amazing single mom, too!

@Vashtirama is next, and that could only be Vashti Braha. I discovered Vashti in 2011, and what puts her on this list are her email newsletters. What makes her newsletters different is how she’ll explore a subject, like foundation stitches (May 13, 2011), and through pictures and text she’ll share her research into the craft of crochet. Titled “Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations,” each newsletter is worth saving for the wealth of information contained within.  She also came out with her own yarn line designed especially for crocheters because it has a Z-twist; current yarns are Lotus and Treat.

If you look in the dictionary under indefatigable, you might see a picture of @Marly_Bird. Besides designing for both knit and crochet, she hosts the Yarn Thing podcast twice a week, she has a monthly newsletter, she had one of the very first crochet classes available on Craftsy, she now has her own YouTube channel, AND she is the Creative Director at Bijou Basin Ranch yarns. Whew! All that on top of being an active mom and wife. Marly and her infectious laugh has energy for days!

If you walk into a bookstore or craft store, you’ll probably see Crochet! magazine available on the newsstand. The newest editor of Crochet! is Ellen Gormley, otherwise known as @GoCrochet. Besides editing a national magazine, Ellen is an active blogger, she has several published crochet books, and she has four online classes you can take through the Annie’s website. Ellen is also one of the crochet experts on the program Knit and Crochet Now, broadcast on PBS stations nationwide.

These ladies are all amazing inspirations, and it is great to follow them all!

Gonna flip things around a bit and let you know about the Anything Goes group. There’s a little bit of everything represented here, so I hope you check it out.

I’m starting this group out with @HalosofHope, which is a charity near and dear to my heart. Halos collects hand-knit and crocheted hats and distributes them to 400+ cancer centers in the United States. As a National 501c3 organization, they also collect donations to ship those hats from coast to coast. Hats are collected at many different events, like the STITCHES Expos and yarn retreats, or they can be mailed directly to Halos of Hope. Halos of Hope is also one of the charities that the Crochetville Blog Tour is supporting this year.

Are you keeping your projects in gallon plastic bags? Free your yarn from the plastic with bags available from @erinlanebags and @slippedstitchCA. Both small business offer professionally made bags in a variety of sizes AND fabric choices. If either one of these amazing ladies doesn’t have what you are looking for, it just doesn’t exist. And their offerings don’t stop there. They also make great accessories like hook and needle cases and pattern keepers. If you buy one or buy a complete set, you won’t be disappointed.

If someone asks me about amigurumi, the first person I think of is @FreshStitches, otherwise known as Stacey Trock. New mom Stacey has an extremely popular kit club, and even knit designers like @knitlikecrazy (Jen Lucas) are avid fans. While the club is on hiatus while Stacey is on maternity leave, she still keeps her Twitter feed very active with lots of observations about the state of Crochet.

I’m sure you are familiar with websites like Ravelry and Craftsy for their patterns, but are you aware of @Patternfish? With over 19,000 patterns available on their ad-free website, there is a wealth of patterns for you to explore, with many site exclusive patterns available. You will find some familiar names there, like Carol Ventura and Edie Eckman, but you may also find a new favorite designer or two as well.

While I mentioned this magazine earlier, @CrochetMagazine is worth a follow in its own right. The publication is a big supporter of the Crochet Guild of America, and they frequently highlight great crochet topics in their posts.

From across the pond and in a bookstore near you is @InsideCrochet – a UK crochet magazine published monthly! Full of stylish garments and accessories, as well as fun projects for the home, this magazine is worth learning to switch US crochet terms for UK ones.

My final addition to this group is @CrochetBlogger, the Twitter handle for the Crochet Concupiscence website. Both the Twitter account and website focus on crochet as Art and Fashion, and they constantly put together theme posts, highlighting the beauty (and once in a while, strangeness) of crochet.

Okay – that’s all for tonight.  If you are looking for more information about the people listed above, please click on the link and it will take you to their Twitter page, where a link to individual websites are provided.

Disclaimer – while I follow all of the people and companies I have listed, and many of them follow me back on Twitter, none of them knew I was doing this in advance, and I am not being paid to promote them in any way. I just wanted to share some Crochet love with lots of my favorite people, and it seemed appropriate to do so during International Crochet Month.

