Crochet designer interview: Betty Fay Wallace

Crochet Designer Interview, Betty Fay Wallace

Snowbaby crochet pattern by Betty Fay Wallace

Snow Baby Cocoon and Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

I had the pleasure to interview Betty Fay Wallace for this week’s designer interview.  I discovered her last year during the 2014 Gift-A-Long when I made one of her beautiful hats, the La Villa Lace Brim Slouch hat, as part of my 2014 Stash Bust Challenge.  And this year she was one of my assigned designers for my part of the GAL pinning.  (The last two years I have been on the Pinterest team helping to create beautiful boards of the GAL featured patterns.)  Her designs are beautiful and lacy making those of us without a little girl to crochet for very, very jealous!

Let’s get know Betty!

I am retired with two grown children, a grown granddaughter (and an any-minute-now great-granddaughter) and two young grandchildren, and my sweet dog Jake.  I have also been blessed with a large extended family and many friends.

Lucy Lane Sweater by Betty Fay Wallace

Lucy Lane Sweater
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

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

At least a hundred years…sometimes I exaggerate.  I just saw a Facebook post that said “I thought it would take longer to get this old”!  Anyway, my grandmother and aunts taught me to crochet and knit at a very young age.  And that was many years ago.

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

After I retired, I decided to enjoy my hobbies of knitting and crochet.  Soon the house, dogs and grandkids were all covered in my projects!  So I decided to sell some of my items on Etsy.  I couldn’t imagine anyone actually buying them but it wasn’t long until I could not keep up with the orders.  The aches and pains – not to mention pounds – soon added up. So I decided to write-up my patterns.  It’s a perfect solution.  I get to play with my hooks, needles and yarn but at a more leisurely pace and still occasionally get in a little exercise.

Seaside Cottage Cocoon/Snuggle Sack and Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

Seaside Cottage Snuggle Sack and Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

What is your favorite crochet tool?

My favorite tool is the Wood Yarn/Thread Holder handmade by willysman on Etsy.  It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and the most useful item I possess.  I had tried every yarn holder and gimmick I could find but had not found anything that worked very well for me.  These are pricey and I hesitated before spending this much.  But I am so glad I did.  The yarn flows smoothly and effortlessly without tangling.

It is such a well made and beautiful item that I know it will be one of the things I pass on to my granddaughters as one of my treasures.  He makes them in a variety of woods.  The price is determined by the wood used.  I also purchased the “thingy” – a separate attachment that keeps the yarn centered.  I haven’t tried it without that piece so I’m not sure it is absolutely necessary.

I am not affiliated with him in any way.  I just love this gadget so much I tell everyone about it.

Nacogdoches Night Scarf by Betty Fay Wallace

Nacogdoches Night Scarf
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

What other crafts do you enjoy?

I love to sew, garden, play with grandkids, reading – anything fun and not too strenuous.

What challenges do you face when designing and how do you overcome them?

Designing is easy!  Putting it down on paper in that foreign language of crochet, formatting a word document, photographing and editing pictures, and keeping up with all the computer knowledge necessary to accomplish all of this is the hard part.  Makes my head hurt!  I also try to include charts with all my patterns.  I can work from a chart much easier than written instructions.  But creating the crochet charts is also a very time-consuming, brain fogging procedure.  But I love the challenge.

I make use of every online resource available, such as, Craft Yarn Council, all the forums on Ravelry, the pattern testers on Ravelry and other Ravelry designers.  The testers and other designers are always so generous with their help and support.  It is a fantastic community!

What was the last thing you crocheted/knit for yourself?

I just finished a beautiful shawl – Rosewater by Janina Kallio. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Duffay/rosewater

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

Knitting

La Ville Slouch Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

La Ville Lace Brim Slouch Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

Where can we find you?

I didn’t really plan any of this so I didn’t coordinate the names of my sites very well.  I can be found on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy.  Annie’s Catalog also carries some of my patterns.

