Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Formal Jewelry by Karen McKenna Book Review

Well Karen has done it again! She has created yet another beautiful book of wonderful crochet designs for all of us to enjoy! Formal Jewelry published by Leisure Arts is now available here!
Please be sure to visit Karen at her blog Ihookdesign

When I first received this book, I must admit that I was just a little bit intimidated. I don't typically work with thread and my beading experience is limited but it didn't take long to realize I had nothing to fear. Not only are the instructions so detailed and clear, but there is also a bonus online video tutorial!

I love that the projects look so classy and elegant and yet they would take very little time to complete. What wonderful gifts they would make!

My very favorite project in the book which I will be making just as soon as I can get the supplies, are the Silver Barefoot Sandals. They just scream "Fun" but they are also very sophisticated. Picture a gorgeous bride getting married on a warm, sunny beach. Perfect! And I will be keeping that image in my mind while we are in the single digits this week, anticipating snow and freezing rain! 
Stay safe and warm my fiber friends!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches Class

If you're anything like me and you've been crocheting for hundreds of years (ok, maybe it just feels like hundreds of years), you get really excited to discover something new. About ten years ago, a good friend of mine was working on her first book. She was a little overwhelmed so I offered to do some of her stitching. She happily agreed and then proceeded to tell me that I needed to use foundation crochet for some of the designs. What?!! I'd never even heard of foundation crochet much less possess the knowledge of how to do it. Well, as luck would have it, Marty Miller, who is actually the "Queen of Foundation Stitches", lives pretty close to me and offered to teach me what I needed to know. How lucky is that?

I couldn't believe I had been crocheting for so long and didn't know about this wonderful technique which makes crochet life so much quicker and easier and I've used them ever since. What I didn't know was that there is so much more you can do besides the basic stitches! I have had the pleasure of reviewing Marty's new Craftsy class, "Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches" and have now discovered a wealth of new information!

Marty is a wonderful teacher, very patient and thorough. She is always a favorite at the CGOA conferences. What's even better about this online class is that you can refer back to it as many times as you need to which is really fantastic since there is so much valuable information to take in!

So let me give you a run down of what the class includes. There are seven complete lessons! Wow! That is a lot of class for the money!

Lesson 1 is extended vs. foundation. I really like Marty's approach to first teach extended stitches which really are foundation stitches just worked into another row of stitches. This allows people to first work into stitches (which is always easier when you are learning) and then takes them on to foundation stitches in the next lesson. And Marty doesn't just show you one or two stitches, she goes through the whole list from single crochet to treble crochet with step-by-step instructions and excellent visuals.

Lesson 2 then goes over the basic foundation stitches.

Lesson 3 shows you how to now use the foundation stitches that you have learned.

Lesson 4 is eyelets and my absolute favorite! This is so ingenious and I could smack myself for not having thought of it myself years ago! At this point, I had to pause my class and immediately grab my hook and yarn to give it a try. I worked V-stitches into this particular foundation eyelet which was so quick and simple. I have a lot of ideas to use this method in some of my future designs.

Lesson 5 explains how to use foundation stitches in pattern.

Lesson 6 is foundation stitches in filet, mesh and more.

And lastly, lesson 7 teaches tunisian, colorwork and beyond.

Are you getting excited to check this class out? You certainly won't be sorry! There are very clear, detailed instructions for so many different techniques and variations! I truly enjoyed this class and I am very excited to use all the new information that I learned. You can start learning too right now! Just head over to Craftsy and here is the link that will take you directly to Marty's class Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy National Crochet Month 2014

Happy National Crochet Month! What is everyone doing to celebrate? As always, I am honored to be included in the month long celebration blog tour put on by Crochetville. Owners Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka do so much for the fiber community and we appreciate you! Let's have a round of applause for this dynamic duo!

Our focus charity this year is Halos of Hope. Halos is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founded by Pam Haschke, herself a survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. Their mission is to provide volunteer-crafted hats to cancer centers across the country. Please consider making a hat or two to donate. You can send completed hats to Crochetville's official headquarters (also know as Amy's house). For all the details please visit Hat donation details and be sure to check out the hat pattern I was honored to contribute to the designer invitational program for Halos.

So who is ready for Spring? It has been such a crazy winter all over the country. Two days ago I enjoyed sunshine and 75 degree weather with all the windows open. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the twenties again! So I decided I needed to create a little Spring of my own and I designed the "Passion Rose Motif". I love the look of the little rose buds just waiting to burst open. I am offering the pattern for free until the end of the month. Please be sure to stop by my Facebook page and say "Hello". I also love to see pictures of your projects from my patterns! Enjoy your celebration of National Crochet Month and thanks for visiting!

Passion Rose Motif

Design by Tammy Hildebrand
Skill Level                           

Finished Measurements
7 1/2  inches square

Caron Simply Soft medium (worsted) weight acrylic yarn (6 oz/315 yds/170 g per skein):
1 ounce each: #0012 passion, #0014 pagoda, #9702 off white
Size I/9/5.5mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge is unimportant for this design

Pattern Notes
Join rounds with slip stitch as indicated.
Chain-3 at beginning of round counts as first double crochet.
Chain-4 at beginning of round counts as first double crochet, chain 1.
Chain-6 at beginning of round counts as first double crochet, ch 3.

Special Stitches
Cluster (cl): Yarn over, insert hook in indicated space and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook (2 loops remain on hook); yarn over, insert hook in same space and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook; yarn over and draw through all 3 loops on hook.
Popcorn (pc): Work 3 dc in indicated space, drop loop from hook, insert hook from front to back in first dc of 3-dc group, place dropped loop back on hook and draw through.

With passion, ch 3, join with sl st (see Pattern Notes), to form ring.
Rnd 1 (RS): Ch 3, (see Pattern Notes), 15 dc in ring, join in top of beg ch-3, fasten off. (16 dc)
Rnd 2: With RS facing, join pagoda with sc in any st, sc in each st around, join in beg sc, fasten off. (16 sc)
Rnd 3: With RS facing, join off white with sl st in any st, ch 4, (see Pattern Notes) dc in same st, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st and in each st around, join in 3rd ch of beg ch-4, fasten off. (32 dc, 16 ch-1 sps)
Rnd 4: With RS facing, join pagoda with sc in any ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next ch-1 sp, [cl, (ch 2, cl) 3 times] in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next ch-1 sp, *sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next ch-1 sp, [cl, (ch 2, cl) 3 times] in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next ch-1 sp; rep from * around, join in beg sc, fasten off. (4 sc, 16 cl)
Rnd 5: With RS facing, join passion with a sc in any sc, ch 3, sl st in top of next cl, ch 3, [pc in next ch-2 sp, ch 3, sl st in top of next cl, ch 3] 3 times, *sc in next sc, ch 3, sl st in top of next cl, ch 3, [pc in next ch-2 sp, ch 3, sl st in top of next cl, ch 3] 3 times; rep from * around, join in beg-sc, fasten off. (4 sc, 12 pc)
Rnd 6: With RS facing, join off white with sl st in any sc, ch 3, 2 dc in same st, sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in top of next pc, working over ch-3 sp, [3 dc in top of next cl of rnd 4, sc in top of next pc] twice, sc in next ch-3 sp, *3 dc in next sc, sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in top of next pc, working over ch-3 sp, [3 dc in top of next cl of rnd 4, sc in top of next pc] twice, sc in next ch-3 sp; rep from * around, join in top of beg ch-3, fasten off. (36 dc, 8 sc)
Rnd 7: With RS facing, join pagoda with sc in sc of any corner, ch 6, (see Pattern Notes), [dc, (ch 3, dc) twice] in same st, [skip next st, (sc, ch 5, sc) in next st] twice, [skip next 2 sts, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next st] twice, skip next st, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next st, skip next st, *[dc, (ch 3, dc) 3 times] in next st, [skip next st, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next st] twice, [skip next 2 sts, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next st] twice, skip next st, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next st; rep from * around, join in 3rd ch of beg ch-6, fasten off. (16 dc, 40 sc)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year Fiber Friends!

Happy New Year everyone! I know I am a little bit late but it has been as hectic as always around here, maybe even a bit more than usual. 2014 has started out with a bang and it is shaping up to be a fantastic year! I am so excited to see what's in store. Let me share just a few of the great things going on.

My very first book, "Crochet Wraps Every Which Way" is now available! If you took advantage of the pre-order, you probably already have the book in your hands! Please stop by my Facebook page Hot Lava Crochet and let me know what you think! I always love seeing pictures when you make one of my designs so be sure to post on my page! If you want a sneak peak of all the designs, you can check them out here. There is also a blog tour going on for the entire month of July! Check my Facebook page every day to follow the stops. There are a lot of great people that I am so thankful to that will be reviewing my book and some of them are having giveaways.

On December 20, just 5 days before Christmas (who does that??!!), we purchased a beautiful, old Southern home. She needs some work so we've been spending a lot of time over there bringing back her original beauty and charm. We have name her "Isabella Manor" and we just love her!!! 

And my new office that I am so excited to work in! 

As many of you know, I began a nutritional cleansing program at the end of July last year. It has been the most incredible journey and my life has undergone a complete transformation! So far, I have lost 44 pounds but it feels like even more because this program helps to build lean muscle mass. I have so much energy that I feel like I'm in my twenties again! In case you missed my latest picture on Facebook, I will post it below. Please contact me if you are interested in giving it a try! I would LOVE for everyone to feel as great as I do and nothing would bring me greater joy than to help you achieve it!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with much happiness and health and dreams that come true! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets Giveaway!

