Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And the Winner is...

My apologies for not making official announcement blog post until today. Yesterday my Internet connection was down. :(

Nonetheless, congratulation to Vivid13 for winning Kristin Omdahl's Seamless Crochet ebook. Vivid13, please provide me with your e-mail address.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Copacabana V-neck Top

Copacabana V-neck Top
I've been so incredibly busy... who isn't, right? Besides working on 3 rather large knitting projects, in addition to couple of tests I need to study for (and have not started yet!!?), plus a Czech & Slovak event I am helping to organize for our Slavic association for the next month, I've been also wanting to list a few of my patterns on my websites that I had been putting off on a back burner. To list a pattern up for sale is a bit more time consuming than the time I have available right now, but I just wanted to do it. Maybe I can commit myself to listing one every month? Hmmm. I'll try. :)


So here's the first one. Originally designed for Bijou Basin Ranch line for Spring/Summer 2010 collection, Copacabana V-neck Top was one of the two first designs I did for this awesome company. If you have not gotten a chance, check out their website for they have just released new yarns for Spring/Summer 2012.

This Copacabana V-neck Top makes me think of summer, sand and pretty beaches. Vertical stripes from a simple lace and cable pattern create the sought-after illusion of a slimming silhouette that flatters any figure.

Side detail

The nature of this lace and cable pattern makes contours curves beautifully without having to work waist shaping.

The piece is worked in Bijou Spun, Lhasa Wilderness yarn that makes this top very light weight, soft and luxurious. It can be worn casual, or paired with slacks for work, or worn with a wide belt and skirt for a night out. So jump in and create something that will give you lots of wear for years to come!

 You can get this pattern in my new on-line store on Craftsy.

Back detail

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Seamless Crochet by Kristin Omdahl

As promised, I am back with more on Seamless Crochet with Kristin Omdahl. I hope you are enjoying the book blog tour so far.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Seamless Crochet is a yet another awesome book by Kristin that you will want to get. You will learn a new technique on how to crochet "granny" squares seamlessly without having to weave tons of loose ends. Kristin's mentioning that the techniques is "old" technique; but it is probably new to most of us.

Blue Skies Bulky Cowl
The projects in this book vary from easy ones such as Radiance Sparkly Skinny Scarf, or Blue Skies Chunky Cowl. These projects offer you a great starting point to learning the seamless technique. Then you can advance to slightly more challenging ones. Though once you get the idea behind how to work granny squares seamlessly, I don't think any of the projects are too difficult to work. On contrary, the patterns are accompanied by charts that are super easy to follow. And if you are more of a follow-the-written-instructions crocheter, you will get that in addition to the charts.

My first project will be the Market Bag. In my area, stores have to charge customers for each bag they will "give" away, so to have a stylish and unique bag handy is a must. :)

And here is the promised interview with Kristin. Before we start I want to say that Kristin is such a nice person - beautiful inside out. Not only she's very beautiful as you can see (she was a model for several years when she was 12-17 yrs old), but she is very, very nice and easy to to talk to. I don't claim to know her very closely, but the several times I've met her, or we went out to dinner with her and other designer friends, she was so, so nice and fun.

Kristin Omdahl
Simona: I have long admired your work, and I am so excited to be doing an interview with you. Seamless Crochet is your fourth book, which is just as great as the first, second and third one. Where do you get your endless inspiration?

Kristin: I love what I do and try to keep an open mind wherever I am. I find inspiration in the strangest of places: I like to incorporate the textures of things around me into my fabrics. Animal skins, leaf and flower patterns, seashells, water patterns, brick patterns, tile patterns, and many more.

Simona: What inspired you to write this book?

Kristin: I saw a 4-color chart for this technique years ago and have been exploring with it for a long time. I wanted to figure out how to modify any crochet motif and even manipulate those motifs to create shaping. My goal was to write the book if I could accomplish all that. I wanted to write a book that could be a reference library addition as well as a pattern book. And the bonus is that I made a 1-hour DVD workshop, included in the book, as an added learning tool.

Simona: How do you chart all your designs? Do you do it all by hand or
you have a special software you use?

Kristin: It depends on how much time I have! I am not an expert at Illustrator, so it takes me a long time to make a rudimentary chart. If my charts are going to be made by someone in-house at the Pulisher’s office, I will hand-draw them. I’m way better at sketching than I am at Illustrator.

Simona: What is your favorite project in Seamless Crochet and why?

Buttercup Baby Blanket
Kristin: I have a couple of favorite projects, for different reasons. The Buttercup Baby Blanket is one of my favorites because it is so feminine! I love the look of the appliqued flowers (even though they are worked seamlessly along with the motifs!!) I would love to make some pillows with this motif one day. A luscious yarn with great halo in a deep red rose color would be gorgeous. The hats are favorite projects for me, too, because it was my way of proving to myself that you can make 3- dimensional projects with this technique. I would love to venture into sweater yoke design with this technique, now that I feel confident with the shaping element after making the hats. 

Simona: How do you invent new motifs? Do you just “dream” them up; do you play with yarn and see what happens; or do you chart out and engineer your motifs first? 

Kristin: All of the above! It depends on how or where I am inspired. Occasionally I need to chart or sketch first to see if it will work geometrically, but most of the time I prefer to grab yarn and get started. Trial & error is a great learning tool. 

