Get Ready! It is coming soon!!!!

On your mark, get set….

Mark your calendars-The Third Annual Indie Design Gift-A-Long (GAL) will be here in just 2 weeks and will run from Thursday, November 19th at 8pm (US-EST) through the New Years Eve party, Thursday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST).  What is a GAL?  Find out more about it from last year’s post or check out the Ravelry group, Indie Design Gift-A-Long. Keep watch for more information as we get closer to the start date.

PSST-Can’t wait for the sale?  All Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns on Ravelry are Buy 2 Patterns, Get a 3rd for FREE!  No special sale needed!

TheFunBeginsNov19

Happy Puppy Hat, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Mid-January update

New Challenge for 2015

It’s a new year and therefore time for a new challenge.  A couple of years ago I decided I was going to work on busting out some of my stash yarn and make hats for chemo donation.  My 2013 Stash Bust Challenge was focused on a box full of Bernat CottonTots yarn.  I ended up crocheting 5 pounds, 15.5 ounces of it into 32 hats for Halos of Hope or other charitable donation.  I had also crocheted other hats for donation in different yarn that I didn’t include in the count.  I was pretty busy with hats that year.  Last year’s challenge didn’t focus on any yarn in particular, just random yarn in my stash.  Last year I made 24 hats out of 5 pounds, 4.25 ounces!  I must have made some pretty heavy hats!

It would seem that most of my stash yarn would be close to gone at this point. Sadly, no.  I still have too many boxes of yarn.  So 2015 will once again be all about working from stash yarn for charitable causes. This year’s goal will be a minimum of 24 hats and 5 pounds of yarn.  I’ve got some funky fun fur that needs to used and a ton of cotton and cotton-blends that will be perfect for chemo hats.  I also hope to make a lapghan or two.

Let’s start this challenge off with the first 3 hats of 2015 completed!

Hat for Halos for Hope, crocheted by Darleen HopkinsThe first is called End’s Swell.  I won this pattern in the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry last month.  It is stitched with slip stitches which was totally new to me.  The final result is adorable.  The pattern is a great way to use up smaller leftovers without having to work in a million ends.  I can see making more of these in random stripes as leftovers come available.

Divine Hat for Halos of Hope, crocheted by Darleen HopkinsNext is another Divine Hat.  This is a great pattern and my third one.  I used Caron Simply Soft for this one.  It looks great but, going forward, I’ll use thinner yarns when making this pattern.  I loved it in Caron Spa.

Happy Puppy Hat, crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsLast is a Happy Puppy.  Last month I re-worked the pattern in Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand.  I also re-formatted the pattern and took new pictures.  The pattern was originally written with Bernat  Denim Style-a great cotton/acrylic blend.  Unfortunately this yarn has been discontinued.  I (of course) have a few skeins of it in my stash and found this hat partially finished.  Because Denim Style is super soft and perfect for chemo hats, I finished it and will include it in my next batch of hats to Halos of Hope.

This 2015 challenge is on and off for a good start!

The three hats weigh 7 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 7 ounces

CrochetForMen

 

Gift-A-Long Designer, Sarah Jane Jackson

Sarah Jane Jackson, Crochet Designer

Frostberry Hat crochet pattern by Sarah Jane

The Frostberry Hat Crochet Pattern by Sarah Jane

I’ve not had the opportunity to meet Sarah in person (I’m in Georgia, USA she’s in Queensland, Australia) but  was first introduced to her when I tested The Acacia Cloche pattern of hers in 2011.  She was so sweet and friendly during the test that I was more than excited when I had an opportunity to get to know her a little bit better through an online designer forum.  In the last year, I’ve made two more of her patterns, The Winter Tracks Hat and The Frostberry Hat.  Her designs are beautiful and stylish and always current with today’s trends.  And of course, exquisitely modeled on her lovely children.

Let’s get to know a little more about Sarah.

The biggest thing about me I guess is that we have 8 children! 7 of them at home, the kids at home range in age from 23 down to 4 and 5 of them are boys (which always leaves me short of models!). It’s busy but housework seems to have become more optional as I get older, leaving me enough time to crochet ;). My youngest starts school next year and I am hoping to turn designing into a decent part time job…..we will see how that goes!

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

Evening Delight Shawl by Sarah Jane

When I first learned to crochet I only knew chain, so I used to design things made with chains and find a way to link them together. I didn’t learn to read patterns until I was about 20 so I have always designed. A few years ago I came across a little ad on a website looking for sample knitters/crocheters and designers, I sent off an email and haven’t looked back since…..I stumbled across Ravelry about 6 months later and that was a match made in heaven, I couldn’t believe that there was actually somewhere I could sell my own designs!

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

I have crocheted as long as I can remember with a few breaks for other types of craft. I always come back to crochet because I love the portability and convenience, Also the sheer creativity in being able to take a piece of string and a hook then being able to turn it into something beautiful, it thrills me every time!

What inspires you and/or your designs?

