Crocheted Aliens in the Western US

Annie’s Adventures

Annie the Alien went on an exciting adventure this past summer. She joined us on our road trip from Georgia to Las Vegas, NV and everywhere in between.  From the bright lights of the Vegas Strip to some of the most breathtaking vistas in the United States, Annie enjoyed them all.  She wanted to share with you some of her favorite sites.   Psst! See below for a special offer in honor of National Crochet Month, 2017!

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Somehow a pink alien fit right in at infamous Las Vegas!

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Annie the Alien LOVES Bryce Canyon.  She didn’t want to leave…. Annie will be back.  I’m sure of it.  And she will bring her brother Arnie to see it all.

annie-the-alien-enjoys-the-views-of-the-grand-canyon

Annie the Alien enjoys the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The North Rim is so peaceful.  We saw very few humans at the overlooks.   BTW, the black bean soup at the little snack bar at the North Rim Visitor’s Center is REALLY GOOD!

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Another view of Annie the Alien at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. WOW! It is AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!

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Annie the Alien started this hike at 6am to avoid the 110 degree weather. Boy, was it worth it! The arch is HUGE!!!!!  Do you see the person in the middle of the arch and one on the left side?

Want to make your own Annie (or Arnie)? You CAN! In honor of National Crochet Month, 2017, the Arnie and Annie Baby Lovey Crochet Pattern is FREE with any Crochet by Darleen Hopkins purchase on Ravelry. Yup! With the purchase of any of my self-published patterns on Ravelry and coupon code “AnnieNatCroMo2017“, you can get the pattern for free. Happy Crocheting! Valid during the month of March 2017 only (expires 3/31/2017 11:59 PM EST)  Use this link to get started. The pattern and the coupon are already added to your cart.  You just need to figure out what other pattern you would like by clicking on “View all available items” at the top of the page. ENJOY!

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New Pattern Alert! Tiffany Scarf, crochet

New Pattern Alert! Tiffany Scarf, crochet

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The Tiffany Scarf.  Create a beautiful lace scarf with this easy crochet pattern.  If you use the suggested yarn, you can make the scarf as it is written with just one ball!  Written for fingering weight yarn but instructions are provided to adjust the length for any gauge and any weight from lace to DK.  The scarf is stitched the lengthwise.  A chart is included with the full written instructions.  The entire scarf can be completed in just a few hours.

So, why is it called the Tiffany Scarf?  I don’t know!  I just thought it fit. 🙂

Pattern information can be found here: The Tiffany Scarf

And, like all my patterns, the Tiffany Scarf is included in the Crochet by Darleen Hopkins Buy 2 Patterns, Get a 3rd for FREE! sale on Ravelry. No coupon needed.

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

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Crochet Designer Interview: Susan Carlson

Crochet Designer Interview: Susan Carlson with Felted Button

One of the many great things about the Indie Gift-A-Long is discovering new (to me) designers.  I took one look at Susan’s designer page, Felted Button, and I knew I had to feature her on my blog.  Her use of color is phenomenal.  Let’s learn more about Susan.

Star Fruit Blanket or Rug by Susan Carlson

Star Fruit Blanket or Rug crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Hi! Susan Carlson of Felted Button here. I’m a former science teacher turned full-time crochet designer. I feel extraordinarily grateful that I can do this crochet gig every day! It’s such a blast!

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?

I first learned to crochet from my grandmother who came for a short visit when I was 9. She was making granny squares and taught me to make one. I thought it was fun, but got really distracted with other things for many years until I discovered some lovely blogs and decided to pick up the hook again. It’s been about 11 years now.

Toddle Tee Pee crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Toddler Tee Pee crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

I have been designing now for just over 4 years. When I first began crocheting I tried lots of different patterns and techniques to build my skill base. But eventually I had so many crocheted items around that my house was overflowing. (You can only give so many hats, scarves and bags to friends and family, right?) So I opened an Etsy store to sell off my extras. Surprisingly they began to sell. But the stress of shipping, meeting customer deadlines, etc., made the whole process stressful for me. I had already begun to create my own designs and realized that with my technical writing skills, teaching and experience with so many patterns, I could write up my own! So Felted Button officially began then.

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you? What do you enjoy most about the craft?

Hands down the best part of designing is seeing something that began as an idea in my head translated through my hook and hands, through a pattern, to someone else’s head, hook and hands! It’s magical, I tell ya! Playing with yarn, color and textures also gives me a thrill. Regarding the benefits of crochet’s calming effect on my head and heart—well, it’s just the ticket. I have a very noisy brain and through crochet am able to focus and quiet my brain. It’s very cathartic to me.