Lace Flower Hat
Simona: What is your favorite part of creating a collection and writing a book? 

Kristin: I love coming up with the concept in the first place! The planning part is fantastic because anything is possible. As the items get checked off the to-do list, the accomplishments feel pretty good, too. The surprising part to me is that turning in the manuscript is not a highlight to me. As an entrepreneur, it means it’s time to find a new job. But oftentimes, I have already found one or more! I feel very fortunate about that.
Simona: Besides crochet and knitting, what other passions you have?
Kristin: I love to work out. Playing my piano and guitar are my zone-out times. Singing & playing guitar simultaneously takes just enough brain power to distract me from everything else going on. I love that. I love to cook. And, my new fascination is jewelry making. I’m excited about it and thinking of ways to incorporate it into my knitting and crochet business. I also LOVE to cook and especially come up with healthy modifications and my own recipes. 

Simona: I know you like fitness and lead a healthy lifestyle. If I am not mistaken, you are an avid runner and ran a half marathon? 

Kristin: I actually ran a full marathon 2 years ago (26.2 miles!) That was a one-time deal, though. I still run barefoot on the beach, but I prefer working out with weights in the gym. I’m trying to transform my body right now. I’m working out in a gym 3x a week, doing cardio (running or riding my bike) 3x a week and trying to eat very, very healthy. I am working on a crochet swimwear collection and my goal is to wear it! I figure you can’t talk the talk without walking the walk. I don’t want to be in supermodel shape, but I want to be the best Marilyn Monroe shape I can be. 

Simona: Wow Kristin, you are very inspiring just like your knit and crochet designs! It is amazing that you ran a marathon! Marathon!!!?? Really? I've been running for years but I have not ever thought I could do that. You are very determined and you will get your swimwear bod - no question in my mind. Thank you for sharing!  It will make most of us to want to get to the gym tomorrow. :) 

Thank you for the interview. And I am looking forward to seeing you in Columbus.

Are you also inspired by Kristin? Oh my, I am. I can't wait to see the swimwear collection. 

So if you are ready to give the seamless technique a try, and I know you are, please leave a message in the comments. Let me know what inspires you, what your goals are, or what is your favorite project in this book, or which one is the first one you'd love to make. Please comment by midnight EST, February 19th, 2012. I will draw a winner at random on February 20th, 2012.  Good luck!

Last Seamless Crochet blog tour stop is on Monday, February 13 on Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet blog.

Seamless Crochet BLAD

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recap: TNNA - Phoenix, AZ 2012

The weekend before last, I flew to Phoenix, AZ for the semiannual needle arts trade show. It had been exactly 12 years since I had gone to Arizona. Then I was traveling with a 9-month old and have done quite a bit of sightseeing! This time I had seen not much more of the city than the Convention Center, a hotel and couple of restaurants.

This trade show was slightly different for me than the other trade shows before. I had spent majority of  time talking with people rather than walking the floor, so I had not gotten the whole scoop on the latest and the greatest.  The three days really don't seem to be enough to be able to see everything. But that's OK. I had spent time with my clients, friends and met new ones. While at the show, I had invested my time into brainstorming upcoming collections, came across some new opportunities and sparked some new ideas for the upcoming year.

So here we go. This is what I did. 

I attended a few book signings.

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom Crocheted Sweaters book signing .

Kristin Omdahl's Seamless Crochet book singingwith Faina Goberstein.
Robyn Chachula's Simple Crochet book signing with Marly Bird and me.

I had met up with some of my favorite people: Faina Goberstein, Marly Bird, Linda Permann and Robyn Chachula; as always lots of fun. 

Faina Goberstein and I.
Andee Graves, Faina Goberstein, Marly Bird, and me.
Robyn Chachula, me, Linda Permann, Jill Wright, and Tabetha Hedrick.
I enjoyed talking with fellow designers Tabetha Hedrick and Jill Wright.  It was nice to see  Anne Kuo Lukito of Crafty Diversions,  Kate Oates of Tot Toppers, Stefanie Japel from Craftsy, Grace Akhrem, Kristin Omdahl of Styled by Kristin, oh and many others.

With Grace Akhrem.
 I had gotten the opportunity to meet a star designer Josh Bennett of Boy Meets Purl, who had introduced his new menswear knitting line with Rowan yarns. In addition to his own line, he works with Irina Shabayeva, the winner of one of the seasons of Project Runway. Go see her collection where you can see the knitwear Josh had worked on for her. Very impressive. What a talent.

Josh Bennett, me and Faina.
And of course, I saw some beautiful yarns. Below Linda Peramann, Marcy Smith, editor of Interweave Crochet, and I are at the Berroco's yarn tasting bar, knitting and crocheting with their newest yarns for Spring/Summer 2012.

Linda Permann, Marcy Smith and I at Berroco Yarn Bar.
Below you can see the new color scheme of Imperial Yarn.

Imperial yarn - new colors for spring/summer 2012
Lantern Moon has introduced the Scrumptious (45% silk, 55% merino) yarn designed by Jeni Hewlett of Fyberspates. The yarn is offered in a variety of weights ranging from lace to chunky. I really liked this one, it is so soft and has a beautiful sheen. I'm looking forward to getting an opportunity to work with it.

When I am at the show,  I usually forget to take pictures, but I think this year I got a bit better. What do you think?

Well and that's a wrap. :)