Author Archive

Granny Sets her Sights on a Smart Car

Posted in News on August 1st, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 12 Comments

In all my years of crocheting, I have yet to make a granny square, let alone an entire afghan of pieced-together granny squares. This is probably due to the fact that I already have an excessive number of crocheted afghans from more than one crocheter, including one of my grandmothers. Now, there’s nothing wrong with granny square afghans! It just isn’t something I find myself wanting to make. (There’s also a heat index of 100 today, so I am definitely not in any mood to think about afghans!) I have, however, seen some interesting uses of the proverbial granny square in totes, shawls and clutches, elevating this common crochet motif to new heights. This Smart Car, covered in crochet granny square goodness, takes the cake.

Photo by StartTheDay

Photo by StartTheDay

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The Different Types of Yarn Fibers

Posted in Tutorials and Help on July 27th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 10 Comments

When planning out a crochet project, in addition to choosing yarn colors, you have to take into account the texture and functionality of different yarn fibers. Even if they are both worsted weight, for instance, using a bamboo cotton compared to an acrylic will change how your project turns out. What kind of yarn fibers are out there? What are the differences? Here is a general breakdown:

My acrylic stash, and some acrylic projects

My acrylic stash, and some acrylic projects

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Crocheting for Haiti

Posted in News on July 26th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 5 Comments

Although it has been 6 months since the catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, the already impoverished country is still struggling on just about every level. How could crochet possibly come into play? Here goes: Pat Eidsness crochetmatsis the pastor of South Dakota’s Peace Lutheran Church and she recently spent time volunteering in Haiti. While there, Eidsness tried instructing mothers to avoid letting their children play in or sleep on the dirt-covered ground.

Upon her return to Sioux Falls, SD, she wanted to do something more for the people of Haiti, so she started brainstorming. Her memories of the mothers and children sparked an idea: cutting up t-shirts into strips and crocheting mats from them. Soon enough she was requesting t-shirt donations from the community and asking for volunteers, from experienced crocheters to those who have never crocheted (but are willing to learn!). The collective effort has already resulted in dozens of completed mats and it’s fortunately an ongoing effort.

You can read more about crocheting for Haiti here.

How to Recycle Previously-used Yarn

Posted in Tutorials and Help on July 22nd, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 11 Comments

Do you have sweaters you no longer wear? Afghans a-plenty in the closet? Ignore them no longer! If you have neglected crocheted items that you don’t have sentimental attachment to, perhaps it’s time to go on an unraveling binge. Recycling previously-used yarn is a great way to make use of those items again–by turning them into something else! Sometimes I find crocheted garments at thrift stores that are in good condition, but not what I’d want to wear. And yet, at $3 for a bulky wool sweater worth of yarn? Too good too pass up. Below I will tell you how easy it is to restore recycled yarn so that you can use it in your next project.

IMG_1097 read more »

Crochet Pork Pie, Anyone?

Posted in News on July 20th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 10 Comments

Kate Jenkins pushes the envelope when it comes to fiber art possibilities. She doesn’t just knit and crochet, she knits and crochets. A former designer for fashion lines like Donna Karan, she is the owner of Cardigan, a knit and crochet shop and gallery all in one, based in the U.K. Her mission statement unravels like this: “anything can be created from yarn as long as it is made with love.” From striped wraps to fish and chip platters, dragonflies to the pork pie you see below, Kate exhibits at galleries and art shows all over the world and is known for her attention to small details and use of vibrant colors. read more »

How To Read Color Charts

Posted in Tutorials and Help on July 14th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 12 Comments

Most crochet patterns are written out line by line with abbreviations and numbers, such as “Row 1: ch 2; 5sc in 2nd ch from hook,” but there are also patterns that utilize color charts or graphs instead. The below chart is one such example. It may remind you of needlepoint and cross-stitch charts if you’re familiar with those crafts. How does one go about reading a color chart or graph? I’ll tell you!

Photo by Lion Brand Yarn

Photo by Lion Brand Yarn

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Want to Learn How to Crochet? There’s an (iPad) App for that!