Gifted Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Gifted Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?

I am very much a beginning knitter and would love to become more skilled at it! It does such wonderful things, that honestly crochet doesn’t do nearly as well. But I’m having a tough time balancing my business, busy family and other life obligations to squeeze it in. I will, though! I will!

What influences your style?

I have always been crazy for color. Always. Rainbow bedding as a child, a desire for purple shag carpeting as a kid (you now know how old I am, huh?), bright and bold flowers for my wedding. I just love color. My house looks like a crazy person lives here. If you use all of the colors, nothing has to match, right?

What inspires you and/or your designs?

I find inspiration from nature, photographs, quilts, graphic images, ceramics, yarn, color…

Abacus Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Abacus Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

What is your favorite design of yours, why?

It is hard to pick my favorite from over 100 designs, but I am really pleased with my Abacus Blanket. I like the options it has for color, its texture and that the “mock” bullion is so much easier and quicker than a regular bullion. Plus, it is clean.  I like clean designs.

What pattern/design are you most proud of, why?

This would have to be my Monet’s Garden Throw. I started with 10 disparately colored balls of yarn and challenged myself to make them look beautiful together. I think I pulled it off and am really tickled about how it all came together.

What are your favorite stitches?

It is hard to pick a favorite since they all have a place, depending on the design, and I don’t want to leave any out. But if I had to pick one, it would be the hdc (US). It’s so nice and tidy from the back and front, good height so things grow quickly, but leaves no gaps. I like it.

Monet's Garden Throw, crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Monet’s Garden Throw, crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

What is/are your favorite crochet tool(s) or notion(s)?

My Clover Amour hooks. And buttons, of course.

Where can we find you?

Website: http://www.feltedbutton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/feltedbutton

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/susan-carlson

Instagram: @FeltedButton

Thank you Susan!!!  Your bright, fun colors are truly an extension of your personality.  🙂

Would you like to learn more about other crochet designers?  Check out this link and be sure to follow CrochetByDarleenHopkins.com!

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Year-end clean out yields lots of WIPs

Lots of WIPs finished this weekend!

Every few months I like to go through all my projects bags and miscellaneous stashed boxes and bags of yarn.  I spend anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes organizing what I have. I often find yarn in bags for designs that I decided against making.  That yarn goes in the car to be returned to the store. (I know, some people would never return yarn but I have TOO MUCH! if a design doesn’t get made, I have to return the yarn.  I don’t have the room to store any more.)  And I always find WIPs. If they are not likely to be completed, they are removed from the project bag and placed back in the yarn storage boxes to be ripped out for the next time I want to use that yarn.  WIPs that need to be finished are placed back in a project bag with whatever is needed to complete it.

blue-rivers-for-hopeharmony-for-hopeThis clean out I found a couple hats that were almost done.  Actually, I thought I had already finished and mailed them to Halos of Hope.  The first is from the Blue Rivers hat pattern.  I did not have enough yarn for a pom-pom so I made a removable tassel.  The second is from the Crocheted Harmony hat pattern.  I omitted the brim and the tassel.  I think it looks great as a slightly slouchy beanie. Both of these hats are crocheted in Lion Brand Heartland.  I found a third hat that was only just started.  I want to finish it but I have some holiday crocheting I have to complete first.  I’ll save it for my next mail out to Halos of Hope.

christmas-pick-fundraiser-1I also found some Christmas Pickles I had started for a fundraiser for the local high school marching band.  They are in need of new uniforms.  A couple parents and I are making items to sell at the holiday concert in hopes to raise a little more money for the uniforms.  Yesterday, I was able to get 8 Christmas Pickles Gift Sets packed up and ready to sell.

A couple recent projects that were started but not finished were some dishcloths for my parents.  I cannot show a picture because they both read my blog. 🙂 (Hi Mom and Dad!)  But I was able to finish them too.

It was a productive weekend.  The hats were finished, labeled and mailed.  The pickles were finished and the gift sets were packaged and are ready to sell.  And the dishcloths were finished and are ready to be delivered.  Super excited to have all these items completed as there are only 14 days to Christmas and I have a number of holiday gifts to finish!

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Crochet Designer Interview: Annette Petavy

Crochet Designer Interview: Annette Petavy

If you subscribe to Interweave Crochet then you are sure to be familiar with Annette Petavy.  A talented designer who is not only fluent in crochet, but in English, Swedish and French! WOW! Let’s get to know more about this talented woman.

