I have an ability It’s pounding at my door

;) - So fly one time

Here I sit filling in my June schedule on the calendar and updating my projects whiteboard and I realized just how much I already have planned for this summer. Then I realized how much of what I did this past Winter and Spring that I never told you about!

I had 4 design in the Spring 2011 Valley Yarns Catalog, the Old Sheldon House Capelet, the Pincushion Moss Shawl, the Carle baby sweater and a collection of Potholders.

Here is the Shawl blocking.

I’ve also been working on a series of small, round, animal, amigurumi with Webs Design Coordinator Kirsten Hipsky. She does the knit version and I work up the crochet. This project has been, at times, frustrating and hysterically awesome. Wait till you see what we come up with next!

I guess I should tell you a bit about this summer so you can get in on some of it if you’re local. I’m teaching another great series of classes at Webs.

We’re starting out with a Design your own crochet cowl class that runs for 4 weeks and really gives the students insight into what it takes to design something as simple as a tube! Yarn choice, hook/gauge choice, choosing a stitch pattern or several and deciding on the type of construction: flat and seamed or in the round.

Then we have 3, two week workshops for specialty crochet techniques.

Broom Stick Lace, Hairpin lace and Tunisian or Afghan crochet(which is already full but you could add yourself to the wait list if any seats open up).

As always, if crochet interests you but you’ve never picked up a hook or its been years since you have, I’ll be running the Intensive version of our Crochet 1 class the second week in August.

Today I’m finishing up with some editing of patterns that will be released in the Webs Summer catalog (soon my pretties!) and working out details for some fall classes up at Metaphor Yarns.

What have you been up to? Anything you like to see? Let me know!

Toots

Sweet and Low

;) – When all I need’s to turn around

With less than 2 weeks left of school I’ve started thinking about my summer classes. No school for the girls means no school bus driving for me (the joys of us all being in the same school district). Sometimes classes are scheduled so far in advance that I tend to forget that they are looming on the horizon but this year was really an 11th hour kind of schedule explosion.

Summer Squash Market Bag @ Metaphor Yarns

I’m currently bouncing back and forth between Webs in Northampton and Metaphor Yarns in Shelburne Falls. They have an overlap in customer base so I do my darndest to keep them separate, no conflict of interest. SO when it came to the 2nd week of May and I was suddenly scheduling classes at both I fell into a bit of a spin.

Hexagon baby jacket @ WEBS

What did I want to teach? Which classes fit the customer base best? How many classes could I fit into a summer? How many could I handle and not burn myself out? After all, I do want to spend some time with my husband and kids, friends and family in the next 3 months.

Amigurumi, Holiday Inspiration @ Metaphor Yarns

I think I found a good balance. Classes that I’m excited to teach in both settings. Basics classes that I not only thoroughly enjoy teaching but that teach me new things about my students and how to teach each time I step before a new set of eager learners.

Starling Handbag @WEBS (This is from Alice’s fantastic pattern! Which I love. I made one earlier in the year and I can’t stop using it!)

So check out the WEBS Summer schedule and the Class list at Metaphor Yarns and if you’re in the area come hook with me ;)

Toots

Soap suds in his eye

;) – Never gonna match up with that smile

This spring I’ve been doing a lot of work that I couldn’t really show you or talk about, but bit-by-bit it is all settling into place.

One of my biggest projects actually began last fall.

Karen, the store manager at WEBS showed me a picture of a hexagon blanket that she thought would look beautiful worked up in the new hand-dyed version of Northfield that Gail had put together. I agreed, the idea was passed by Kathy and the Design coordinator Kirsten and I got to work picking colors.

I ended up using 7 solid color, 4 hand-dyed colors and charcoal to tie it all together. The actual hexagon construction went through about 4 incarnations before I found one that I really liked.

By Easter it was all put together but the pattern took quite a bit more time. How things work in my head doesn’t always translate easily into English, let alone Crochet! But with the help of my intrepid test crocheter, Annie, and some fantastic input from Kirsten it made its way onto paper and into a PDF and now you can have one too.

Get your copy of the Amethyst Brook Hexagon Blanket pattern here. And send me pictures, ask me questions, I’d love to see how this works up in everyone else’s hands! And keep your eye out for the Summer Valley Yarns catalogue – I hear this one made the cover ;)

Oops – here’s the Ravelry link

Toots

Got your hands full now baby

;) – Aw, ya better believe

Happy Blogiversary to me! WOW, 4 years sure has gone by fast.

I just wanted to put up a quick post today to show you what I’m currently working on and to tell you to make sure you come back this Friday – I have a super special somethin’ in store for ya.

Tonight I start teaching the First Crochet Cardigan class at WEBS. We’re using Julia Vaconsin’s Summer Petals cardigan (Rav Link) pattern

I swatched 7 different yarns for this before I decided on the one I wanted to use.

(LtoR, top to bottom) Blue Sky alpaca silk, Noro silk garden lite, Webs Everett silk(long since discontinued cone), Rowan scottish tweed 4ply, Classic Elite soft linen,  and Rowan wool cotton)

In the end I settled on Zephyr by Jaggerspun, a gorgeous merino and tussah silk blend on cones. One problem, seemingly, this stuff is lace weight and the pattern calls for a dk. All you have to do is swatch and block, people! I give you the before and after swatch.

Stitch detail before and after blocking

Half of the back of the sweater before and after blocking

I love how this moves through my hands and how warm it is even as it sits in my lap like a cloud!

Alrighty, back to putting the Friday surprise together, you’ll want in on this one!

Toots

Where does the answer lie?

;) – There must be another way

I think about blogging every day and I get all wrapped up in explaining why I’ve been away for so long, why it’s nothing major just lots of little things – each of those little thins actually being really interesting on its own, and how I plan to get back in the groove and when I think about putting it all down at once it is overwhelming and discouraging cuz really, who wants to read pages and pages of excuses.

And that one run-on sentence is all you get Ladies and Gentlemen. From here on out I’m just gonna blog, semi-regularly.

This past autumn I had a great opportunity handed to me by Pixie, the Education Manager at WEBS. We had talked in the past about the Crochet 1 class that I teach and how much I jump around with the curriculum as its written and wouldn’t it be nice if it was reorganized and streamlined a bit. So, she asked me to do just that. And I did.

I started that session the way I have started every session for 3 years – I made practice patches, one for every student.

Each ball is about 30 yds and I then crochet a starter swatch about 20sc wide by 4 to 5 rows. This is instant gratification for my students and helps to keep their confidence up when we start the hard part – learning new stuff!

That was where the class stopped being like every other session that I had taught. I completely rearranged the skills progression so it was cumulative, had a slower, steadier pace and the project list, heck I wrote 4 new patterns just for that class – and cut several of the old ones out. My students were aware that they were guinea pigs and they were fantastic sports about it. Because of them I was able to work out the few remaining kinks and turn Crochet 1 into a class that really gives a student a solid foundation and jumping off point to continue their journey with this new skill.

I am currently halfway through with the first Crochet1 section for the winter, section 2 begins next Tuesday and I am so stinkin’ excited! This is the first time we’ve had more than one section at a time! People are going crazy about crochet and I just love it. And the best part – its (mostly) from MY brain!

Stay tuned chickadees! Monday marks my 4th year blogging. I have all sorts of exciting things planned for you!

Oh, and check out the new feature in the sidebar – Pattern Links! Even if you don’t have a Ravelry account you can go and see the patterns I have for sale and buy yourselves a copy.

Toots