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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 and Ready to Save?

Happy Thanksgiving!  The holiday season is here, hard to believe how quickly it arrived.  But after spending a good part of yesterday cooking (and cleaning up behind all the cooking), Phyllis is ready for some feasting today :-)  We hope you too are settling down to a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration today (and Happy Hanukkah as well to celebrants).

And to sweeten the holiday, Many Creative Gifts is offering some savings on crochet patterns for Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday -- just use coupon code Cyber2013 on our Ravelry store, and you will get 15% off your entire purchase until 11:59 PM EST on Monday, December 2nd!

We've also just introduced crochet kits for our Beaded Owl Pin and the Turkish Love Knot Bracelet!  They are now available in our Etsy shop, and you will receive 10% off with coupon code CYBER2013.  The savings won't last long (also ending December 2nd), and this will be our last promotion for the year.  The kits include everything you need to make Phyllis' crocheted creations, and they will make great stocking stuffers!  So go place your order before it's too late ;-).

Thank you so much for following the blog, visiting us on Facebook, and providing support year after year.  We really appreciate your interest in crochet and our offerings, and we hope to continue bringing the best of crochet to you for many years to come!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Plug for Craftsy

What is Craftsy?

It's hard to believe that any crafter hasn't heard about Craftsy by now, but I thought I'd share a little information about the organization since I am an affiliate.  They've got some great online classes (though I still haven't made it all the way through the knit socks class yet), many of which are free, so it's definitely worth checking out, so read on:

Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.

Craftsy Logo

Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Craftsy Class

Before filming even begins, hours and hours are spent determining what content will be covered in each class, and how to best teach specific techniques to the camera. Instructors work with an instructional designer to create an in-depth outline of each lesson, and decide how to best prepare props or “step-outs” that show what your project should like at different steps. Instead of a scripted class, instructors follow their outlines on camera to create an authentic and engaging teaching experience.

Most Craftsy classes are filmed in one of five Craftsy studios in Denver, CO, assuring that every part of the production process goes off without a hitch. They fly in instructors from all over the world to spend several days filming, then spend several weeks turning hours of footage into a two to three hour class experience that has been watched, rewatched, and reviewed by industry experts. The final result is an HD-quality video that takes you in-depth into specific topics in any given craft category- from cooking and fine art to sewing and knitting.

What IS the Craftsy experience?

Craftsy classes are designed to have all the benefits of an in-person class, with none of the drawbacks. Available online and on-demand, you always have world-class instructors at the tip of your fingers. You can retake the class as many times as you want, and the 30-second repeat feature allows you to watch the same section over and over again until you get every technique just right.

Watching a Craftsy class is like having a first-row seat with some of the best instructors in the world. Even better, classes have a 100% money-back guarantee.

Try online learning today with a free mini-class from Craftsy! Choose from 23 Free Craftsy Classes ranging from drawing and painting to sewing and quilting, from knitting to cake decorating and more.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Formulas for Crocheted Shapes

I just had to share this chart that I found (both in US and UK crochet terms) for figuring out how to make different shapes, like circles, squares, triangles, and hexagons, in crochet!  I really like how user-friendly it is, laid out very nicely.

I found it during a search for a formula for shawl making.  I've been working on creating a shawlette pattern and have been getting frustrated because, frankly, I've just been winging it when making each row rather than figuring out mathematically how many stitches I need on each row in order for the shawl to "grow" into the shape I want.  Let's face it, crochet (and knitting too) involve math, there's just no way around it if you want an accurate and well-shaped crocheted item.  It's worth doing some up front planning because you're just going to get frustrated and end up wasting time along the way (and still end up going back to making calculations :-)

So, back to the drawing board!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I might just have to move to Norway!  There's a movement there called "Slow TV", with a very basic premise:  viewers watch people engaged in an ordinary activity or traveling in real time.  No plot, not much talking, just the activity or vistas for hours.  Now, you probably know where I'm going with this -- the scenes are travels through the fjords or train trips; the activity is knitting!  Yup, Norwegians are sitting around watching people knit (I suspect they are doing some of their own while viewing ;-) And it's quite a hit there, though I doubt it will gain much traction here in the U.S.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip of the actual show, but here's a YouTube video about the phenomenon:

I, on the other hand, have been watching "Fast TV" -- Breaking Bad.  I never had seen an episode during its six-year run but finally decided to renew my subscription to Netflix and give the pilot episode a try since so many friends of mine have recommended it.  Well, I am hooked!  I've made it so far to a little past the middle of Season 4 and have still avoided finding out how it all comes to a close (or does it since I have heard talk of spin-offs?!).  Don't tell me!  I am so enjoying watching it unfold, though I've discovered I can't watch more than three episodes back to back, just too much to handle.  Not sure I've ever been a binge TV watcher before but this show really could change that for me!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blogger Blues

I'm still not totally sold on this new interface that Blogger/Google has foisted upon us!  But I did get to meet a nice neighbor as a result.  Kay posted a notice on our community billboard, asking for help with making changes to her blog.  She especially wanted to give people a chance to sign up to receive her blog posts via email, so we were able to find the Feedburner widget and install it into her blog.  Got me thinking about my blog and what changes I should make (and whether my Feedburner widget is working properly since I haven't had any new signups for a while :-(  Any suggestions for me?

In the mean time, I have to let it slip that I've entered into a collaboration with a local yarn company that I am so excited about!  More to come since we are about to launch some really fun crochet projects this month.