Please, tell us about yourself, Annette.
I’m Swedish, but have been living in France for almost 30 years with my French husband. We have two children who somehow have reached the mature ages of 15 and 20 – not really sure how that happened. I quit my day job 10 years ago to become a full-time crochet designer. What really happened is that I now have a new day job, where I manage my web site, source yarns, tech edit and publish patterns by other designers – and sometimes work on my own designs.

cirkel-by-annette-petavy

Cirkle Crochet Pattern by Annette Petavy

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?
I learnt how to crochet when I was about 6 years old. My mum taught me. She also taught me how to knit and sew.

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?
I re-discovered crochet 15 years ago, when I was pregnant with my son. I had crocheted many, many doilies as a teenager, because I really loved crocheting. I stopped because doilies weren’t my thing, and for some reason I thought I couldn’t crochet anything else. Fast forward to 2001, when I realised that I could make anything I wanted in crochet. Back then, the available crochet designs were not to my taste, so I simply started to make my own.
Via the magic of the Internet, I got in touch with Kim Werker when she was just starting up the Crochet Me website, and I wrote a number of articles for Crochet Me. Interweave Press contacted me and other people who worked with Kim and asked us to contribute to a special issue of Interweave Knits about crochet. After that, I just continued…

grenobloise-by-annette-petavy

Grenobloise Crochet Pattern by Annette Petavy

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you?  What do you enjoy most about the craft?
The colours, the fibers – and also the technicity of it. I still feel that crochet is a vastly underused craft, and that there’s so much left to do and work out about crocheted fabric.

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?
I knit quite a lot too, and do some knit design as well. In crochet, my designs tend to be relatively complex, but in knitting I’m all about simple stitches. However, crochet influences my knit design – I’m really into reversible knitted fabrics.

I would love to do more sewing. I’m planning on buying a small weaving loom. And when I retire (if that ever happens) I want to learn woodworking!

capelette-by-annette-petavy

Capelette Crochet Pattern by Annette Petavy

What influences your style?
The textile traditions of my Swedish background, the effortless stylishness of French women and my fascination with the endless possibilities of crochet come together in different ways depending on what I’m making.

What challenges do you face when designing and how do you overcome them?
My biggest challenges are time and tendinitis! If only I could crochet at least 24 hours a day!

What are your favorite stitches?
I love the humble hdc. A stitch full of potential!

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Excentrique Crochet Pattern by Annette Petavy

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?
I’m either in the woods with my poles – I’m almost fanatic about Nordic walking – or in my garden. If I’m indoors, you will find me in the kitchen – but almost never in front of the television.

Where can we find you?
My Ravelry designer page: http://www.ravelry.com/ designers/annette-petavy
I am in the process of moving over all English patterns to Ravelry from my own website.

My blog is sometimes bilingual, sometimes only in French, but it can be worth to check it out here: http://www.annettepetavy.com/ blog/
I will be running a Crochet Advent Calendar on my blog during December, both in French and English. Join us if you like!

You can sign up for my newsletter in English here: http://eepurl.com/6WRg9
Every month, you will get information about what I do in the fiber world, as well as a crochet tutorial.

And you can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ annettepetavydesign/

Thank you so much Annette! Your designs are beautiful.  I’m so in love with Cirkle.  🙂

Would you like to learn more about other crochet designers? Check out this link and be sure to follow CrochetByDarleenHopkins.com!

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

The Christmas Pickle, a fun holiday tradition

The Christmas Pickle

Every family has holiday traditions; some large, some small.  Some traditions focus on family gatherings; Easter egg hunt at Grandma’s after a sunrise church service, travel to visit family every year at Thanksgiving or a large Christmas dinner for fifteen with the in-laws (be sure to bring your famous mac-n-cheese!).  Some traditions are smaller, more personal to mom, dad and the kids.  Maybe you decorate your Christmas tree together on Thanksgiving, celebrate half-birthdays or hide some really hard to find Easter eggs with special prizes inside that take a good hour of searching to locate.  One tradition I have enjoyed is making my boys a special, crocheted Christmas gift.  Over the years I have crocheted stuffed monsters, cats, gnomes, popular characters, and most recently, stuffed dragons playing my kids’ favorite sports.

christmas-pickle-holliday-tradition-crochet-patternThere is one holiday custom I recently discovered that I believe will become a new tradition in our home.  The Christmas Pickle.  This custom is so silly that I feel it will be welcomed with open arms in my household.  If you haven’t heard of it, it is pretty simple.  A Christmas ornament in the shape of a pickle is placed upon the Christmas tree.  The first child to find the ornament on Christmas morning receives a special gift or will have extra good luck for the year.  That is it.  The pickle, being green, is hard to see and therefore a type of treasure hunt.   But why a pickle?  That is what is so silly.  What do pickles have to do with Christmas?  There is no connection to the religious celebration for Christians or the Santa Claus/St. Nick aspect of it.   It is totally random.

