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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Facebook Visit

So I'm still struggling to figure out how to utilize Facebook as a platform on which we can communicate. I enjoy spending time on Facebook as an individual, seeing what others are posting and sharing the patterns and posts that I think my friends will like. But on the ManyCreativeGifts page (www.facebook.com/ManyCreativeGifts), I usually try to remember to update when I've done a new blog post or received word about my beloved Petunia but haven't really figured out how to make that page a place worth visiting!  So I'm asking you to help me :-). Please visit my Facebook page and respond to my post requesting comments on what YOU want to see on the page. All commenters will receive a special thank you, which should be ready in the next day or two. THANK YOU!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Special Anniversary Discount

As I promised, we're going to be doing a little celebrating for the rest of April, and the first special involves 50% off in my Ravelry store (http://www.ravelry.com/stores/phyllis-serbes-designs---many-creative-gifts).  Just use the coupon code "HappyAnniversary" between now and 11:59 PM EDT on April 19th.  There's no minimum purchase required, so I hope you'll give one of my patterns a try :-)

Visit our Facebook page next Tuesday for the next little surprise!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crochet is NOT Yoga!

Now, don't get me wrong, I love both, but I'm a bit miffed with all the "hey, we've discovered crochet" articles lately!  There was an article just the other day in the Washington Post Express magazine here.  Now, again, it's awesome that crochet groups and guilds (I'm a proud member of CGOA and Crochetville!) are popping up everywhere and that people are drawn to trying crochet and utilizing it in all sorts of different ways.  But, for those of us who've been doing it for a loooooong time, we know the mental and physical benefits of crochet, and yours truly here has been talking about them for 10 years now.  In fact, I'm realizing we just passed Many Creative Gifts' 10th Year Anniversary on April 5th.  Wow, well, stay tuned for some special celebrations throughout this month ;-)

But, I digress.  My main point is that we Americans seem to need to take ancient practices (yoga has been around for millenniums, and crochet is centuries old) and make them new and trendy.  And then we tire of them and have to find the next big thing.  Well, I know my dear readers, both new to crochet and old hats at it, appreciate the virtues of crochet and are not approaching it as a passing fad.  Each crocheter has her or his reason(s) for taking up the craft:  for relaxation, to do something tangible and useful with your hands, to give or donate special mementos, and on and on...  Whether you crochet by yourself for yourself or in a large group for charitable reasons or a bit of both, crochet means whatever it means to you, and as long as it remains meaningful to you in whatever way, please continue to embrace it no matter whether it's the latest trend.

Ok, off my soap box and onto the celebration!  For the month of April, I'll be having some really great specials in my Ravelry store and through this blog, so come back on Friday and see what's here!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baby Hat Obsession

A number of my friends are having babies!  And boys, so I've been trying to find out-of-the ordinary ways to make some boy baby gifts.  I came across these two knit baby hat patterns that I just love:  Tegan by Julie Taylor and a scalloped hat from Marie Carlander's blog (don't worry, keep scrolling down her site for the English version).  I loved them so much, I really became obsessed with knitting them.  Plus, as beautiful as a crocheted baby hat is, it just won't have the same stretchiness that a knit one does. 

Now, mind you, I can do simple knitting, but using DPNs (double point needles) and a circular needle are quite new to me.  Joelle from Wandering Wool helped me pick out the right needles from Chia Goo (affiliate link below), and I like them a lot.  I've been using Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash because it's machine washable and can be tumble dried and it's just soft and great to work with. 

But, really, whether it's crochet or knitting, it's all about repetition and practicing.  Now that I'm on my fourth hat, it's feeling quite good. 




I think the skull pattern turned out pretty good too since it was my first try at using two colors and making an image in the knitting.  The dad-to-be is the sweetest guy but has lots of tattoos, etc., so I knew I had to come up with an edgy baby hat :-).  More pix to come!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tiny Square 3

I decided not to keep you in suspense too long -- here is our third Tiny Square for NatCroMo!






With a D hook and Rowan Siena 4-Ply yarn in #684 (offwhite, Color F), #683 (orange, Color E), and #675 (yellowish green, Color C),

Round 1:  With Color F, ch 3, in third ch from hook, 2 dcs, [ch 3, 3 dcs] 3 times, ch 3, 1 dc, sl st to top of first dc

Round 2:  With Color E, attach in corner, ch 1, [3 scs in corner, 1 sc in next 3 sts] 4 times, sl st to top of first sc

Round 3:  With Color C, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, [3 scs in corner, 1 sc in next 5 sts] 3 times, 3 scs in corner, 1 sc in last 4 sts, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.

