Monday
Feb082016

Book Review: Crafter's Market 2016, edited by Kerry Bogert 

Book Review:  Crafter’s Market 2016 - How to Sell Your Crafts and Make a Living

edited by Kerry Bogert

 

Wow! Crafter’s Market 2016 is so full of information, I hardly know where to start! It is really more of an encyclopedic source of “everything you need to know” to getting started in the fiber arts, or even just crafting in general. Up until now, a lot of the information contained in this book was available only by networking one-on-one when attending craft conferences, or by trial and error. As a crocheter who has been in the field for over 7 years, I can honestly say that that this book would have greatly shortened my learning curve had it been available before now! I’m so thankful that Kerry Bogert has compiled this gem for the crafting community. Kerry plans on updating this book each year with the most up to date information, so you’ll want to check back for a new edition each year to stay up to date.

This book contains many essays from experienced designers, editors, crafters, and other folks who have a deep knowledge of how the business end of this community operates. As you probably already know, running a small business in this field embodies many roles. This book will help you to: understand the importance of collaboration, of eliminating time wasters, how to reach your on-line audience, choosing a craft show that fits your crafts, pricing your items, creative retreats (who would have known about these??), cruises, writing a book, plus hundreds of pages of references for every state in the United States! From just one perusal of this book, I have been inspired to make a few changes already.

I just love the personal perspectives of artists such as Abby Glassenberg, Heather Zoppetti and Meighan O-Toole, as well as Kerry Bogert’s own essay on “Tips for a Successful First Craft Show”. I certainly could have benefited from her wisdom several years ago, and I think you will too. The modest price of this book can save you hundreds of dollars by not investing in the wrong craft fair, and can help you multiply your time and money by spending where you need to make your craft business grow in the specific way you want.

In the section about craft fairs, there are over 100 pages of listings, plus many more for those interested in industry shows!  Are you looking for how to reach out to book publishers or magazines? There are over 40 pages of listings on this. This book also includes many listings of on-line communities where your crafts can be sold. It also lists many crafting retreats should you be looking for a fun getaway.  It is topped off with a very comprehensive subject index so that you can find the information you need quickly. 

Abby Glassenberg’s essay on “Newsletter Know-How” has motivated me to start my own newsletter for my Bonnie Bay Crochet design business.  I don’t like being controlled by social media’s constantly changing algorithms, thereby limiting how many people see my posts.  I want to be able to reach those loyal followers who are interested in my work without having to take a chance on whether they will allow my posts into your news feeds.  I am so motivated that I am working on my first edition of the Bonnie Bay Crochet Newsletter, but I only want to send this to those who are truly interested.  As a thank you for signing up, you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a free copy of this book!  To enter, simply send me an e-mail to bonniebay@me.com and say, sign me up!  I will announce the winner on Facebook and via e-mail on Friday, February 12th.  I also want to make a promise to you about your e-mails.  I will NEVER sell these to anyone…ever, but will use them only to communicate to via a newsletter.  I’m hoping to make this a monthly letter, but maybe more frequently when special offers come up.  You will be the very first to hear of important fiber news from me.  I also plan to include special offers (pattern discounts, free patterns, new stitches, book giveaways, etc.) that will only be offered to my newsletter friends.  If for any reason you decide to unsubscribe, you will be able to do this easily and instantly.  I want you to know that I respect your e-mails and never want you to feel “spammed” by me.

This book is available from Interweave as well as Amazon.com.

Monday
Jan182016

Book Review: Cold Weather Crochet by Marlaina "Marly" Bird

Marly Bird’s “Cold Weather Crochet” book is a potpourri of fun, cozy accessories everyone needs for the winter months! There is just about everything in this book from cute slouchy hats, fingerless gloves, hooded scarves, crocheted socks, to beautiful geometric afghans! Marly has you covered from head to toe in lovely yet practical designs. Every time I have perused this book I find something else that catches my eye.

 

Many of these garments are very approachable for even the newest crocheter. Most patterns in this book include stitch diagrams to help you better understand the written portions.

I love textured crochet, and Marly does not disappoint here!  Her Green Mountain Spinnery Hooded Scarf (also the cover design) features a lovely raised cable that will keep you fashionably warm on those cold days…

 

A similar texture is found in her Cabled Shawl, which is also sure to have a lot of drape with the Merino wool/nylon blend yarn. I’m also a lover of the green and blue tones found in this design and several others in this book.

 

If it is lace you are looking for, check out the Lace Motif Wrap made of 100% lace weight Merino yarn.

 

One project that immediately caught my eye is the Thrummed Slippers! I hope to make a couple of pairs of these soon. I love the color and style, not to mention the practicality of wearing these in my home where all shoes are left at the door in traditional Japanese style.