Posted in News on July 10th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 1 Comment

Photo by Saki Chikaraishi

You could crochet a cozy for your brand-spankin’-new iPad like Japanese crocheter Saki Chikaraishi did…wait, you’re a novice still learning the crochet ropes? There’s an App for that! Thanks to Jones APR, a mobile app, consulting and PR firm, there is now “Knitting & Crocheting HD,” an application specifically created for Apple’s iPad. The app just hit the iTunes store in late June and features over 500 photos, illustrations as well as instructions to take you through the knitting and crochet basics, including supplies needed and yarn types explained.

Apple gadgets are no strangers to crochet applications: there’s already one for the iPhone and iPod Touch, not to mention a few podcasts to choose from. But, the iPad is obviously more conducive to learning just about anything because of its visually-friendly size. Have you tried out any of these crochet apps or do you stick to crocheting up gadget cozies when it comes to the intersection of tech and craft?

Crochet for the Kitchen

Posted in Best Crochet Patterns, Fun Ramblings on July 8th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 7 Comments


When I take a break from making cute crochet toys, which is rare, I try to come up with “practical” projects to make. (Well, I think cute crochet toys are practical, but that’s another story). I tend to stick to things I can wear, such as scarves or hats, but in summer weather? No thanks! The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house, the source of edible goodness and culinary creativity. It only makes sense to throw some creative crochet into the mix.

“Crochet for the Kitchen” immediately makes me think of dishcloths, because of the inevitable clean-up involved in all-things-kitchen. Here are five dishcloth patterns for whoever is on clean-up duty. Maybe they’ll actually make it fun?

How about some thick potholders? Crochet potholders are quick to whip up, even when they have multiple layers. And you’ll need those multiple layers, if say you want them to be…practical!

A cozy mug sweater and a pot handle cozy combine the best of cute and functional–keeping your fingertips safe from heat and dressing up plain kitchenware to boot.

Placemats are one of those “extras” that I may not ever want to spend the money on, but if I can crochet something to my liking using some multi-colored yarn? I’m in!

What do you like to crochet for your kitchen?

How to Crochet: The Magic Adjustable Ring

Posted in Tutorials and Help on July 3rd, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 59 Comments

One way of crocheting in the round is to chain 2 and then make a certain number of stitches into the 2nd chain from the hook (you can do so with any kind of crochet stitch–sc, hdc, dc, etc.–but for this tutorial, I’ll be using sc. This tutorial is for both right and left handed people. For left handed pictures, roll your mouse over the image and it will change for you. When you have the desired number of stitches and you join to the first single crochet, you’ll notice a little something–a hole! Right there in the middle. The way around this? The magic adjustable ring, a really simple technique that prevents a hole from appearing.


Making a magic adjustable ring only requires a few extra steps and will give your  in-the-round projects a smooth start. For this one in particular, I’ll make a magic adjustable ring with 5 single crochet stitches. read more »

A Crochet Designer Uses Lace Patterns in Pottery

Posted in News on June 30th, 2010 by Alicia Kachmar – 6 Comments
lace pottery 2 062410

Photo by H. Scott Hoffmann/News & Record

Maggie Weldon learned to crochet at an early age, the craft quickly turning into an escape for her. It gradually developed into a full-fledged business of patterns, books and even crochet supplies, all based in North Carolina. Somehow Weldon found the time to take a pottery class with her daughter, and the creative juices, rooted in crochet, began to flow. Upon working in slabs, versus on the wheel which she didn’t take to, she took crochet doilies and linens, and stamps them into the wet clay.

Weldon became quite hooked on these crochet-inspired ceramic designs and decided to pursue it more seriously as part of her art repertoire, saying, “I push the envelope and try to make the biggest pieces I can.” One of those pieces is a 28-inch wedding cake plate! For delicate lace pieces that may be disintegrating, imprinting them onto clay may be a way to at least preserve their patterns in the long run. And who wouldn’t want a set of table linens AND all place settings to be crochet-related?!

More about Maggie Weldon can be found here.