Steam Punk Corset Crochet Pattern by Sarah JaneJust about anything, colour, fashion and yarn I think would be the top 3. I am often inspired by a stitch pattern I love and want to find a way to use and I often want to create a certain ‘look’ with what I am making. My steampunk collection was the result of chasing a type of style or ‘look’.

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?

Hmmmm I am not counting my wip’s…I might give myself a heart attack.  I am sure I have more than I actually remember! I always have at least 3 things on the go at a time and there are a few that are in time out or hibernation. I am pretty ruthless though, if I get bored with them or decide I won’t finish then I rip them out.  I am often ripping something out if I am not happy with it. The ladies in my craft group have been known to almost cry when I start ripping something that is almost completed (this happens more often than I like to admit).

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

Winter Tracks crochet hat pattern by Sarah Jane

Unfortunately here in Brisbane most of my style of crochet is not really wearable although I try and wear at least some of my hats. I haven’t finished anything specifically for myself yet but I am in the (very slow) process of making myself a summer top. I’m not quite sure I will ever get it finished though as the colour isn’t thrilling me at the moment.

Thanks Sarah!  I anxiously await some more of  your designs.

The hat at above is Sarah’s Winter Tracks Hat.  It is the second time I made this hat.  I accidentally left the brim off this one but it still looks fantastic anyway.  See below for links to where you can find Sarah and her designs.

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-jane
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sjack44/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahjaneDesignscrochet
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Sarahsshoppe

 

Whispers Crochet Shawl Pattern

Gift-A-Long Designer, Denise Balvanz

Denise Balvanz, Knitting Designer

Reindeer hat crochet pattern by Denise BalvanzI had the pleasure to interview Denise for my second post in the Designer Interview Series.  Most of her designs are knit although she does have the cutest little crochet reindeer hat I have ever seen.  Seriously, do they get any cuter than this? Denise is also participating in the Gift-A-Long this year and has hand-picked a couple of her favorite designs that would make great gift ideas for the holiday season.  I am in awe of her colorwork and a huge fan of the Roses Christmas Stockings series, see photo below.  With great pleasure, I’d like to introduce Denise Balvanz!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Amaliya Knit Pattern Set includes caplet, hat, mittens and fingerless mitts.

Amaliya Knit Pattern Set includes caplet, hat, mittens and fingerless mitts. Modeled by one of Denise’s beautiful daughters.

Most people who meet me remember first that we have 8 children! Most of them are grown now but we still have 7th and 12th graders that we are homeschooling. I have sewn and knit a lot of clothes for growing children! Over the past 10 years I have taught at my LYS, spent 3+ years working with a small US-based Norwegian yarn distributor where I packed orders, set up a retail website, helped proofread/tech-edit the patterns she was translating and ran the business when she was out of the country, and most recently, spent more time designing patterns and knitting for fun!

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

My love of fiber crafts started when I was quite young, maybe 6 or 7 years old. I remember a friend of my mom’s helping me learn to knit when we were on vacation. My grandmother was a knitter and crocheter too but mostly I am self-taught.

What other crafts do you enjoy?

If it involves fiber I have probably given it a try; embroidery, counted cross stitch, needlepoint, macramé (hey, it was the 70’s). My biggest loves though are knitting, crocheting and sewing.

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

I have a bent toward entrepreneurism. I was a custom dressmaker/alterationist for 25 years as my children were growing. Then about 10 years ago, I walked into the LYS and was asked if I would like to teach some classes. Some of my designs were patterns for the classes I taught at there.

I have never been good at following a pattern without making at least a few changes to it. My first designs for my own use came about because of that. Except for the stranded patterns that I generally chart first, I design a lot of things on the needles as I knit. My knitting friends are always amazed at that. I have the ability to “see” the knitting in my head as I knit and even as I read a pattern.

What inspires you and/or your designs?

Endless Roses Christmas Stocking knitting pattern set by Denise BalvanzI love clean, classic styles; cables and textures; and the 2-color Norwegian designs. Working with a Norwegian yarn line and visiting Norway in 2010 were highlights of my designing career. I am hoping to use more of the ideas from the Norwegian traditions in my future designs.

Thank you so much Denise!  You can find out more about Denise and her beautiful patterns at the following links:

Ravelry — DeniseInIowa,
http://www.ravelry.com/designers/denise-balvanz
Website — http://denisesneedleworks.com
Blog — http://denisesneedleworks.blogspot.com/
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/DenisesNeedleworks
Pinterest — http://www.pinterest.com/DeniseInIowa/

Shawls B2G1

Gift-A-Long Designer, Cynthia Levy

Cynthia Levy, Knitting Designer

Twisted Maze Socks, knit pattern by Cynthia Levy http://www.ravelry.com/people/redtigerOne of the great things about the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry is the opportunity to get to know other designers.  Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia Levy, a knitting designer.  Many of Cynthia designs incorporate amazing and lovely cabling.  She has published a number of beautiful knit sock patterns as well as some quick-to-knit designs that would be perfect for the holidays that are fast approaching.   After you get to know her a little bit better, check out her gift suggestions and get stitching!

