Jun 302014

The Web is a wonderful place to learn about new crafting techniques and challenges. Earlier today I ran across a Facebook announcement from Michael Sellick, the founder and leader of The Crochet Crowd, an online community of crochet enthusiasts. Mikey, as he is known among his friends, invites everyone who crochets to participate in the 2014 Stitch-cation Summer Challenge, basically a patchwork afghan made out of squares of assorted stitches and colors. The challenge begins on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

The goals behind the 2014 Stitch-cation Summer Challenge are as follows:

  • Learn and/or be refreshed with 10 different stitch combinations.
  • Learn how to change colors effectively without hideous knots hanging out.
  • Explore color with a minimum of eight different colors by crocheting squares, playing with color in each square, not necessarily one color per square.
  • Use your imagination when assembling your afghan.
  • Create a Free Choice Border using your own design of at least 4 rounds.

Mikey provides you with a free Stitch-cation Workbook containing all of the crochet stitch patterns that are required in the challenge. Although you can certainly print the 22-page PDF document, I recommend that you download it to your computer or portable digital device, since it contains links to how-to videos.

The sample afghan that Mikey commissioned has 20 squares crocheted from economical Red Heart Super Saver Yarn, but you can make your afghan any size you wish, as long as you have at least 20 squares using each stitch twice. You can also use any yarn you wish; it does not have to be Red Heart Super Saver Yarn. If you use variegated yarn, that counts as one of the eight minimum colors. You can also make as many afghans as you wish, and each one counts as a separate entry in the challenge.

Complete your project by September 1, 2014 and send an e-mail to Mikey at mikeyshelpdesk@hotmail.com with a photo of your completed project so that it can be included in a gallery and be eligible for a random drawing of 3 winners. Make sure you include “Stitchcation” in the subject line. The winners will each receive a Red Heart Fully Loaded Yarn Bag with Crochet Crowd Gifts. You are also encouraged to post a photo on the Crochet Crowd Facebook page.

I’ve decided to use yarn that reminds me of Easter eggs, definitely bright and summery.


If you are going to participate in this fun learning challenge, make sure you follow the complete rules found HERE. Happy hooking!

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Oct 252013

My intention was to write this post at least 2 weeks ago, but between volunteer activity deadlines, an education conference, two craft shows, and computer issues, I couldn’t get to this announcement about another book giveaway. The book I am giving away this time is Jane Davis’ Crochet: The Complete Guide, a wonderful resource for anyone who crochets, no matter what level. Although I have been crocheting for almost 40 years, this is one of my favorite resources.DSCN7782The book is easy to thumb through with only three main sections—one for crochet basics if you’re a beginner or just need to review some stitches, a second section for 162 different stitches spread across 19 categories—among them ruffles and cords, bead crochet and Tunisian crochet, and a final section for seven projects such as a basic bag, a sweater, crochet bracelets, and more.


This page discusses how to do decreases when you have bobbles or clusters.

Stitches Collage

From left to right: Posts and Vs, Small Cable Post, Bead Lace and CroKnit

Projects Collage

Upper left photo, proceeding clockwise: Basic Bag, Beaded Bracelets, Sweater, Sleeveless Blouse

There are three short reference sections that include an introduction describing the differences between yarns ranging from wool to blended, a glossary with common crochet terminology, abbreviations, a stitch symbol chart that is helpful for graphical patterns, and a table for yarn weights. Ever wonder what those numbers on the skein wrapper mean? This book will explain all of them. In the resources section you’ll find a list of Web sites, most of which provide free patterns.

Reference Sections Collage

Top: Yarn discussion. Bottom, left: Crochet symbol chart. Bottom, right: Yarn weight guidelines.

This straight-forward book will likely turn out to be one of your favorite crochet references.

To enter the giveaway, let me know in the comments below what crochet project is currently in your work basket. If you’re just learning how to crochet, tell me what you would like your first project to be. I will announce a giveaway winner next week Friday, November 1st, assuming there are at least five entries.

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Feb 172013

We are approaching the end of the winter season (hopefully), but despite my anticipation of spring, I find myself working on projects intended for colder weather—namely, more crocheted, fingerless gloves. When you sell seasonal items, it’s a bit like writing articles for a magazine: you’re always six months out of sync with the current season.

In any event, I’ve been developing a new fingerless glove pattern that takes advantage of the chevron trend you’ll see everywhere–in clothes, jewelry, accessories, home decor and other types of items. And because this month’s challenge theme for Blogging Business Artisans involves the color red, that is the color I used for my chevron-style gloves.

“February is about hearts, love, roses . . . the color red. Create any project you like using the color red!” suggests Edi of Memories for Life Scrapbooks.

So, here goes. This is a unisex glove, appropriate for either guys or gals, depending on the color you choose. This coming week, I’ll be listing this style of glove in other colors.

Thanks, Edi, for generating February’s challenge theme!

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.