My names include Betty Fay Wallace Designs, Maison de Terre Handmade Gifts and Cielo’sCloset.

And on Facebook.

Thank you!
I LOVE the Nacogdoches Night Scarf, above, and I asked Betty about the name.  She said it was designed for her granddaughter’s homecoming football game at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.  And the Lucy Lane sweater is named for her soon-to-arrive great granddaughter!  How sweet!!

Shells of Love-001

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Early November Status

Still working on busting out some stash…

As mentioned in my last post, things have been busy here.  So busy that I was three months late with that last post.  And, like many of you, late November and December are hectic for my family.  In anticipation of the upcoming overload of activities, I am getting some stash busting done ASAP to see if the goal of crocheting 5 pounds of yarn for charity can be achieved before year-end.

image_mediumAs of June, I had crocheted 3 pounds, 12.5 ounces into hats, a blanket and bears.  My current project should take a chunk out of the 5 pound goal!  In September I started a blanket for donation to a local nursing home.  I decided to use Beth Graham’s Inca Blocks Wrap pattern.  I’m working it with (mostly) Caron Simply Soft and it is turning out pretty cozy.  The pattern is easy to follow-I love the chart!  My goal is to finish the crocheting this week and then work on weaving in ends this weekend.

Once the blanket is done I plan to make some beanies for donation.  I’ll need to stash dive and see what I have that is on Halos of Hope’s updated yarn suggestion guide.  Check it out.   I also found out about another organization that collects hats for kids going through chemo therapy.  The organization is the Jessie Rees Foundation and they send out Joy Jars with a beanie in each.  The story behind the foundation is both heartbreaking and inspiring.  I’ve got something special in mind for Joy Jar beanies, so please look for that in the next week or two.

PatchworkKitty-001

Hot pad crochet pattern. Christmas candy, gingerbread man and snowman

Summer 2015 Wrap Up

Better late than never…

Wow, you know you are a little behind in posting blogs when you find one from -3 MONTHS AGO-that was never finalized and posted.  Well, here it is, a little late and a little out of season.  I’ll try to be a little more timely with the next one!!

August 2, 2015
It seems so odd to me to be thinking that summer is almost over on August 2, but it is; summer vacation anyway.  I’ve lived in Georgia 18 years now and I still haven’t gotten used to kids starting school in early August.  But we have open house tomorrow and the first day of school starts on Thursday.  My oldest has already started his high school marching band practices (Nov. 1 UPDATE: one football game left in the season) and I’ve had my youngest “training” for middle school cross-country all summer.  The first meet is just 3 weeks from tomorrow! (Nov. 1 UPDATE: He has completed his cross-country season and won the Coach’s award for being a good example and having a positive attitude! So proud of him!) Our summer has been busy with a nice family vacation, some friends over for sleepover parties, a camp here and there, getting wisdom teeth removed for one child and the other getting braces, and teaching the oldest to drive (wow!).  With all this, I did manage to squeeze in a little crochet time.

Hot pad crochet pattern. Christmas candy, gingerbread man and snowmanOwl crochet pattern amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins

In May the Peppermint Pals Hot Pad set was released and Spiffy Tuxedo Bib was published in ILikeCrochet.com. I was very excited to complete my charity lapghan for donation to the local nursing home in May as well.

Shawl-Moxie Crochet PatternShells of Love crochet baby blanket

June was a little quiet while I worked on a hat for Halos of Hope but July was BUSY! The Owl Always Love You amigurumi pattern was released in July as was my 4th shawl, Moxie. In addition, the Shells of Love baby blanket pattern was updated. Last, ILikeCrochet.com published my Lemon and Limeade Coasters set! Phew! July was a busy, busy month.

Yesterday, August 1, I posted a holiday stocking pattern for testing and hope to have it available by September 1. (Nov. 1 UPDATE: It is now available! It is hard to think of Christmas when the summer bugs are still singing but the holidays will be here in just a few short months.

