Posted on Leave a comment

The Crochet Class Resource Page

What’s a “Crochet Class Resource” Page?

I’ve been creating one crochet class resource page per topic since 2012 when I started teaching three-hour classes at CGOA conferences. Teaching at a conference is not the same as teaching in a yarn shop (in so many ways! That’s a future blog post). 

Almost everyone has traveled to attend a national crochet conference like CGOA’s, so we all have on hand only what we thought to pack. Or had room to pack. In a yarn shop I could assemble a stack of the books and magazine issues I refer to, and leave designs on display in the shop for weeks.

Class Headquarters

My solution is to have one link to a web page with all the things I might refer to in class. I print this one link in the class handouts. Saves so much precious space! I’m happy to make the page accessible to crocheters who can’t attend the class because this is all extra, supplemental, overflow info. It might even help some people to decide to take my class when they’re registering for the conference. As a perpetual student myself, I always love it when footnotes, bibliographies, links, etc. (resources) are provided.

It just plain helps me psychologically–I love knowing that I can add anything to a resource page at any time as a way to communicate with students before and after the class.

It’s an outpost. A headquarters. A portal.

On my to-do list is five such crochet class resource pages. I’ve just finished updating the one for 21st Century Love Knot Adventures. I created it in 2012 and overhaul it every year that I teach it again! Didn’t expect it to take so long but it had lots of outdated links and a big gallery to edit. Figured in this blog post I’d be proudly glowing about having completed three of them.

Posted on 2 Comments

Star Stitch Crochet Class Resources

Four kinds of star stitches: corrugated cowl, striped scarf, quilt-like coverlet, sheer glittery lace capelet.

A Star Stitch For Every Purpose is the name of a sold out three-hour crochet class that I taught in July, 2014 at the 20th anniversary annual conference for the national crochet guild (CGOA). I researched over 200 sources from the 1840’s to the present. Class materials included a spiral-bound booklet of star stitches and a step by step how-to section.

Star Stitch: Visit These First

Star Stitch History

The earliest example of star stitches I’ve found so far is in an 1881 issue of a Norwegian magazine. It’s remarkable to me how seldom star stitches have appeared in crochet books since 1881.  

When star stitches do appear in a book or online, they can vary in ways both subtle and dramatic. It’s mainly because it’s a compound stitch. It multiplies the opportunities to vary each step along the way.

This is true not only when completing each star, but also when crocheting the next row into it, and what stitches are in that next row. For example, you can crochet stars into stars – with turning or without. You can alternate a row of stars with a row of, say, single crochet stitches. These simple choices change the look of the stitch, and the experience of crocheting them.

Key historical sources

  • 1881: Nordisk Mønster-Tidende.
  • 1886: Knitting and Crochet.
  • 1891: The Art of Crocheting, by Butterick.
  • 1891: Home Work, by A. M. (Toronto).
  • Late 1800’s: Weldons Practical Crochet, First Series (London).
  • 1910: Fleisher’s Book #8.

More Resources

  • I’ve been unable to locate a print copy of two Japanese “Star Crochet” books mentioned in class, but here is the ISBN for one of the volumes: 978-4-579-11323-1.
  • Star Stitch projects and design prototypes as I add them to Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/vashtirama .
  • For more star stitches as I create them, bookmark this Star Stitches photo album in Flickr.
Posted on Leave a comment

Tunisian Crochet Lace Class Resources

This clickable list of Tunisian crochet lace resources is mainly to aid students of my classes in exploring more about Tunisian lace crochet at their leisure.  The links below represent the extra information that doesn’t fit into a standard three-hour class. Some are the names of designers, books, other types of crochet lace, etc., that I may have mentioned in a class.

Click: My published Tunisian Crochet downloadable patterns

— Vashti Braha

Tunisian Lace Crochet Class Resources

Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Blogged:

Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter Topics:

Some of my not-yet published Tunisian Crochet projects

Story of the Tunisian Wicker Stitch (an eyelet mesh) featured in the Weightless Wrap:

Some Valuable Books

  • 1997: Basics of Tunisian Crochet for Beginners, N. Seto, Japan. ISBN 978-4-529-029285
  • 2000 (1991), Rebecca Jones: Tricot Crochet The Complete Book, Lacis Pubs., Berkeley CA. ISBN 978-1-891656-28-6
  • 2004, Angela “ARNie” Grabowski: Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet, LoneStar Abilene Pubg LLC, TX. ISBN 978-0-974972-55-8
  • 2004, Carolyn Christmas and Dorris Brooks: 101 Easy Tunisian StitchesTM, Annies Attic, IN. ISBN 978-1-931171-74-8
  • 2008: Tunisian Crochet Patterns 100, Nihon Amimono Bunka Kyo-kai, Japan ISBN 978-4-529-04484-4
  • 2009, Kim Guzman: Learn to Do Tunisian Lace Stitches, Annie’s Attic, IN. ISBN 978-1-59635-264-3
  • 2009, Sharon Hernes Silverman: Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA. ISBN 978-0-811704-84-7
  • 2014, Kim Guzman: Tunisian Crochet Stitch Guide.
  • Duplet magazine issue #61.
Posted on Leave a comment

How to Produce Crochet Newsletters: Class Resources

Interested in emailing your own newsletters, and building your own readership? Then sign up to attend my presentation during Professional Development Day at the Crochet Guild of America’s (CGOA) Chain Link Conference this October 2, 2013 in Concord (Charlotte), North Carolina. Please note: this conference is held jointly with the Knitting Guild conference (TKGA). Together the event tends to be known to the larger public as The Knit and Crochet Show.

