Crochetville Blog Tour: Shawl Talk, Free Pattern & Book Giveaway

Update: 4/1/2016: The book giveaway is now closed. Congratulations, Rubra! Thanks to all who participated!

Update: 4/3/2016: Bellamy shawl pattern is back to its normal price of $5.99.

Chugga chugga CHOO CHOO!

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Welcome to my stop on Crochetville’s NatCroMo blog tour. My name is Sara Kay Hartmann and I am a crochet designer and the author of Poetic Crochet: 20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems.

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Have you ever made a crocheted shawl? There is no project I enjoy more. Shawls are luxurious and beautiful. Even though they look exquisite, they aren’t difficult to make. The same kind of stitches you already use to make baby blankets or potholders can be worked to make shawls that will last a lifetime and add a little romance to your wardrobe.

How I Got Started Making Shawls

I was a relatively new crocheter, and spent a lot of time online admiring the work of other crochet artists. I am a passionate knitter as well, and often read about the process of knitting and blocking lace shawls. I thought making lace was too hard for me, and my finished projects never seemed to look like what I saw in pictures–crisp openwork, ethereal fabrics, and elegant styles. I learned that with the help of wet-blocking and steam-blocking techniques, even simple stitches took on new life and achieved a more polished look.

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Wearing Crocheted Shawls

Even though we are modern folk who no longer lose our amethyst brooches in the lace of our country shawls (Marilla Cuthbert, anyone?), I advocate the wearing and enjoyment of shawls–the lacier the better. But how to wear a shawl without feeling stuck in the 19th century?

It’s all about the wrap. Shawls look stunning when swirled about the neck and top of the shoulders, allowing the arms to move freely. Unexpected. Chic. Almost urban, with a little of that European flair for using scarves and wraps as wardrobe-enhancing accessories. Cowls are all the rage these days and most shawls can be worn cowl-style to great effect. That said, if you are comfortable rocking the full-body wrap, you should go for it and look amazing doing it. Ponchos, ruanas, kimonos and shawls have been coming back in a big way so it’s our time, shawl-makers!

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Odette Shawl 3

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Freebies & Giveaways

Now for the good stuff…I have a couple fun things to share with you in honor of National Crochet Month!

♥ ♥ ♥ To celebrate National Crochet Month, the Bellamy Shawl is free for this week only! The pdf file is available here: this giveaway is now closed.

Bellamy Blog Tour

♥ ♥ ♥ I am doing a giveaway of a signed copy of Poetic Crochet. To enter, just leave a comment on this post! On March 31st I will do a random drawing from the commenters and the lucky winner will receive a free copy of Poetic Crochet plus the bonus material shawl pattern–if you have purchased Poetic Crochet, let me know so I can send you your PDF free pattern!

Thank you for stopping with me on Crochetville’s blog tour, I hope you’ll leave comments to enter the book drawing, enjoy the freebie, and try making a shawl!

♥ Sara

 

 

 

In the Press: “The Romance of Crochet”

Hi Crocheters,

I Like Crochet Magazine published my article, “The Romance of Crochet” in their February 2016 issue, available now!

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In it, I talk about the unique nature of crochet as a craft and put a different spin on making romantic gifts for our “valentines.” Here’s a little excerpt:

Giving the gift of handmade offers more than picking out an item and spending money. You are giving of your skill, your time and effort, and your loving care for the receiver. That’s pretty romantic, if you ask me!

On Valentine’s Day we tend to focus on sweethearts, spouses, or romantic crushes, but take a moment to think of the other valentines in your life. The ones whose love is supportive, steadfast, and always with us. I’m thinking of our moms, sisters, daughters, and BFF’s. Those who understand, who help, and who encourage us through life’s turbulence. This year, consider making a romantic–in the crocheted sense–gift for one of these wonderful women in your life.

I also got a chance to talk about Poetic Crochet and some of the thoughts that went into developing the concept of the book and working toward my vision of presenting crochet in all its romance and loveliness. Don’t miss it!

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Happy Stitching,

Sara Kay

In the Press: Perfectly Pink Headband

Hi Crocheters,

Update 3/4/2017:

This pattern has been out for over one year, so I can now offer it to you free! Enjoy.

Free PDF Pattern Download: perfectly-pink-headband

I Like Crochet Magazine published a fun little design of mine in their February 2016 issue–the Perfectly Pink Headband!