Tuxedo Bib crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH, photo by ILikeCrochet.com

copyright, ILikeCrochet.com

Lemon and Limeaide Coasters crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH, photo by ILikeCrochet.com

copyright, ILikeCrochet.com

The two months of no school and my adjusted work schedule have been nice but I am looking forward to the routines that the school year brings us.  I’m always sad when the summer bugs (the singing ones, not the biting ones) go away.  I love listening to them while I crochet on my back porch.

ILikeCrochet.com – how to subscribe

ILikeCrochet.com-online magazine

Winter Sky Cowl, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
February 2017
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Farmstand Watermelon Basket Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

ILikeCrochet.com is an online/digital magazine that is published by Prime Publishing. You can view the bimonthly issues on either your desktop/laptop or your tablet.

The site offers a couple different options for access. Either tablet only, website only or combined tablet and website access. I don’t have a tablet so I only use it via my laptop. The great thing about the website subscription is you get access to ALL THE PREVIOUS ISSUES dating back to April 2014, as well as 6 new issues a year! That’s a lot of patterns and articles. FYI-back issue access isn’t an option with the tablet only subscription, just the website subscription.

In addition to my contributions to the magazine, I have also made the following hats; The Butterscotch Cream Hat from the December 2014 issue and the Darling Baby Hat from the April 2015 issue. Both have been donated to Halos of Hope as part of my 2014 and 2015 Stash Busting Challenges.

Check it out, see all the great patterns currently available and imagine all the fantastic patterns still to come.  If you do subscribe, please follow my link. This is another way they support independent designers by providing referral fees. How awesome is that!

Check out the magazine at this link. > Subscribe!

pretty-in-pink-eyeglass-case

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
April 2017
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Spiced Cider Set; hat and button-up scarf, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
October 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Watermelon Placemat Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Watermelon Napkin Ring Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Fresh Air Scarf crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins August 2016 Photo by ILikeCrochet.com #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2016
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Blue Rivers crochet hat pattern by Darleen Hopkins, photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
December 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Lime and Lemonade coasters crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
August 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Tuxedo Bib crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH, photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
June 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Sunny Days Baby Mobile crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
April 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Owl Always Love You crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
February 2015
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pepermint Pals Hot Pad set pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH photo by ILikeCrochet.com

Pattern by Darleen Hopkins
November 2014
Photo by ILikeCrochet.com

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Magic balls of yarn made with yarn scraps

Crochet and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, Part 2

The 3 Rs and Crochet, Part 2- Reuse and Recycle

Our last post discussed a few ideas on how we can incorporate REDUCING in our crocheting and crafting.  By practicing the 3 Rs we are not only helping the environment be greener but in many was, but you can save a little green too!  So…

Let’s discuss REUSE!

Reusing can also be called repurposing or upcycling.  This is my favorite part of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle waste hierarchy.   Once something is no longer useful in its current state, see if you can find a new use for it. Let’s explore how we can do this with our crochet.

FROG it!
One of my favorite ways to reuse is to take a damaged sweater (sock, scarf, hat, anything) unravel it and knit or crochet it into something new (reclaimed yarn).  Beth Graham (BethGraham on Ravelry) does this with hand knit socks and dishcloths.  She saves the good bits of yarn from worn-out socks for darning and for sock scrap blankets and she saves the good yarn left from worn-out dishcloths to reknit fresh cloths. Check out this blanket she is working on where she recently added a square that was made with the yarn from the very first pair of socks she ever knit!

