5-12-2019: Free Picot Stitch Crochet Tutorial; New Candle Making Book; A Brilliant Writer You Should Know About; More

Hello friends! How are y’all doing today? What’s new with you? Happy Mother’s Day to those of you who are mamas. 🙂

I have been writing articles, updating old pages on my websites and writing new ones. Here are a few more of the details about what I’ve been up to:

Free Picot Stitch Crochet Tutorial

How to Crochet Picot Stitch -- Free Picot Stitch Tutorial

How to Crochet Picot Stitch — Free Picot Stitch Tutorial

This isn’t a brand new tutorial — but at the time I originally wrote it, I somehow forgot to blog about it. (I did tell my newsletter subscribers about it.) If you missed seeing it the first time around, I hope you’ll enjoy it now.

A Lovely Candle Making Instruction Book Featuring EASY Projects for Beginners

Candle Making Basics, Published by Stackpole Books

Candle Making Basics, Published by Stackpole Books

My friend Mari makes the most amazing scented candles. It took a long time for her to learn how to do it, and she once confessed to me that there are bunches of pitfalls that can derail the process of candle making. She got really good at it, but she invested a massive amount of time into the learning process before she did.

I’m pretty fearless when it comes to crafts, but I have to admit that I’ve been scared of candle making. When it comes to crochet and knitting, we’re talking pretty low stakes. Every once in awhile I accidentally jab myself with a tapestry needle or something, but there are no major hazards involved.

It’s different with candle making. Some of the possible hazards include burning yourself and squirting hot liquid wax in your eyes. Yikes.

But, there’s a lovely new candle making book I found that has put me at ease enough that I am now interested in giving candle making a try. It’s called Candle Making Basics. Eric Ebeling is the author, and Stackpole Books is the publisher. I reviewed the book for ArtsWithCrafts.com. The short version of my review: I definitely recommend this book.

A Brilliant Writer You Need to Know About

Yesterday, my one and only major accomplishment for the day was reading just about every article posted at Greg Satell’s website.

I didn’t set out to do that. As I was researching an article I have to write, I found one of the pieces he wrote for Inc.com. In a world full of fluff articles that aren’t worth reading, Greg’s writing stood out as being substantial and filled with important insights that would be easy to miss otherwise.

So I kept reading. One article led to the next and the next and the next. I didn’t get my own article finished (or even started — I moved it to my to do list for today) but I do feel like I understand the world a little bit better as a result of the time I spent reading Greg’s archives.

Most of the time, when I get sucked into an article reading vortex like that, I end up getting mad at myself for not finishing the actual to-do-list item I’m working on. But this time, I feel that it was time well spent — even knowing that I have to hustle harder today to make up for it.

Still on My To Do List for Today…

…aside from the usual articles I inevitably have to finish, is my balcony gardening project. Out of about one zillion strawberry seeds I attempted to start last month, only 3 germinated — and they somehow all germinated in the same coconut coir pellet. Phooey. I think the probability of that happening would be just about zero outside of user error. Like, maybe I watered that one pellet more than the others, or something.

I have a few more seeds left. So, I am going to try again. Wish me luck with that.

That’s it for now. Here’s wishing you a lovely day filled with happiness, chocolates, kittens, bunnies, crochet, knitting and / or whatever else your favorite things are.



5-8-2019: Visiting Family; Crochet Lace; New Pineapple Passion Crochet Book; More

The Narrows and the Virgin River at Zion National Park -- Photo courtesy of Karan Chawla at Unsplash.com.

The Narrows and the Virgin River at Zion National Park — Photo courtesy of Karan Chawla at Unsplash.com.

Hi there! Welcome! Thanks for dropping by. I hope you’re enjoying a lovely, productive and creative day.

I’m having an eventful week so far. This past weekend, my in-laws came to Utah for a visit with us. That was soooo much fun, especially for our daughter, because Grandma spent most of the trip playing with her.

We last saw my in-laws about 7 months ago when we went back to California for a mostly-business trip that also included a limited amount of socializing. At the time, Mike’s parents were busy with some important business of their own, so we didn’t get to spend much time with them then.