If you’ve never worked with crochet post stitches, this is an easy design to get you started. I love the woven texture, and it’s pink for Valentine’s Day of course. Also, it’s a one-skein wonder making it a great stash-buster project.

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Happy Stitching,

Sara Kay

Designer Spotlight: Sea Song by Sara Kay Hartmann

This was today’s excitement! Got a feature on Berroco’s Designer Spotlight segment of the Design Studio Blog!

In a family where “hardly anyone is crafty,” Sara Kay Hartmann is the exception. She taught herself to knit and crochet in 2008 by watching videos online. Just last year, she released her first book, Poetic Crochet: 20 Shawls inspired by Classic Poems.

View original post 509 more words

Last-Minute Granny Square Gifts: 6 Charming Projects Made from 1 or 2 Granny Squares

I was hard at work on an everlasting blanket of colorful crocheted granny squares when I realized I barely had enough for a crib-size baby blanket.

I couldn’t bear the thought of making 3-12 times as many squares to get the size I wanted and having to stitch them all together.

You know what I needed?

Instant gratification.

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I started playing around with the squares I had to see what I could make with them as they were.

It was fun and yielded some ideas for this little series of gifts you can make from just 1 or 2 squares plus some extra yarn for the seaming and small details.

YARN, HOOK, & TOOLS

I used Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! yarn in many, many colors and a size F (3.75 mm) crochet hook to make each of my squares. The Clover Amour crochet hook set is my go-to for every project but any old hook will work, of course!

Various other tools include a yarn needle, scissors, spray starch, fabric steamer, the odd button, a smidgen of sewing thread, headband elastic, wings, prayers, etc.

Please note that all of these tools are optional except the yarn needle and scissors.

NOTES

  • I finished each project with a gentle steaming to polish the stitches and make corners lie flat and smooth instead of curling. And a little spray starch wouldn’t go amiss on items like mug mats and tiny envelopes! I don’t usually starch items for wearing.
  • If you are new to granny squares, check out this link for help learning to make grannies. My grannies were made with 2-chain corners and 1-ch between each set of 3 dc along the sides. I changed colors for each round, and simply attached my yarn at any corner to get started.
  • Try to work over yarn tails whenever possible to cut down on the number of tails you need to weave in at the end.

One-Square Gifts

Tiny Envelope

Use this little pouch for giving gift cards, keeping love notes or holding business cards!

Materials:

  • 1 7-round granny square
  • button
  • sewing thread

Instructions:

Lay one 7-round granny square out  as a diamond with RS up. Fold lower three corners into center and crochet or sew seams to close. Turn right side out. Sew on a button at the bottom front of the envelope, fold top point down using the top corner eyelet as the buttonhole. Stuff with a love note and give!

Mug Mat

This little charmer is just a 5-round granny surrounded by a single round of single crochet. Give one as a mug mat or 4-8 as a coaster set!

Materials

1 5-round granny square (more if you want to make a coaster set gift)

Instructions:

Join contrast yarn at corner and work 3 sc in the corner, and 1 sc in each st; rep 3 times more around granny. Join with slip stitch and fasten off. Break yarn and weave in yarn tail.

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Bows, Bows, Bows!

Adorn a headband, a gift, a hat, or ear warmer with these sweet bows.

Materials:

1 4-round granny square

Instructions:

Pinch one 4-round granny square neatly in the center (adjust the pinch to make the bow folds even. Tie a length of about 20″ contrast color yarn into a square knot at the back of the granny to hold the bow shape with 10″ tails. Now wrap each tail around the bow center 8-10 times to reinforce and cover the gather, tie another knot at the back to hold the yarn wraps. Weave in both tails.

Other ideas: decorate gifts, make Christmas tree ornaments, baby bow ties, sew onto brooches or hot-glue onto hair clips. Try with smaller grannies to make them even more twee!

Two-Square Gifts

Arm Warmers

These colorful mitts will keep your mitts warm this winter. They are nice for texting, but for warmth you can also wear them over those cheap, stretchy $1 gloves to fancy them up a bit and extend the cuffs. Hate that chill that creeps in between my coat cuffs and short gloves, don’t you?

Materials

  • 2 8-round granny squares (I chose to make my 8th round in the same color yarn though my squares did not match)
  • Extra matching yarn to extend the cuff edge and sew up seams.

