Category Archives: Crochet News

Crochet Skills ≈ Heart Surgery ≈ Life


How Crochet Literally Has Saved Lives

(aka Brilliant People Crochet)

Did you notice the recent news story about the heart surgeon who credits CROCHET and a SEWING CLASS for his surgery skills?

“Dr. W. Dudley Johnson… pioneered and popularized lifesaving cardiac bypass surgery and was considered a healer of last resort for heart patients around the world…. He applied the crocheting skills he had learned from his mother, who was a home economics teacher, and the needlecraft he was taught in a seventh-grade sewing class (he got an A), to perform more than 8,500 heart bypass operations over four decades.” – NY Times, October 30th, 2016.

Unfortunately Dr. Johnson died last week, but his inspiration and legacy live on. Thanks to his mom, and #crochet.

Told ya we can rule the world…

(Check out the full story about this amazing man’s life here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/31/health/dudley-johnson-dead-coronary-bypass.html.)

thread-crochet-hook - tools of a heart surgeon

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Filed under Crochet News, NaBloPoMo

Sorry I fell off the planet… but Happy New Year and check out some news!


Four weeks.

It’s been four weeks since my last post.  Like that yellow bird, I fell right off the NaBloPoMo wagon face first into the dirt.  And it’s a wonder, because I really enjoy writing here more than I enjoy all my other work.  You’d think I’d be playing hookey all the time just to be here.  But no, I get side-tracked with the serious and the mundane things in life.  Why do I have to pay taxes and mop…

So… actually…
I owe you guys some serious crochet news! 

News I’ve been aware of for a few weeks, but have been remiss in passing on.  Did you get the winter Interweave Crochet issue and wonder where the 2nd article is?  Well, that 2nd article on crochet hand holds has been moved to the Spring 2014 issue!  Just about in time for me to go to Spain!  So hang on another season and look for it then.  🙂

My latest projects

I stayed busy in December with a couple shows and madly crocheting for Christmas gifts.  These are just a few of my projects that actually ended up in pictures.

red_textured_diagonal_cowl

I’ve been working on this new stitch idea. I have no idea what to call it, but it involves making some stitches in a diagonal pattern and stretching them kind of in the same way you stretch the loops in a Solomon’s Knot when you make it.  It requires some definite discipline and consistency to get the stitch to come out evenly for the entire project.  I had to practice it a bit, because during my first run, after putting the project down for a couple of days, my continuation turned out completely different in gauge than my beginning.  This project, while considered advanced in skill, is fairly consistent once you get the hang of it, because the entire piece is this one stitch.

purple_textured_diagonal_cowlMy sister-in-law saw me working on this and really fell in love with the texture, so she asked if I could replicate this pattern for her in purple.  Remember my quest for a very specific yarn?  Well, thanks to T-Rex from Ravelry who was kind enough to sell me her Taki Savoy, I was able to create this for her.  The way it’s photographed here, it might look like some sort of ladder stitch, but it isn’t.  It’s exactly the same stitch as you see in the red, just redone in this lovely eggplant yarn.

You might also notice the necklace she’s wearing.  That was another crochet project that I finished for her.

Backstory

The pendant is a large piece of charoite that I found on a trip to Arizona a year and a half ago.  There’s this sweet little town called Jerome, about halfway between Prescott and Flaggstaff.  Getting there is a nightmare for anyone with vertigo of any kind as the roads to get there are not only winding through the mountains, but there are steep drop offs just off the edge of the roads with no shoulders.  Jerome itself is an old copper mining town that’s built right into the sides of the mountain cliffs there.  And it’s aptly called “America’s most vertical city.”

Today, the town is very artistic and full of interesting shops and yummy little places to eat.  Walking around the town didn’t bother me a bit, but driving the roads – well… let’s just say that I had no idea I had a problem with heights and steep drop-offs until we took this trip.  Of course, why would I think otherwise.  I grew up in the Great Plains where the only mountains nearby are amongst the oldest and most worn down on planet Earth.  I’ve never been faced with roads the likes of these before.  And I didn’t like it.

knit1_bead2_jerome_AZAnyway, back to the great parts about Jerome.  While we were there, my dear hubby noticed a yarn shop, up on the second story cliff above us (seriously, it’s an oddly built town).  “I’m probably going to regret this, but let this be proof I truly love you.  Dear, there’s a yarn store up there – do you want to check it out?”  My hubby is so awesome!  “Yay! Of course I do!”  The name of the shop is Knit 1 Bead 2, and not only did they have a variety of specialty high-end yarns there, they also had some amazing beads!

charoite crochet necklaceThat’s where I found this sweet little (ok, not little at all) pendant.  And what I decided to do was instead of simply putting the pendant on a leather thong or a silver snake chain, as would seem more typical, was to instead crochet several separate strands of cotton thread to put together to create the necklace for the pendant instead.  These photos don’t do it justice, but I like the texture they create and of course I like the comfort and lack of metal reaction that crochet jewelry can offer.  My sister-in-law is much like me, allergic to many metals.  That said, I did still use sterling silver findings for the clasp in the back (not pictured).  Believe it or not, this took many hours to make.

I had some fun getting things together for a couple of small shows.  I didn’t get into any big shows this year thanks to breaking my ankle and surgery at the end of summer.  (I guess I haven’t really told you that story. Sigh, OK, it’s on my list.)  Anyway, thankfully(?) the deadlines for all the big shows are in the summer.  And well, I knew I couldn’t handle my usual crazy hauling and churning out product this year.  So I didn’t.  I focused on walking again.  However, I did have an opportunity to sell a bit of my stuff off in December, including some old inventory.