One of the highlights of this past weekend was a trip to Zion National Park, which I will hopefully write about in more detail in the future. The best part about it: The park staff really does an outstanding job of making the park as accessible as possible to everyone. I loved that!

There’s nothing like travel to renew my spirits and inspire my creativity. Now I’m back home, and I’m feeling energized and motivated to get back to work. I have a couple of ghostwriting articles at the top of my to do list. I’ve also been updating some of my own web pages and adding new ones. Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on:

Pineapple Passion, a Brand New Crochet Pattern Book by Karen Whooley

Pineapple Passion crochet pattern book by Karen Whooley, published by Occhi Blu Press

Pineapple Passion crochet pattern book by Karen Whooley, published by Occhi Blu Press

I’ve been a big fan of Karen Whooley’s since, I think, 2010, when I reviewed her amazing book called Fair Isle to Crochet (a book I still highly recommend if you’d like to crochet colorful blankets for anyone in your family).

Karen has just released a brand new and totally different sort of crochet pattern book. This one focuses entirely on wearable crochet lace projects that all incorporate updated versions of the classic crochet pineapple motif pattern. It’s a lovely concept for a pattern book — and I think Karen was the ideal designer to bring it to fruition. She has an eye for taking things that can seem complex, and distilling them down to the ultra-simple essentials you need to understand (without cluttering the book’s pages with any of the extra stuff that could trip you up or confuse you).

One of the most helpful things about the book: It includes symbol crochet charts in addition to written-out text instructions.

If this sounds like a book that would be of interest to you, I invite you to find more information about it in my detailed book review of Pineapple Passion..

My Picks for the Best Crochet Lace Pattern Books

Pineapple Passion has reminded me how much I adore crocheting lace. I love the dainty look of it — and I love how well it tends to drape and flow.

I also love how fast crochet lace typically works up. Often, crochet lace stitch patterns incorporate bunches of chain stitches, and chain stitches tend to work up fast. I suppose that makes sense. It’s quicker to make “lace holes” than it is to make solid crocheted fabric.

But, sometimes, the zippy-quick lacy stitch patterns are offset a bit if you use thin, fine yarns to work them with. Those fine yarns just take some extra time and attention to crochet with, and they can be a bit fiddly. But, since you also tend to get a more spectacular project when you crochet with finer yarns, I think that’s an excellent tradeoff overall.

Anyway, I bring all this up because I have been going through my entire collection of crochet pattern books and pulling out all my picks for the best crochet lace pattern books that are currently available. No, I don’t own every last crochet lace pattern book ever published, but I do have quite a few of them. So, if you enjoy crocheting lace too, I invite you to check out my page on the topic at crochet-books.com.

No Walk Today Because…It’s SNOWING!

In other news, would you believe it is currently snowing in Brian Head? Yep. I thought we were finished with snow, but this morning we woke up to a few more inches — and it’s been flurrying on and off all day. According to the Utah ski resort weather forecast, it looks like some of the other ski resorts like Park City are likely to have thunderstorms.

Our little family tries to take a walk together every day, but today the walk is officially canceled. Bummer.

That’s all for now.



4-29-2019: Woven Crochet, Dogs on Sweaters + Balcony Gardening

Hi there! How’s it going? I hope all is well with you. Today is 4-29-2019, and I’m having a lovely, productive day so far. I’m just finishing up my workday (which is possible at 2:30 PM because I woke up at 4:00 AM this morning, like I do most days).

New Woven Crochet Examples Posted at KnittingandCrochet.net

Today I have been working on updating my page about the woven crochet technique at KnittingandCrochet.net. In the past, I’ve crocheted about one zillion different swatches using this technique. The only woven crochet project I’ve actually finished is a scarf (except I still have to finish the end weaving — which is going to be a challenge).

Most of the woven crochet I’ve done looks really cool — but it doesn’t look cool enough to justify the crazy amount of work it takes to do it. So instead of sharing what I’ve come up with, I keep starting new swatches, hoping to find some elusive and magical combination of stitches. What I’m trying to find is a combination of stitches that will look spectacular, but actually be worth the substantial effort it takes to create a project using this technique.

