New Book Brings Tunisian Crochet to the Nursery

ImageDesigner Sharon Silverman has just released her latest book, Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, which features a collection of 8 gorgeous blankets that are sure to delight the hearts of wee ones and moms-to-be.

“I love the color possibilities and textures of Tunisian crochet, and I wanted to bring some of that excitement to the nursery,” explains Sharon. In fact, the patterns incorporate a range of classic and inspiring Tunisian crochet stitch patterns, including an attractive basket weave pattern, a bold and contemporary chevron stitch pattern, a fun and playful bobble stitch pattern, a light and airy Tunisian extended stitch pattern, and a simply irresistible cable and honeycomb stitch pattern

There is something for everyone in Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets – the patterns are easy to follow and Leisure Arts has developed a range of instructional videos to accompany each one. Beginners can sink their hooks into “Purple Garden” which features a warm and cuddly full stitch pattern and gives newcomers the opportunity to become familiar with the hand motions of Tunisian crochet.

Bright Strands

‘Bright Strands’ features a beautiful stranded colorwork pattern.

Another pleasant surprise in Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets is a jaw-dropping stranded colorwork pattern for those of us who would like to take our stitching skills to the next level. “Stranded Tunisian, the technique in the “Bright Strands” blanket, was new to me [as well],” Sharon adds. “The way you can use just two colors on a given row and create such an interesting geometric pattern was very appealing.  It was fun to chart out the design on paper and then to have it to take shape on my hook.”

The print version of Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets will be available in January 2014; however, the e-book is available today. As a special treat, Leisure Arts is also offering a stand-alone pattern for free download. The “Heirloom Frame” blanket was designed by Sharon in conjunction with the book. Happy Stitching!

December 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Blocking Pippi

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I have always loved Rowan’s pattern books – beautiful stitch patterns and classic designs that never disappoint. A few months ago, I treated myself to the Rowan Pattern Book Holiday Crochet – every pattern in the collection is spectacular and I am looking forward to working my way through each of them. But, I started with Pippi, using some of my treasures from the MDSW 2013 – Sunna by Spirit Trail Fiberworks in the yummy color, Smashed Raspberries.

Pippi works up quickly and surprisingly uses very little yarn (only 700 yds in a size medium!). I finally found a moment in the craziness of the Christmas season to block it. Can’t wait to wear it next week!

Happy Stitching!

December 21, 2013 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

Stitching for a Cause

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Who knew destashing for a good cause could be so much fun?!? My oldest daughter and I have starting a knitting and crocheting club at her middle school. The plan is to make baby sweaters to donate to a local crisis pregnancy center. After reaching out to several of the major yarn companies for support with little success, I decided that I had more than enough yarn to keep the girls stitching all year long. And so it seems that I was right. This is what I have pulled out so far. It seems as if my taste in yarn has evolved dramatically over the past 20 years – I found plenty of acrylic yarns in colors suitable for infant and toddler clothing. Hubby has been on me for at least a decade about the amount of yarn that I have stashed in my craft room. So, it’s a win-win for all. The girls are happy, he’s happy, the expected mother’s will be happy….and, I am happy since I now have an excuse to buy more yarn. Happy Stitching!

December 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Busy Hands……

Surprisingly, my hands have been very busy lately. I have three projects that are actively in the works – a crochet project, a tunisian crochet project, and a knitting project. Last night, I started designing a wrap to wear to a big charity ball that my husband and I will attend this November. I must admit that I really like how it is turning out so far.

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I plan to shimmer and sparkle the night away in this wrap!

I am also working on the Pippi sweater by Marie Wallin (Rowan Holiday Crochet) in some gorgeous yarn that I found at this year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival –   Sunna (merino, cashmere, silk blend) by Spirit Trail Fiberworks. And lastly, a charity project – my daughter and I have started a knitting and crochet club at her middle school. Our project this year is to make baby sweaters for crisis pregnancy centers in the area. I am working on the Hooded Baby Jacket by Bernat Design Studio.

As you can see, there is lots to keep my hands busy these days! Happy Stitching!

September 18, 2013 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Crochet Charts Software Now Includes New Stitch Library for Tunisian Crochet Designers

Tunisian Stitch LibraryFor years, crochet designers have begged and pleaded for an easy-to-use, affordable software solution for crochet charts. Two years ago, Brian Milco, from Stitch Works Software, answered our prayers with the release of Crochet Charts.

“It has been quite a ride!  I’ve had a good response from people all around the country and the world. I’ve had sales in 44 US states and territories, and 47 countries on 6 continents. And from them, I’ve had a lot of really good feedback that I’ve tried to incorporate into each subsequent release and into my plans for the future of the software,” explains Brian.