 

There are a couple of hats that are even suitable for guys…and we all know how hard it is to find designs for our men!

 

The afghans are stunning with the many colors and geometric shapes, not to mention their “on the go” option of crocheting them one motif at a time!

 

This Cold Weather Crochet is available from the Interweave Store and on amazon.com.  You can learn more about Marly Bird’s designs on her ravelry page or on her website at marlybird.com


Wednesday
Dec022015

Crochet World Blog: Hills of Ireland Throw!

 

I'm so thankful for Crochet World's feature of my Hills of Ireland Throw in their blog and Talking Newsletter!  You can read the interview and see some photos from my time in Ireland in 2012 here.

I also wanted you to know that my dear friend & crochet designer Jennifer Ryan will be leading a 10 day trip to Ireland for crocheters (courtesy of Annie's)!  If you have ever considered going there, this could be your opportunity!  I can personally vouch for this amazing lady.  She is not only VERY talented in crochet and her special art of crocheting Celtic knots into her designs, she is also a mom of 3 delightful young ladies, a home school teacher, and just a fun gal to be around.  If I wasn't in the midst of college tuition payments for my children, I would jump at this! You can click here for more details on this trip.


Monday
Nov302015

Book Review: Broomstick Lace Crochet by Donna Wolfe



If you have never learned how to crochet broomstick lace, this could be a great starting point for you!  Donna Wolfe of naztazia.com has come up with 20 designs using a very basic broomstick stitch in her new book “Broomstick Lace Crochet”.  

 

I would recommend this book to even the newest crocheters and those hesitant to learn new stitches to just jump on in!  This stitch is a lot of fun, and this book provides many step-by-step photos to lead you along.  There are many other helpful tips as well, including how to substitute other tools should you not have a size 50 knitting needle handy!  Perusing this book reminded me of the time I taught this stitch to a group of new crocheters who were all pre-teens and quickly picked up this technique pretty easily with only a few weeks of crochet experience under their belt.

 

All of the patterns are very easy and approachable.  Two of the projects that stood out to me were the headbands and the book cuffs.  Both make use of decorative buttons that fit nicely into the broomstick stitches and are cute and functional.  They are also gifts that can be made quickly using extra yarn from my stash.

The photography in this book is not as stunning as other books I have featured, but the photos are more than adequate to give you an idea of the finished designs.  It does look like Donna had fun participating as a model with her children in the photo shoots! 

I did enjoy going on-line to Donna’s website called “Naztazia” (at naztazia.com), and found a wealth of many other crochet patterns and Youtube videos to explore.

 

Published by Stackpole Books (http://www.amazon.com/Broomstick-Lace-Crochet-Vintage-Stylish/dp/0811716155/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448858673&sr=1-1&keywords=broomstick+lace+crochet) 

Monday
Nov232015

Book Review: Poetic Crochet: “20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems”


I’m pretty excited to share another book with you, one that is simply lovely! “Poetic Crochet:  20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems”, by Sara Kay Hartmann is a wonderful collection of shawls that are approachable for any crocheter, from a confident beginner to the seasoned expert. The shawls are mostly of the lace style, but a few are made by crocheting a more solid fabric. All use the most basic crochet stitches and the hooks you already love.

 

From the cover to the end of the book, I was impressed with the stunning photography which is beautiful and fitting for the “poetic” inspiration of this work. The photography is also very detailed and instructive. The close up shots of the designs not only show you the pattern of the stitch work, but also gives you an almost three dimensional feel for the yarn being used. I can feel the crocheted fabric in my mind as I flip through page after page.

 

Each design has a very detailed stitch diagram to help you understand the instructions.  The author also includes some very helpful information on blocking your work.  This is especially helpful if you are not used to working with some of the more natural fibers like mohair and wool.

 

Most of the shawls are made using high end yarns, but don’t let that discourage you if that doesn’t bless your budget. The weight of the yarn is provided for every design so that you can try to find an adequate substitute if that is your wish.  This is going to be very helpful to me personally as I seek to utilize some of my yarn stash for some of these designs!


 

Two of my favorite designs are “Spring Dream” (p. 38), and “Skylark” (p. 86 and photo below). I am particularly drawn to these shawls partly because they are easily customizable should a scarf (instead of a shawl) be desired.  By following the designers instructions and stitch diagram, the same shawl pattern can easily become a scarf!


Poetic Crochet is one of those books that will most likely occupy a table in my home, inviting you to peruse its contents whether you are a crocheter or not!  Yes, it is as beautiful as that...


Poetic Crochet: 20 Shawls Inspired by Classic Poems
By Sara Kay Hartmann (https://sarakayhartmann.wordpress.com/)
Interweave/F+W; $24.99
http://bit.ly/1LeS2wl