Saturday
Jul192014

A Sneak Peak of "Contemporary Celtic Crochet"...

Just this week I received my advanced copy of my new book, Contemporary Celtic Crochet:  24 Cabled Designs for Sweaters, Scarves, Hats and More.  These will finally be available in mid-September from the Interweave Store (http://www.interweavestore.com/contemporary-celtic-crochet) and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Celtic-Crochet-Designs-Sweaters/dp/1440238618), but I would like to share some images with you right now!  Any crocheter with knowledge of the most basic stitches should be able to complete most of the designs in this book.  The book begins with a photo, step-by-step stitch dictionary, in alphabetical order, to help you on your way. Should you require more help, you can always come to this website (BonnieBayCrochet.com) and check out the free instructional videos for either right or left-handers.  Should you desire step by step instruction, I have filmed 6 one hour long videos with Craft Daily, which will also be available this fall, so stay tuned!

Aran Diamonds Cardigan and/or Vest...This is one of my favorite designs and I have waited a few years to see this design in a book!

 

Pennywhistler's Pack and Purse - an excellent confident beginner project!  If we ever meet at a conference, or during on of my travels, I will most likely be wearing one of these (or one of a similiar design) on my back.  I love being able to carry my belongings with me, but safely and with my arms and hands free.  These are also easily washable in your washing machine using a mesh bag.

 

Baby Feet Baby Blanket...for the youngest family member or for a special gift! Celebrate the amazing gift of life with a stitched imprint of baby feet.

 

Liffy in a Jiffy Stole - This can be completed in a weekend...Named for the River Liffy which runs through the city of Dublin, this is one of my favorite stole patterns particularly because it can be made in a jiffy!

Saturday
Jul122014

A Golden Opportunity

My bags are officially unpacked, and the sound of the washer machine is now purring in the background as I sit to catch you up on the latest at Bonnie Bay Crochet. For the past several days I've been in Golden, Colorado for some work with Craft Daily, which films and distributes (via internet subscriptions) craft instructional videos. I am particularly excited about this project because I was able to film 6 one hour long videos, each walking through the step by step process of creating a project from my first book Contemporary Celtic Crochet, which is going to be available very soon! This will be especially helpful for the crocheter who knows many stitches but has been hesitant to dive into a sweater project. The videos are hosted by a delightful young lady named Ashley Briggs (left in photo below), who was instrumental in helping me to feel relaxed and making my job easy! 

 

These ladies were so much fun and worked hard too!  The dress form is showing a sneak peak of the "Busking Beauty" Sweater Wrap made using Cestari's Cotton/Wool blend yarn.

 

Getting ready to shoot the first project: notice that table on the left holding all those supplies that are off camera.

 


A behind the scenes look of the stage...

 

I felt just about as tired as I look in this photo following two full days of filming for Craft Daily. Ashley was wonderful and she knows a lot about crocheting!

After two full days of filming, my husband and I headed to Breckenridge to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary a week early. This was my first time driving in the Rocky Mountains, which proved to be a very worshipful experience! Despite experiencing some mild altitude sickness (due to the reduced oxygen at 10,000+ feet), we had a very sweet, memorable time together. Rather than tell you about it, let me show you...

Watching the sun begin to set from Look Out Mountain outside Golden, CO...

 

We were amazed at the view as we watched the many thunderstorms develop in the distance followed by a continuous lightening show! Now I understand John Denver's lyrics in the song Rocky Mountain High when he sings, "I've seen it raining fire in the sky..."

Visiting Red Rocks in Morrison...

 

An elk cow who came up to me near the summit in Rocky Mountain National Park...

 

A most memorable traffic jam!

 

An elk bull grazing right along the road.  For the record, we stayed in the car!

 

We enjoyed breakfast at this Parisien bakery in Breckenridge.

 

A view of some of the slopes at Breckenridge.  All we need is some snow!

 

Sunday
Jun292014

New Free Patterns: Divine Textured Throw & Pillows

Are you looking for an afghan project that you can carry with you even in the summer heat?  The Divine Textured Throw & Pillows is crocheted one square at a time and can travel with you where ever you go this summer! Make one for a Christmas gift, or use a neutral color for any time of the year!  If you aren't up for a large project, try your hand on a pillow two.  As always, if you need any help with these stitches, simply check out the free instructional videos (under Aran crochet) on this site.  

Friday
May092014

Crochet: A Guilty Pleasure?