Recently, Brian partnered with Wheat Carr, owner of ItsAllJustString.com, and Tunisian crochet designer Kim Guzman to create a basic stitch library for those of us who enjoy designing with the long hook. “Wheat was the one to suggest the partnership; she facilitated the process and kept us from dropping the ball, even when I had a full schedule,” Brian continues.

The Tunisian crochet stitch library contains a set of 16 basic stitches and is available as a free download for those who already have the Crochet Charts software.  “I had Brian’s software from the moment it was introduced. It is a fantastic software and just what the market needed. I have wanted software like this for at least a decade and I felt that the addition of Tunisian crochet symbols would be outstanding,” adds Kim. In fact, Kim recently published Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide, which is the perfect companion for the Crochet Charts Tunisian crochet stitch library. The Tunisian crochet stitch library can be used to create all of the stitch patterns in Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide. Although she was unable to use the software while writing this book, she looks forward to using it in the future.

“[The Tunisian crochet stitch library] would have made writing my book a lot easier. I usually chart my stitch pattern after I’ve finished writing it out. It’s my method of double-checking the written text,” Kim explains. “Something wonderful happened one day when I was working on some designs and I needed to chart them out first. During the charting process, in order to make a nice clean chart, I inadvertently discovered a method that allows you to make Tunisian cables that actually sit up on the fabric instead of embedded inside the fabric. It was a complete fluke. I don’t think I ever would have tried it if I hadn’t been attempting to fill in spaces on the chart. It’s just amazing what happens when you look at something in a different way. With one of my next projects, I have to do a lot of prior planning of extensive cabling. I plan on charting the entire thing before I get started because I love to be able to see the way the project should look before I even start crocheting. It helps me identify and avoid any potential problems, especially with a large project.”

What’s New for Crochet Charts?

Brian has planned several updates to Crochet Charts, which will enhance the functionality of the software. Upcoming features include the ability to change the stitch color for each stitch; the ability to have a grid or round guidelines with a custom number of rows or rounds, and columns; and, improved handling of grouped stitches. In addition, he plans to include support for iPad and Android tablets in the future.

The Tunisian Crochet Evolution Continues

Tunisian crochet has continued to surge in popularity as more and more designers bring fashionable and functional pieces to life and publishers become more willing to share their creations. “[Tunisian crochet] has moments of great attention, but its devotees form a serious sized ‘underground’ of practitioners. What has changed [most, though,] is the support from the equipment manufacturers and distributors,” explains Wheat.

“When I submitted my first three books in Tunisian crochet, I had developed a stitch which hadn’t been readily used in publications in almost a century. I had no idea that it was a different stitch. I thought perhaps I had done something incorrectly. But, with Tunisian crochet, there really is no incorrect way to do stitches. It’s still in its infancy and continues to evolve,” adds Kim.

Surely, the new Tunisian crochet stitch library will help greatly in this evolution. Not only will the library promote a universal language for Tunisian crocheters, it is sure to become an indispensable tool for designers as they strive to produce clear and easily understandable patterns for all of us to enjoy.

August 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm 1 comment

Project Wrap-Up…..A Sweater, Hat and Scarf!

I have a bad habit……I usually finish a project and put it in the “to be blocked” pile. I had several projects in the pile and I decided to finish blocking them this week….uuum…..to make some room for my two new Tunisian crochet designs. My craft room is filled with yarn and I keep several projects next to my bed – so, it was time to get a little organized. I should add that for both projects, I bought the yarn during MDSW 2012.

Anyway, the first project is my MDSW sweater, made with some gorgeous worsted weight yarn from creativelydyed. Unfortunately, I altered the pattern to custom fit my body several months ago and I have now lost 61 pounds. I still love the sweater and will just pull it closer to me. It was originally intended to be a “cropped, close-fit” sweater for wearing with jean and such. Well, after blocking and losing weight, this is what it looks like.

MDSW Sweater_front MDSW Sweater_back

The second project is a hat and scarf set made with “Mirabella” by Tess Designer Yarns. The scarf pattern was designed by my dear friend Sharon Silverman and I had extra yarn, so I decided to “freestyle” a matching hat. I have to say that in the middle of June, the hat and scarf are very warm!

Premium Cable Set

June 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm 2 comments

A Designer’s Lesson Learned…..

Take notes! I wasted nearly an entire week trying to recreate a swatch that I had designed two years ago. If only I had of written down my thoughts after that brilliant (a brief!) moment of stitching genius, I would be working on the design now instead of still swatching. I have lost count of all of the swatches I made and frogged since last week, but hopefully I have it figured out now. I am so looking forward to this design – it’s been on my mind for two years, inspired by the perfect yarn. Fingers crossed – tomorrow I finalize the swatch and block it; Monday’s math day; and, Tuesday, the design starts flying off my hook.

June 9, 2013 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

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