Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blog Tour for National Crochet Month - March 2015

March 3, 2015

Once again, it's National Crochet Month, and Crochetville is hosting a blog tour to celebrate. (Thank you, Crochetville!) I thought I would tell you all what has happened to me - crochet-wise – this past year. 
The sad news first – the magazine Crochet Today! stopped publication in 2014, and I was sorry to see it go. I had been designing for this magazine for many years. And writing The Crochet Doctor column for the magazine's last year or so. I designed a lot of afghans for the magazine, which I love to do, and a lot of other designs (purses, felted covers for electronics, scarves, kitchen goodies, baby buntings, and other designs that I might not have tackled if it weren't for Crochet Today! asking). I also got to teach crochet techniques and talk about other things important to crochet, and I love to teach and I love to write about crochet. So I miss the magazine and the opportunities it offered.
Here's the good news - in 2014 I got to teach at Stitches South in Atlanta in April, at the CGOA Chain Link conference in July in Manchester, NH, and I was asked to teach a video class for Craftsy in July! So I am now a Craftsy instructor! Did I tell you I love to teach? I do. And this year I realized, when I thought about all that I've done since high school, that whatever I love to study, I eventually teach. I thought about listing all the subjects that I taught throughout those many years since high school, (including math, calligraphy, ballet, group exercise, and kayaking) but it would take up too much time – time that I could be crocheting! Just know that I've taught all my life, (my first student was when I was in 8th grade – I taught my mother to crochet a granny square). So, when I got to teach at these three venues, I was thrilled!
And now it's National Crochet Month – and to celebrate my love of teaching and love of crochet, I'm going to give you a present.
I hope you know about Craftsy – it's a site where you can purchase video classes for all kinds of crafts – crochet, knitting, photography, drawing, cooking, wood-working, sewing, quilting, etc.,- and these classes are yours forever. You can watch the video, and there's a 30 second repeat button so you can see something again. You can speed it up, or slow it down. You can ask questions of the instructor, participate in discussions, and, did I tell you, you'll own the class FOREVER! And now, if you've been reading this far, you can purchase my class, Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches, for half price. 


Yes, that's 50% off the regular price. My class is not a beginning class. It's a "learn a new technique" class, not to teach you how to crochet, but to teach you how to crochet better. If you don't know what Foundation Stitches are in crochet, let me tell you.  Foundation stitches eliminate the beginning chain that you have to work in to. So instead of chaining 299 or so, and maybe losing count and working too many or too few chains,  and then working your first row stitch by stitch, into that chain (and you know you'll either skip a stitch or add a stitch where you didn't want to), with the basic foundation stitches that you learn in my class, you make one chain, then the stitch that goes in it, then you make another chain, and the stitch that goes in to that chain. Then you continue, making one chain, then one stitch. Until you eventually have all your stitches. So you won't add a stitch or miss a stitch. You won't have too many or too few stitches in the first row. It's a great way to start almost any pattern. And it gives you a more elastic foundation row.
There are also ways to work stitch patterns using Foundation stitches. I teach the method to do this, and some of the stitch pattern Foundations in the video class also. Best of all, as I said, I show you how to figure this method out for yourself, so you can start almost any stitch pattern by using this information.

I have noticed lately that a lot of designers are now using Foundation stitches in their published designs. They give directions for the stitches, but some people learn better when they SEE the directions. So - if you crochet from patterns, and you've been finding directions about Foundation stitches, but are getting confused, this class will help you by SHOWING you how to crochet them. And remember, you can just hit the 30 second repeat button, and you can see the directions over and over and over, until you're sure you know how to crochet these stitches.

You'll also find that these Foundation stitches provide more stretch at the beginning of the piece. So if your long chain tends to be tight (and we've all had that happen), Foundation stitches will help that. 

Remember, this is not a beginning crochet class. You do need to know how to chain, how to make a slip stitch, a single crochet, a half double crochet, a double  crochet, and a triple crochet. In the first lesson, you'll learn how to crochet extended stitches, because they are very similar to Foundation stitches, and they'll make learning Foundation stitches easier. And then you'll go on from there. You'll get three patterns to practice your new technique – a washcloth, a basket, and a tote bag. 


