Happy Clappy Crochet

Celebrating Crochet with a Positive Spin

A Nice Surprise

Yesterday, my friend Jen Lucas contacted me to let me know that I really needed to get a copy of the Spring 2016 Interweave Crochet, because Cascade Yarns had used one of my designs for their ad in the magazine.

I went to my local bookstore that evening, but discovered that the newest edition of the magazine won’t be displayed until mid-March. While there I picked up another Spring edition of a crochet magazine, Love of Crochet and flipped open the front cover to find this picture smiling back at me.

©Cascade Yarns

©Cascade Yarns

Cascade Yarns had another ad out, using the Friendship Shawl I designed for them. It was a wonderful surprise to find the ad right before the start of (Inter)National Crochet Month!

By the way, the Crochetville blog tour starts TODAY! Please click here to find out basic info. Not only are they featuring 3 crochet designers a day (each with their own special deals for tour followers), but they are also featuring crochet friendly yarn stores AND yarn companies, as well as daily giveaways! It is a crochet lovers dream month and it really worth your time to check the site on a daily basis.

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I’ll be part of the blog tour on the 13th of March, so please come back and check out what I have to offer!

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Stitching For Fun

Last year, my friend Jen Lucas discovered the fun of counted cross-stitch. I was quite happy to encourage her with this new craft, as I have been a cross-stitcher for decades.

After her first foray into cross-stitch, Jen decided that she wanted to try another project, but one that was a bit more complex. She picked The 2016 Pumpkin Passport stitch-along by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. She posted about it, and last week I decided that I would join in as well.

Now you may be thinking, “Laura, don’t you have a crapton of crocheting to do? Do you really have time for another craft which will take away crocheting time?” I agree, those are valid questions. I hope the following is a valid answer.

When I started crocheting again about 15 years ago, it was for pleasure. I would make gifts for friends and family, I bought patterns and magazines and books, and started stashing yarn. Big plans were created for all the amazing things I would crochet. I started taking classes and learning new techniques. I found a local yarn store where I could hang our with others and play with yarn.

And then, about 5 years ago, things started to change. I started teaching at that local yarn store, so I needed to create patterns to use for classes. I was contacted by Cascade Yarns and started creating crochet patterns for them. As the years went by, I started a blog. I joined a crochet blog tour. I released my first self-published pattern. I launched a website. More and more, crochet became a business. While I still have fun crocheting, and most of my evenings and weekends are filled with crochet time, less and less of it was crafting time just for fun. I don’t know about you, but I really need that wedge of the self pie chart to be there, even if it is small.

Knowing I needed some of that crafting “me time,” I chose to join the stitch-along. It’s a mental health thing, and it charges the creative battery so I am able to do the crochet business work more effectively. What makes this a great choice is the time commitment. Sections of the pattern are released monthly, so there should be enough time to get everything done. The pattern itself (so far) isn’t too difficult skill-wise -no partial stitches, minimal backstitching – so the actual stitching goes rather quickly.

There is still time to join in if you are interested! All you need to do is either purchase a kit or a pattern PDF, gather your materials and start stitching away. It’s a matter of Ready, Set…

© Laura Krzak

© Laura Krzak

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January Hat Campaign for Halos of Hope

For the past several years, I’ve decided that the first crochet project of the new year would be a hat for donation to Halos of Hope. Why crochet a hat for donation? And why do it for Halos of Hope specifically?  The answer is a personal one. I am a cancer survivor – I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008. It wasn’t at a stage where it was health threatening or life threatening, but having cancer before the age of 40 makes you sit down and think a bit. My mom is also a cancer survivor. She’s dealt with cancer three times, and it was during the third battle, which was the most serious, that I was introduced to the comfort provided by Halos of Hope. Not only was I able to get a couple hats from Halos for my mom, but I also used my time at chemo treatments with my mom to crochet hats for donation to others.  I also like the idea that the first thing I make isn’t for me, or someone I know, but for the comfort of a stranger, and I think that puts me in a positive mindset for the rest of the year.

 

© Laura Krzak

© Laura Krzak

This year, using scrap yarn donated by my friend Vickie, I used the Reversible Strands Hat crochet pattern by Nancy Smith (link goes to her Ravelry pattern page). I’m a big fan of this pattern, as it is easy to make and you can customize it quite easily. The hat I made uses three colors of grey yarn, from light to dark. Hat as shown is with the rib side out, but you can also wear the hat with the ribs on the inside and the smooth side facing out.

 

 

© Laura Krzak

© Laura Krzak

 

One of the things I like about this pattern is that you can change the ribs, so they can go straight down, like this hat, or you can have them spiral. Since I had more scrap yarn I could use for hats, I decided to try the spiral version and it turned out something like this. Three colors on this one again – mid and light grey on the increase section of the crown, and then a heathered blue for the body of the hat. As I was using yarn scraps, this is a smaller sized hat which would be great for a teen or child.

 

I had posted about my hat adventure to my Facebook page on January 1st, which in turn inspired my friend and local knit and crochet designer Jen Lucas to make a hat as well.

All this stripy hat making was a stroke of great luck, as Halos of Hope is currently running a January Campaign. Called the 7th Annual Stripe It Up January, it encourages crocheters and knitters to dive into that scrap yarn stash we all have and create some hats that will bring comfort and happiness to others. And, if you are unsure of your color pairing abilities, self-striping yarn makes a great hat as well. Check out the Halos website for yarn material choices and hat sizes. All the yarns used in the three pictured hats are acrylic.

© Laura Krzak

© Laura Krzak

It’s not too late to join the campaign! I’d love to know what kind of hats you are creating.

ETA: Halos of Hope is collecting hats until the end of February 2016 for this campaign! Please check out their website for more information.

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