Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Woolly Festival and a Giveaway

Earlier this month, my sister and I went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, a happy gathering of all things woolly held each year at the Jefferson County Fairground in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

First we visited the sheep barns (yarn on the hoof!) where we saw an astounding variety of breeds and personalities.

There were friendly sheep and curious sheep:


Happy sheep and placid sheep:


Nattily-clad sheep and mysterious masked sheep:


And the wool! Black, brown, tan, white, cream, grey, and every shade between, with every conceivable texture of curl:


We saw wool on the sheep, wool on the floor, wool in bags (hundreds of bags):


Then we looked in on the sheep judging:


After a brief stop for refreshments (root beer float made with sheep's milk ice cream for me), we made our way to the AMAZING hooked rug display:


I love this one:


Look at the detail!


Some rugs were pretty, and some whimsical:



This photo is for the Goatmother :)



These were some of my favourites - check out the lovely knitted detail on the lower left:


A kind member of the Cream City Rug Hookers gave us a demonstration of the craft, and let us try our hand at it:


Already surfeited with color, we took a breath, made sure our wallets were handy, and walked across the fairground to look at yarn.

Yarn.

So. Much. Yarn.

It was a bit like going to a great museum - the eyes can only take in so much, and eventually what you see becomes a blur. But what a gorgeous blur....


In addition to yarn, there were buttons and shawl pins and spindles and straps...


...and weaving and hats and mittens and baskets, and all sorts and shapes of lovely handmakes:


It was wonderful. I can't wait to go back next year.

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One of the best things about a festival like this is the chance to meet the shepherds and spinners, the dyers and weavers, the painters and shapers of all the lovely things on display. We loved hearing their stories, getting their expert advice, and having a chance to support their good work.

I brought home some wonderful Wisconsin-grown and Wisconsin-spun yarn, plus a gorgeous handmade button by Belinda Carson of "B" Unique Jewelry and Crafts:


Giveaway

You could win that beautiful button, and a skein of Wisconsin yarn, by entering the (drumroll please):

Yarn! Button! Magazine!

The cheery orange button measures about 2" - perfect for accenting a shawl, cowl, or hat. The Romney Yarn, from Yorkshire Rose Farm, is a lofty worsted weight in soft bluish-grey with hints of warm taupe.

Also included: a copy of Interweave Crochet Fall 2017, which features two patterns and an article by yours truly.

To enter the Woolly Giveaway, just leave a comment below that includes the word "wool".

~ If you're a "No-Reply Blogger", or if your online profile does not include an email address, make sure there's a way for me to reach you.

~ If you can't leave a comment because you don't have an online profile, send me an e-mail (see my profile for the address) and include "wool" in the subject line.

Giveaway closes on Sunday, October 1, at midnight (US Central Daylight Time). The winner will be chosen by random number generator.

Winner to be announced on Monday, October 2. (Can you believe it's almost October?)

This giveaway is international. Good luck!

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It's crazy hot in Wisconsin right now. How's your weather?

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Introducing Live-Loop Stitches and Cables, and Two Published Patterns

"Live loop" has long been a term more common to knitting than to crochet - until now!

I'm very excited to announce a new technique that uses live loops to make amazing cables in crochet:

Live-Loop Cables in Crochet - a new technique by Sue Perez :)

The photos above are just a sample of cables you can make with the Live-Loop method.

Live-Loop cables are made by working a crochet stitch, pulling up a set of loops, then working a partial crochet stitch. The hook is then removed, and the two crochet stitches are linked together behind the cable loops. This leaves the cable loops free (or "live") on the front of the fabric.

On each succeeding round or row, a new loop is pulled up in each of the live loops from the previous row, and the crochet stitches on either side are again linked behind the cable. (If this sounds hopelessly confusing, see the video at the bottom of the post.)

The result is a flexible, I-cord-like cable that travels up the fabric surface without disrupting background texture or stitch count. Live-Loop cables can be made 1 or more loops wide (the more the loops, the fatter the cable). They can curve left or right, cross other cables, or individual loops can be crossed within a single cable. Fun fact: a Live-Loop cable can also be frogged and repaired while leaving the rest of the project intact.

If you'd like to try this technique right away, you can find a full tutorial in Interweave Crochet Fall 2017. Also appearing in this issue are two Live-Loop crochet projects: the Blue Spruce Hat and the Bristlecone Mitts.

The Blue Spruce hat is worked bottom-up and packed with fun details: a cushiony, lettuce-edge slip stitch band, Live-Loop cables both winding and straight, bobbles, and a unique slip-stitch crown finish:

Photos courtesy of Interweave Crochet and Harper Point Photography


I think the crown is my favourite part. :)

The Bristlecone Mitts are small bundes of cozy slip-stitch ribbing and cabled joy. Flat 4-loop cables travel up the backs, and the thumb gusset is set off by a tidy 1-loop cable:

Photos courtesy of Interweave Crochet and Harper Point Photography

Interweave Crochet Fall 2017 also features several other cable techniques, and many beautiful non-cabled projects. It's available in both print and digital editions here.

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If you'd like to see Live-Loop crochet in action, here's a video demonstration that explains the theory behind the technique, and walks the viewer through making a Live-Loop cable swatch:



The Live-Loop method has opened up a world of possibilities for cables in crochet. I've learned (and am still learning) so much while developing this technique, and I have a ton of pattern ideas. There's much more to be said on the subject than will fit into any magazine article or blog post - so I'm writing a book about it. :)

I hope you'll try the Live-Loop method for yourself. It's fun, it's fascinating, and it produces amazing cables in crochet.

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Thoughts and prayers are going out for all of you who are in the path of Hurricane Irma.

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