I’m getting close to that…

So far, the closest I’ve come is with this swatch:

Woven Crochet Example I posted at KnittingandCrochet.net

Woven Crochet Example I posted at KnittingandCrochet.net

If you want to know how this swatch is made, you can find more details at this page about woven crochet.

This needs re-designing before I design an actual project with it — first of all, because I used yarn that has now been discontinued, and also because my first attempt at this fabric came out waaayyyyyyy too dense and stiff (which you can’t necessarily tell from looking at the picture).

In the actual form you see it, this fabric is practically suitable for making furniture, it’s that dense and stiff. I thought it would make a nice cat bed or basket, but it is so thick that a cat bed or basket would be prohibitively expensive for the average crocheter to make. It would make more sense to create a less dense version of this same sort of fabric.

So, back to the drawing board — but the idea is definitely promising. I think this type of stitch pattern will make a lovely scarf, cowl or pillow. With the right yarn and crochet hook combination, I could also see using it to design other types of projects.

You can see one other new woven crochet example at KnittingandCrochet.net.

I’m still pondering what to do about the scarf. The finished sample I made was far too labor intensive to want to mess around with. Even as I was crocheting it, it was testing my own patience levels. I have more patience than average, so if it took too long for my liking, I’m guessing no one else on earth would want to attempt it. So, I can only conclude that the scarf needs redesigning, too. That’ll be a project for another day — or maybe for never. For now, the scarf will remain in hibernation.

My Current Work-In-Progress Is…

Tunisian Crochet Mesh Accessories: Hat, Fingerless Gloves and Cowl

Tunisian Crochet Mesh Accessories: Hat, Fingerless Gloves and Cowl

…a revised version of this accessories set.

The set you see here in the picture is one I made awhile ago. At the time, I held back on releasing the pattern for a few different reasons.

For starters, the math is a little wonky with these projects as is. Not only that, in real life, each of the pieces is a little too small. I’m a little fuzzy on remembering the details of why, but I think it might be, at least in part, because I stretched them wayyyy too aggressively for blocking. Then after the blocking was complete, they relaxed more than I expected them to. Well, duh, of course they were going to do that. In hindsight, that seems obvious.

The instructions I wrote down at the time would more than likely have you all duplicating the same mistake, if you were to work that pattern. Yikes.

Plus, the main color in this design is a hand dyed color, and the others aren’t.

That’s a few too many problems for me to want to release the pattern exactly as is. But, I’m working on a simplified version that I think is going to be much better. I LOVE IT!

I made a similar hat and fingerless gloves in only 2 yarn colors. In the photographs above, the colorful colors are all Cascade 220. I’m redoing the set so all the yarn colors in the project will be Cascade 220.

I think this time I’m going to skip making the cowl (unless a few thousand of you beg for express interest in the cowl pattern…)

The hat and fingerless gloves have used up less than 2 full skeins of yarn, and there’s enough left over to make something else small. I’m still contemplating what I want that something else to be — perhaps a cell phone pouch or a headband. Would you have a preference on that? If so, I invite your comments below.

Dogs on Sweaters — a New Knitting Pattern Book

Dogs on Sweaters, a knitting pattern book featuring dog-themed projects by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. Trafalgar Square Books is the publisher of this title.

Dogs on Sweaters, a knitting pattern book featuring dog-themed projects by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. Trafalgar Square Books is the publisher of this title.

Trafalgar Square Books has an adorable new book available called Dogs on Sweaters. I just posted a book review of this title at KnittingandCrochet.net. The short version of my review: Thumbs up! The book is absolutely charming. If you knit, and you love dogs, I think you’re likely to enjoy it.

Our Balcony Garden

You: So, Amy. I hear you’ve started a balcony garden. What are you growing this season?

Me: Cats. I’m growing cats. Like this one:

My Balcony Garden, Complete With Cat

My Balcony Garden, Complete With Cat

OK, the honest truth is, I’m attempting to grow herbs — cilantro, dill, holy basil and chives — plus some strawberries. But so far, things with the balcony garden have not gone all that well.

Why is that?

A couple of reasons. The first is because every time a seed has germinated, this naughty little nuisance of a cat has attempted to eat it.