Market bag crocheted from a thrift store sweater. Upcycled, reclaimed yarn.A few years ago I found a beautiful coral cotton Eddie Bauer sweater at a local thrift store.  It was damaged so I bought it for about $1-maybe 50 cents-and unraveled it.  I cleaned the yarn, removed the kinks, balled it up and then crocheted it into a market bag which I then gifted to a favorite teacher of my boys.  This is a great way to get great yarn for next to nothing, if you don’t mind putting in a little effort to unravel, clean, and dekink the yarn.  You can often find silk, linen and other expensive fibers for very little money.  There is a trick to this technique though.  You want to make sure you pick up the right type of sweater.  Sweaters with selvage seams will not unravel.  Check out this Reclaiming Yarn Handout created by Angelia Robinson (Quarternity on Ravelry).  She wrote the step by step instructions when she taught a class on reclaiming yarn at her local knitting guild.  http://www.quaternityknits. com/freebies/

Turning a damaged sweater into a market bag makes a unique gift most everyone will appreciate.  Seriously, who can’t use an extra bag?  And for fun, sew the sweater label in the bag.  I bet the recipient will love it.  And of course, you aren’t limited to crocheting market bags with reclaimed yarn.  Knit or crochet scarves, shawls, hats, mittens, anything and everything.  I have two damaged 100% cashmere sweaters in my stash waiting for the yarn to be reclaimed and crocheted into something beautiful.

Felted sweaters ready to cut up and turn into a crocheted kitchen throw rug.  And my cat. :)

All the sweaters are felted and ready to cut up. My kitty is anxious for her wool rug!

FELT it!
We’ve all done it, whether on accident or on purpose.  We have all shrunk a wool garment to teeny tiny proportions.  No worries, that sweater can be repurposed into many things.  In the past I have made lunch boxes, ice scraper mitts, a tea cozy and backed hot pads with felted sweaters. Check out this previous post about felting with a purpose.  Many of the wool sweaters I find in thrift stores have accidentally been partially felted already.
What about a rug?  Cut felted sweaters into strips and crochet them into a rug. I have two boxes of damaged wool sweaters collected over the past 5-6 years.  2015 just may be the year those sweaters finally turn into a kitchen rug!

RIP it!
Turn old, damaged sheets into rugs or baskets.  Cut up damaged cotton blouses into strips and crochet them.  I’ve seen jeans crocheted into rugs.  There are so many crafty options to use our worn out or damaged fabrics.  Think about it.  Caroline Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) didn’t run to Oleson’s Mercantile when she needed something.  She saved all of her and Mary’s and Laura’s and Carrie’s and Pa’s old clothing and turned them into squares for quilts or strips for rag rugs.  Here is a video on how to turn a sheet into a rag rug. http://startingchain.com/2015/03/scrap-project-learn-how-to-crochet-a-rag-rug-out-of-old-sheets-.html

TARN!
Tarn = T-shirt yarn.  Yup, you can use the old Ts too.  I’ve started saving white Ts and undershirts once they are past wear-ability with a goal to crochet them into something.  Don’t forget, it is easy to dye T-shirts.  You aren’t stuck with dingy white.  Remember summer camp and tie-dyed shirts?  A little dye to transform them and you may have an awesome bright pink laundry basket crocheted out of your hubby’s previously dingy and underarm stained undershirts. 🙂  Here is a great tutorial on how to make TARN. http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2009/06/05/making-t-yarn-from-recycled-tee-shirts/

Japanese Knot Plarn Tote bag.  Crochet pattern by Cindy, aka RecycleCindy.

Japanese Knot Plarn Tote bag. Crochet pattern by Cindy, aka RecycleCindy. Click for pattern. Photo by RecycleCindy.

