"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ten Things I Love (crochet edition)

I thought I'd throw you all a curve this week and share some favorite things, partly because I was at a loss for a post subject, but mostly because I love them so much, so here you go. . .

Textured Stripes Dishcloth pattern by Kiel Lemon
free pattern found via Crochet Pattern Central
view my finished project on Ravelry
features reverse single crochet border
stitched with my Susan Bates Silvalume aluminum crochet hooks
photographed with my Canon Power Shot digital camera

1.   Susan Bates Silvalume aluminum crochet hooks
I posted recently about my search for the best knitting needles, but really didn't talk about crochet hooks except to tell you all that I like my bamboo needles so much that I bought a set of Tunisian bamboo hooks. I use the same hooks (not the actual same, the same model/brand) that my mother used when she taught me to crochet. I got very used to them. Mom can use pretty much any brand, but I'm such a creature of habit that I end up giving away just about any other hook I buy.

2.  Reverse single crochet
This really has become a favorite stitch of mine. I find it to be a soft, somewhat feminine but not too girly, way to edge my creations. I like it so much that my next big collection may feature rsc as the border. (I tease, but you love it.) For instructions, take a look at this youtube video:  RSC/aka Crab Stitch. Now, the video indicates that you should go up a hook size when you work the rsc. However, I find I need to go down at least one size, often two, because my stitches tend to be very tight except when I work the rsc. The best advice I can offer is that you practice on a swatch or dishcloth before you tackle a larger project.

3.  Ziploc Easy Zipper plastic storage bags
Granted, the zippers don't last as long on these bags as I wish they would, but they're a great way to store tools and projects. Plus, they're quicker and easier to close than regular zip top bags.

4.  Ravelry
When I tell people this, I sometimes get "Rav-a-who?" and a blank stare. If you crochet, or knit, or even spin, and you don't use ravelry.com, you are soooo missing out! I post my yarn stash, my hook and needle collection, my projects, and even sell every one of my patterns from there. Okay, one qualification: some of my patterns for sale can't be purchased directly from Ravelry due to contractual obligations, but they're still listed there for my customers to find. Plus, I find it's the best site on the web for finding patterns, both knit and crochet. And there's so much more to the site that I don't even use. Oh, and always a huge bonus in my eyes:  Ravelry is based in the Boston area. Chalk one up for the home team!

5.  Google Chalkboard Counter gadget
I heart gadgets. I also keep all of my patterns saved on my computer, so this app is right up my alley. It sits in my Google sidebar, right under my news feed, takes up little space, and it's always there when I need it. I use it as a row counter, sometimes as a stitch counter, and it interferes with nothing. If you've never seen it, it resembles a tiny chalkboard. All you have to do is click on it and it adds a hash mark. If you right click, it removes a hash mark.

6.  Crochet Pattern Central
My regular readers already know this, but Rachel over at Crochet Pattern Central is one of my favorite human beings. I owe about 100,000 page views to her. Most people who have found my blog have done so via her site. It's definitely the best resource I know for finding free crochet patterns. There's also Knitting Pattern Central, the sister site, which I fear because my pattern collection is embarrassingly large at this point. Plus, in writing this article, I just discovered there's also Tatting Pattern Central and Embroidery Pattern Central.

7.  Michael's Loops and Threads Cotton Club yarn
Maybe not the best yarn for scrubbies and washcloths because it's so soft, but boy is it soooooft. This yarn is a great basic worsted and an absolute pleasure to work with. The first time I used it, I couldn't stop touching it to my cheek. It would be great for baby blankets because of its cuddly softness. Did I mention it's soft?

8.  My Canon Power Shot digital camera
If not for my digital camera I wouldn't be able to photograph all of my gorgeous creations and share them here with you. It's crazy easy to use, offers great resolution, and it was relatively inexpensive. It's a great camera for snapshots and for those of us who don't really need more professional gear. Every photo in my upcoming book was shot using that camera.

9.  Vistaprint
Vistaprint.com is hands down my favorite place for professional looking business cards and other promotional materials. Sign up for their newsletter and see regular promotional emails for all sorts of free products and discounts. Oh yeah, and they are also based in the Boston area, so there's that.

10.   My Dell Inspiron laptop
Poor Pinkie. She's served me so well. She's taken a beating over the past few years that she's been with me, but she perseveres. This baby wasn't built for speed or power, she was built for convenience and specifically for crafting. I just hope she'll do me the honor of lasting another year.

Maybe next week, I'll do a knit version, or a knit addendum. Come back and see.

Happy Crocheting!

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