You'll also get some stitch diagrams of stitch patterns that you can practice with. And, remember, my class is now 50% off! Just for you!!!
Here's the link:



If you want to see a preview of the class – here's the link to that:

Now, if you want to find out who else is going to be blogging for the Crochetville Sponsored Blog Tour for National Crochet Month - check out the Crochetville Blog here:

http://crochetville.com/2015-natcromo-designer-blog-tour-crochet-guild-of-america/


And thank you for reading my blog today!
Check out my project page on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/marty-miller
My Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/martyagm
My other blog: http://notyourgrannyscrochet-marty.blogspot.com




Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 Crafter's Market

2015 Crafter's Market - How to Sell Your Crafts and Make a Living

edited by Kelly M. Biscopink


I wish this book had been available years ago, when I was first starting out as a crochet designer. I had a young son, and I started designing and crocheting puppets for him and his friends. The kids all liked them, so a friend of mine and I started making the puppets in huge quantities, and selling them at local craft fairs. (We found time to crochet when our kids took naps, and when they finally went to sleep at night!) There were one or two craft fairs we knew about – one that was in our town and one in the larger town I moved to – all in the same state. And we sold some puppets at one or two craft consignment shops. We also knew enough to copyright the designs. But that was that. This was before computers and the Internet, so we couldn't sell on-line. And I wasn't versed in writing good patterns. After I designed a puppet, I gave the "pattern" to my friend so she could make the puppet, too. Many years later, I found a copy of some of my "patterns" – they were just numbers. Like one may have read:
SC,
 1. 6
 2. 8
 3. 10
etc.
Like I said, just numbers. No info on turning chains, where to work the increases, how to put the puppets together. Nothing. It was a miracle that we could make them from my "patterns". I can just imagine what would have happened if I tried to self-publish them, or submit them to a crochet magazine. If I even knew of any crochet magazines.
Well – that's why I wish there had been a book like this available years ago. It would have told me everything I needed to know about making money from my puppets. It has a section on Business Basics – including how to get paid, and all you need to know about copyrights. Then it tells you how to find your niche and how to make it as a crafts person – it also includes lots of tips to be successful and "turn your passion into a business".
It lists many craft shows by state, explains what to do if you have to apply to get accepted, and talks about how to plan for the show, including how to figure out how much to charge for your craft goods. It also explains how to organize your own show, which I have tried, too, and let me tell you it isn't easy!
Then, if you're more interested in selling your patterns/directions rather than the finished goods, it also lists various book/magazine publishers that are in your field. And this is another reason why I wish this book were available about 15 years ago, when I started designing for publications and yarn companies. It goes over how to write a book proposal, how to present a proposal to a magazine, and it explains what could be in the contract you sign (like publication rights), and what various terms in the contract mean. When I first started designing for publications, I didn't know any of this!
Just looking through this book at first, I could tell that it was a "must have", not only for new crafters, but for experienced ones. And every time I opened it to read a section, I found another section that was just as interesting and just as important.
That's why I highly recommend this book – for all you crafters who want to sell your crafts or your designs. You won't be sorry! 

This book is published by F+W, and is available here:

By Kelly Biscopink
Fons & Porter / F+W

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Formal Jewelry by Karen McKenna



So - you know how to crochet. You can chain, do a single crochet, and make a slip stitch to join. Guess what? That's all you need to know to crochet any one of the twelve patterns in the book - Formal Jewelry, by Karen McKenna. And all twelve patterns are rated "easy". And easy they are. I love the necklaces and bracelets that you can crochet. And I wanted to try making some - but I didn't have the pearls, nor the metallic thread needed for some of them. So - I improvised. I found some large beads in my stash, and some elastic yarn for one necklace, and some nylon "yarn" for another necklace. I wanted to crochet the Sparkle necklace with the elastic yarn, and the Black on Black necklace with the nylon cord. I realized that I didn't have enough beads for the Sparkle Necklace - so I thought I would make a headband instead, using the techniques in that pattern. I did have enough beads for the Black on Black necklace - they were green, but my nylon cord was green, too. So I had a Green on Green necklace instead of Black on Black. 
Here is the Sparkle Necklace from the book:

And here is what I made - using the same technique. I can use it as a wrap-around bracelet, or give it to my niece's daughter to use as a headband or to wear it wrapped around a ponytail.



Here is the Black on Black necklace from the book:





And here is my Green on Green necklace. This took me all of 15 minutes to crochet. Or less. 