PLARN!
Plarn = plastic yarn.  This is such a great solution to all the extra plastic bags you accumulated BEFORE you started using your market bags.  Sure, we could always dump the extra bags in the blue recycling bin but recycling uses energy.  If we can reuse that plastic, we can save energy.  I made a bag and a trash can out of plarn.  Because I bring my own bags everywhere, I don’t get a lot of disposable plastic bags.  About 9 years ago I belonged to a knitting/crochet group.  I asked if anyone had extra bags sitting around the house and one lady jumped on it.  She came the next week with a lawn and leaf bag full of random plastic bags.  It was gigantic and took up my entire trunk.  I sorted, cut and wound the plastic into really large balls of plarn.  Eventually some of the bags did end up in the recycle bin but I was able to use a lot of them.  At the time my boys were in Tae Kwon Do and I would work with the plarn while they were in class.  One day the instructor couldn’t stand it any more and asked what in the world was I working on that was so crinkly. After that I decided I better finish it up at home.   Both the bag and the trash can were improvised, no pattern.  I always get compliments on my bag and the trash can is used in our hallway bathroom.  I’ve also seen people make doormats with plarn.  Here is a great tutorial on making PLARN.  http://www.thecrochetfoyer.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-plarn.html and another by RecycleCindy who designed the awesome Japanese Knot Plarn Tote Bag pictured here, http://www.myrecycledbags.com/tutorial-for-making-plarn-yarn/ for tutorial, http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2015/04/23/japanese-knot-plarn-tote-bag/ for pattern.

magic balls of yarn made with scraps to be used for crocheting a lapghan for donation

Magic Balls of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice scraps soon to be a laphan.

SCRAPS!
Save your scraps and turn them into MAGIC BALLS.  A Magic Ball is when you take scraps of a few yards each, join the ends and then wind them into balls of yarn.  Once you have enough, crochet something with it.  If you do neat joins, like a Russian join, you can make anything and you will have a self striping ball of yarn.   Or you can just knot them together securely with a square knot and not worry about the knots or the ends and crochet a dish rag.  Let the ends poke out all over the place, who cares.  This might even be an added benefit if you make a Swiffer cover.   I suggest grouping yarn by type (cottons with cottons, acrylics with acrylics, etc).  That way you know what you have and you can make cotton dish rags or an acrylic bag or wool pot holders.  You can also group by color choice, all blue hues for example.  You are in control of the striping and only limited by the scraps on hand.  Here is a tutorial for a little more information on Magic Balls.  http://www.scribd.com/doc/ 19680430/The-Magic-Ball-Tutorial  This was a new concept for me and I’m so glad I found it while doing research for this post.  I’ve started working on a lapghan made with lots of scraps using the Magic Ball method.

Save all the teeny tiny ends too.  I’ve used them to stuff cat toys.
This suggestion came from Kaila via my Facebook page

“I save all my small scraps of yarn (like from weaving in ends) and the little pieces from sewing and put them in a zip lock. It makes a fluffy filler that my 8-year-old son has decided to use to make smaller pillows for people who sleep on the streets.”

What a sweet and caring little 8-year-old!
I’ve seen others put the tiny scraps out for the birds to use as nesting materials.  I believe this is best for wool scraps.  Acrylics and other synthetics should be avoided.  Wool provides warmth and water resistance to the nest.  I’ve read the synthetics can be dangerous to the birds’ respiratory system.  I don’t know if it is true or not but makes sense.  Wool is found in nature, fun fur isn’t.

SEW!
Can you sew?  I found this Craftsy class, Project Upcycle, Thrifty Sewing Projects.  It is on my to-do list waiting for a day my sewing skills improve some.   And Angelia has a great tutorial on how to add a fabric lining to your crocheted or knit bags.  I bet you can find some fabric to upcycle for these awesome ideas.

THINK!
The one thing I would like to stress when it comes to reusing is to make sure the item is no longer useful in its current condition before you reuse it.  For example, if you decide to shop thrift stores for sweaters to frog or felt try finding ones that are damaged first.  No one wants to wear a sweater with moth holes but that doesn’t matter for felting.  Maybe you can talk to the manager of the store and get the damaged clothing for a discount or even free.  And with plarn, please don’t buy plastic bags to crochet them.  I have seen folks do this because they wanted pink or purple plarn.  Or they go to stores and asked for a stack of unused bags.  If that is what you really want to do then fine, just realize you aren’t “recycling” that way.  It is the same as buying a skein of yarn.