Surely there must be a reason for the pickle.  A quick internet search will yield a few different theories as to the origin of the custom.  It was originally thought to be a German tradition but that seems to have been disproved.  One theory as to the origin is about a dying prisoner of war who asked a guard for one last pickle.  His wish was granted and the pickle gave him enough strength and the will to live.  The prisoner survived and was able to return home to his family.  True or not, it is a touching story about how a little act of kindness in an awful situation could inspire an individual.  Another theory is that the custom was fabricated by a creative glass Christmas ornament salesman in the late 1800s in order to sell his pickle shaped ornaments!

I don’t know what the origin of the custom may be.  I do know it can be a lot of fun to hide the pickle and have the kids search for it.  Something silly and quick that they will look forward to each year.  I am really excited to introduce The Christmas Pickle to my family.  I love the story of how one individual’s kindness in a horrific environment inspired a man to survive.   It is a tradition that at first seems a little silly but has meaning that will inspire.  I hope my boys enjoy the story, the pickle and the hunt, and continue this family tradition for many years.

It is never too late to start a new tradition with your family.  You can buy a Christmas Pickle ornament, or like us crocheters love to do, make your own.  Choose a yarn that is as close to the color of your tree as possible.  Or, if you tend to have a different live tree every year, make a couple of pickles in different shades of green.  You will always have one that can be easily camouflaged deep within the branches.

The Christmas Pickle would make a fun gift for new families just starting out.  Perhaps a family member or close friend was recently married or engaged, or maybe a new baby arrived.  Make your loved one a Christmas Pickle ornament, enclose the story of kindness and continue the tradition.

The Christmas Pickle Gift Set includes both a crochet pattern and a gift card explaining the tradition.  Print the included Christmas Pickle story and enclose with your hand-crocheted Christmas Pickle ornament.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pickle

http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/christmaspickle

http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth11.htm

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Crochet Designer Interview: Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli Hope with Akua Designs

I first met Akua when she interviewed me during the 2013 Gift-A-Long.  It was then that I realized I had long admired one of her designs, the Daisy Hat, and decided to make one as part of my 2013 Stash Bust for Charity Challenge.  Her designs are so unique and so creative.  She is an artist who designs from the heart and someone I would very much like to sit down with and share a cup of coffee.

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Sun Rays Shrug/Shawl by Akua Lezli Hope photo by Knit Picks

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?
I’ve been crocheting over 50 years. My mother taught me, though she said she didn’t remember doing that, which underscores for me the importance of the person to person transmission. Her forté was knitting and sewing. She was a brilliant seamstress and tailor. Having her show me the basics launched me for a lifetime of exploration.

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?
Informally, it was just something you did to get what you thought about or wanted into being. When I began as a young person, there were few books and no patterns for hats I and my friends wanted, so I just made them up. So that mindset was a precursor to formally undertaking designing – that is, creating something and then writing down the process in such a way that others may replicate it. Encoding my process for sharing is relatively recent, just 9 years.

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you?  What do you enjoy most about the craft?
I used to crochet on the way to work, standing on the subway train , briefcase hanging off one arm, leaning against the door or arm wrapped around the pole — with one hook I could do it. It felt like freedom to create as I commuted, so it was self-reinforcing. A poet, I love the poetry of transmutation, transfiguring a line into a statement, a protection, a garment, a volume, a vessel, ornament, adornment. I love fiber from plant to thread, from animal to yarn and immediacy of creating that crocheting so generously offers, is healing and fulfilling.

dasiy-hat-by-akua-lexli-hope-photo-by-tangled-online-magazine

Daisy Hat by Akua Lezli Hope photo by Tangled Online Magazine

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?
I enjoy weaving, sculpting, hand paper-making, glass casting, flame working, and wire working. I occasionally work in polymer clay and shrink plastic. I like making earrings and am proud of my mixed media ones — glass and fiber, wire, etc. I love but can’t afford precious metal clay –I would love to do more in that. Metal-smithing, torch work is so compelling – I would like to do more of that, too. I would also like to learn about resin.

What influences your style?
My experiences, science fiction, the cold, indigenous design.