The book is full of projects like this - quick, but gorgeous looking. You can make them with pearls or pearl-like beads, like Karen shows them - to make Formal Jewelry, or make them with colored beads, like I did, to have a more informal touch. Whichever way you decide, you won't be sorry.




And, Karen doesn't just tell you how to crochet these jewels. She explains in detail how to finish them - like how to put clasps on. She also tells you just what tools you'll need - like what kind of pliers to have on hand so you can open and close an Eye Pin, what kind of End cones are needed, and which clasps would work. All of these tools can be found in the beading and jewelry section of your local craft store. 

Oh - one more thing. On the cover, do you see the camera with the words: Bonus, Online Tutorials? When you see the camera on a pattern page, that means that you can go to the link and see video tutorials. So if you can't figure something out from the directions and patterns in the book, you can go to the website and look at the video!

Interested? Check out the book, or e-book at:
Leisurearts.com or Amazon.com, and get started crocheting your bling today!


Be sure to check out what some other crochet designers have to say about Formal Jewelry.
January 19:  Amy Shelton from Crochetville  http://crochetville.com/
January 21:   Marty Miller  designer, teacher, authorhttp://thecrochetdoctor.blogspot.com/
January 26:   Tammy Hildebrand   designer, author  http://hotlavacrochet.blogspot.com/
January 28:   Sharon Silverman    designer, author    http://www.sharonsilverman.com/crochet/
February 2:   Jennifer Ryan    designer  http://celticknotcrochet.blogspot.com/
February 5:    Gwen Blakely Kinsler  author, founder of Crochet Guild of America  http://crochetqueen-royalramblings.blogspot.com/
February 10:  Karen Whooley  author, designer, teacher    http://www.krwknitwear.com
February 11:  Sandy Huff   designer  http://knittyknittychainchain.blogspot.com/
February 16:  Linda Dean    designer  http://www.lindadeancrochet.com/blog/

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches

This past July, I had the pleasure/honor of video taping a class for Craftsy. Craftsy is a wonderful platform for teachers of various crafts (crocheting, knitting, cooking, photography, etc.), and I have always wanted to be one of their instructors. Well, now I can say it: I am a Craftsy instructor!

I teach a lot of crochet classes at various venues - the Crochet Guild of America's Chain Link conferences, the National NeedleArts Association trade shows, some Stitches conferences, my local yarn shop, and various other yarn shops in other states - just to name a few. I had never taught an on-line class before, though, so it was quite an experience. An extremely great experience! I taught one of my favorite classes, and one of my most favorite techniques to use - Foundation Stitches! How to work a foundation chain, and the stitch that goes into it, at the same time! Some people call it a "chainless foundation". But it isn't "chainless". There is a chain for each stitch, you just don't work all the chains at once, and then crochet the stitches that go into the chains. You chain one, then you work the stitch that goes into that chain. Then you chain another, then you work the stitch that goes into that chain. Etc., etc., etc. It's an amazing technique. And then, after you learn the basic technique, there are  ways you can work Foundation Stitches to start stitch patterns. And color work. And how to add stitches on to a row or round with Foundation Stitches. Lots of information in this class!
Now, I know you probably hate to crochet a long foundation chain, then work your first row of stitches into that chain, only to come up short at the end - you don't have enough chains. Or you have too many chains. Everyone hates that! Well, if you learn how to do Foundation Stitches, you'll never have to worry about that again! You won't waste precious time or energy ripping out that chain and starting all over again. No, no, no! My class is called "Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches", and by the end of the 7 lessons, you will indeed have mastered this technique! But not only will you have mastered the technique. You will have a pattern for a tote bag, a basket, and a dishcloth (that you can easily crochet longer to make a scarf). Plus other stitch patterns that you can use in your crochet!




My class is launching on September 23, 2014. And, Craftsy and I are having a give-away. Yes, that's right! All you have to do is click this link:
and you might win a free class! Yes, I said it right. Click the clink and register at Craftsy (if you're already registered, that's okay - you'll still be entered in the drawing - just click on the link above!) and do it before Midnight, Eastern Time Zone on Monday, September 22, 2014.
I'll let you know on Tuesday, September 23, if you have won!
Good luck to all of you!!!