Every year I add new inventory and every year some of it doesn’t sell.  It’s part of doing business.  However, I have come to realize that holy cow! Between moving last year, packing the winter before that and breaking my ankle this year, I still have inventory from  – get this – 2009!

I do not like to carry inventory very long.  After too long, it feels like stagnant energy itching to find a different home.  So it’s past time for me to clear it out.  Which is also a cue to watch out for some sales, because this is one time I completely advocate slashing your prices and I will be doing it.  And every penny will be going toward Spain.

testing_the_length_with_some_helpAmongst new things I added to inventory this year are my ruffled gothic muffs and a few more eared hats.  Here you can see just how much my kids love me, as I test out a hat to make sure I didn’t make it too long. I would almost say my life is like a musical, but that would really be a little too normal.  Although, seriously… we’re all musical and we all do sing.  Perhaps a better description is that my life is a comedy, but I think it would only appeal to a small few as most of the laughs are inside jokes and there seems to be an awful lot of work. So I guess really, it’s a surreal sort of thing.  Oh and that shirt I’m wearing, is indeed a Doctor Who spoof on Michelangelo’s cherubs smashed up with the Weeping Angels.  I love it, though I try to remember not to wear it around little kids.

gothic_ruffled_mittsAnyway, so in this other photo you’ll see not only the pair of my ruffled gothic muffs, but a copy of Hyperbole And A Half that my kids’ English teacher snatched up for Christmas.  I didn’t know she was a fan, but I’m not surprised and even pleasantly pleased!  (I know some of you are HAAH fans!)  The book was just released a couple of months ago and it has both new and classic favorites!  Btw, if you have not heard of Hyperbole And A Half, and if your humor is remotely like mine (and you can tolerate some coarse language), then seriously check out Alie Brosh’s blog and book. And let me tell you, the book does not disappoint.  It’s super thick and full of full color pages of Allie’s artwork and stories.  I’m so glad they didn’t try to edit it down for space and fewer pages!  The God Of Cake is one of my favorite stories.  Go check it out. You are welcome.

As far as the ruffled muffs, I didn’t realize that’s the only photo I have of them! So I guess I will have to figure out making another pair.  Besides the fact I have yet to write that design idea down either. Hmph…

And so, there it is I guess. 

The weekend between Christmas and New Year’s is here and I am catching up.  Lot’s of work to do and Spain is only a couple of months away.  And I am working on details there!  Turns out there might be a yarn store close to us in Barcelona!  I am totally stoked and will fill you in as I set things in stone, or at least have a clearer idea of what I hope to pull off.  Btw, if you’d like to help me out with a few dollars towards my trip, you can find the secure link here.  I just discovered I will have to buy new suitcases for us.

Ah well, I guess it’s about time.

In the mean time, stay tuned for more world of handmade talk.  I have some nuggets of support for you that I think you’ll like.


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

The Story Of The Face-Planting Yellow Bird
Juicy Crochet News: Catch Me In Print!
I Want To Travel The World And Meet Other Women Through Crochet!
Help Me Find Some Yarn? Pleeeeeaaaassseee?
Help Me Find Some Yarn? Part 2…
When Designers Hear “Can You Cut Your Price?”
Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?
Dear Artists: There’s A Problem With Your Pricing – Part 2

Display And Pricing Your Art And Handmade Items At Shows

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet Community, Crochet News

Juicy Crochet News: Catch Me In Print!


I’ve been sitting on some juicy professional #crochet news for a few months now.  🙂

Julia_headshot_July_2013And I’m sorry I couldn’t share it with my peeps sooner – but you know how professional things can go.

However, the time has finally come that I can share it!

Are you ready?

Well…

.

.

I was asked to write a technical article about crochet hooks!  😀

And…

It turned into two articles!  🙂 

The first’s about hook shapes and the second’s about hand holds!

Kinda cool huh! 😀

And it’s for Interweave Crochet!  Yep!
You can check out the preview for the issue here!

If you’ve known me awhile, then you know how passionate I am about crochet and especially crochet hooks.  To me, we don’t pay enough attention to our tools!  Even though our tools make up such a huge part of the equation when it comes to the outcome of our crochet designs!  wpid-2012-09-25_20-57-13_-2.0Ev-2.jpgNot to mention our crochet comfort, control and frustration levels.  So I was really excited at the opportunity to “preach the gospel,” so to speak!

This Interweave Crochet hook article combo is one of the largest freelance writing endeavors I’ve ever worked on.  And of course after pouring so much crochet heart into them, I can’t help but be excited that I get to share it with Interweave Crochet and their readers!

So please watch for the issues, check out the articles and feel free to ask questions and give feedback!  I’m confident these articles will be unlike anything you’ve ever read in a publication about hooks before.  And I’m so excited that the world of hooks, hands and their variations is getting more attention! 😀  I mean, just how many articles have you seen dedicated to crochet tools and the hands that hold them!

Yay! Hookey goodness! 😀

So… you gotta go check it out!  The first article on hook shapes will be in your next Fall 2013 Issue of Interweave Crochet.  The second article will show up in the Winter 2013 issue.  Some Interweave subscribers already have the first (I know because you emailed me  – thanks for letting me know!), so if you subscribe and  haven’t received your magazine yet – you will soon!  I haven’t received mine yet either, so I’m waiting too!  And if you like the efforts Interweave Crochet is making in advancing crochet knowledge, please let them know! 🙂

For those of you who buy your magazines off the stand, you’ll likely have to wait until September 16th.  The summer issue will be on display until then, at least in the U.S..

