Category Archives: Craft Books

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.


XOXOXOXOXOXOXOX,

Amy

About the Author: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at ArtsWithCrafts.com, KnittingandCrochet.net and Crochet-Books.com. Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials. If you’re already an Instagram user, Amy also invites you to follow her on Instagram.

This page was last updated on 7-3-2019.

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

So far, today has been a great day!

My Current Works-In-Progress Are:

In this photo collage, you can see two different examples of the Jardin Cowl, which is a crochet lace scarf pattern for girls aged 2-12. The example on the left is a finished cowl, which appears in the book "Imagical Seasons: Crochet Couture for Kids 2-12, Volume 1, Spring." The example on the right is a work-in-progress photo crocheted and photographed by Amy Solovay for KnittingandCrochet.net.

In this photo collage, you can see two different examples of the Jardin Cowl, which is a crochet lace scarf pattern for girls aged 2-12. The example on the left is a finished cowl, which appears in the book “Imagical Seasons: Crochet Couture for Kids 2-12, Volume 1, Spring.” The example on the right is a work-in-progress photo crocheted and photographed by Amy Solovay for KnittingandCrochet.net.

The “Messy Nessie Crochet Baby Bib”

I'm working on crocheting the "Messy Nessie Baby Bib Pattern" by Brenda K.B. Anderson, from an Interweave Press book called "Beastly Crochet". In this photo collage, you can see how the piece begins by working a charted design in either the tapestry crochet or intarsia technique.

I’m working on crocheting the “Messy Nessie Baby Bib Pattern” by Brenda K.B. Anderson, from an Interweave Press book called “Beastly Crochet”. In this photo, collage, you can see how the piece begins by working a charted design in either the tapestry crochet or intarsia technique.

When this crochet baby bib has been completed, it will look like a cute, imaginative, baby-friendly version of 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.

May 25, 2015: New Crochet Book Reviews

Today is May, 25, 2015. I’m beginning my notes for this post at 9:55 am local time here in the Med, and it’s already uncomfortably hot and humid here in our sailboat. This sort of intense heat zaps my energy and sucks it right out of me, so I’m hoping today’s post won’t end up reading something like “Today I slept all day. The end!”

Speaking of sleeping: My kitties all got up at some stupid early hour this morning, and they were running around like wildcats. I was awakened by one of them taking a broad leap and landing on my head. I have scratch marks on my face to show for that. 🙁

Now the kitties are all sleeping like little black and white angels. Happiness = 4 adorable sleeping cats.

6:24 PM

I ended up being more productive than expected today. No sleeping for me — not even a little nap.

Today I Crocheted…

…a swatch of “zig-zag lozenge stitch”, from Sarah Hazell’s Crochet Stitch Dictionary.

Today I crocheted this swatch of ZigZag Lozenge Stitch  from Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Sarah Hazell.

Today I crocheted this swatch of ZigZag Lozenge Stitch from Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Sarah Hazell.

This is an intriguing stitch that I’m interested in trying again, next time in stripes of three different colors.

Today I Published…

The short version of these reviews: I love both these books, and highly recommend them. I invite you to check out the reviews if you’re curious about the details of why.

Thanks for dropping by! I really appreciate your interest.

XOXOXOXOXO

Amy

About the Author: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at ArtsWithCrafts.com, KnittingandCrochet.net and Crochet-Books.com. Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials. If you’re already an Instagram user, Amy also invites you to follow her on Instagram.

This page was last updated on 7-3-2019.

May 24, 2015: Today in Review — Crocheting Baby Bibs and More

Today is May 24, 2015 — time to dust off my blog and get back to posting after another long, unintended absence. I’ve been busy doing a bunch of freelance writing, which means I’ve been updating zillions of other peoples’ blogs — just not this one. I also hadn’t been crafting much until Monday, when I finally started a new crochet project. I have been meaning to get busy with making baby projects for months now, but squeezing in the time to do it has been a problem.

My Current Work-In-Progress Is…

…the “Messy Nessie Baby Bib” from Beastly Crochet. This is a surprising turn of events, as I don’t work from other designers’ patterns all that often — plus the pattern isn’t really my style.

This decision came about because I happen to have both the pattern and appropriate yarn on hand, which is a minor miracle. At the moment I have to work from stash, and this was the most workable combination of baby bib pattern and yarn I was able to put together with what I have aboard our boat at the moment.

I’d rather be making Robyn Chachula’s “burp cloth bib” from Baby Blueprint Crochet. However, my copy of that pattern book is in storage in California, and I am in the Mediterranean, so that’s not an option.

Oh well, I think it’s fun to wander out of my comfort zone every once in awhile. As far as baby bibs go, the kid will likely be spilling food all over it. So really, on a scale of things to worry about, the design of one bib is not a biggie.

RE “the kid” — here’s some big news for you. I have a little one on the way! And so this project is earmarked just for him / her (not sure which, as we are waiting to be surprised about whether our little darling is a son or a daughter.)

Today I Worked on:

Today I Ate:

  • 2 Fresh organic grapefruits — 1 sprinkled with coconut, which I love, but we ran out of it and so I didn’t get to put any on the second one I had a little later. Booo! 🙁
  • Organic / free range egg and veggie wraps with fresh, homemade, made-from-scratch bread that is something of a cross between a tortilla and a pita.
  • A gigantic fresh organic salad that was herbed beyond all reasonable levels of flavorful. I asked Mike to stuff my usual bowl full of cucumbers, tomatoes and salad veggies with loads of additional fresh basil, turmeric, garlic and other herbs in an attempt to increase my mineral and nutrient consumption. He complied and I dutifully ate it all, but my taste buds were in shock.
  • Fresh organic pasta with tomato sauce that Mike made by hand, from scratch, using spelt flour. Do the words “unbelievably, amazingly yummy” mean anything to you? The man is spoiling me.

Today’s Workout

…wasn’t actually a workout. Does a leisurely moonlit stroll by the beach count? No? OK, just checking, but I didn’t think so.

I’m still trying to keep active, but the workouts I was doing before are out of the question at the moment. Before my pregnancy, I was doing a lot of lifting-my-own-body-weight type exercises. The more baby weight I gain, the less I feel like doing those. I’m keeping up with my walking (more or less — my speed has slowed a lot) and doing gentle stretching, but tonight, for me, a walk was enough.

This page was last updated on 6-26-2019.

Inspiring Crochet Books

I just got a whole bunch of new crochet books, and I am working on reviewing them for the web sites I write for. My most recent book review is for a book called Fair Isle to Crochet by Karen Ratto Whooley, published by Leisure Arts. I was really impressed by this book.

My favorite project from the book is a Southwestern-style afghan crocheted in appealing colors. I occasionally design Southwestern patterns for upholstery fabric, and know it is a challenge to do Southwestern designs well.

If you’re interested in crocheting colorful afghans, that book is a good one to check out. Want more details? Click on over to my detailed book review to see more info.

Judging from the amount of books she writes, I can only imagine that Darla Sims must be one busy lady. I can’t believe what a prolific author she is. Her book called Triple Play Pattern Stitches is one of my current favorite crochet stitch dictionaries; now I’m busy delving into two of her latest books. I haven’t had a chance to review them yet — too busy trying out the various stitches she designed — but I hope to post new book reviews soon.

More Inspiring Crochet Books

About the Author: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at KnittingandCrochet.net , ArtsWithCrafts.com and Crochet-Books.com. Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials. If you’re already an Instagram user, Amy also invites you to follow her on Instagram.

This page was last updated on 7-9-2019.