Mike and I know a lot of cats, because we’ve spent substantial amounts of time in Greece and Israel, two countries that have high feral cat populations. We’ve determined that this particular cat, Inky, is the fourth most annoying cat on planet earth. Remind me some other time to tell you about the 3 spectacularly annoying cats ahead of him in line for that distinction.

Anyway…aside from catnip, cats aren’t supposed to like herbs, are they?

But Inky likes herbs. He has a particular affinity for dill, but he’s not picky. He’ll attempt to eat any herb that germinates in my balcony garden.

I came to the conclusion that planting catnip was not optional. I planted some of it in hopes of deterring the cat from eating everything else. The catnip just germinated a couple of days ago. So far Inky has shown zero interest in it, despite me showing it to him repeatedly. So much for that idea…

I suppose what I really need to do is get some cat grass seeds. I used to grow cat grass, and Inky adored that.

Reason #2: I’m not getting many seeds germinating to start with, because I’m planting old seeds that were exposed to heat. Bummer. But I’m working with such a small space that hopefully, even with a low germination rate, I can get enough plants growing to fill the few flower pots I have available. Wish me luck with that…

Today I Ate…

Organic vegetable soup — no recipe available (yet), but you can check out the other organic recipes we’ve posted here.

Mike has some freshly baked organic bread in the oven as we speak. He is trying something weird — sneaking vegetables into the dough to see if we can get some extra nutrition into the three year old, who, like many kids her age, adamantly refuses to eat anything green.

Let’s hope this goes well. The jury is out. There are lots of places this experiment could go waayyyyy wrong, so we’ll see what happens.

Update: The vegetable bread was absolutely delicious. But, the three-year-old ate all of two bites of it. Make that three bites…

Today’s Workout…

…hasn’t happened yet. I was really hoping to go out for a walk with the family this afternoon — but, would you believe, it started snowing. That’s Brian Head for ya. It snows a lot here.

So, that’s how my day is shaping up. I better wrap this up — gotta go get the plants inside.



Crochet & Knitting Video Classes for Free

Get in on Some of the Best Crochet, Knitting and Craft Classes at CreativeLive — For Free!

My favorite website, CreativeLive.com, is going to be broadcasting some really cool knitting, crochet and other classes for free in the next couple of weeks — including some of Vickie Howell’s classes that you’d normally have to pay $29 each to access. There are too many interesting classes at CreativeLive to list them ALL, so if you want to see more of the classes they’ll be streaming soon, go here. They have classes on all kinds of topics, from pumpkin carving to personal finance. Here are a few of the classes that I’m hoping to take; perhaps they’re classes that you might also be interested in:

Crochet 101 with Vickie Howell: This is a crochet class for total beginners and also for crocheters who are new enough to the craft that an overview of the basics would be helpful. The class will stream at no charge on November 12-13, 2018.

While I am not a beginner to crochet (Far from it), I am planning to watch this class. I get many questions about crochet from total beginners, and I find it useful to familiarize myself with as many of the available beginner’s resources as I possibly can.

Crochet 102 with Vickie Howell: This is a crochet class that could help you get a better understanding of some advanced beginner and intermediate crochet techniques. This class will help you understand more about crocheting in the round and other topics. The class will stream at no charge on November 13-14, 2018.

Knitting 101 with Vickie Howell: This is a basic introduction to knitting for complete beginners. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to knit, but haven’t taken the plunge yet, this is a great opportunity to dive in and do it! November 14-15 is when the no-charge broadcast of this class will be taking place.

Knitting 201 with Vickie Howell: Would you like to learn how to knit socks? If so, tune into the free broadcast of Vickie Howell’s class called Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks at Creativelive. The free broadcast of this sock knitting class will take place on November 15-16, 2018. I caught part of this sock knitting class when they broadcast it last year, and found it worthwhile — although I still can’t exactly claim to be a sock knitting expert. In fact, I’m planning to watch the class again when it airs this month. I RSVP’ed for the class and am looking forward to it. 🙂 If sock knitting interests you, I hope you’ll have a chance to check it out, too. This isn’t usually a free class; the regular class price is $29. So getting in on the free broadcast is actually a really good deal.

