Category Archives: Crafts

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.

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

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

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:

Would You Like to Try a New Hobby?

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile now, you already know that I like to crochet, knit, scrapbook, rubber stamp, paint, draw, collage and make jewelry. I also occasionally dabble in other crafts like sewing, quilting and embroidery. Over the years, I’ve posted free instructions and ideas for many of the craft projects I’ve made; and I also spend many hours looking at craft blogs and websites on the internet looking for interesting crafts to share. So if you want to try a new craft or hobby, I have plenty of fun suggestions. If you think you’d like to get started with any of those hobbies, or others, the following links can help get you started:

Crafts and Hobbies 101:

Crochet was the first craft I ever got serious about. I don’t even remember how old I was when I got started with it — maybe 6 or 7 years old? So, I am now thirtysomething fortysomething (haha) and have been crocheting for quite awhile.

Perhaps you’ve never given any thought to learning how to crochet. Has anyone ever explained to you how much fun it is? Or how relaxing it is? Or how easy it is? Or how affordable it is to get started with? Maybe not. Well, I recently wrote a new article: Crochet for Beginners. The article provides basic considerations you should know about before getting started.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to crochet, this is a fantastic time to jump in and give it a try.


See Also: The Best Crochet Books for Beginners

More Wonderful Hobbies I Recommend:

Hope you’ll make good use of the information! Happy “hobbying”! 🙂


This page was originally posted on July 25, 2010 and was last updated on January 9, 2018.

Best Scrapbooking Embellishments

Ask ten different scrapbookers what they think the best scrapbooking embellishments are, and you’ll get ten different sets of answers; it’s a highly subjective question.

If you were to ask me what I think the best scrapbooking embellishments are, these are the answers I’d have given you in March of 2010 when I originally wrote this post. I’m updating the post to make it current for 2018, because I’m getting back into scrapbooking after having taken a break from it. Surprisingly, many of my old favorites are still available and still current for 2018.

Clear Scraps Slides:

Clear Scraps slides are still available from the Clear Scraps website, and they still get my vote as deserving of a spot on the list of best scrapbooking embellishments.

This romantic Valentine's Day themed scrapbook layout includes some of my picks for the best scrapbooking embellishments. Scrapbook Layout Made With Clear Scraps Acrylics and Be Loved Papers from My Mind's Eye.

This romantic Valentine’s Day themed scrapbook layout includes some of my picks for the best scrapbooking embellishments. Scrapbook Layout Made With Clear Scraps Acrylics and Be Loved Papers from My Mind’s Eye.

Scrapbook Layout With Clear Scraps Slides

Scrapbook Layout With Clear Scraps Slides — Patterned Papers & Other Embellishments by Scrap Within Reach & My Mind’s Eye

A Clear Scraps Slide Embellishment Adorns the Cover of This Mini Album

A Clear Scraps Slide Embellishment Adorns the Cover of This Mini Album

Scrapbook Layout With Clear Scraps Embellishments

Scrapbook Layout With Clear Scraps Embellishments

Clear Scraps slides come in packages of 4, and each one is a different shape and size. These embellishments are made with clear acrylic, and they go with everything. They add visual interest to a project without cluttering it up.

I especially love using Clear Scraps slides on “guy” layouts. My husband isn’t all that enthusiastic about seeing ribbon and glitter on his mountain biking pages, but he really likes how the slides accentuate his photos and make them look more interesting.

You can alter the slides in creative ways — ink or stamp them with Stazon ink, color them with alcohol inks, draw on them with paint markers, emboss them, etc.

Above, I’ve pictured a few examples of my scrapbooking projects made using these slides.

Letter Stickers by Reminisce

Reminisce makes a variety of letter stickers, and I’ve tried a bunch of them. So far, I really like all the ones I’ve tried, but my favorites are the older block-letter fonts. The fantastic thing about them is that they make the same font in a variety of different colors. This appeals to me because using them throughout an album gives all the album pages a coordinated appearance, yet I can still use different colors that match my photos and papers.

Also, the letters are really sticky. They don’t fall off once you stick them down.

I have bunches of layouts made with these, and at one point the photos were all posted online. They aren’t online at the moment — sorry. I’m going to have to eventually re-upload the pictures of these:

Thickers Letter Stickers by American Crafts

When I want to add dimension to the cover of a mini album, Thickers are the embellishments I reach for. I occasionally use Thickers on 12×12 pages, but I enjoy them most on album covers– typically, clear album covers or chipboard album covers.

These are still available and going strong as of January 2018, and they still make my list of best scrapbooking embellishments.

Where to Buy Thickers Letter Stickers:

Handmade Scrapbooking Embellishments:

It would be a mistake for me to end this list without mentioning handmade embellishments. All the items listed above are embellishments you can buy ready-made. If you really want to make a layout special and meaningful, I think that making your own embellishments is preferable. Now that I think about it, handmade embellishments really should be #1 at the top of the list.

Making Your Own Scrapbook Embellishments:

This page was originally posted on Mar 16, 2010 and was last updated on January 9, 2018.