Recycle

OK, I’ve Reduced my waste, I’ve Reused as much as possible, now how do I recycle?
Wkikipedia’s definition of Recycling

Recycling is a process to change waste materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to plastic production. Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” waste hierarchy.

Choose yarns and products made with recycled materials.
Unfortunately, it seems this must not be a profitable area for major yarn manufactures. Most yarns I found that contained recycled materials have been discontinued.  I did find these.  If you know of more, please let me know!

Berroco Remix is made with 100% recycled fibers.
Lion Brand Fettuccini is made from the remnants of garment manufacturing.
Red Heart Silk Sari is made from the remnant fibers from the manufacturing of silk saris.

Reclaimed-yarnI’m sure (hope) there are other, smaller manufactures of yarn that use recycled materials.  However, if you don’t want to reclaim your own yarn, you can buy recycled (reclaimed) yarn and support some small business owners too.  A quick Etsy search yielded many sellers of reclaimed/recycled yarn.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was stuffing my Bloodshot Eyeball Pillow with polyester-fiber fill that not only was stuffing made in the USA but was also of recycled materials.  https://www.fairfieldworld.com/store/big-bag/poly-fil-premium-fiber-fill-32-ounce-bag/

Recycle it.
Finally, when your crafted items (or any another clothing, fabric or scraps) are beyond repair or reclaiming for another use, don’t throw them out, recycle them!!  Many of the larger donation stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army) sell the unsaleable clothing and fabrics by the pound wholesalers for recycling.  Our little local charity thrift store does as well so check with the small ones too.  Or drop them into the clothing drop boxes around your town.  We have USAgain in this area of the county.  http://www.usagain.com/  http://www.smartasn.org/ collectors/

And last, but not least, recycle the paper label wrapped around your skein!

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Crochet to do list and a hat challenge

Hats, and Lists and Bears, Oh MY!

Hats for Halos of Hope; bears for a sweet charitable project called Team Lewis I just found out about and has a very special meaning to me; a new design currently in progress; new design ideas I’m dying to get started on; the CGOA Master Crochet Program I’m determined to start and finish in 2015; and EYEBALLS, gotta have more eyeballs in lots of colors.  So much to crochet and so little time.

cotton and cotton blend yarn stash for charity crochet

How many hats and bears will this yarn make?

What do you do when you can’t decide what project to crochet first?  Do you have multiple WIPs going at once, skipping from one project to another or do you just crochet as fast as possible to finish one item and then move onto the next?

Me, I’m a list girl.  Growing up I remember my dad making lists.  They’d be in the corner of his desk blotter with the items crossed out as completed.  I don’t remember or know what the lists were for, “to do” lists of some sort, but I can still visualize them on his desk in the house I grew up in.  I guess that is why I make lists for everything.  I make them at work, I make them at home.  I make lists for my kids of chores to do when school is out and my husband and I have to work.  I make lists for the grocery shopping (sectioned into quadrants: grocery, non-food, cold stuff and produce).  And I make lists of items to pack for when we go on vacation.  Lists for everything!

See UPDATE below! So here’s my list of crochet items I plan to stitch in April.  I tend to get bored making too much of one thing so I have to mix it up a little.  I’m going to try to stick to it and in order…

1) Finish WIP hat for Halos of Hope
2) 2 bears for Team Lewis
3) Cotton hat for Halos of Hope
4) Work a night or two on WIP design
5) 2 more bears for Team Lewis
6) Work a night or two on WIP design
7) Cotton hat for Halos of Hope, ship all hats made to date
8) 2 more bears for Team Lewis, prepare for shipping
9) Finish brown eyeball
10) Start that new design you want to do so badly!!