Instructions:

With RS facing, fold granny square so that 2 opposite edges line up and sew a seam from bottom for 4th ch-sp opening. Fasten off and break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. From the opposite (top) end, sew a seam to the 2nd ch-sp opening. Fasten off and break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Weave in yarn ends. Turn RS out.

Rnd 1: Join yarn at bottom edge seam and pull up a loop. Work hdc in seam and each st or ch-sp around cuff, join rnd with a sl st.

Rnd 2-3: Ch 2, *hdc betw next 2 sts; rep from * around.

Fasten off. Break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Weave in yarn ends. Steam lightly to finish.

Repeat for second arm warmer.

Fancy Gift Bag/Trinket Pouch

Fill this colorful little drawstring bag with marbles, candy, special soaps or any small gift.

Materials

  • 2 7-round granny squares
  • Extra yarn for seaming, making bag top, and braiding drawstrings

Instructions:

Lay 2 squares out with RS facing, lined up evenly. Sew or crochet a seam around 3 edges, leaving the 4th edges open to form the mouth of the pouch. Fasten off, break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Turn pouch right side out. Join extra yarn at a side seam and crochet one granny round around the mouth of the pouch as follows:

Edge Round: Ch 3, dc in next ch-sp, *ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-sp; rep from * to other seam, work 1 dc in last ch-sp, 1 dc in seam, 1 dc in next ch-sp; rep from * across other side. Join with a sl st to close round.

Braid drawstrings (make 2)

Cut 3 lengths of 20.” Tie a knot at one end and make a 12″ braid. Pinch to hold braid in position and tie another knot. Trim knotted ends evenly.

Thread both drawstrings in 2nd row of eyelets and tie to close pouch.

Pixie Bonnet

Sizes: Baby (Toddler, Child)

Note: The sizing is quite free for this design. The size shown was made for a toddler but modeled on a 4-month old baby.

She’s cute, isn’t she?

Yes, I am her mother.

Materials:

  • 2 7-round (8-round, 10-round) granny squares
  • Extra yarn for seaming and colorful braided ties
  • Optional adornment such as a bow, flower, or other doo-dad. Doo-dad is a technical term.

Lay grannies out lined up evenly with right sides facing. Sew a seam along 2 adjacent edges, fasten off, break yarn leaving a 6″ tail. Turn bonnet right side out and join yarn at a seam corner.

Edge Round: Work granny row (3 dc in each ch-sp, ch 1 betw dc shells) along 4 open edges and join rnd with a sl st to close.

Make chin straps:

Cut 2 30″ lengths of yarn in 3 different colors (6 lengths of yarn total).

Thread yarns through chin corners of bonnet and pull until even. Create 3 sections of 2 strands each. Mix the colors as you like. Work a 7 (8, 10)” braid and tie off in a knot. Trim knotted yarn neatly. Repeat  for opposite chin strap.

Finishing

Weave in all yarn ends. Push the top corner seam outward for maximum pointiness–the more point, the more pixie. Steam lightly.

Decorate with optional adornment. Put on the nearest child and take adorable, winter-wonderland type Instagram photos.

I hope you enjoyed this series of gift ideas. Let me know! #lastminutegrannysquaregifts

Happy Stitching,

Sara Kay

Let’s Knit Magazine ~ Author Interview

Let’s Knit is a UK magazine all about knitting and crochet, and they interviewed me for this month’s “Last Word” section.

We discuss Poetic Crochet, my favorite (favourite!) fibers, and my unusual path into the wonderful world of yarn.

Hint: The path was uncovered by that beloved British lady of letters, Agatha Christie. Strange, but true. Click the “Read the Interview” link to check it out!

Read the Interview

Let's Knit

Go, Little Book…

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This day has been three years in the making! In keeping with the poetic theme, I offer this blessing courtesy of Lord Byron:

“Go, little book, from this my solitude! I cast thee on the waters, go thy ways! And if, as I believe, thy vein be good, The world will find thee after many days.”

Fall 2012: Struck by an idea for a crochet collection themed around poetry and shawl projects
April 2013: Sent query email to Interweave
December 2013: Submitted book proposal
February 2014: Proposal accepted, contracts issued, jumping up and down and screaming followed by panic
September 2014: Manuscript deadline
January 2015: Manuscript revisions
June 2015: 20,000 copies printed in Hong Kong
October 22, 2015: Poetic Crochet hits shelves!

And don’t forget to claim your ♥ free pattern ♥ with purchase!