(Added after September 23, 2014.)
The Give-away class has been given away. But you can still check out the class, and order it from Craftsy. And it even might be on sale! Click this link:

to check  it out!

 By the way, if you've never taken a Craftsy class, you might like to know that once you're enrolled in the class, you can access it at any time! You can ask the instructor questions (and they will be answered!), you can show your projects that you crochet for the class, you can enter in discussions, etc., etc., etc. It's a great platform for teaching AND for taking classes. You can even press a 30 second replay button while you're watching a section, if you want to see that part again. 

Hope to see you soon in my Craftsy class - Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mommy & Me Crocheted Hats
By Kristi Simpson

Are you interested in crocheting hats for children and adults, boys and girls, men and women? Do you want to learn some new techniques, stitches, and methods to crochet the hats? Check out my review of this book on my other blog: notyourgrannyscrochet-marty.blogspot.com to read about about this new book and enter to win a copy of it. Hurry, before it's too late!!! (Enter before Friday, April 25, 2014.)


Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Crocheter's Companion

I posted the address for the wrong blog on Facebook!  Oops!
If you're looking for my blog post about the new and revised edition of The Crocheter's Companion, go to my other blog:
http://notyourgrannyscrochet-marty.blogspot.com

Here's a picture of the cover. Now go to the other blog to read about what's inside!!!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kristin Omdahl Does It Again!


KRISTIN HAS DONE IT AGAIN!

Yes, Kristin Omdahl has done it again! What has she done? She wrote another great book! I am a bookaholic – that is a word I made up (I think) to describe someone who collects books. Especially crochet books. I have old crochet books, new crochet books, hard copies and e-books. (Sometimes 2 of one book.) I like to look at them, and get inspiration from them. I usually don't work a pattern from them, because I have my own individual style, and I design my own patterns. What I like about certain books is that they show a stitch pattern, or a crocheted item, and it triggers something in me – I see what they show, and I think "How can I do this in my style?" I don't want to copy what I see, I want to use what I see to create something entirely new. That's why I have so many books. To give me lots of ideas. And that's why I get excited when Kristin has a new book out. I get so many ideas from her books.

This new one – The Finer Edge – published by Interweave/F+W Media; for $22.95, is just such a book. (Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the book by F+W Media to review.) Kristin starts out with a "stitch" dictionary of edgings – and divides them into 4 types – top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side, and miscellaneous edgings. They are organized by construction, and Kristin explains how to add them to the fabric – either before, during, or after you crochet the fabric. Then, she has 10 actual patterns using her edgings  - as fabric and edgings. She even explains how to turn corners with edgings!

So I tried one of the edgings that intrigued me, (the Woven Ribbon on page 68) and after I was finished I realized that even though it was in the miscellaneous edgings, it could easily be a top-down edging, crocheted directly on the fabric when the piece was done. I could use it in my designs, with or without the woven ribbon. I could change the mesh with different stitches and different numbers of chains and skipped stitches. Lots of ideas. That's what Kristin's books do for me!

I also like the tips that Kristin adds – how to use the edgings as edgings, and how to use them in other designs. You can use them as scarves, cowls, complete fabric for a sweater or afghan or pillow, or whatever else you can think of. She presents pleated edgings that form a sort of a ruffle, edgings that make their presence known, and edgings that are laid back but brilliant. You can work the edgings in any yarn, from #1 to #6, and you'll get a different look, and a different use.

I did the Woven Ribbon edging in a thick worsted weight wool from Briggs & Little. I loved how it showed the stitches, and I thought this would make a great scarf – the mesh background, with only one or two of the rows woven with the ribbon. And the ribbon, worked in a bulky yarn, would make a good scarf, or belt, or sash. And what about 2 rows of the mesh in a nylon yarn, woven with a nylon ribbon – a great tote handle! (See what I mean by great books? They get your creativity flowing!)

Here are some pictures I took of my swatches;



Above is the mesh part of the Woven Ribbon.


This is the Ribbon - it would make a great narrow scarf, or a belt or sash.


The is the Woven Ribbon - with 2 rows woven.

Another interesting edging - a version of Bruge's Lace.


Finally, the Slip Stitch Textured edging.

This is a book that I am glad is in my book collection. And you can have it in your collection, too. You can purchase this book at:Amazon
And, it comes in a Kindle version also!