UPDATE:  After drafting this post but prior to publishing, I received a challenge from Pat.  She bet me 2 skeins of cotton yarn that she could make more hats for Halos of Hope this month than I can.  I say GAME ON!  I may have to tweak the order of my crochet to do list a bit due to this new development and pick up in May what I don’t get to this month.  Halos of Hope is such a great organization so I want to make as many hats as possible.  Also, I want to WIN!   And I do want to make at least 6 bears this month as they need to be in the mail by the end of the month.

Revised list
1) 6 bears then as many hats as physically possible.

Looks like my crochet time will be spent mainly on hats and bears.  And it looks like we may be eating a lot of frozen dinners this month.  Less time cooking = more time crocheting!  So much to crochet, so little time.

Silly hats for silly kids crochet patterns by darleen hopkins

Crochet Photography 101

Crochet without a hook and yarn.

Kitty on crocheted blanket, Shells of Love pattern by Darleen Hopkins

My kitty with Shells of Love baby blanket.

It’s mid-March.  Wow! Have you heard time goes by faster the older you get? It is so true.  It is hard to believe 2015 is almost 1/4 over.  Not only is this year flying by but I’ve hardly had any crocheting time in 2015.  I’ve been busy, really busy, just not with crochet.  The beginning of the year is always hectic.  Because I do all the bookkeeping and tax filing for my husband’s business, the first couple of months of the year are full of year-end processing and payroll, corporate and personal tax filing.  On top of this more than average work-at-home paperwork, my real job had significant deadlines last month and just to make it all a little more crazy, Mother Nature threw in an ice storm (no power for far too long), and some snow to the mix.  Add two active boys and a husband and it’s been hectic.  Last, and because I believe I’m superwoman, I decided to take a photography class.  All my free time has been dedicated to this class and I’m loving it.

I purchased my first DSLR camera last fall.  It was time to step up from the point and shoot as I just wasn’t getting the photos I wanted for my crochet patterns.  Yup, that’s right.  I bought a camera for my crochet.  Sounds like another “you know you are addicted to crochet when…” but it is true.

The Nikon D3200 is great.  It’s an entry-level DSLR and so far I’ve been really pleased.  Up until this photography class, camera operations were a mystery to me.  I stuck to the pre-programmed settings as aperture, f-stop, ISO and shutter speeds were recognizable words but were so confusing to me.   But why have a camera that can do all sorts of tricks and not use them?  So I enrolled in a beginner photography class and when it completed last week, enrolled in the intermediate class.  I’m hoping to continue on to the advanced class.  If not next month, maybe this summer.

Because I purchased the camera to take photos of my crochet, I decided to have all my class photos crochet related.  THIS is how I’m working on my crochet.   Not with a hook and yarn but with a camera.  In the beginning this wasn’t too bad.  The assignments were basic; use your shutter speed to show motion or adjust the aperture to vary your depth of field.  But the homework is getting a little harder and a little more abstract in the intermediate class.  It might be a little easier for me if I took photos of flowers or scenic landscapes.  Having to work crochet into each photo is starting to prove a bit of a challenge.  However, this is a challenge I welcome.  Although I don’t have any current hats or other designs to share with you, I’d like to share some of my favorite photos from the beginner class.

Shells of Love Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Shells of Love Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern modeled by my kitten 🙂

Piranha Monster Fish Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Black Piranha Monster Fish Hat modeled by my oldest 🙂

Charmed Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Charmed Shawl Crochet Pattern

Cubed Slouch Hat Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Cubed Hat modeled by my husband 🙂

Picture Perfect Crochet Baby Banket Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Picture Perfect Crochet Baby Blanket Pattern

Glacier Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Glacier Crochet Hat Pattern modeled by my youngest 🙂

I’m taking the class at the local university through the continuing education program.  The instructor is great and it is a great group of students-even a couple of crocheters in the bunch!  I’ve learned a lot but have so much more to learn.  If you have any interest in photography or have a DSLR camera but haven’t made it beyond full green auto, check out a class.  You will be glad you did.  I know I am.

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins