Category Archives: Crafts

Scalloped Hand Stamped Paper Flowers With Flourishes:

Pink and Purple Flower Embellishments With Buttons, Brads, Crystals and Flourishes

Pink and Purple Flower Embellishments With Buttons, Brads, Crystals and Flourishes

I made these fancy hand stamped paper flower embellishments to use on scrapbook pages, mini albums, and cards. They can be used the same way that you’d use Prima flowers, but the hand stamped version doesn’t cost as much. I wrote up a tutorial with instructions for how to make these pretty layered flowers; You can click here to see the instructions for how to make these paper flower embellishments. They are easy and fun to make.


Enjoy!

Thanks for dropping by. Hope you are having a lovely and creative day!

Latest Work 6-17-2019 Crochet Mesh Fingerless Gloves in a Rainbow of Colors

Hello Internet!


I’ve been on a roll with posting new crochet patterns. My latest pattern: A pair of rainbow crochet fingerless gloves.


This photo collage accompanies a FREE crochet pattern for rainbow fingerless gloves worked in Tunisian mesh stitch.

This photo collage accompanies a FREE crochet pattern for rainbow fingerless gloves worked in Tunisian mesh stitch.


Yes, I know, it’s June. Maybe someone in Australia can use these right now? (although, do be aware that the pattern is written in US terms…)


But, eventually, fall and winter will come again here in the USA — and at that point, perhaps you’ll be interested in having a pair of these to keep your hands warm (even while you’re texting or scrolling though your feeds). If you crochet, and these fingerless gloves suit your style, I invite you to grab the free crochet pattern for making them.

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.

Latest Work 6-11-2019: New Crochet Dishcloth Pattern + New Middle East Travel Guides

Tunisian Crochet Mesh Dishcloth and Washcloth + Mosaic Art From Baltimore Park in Ashkelon, Israel

Tunisian Crochet Mesh Dishcloth and Washcloth + Mosaic Art From Baltimore Park in Ashkelon, Israel

I’ve designed zillions of different crochet stitch patterns. In 2015, I decided to compile them into a crochet stitch dictionary.

As I was working on that, I discovered the stitch pattern you see pictured above — the Tunisian crochet mesh stitch. I say “discovered” because I am sure others before me must have found it first. It’s one of the easiest possible variations of afghan stitch, consisting of afghan stitches alternating with yarnovers.

I became so enthralled with this stitch that I got sidetracked from working on the stitch dictionary — instead designing project after project after project with this stitch.

Then I gave birth to my daughter, and I put all the projects plus the stitch dictionary on temporary hold as motherhood consumed all my energy.

Years later, I am realizing this is still my favorite crochet stitch pattern. It’s FAST. It’s easy. It’s drapey and lovely. The possibilities for colorwork with this stitch are incredible — which is why it has held my attention for so long. You wouldn’t guess that by looking at this pic, which is just a couple of plain white dishcloths. But working on this type of plain, solid-colored project is the best way to learn the stitch. Once you’ve mastered it, to the point you can work it on autopilot, you’re better equipped to interpret the instructions for colorwork patterns made using this stitch.

In the next few days, I will be sharing a free crochet pattern for these dishcloths / washcloths. My newsletter subscribers will be the first to know when it is released.

On a different note: I just posted an Ashkelon, Israel travel guide here at my website. I took this photo at Baltimore Park, a little-known park in Ashkelon. This park is home to some remarkable mosaic art that deserves a broader audience than it’s getting. At the park, you’ll find an outdoor mosaic art exhibit that was curated by the late Ilana Shafir. Shafir is world famous for her incredible, tactile mosaic work.

You’ll also find a series of fascinating, mosaic-covered structures that I guess are supposed to be benches — but I discovered that they also make good backgrounds for photographing my crochet projects.

Here you can see the mosaic benches in Ashkelon's Baltimore Park.

Here you can see the mosaic benches in Ashkelon’s Baltimore Park.

In this picture, you can see a couple of the things I've been talking about. These texting gloves show you an example of a colorwork pattern you can crochet using the Tunisian crochet mesh stitch. And they're photographed  at  Baltimore Park, with one of the mosaic benches as a backdrop. I LOVE how all the elements of this picture came together.

In this picture, you can see a couple of the things I’ve been talking about. These texting gloves show you an example of a colorwork pattern you can crochet using the Tunisian crochet mesh stitch. And they’re photographed at Baltimore Park, with one of the mosaic benches as a backdrop. I LOVE how all the elements of this picture came together.

I’ve spent many blissful hours enjoying the mosaics and the ambiance at this park.

If you have a chance to travel to Israel in the future, don’t overlook Ashkelon as a possible stop on your itinerary. Ashkelon is home to some of the most remarkable public spaces and art and antiquities I’ve yet observed in the course of my travels.

  • אשקלון#
  • ישראל#
  • #הסרוגה
  • #פסיפס

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.

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.



XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX,

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 & 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

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:

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.

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 ArtsWithCrafts.com — 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!

This post was last updated on 7-4-2019.

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.