 

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Crochet Love on Twitter Pt 1

This morning, I decided to go through my list of who I follow on Twitter to share the crochet love. My hopes were that lots of the names would be familiar to you, but maybe you’d find one or two (or ten) new people to follow, and that would be a great way to help celebrate International Crochet Month.

Well, I started writing down names, and kept writing down names, and started a second column on the page, and at the end I had 59 Twitter names to share. That’s quite a lot of names for one post, and frankly, that would be pretty boring to read. So, I’ve decided to break things down into a couple different categories and spread it out over a handful of posts. Hopefully, you will join me for the whole journey, and maybe I’ll introduce you to a new favorite or two.

 

Since tonight is one of those “Final Rose” nights, I thought it would be great for the first category to be The Men of Crochet! In no particular order (except for history of how I started following them), here they are!

@thecrochetdude is the Twitter handle for none other than Drew Emborsky. Not only does Drew design crochet patterns, but he works with Boye to produce a line of crochet tools and he has his own yarn line.

@StitchStud is the moniker for Charles Voth. Charles designs patterns for both crochet and knit, and he really knows what he is doing because he is a technical editor of patterns as well. Want to learn how to read crochet charts? Let Charles teach you in his Craftsy class.

@FranklinHabit is none other than Franklin Habit. Franklin is known for his knitting, so what is he doing on a crochet list? What you may not know is that he has a wicked sense of humor and a love for 18th and 19th Century handknit and crocheted items. If you ever get the chance to hear him lecture – do it! Besides his blog The Panopticon, Franklin also monthly column for Lion Brand Yarns.

@strongandstone is the Twitter I.D for Rohn Strong. This southern gentleman has a passion for creating crochet items that combine a vintage style with a 21st Century flare. He also produces amazing crochet patterns that really flatter fuller figures.

 

My next category is going to be Crochet Friendly Yarn Companies, because we cannot do this craft we love without that essential fiber!

@LionBrandYarns puts their money where their mouth is when they say they support crochet. Vanna White, their yarn spokesperson for for over 15 years, is big into crochet. Lion Brand is also a big supporter of the Crochet Guild of America. For the month of March, Lion Brand is posting a link every day so you can learn a new crochet stitch pattern.

@KollageYarns carries yarns with great fiber blends. Not only will you find yarns with cotton and bamboo, but recycled denim, milk, and soy as well. If you are allergic to wool fibers, Kollage gives you some great alternatives to use. Kollage is also the creator of the square handled crochet hook. I have several of the original hooks and I love them. They recently came out with hook version 2.0, and I see a new hook collection in my future.

@RedHeartYarns is another major yarn company that supports crochet. They are also very active in supporting the Crochet Guild of America – in fact, they are sponsoring the DAILY prizes that are being given out for the Crochetville Blog Tour. They are also a sponsor for the Crochet Awards.

@websyarn is a big supporter of the art of crochet. Not only are they currently hosting an afghan CAL, but they often feature fantastic crochet designs created with their Valley Yarns line. They blog about crochet. Kathy Elkins talks about crochet on their weekly podcast. They even have Doris Chan as their 2015 Crochet Designer in Residence. Lots of crochet love here!

@TSCYarns is the handle for Tahki Yarns. With four yarn brands and several pages of crochet patterns available on their website, Tahki Yarns has supported crochet and crochet designers to bring stylish and fashion forward clothing and accessories to the public.

@CascadeYarns has stepped up their crochet support over the past several years. Not only have they invested in patterns from big name designers, but they also gave brand new designers (like myself) a chance to create patterns for a major yarn company, and the result has been a true gift for crocheters. Patterns range from beginner to advanced, and Cascade offers them all for free on their website. Cascade has made being a crocheter a win-win.

 

Okay – I think I’ve given you enough to think about today.  I hope you check out the different links and you find something you will enjoy.

Stay tuned for Part Two!

 

P.S. Is there a favorite male crochet designer or crochet friendly yarn company that I haven’t mentioned? Post a comment and share some crochet love yourself!

 

ETA: If you are looking for more information about the people listed above, please click on the link and it will take you to their Twitter page, where a link to individual websites are provided.

Disclaimer – while I follow all of the people and companies I have listed, and many of them follow me back on Twitter, none of them knew I was doing this in advance, and I am not being paid to promote them in any way. I just wanted to share some Crochet love with lots of my favorite people, and it seemed appropriate to do so during International Crochet Month.

 

 

 

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