Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crochet Me: The Book

On Tuesday evening Rhi, Lisa and I went to the Vancouver launch of Crochet Me at Urban Yarns. It was super fun and inspiring, but Rhi will post more about the event soon.

Last night I had the intention of posting here all about the book, but the inspiration of the night before caused me to work on a project all night. I stayed up way too long working on it. (For those interested: S&B Happy hooker pattern "cold shoulders", in Mirasol baby llama yarn.)

But now I am posting about the book. And I would have spent yesterday working on a project in it, but don't have yarn to make what I would like to make in it (three separate patterns are fighting for the position of "first project"). I'll be ordering some from knitpicks next week though.

Anyways, on to the book.

Ok. So really I kind of love this book already and just want to say the patterns look awesome so far. Tons of neat techniques: tapestry , felting, weaving, beading, and tunisian. And great explanations of actually using all of them.

I also really like that Kim hasn't rated the project by difficulty, but instead by "concentration level". I think this is genius. It's super un-intimidating, which i think is really important when you want to tackle your first sweater. Also, it seems like a much clearer system. Like it's hard to decide if I'm ready for an "advanced" pattern, but easy to decide if I can handle one that is too complicated to do while watching tv.

Although, as Kim explained on Tuesday, it's not a beginners book, it's still completely accessible to a beginner. The diagrams are great (for assembly and stitch charts), there's a glossary, and breaks between the patterns with technical notes. These range from blocking to shaping to gauge. I think it would be a great book to grow with.

Also, I love that there is a listed yarn, and a substitution guide if you want a try a different yarn. Like one swater I want to do lists that the substitution yarn needs to have stretch. Not knowing anything about the yarn recommended, I never would have known to look for a stretch yarn. totally awesome. Also, as usual, there are a lot of expensive yarns called for, but this substitution guide is a great anti-dote to that.

And there's something about that idea of making the whole book work for you, and playing with everything in it that's so appealing. You get a really good size write up on all the designers so you get way more info than most books. There's also a few small essays within the book. I have yet to read them but just the idea of them is good.

It's somehow much more than a pattern book. It's a little statement that crochet can be super awesome and flexible (drape!) and suit your cool best friend as much as your grandmother. And the photography is awesome, the design/layout is yummy, but not distracting, and there is an abundance of cool internet links.

Ok, I'm going to stop gushing. I am going to go work on my capelet so when my new yarn gets here next week I'll be all ready to get to work on the Icelandic turtleneck. I actually want to make the mini-wrap skirt (out of Red Heart!) for someone, just to make it. See, gushing.

(oh, and go buy the book for yourself and others.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vancouver Centered, a bit

Yesterday I was trying to figure out ways to get the word on winter craft fairs out, so I made a facebook group. It's called "Vancouver Craft Fairs". If you're on facebook and you're either a buyer or seller in the City Please join it. Link to your shop and list fairs you might be going to. Then invite other people who might be interested in it.

I'm going to also put it up on craftster, livejournal, and flickr so the word can get out a bit.

This morning I was at fellow Vancouverite's etsy shop "track and Field Designs" and saw that they were being featured on another site that did monthly showcases called "Poppytalk Handmade"Then at their website I saw a company called Beehive Kitchenware. They might just make the cutest measuring spoon sets I've ever seen.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I've been playing around taking pictures as part of a master plan to make some new graphics for the website and I had to pause to share this picture because it shows off my two latest loves: 1. delica beads and 2. my new camera's macro setting. Both make me swoon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Winter Craft Fairs

We're starting to get some craft fairs on our agenda, should be a fun season - our first time out to holiday craft fairs! There's so much to do - not only crafting our stuff but getting our display ready so I've been trolling this flickr group to get inspiration and tips on how best to do things. At some point I'll have to stop surfing the web and actually get to work!

So far we're planning to do these two fairs, hopefully we'll add one or two more:
1. Point Grey Craft Fair on Saturday Nov 3 (10am-4pm) at the Point Grey Secondary School in Kerrisdale.
2. West End Community Centre Fair, 870 Denman St, on Sat. November 24 and Sun Nov 25.

Just to prove that it really is that time of year - a picture from outside my apartment in the West End of Vancouver... a popular spot for foliage pics:

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who I Heart

I spend a frightening amount of time looking through Etsy listings, finding stuff to fall in love with. So I'm following Kalin's post and sharing some of my favorites:

1. Anna Leah Designs - she makes amazing wearable art pendants that are really stunning. She has a whole series of tree images that blow me away.

2. Sour Kitten - awesome, eye-catching abstract pendants done with a combination of silk screening and fused glass. Also: a Canadian artist.

3. Tilly Bloom Curious Jewelry - very unique jewelry here with a 19th century vibe, sometimes creepy but in a totally awesome kind of way.

4. Colleen Baran Jewellery - some of the most amazing rings I've ever seen. Colleen is a Vancouver artist we had the pleasure of sitting next to during a craft fair. I am the happy owner of oneo f her bubble rings which I love to pieces.

Friday, October 05, 2007


One of my favorite things to do while I'm crafting alone at home is to open up my laptop and listen to an episode of NPR's "This American Life." I was trying to think of how to describe the show, and not really satisfied with my own explanation I turned to their web-site. Here's what they say:

"There's a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There's lots more to the show, but, like we said, it's sort of hard to describe."
So, I guess I shouldn't feel bad for not coming up with anything.

I love this radio show so much. It has everything from interviews to biographical stories to short fictional stories to radio plays. Sometimes they do little documentaries about personal projects they take on. Over time, the more episodes you listen to, you start to get favorite contributors. Some of my favorites are Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris and David Rakoff. So I was thrilled the other day when I started listening to an episode called "Meet the Pros" which not only had a project documentary by David Rakoff, but it was one about crafting.
Act Three. Martha, My Dear.
Contributor David Rakoff visits his dream job: in the crafts department at Martha Stewart Living magazine. If his hobby became his job, he wonders, would it still be fun?
You should go over and take a listen. The part where he goes to visit Martha Stewart Living is pretty darn cool, and his musings about doing what you love for a living is something I often think about. There's more to the segment though. Rakoff also talks about why he loves crafting and how he feels about gifting. It really made me think about my own crafting and I'd love to know what other people's reactions to Rakoff's thoughts were. Plus, I just wanted to share the craft accompanying joy that TAL has been for me.

p.s. Please note that I give Kalin a hard time about not putting pictures in her blog posts and now I'm doing only my second post and there's no pictures. Hopefully the links to good things will make up for it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's fulling, not felting...

Yesterday Lisa and I spent the morning shopping. We were on a mission for 100% wool, dry clean only sweaters. We found several. We also went looking for cups for the candles. We found lots of those as well.

Then in the afternoon we went to my place and fulled the sweaters. This involved washing them (twice) and drying them. They shrunk and thickened up and are now ready to be made into hot-water bottle covers and maybe slippers.

This is all part of our prep for our upcoming craft fairs. Well only one is confirmed (November 3nd at Point Grey Secondary), but two others are pending. We are doing some of our usual products, but also some new ones.

I have more to blog about (wooden buttons, screenprinting) but will save it for when I have pictures and am not quite so tired.