As I mentioned in my first post about the tiny squares, I've actually come up with some different color combinations and have about 100 squares, so it's about time I start putting them together!  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tiny Square 2

Hope you all are continuing to enjoy NatCroMo (I just love saying that!) and the Crochetville Designer Blog Tour.  And thank you for returning for my Tiny Square 2.


This is a fun one to make because it starts out round and ends up square.

I used Rowan Siena 4 Ply yarn in colors #679 (navy, Color D), # 675 (a yellowish-green, Color C), and #669 (blue, Color A) and a D hook

Round 1:  With Color D, ch 2, 16 dcs into second ch from hook, sl st to top of first dc
Round 2:  With Color C, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, 1 sc in next st, [(1 sc, 1dc, 1sc) in next st, 1 sc in next 3 sts] 3 times, (1 sc, 1dc, 1sc) in next st, 1 sc in last st, sl st to top of first sc
Round 3:  With Color A, ch 1, 1 sc in same st, 1 sc in next 2 sts, [3 scs in corner, 1 sc in next 5 sts] 3 times, 1 sc in last 2 sts, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.

One more tiny square to go!  There will be a sneak peek of it on my Pinterest Tiny Squares Projects board and more information about it here before the end of March (gotta keep you in suspense ;-). 



Friday, March 6, 2015

NatCroMo 2015 and Tiny Square 1

Happy National Crochet Month (NatCroMo)!  It's my pleasure and honor to be a part of Crochetville's Designer Blog Tour in celebration of this wonderful time of year. 

First things first, I want to be sure you check out Halos for Hope and try to help in any way you can.  Many Creative Gifts encourages growth as a crocheter as part of our mission, and I can't think of a better way to do that than to make a crochet hat for this amazing organization.  Halos of Hope is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to providing volunteer-crafted hats to cancer centers across the country. The founder of Halos of Hope, Pam Haschke, herself is a survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. As a result of her experiences, she has a passion for helping make sure cancer patients around the country have access to free handmade stylish hats to keep their heads warm while they undergo cancer treatment.  Please try to make at least one hat and/or make a financial donation directly to Halos on their website.  A 100% of donations received from the general public are used only for the costs of shipping hats across the country. All administrative and other costs are covered by private corporate donations.

Mail hats to:
Crochetville LLC
103 Scarlet Oak Circle
Harvest, AL 35749

Now for my contribution to NatCroMo 2015 -- some tiny squares :-).  The Granny Square and motifs trend seems to still be going strong, and awhile back, I came across the French crochet designer/artist Sophie Digard, who uses luxury yarns and intricate small motifs to create her masterpieces.  She's truly talented, but, upon seeing her prices, a little voice inside me said "Oh, Phyllis, you can do this too, they're just a bunch of little squares!"  Well, as proud as I am of these 1-inch squares that I've designed and hope to create something wonderful out of (I've got "only" about 100 of them so far), I now totally appreciate the price point Mlle. Digard is charging and her stamina in creating her famous scarves!  The time and effort to make enough squares for a scarf, shawl or other large project is a bit overwhelming, but it can be a wonderful take-along and long-term project ;-)

I've designed three squares, utilizing six coordinating colors in different combinations, for a total of nine motifs.  The yarn I chose, Rowan's Siena 4 Ply fingering weight 100% mercerized cotton, is truly wonderful to work with but seems to be getting hard to find (isn't that always the case when you find something you love?!).  Below is the pattern for the first square.  Please come back next week to find out about the two other squares.  I'll also be posting some possible projects using the squares, but in the mean time, I'd love to see what projects you come up with -- please "like" and post on our Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/manycreativegifts, and we've set up a special "Tiny Squares Projects" board on Pinterest as well (with some sneak peeks too!).

Here's Square 1:






With a size D crochet hook and Rowan Siena 4 Ply 100% mercerized cotton yarn in color # 669,

Round 1:  Ch 2, 8 scs in second ch from hook, sl st to top of first sc
Round 2:  Ch 5, 1 dc in same st, [ch 1, 1 dc in next st, ch 1, (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc) in next st] 3 times, ch 1, 1 dc in next st, ch 1, sl st to third ch of beg ch-5.
Round 3:  Ch 1, [3 scs in ch-2 sp, (1 sc in dc, 1 sc in ch-1 sp) twice, 1 sc in dc] 3 times, 3 scs in ch-2 sp, (1 sc in dc, 1 sc in ch-1 sp) twice, 1 sc in same st as ch 1, sl st to top of first sc, fasten off.

Have a wonderful March discovering or rediscovering your love of crochet!