Obsessed with Color!

Yes, I am obsessed. I have been working up some color lessons and exercises based on Albers and Itten, among others, but with yarn instead of paint and paper.

Stay tuned for free lessons!

Noro Sprial Shawl

The latest issue of Noro Knitting Magazine (Fall/ Winter 2016) features one of my designs, "Spiral Shawl."

It looks a lot more complicated than it is to crochet; the pattern consisting mostly of a two row repeat of simple stitches, with the yarn (Noro Silk Garden Lite; colorway #2093 with bright flashes of turquoise, pink and orange against dark gray) doing most of the work.

I had envisioned the scarf going around the neck, much like a collar, but they styled it in different ways I hadn't thought of. I've got to say, this is one of my favorite photos of one of my pieces--the magazine and the model did a beautiful job!

There's a lot more to see in this issue of knitted and crocheted items in Noro yarns--check it out at your favorite LYS now!

Blog Tour, March 2017

Plans are in the works for the March 2017 Crochet blog tour. You'll see blogs and websites of other designers, indie yarn dyers and distributors, and lots more. I'll be featured on the 15th!

I'll have a brand new amigurumi pattern at the end of the blog tour, free to participants, as I did last year, and you'll see info on how to receive it during the tour. Stay tuned!

White River Yarns, Vermont

2016 Christmas Club Kits
So sad to hear that the White River Yarns in White River Junction is going to be closing at the end of October of 2016 due to family illness. I visit there about once or twice a year on my way through town on my way to northern Vermont, and found Karen to be one of the sweetest and kindest people on the planet. Her shop is not just a yarn store, but a real community center. Her blog posts have been an inspiration to me. We will all miss you, Karen!

Crocheting for Charity

Crocheting along with my fellow Ravelry friends, we are crocheting for charity.
Here are some of my bears that will go to AIDS orphans in Africa, The Mother Bear Project.
I named them Archie, Bingo, and Coco, going in alphabetical order.

The ducks are for The Yellow Duck Project, also named alphabetically, Arlo and Arabella, Bubbles and Buster.
You leave them somewhere for someone to find, to brighten up their day, and to encourage them to think about blood and organ donation. The tags have their website address.
I'm going through the alphabet. Keep an eye out--maybe you'll find one of them!

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Baby shower tomorrow, for Samantha, a friend's daughter. I made a baby afghan for Sam when she, herself, was born, so I wanted to make something a little different. Since the father-to-be owns a car repair shop, I thought I'd try designing a set of toy cars.

I was aiming for a retro look. It took a while for me to get the shapes just right, and I don't know much about car styles, but I like the way they turned out.

The main yarn is a smooth DK weight, acrylic for easy washing. I first thought of buttons for the accents, but safety first for baby!

So, instead of buttons, I used a metallic yarn for the headlights and rear lights.

I hope the sweet baby girl enjoys playing with them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Knit and Crochet Olympics and Little Yellow Ducks

I've been crocheting every day, even through the hot and stormy weather, but can't share what I'm doing yet--I'm making items for magazines to be published next year. Cute stuff, if I do say so myself.

With the Olympic Games coming up, Ravelry (the greatest knit and crochet site!) will be holding their own version that knitters and crocheters may participate in online.

I definitely will be entering their "Toy Toss" event, and I will be designing and making some little yellow ducks to benefit a site that encourages blood and organ donation. Everybody wins in this Ravelympics--stay tuned for updates!

Great find at the Vintage Bazaar!

Two or three times a year, the Pettengill Farm holds a Vintage Bazaar, a collection of high quality, vintage-inspired handmade items and "antiques." There's plenty to pick through for DIY-ers, too, stuff like old buttons, beads, drawer handles, marquee letters, paper ephemera--that kind of thing.

I looked for paraphernalia I could use for my diorama series, old movie scenes done in crochet. In particular, I've been searching for a small, black train that would fit in the scene I'm working on from Some Like it Hot. I found this little gem in a box of old trains:

And even more perfect, is the fact that the name of the train line is mentioned in one of the best quotes in the movie:

Sugar: I come from this musical family. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor. 
Joe: Where did he conduct?
Sugar: On the Baltimore and Ohio.

And, as if that didn't make me happy enough, in the next booth I found another perfect item for a scene I'm planning from another movie. That, and sunshine, fresh air, real lemonade, and bumping into old friends, made it a wonderful day!

Rainbow Scarf

I hastily crocheted a rainbow scarf in thread for a vigil for the Orlando victims this week.
It's hard to stand for yet another "moment of silence" when all you want to do is cry and scream. This madness has to stop.

Fairy House

The Pettengill Farm hosted a fairy house walk last week. My entry was a beach-inspired crocheted tent made of driftwood, with a little twig chair, both decorated with crocheted starfish.

Thousands showed up for the walk, a benefit for the local PTA. Kids dressed like fairies and gnomes--so cute!
I'm already making my plans for next year's fairy house!

New crochet designer!

I'm teaching Kayleigh to crochet, and she showed up at the next session wearing this cute crochet hook holder she designed herself--she's a natural!

"Celtic Knot" Afghan

Our nice neighbor, Jimmy, came by to plow our driveway and shovel our walk this past winter because he knew my husband was recovering from back surgery and couldn't do it himself. Jimmy, kind man that he is, refused to take any money from us for it.