What inspires you and/or your designs?
Indigenous peoples, science fiction and the 4 seasons ( actually more like 3 here- cold, very cold, warm) that require different garb.

I used to live in NY, yes, it is COLD!

What challenges do you face when designing and how do you overcome them?
Patience with the process —I am usually swift in making, but find the challenge in doing it again and describing what I did. The way  I think about creating an effect, or even in telling how to create an effect, is often at odds with how others describe it and do it. I am ever in search of the shortest way to achieve an effect. Testing and self-publishing eases that pain – there is no need to argue with a publication that has a ham handed way of describing a decrease or insists on loading a pattern with impenetrable jargon.

leaf-bagette-by-akua-lezli-hope

Leaf Bagette by Akua Lezli Hope photo by Knit Picks

What is your favorite design of yours, why?
Now that I’m up to about 140, that’s too hard. I’ve published 116 and I have a long list of designs that are done and may even have been out in the world in shows or competitions, but haven’t been tested.

What is your favorite project of yours, why?
It’s hard to choose among the hundreds, though I have a special affection for the sweaters I’ve designed. I’ve been unable to find testers for them, but I have great affection for them.

What pattern/design are you most proud of, why?
My sweaters, because they were so hard to write up, hard to grade and making them more than once was a long process, but alas, they remain unpublished until I can find testers.

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?
I’ve lost count. I’ve come across a baby hat and sweater for a baby that is now 27. There’s finishing and there’s finishing, though …. to explain a bit, I work in freeform and so have bags of motifs and scrumbles on the way to becoming artworks or garments. There’s my 10 foot or so floral freeform door curtain that has pulled in a bit and so needs more motifs.

flying-dragon-bookmarks-by-akua-lezli-hope

Flying Dragon Bookmarks by Akua Lezli Hope

What was the last thing you crocheted/knit for yourself?
I was taken by skulls early this fall and so made a couple and then designed one and made some more. Then I made some black cats and pumpkins for window decor. Although I’m not sure if decor is what you mean by for yourself.

What are your favorite stitches?
I like standing stitches, these have liberated crocheting for my appliqué/figure motifs, where I also delight in using extended single crochets. Earlier this year, I became enamored of tape lace and so explored stitch combinations that made quick lengths of braid. I adore cables and figure out how to do them in the round (Chemung hats) as well as in my sweater. Catherine’s Wheel and variations remains an enduring favorite. Then there’s this Russian/Ukranian rising falling form that increases and gathers/decreases across each row to create mountains and valleys…

What is/are your favorite crochet tool(s) or notion(s)?
My hooks, my hooks – hook anatomy is a subject I’ve thought and written about and researched. So my bullion hooks are beloved as are a particular Bates afghan hook that has an inline head. A Rav friend sent me some small- gauge inline head afghan hooks from Europe, so I could make e the tiny tunisian leaves and shells I designed this year. I now have hooks for particular yarn types as well as gauges. I use my Etimos for general work, but when I’m wrestling with piping and making rugs, I turn to my wood Century hooks. Sadly there are hook heads that are perfection but they may be on shafts that are too short for me as in Collage.

freeform-crochet-by-akua-lezli-hope

Freeform Crochet by Akua Lezlie Hope

How long have you been a member of the International FreeForm FiberArts Guild? What drew you to it and how has it inspired you as a designer?
I’m not sure how long, but at least 12 years. I was drawn to the Guild because I love freeform. I began doing dimensional crochet in the 90’s and found the books of James Walters and Sylvia Cosh. By this time, I was no longer in an urban area, and have been online since the late 80s, I was always in search of, or in touch with any creators I could find online. The Annual Challenge has always been a personal rallying point, to begin and complete a freeform project, be it art wear or art work. From the freeform explorations, directed by a topic have come many pattern ideas. This year’s Challenge, native flora and fauna, inspired me to design buffalo, deer, squirrels, several different birds, moose, and trees.

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?
Writing poetry — my collection, THEM GONE, is due out this year; making paper — I’ve been exploring figured/shaped paper and layering using my vacuum table, watching anime, singing and dreaming.

Where can we find you?
Blog: zencrochet.blogspot.com
Website: www.akualezlihope.com
Etsy: www.etsy.com/people/akuadesigns
Raverly: www.ravelry.com/designers/akua-lezli-hope-akuadesigns

Thank you so much Akua! I LOVE your freeform representation of native flora and fauna.  I lived in the same area of NY and you have truly captured the beauty of Western NY.

Would you like to learn more about other crochet designers?  Check out this link and be sure to follow CrochetByDarleenHopkins.com!

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