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

I’ve been knitting ever since I was a pre-teen figure skater.  I considered it essential to have a sweater and mittens to coordinate with every skating outfit and the best way to collect them was to make them myself.  The first thing I actually remember knitting was a fair isle yoke sweater to match a skating skirt.  My mother was used to my habit of jumping right into a complex project, instead of ever starting a new hobby with something simple, so she agreeably purchased the yarn and delegated any necessary assistance to my grandmother.

What is your favorite design of yours, why?

Snow Flurry Mittens Knit Pattern by Cynthia Levy (Redtiger)

Snow Flurry Mittens by Cynthia Levy (Redtiger)

One of my favorite original designs is Snow Flurry Mittens.  I live in the Canadian sub-arctic and -40C is normal winter weather.  Anything warm and cozy is bound to be well loved by me.  The pattern was a bit of a challenge to get just right so I’m quite proud of it.  The snowflake pattern is worked with the mitten held inside-out, so that the pattern stitch can be easily accomplished in the round, and a variety of needle sizes are used to accommodate the gauges of the various stitches.

 What is your favorite project of yours, why?

I absolutely adore Julia Farwell Clay’s Bartok Tunic pattern published in Interweave Knits Spring 2013.  I fell in love with the pattern the second I saw it.  I made my tunic in the yarn and colors specified in the magazine, but shortened the length and narrowed the sleeves.  It’s the most comfortable sweater ever and garners compliments everywhere.

 What are your favorite knit tools or notions?

stitch markers https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/caliopesfibreI have a real weakness for double-pointed sock needles.  My current favorites are Knitters Pride Karbonz and Kollage square needles.  And I have recently become a fan of pretty stitch markers.  I recently acquired some stitch markers from Caliope’s Fibre that make me happy whenever I look at them.

 When you aren’t knitting, what are you doing?

If I’m not knitting or designing, I’m probably toiling away at my more than full-time day job.  But if I’m not working or knitting, I certainly won’t be idle.  My husband is a private pilot so our summers are dedicated to enjoying our little Cessna floatplane.  My other activities include pottery, quilting, weaving, tole painting and stained glass, as well as fishing, camping, hiking, gardening, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Too many interests, too little time!

 Where can we find you?

Eye of the Helix Sock Pattern by Cynthia LevyThe best place to find me is on Ravelry as redtiger.  I spend way too much time gazing at all the great patterns and yarn displayed there.  My original designs are available through my shops on Ravelry, Craftsy and Patternfish.  I’m also on Twitter as Redtigerdesigns.

 

Thank you Cynthia!  Your designs are beautiful and inspiring.  I’m a huge fan of your gorgeous cabling.  Keep warm (-40C !!!) and happy stitching!

Crochet by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/3358 #giftalong2014

It’s HERE! Ravelry’s 2014 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long!

What is a Gift-A-Long?

http://www.ravelry.com/groups/indie-design-gift-a-longIt’s a chance to save some $$ on your favorite gift patterns, participate in knit/crochet-a-longs, share photos of your finished projects, see what others are making, win prizes and HAVE FUN!  In other words, it’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

From November 13, 8pm EST through November 21, 11:59pm EST 293 indie designers will be discounting between 4 – 20 of their patterns 25% off for this event with coupon code “giftalong2014” (Ravelry only).  Click here for a list of participating designers.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, please join a relevant KAL/CAL.  (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes (check out the Prizes thread for details) and digital prizes (1,866) but you gotta post to win!

Almost 300 independent designers from Ravelry have banded together to offer their best gift patterns at a discount of 25% off (you gotta use the coupon code “giftalong2014” to get the discount) from now through Nov. 21, EST.  In addition, all patterns by participating designers are eligible for the KAL/CALs.  All self-published, paid for designs are eligible to win prizes.  Last, designers will be monitoring the various KAL/CAL to see if there are any questions.   And did I mention there will be prizes, lot’s of prizes-almost 2,000-with lots of chances to win.  KAL/CALs will run until December 31st, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting.

Save 25% on the following Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns.  Remember, you have use the coupon code “giftalong2014” to get the 25% off.  I can’t wait to see all your finished items!

Crochet by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/3358  #giftalong2014Black Raspberry Shawl 25% off

Whispers Shawl 25% off

Charmed Shawl 25% off

Big Kahuna Unisex Slouch Hat 25% off

The Cubed Hat, Super Slouchy and Relaxed Beanie 25% off

Piranha Monster Fish Hat 25% off

Mr. Springy, The Robot Hat 25% off

Waiting for Spring, Flapper Hat 25% off

Patchwork Baby Kitty Throw 25% off

Owl Drool Bibs 25% off

Oink! Oink! Pig Hat 25% off

Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat 25% off

Nighty, Night Baby Blanket 25% off

Shells of Love Baby Blanket 25% off

Bobble Head Blanket Buddy 25% off

Lil’ Oinker Drool Bib 25% off

Join Ravelry, join the Gift-a-Long, get your patterns and have fun!

Buy 2 Get 1 Free on Ravelry, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins