Split Single Crochet Video!

With the help of the video team we made a short video tutorial of the Split Single Crochet! You can find many more stitch video tutorials like this on the Annie’s site. We also plan to keep adding more and more over time. If you press the play arrow, the video clip will magically appear.

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Hairpin Lace Tee

The summer issue of Crochet! has many projects that I am very proud to showcase! One example is the Hairpin Lace Tee. It’s designed by Rachel Schuster. I met Rachel at the Crochet Guild of America’s annual conference/party/event last summer in Manchester, NH.  This year’s event, the Knit & Crochet Show, will be held in San Diego in July.

Anyway, I met Rachel at the Editor Meet & Greet at the CGOA event. Traditionally, on the Saturday of the event, the editors of Crochet! and Crochet World are available to meet with designers. Rachel has a fun style and great knowledge of current yarns.

This design is so eclectic and wearable, I’d really like to make one for myself. I do think that this particular model wears the top incredibly well. Of course I admit I am biased. This is my daughter! We share clothes all the time. So seeing this on her, I already know how it will look on me.

Maura at Annies

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Autumn Photo Shoot!

How do I show you just enough to be intrigued but not too much?  Very carefully! The photo team shot the autumn 2015 issue recently. I popped my head into the studio to get a peek of what they dreamed up for backdrops and styling.  Here’s a few of the glimpse from those 3 days.

IMG_1219  A little careful staging.

IMG_1224  Very careful lighting.

IMG_1225  Are there any ends or tags hanging out?      IMG_1235 As Matt, the photographer shoots, the images come up on the monitor. The stylists, Tammy and Tammy, (and Misty, another model) look on as the images appear. The two stylists choose all the models, the backdrops, the clothes, the accessories. The make up artist, Ellie, does her magic with the hair and makeup. When it’s time to take the photos that could be cover items, the graphic artist in charge of the cover, Nick, comes into the studio. He makes sure that the photos are taken with enough spacing for the Coverlines (headlines) and that the colors are working for a possible cover. We will plan 3-4 covers and Nick will “mock” them up with different colored coverlines so that the final one can be chosen.

Often the photo team is shooting multiple magazines in the same week. This way they keep the models and the make up artist busy. The photo team was juggling Crochet!, Crochet World and Creative Knitting all this same week. All the flat shots of projects that don’t need models, the photo team took the following week. Little models, like the lovely Audrey, age 3, has her photo done when the schedules can be arranged.

Do you have questions about photo shoots or any of the behind the scenes magic?


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Made in the USA- Appalachian Baby Design

I am very excited to begin a new feature on this blog highlighting the wonderful and varied American owned companies who participate in the crochet and knit industry. It’s fascinating, they have great products we can be proud to purchase and they inspire us to follow our dreams!

I’m pleased to present to you….

Appalachian Baby Design

Ellen: Who owns the company and where is it located?

Appalachian Baby Design, Diane Browning: I own the company and work with a collective of designers, knitters and crocheters. We are located in the Greenbrier Valley in the Alleghany Mountains, West Virginia.

Ellen: Where does your fiber come from?

Diane: I live on a cattle farm–no yarn from them!  We source US yarns, primarily organic cotton from Texas and have it customed milled in North Carolina.  We have it twisted so it is exceptionally soft.  Organic cotton is an ideal baby yarn because it no harsh chemicals are used in processing, it is machine wash & dry, and the natural color is gender neutral, perfect for passing on to other babies.

Ellen: Is your business open to tour groups?

Diane: No, we do not have a retail shop.  We operate out of an old general store, but just ship our product to retailers.

Ellen: How many different fibers and/or products do you make/sell?

Diane: We sell our own produced organic cotton, as well as wool from Mountain Meadows wool (a women run mill), Brown Sheep yarn and other U.S. mills.

Ellen: What’s your website?

Diane:  www.appalachianbaby.com

We do not have a lot of crochet designs, mostly knit.  I would love to do something that would attract more crocheters to try our yarn….maybe have a design contest for the cutest crochet baby hat.

Ellen: Ooohh! That would be so much fun! Let’s be in touch and see how Crochet! can help!

I also learned from Diane, that Appalachian Baby Designs also sells knit kits that include their organic cotton yarns. They sell hand-painted buttons and handmade knit items. The handmade items are made by artisans here in the United States. (They could be your neighbors!) Ask your local yarn store if they carry Appalachian Baby Yarns, or click HERE to locate a store in your area. (Wow! it’s a nice long 5 page list of stores! Go see it in person at your local yarn seller).  They also sell natural wool that comes from other US mills.