If you haven't seen Sharon Silverman's new book yet, you're in for a treat! Eight beautiful Tunisian baby blankets including cables, ripples, stripes, bobbles and basket weave. There are four "easy" designs, three "intermediate" and one "intermediate plus". There is truly something for everyone. And what's really great is that there are also online technique videos available to help should you need them. 

The gorgeous afghan pictured on the cover is called "Color Waves". I love how crisp and fresh this one is in a classic, traditional style. What baby wouldn't love this?

Another classic is the "Basket Weave Blocks" using two colors. This would be the perfect gift for any little boy using the blues shown in the photo or equally attractive using two shades of pink or colors to match the baby's nursery.

Don't you just love this chubby baby? I can't help but smile every time I look at this picture. The "Frosted Stitch Stripes" uses clusters and Tunisian Simple Stitch to create this beautifully textured throw. 

While I love all the designs in this book, the "Bright Strands" is my very favorite! If you're looking for an incredibly unique blanket with loads of visual interest, this is the one for you! 

To see the rest of the blankets, please visit Leisure Arts. You can download a copy right away and get busy stitching! The hard copy will be available soon as well. I would also like to invite you to enter our giveaway and you might just win a copy of this great book! Leave a comment on this blog telling me which blanket is your favorite! You can also earn two more entries by visiting and "liking" Sharon's Facebook page and tweeting about the giveaway! Good luck everyone! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 25, 2013

A New Beginning!!!

As many of you know, over the past 3 months I have been going through an incredible transformation! So many people have asked what I am doing that I thought it would be easiest to share here. Let me back up a little bit first. In January 2006, my family and I decided to take charge of our health so we embarked on a weight loss program and joined a gym. It was such a wonderful time, feeling that we were finally on the right path, eating in a way we then believed to be healthy, exercising and losing weight as a family. For 6 months we were just enjoying life and then we got sick. Very sick. I was the first to be rushed to the hospital where I was told I'd had a stroke. I was 42 years old. Things just got worse from there. I went through years of "mystery illness", seeing one doctor after another with each one giving me a new diagnosis from MS to Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Parkinsons, Chronic Lyme Disease and just handing me a bunch of pills with the explanation that "these things just happen". As I continued to get sicker, my neurologist referred me to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the dead of winter! I could barely walk anymore and it was a very scary, sad time as I gradually lost hope of ever being healthy again. As the years passed I tried many different treatments including mainstream medicine, herbs and supplements and I would sometimes find something that would help a few symptoms. I was thrilled to have some sort of life back but I never experienced true healing nor did I feel I ever would.

July of this year I attended a crochet conference where my roommate and wonderful friend Kimberly was doing a nutritional cleanse. I didn't even ask her a thing about the program, I just wanted what she had! She was full of energy, she felt amazing and she looked incredible. She was healthy and I wanted that too!

I began nutritional cleansing on July 26, 2013. By the end of the third day my symptoms were gone. Every last one of them....gone! I knew from my years of research that this program just made sense! Put the good in, take the bad out! When I had lost the weight in 2006 I didn't know that toxins were stored in fat cells. As I lost weight, I went into toxic overload! This picture reminds me of the insurance commercial that is on television all the time - "It's not complicated".

So tomorrow will be 3 months since I reclaimed my life. I can't even begin to put into words what that feels like! I wake up each morning excited to start the day and I leap out of bed. For years I kept my walker at my bedside in case I couldn't get up without some help. Those days are gone! I even did a cartwheel about a week or so after I started. It has been absolutely incredible and I know I have the key to remain healthy. I am so grateful and I feel so incredibly blessed! Obviously, I have been telling everyone I know about this! Why wouldn't I? It brings me so much joy to pass this on and watch my friends experience the same healing as me! My husband began the program about 2 1/2 months ago. He has been through so much medically and it is absolutely fantastic to watch him heal and be able to do things he couldn't previously do! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more! Nothing makes me happier than to share this with everyone I can! You can message me on Facebook or send me an email THilde5939@aol.com. I would LOVE for you to feel this great too!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Elegant, Fashionable, Chic Accessories to Crochet

I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Karen McKenna's beautiful new book Elegant, Fashionable, Chic Accessories to Crochet . If you haven't had a chance to see this book yet, you're going to want to get a copy in your hands as soon as possible!

There are six accessory sets including hats, scarves, mittens and so much more! All of the designs are rated "easy" skill level so anybody can make them! They are all made using fingering, sport and worsted weight yarns.
If I had to pick a favorite - and I'm not, because I can't! I really do love them all but the Purple Mountain Hat and Mitts set is just too cute! Lots of color (I'm a huge fan of color in case you didn't already know that!) and loaded with fun!
And guess what? There is even a great set for that special man in your life! (The model is not too hard on the eyes either!)
How would you like to win an autographed copy of this fantastic book? All you have to do is head over to Karen's blog and leave her a comment about something you read in this post or any of the stops on the upcoming tour. Karen has the whole schedule listed on her page. It doesn't get any better than that! What are you waiting for?