Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

Source: Pinterest

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meet Esther from "Happy in Red"

Howdy, friends and strangers! After the little break last Sunday, I'm very happy to have another guest here in k-town today, please welcome Esther from Happy in Red!

"Hello everyone! Sweet Barbara has invited me to be a guest blogger on her wonderful blog and really, how could I refuse? Today I am telling you a little bit about myself and my crochet.

So, here's me: Esther also known as Happy in Red. I am a 30 yo from Utrecht, The Netherlands. I am a journalist and (web)editor by day. I write for magazines and websites. Writing is my biggest passion and I feel so incredibly lucky that I was able to make a profession from what I love to do best. Since the start of this year I am my own boss: a freelance writer. Isn't that fabulous? I am also married to my big love, we've been married now for 1,5 year.
Happy in Red - Crochet

But then, I am a crafter at night! About 2 years ago I picked up the hook. I guess I was starting to feel dissapointed about what I was able to buy in shops. It seems to me like all the clothes from the big chain stores looked the same and my friends and me would sometimes even end up buying the same the same things, even though we are such different people! I felt I wanted to do something different for a change. So when I picked up my crochet hook, I was actually planning to make some applications to spice up my clothes and bags. Little did I know crocheting would become a big thing in my life.

Happy in Red - Granny Square Pillow Case

I wish I could tell you guys a fabulous story about how I learned to crochet. I wish I could tell you my grandmother taught me how to. She was a great crocheter and made wonderful doilies and amigurumi figurines. But unfortunately my gran passed away when I was 15 yo and never taught me how to crochet. Though I doubt she would have had much pleasure from teaching a grumpy teenager to crochet and I doubt I would've had the patience for it at the time. Nope, I taught myself how to crochet. Using Youtube and some library books. But no matter how I learned it: I know I love it.

Crochet granny square pillow - Happy in Red

It wasn't long after I started to crochet that I also discovered blogging. I found some really great blogs online to help me with crochet.  It seemed like a fun plan to also start a blog and so Happy in Red was born. Why Happy in Red? Well, I have Red hair... and am (finally) pretty happy about that.

On my blog I can combine two things I love so much: crocheting and writing! It's like a match made in heaven and I love blogging so much. It has opened a great world for me. I mean, it's so easy to get in touch with other people that crochet. I don't have any friends that like to crochet, so it's fantasic to have found a group of 'online friends' that do and that I can share inspiration with. On my blog I love to share happy finished project and I also have some crochet tutorials on there. Check them out if you like.

Crochet blanket - Happy in Red

So, what do I like to crochet? I have to say that I am actually addicted to making blankets and pillow covers. Granny squares ar such a great crochet pattern. They are so easy to make, yet you can make so many different things with them! If you feel like making a crochet blanket, just make a granny square blanket. There's nothing like chilling out on the sofa, with a book and a cup of tea nicely snuggled up under your home made granny blanket.

I love making granny square blankets so much that after a while, I kind of had a lot of them and that people also asked me to make them custom made blankets as well. So, I took a deep deep breath, and on my 30th birthday I gave myself a great present: I opened my very own Etsy shop! A special place for my crochet.

Crochet Coasters - Happy in Red

So, this was me here in K-Town today! I loved being here. Thank you Barbara for the opportunity to be a guest blogger. And I hope to see you over at Happy in Red! If you'd like to get social with me, you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry."

Thank you Esther for this likeable and personal guest post, it was a pleasure to have you here! :)

I hope you all enjoyed meeting Esther here today, and just in case you wonder who's my next visitor in k-town... - I'm as excited and curious as you are! :)


Friday, February 22, 2013

Free Topic Friday at The Crochet Boulevard

Thank god it's Friday! Time to celebrate the best day of the week with a new Free Topic linkparty over at The Crochet Boulevard!

The Crochet Boulevard
I'd also like to welcome all my new readers who have visited my blog for the first time this week - Hello guys! :) I'm glad you've found my blog and like it here! And if you like it here, it's probably because you like crochet, right? And if you like crochet, then maybe you'll like The Crochet Boulevard, too! Just hop over and find out what it's all about!

For the peaks in my statistics I owe a huge THANK YOU to some lovely girls who linked back to my blog and/or Facebook-site this week:

Thank you Sarah from Sarahndipities for featuring my African Flower Square on "Make Something Mondays"!

Thank you Sara from My Merry Messy Life and her co-host Tamara from moogly for featuring the African Flower Square on "Hooking on Hump Day"!

Thank you Sara from tangled happy for featuring the African Flower Square on your blog!

A whole lot of Sara(h)s out there in the crochet world... *gg*

And last but not least: Thank you Charissa from Mad Mad me for sharing several links to my blog and the made in k-town Facebook-site!

Long live Link-Love! :)

I'll probably be back this week-end with more Wedding-News: oh, we've been soooo busy, there's a whole lot to tell! :)

Have a great Friday everyone!!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Meet Kathryn from "Crochet Concupiscence"

Hey good-lookin', I'm glad you've come over to visit me on this Sunday afternoon! 
I'm delighted to have Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence as a guest today - if you know her blog (and most of you do, I guess), you know that Kathryn's blog is different from most other crochet blogs out there. Like all of us, she shares her own crochet adventures, but apart from that, she also tries to give her readers every piece of info about crochet she can find: history, fashion, artists, crochet quotes, crochet for charity, and more: If you can't find it on Crochet Concupiscence, it probably doesn't exist :) 
Furthermore, many of Kathryn's posts also focus on the benefits of Crochet for your health and well-being. Her insight in this fascinating topic is so interesting, that I just had to ask her to come over and tell us some more:

"How Crochet Helps Me Every Day"

"This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo, the blogger at Crochet Concupiscence and the author of Crochet Saved My Life.

Although I learned to crochet as a child, I didn’t really do anything with the craft until my mid-twenties. At that time, I’d hit a low in my life and the re-discovery of the craft helped to bring me out of that awful space. In the few short years since that time, crochet has helped me to heal in so many ways it’s hard to count. Blogging about crochet has allowed me to connect with the most amazingly supportive craft community I ever could have imagined. And every single day I learn more about how crochet can improve my total well-being. Let me tell you more about my story.

Hi, I’m Kathryn – Writer, Crafter, Dreamer

My name is Kathryn Vercillo. I am a full-time professional writer and blogger who lives in San Francisco, a city that I absolutely love because it is a beautiful space where creative people are accepted just the way that they are. I am a generally optimistic person but I’ve struggled with bouts of depression in my life and it has only been in the past few years that I’ve gotten to a solid and stable and emotionally healthy place. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Crochet helped me get there.

Learning to Crochet, Learning to Love Myself

You can actually read my whole mini-memoir of depression and how crochet helped with it in my book, Crochet Saved My Life, so I’ll spare you the details here and just say this … During my lowest low period of depression there were times when I could not get out of bed, when I could not stop crying, when I could not find a shred of self-esteem anywhere in my whirling, reeling mind. I kept grasping at activities that would take my mind off of itself and eventually remembered that I once knew how to crochet. I re-taught myself, mostly using kids’ crochet books, and I fell in love.

I fell in love with the craft. I fell in love with life again. I learned to love myself.   

The rhythmic act of crocheting helped me to calm down, reduce my anxiety, and quell the constant crying that came with depression. (Full disclosure – I also started seeing a therapist at this time and engaging in other self-care so it wasn’t crochet alone that changed my life but it did play a huge part). The process of visualizing and completing a project helped me to see that I could achieve things again in my life, aiding in rebuilding my self-esteem. The tactile sensations of working with soft, colorful yarn helped bring beauty back into my life. I hooked myself to healing.

Connecting with a Crochet Community

Once I started to climb back into a more emotionally stable place, I was ready to share my story. In January 2011 I launched Crochet Concupiscence, my blog about all things crochet. On this blog I share news, information, links and more about all aspects of crochet including art, fashion, design, history and health. Through this blog I began to connect with an amazing world of crochet designers, artists, makers and lovers. I found this to be a generous, supportive, awesome community and one that I am so thrilled to get a chance to be a part of. One of my main goals now that my blog is popular is to let it serve as a hub for others in a way that strengthens and supports this amazing community.

In July 2012 I published Crochet Saved My Life. In addition to sharing my own story about crocheting through depression, I had interviewed two dozen women about their stories crafting to heal from various conditions including chronic pain, schizophrenia, grief, anxiety and more. These women shared touching true details of their lives with me and inspired me with their stories, stories they entrusted me to share with others. This experienced broadened my connection with the amazing crochet community even more. Once the book came out, more people started reaching out to share their stories with me, and my world continued to broaden. The support I feel just being someone who connects with other crocheters online is amazing.

Giving Back with Crochet

I am healthy and well and somewhat established in the crochet community and this gives me an opportunity to share what I’ve learned with others. I did this in part through the publication of Crochet Saved My Life but now I’m working on taking it to the next level with my new project, which is called Hook to Heal.

Hook to Heal is a comprehensive multi-media program for people who want to use crafting to better their lives. It begins with a book of creativity exercises for crocheters that will show how crochet can be used to achieve mindfulness, release artistic fear, push to the next level of creativity, celebrate life and more. Many topics of creativity will be explored in this book that challenge you to find new ways to craft yourself to wellness. The book will be ready in the fall. At that time I will also be launching online creativity classes and a one-on-one email support system for people who want to connect more intimately to help discover the ways in which crochet can be healing and take creativity to a new place in their lives.

Throughout February I am using an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money and awareness about the Hook to Heal project. People who contribute can get perks that range from having their name acknowledged in the book to getting early release copies and more. Even in these early stages, I can tell that my giving to others through this project is actually going to be something that is lucky, wonderful, educational and creative for me as I continue to immerse myself in the crochet community. Every day I crochet and every day the world gets a little warmer and fuzzier for me!"

Thank you so much Kathryn for this outstanding contribution to my blog! I think your message to the crochet world is so important, and I hope that I can help spreading the word by publishing your post today!

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday with lots of time for a little hookin' ;)


Friday, February 8, 2013

African Flower Square Tutorial

Pattern: Made in K-Town by Barbara

inspired by the African Flower Hexagon by Lounette Fourie & Anita Rossouw
Please respect my rights as designer: do not sell, share, translate, or publish any parts of my patterns (including pictures) online or elsewhere without my permission. Do not claim this pattern as your own. Feel free to sell the finished items you’ve made from my pattern! If you do, a link-back to my blog would be great. Thank you!


For my square I used small amounts of Rico Essentials Cotton DK and a 3.5mm hook. My square measures 11.5 cm (4.5") but the size will vary depending on the yarn and hook you use.

Some general notes:

For this pattern I use US crochet terms. We’ll need the following stitches: chain stitch (ch), slip stitch (sl st), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), treble (tr), and spike single crochet (or "long" sc). The spike sc's are explained below, please use the pictures as a help, too.

I did NOT write down the chains at the beginning of each round: for the first stitch in every round, work chains (e.g. 3 chains for the first dc) OR start with a “standing stitch” i.e. join the new color with a slip knot or a simple loop ON YOUR HOOK and just work the first sc or dc as usual. Join rounds with a sl st.

1st Round: start with a magic ring and work *2dc, ch-1* eight times inside the ring (8 dc-2 groups, 16 dc's). (Tip: Alternatively you can work dc-2-togs instead of the dc-2 groups)


2nd Round: with a new color work *3dc, ch-1* in each ch1-space around (8x3 dc's)


3rd Round: with a new color work *2dc, ch-2, 2dc* in every ch1-space (8 shells)


4th Round: work 7 dc's in every ch2-space around. (56 dc's, no ch-spaces!) (Tip: I like this motif best, when the 3rd and 4th round are worked in the same color)


5th Round: with a new color work sc's in every dc around, with spike-sc's between the shells of the 3rd round. (For the spike-sc (or "long" sc), insert your hook into the little space between the shells of round 3, pull up a loop to the height of your current working round, yarn over and pull through the two loops on your hook.)


In the 6th Round we have to square the flower: join your new color with a standing hdc (or ch-2) in any spike-sc. Then work *sc's into the next 4 sc's, 1 hdc into the next sc, dc's into the next 2 sc's, (1tr, ch-3, 1tr) into the next spike-sc, dc's into the next 2 sc's, 1 hdc into the next sc, sc's into the next 4 sc's, 1 hdc into the next spike-sc* and repeat around (omitting the last hdc) until the end of the round.


7th Round: work dc's in every stitch around, with *2dc, ch-2, 2dc* in the corner-spaces of the previous round. Fasten off, weave in the ends, and you're done!!


If you've got any questions, or find errors in this pattern, please let me know!

I'd also like to see your finished African Flower Squares or projects made with them, so feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog or flickr picture :)


Want to see more African Flower Squares? Check out the Project Gallery on Ravelry!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Beautiful Blogger Blanket 2013: My Squares

Hey there!

Do you remember? In December I had already shown you a little teaser of the squares I've made for The Beautiful Blogger Blanket 2013, a great project organized by Jill over at Stocki.

I didn't want to spoil the surprise for Jill, so I had only shown you a little glimpse of my squares so far...:

... although I have to admit that I was impatient enough to use a full shot of one of the squares as profile pic for my new Facebook page. Have you noticed? :)

Today, Jill has published the pictures of my squares in her post "Greetings from K-town" - I'm really flattered by her kind words about my blog - thank you so much, Jill!