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Annie’s Sale!

There is a big sale on clearance items this weekend!  Check it out not just for crochet but all the craft and home solutions too!

My Learn Bruges Lace (Crochet) book is only $3.99  CRAZY! (It has symbol diagrams in addition to the text).  Plus you can use an additional discount code at checkout. Look at the top left corner of the sale page.

Learn Bruges Lace

Have a great weekend!

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

When life gives you lemons, you stitch away stress!  The Craft Yarn Council has a fun campaign going on for the month of April.  You can visit their Facebook Page for giveaways and tips for managing stress through creative yarn play.

Lemon7-hand-square (1) Stitch Away Stress

Do you know anyone who could use a little crocheted stress-ball lemon? Relax your tired stitching hands with this adorable lemon stress-ball pattern!  It’s FREE on the Craft Yarn Council Site HERE. It was designed by iconic crochet designer, Twinkie Chan.

It’s tax season, I know it would be good for me to #StitchAwayStress.  Perhaps I should make a stress-ball lemon and give it to my accountant?  I’m sure he could use some stress relief too!

The Craft Yarn Council has interviewed many people just like you! Learn more about how knit and crochet has improved the lives of others with this powerful YouTube video.

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Stitch Away Stress!

Stitch Away Stress

All month in April, the Craft Yarn Council will be talking about how to #StitchAwayStress!  Use the hashtag for Instagram and other Social Media to tell your story!


My favorite ways to Stitch Away Stress are:

1. Crochet with my cat nearby. Aw, sleepy kitty.

2. Choose a rhythmic pattern where I can just stitch without thinking too hard.

3. Choose a GREAT yarn. Something smooth and soft that won’t get grumpy if I decide to pull out a few stitches.  Some yarn, like mohair, is beautiful but can turn into a battle if you have to rip out.

4. Choose a GREAT color. Choose a color that you love.

5. Choose a project you will GIVE to someone you love. Think of them as you make it.

6. Keep your tension Goldilocks… not too tight, not too loose, just right. Don’t try thread for the first time if your goal is to de-stress. Don’t try a Q sized hook for the first time if your goal is to de-stress.

7. Turn off your phone or computer. Just for 15 minutes or so if you are anxious. The world can wait 15 minutes.


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Snapshot of the Day

I’m in Berne, Indiana at the Annie’s offices today and yesterday. Yesterday I was in the studio with Melissa, awesome videographer (and artist!). We were just taping my hands this time, working a few stitches that will go on the Stitch Guide. (This is why I didn’t have any big makeup on!)  For these short video clips, Melissa looks over my left shoulder and aims the camera at my hands.  I have to be careful to keep my hands far out from my body so that she doesn’t get my bent head in the shot!

032615 snapshot of day 1 032615 snapshot of day 2

Ironically, I went for a run last night after work, fell, and cut up my hands :(  Good thing I completed the videos first!  My hands are fine, but they aren’t “video ready” until they heal up a bit.

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Stitch Away Stress!

Stitch Away Stress

Beginning April 1st, in observance of National Stress Awareness Month, the Craft Yarn Council will be encouraging people to #StitchAwayStress and would love for YOU to join in the fun.

 Visit CYC’s Instagram (@craftyarncouncil) and Facebook pages throughout the month for 30 Days of Creative Ways to #StitchAwayStress. You’ll find a variety of fun and educational posts for using knitting and crochet to relax, relieve stress and boost mood, including activity ideas, giveaways, videos, health studies and stats, a one-of-a-kind stress busting pattern and more.    

In April, here on Behind the Hook, I’ll be listing my favorite tips for using crochet to #StitchAwayStress

Stay tuned!


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Summer is Here!

There may be lingering snow in many areas and the flooding of Spring is happening here in Southern Ohio, but the Summer issue of Crochet! is HERE.

There are so many exciting projects in this issue!  On the cover is the Clearwater Tank, by Rebecca Velasquez. This is stitched in beautiful Anzula yarns, Breeze.  It is sized from XS to 3X.  It’s a silk and linen blend yarn that is so perfect for warmer temperatures. The tank offers beautiful coverage with a lovely accent of the drape neckline.

Buy the digital edition and get your copy of Crochet! instantly.