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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Simply Crochet: Tallula Top

And...we're back :-)  That's right, the next stop on the Simply Crochet blog tour stops in here today for the last time.  So far you have seen some of the simply WONDERFUL crochet that can be found in this book.  I don't know about you but I find it inspiring.  Behind the designs there is a collection of talented designers that is amazing.  Not to mention the uber talented Robyn Chachula is no secret that she is my absolute favorite crochet designer and I am thrilled that I can call her my friend.

So, let's get on with the party :-)  I told you all about the Botan Placemats that I did as a 3 ball project but I didn't tell you about the other project I did. 

The Tallula Top is a little girls top made out of the timeless beauty of crocheted motifs around the body coupled with textured griddle stitch, makes this a perfect piece for every little girl.  I made it without too much fuss or frill so it will look great made oversized and worn as a dress or fitted and worn as a top.  I do want to mention that if you are making this for a little girl who still puts small objects in her mouth choose a different closure than the buttons as I don't want her to choke...okay? 

I used the wonderful Spud and Chloe Fine and I have to tell you I simply LOVED it!  Such wonderful luster to the yarn, it felt great in my hands and it blocked beautifully.  I would put this yarn on my top ten.  Yes, I loved it that much. 

So, how long did it take me to make this?  It took me about a week of working on it consistently.  Actually, while my youngest was in preschool I would go to a place called Einstein Bagels and work on my projects.  Which means I can honestly say that I spent a week of 4.5 hours a day on this project.  Not long at all if you think about it.

Okay, there is only one thing left to ask: WHO WANTS TO WIN A PRIZE?  Yep, there is a prize to be won.  Here is how to win:

Tweet about the book SIMPLY CROCHET and link 
to me in the post, marly_bird.  
Each person who links to me in their post will be entered to win a FREE DIGITAL COPY OF THE BOOK! 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Simply Crochet: Botan Placemats

Welcome to the next stop in the Simply Crochet Blog Tour. I am your host, Marly Bird! I have two designs in this great book but today we are going to talk about the 3 Ball project, the Botan Placemats. 

--You know what, let me begin by telling all of you what a great idea I think this book is. So many people I know (knitters usually) tell me that they don't crochet because it takes so much yarn and that they never can find anything that they like that actually doesn't take that much yarn. Well, the next time I hear that I am going to hand them this book. It is FULL of absolutely fantastic items that maximize the value of the yarn but don't compromise on style.--

Anyway, let's get on with the show :-)

The idea for the  Botan Placemeats (ravelry link) came from a felted coaster I made myself out of some scrap Stitch Nation, Full of Sheep yarn I had left over from working with Debbie Stoller (that is a whole different story).  The coaster is a simple two row color repeat stripey thing that sits to the left of my computer and is absolutely perfect.  I love this coaster and thought that a set of cute felted placemats would look wonderful on my kitchen table.

When I saw this inspiration photo I though that making the placemats felted just like my coaster would be perfect.  They have clean lines and are not too busy which are two things I like.  But it needed that little extra something.  So, I pulled out one of my MANY crochet stitch dictionaries and made the little Botan Flowers and stitched them to the placemat.  The flowers are the little touch that makes them cute, don't you think?

Are you on a time crunch?  I made these in about a day and a half.  SERIOUSLY! Actually, I had enough time from the deadline that made two sets to play around with colors.  Check out the other color option you could do.

As for yarn amount, these placemats literally use just about every last bit of yarn of yarn in the three skeins.  I had maybe 24" left of each color.  Not bad huh?

So,if you are looking for a quick, inexpensive and easy project or a gift for the holidays or a house warming these are perfect! Go and favorite them on Ravelry would ya? want a prize?  SURE...I am the Oprah of the Podcast world...let's spread the love here too!
Leave a comment on this blog and be entered to win a FREE DIGITAL/E-BOOK copy of Simply Crochet!  I will pick a winner randomly in a week so don't wait.

Last but certainly not least...check out my teacher profile and classes for STITCHES West.  I would love it if you would join me for a class or two! Trust me, I am a lot of fun :-)

Monday, August 01, 2011

the Knook!

When I first began to knit I literally went to my local craft store and purchased every tool I could find on the market that had anything to do with knitting.  This is no joke, even if I had no idea what it was or how to use it, if it said it was for knitting it was in my basket. That was 7 years ago and since then there are very few tools on the market that I find myself saying 'I have to have that'.  However, that has all changed when I was introduced to the Knook!

What is a Knook you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  It is a tool that blends the best of both the crochet and the knit worlds.  Invented by Leisure Arts, a Knook is basically a wooden crochet hook that has a removeable thread at the end making it possible to knit with a crochet hook!  Brilliant if you ask me.

It is very helpful to the crocheter that wants to learn to knit, or the knitter that has a hard time dropping stitches or picking up stitches along the edge of a piece and wants to use a hook instead of needles.  The Knook is sold in a kit that includes 3 wooden crochet hooks, thread, a booklet with great instructions for the right and left-handed crafter, along with lots of how-to-photos. It is currently only available at Wal-mart but will be in other stores this fall. 

Is it a crochet tool or a knitting tool?  Both...knitters and crocheters will find that using a hook to pull the yarn through a stitch is easier than using a needle and they will find that the string attached to the hook helps them with the dreaded dropped stitch.  Yes, you read that more dropped stitches! 

With the Knook, the dreaded dropped stitch doesn't happen because the thread acts like a life line for your work.  So, if you have been fearful of knitting because of dropped stitches I want to encourage you to try the Knook.  It might be your new favorite tool in your crafting bag.

If you are like me and need more visual instructions than a booklet to show you how a Knook works, Leisure Arts has how-to videos on their web site as well as free patterns!
And as a special thanks to you for stopping by I'd like to GIVE AWAY a Knook kit!  To enter leave a comment on this blog. I'll select the a winner from the comments received before Friday August 12th.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Barton Cardigan

Not sure where to start.  All most two years ago I was asked by the absolutely fantastic Lisa Shroyer to be a contributor to her new book Knitting Plus. Well, being a large size girl myself I know first hand the need for well written books on this subject matter.  So, needless to say, it was a no brainer for me to say yes immediately.

As far as direction, Lisa pretty much told me to do a yoke sweater, using Bijou Basin Ranch yarn (Bijou Bliss which is a Yak and Cormo blend...YUMM-O) that would be beautiful on a full size woman. Okay, let's get real for a moment, having all that freedom is wonderful but at the same time absolutely crippling!

I spent nearly three weeks swatching different stitch patterns until I found the one that I thought was visually appealing, different than anything I had seen before and one that I knew I would not get board making. Then, I decided that I wanted to not only knit this sweater on size 3 needles but why not make it a steeked sweater as well?  Go big or go home, right?

I must have chosen correctly because the response I have received for the Barton Cardigan (ravelry link) has been overwhelming! In a recent twitter interview with Shannon Okey, Lisa even said that it was one of her favorite designs in the book.  Talk about making me feel incredible! 

Well, if you have happen to like this cardigan as well and want a little help to make is your lucky day!  The wonderful Julie Matthews of  is hosting a KAL on ravelry for the Barton and I've signed on to "teach" it online to all of you!

The Barton KAL begins on June 1, 2011.  All the details and such are on the ravelry group so please look there to find out more ;-)

Hope to see some of you there!

P.S. If you want to hear more about the Knitting Plus book, have a listen to the interview I did with Lisa on my podcast.