So, here are the pictures of my squares before I had sent them to the UK:

The only requirement for the squares (other than their shape of course) was that they have to be made with 100% cotton dk yarn, and so I've used Rico Essentials Cotton DK to make mine. I've got this suggestion from Barbina, the happy winner of last year's stunning blanket, so maybe it's a lucky yarn, and I might win this year ;)

The pattern might look familiar to many of you, because I've used the popular African Flower Hexagon as inspiration for my squares. I've only found out recently that the credit for this Hexagon goes to Lounette Fourie and Anita Rossouw who have published this pattern in the South African Sarie Magazine. There's a great tutorial for making these hexagons on Heidi Bear's blog, and that's where I had first seen them a long time ago.

The only problem I always had with the African Flower Hexagons is their shape: when you join them to a blanket, you always have an uneven border. And nevermind how clever the solutions are, that people come up with to solve this problem (like half-hexagons), they're still just solutions to a problem that wouldn't exist in the first place, if the motif was... well, a square! :)

There are already some versions of African Flower Squares out there in the www (just ask google), but somehow I wanted to try to "square the hex" myself, and this is what I came up with:

I hope you all like my version of the African Flower Square, because I have already taken step-by-step pictures for a tutorial I want to share with you, soon (if you're interested). I just need to write down the instructions to the pictures, and I hope I'll manage it til the week-end!

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by in k-town tonight!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Meet Sharron from "Annie's Place"

Welcome everybody! How was your week? Last week I had Debi as a guest in k-town, and I'm glad you've all enjoyed her lovely post! Today I'm looking forward to a little chat with Sharron from Annie's Place. Her blog is rather new, so in case you haven't stumbled upon her wonderful site yet, you might find a new favorite today!

"Greetings everyone!! I can't tell you how excited I am to be invited over to K-Town to do a guest post for the lovely Barbara, so let me introduce myself. My name is Sharron from Annie's Place. I'm in my thirties and reside in the East of England, in a Bedfordshire town with my family. I'm a yarn craft addict but I also love music, theatre & dance. 

I've always considered myself to be creative, but only found an outlet for it in the form of crochet just over 2 years ago. I was watching a programme on UK TV about all things handmade and crochet was featured. It's fair to say I was hooked from that moment on. I set out to discover this colourful new world by initially searching online, and immediately found a plethora of amazing crochet pictures. Most of which belonged to the very talented Lucy at Attic24. As soon as I stepped into her world I knew I felt right at home!

I had no-one to teach me, so I relied heavily on visiting Lucy at the Attic (metaphorically speaking), a few Jan Eaton books & YouTube tutorials. Not realising I was watching US tutorials, which meant I was learning in US terms, not UK. Not a smart move for a beginner, I was to find out later! But hey, it's all a learning curve, and a steep one at that. I benefited immensely from taking up this wonderful craft. I was now able to surround myself with colour and texture, lifting the spirit & stimulating the senses. 

Everyday there's excitement, knowing I can create something unique and individual, in a colour palette of my own choosing. I get such a boost from being able to use my creativity to bring pleasure to others, whether that's gifting something I've made to a friend or family member, or just through my pictorial presence online. I started out documenting my crochet journey with a flickr photostream as Colour Heaven, and a notebook on Ravelry as Cosy Kitty.

Just shy of 3 months ago I decided to take the plunge and start blogging. Inspired by my late Grandmother Annie, someone I never knew but was told loved to crochet too. Someone I wish I'd had a chance to spend time with, to share our mutual appreciation for this fantastic craft. I'm sure she's watching over me though, pleased as punch that her Granddaughter has followed in her foot steps. 

It was a nerve wracking decision to blog, as I didn't have the first clue how it all worked. My main aim was to create a platform where I could communicate with like minded people,  and share my love of all things homespun. So far I'm muddling my way through, learning something new everyday. I still consider myself a novice crocheter, and relish the opportunity to learn from other more accomplished crafters. It's overwhelming the amount of talent out there to discover. If I can add just a tiny contribution to that, I'm happy!

Huge thanks to Barbara for allowing me the opportunity to connect with you all, and thank you for taking the time to read. 

I hope to see you over at Annie's Place soon x"

Thank you Sharron for this great post! I'm glad you've decided blogging, because you've really added a colorful and inspiring place to blogland that I wouldn't want to miss anymore!

To you and all my readers: Have a great Sunday everyone and a good start into the new week! And in case you're watching the Super-Bowl: Have fun, and may your favorite team win! :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

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