Well, I know the best way to show someone how much you appreciate them is to crochet something for them.

Jimmy is originally from Ireland, and has a darling accent. I wanted to make something appropriate to honor his country of origin and his loving memories of it.

I found this free pattern by Carola Wijma (you can download it if you are a member of Ravelry), so I made up 40 "Celtic Knot" squares in traditional Irish colors: green, gold, orange, and black, with a border in an off-white that reminds me of those gorgeous knit Irish sweaters.

The squares are each made up of separate pieces that are then woven together. It looks a lot more complicated than it is, and it worked up pretty quickly--my favorite kind of pattern!

Blog Tour and Rail Trail

Welcome to this stop on the Blog Tour! I'm thrilled you stopped by to check out some of the fun things I have been working on. See previous posts for my latest works in progress--a series of dioramas inspired by old black and white movies, here, here, and here.

Here are some pictures I took of one of my amigurumi (Japanese-style cute) dolls while walking on the rail trail near my home. I thought the rail trail was the appropriate setting, considering this year's theme.

 The cat is about 5" tall, and has button joints to be fully posable. Want to make an amigurumi of your own? I will email you some free directions at the beginning of April.

To receive your pattern, send your email address to: 
Donna (dot) Childs (dot) Crochets (at) gmail (dot) com 
Change what's inside the parentheses to make it a proper email address, and put "2016 blog tour offer" in the subject field. I will never share your email address with any other person or entity. The pattern will arrive in the beginning of April at the end of the blog tour.

Happy Birthday Interweave Crochet Magazine!

Interweave Crochet/Harper Point Photography

The spring issue is awesome--and not just because my birthday cake pattern is in it. The issue features pictures of past patterns, with updates of the same designers' new patterns. There are a few very pretty lacy tops that I want to try for myself.

Speaking to the Guild!

Today I had the honor to be the guest speaker at the Essex County Needlecraft Guild.

I expected a little knitting group, maybe 20 tops. But there must have been about 100 crafters there--knitters, crocheters, quilters, embroiderers, and more. My people! What amazing handiwork! I talked about publishing patterns, and encouraged others to submit their designs. I also got to show off my portfolio of past designs and some of my new work.

Next month I'll be back. You know I've got to join this exciting group!

Diorama: "She's Just About to Close Up the Library"

Here is my diorama (a work in progress) inspired by the movie It's a Wonderful Life. It features my all-time favorite quote, and I'm disappointed it's not very legible in this photo (see below for the whole quote). This was the first time I attempted adding text to my work--I'm going to have to keep experimenting with it. This is part of a series of scenes from black and white movies.

George asks Clarence about Mary--she's depicted as a mouse here (approx. 4" tall). 
Clarence answers: 
"You're not going to like it, George. She became an old maid. She never married. And she's just about to close up the library."

Diorama: "Like Jell-O on Springs!"

Here is another one of my dioramas inspired by old movies. This one is from Some Like it Hot (see below to read the quote in the background. I'm still working on adding text to work, keeping it legible but not overpowering--a work in progress).

In the movie, the men (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) are disguised as women--here they are depicted as dogs discussing the differences and mysteries of a cat. I like to figure out what kind of anthropomorphic creature should depict each character. Marilyn Monroe's character is, of course, a sex kitten. The dolls are about 4 inches tall.

Jack Lemmon/ Daphne: "Will you look at that. Look how she moves. It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex."

This may look like a black and white photo, but I assure you I've used only black, white, and gray yarns. I'm working on a few more in this series, then I will move on to color movies.

Diorama: "I Coulda Been a Contender"

Here is another one of my dioramas--a work in progress--inspired by old black and white movies, using tiny (approx. 4" tall) stuffed animals and gray yarns. This is from On the Waterfront, that famous scene with Brando/ Terry (bulldog) lamenting about his life to his brother Steiger/ Charley (a pig). I'm still experimenting with adding text to the dioramas. See below for the full quote, though you probably have heard it a million times and know it by heart.

Terry/ Marlon Brando: "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody. Instead of a bum...which is what I am..."

Diorama: "Welcome to Dogtown"

I'm working on a series of dioramas that tell a story. "Welcome to Dogtown" is a story of a cat who is afraid of dogs. She (the cat) has an exaggerated sense of how the dogs have taken over her town and ruined it. She ultimately learns to love dogs with the help of her new friend, Cody.

Crochet Gifts

When my dear nephew, Michael got engaged to a lovely girl, Nicky, I crocheted some sachets in thread for a shower gift. I placed little sponges inside them, and I included some essential oils to scent them. It's my own design, and I was aiming for a vintage look.

I also crocheted a blanket for the two of them. Nicky's favorite color is blue, so I went to my old-standby favorite for afghans, Lion Brand Tweed Stripes in the color Caribbean with its gorgeous hues of blues and purples. 

I crocheted it diagonally from corner to corner in a box stitch to show off the tweedy blend of colors. The wedding was last Saturday, and I know they will be living happily ever after!

Blog Tour!

Crochetville is sponsoring a blog tour in March, National Crochet Month. The theme is travel--hop aboard to check out crocheters, designers, and yarn! I'll be featured on the 9th. Stay tuned!