Making Fabric and Yarn With Sweaters — Blair Stocker Is the Instructor: I think this is going to be a useful class for any of you who a) have good thrift stores within easy traveling distance or b) have sweaters that are no longer useful in their current form — perhaps they’re out of style, outgrown by the children they were made for, or they have stains that make them unwearable in their current form.

The point of the class: You’ll learn 2 different ways to transform these unwanted sweaters back into usable craft supplies. You’ll learn how to make felted fabric out of sweaters; you can use this fabric for making felted flowers or other projects. You’ll also learn how to transform the sweaters back into usable yarn for crocheting, knitting, tassel making, pompoms or whatever other yarn crafts you have in mind. This class broadcasts for free on November 16-17, 2018. Otherwise, the class is usually $39, although at the time I’m writing this it is temporarily on sale for only $33.

Here’s my understanding of the situation: If you want access to any of these broadcasts on the days they make them available at no charge, you’ll have to RSVP for each of the classes you’re interested in before it starts to air on its broadcast date. If you haven’t yet registered for membership at the CreativeLive website, you’ll have to take care of that beforehand; then log into the site so you can RSVP.

Tip: After you click through to the course description page, look up at the top right-hand side of your monitor for the black button that says “RSVP”. If your RSVP was successful, you’ll get an email confirmation from CreativeLive letting you know.

I’ve been a member of the CreativeLive website for several years (since 2015!) and I can vouch for the site; I’ve learned a TON from watching their videos and reading their blog posts and emails. Overall, I think they do a great job with finding interesting and knowledgeable instructors. I really enjoy their website, and I hope you’ll find it helpful, interesting and enjoyable, too.

Poll Regarding Your Favorite Knitting and Crochet Pattern Formats

Surprising but Inconclusive Poll Results

In my last knitting and crochet newsletter, I invited my subscribers to vote in a poll and give me feedback regarding which pattern formats they prefer. I don’t know why on earth it didn’t occur to me to post about it here sooner. To those of you who knit and crochet, I’d like to extend the same invitation: Please vote! I’d love to know which pattern format(s) you’re finding most valuable right now.

I’m actually pretty surprised with how the poll results have been shaping up so far. As of the last time I checked, it appears that pattern books are the format that many of y’all prefer. On one hand, not enough of you have voted for the data to be statistically significant at this point — so I’d definitely like to have more data. But on the other hand, enough votes have been posted in favor of pattern books that I’ll definitely devote more time in the future to writing pattern book reviews and submitting my own patterns to pattern books (although don’t worry, I don’t plan to stop posting my patterns on the internet any time soon).

It would really help me out if more of you would be willing to vote in the poll. With there only being so much time in the day, it’s important to me to understand what’s most important to you right now — so I can focus my energies in the right direction when working on which content to post and share with you in the future. I really value your feedback. Thanks in advance for any insights you have to share.

Related Resources

Fiber Art With Hearts

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, I thought it would be interesting to dig into my project archives and take a look at some of the Valentine crafts I’ve made in the past.

Crocheted Heart Embellished With Lace Trim, Flowers and Satin Bow -- Free Crochet Patterns Are Available for Both the Heart and the Lace Trim.

Crocheted Heart Embellished With Lace Trim, Flowers and Satin Bow — Free Crochet Patterns Are Available for Both the Heart and the Lace Trim.

Crocheted Heart Embellished With Lace Trim, Flowers and Czech Glass Button - Free Crochet Patterns Are Available for Both the Heart and the Lace Trim.

Crocheted Heart Embellished With Lace Trim, Flowers and Czech Glass Button.

Several years ago, I had such a great time embellishing these hearts that I’m thinking of crocheting a few more of them this year. My daughter is getting old enough that she might like to help me choose the embellishments for them. Lately, she’s had a thing for pompoms. Perhaps we could use a couple of these heart shapes to make a pompom embellished heart pouch or a child-sized purse for her to use for carrying her treasures.

Want to Make Some of These Fiber Art Hearts Too?

Embellishments for Heart #1 Shown Above:

  • Paper Flowers: Accent Scrapbooking
  • Chipboard Flower Button: American Crafts
  • Red Bow With Faux Pearl Accent: Offray

Embellishments for Heart #2 Shown Above:

  • Paper Flowers: Accent Scrapbooking
  • Czech Glass Button: I purchased a bunch of these lovelies from a seller in the Czech Republic who is apparently not selling online any more. Good thing there are many more incredible choices for finding Czech glass heart buttons.

I originally published this post on Feb. 26, 2010 and last updated it on January 9, 2018.

My Kittens Learn How to Crochet

12-12-2012 was an important day in history at our place. Why, you might ask? Well, that’s easy: It was the day my kittens learned how to crochet. Here’s how it happened:

Cindy says, Mommy, I'm going to learn how to crochet! She grabs my crochet hook and begins wrestling with my tape measure.

Cindy says, “Mommy, I’m going to learn how to crochet!” She grabs my crochet hook and begins wrestling with my tape measure.

Cute Kitten Grabs Crochet Hook. Then She Says, Can You Pleeze Splain to Me What Is This Thing For?

Then She Says, “Can You Pleeze ‘Splain to Me What Is This Thing For?”

Cute Kitten Bites a Crochet Hook

“I bite it?”

The Kitten Says, Mommy, this crochet book doesn't make any sense! My Response: Honey, you have the book upside down.

Gem says, “Mommy, this crochet book doesn’t make any sense!”
Me: “Honey, you have the book upside down.”

The cute cat says, Show me how to crochet, Mommy!

Izzy says, “Show me how to crochet, Mommy!”

OK Iz, I'll show you how to you crochet. Look here. This is how you make a single crochet stitch...

Me: “OK Iz, I’ll show you how to you crochet. Look here. This is how to do single crochet stitch…”

The cute cat says, I don't care about crochet, Mommy. I just want YARN!

Ginger says, “I don’t care about crochet, Mommy. I just want YARN!”

For anyone who really wants to learn how to crochet, the following pages will help:

Free Video Classes on Craft Photography, Blogging and Other Topics

Do you enjoy learning new skills by video? If you do, I hope you’ll share my enthusiasm for an amazing personal development resource I just discovered. It’s an Internet-based platform for video classes taught by some of the world’s most creative, innovative, successful and admired individuals. The best part is that you can take advantage of a huge variety of different video classes offered for FREE!

I just signed up for a couple of free classes:

  • Craft photography fundamentals taught by Candice Stringham on October 8-9, 2015; if you miss the free broadcast, or you’re busy that day but you still want to take the class, you’ll have the opportunity to get access to it for $79 US dollars.
  • How to write a blog post that drives traffic taught by Darren Murph; the free broadcast happens on October 30, 2015. If that day doesn’t work for you, you’ll still be able to take the class on a different day, at your convenience, for $29.

They’re offering bunches of other classes I’d be interested in taking as well:

Here are some additional links if you want to check out more options:

Which classes will you sign up for?

Crochet Book Giveaways, + Today in Review: 7/14/2015

So far, today has been a great day!

My Current Works-In-Progress Are…

This Crochet Cowl Is One of Amy Solovay's Current Craft Projects

This Crochet Cowl Is One of Amy Solovay’s Current Craft Projects

The “Messy Nessie Crochet Baby Bib”

When this crochet baby bib has been completed, it will look like the loch ness monster. Right now, it's a work in progress.

When this crochet baby bib has been completed, it will look like the loch ness monster. Right now, it’s a work in progress.

Today I Worked on…

  • …a couple of my works-in-progress, as pictured above.
  • …letting everyone know about Alla Koval’s new crochet pattern books plus the book giveaway that’s currently happening at KnittingandCrochet.net! (update: the giveaway has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope y’all had fun!)
  • …sending out a newsletter to my subscribers at KnittingandCrochet.net
  • …revisions for a freelance writing project I’ve been doing

Today I Ate…

  • Organic dates
  • Organic coconut
  • An organic omelet with leeks, chard, spinach, potatoes, and herbs
  • A gigantic fresh organic spinach tomato salad with herbs
  • Organic homemade tomato vegetable soup with sweet potatoes, leeks, and bunches of other herbs and veggies

Today’s Workout…

…was a long walk. We started off walking by the beach. It was a hot day, but there was a lovely breeze blowing, and the Mediterranean Sea was dotted with whitecaps from the wind.

Mike did his usual workout by the beach. While he was doing that, I walked up and down the stairs connecting the beach and the cliff several times.

I’m hugely pregnant at this point, and I’m finding that even walking slowly is getting to be a major exertion — let alone climbing stairs. But my midwife has advised me to take a walk every day, so I am walking. I also remember reading that climbing stairs helps get a baby’s head settled into mom’s pelvis. I definitely want to make sure my baby stays head down, and tired as I may be, this is a high priority.

From there we walked to the neighborhood grocery store to pick up a few things.

This wasn’t really a workout by my previous standards, but it was sufficient to tire me out. I’m not sure how much baby weight I’m carrying, but it’s probably in the range of 30-35 lbs — which for me is a massive weight gain. By the time we got back to the boat, I was thrilled to sit down and relax a bit.

Crafting for 4th of July

Crafting for Fourth of July: Learn How to Make Rag Balls for Fabric Crochet or Fabric Knitting

Crafting for Fourth of July: Learn How to Make Rag Balls for Fabric Crochet or Fabric Knitting

For the past few days, I’ve been putting together a roundup of 4th of July crafts and DIY project ideas over at FreeCrafts.info — and I want to mention that to you before I get sidetracked sharing insights about other related and unrelated topics that are competing for space in my brain. If you celebrate 4th of July, and you like to work on craft projects, I hope you’ll check out the page. I’ve shared pictures, tutorials, instructions, patterns and links for bunches of different ideas, from red white and blue spin art to various DIY jewelry-making, crochet and beading projects.

The objects pictured above look sort of like balls of red, white and blue yarn, don’t you think? They’re actually rag balls: that is, cut-up strips of fabric that have been wound into balls. You can You can knit or crochet with them in much the same manner you would with yarn, but they’re made of fabric. with them in much the same manner you would with yarn, but they’re made of fabric. I’ve used these to make one of the craft projects included on the list —this easy crochet necklace.

Because the fabric looks and behaves differently than yarn does, it’s really interesting to craft with it. One of the most intriguing things about the process, to me, is that you can introduce interesting prints and patterns into your knitting or crochet. I love experimenting with novelty yarns and variegated yarns: tweedy looks, space-dyed colors, boucles, etc — but the ability to add actual printed patterns to the mix is priceless.

The picture above only gives you a glimpse into the possibilities, as the fabrics I’ve used here are interesting but not that intricate. They’re batik fabrics with subtle patterning, which I think is perfect for the sorts of fabric crochet projects I like to make.

However, I invite you to use your imagination for a moment, and dream of how it might look if you were to make rag balls out of — for example — a printed fabric with red ground and small white stars, or perhaps a bandana print, or a blue and white gingham checked fabric.

I’d be interested to try incorporating fabrics like these into my own fabric crochet work. When crafting for holidays like 4th of July, I imagine that using such fabrics could add a whole new dimension to each finished project. For example, it could allow you to introduce relevant patterns, like stars, into each finished piece, without the obligation to actually crochet or knit any stars.

I find these ideas so intriguing that it’s all I can do not to drop everything else I have in progress and go off on this fun tangent — and someday in the future I hope I’ll be able to explore these ideas further. Right now, being pregnant, I have to prioritize working on baby projects. I have bunches of those in the works too, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be sharing the patterns and instructions for those with y’all shortly.

I apologize that I haven’t been sending out newsletters regularly; I’ve totally dropped the ball on that, and I feel really bad about it. I have so many things to share that by now it’s a little overwhelming to even think about all the stuff that’s going to be included in the next newsletter I do send out. I predict it is going to be absolutely packed with patterns and projects and ideas. I’m hopeful that I’ll even be sharing some of my best ideas and projects ever.

If you’re one of my newsletter subscribers, I really look forward to sharing these projects with you — but please bear with me while I pull them together in some sort of understandable format! Thanks for your patience with me, and please know that I really appreciate your subscription — and your interest in my work.

And if you aren’t already a newsletter subscriber, I invite you to subscribe now, because I don’t want you to miss out on any of the fun. Especially if you enjoy crocheting or knitting baby projects!