So there you go!  There’s the big news I’ve hung on to!  

But stay tuned, because that’s not the only bit of juicy news I have to share!  Next up, I have to tell you about my summer trip with my kids across the country, our visit with Laurie Wheeler from The Crochet Liberation Front and her family, a sweet yarn shop in Denver, and more!

Not to mention, we have a lot of catching up to do!  Catch you on the flip side!

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Community, Crochet Hooks, Crochet News

And the winner of a FREE copy of “Texting Mitts” IS……?!


Happy Presidents Day week!

So last Saturday I published a review of Andee Graves new crochet book, “Texting Mitts.”  Along with that review came an opportunity to give away one free copy of the book!

In order to win, since it was Presidents’ Day Weekend after all, I chose the entry question, “If you could make a pair of fingerless mittens to give to any president in U.S. history, who would they be for and why?” 

And remember – I said the answers didn’t have to be rational, they simply had to include the name of a U.S. president!  (I even snuck in my own reference to the latest pop-culture Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.  It had to be done, because I’m goofy like that!)

We got some creative answers (which I hoped people would have fun with)!  Here are some of the highlights:

From ripplestitchkin: “I’d make a pair of fingerless mitts for President Jimmy Carter. Those hands built a lot of houses for Habitat for Humanity, and they deserve a pair of cozy mitts!”

From SierraPelona: “I’d make a pair for our 19th President, Rutherford B. Hayes. Because anybody with an awesome name like Rutherford should never be without texting mitts.”

From change it up editing“George Washington (1789-1797), Thomas Jefferson (1801-09), and John Adams (1797-1801) were all avid collectors and players of marbles. What better accessory for a marble-playing president than a pair of fingerless mittens?”

And the Aberrant Crochet winner…?
………… is Janelle Meyer!

Her entry:   “I would make a pair (or two) for Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a matching lap robe for use in his wheelchair.”

I love that!  Very cool!  Thanks for all the great entries and participation everyone.  I even learned a little real trivia!

So Janelle, look for an email from me asking for your postal address so your book can be sent to you!

Now before you get all sad if you didn’t win, check out two other blogs who still have drawings running for a chance to win a free copy of Andee’s book too!

But you better hurry, because their deadlines for entry are today!  Check the following crochet blogs out for more details and two more chances to win this book!

Poetry in Yarn – enter before 11:59pm February 20th.
Cute Crochet Chat  – drawing will be February 21st.

Thanks everyone for participating in the Aberrant Crochet giveaway for Andee’s book!  Stay tuned for more news coming soon. 🙂

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Filed under Crochet Community, Crochet News, Giveaway

It’s Official – I’ll Carve One Special Crochet Hook Per Week: Happy Fall My Friends


This is absolutely my favorite time of year.  My favorite season, my favorite three months out of the year.  Some would say it’s because my birthday is next month.  And they might be right, but I don’t think so.  I think it’s more likely because down here in Central Texas, the summers are brutal.  And as my husband said the other day when the weather was finally nice enough to throw the windows open: “This.  This is why we live here.  This is why we put up with the heat of summer.  For this.”

Here, fall is a sign of relief, holidays and family gatherings around the corner and in many ways, to me a new beginning.  But then, I guess October is my New Year.

In celebration of my favorite season, and in leaving the safety of 40, I have agreed to take on a challenge handed to me by friends.  Can I do it?

I have pledged to hand-carve and blog about at least one new special crochet hook per week from now until Christmas.

And I better get cracking.  These special hooks will be offered up for sale each week here on my blog.  And through the process, I hope you may learn a bit more about hook anatomy and why the design of your crochet hook is so important.

I have decided to handle the blog sales the same way my carving mentor, Jimbo Price, does with his own hooks – by silent auction.   Opening bids for each hook will begin at $10 ($5 increments there-after), with the respective blog post updated as bids are emailed in (to worx@pixieworx.net).  Bids will run for the week and then end.

Funds from these sales are primarily to benefit our son’s vision.  After writing my previous post about our son’s rare vision issues and the need to be able to finish his treatment, we found out he will need more than we expected.  About twice what we expected and at a cost of $3000 more.   Already, one of my customers has made a generous monetary donation on our son’s behalf that has helped us get started.  You know who you are and from the bottoms of our hearts – again thank you.

When it comes to the challenge itself, I’m not quite sure what will evolve out of it.  But I know it will be intriguing to me.  It takes me 3-5 hours to carve one of my hooks, depending on exactly what shape I am aiming for and the wood I’m working with.  I will have to treat this “hook a week” challenge much the way I have to treat NaBloPoMo coming up in November – with discipline and innovation.  There are plenty of events and life activities to get in the way, but you just do it and stick to it somehow.  And when you think you’re out of ideas, you ask for input, turn yourself upside down and you think of something differently.  (You don’t think I’m going to make the exact same hook each week, do you?)  To make it fair, part of the caveat (straight from the NaBloPoMo playbook) is that even if I make more than one hook in a week, I still can’t work ahead and skip a week.  I have to carve and blog about at least one hook a week.  That’s the challenge.  To have that discipline.

The goal in part is for me to see if I can do it.  Just like the goal in NaBloPoMo is to blog every single day, without fail, through the month of November.  Only this is carving a hook a week for an entire season plus a week.  It sounds easier than it is.  But in the long run the badge of accomplishment is worth it.

So be watching for an intro into hook anatomy and the first hook offering!  🙂  See you on the flip side.

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Hooks, Crochet News, handmade

Simply Twisted Poetry – A Fiber Love Affair… Contest!


The Crochet Me Blog announced a fiber related Haiku contest yesterday. The contest itself is actually sponsored by their sister publication Weaving Today, but looks like even crocheters can jump in and enjoy the fun.

The prize? Not only a chance for your haiku to be published in their magazine, but some luscious Bijou Basin yarn as well! Which is a yak yarn, btw. Um, yeah, I’d love to sink my hook into some of that. And I’m sure you would too, so I imagine the competition will be steep! And in either case, you know this contest will be a load of fun! If only we could win all the yarns, right…..?

Not much of a poet? Need to brush up on your haiku skills? No worries, you have until October 15th to enter up to two weaving or fiber related haiku for the win. Check out the links above for more details on the contest.

In the mean time, I’ll be practicing some of mine over the next few weeks. Feel free to share your fiber haiku creations, complete with links to your website if you have one, in the comments below! After all, I’d sure like to tweet about them and share! So hook me up!


hook slides into place

wrapped in bittersweet fiber
I am at peace once again

silly alpaca
your fleece a silky wonder
luscious clothes I make

by Julia Meek Chambers
08-06-2012


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Filed under Crochet Community, Crochet News, Writing

Crochet At Cama 2011 – Our First Day!


As you know, everyone arrived at Cama Beach State Park for the Crochet Retreat on Sunday for check in.  We gathered, celebrated and rested.  Then Monday morning is when we all came together, shed free of the traveling wearies and serious fun began!  Here are some photos from the day.

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Community, Crochet News

The 2011 Flamies Crochet Awards Live in Georgetown, TX!


The Crochet Liberation Front’s Annual Flamies Crochet Awards are coming live to Georgetown, TX April 18th, with classes from Crochet Liberation Front founder, Laurie Wheeler and designer Karen Whooley in the Austin area all weekend. This is part of what’s been keeping me busy lately!   😀  I’m really excited!  Some of you are probably going to wonder what all this is about, so I’ll try to explain and tell a bit of the story.  Go to http://CrochetLiberationFront.com to register for the event though!

What on earth did Julia get involved with? 

Well, here’s the back story – as told by me!

If you’re here, then you already know I’m a crochet designer/artist. My main work is in the arena of One of a Kinds (OOAK).  And though each year I tend to make mainly what I’m asked to (more hats than anything else), I don’t really align myself with any one specific crochet medium either.  Clothing, throws, jewelry, miniature, free-form or tapestry crochet (not to mention my fascination for spider webs and love of hook carving) – whatever catches my whim is what I work on.

I have one main rule, that crochet is a love for me and it’s gotta stay fun, because honestly, that’s where the creativity comes in.  If my heart and passion isn’t in it, then frankly, it won’t be nearly as good and I don’t want to burn out on something that I find largely meditative and expressive.  It’s one of the few escapes I can take with me just about anywhere.  So no – I don’t really want to lose that.  The fact that my crochet creations ever turned into something people were interested in buying was a complete surprise to me and as far as I’m concerned it’s a bonus.  Like any art, you have to do it for love, in spite of everything else.  I crochet whether anyone buys it or whether I donate it for cancer or not, and so if someone loves what I make enough to buy it, kudos to me for being able to justify my obsessions.  I say we all have a “madness” or two of some sort, and crochet just happens to be one of mine.  All that being said, no where in all my talk about loving the creative process am I supporting under-valuing one’s work, time or expertise.  Better believe I charge for my skill and time.  I’ll save more about this sad occurrence of under-valuation for a future blog post.

“What is the Crochet Liberation Front – some sort of hook wielding terrorist organization?”

I hear such comments from time to time when I mention The Crochet Liberation Front.  And I just chuckle, because it’s nothing of the sort and all in fun.

There was a time it would never have occurred to me to look for crocheters online.  Largely because I’m not a joiner by nature.  Oh I’m social, but just not into memberships and clubs much.  I spent a lot of time at shows lecturing and demoing about crochet and expanding the horizons of the masses when it came to the possibilities of crochet.  Some of you met me that way.  Maker Faire Austin was my absolute favorite experience, setting up a nook for kids and adults to just hang out to learn and crochet or finger knit with each other.  I was there both years it came to Austin and really missed it when it couldn’t come back.  That perfectly suited my personality, being absorbed by the simple joy of making.  No labels, no judgments, no “right” way. (I’m really not into drama and politics. As far as I’m concerned it gets in the way of true creative joy.)

However, three years ago I found a group that worked for my individualistic personality.  I became a member of the Crochet Liberation Front (CLF) about six months after it began, helping to promote and preserve the last fiber art left that cannot be replicated by machine.  They shared the same passion for innovation and preservation I already had and I found friendly camaraderie without expectation or labels.  I had spent a lot of time feeling like a lonely voice when it came to education and pushing the boundaries of expectations in crochet.  It was amazing to find others “like me.”  How could I not?

At its heart and intention, the CLF is a bunch of crocheters who just want to have fun, complete with a sense of humor to go along with it.  We do however seek to broaden the horizons in our industry, and promote the beauty and innovation present everywhere in crochet.  Many of us have felt general dissatisfaction with attitudes, industry dynamics, treatment of crochet designers and patterns available, especially in the US.  I’m not super in touch with the common industry at large because it usually fails to supply much of anything innovative, technical or unusual enough for my tastes. Not to mention the fact that I do not use patterns. And besides, after all, I AM Aberrant Crochet and it wouldn’t be much in keeping with my personality to be keeping step with the Jones. That makes me a little different, because personally, if everyone else is doing it, I’m much less interested.  Even if I started it.  Seriously, if the world starts obsessing over crochet spider webs, I will be the first to lose interest.

However, all that being said, even I have noticed what seems to me an odd perception that crochet is only beautiful if it’s from somewhere else, like Russia.  As if the only thing that exists in the US are granny squares, shawls and doilies.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a very healthy respect for the history of crochet and its development.  And granny squares, etc. can be awesome.  However there is so much more to our fiber art.  And I know I don’t appreciate being pigeon-holed as to what my art is supposed to look like.  If you’ve seen photos of my work, you can totally get where I’m coming from.  I’m pretty proud of the fact that customers at shows so often marvel at my creations and the fact that they never thought crochet “could look or feel that way.”  Education at its finest!

Die-hard crocheters seek to preserve this art and promote its continued genius and development.  Crochet is the very last fiber art left that cannot be replicated by machine.  At all.  Not one iota (yet).  I kid you not.  Google “crochet machine” and you will find machines made in China that knit a chain, but they use the term “crochet” interchangeably.  However, crochet is purely and always created by a hand and a hook.  No machines.  There is always a cap on just how much one pair of hands can create at any one time.  Even that mass produced crochet you see at the store?  All of it was created with a human hand and a hook, and all too often by children.  (I’ll save the subject of repetitive motion injuries in children for yet another blog post.)  You can see a bit of where our passion for our craft comes from.

OK, what’s the deal about the “Flamies?” How does that fit in with crochet? Did it simply catch fire?

The Flamies” are a grass-roots (I almost typed a grass-fire!) style annual crochet awards that we started some three years ago, and their popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. The CLF itself was started somewhat as a joke by Laurie Wheeler (we call her Fearless Leader), looking to provide a fun home for crocheters around the world to commune, talk shop and celebrate crochet. Something different and outside of the usual boxes available to folks out there.  And BOY do we have fun! Well, the group took off.   And not too long after, due to disenchantment with the yarn industry’s lack of support or celebration for innovative crochet (in the US in particular), it was decided to create our own awards – the Flamies.

The Flamies, you ask? Umm, yeah. Kind of a long story, but it’s a reference to the Flaming Crochet Hook of Justice, which has been waved liberally over the years.  And yes  – the Flamies are a nod of fun to the Emmys and Grammys as well.  In fact, my tapestry crochet charted pattern for my Flaming Crochet Hook design was published in the Crochet Liberation Front: First Ever Book.

Long story short, a bunch of us decided to stop waiting for the industry to provide what we wanted and we began creating it ourselves. We even created our own crochet awards.  And you know what happened? IT TOOK OFF! Today, yarn companies, magazines and designers are competing for the Flamie crochet awards and this year a whopping 30,000+ turned out for voting! The winners will be announced live this year!  Talk about becoming the change that you seek in the world! 

The Landmark Tavern - Georgetown, TX

The event? It’s happening a bit on the fly, but the Flamies are coming LIVE to Georgetown on Monday, April 18th. The editor of Interweave Crochet magazine, and designers from both coasts are flying in for this event, including Mary Beth Temple from Getty Loopy, along with Fearless Leader kicking off her US Tour here in Texas! Nothing like this has ever been done in our niche industry before. It might be just crochet to everyone else, but this is big for us!

Tickets are being sold to the live event held at the Landmark Tavern, (wonderful neighborhood wine bar) on the Georgetown Square where we will have a red-carpet event with photographers, April 18th 7-11pm. And I’m so lucky it’s right here practically in my own back yard.  If you want to come and hang out with crochet creative types (you don’t have to crochet, but you must be friendly), it’s $25 a ticket which includes a drink ticket and snacks.

This is a semi-formal event! Wear your best crochet if you have it! If not, wear your favorite fiber thing!  We’ll be walking the red carpet at The Landmark, so it’s a chance to dress-up. Businesses also have the opportunity to buy tickets to this events in blocks. For a minimum of 5 tickets, the price drops to $20 per ticket.  Go to http://CrochetLiberationFront.com for more details on registration for the event and about the CLF in general.

I hope we’ll see you there!


Calendar of Weekend Events:

April 16: 11am‐ 2pm Meet & Greet in Georgetown, Texas at Dukes BBQ (right on north bound I35): This is a family friendly event, free for crocheters to attend to meet up, admire each others’ crochet and organize local meetings and relationships. We’re expecting a lot of people to attend this event.

April 16: 7‐9pm Fearless Leader & Friend’s soiree at The Knitting Nest in Austin, Texas.
A more adult evening of wine and song. Promoting all that is crochet in one of the leading yarn destinations in Texas. So far at least 25 people confirmed.

April 18: 7‐11pm The Flamies LIVE! Red carpet event in Georgetown, Texas at the Landmark Tavern (a gorgeous wine bar). This year’s awards ceremony will take place as per tradition on the Getting Loopy Podcast with Mary Beth Temple, and at the live event which will be web cast so the millions of crochet fanatics around the globe can see the best of the best! Party goers will receive a drinks ticket, nibbles, goody bags and prizes! We have room for 120 guests!

Go to http://CrochetLiberationFront.com for more details on registration for the event and about the CLF in general.

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Eastside Knit Night – Nov. 16 for E.A.S.T.


You will find me here teaching crochet and talking about crochet hook design. Might even demo making crochet hooks out of chop sticks.

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V-Neck Variation of the Modified Railroad Choker…


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Here’s the V-Neck variation of my Modified Railroad Choker, displayed with a variety of Gothic style pendants to show its versatility.

The blue combination was put together as a birthday present for one of my daughter’s junior-high friends.  The red one is likely to end up with my steam punk costume come Halloween!  The silver one is for the Halloween store!

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Haunted House Spider Web PDF Pattern – Aberrant Crochet Exclusive


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Spider web can be used as a costume accessory

Many people have asked about a pattern for my spider webs. Though the spider webs you see in my shop are all OOAK and each unique, I have written a more simplified pattern for purchase.  It is a 9 radial spider web that can be easily customized to the size you need, up to approximately 6 feet in diameter.  This is not the same pattern as my giant 15 foot Metamorphosis Spider Web which I’m still working on the technical writing for.  But I think for many the smaller size will do.

You can purchase this pattern right here!

Halloween Spider Web – A Variable Pattern from Aberrant Crochet

$4.25 (includes license to sell finished product)

It is now also listed on http://AberrantCrochet.etsy.com and on Ravelry HERE if you would prefer to use another payment source than PayPal.

This detailed 5-page pattern offers a variable sized crochet spider web for display or costume wear. It includes glossary of terms, color photos, display guidelines and instructions for sizing up to an estimated 6 feet in diameter. Gauge is not particularly important to the construction of this pattern, but it will affect the end size.

Stitches are over-all fairly straight forward.

Nine Radial Spider Web with Support Wedges

However, this pattern requires a lot of counting, basic lace concepts and prior knowledge of extended crochet stitches beyond double crochet.

As such, this pattern ranks as intermediate crochet according to pattern standards guidelines and is written in American English terms. You will find a glossary of abbreviated terms used in this pattern on the last page.

Hook size: 10 (J) or 6 mm
Yardage: 300 – 600 yards
Sizes available: variable up to about 6 feet depending on your tension

Designer’s Notes: Though this patten officially ranks at an intermediate level according to yarn standards, I do believe that it is straight forward and repetitive enough for an adventurous beginner to make. If you are still learning stitch and tension control, then this pattern may be difficult for you. I recommend very even and loose stitches for this pattern and a highly structured worsted weight acrylic yarn. However this pattern does work with sparkly and novelty yarns for an eclectic look under a black light or “in the shadows.’

PLEASE NOTE: These spider webs are designed for decor and when worn, with teens and adults in mind. Spider webs are NOT toys. And a spider web should never be hung or left where a small child might get tangled in it or where it could pose risk or present a hanging hazard.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All Content Copyright © 2008-2012 by Julia Meek Chambers, Aberrant Crochet and Pixie Worx, all rights reserved.

You may sell finished products created from my pattern as long as they are not mass produced and are hand-made by you individually. Any items for sale must state in the item description that they are based on my pattern and include a link to my website.  Any items you sell based on my patterns must also feature your own photographs.  You may not use my images to help sell your finished items.  If you have a charity project in mind which would require multiple volunteers, please contact me. 

Purchase of this pattern grants you permission to make and sell items created from it, but not to republish, share or resell the pattern itself. A lot of time, cost and technical expertise go into my designs, as well as over 35 years of intensive study and application. Tech editors, etc..  So my patterns may NOT be reproduced or distributed — mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying, without written permission. Please do not hurt my ability to feed my family and pay for medical bills. Thanks!

Other licensing inquiries: worx@pixieworx.net

Spider web can be used as a costume accessory

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Red Hot CROCHET Night April 28th: 5-11pm CT – Etsy Sale 20% off tonight!


Etsy Sale from EtsyHookers Crochet Team! 20% off anything in my shop, 5-11pm tonight! http://www.etsy.com/shop/PixieWorx

Red Czech glass 6-Pointed Star Flower Choker - Comfortable Fine Crocheted Jewelry - Exclusive Aberrant Crochet Original Design

I am participating in Red Hot Hooker Night (meaning CROCHET y’all) on Etsy tonight – Wednesday April 28th from 5-11 pm CT.

Flaming Crochet Hook Bag for CLF Book

Gothic Turquoise Crochet Necklace

There will be a lot of sales in the RHHN category and I’m personally offering 20% off anything in my Etsy shop from 5-11pm only.

Not a Joiner - Outrageous Ski Hat

I just picked up the last of my designs from consignment and want to make room for new designs coming out this year.Toddler Bear Hat with Pink Bow

I’ll be working on loading more into my shop today in preparation for the sale. Working on the photos now. Most of my work are OOAKs, so if you like something get it while you can.

Spring Goblin

The official RHHN announcement doesn’t go out until tonight, but figured I’d share with my friends in advance so you can plan.

Modified Railroad Choker with Sun Motif - Czech Glass

"Sun Cherries" Squiggle Hat

Help me ring in the new and let your friends know?

Max the Goblin

The Bubblegum Goblin

Spirit Jumpers get discounts for their Spirit Jumps.

"Vail" Ski Hat with a Squiggle

Contact me directly if you are interested in something for a Spirit Jump.

Again, the sale doesn’t begin until tonight: 5 – 11pm CT!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/PixieWorx

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Modified Railroad Choker – Featured in a Treasury!


My red and black Modified Railroad Choker with Sun motif has been featured in an Etsy Treasury!

