2015 Annie's Craft Festival

1st Annual Annie’s Craft Festival

2015 Annie's Craft FestivalThe conference took place in Fort Wayne, IN, just two hours from my home town. Knowing this, I decided to attend the conference…and I’m so very glad I did. I was very impressed with the variety of classes offered and happily signed up for five crochet classes and one quilting class. Alas, I was disappointed that one of my classes, Venetian Lace, was canceled. Hopefully next year it will be offered again.

Of the classes I took, I was quite impressed with all of the instructors that taught crochet techniques. I learned introduction to Irish Crochet…WOW, I’m looking forward to adding this new technique to my crochet arsenal.

Irish Rose

My completed Irish Rose

I also took a class in Designing Garments for Everyone…quite interesting and thought provoking. I am hopeful I will be able to take a follow up class in this topic with the instructor I had, Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby. He is, by far, my favorite instructor to date. I am hoping he will be at the 2016 Knit and Crochet Show in Charleston, SC in July.

The weekend was full of learning, laughing, shopping (of course), and finding new inspiration for future projects…both crochet and sewing. The vendors had a lot of great products, which was quite impressive. I was a little disappointed there weren’t more yarn vendors.

2015 Annie's Craft FestivalAll in all, I am most impressed with how Annie’s organized the festival. It was well organized and the staff so very friendly.

If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend the Annie’s Craft Festival. They are in the planning stages for 2016. Looking forward to seeing what classes they will be offering.

BLOGGING

Blogging

What is a blog? It is a web page or website that has regularly added articles that are written in a conversational style on whatever topic you want to talk about.

How long should a blog post be? It depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want comments on your post, the shorter the better. If you want people to share your post? mid length is the best. Do you want more traffic to your site? If so, the longer the better.

Do you want to allow people to share your blog post or comment on your blog? YES and YES! People sharing your posts, means more opportunity to drive traffic to your website and/or Etsy site.

How do you start writing a blog post?

  1. First and foremost you need a topic. This will give you the direction for the piece you are writing about. For instance, it could be a review about crochet hooks or knitting needles, a new book you purchased, or a project you are working on.
  2. Your blog post should have an introduction to introduce your topic. Next, the body of the blog l inform your reader. Include images to give it a visual interest. The last step is the conclusion of your blog post. The conclusion can be as simple as asking a question to get your readers to engage with you.

Be sure to break up your information in easy to read paragraphs. Make it a conversation instead of “talking at” your reader.

So, what is your first blog post going to be about?

Gadget Cushion

Gadget Cushion or as I think of it…my Smartphone Holder

Gadget Cushion

This cushion was photographed at Country Stitches, East Lansing, MI

During a trip at my favorite local fabric store, Country Stitches, I noticed one of their display items and knew I had to make it.

The pattern from QuiltSmart, the Practical Art Gadget Cushion. The pattern and instructions are printed on 12″ x 18″ fusible interfacing panels. Just cut the instructions, read, and away you go. Each panel makes one Gadget Cushion. One note, be sure to ready the instructions through and look at the pictures. Once you do, the pattern makes sense.

I have to say after making three for my house and one for my office at work, I find the pattern is quite easy to follow. If you want to make this Gadget Cushion, you can purchase the pattern from Country Stitches in East Lansing. If you don’t live close to the store, you can always purchase it directly from Quilt Smart. OR, if you don’t sew and would like one for yourself, please see my Gadget Cushion page.

Gadget Cushion  Gadget Cushion

Gadget Cushion

 

 

 

 

 

I really like having a spot to put my phone for easy access. The cushion can also be used to hold business cards or even sewing notions. The cushion also has spots for pens, small scissors, or other items you may need.

Being Inspired, Quilt from Country Stitches

Projects and Inspiration

Being Inspired with MaterialsYou have time on your hands and want to crochet or sew a project. Do you look for inspiration and decide on the type of project during the process or do you decide on the type of project first…sewing or crocheting?

Before I look for inspiration, I like to know what type of project I will be working on…sewing or crocheting. If I have a weekend free, I will choose a project to sew. If it’s a case where I will be working on the project during the evening, I will choose one to crochet. The reason being, I prefer to sew when I have natural light.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My sister being inspired

My sister being inspired

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, depending on if I will be crocheting or sewing.

For crocheting, my inspirations include:

  • Crochet books I have purchased
  • Crochet magazines: Crochet! and Crochet World
  • Ravelry
  • Craftsy
  • Crochet Guild of America website member resources
  • Pinterest
  • Free in-store patterns

Right now, I am currently inspired by “The Best of Mary Maxim: Ripple Afghans” by Leisure Arts. Since it is currently -20 degrees on average in Michigan, blankets seem very appropriate.

For sewing, my inspirations include:

  • Local store – Country Stitches in East Lansing, MI. The store is PERFECT. This is, by far, my favorite place to get inspiration.
  • Sewing patterns I have purchased
  • Pinterest
  • Free patterns from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
Western Michigan University Tie Blanket

Western Michigan University Fleece Tie Blanket

WMU Tie Blanket FleeceWould you like to make a blanket for your spouse, child, nephew or niece, or sibling but you don’t have a sewing machine; or, perhaps you can’t sew? If so, I have the project for you. Fleece tie blankets don’t require any sewing skills at all and take a mere few hours to complete.

What you need for this project:

  • Fleece – two types
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Large table (or bed) to work on blanket

Fleece:

Where to purchase your fleece?

Go to your favorite store that sells material. I personally purchase my fleece at @Joann Fabric and Craft Stores. They have a great selection that fits my needs to a tee. Other great stores for material in general include @Hobby Lobby and @Country Stitches (local store in East Lansing and Jackson, MI).

How much to purchase?

First, you will need TWO colors (or variations) of fleece. Personally, I choose a pattern for the front and a solid color for the back of the blanket.

A good rule of thumb for how much to purchase for each color:

  • Baby to toddler – 1-1/2 yards
  • Pre-teen – 2 yards
  • Teen – 2-1/2 yards
  • Adult – 3 yards

Creating the Blanket

  1. Spread the solid color fleece out first on your table or blanket. Make sure to spread it taut to get all wrinkles out. If the fleece goes over the edge of the bed, that’s ok. This happens when I work on 3 yard blankets.
  2. Next, spread the patterned or second solid color fleece directly on top of the other fleece. Again, be sure to spread it out so the wrinkles are all out.
    WMU-Tie-Blanket-edge2WMU-Tie-Blanket-edge1
  3. The fleece will be jagged at the top and bottom where it was cut from the bolt. Also, both sides will have edges that need to be removed. Trim the edges and top. This will even out the fleece.WMU Tie Blanket trimming edges
  4. Now that we have the fleece trimmed, we will cut out a 4″x4″ square on the top left and top right of the blanket.
    WMU Tie Blanket corners
  5. The fleece is now ready to cut the strips. Each strip should be 4″ in length and average 1″ in width. Complete each side individually using steps 5 and 6. It’s important to cut and tie the strips for each side before moving on to the next side.
    WMU Tie Blanket cut strips
  6. Next, you will tie the top and bottom of the strip…tie twice to create each knot. WMU Tie Blanket tie
  7. Once you have the three sides on the bed complete, you’ll need to reposition the blanket so the unfinished part of the blanket is on the bed. From there, we will return to step 4 to trim the sides and bottom and then work step 5 and 6. This will complete the blanket.

See the very top image to view the WMU (Western Michigan University) Fleece Tie Blanket I made my husband. As you can see, our youngest cat, Mattie (our Manx), approves of this project. What do you think? Are you going to make your husband, child, nephew or niece, their very own fleece blanket?

Lacy-Throw-Yarn-Choice

Lacy Delight Throw

My latest project, an airy blanket, comes from the book: The Best of Mary Maxim, Ripple Afghans that I recently picked up during a shopping trip from JoAnn Fabrics.   When I saw the throw in this book it reminded me of the sea…waves if you will. To me this got my attention since it’s […]

Niagara Falls Crochet Shawl

This fall I traveled with my co-workers on a company trip to Niagara Falls. For the motorcoach trip, I wanted to work on a shawl this time around knowing we would be on the coach for 6+ hours each way. Again, I had two patterns, just in case my favorite just didn’t come out as […]

German “Lace Delicate” Scarf

When traveling, do you take a project along? Besides a book, I always like to take a crochet project. It is my way of relaxing after a busy day of touring. It also helps the time pass while flying overseas. I first decide on the type of project I will be crocheting. Once that has […]

Crochet red hats to bring awareness to heart disease

I saw a Facebook post from AllFreeCrochet.com on my wall, which caught my attention immediately. A charity drive, Little Hats, Big Hearts, joins AllFreeCrochet with the American Heart Association to donate homemade hats to newborn babies. The goal of this project is to help bring awareness to heart disease. To read more about this amazing […]