How many of you have ever suffered from guilty feelings because of the time you take to crochet, or knit, or enjoy any other craft?  If this is you, I hope to free you of this by the end of this discourse.  As a woman past the half-century mark I have worn many hats in my lifetime:  daughter, sister, friend, student, band member, drum major, veterinarian’s assistant, secretary, clerk, teacher, wife, etc.  But honestly, none have been more rewarding or more demanding than being a mother in the home.  When I became a mom, I also became the family nutritionist & chef, nurse/doctor, hairstylist, fashion consultant, seamstress, educator, mentor, psychologist/counselor, interior decorator, driving instructor, diplomat, referee, not to mention the more than occasional & all purpose maid.  My mom used to say, “A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done!”  I dare say that in many ways she was right, making my seemingly forever unfinished work my main source of guilt whenever I crochet, or do anything that is mainly for my pleasure and not for the purpose of serving others.


 To get to the root of this issue, our first question should be, where is this guilt coming from?  From a family member?  Friends?  An unseen enemy?  Or our own impossible expectations?  When I think back to when I was a much younger mother, I think there was a combination of issues at work in my heart.  The main issue was very legitimate:  It was more important to take care of my very young children who had many immediate needs.  I was in an intense, yet wonderful season of life where my children needed help with everything from eating, diapering, bathing, to tying their shoes.  However, that season has passed, yet I found the guilt remained.  Why?   

I believe one reason why guilt remained was having unreasonable expectations of what my home should look like.  Try as I may, my home will never look like those decorator magazines at the supermarket because PEOPLE live in my house!  These inhabitants also have a tendency to leave many “signs of life” throughout the house as well.  (Since becoming a crochet designer, I may even be the biggest offender of this!)  Am I saying never to clean your house?  Absolutely not!  Please don’t tell others that I said we can abdicate our responsibilities here.  I just think it is self-defeating to not rest or pursue a hobby until every molecule of dirt and dust is removed.  They do have places like this, but they are usually sealed off rooms in laboratories, and they are not where people live!


 Another question to ask ourselves is this:  “Am I trying to please or impress someone else too much?”  Or how about this one:  “Am I competing with ‘the Jones’?”  If your answer is yes to either of these, I would encourage you to check your heart and ask why it is so important to please or impress these folks.  Once you discover the answer, you find that you can take time to relax and rest.  Even God rested on the seventh day after creating the universe!  If you are trying too hard to please other people, you may have created an idol in your life that is best destroyed, especially if it is running your life and controlling your joy.

Pursuing a craft or hobby like crochet makes us nicer, more joyful people to be around, and who doesn’t want this?  Medical research has also shown that crafts like crochet and knitting can improve your physical and mental health.  Many of us already knew this before researchers added their credence to the discussion, but this information does further encourage me and relieves any remaining residual guilt.

 Another thing I often hear from people is this question:  “When do you find the time?”  Here’s my abbreviated answer:  We all have extra minutes in our day that can be harvested and put to good use if you look for them.  Do you commute on a bus or train?  How about a doctor’s office where you will be waiting in the waiting room for 20 to 30 minutes?  Relaxing time watching a program on television?  What do you do for those 10 minutes while you are waiting for supper to finish cooking in the oven?  How about that time you may be spending on social media?  If you look, it isn’t hard to find the time.  When we make the most of our time we might just surprise ourselves with what we can accomplish, including ridding ourselves of misplaced guilt!

Saturday
May032014

A Day at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2014

Whew!  What a fiber-filled fun day!  Today was my first trip to this local sheep and wool festival, and even after attending several knit and crochet shows, I've never seen anything on this large of a scale. Let me show you!

 Lots of yarn-bombing on the split rail fences near the entrance...

 

My friend and shopping buddy admires the Aran stitching...

 

 

Enjoying a wonderful day with a dear friend... 

This is my kind of cotton candy!

 

This nosey fella is what this festival is all about...

 

One of the more interesting things today was learning about the many different spinning wheels available on the market today.  This one has dual pedals, and is small enough to be stored in the overhead luggage department on an airliner.

 

I promise you that I don't generally pay much attention to men's legs or leggings, but today was an exception!  I guess these Aran beauties come in handy while wearing a kilt!

 

Beautiful buttons always seem to catch my eye and attract my camera!

 

 

These handmade buttons are made of ceramic.

 

There were sweaters and patterns available for everyone.

 


Even sheep puppets are shy!

 

 

This is my kind of shake:  no calories or cholesterol!  Mmmm...

 


More spinning wheels...

 

These were some of the most beautiful hand-woven ponchos I've ever seen!  These are made by Stewart-Murrell Handwoven Designs (msmurrell@gmail.com) from Malta, Ohio.

 

Of course I had to add one of these beauties to my collection.

 

Wouldn't this be a nice Christmas gift?  (HINT, HINT!)

 

Another perspective on these beauties...

 

This talented lady filled the building with her beautiful melodies on the hammer dulcimer...

 

Meet "Wanda" the baby Alpaca!