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4bd7677cb8988eefc2a8c15b/r39n39b-red-and-black

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What Yarns Are Best for Crochet…?


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This was a question asked on one of the crochet forums I’m on. Thought I’d share my response here. Feel free to add your input in the comments to help others!

I would say that what yarn you use depends on project and attitude actually. I know everyone has an opinion and there are various camps of thought. But my take is more of a unifier of worlds. I’m a true Libran – I dislike division.

You can crochet with anything. Seriously. And I’ve done it. I’ve mixed all sorts of fibers (some things not even considered “fiber”) and broken most taboos out there. And what I haven’t broken yet, I will endeavor to before I die. You can’t focus on being able to see. This is the eternal quip between my grandmothers and I. “But grandma, if you really know how to crochet, you don’t have to see your stitches, right?” It’s our private little laugh between us. But it’s true. I’ve used lots of stuff people didn’t think you could crochet with. But I also find that people get in a rut with fibers because they only use one type of hook or tool. Hooks can make an incredible difference in the variety of things you can create. Certain ones are better for certain things.

Only once have I come across a fiber that I felt was the spawn of satan and that I refused to try again and actually threw it away. Something called whirly-gig. And the monstrosity was difficult to use because it falls apart. Shouldn’t have been called yarn! In my experience, as long as it doesn’t fall apart, it can be crocheted!

I find most yarns do not meet people’s expectations because they approach it either with preconceived notions or one hook fits all approach. And that’s OK. Specialization is important too. Let the fibers speak to you and you’ll figure out how they best like to be used.  It’s like anything in life, you learn how it works. All fibers have a personality of sorts and a way they “prefer” to be handled. All you do is just figure that out.

I say take the fear and hesitation out of it and just let go. Get some paint and splash it on that canvas and see what you get.

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MO-Hair…


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Setting: I’m working on my latest hat design one night, trying to get all my notes down and actually record the creative process. So, I’m trying the hat on, trying to make sure the shape of the bill is just right and just about ready to make the final snip to tie off. Dear hubby is multitasking – recommending a yellow flower for the side while wailing on the new Fender he just bought. And my dear daughter (11 at the time) is fondling the yarn balls I just snipped free from the hat I’m finishing.

Story:

“Oh, I just love this yarn,” my daughter sighs, handling the shimmery lilac one. “That’s mohair,” I say, never missing a moment to teach. All these years she’s always heard me talking about one fiber or another.

But this time, she paused long.

And then my super genius 6th grade but high-school level science whiz tells me, “Ummm Mom, I don’t know what a Mo is……”

So that’s where I stop and nearly choke laughing!

To make matters worse, without skipping a strum, my dear hubby chimes in dryly, “Oh you know honey,” he says to our daughter. “From the Three Stooges. The guy with the hair chopped off in the front. Mo-hair.”

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Crochet Movie Titles Fun….


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We had a fun thread awhile back at The Crochet Liberation Front group on www.Ravelry.com (a crochet and knit community) about possible Crochet Movie Titles.

These are the ones I came up with – reposted here for your enjoyment! Feel free to participate and add yourself to the fun in the comments!

How to Lose a Hook in 10 Minutes

Last of the Mohair

Triple X-Stitch

Hot Yarn and Cold Feet

The Accidental Crocheter

What About Bullion?

Bullion 5 (Babylon 5)

Backstitch (Backdraft)

Balls of Furry

Attack of the Zombie Fiber Hookers (John suggested that one!)

101 Things to Do with a Naughty Skein (another John contribution!)

The Cable-Stitch Guy

Cast Away the Sticks!

Chasing Stitches

Chronicles of Intarsia (a technique in crochet)

Cirque du Filet

Clash of the Tritons (a shell stitch)

Code Name: Decrease

Cluster Theory

Cables Under Fire

The Craft (Hey I like it!)

The Hidden Lives of the CLF

Crazy Shell Dundee

Weaving in Ends

Cross Trebles Make Hidden Dragon

Saving Popcorn Stitch

Scary Mohair

The Stash

Star Stitch Troopers

Herringbone and the Half-Close Stitch

The Stitch-hiker’s Guide to the Marquerite (a star stitch)

House of Flying Picots

The Coffee Stain (I know I’m not the only one who has spilled coffee on a project!)

Tapestry C and the Hook of Destiny

That Darn Cat (need I say more?)

Triton A.E.

Basic Crochet 2: Risk Addiction

The Back Loop Killers

Ruffling Evil

OK I had some fun with this…..!  What about you? Add to the creative #crochet fun in the comments below!

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Announcing Jack & Jules Collaborative Designs!


My Latest in Crochet Jewelry Designs with a Little Perk from Jack…

Jack's Blue Rose Pendant with Julia's Railroad Crochet Choker

Jack's Blue Rose Pendant with Julia's Railroad Crochet Choker

My daughter (who goes by Jack btw – from her initials and also after her great-grandpa Jack), has finally discovered polymer clay this summer!

YES!! I knew those pottery classes were going to pay off sometime!

And we’ve been working on a new line of collaborative projects!
Jack's Red Rose Pendant

Jack's Red Rose Pendant

I’ve been tickled pink to watch her designing jewelry and working her clay this summer and she’s come up with a few really sweet designs that in spite of her inexperience, I think she did a great job with.
Jack's Blue Rose Pendant with Julia's Railroad Crochet Choker

Jack's Blue Rose Pendant with Julia's Railroad Crochet Choker

We have quite a few summer birthdays in our family, so we were busy crafting away and coming up with fabulous things to gift away.
I wanted to crochet some necklaces and Jack wanted to make some pendants, so we met in the middle.

See what we came up with!

(Stay tuned! – More Aberrant Crochet Jewelry + Jack & Jules Collaborative Designs to come! Be sure to watch my Etsy store ~ all Jack’s sales go to her college fund!)

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Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends – The “Half-Stitch” Technique…


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This is an article I wrote over a year ago for potential use on Ravelry or for The Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book.  Thought I’d reprint it here for your reference.

Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends
The “Half-Stitch” Technique

by Julia Meek Chambers – Aberrant Crochet ™

 Fiber blending in crochet is when we use more than one color and/or fiber in a project at the same time.  Many people have crocheted with at least two fibers at a time to increase the gage of the stitch or add variety to the colors and shading in a product.  It is a great way to add extra dimension to any look.

 Sometimes, in our work, we assemble the perfect combination of colors and textures for a project, only to discover that there’s not enough of one of the fibers to complete it as envisioned.  Whether the lack of yardage is due to budget constraints or because the fiber itself is simply discontinued or otherwise unattainable, this limitation does not have to mean a disappointing dead-end to an otherwise fantastic fiber combination. 

 Why not try using the determinate fiber for partial stitches only?  I call this the “Half-Stitch Technique.”  This technique is accomplished by using the fiber in question for only some loops of a given stitch, but not others in the same stitch. 

 For instance, a single crochet stitch is accomplished in two steps.  If you don’t have enough of a fiber to complete an entire project or section of single crochet, then with the Half-Stitch technique, you would instead use the fiber in only one half of each stitch and then drop it for the second half of each stitch.  Though more understated than being used in a full stitch, this allows the color and texture of your limited fiber to still be present in the project. 

 Remember, there really are no rules in crochet other than the use of a hook, so give it a whirl and see what this technique can do for you!

  Copyright © 2003 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Julia’s Beefy Beret with Tailored and Newsboy Variations – My Most Recent Pattern


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Designed by me!
 
Beefy Newsboy Style with Brim

Beefy Newsboy Style with Brim

You can get this pattern here!
$4.99

(also includes license to sell finished product – see below for complete details) 

Purchase of this pattern also entitles buyer to free updates to this pattern.

Craft: Crochet
Type: Hat
Published: April 2009

Yarns suggested: Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Weight
Yarn weight: Bulky
12 ply (7 wpi)
Gauge: 8 stitches and 8 rows = 4 inches in hdc
Hook size: 6.5 mm (K)
Yardage: 250 – 300 yards
Sizes available: S, M, L, XL

Julia's Beefy Beret

Julia’s Beefy Beret

About this pattern:

This 4-page pattern offers a beefy “artsy” beret style hat with slim and newsboy variations. Includes glossary of terms, full color photos and instructions for S, M, L, XL sizing, striping and brim options.

Stitches are over-all fairly simple. However, this pattern requires knowledge of how to use multiple yarns at once through out and some elements of this pattern require tapestry crochet skills and interchanging colors.

As such, this pattern ranks as intermediate crochet according to pattern standards guidelines.

Julia's Tailored Newsboy Variation

Julia’s Tailored Newsboy Variation

Notes on Materials Needed:
Four or more yarns are required for this pattern. The brands listed in this pattern are not required for this pattern to work as mentioned in the variation. The band/stripe colors for this hat are made from stash scrap yarn and therefore are not mentioned by brand. Keep your weights and gauge as listed and this pattern can be replicated again and again.
 
For more detailed information about my work, see: http://PixieWorx.etsy.com
 

All Content Copyright © 2008-2012 by Julia Meek Chambers, Aberrant Crochet and Pixie Worx, all rights reserved.

You may sell finished products created from my pattern as long as they are not mass-produced and are hand-made by you individually. Any items for sale must state in the item description that they are based on my pattern and include a link to my website. Any items you sell based on my patterns must also feature your own photographs. You may not use my images to help sell your finished items. If you have a charity project in mind which would require multiple volunteers, please contact me.

Purchase of this pattern grants you permission to make and sell items created from it, but not to republish, share or resell the pattern itself. A lot of time, cost and technical expertise go into my designs, as well as over 35 years of intensive study and application. Tech editors, etc.. So my patterns may NOT be reproduced or distributed — mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying, without written permission. Please do not hurt my ability to feed my family and pay for medical bills. Thanks!

Other licensing inquiries: worx@pixieworx.net

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The Book My Crochet Design Was Published In….!


Since some have asked, here’s a link to the Crochet Liberation Front’s First Ever Book now on sale that my “Flaming Crochet Hook” tapestry crochet design was published in:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440408122/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thedifbetaduc-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1440408122

My tapestry design is even featured in the “Look Inside This Book” links! Yay! Very cool!

Fair warning though, this is an advanced crochet book. If you are into crochet, this is not a book for beginners and it’s that way by design. Though some patterns require less skill than others, none of these patterns are basic by any means. This book is a crochet book designed to push the bar. A book for avid crocheters, by avid crocheters and mostly targeted towards those who want so much more out of a book of crochet patterns. You will be exposed to all sorts of techniques in here that if you do not already know, you will be expected to learn them first elsewhere before you can really implement them in these patterns.

I am honored and proud to be featured in this book and to rub shoulders with so many talented designers and artists from around the world!

xoxo!
Jules

Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design

Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design

The CLF First Ever Book

The CLF First Ever Book

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