Below is a list of additional information for those who attend my presentation. If you can’t attend, I hope you’ll also find something of use here. The list below is divided into seven sections:

  1. Some Notable Crochet Newsletters
  2. Starting Off Right
  3. Promote Your Newsletter
  4. Take Your Newsletter to the Next Level
  5. ESP Providers (and the companies that use them)
  6. More Crochet-Relevant Newsletters
  7. Email Newsletter…or Sales Flyer?

Producing Crochet Newsletters: Resources

I. Some Notable Crochet Newsletters 

To help you bring your own newsletter into focus, subscribe to some of these below. Pay attention to the design of its subscribe form, any triggered welcome emails, special offers, etc. Watch when an issue arrives in your inbox (day, time of day, frequency). See which topics, formatting, or images get your attention. If you unsubscribe, note any “sorry to see you go” emails.

  1. Focus on content (article style): Annette Petavy, Annette Petavy Design: http://www.annettepetavy.com/pages/en/newsletter/2012/09.html
  2. Digest Type (A roundup of blog posts and other links in interesting categories): Ellen Gormley, GoCrochet archives: http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/home/?u=5133fbb5647a595b35f277792&id=d523b15acd
  3. Newly revised to complement a daily blog: Stacey Trock, Fresh Stitches http://www.freshstitches.com/free-amigurumi-crochet-tips-ebook-newsletter/
  4. 19,623 readers, several writers: Rachel Choi’s Crochet Spot: http://www.crochetspot.com
  5. Trendy style: Linda Skuja’s Eleven Handmadehttp://www.lindaskuja.com/p/newsletter.html
  6. Jocelyn Sass, Cute Crochethttp://www.cutecrochet.com/orderinformation/mailinglist.html
  7. Deb Richey, CraftyDebhttp://www.craftydeb.com/newsletter
  8. Uses PHPList service: June Gilbank’s PlanetJunehttp://www.planetjune.com/list/
  9. My own DesigningVashti newsletter, since 2010: Vashti’s Crochet Inspirations Newsletter: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=8d9b0b0df0b73f0fdcb7f4729&id=9c8df8dd87 (An example of the handy archives and click-to-subscribe page that is available from MailChimp, the email service I use.)
  10. Three long-running crochet newsletters:

 

II. Starting Off Right: helpful online articles

  1. Common terms associated with email newsletters: http://www.mailermailer.com/resources/email-dictionary.rwp
  2. Name Your Newsletter: http://writtent.com/blog/6-tips-on-creating-compelling-newsletter-titles/
  3. Importance of Subject Lines: http://www.mequoda.com/articles/email-marketing/3-email-subject-line-formulas-proven-to-increase-open-rates/
  4. Create an Email Newsletter Calendar: http://www.mequoda.com/articles/email-marketing/create-a-calendar-for-better-email-marketing-management/
  5. About the Can-Spam Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN-SPAM

 

III. Promote Your Newsletter

You can’t promote it enough.

  1. Example of a Newsletter Pinboard: Vashti Braha, DesigningVashti: http://pinterest.com/vashtibraha/vashti-s-crochet-newsletters/
  2. Example of a dedicated blog page tab (Blogger): http://designingvashti.blogspot.com/p/crochet-inspirations-newsletter.html
  3. Example of a dedicated information page for a Ravelry Group: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/vashtis-crochet-lounge/pages/Crochet-Inspirations-Newsletter-FAQ
  4. Example of a dedicated Facebook Page for your newsletter: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DesigningVashti-Crochet-Inspirations/156608107685576
  5. Inspiring example: A yarn company’s promotional design elements: Lion Brand produces 3 weekly and monthly newsletters, such as The Weekly Stitch. See the information-rich newsletter page here: http://www.lionbrand.com/cgi-bin/newsletters.cgi (archives too). Note how each newsletter issue is formatted. The top right corner has a table of contents, while tabs across the left just under header link to key website pages (OUR YARNS –  PATTERNS – SHOP). Also see the footer of each newsletter.

 

IV. Take Your Newsletter to the Next Level

  1. Berroco may have been the first to regularly embeds videos in their long-running KnitBits issues: http://www.berroco.com/knitbits-newsletter
  2. Knit designer Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer displays her longtime newsletter experience in the fine-tuned elements of her Heartstrings newsletter: http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com/newsletterarchive.shtm
  3. Online articles about newsletter refinements:
  4. Some examples of newsletter segmentation:

V. ESP Providers and Companies Who Use Them (incomplete list, alphabetical)

Be sure to subscribe to the newsletters of ESP providers that interest you; or explore their online resources. I especially like AWeber’s, MailChimp’s, and Mailermailer’s resources.

  1. Aweber (Rachel Choi/Crochet Spot, Jackie E-S/Heartstrings): http://www.aweber.com
  2. Constant Contact (Maggie’s Crochet, Berroco, Classic Elite Yarns, Cotton Clouds, Crystal Palace Yarns, elann.com, Katherine Lee/Sweaterbabe, Linda Cortright/Wild Fibers):  http://www.constantcontact.com/home/signup.jsp?s_tnt=48655:19:0
  3. Get Response: http://www.getresponse.com
  4. iContact (Jen Hansen/Stitch Diva Studios, Tanis Galik/Interlocking Crochet): http://www.icontact.com
  5. MailChimp (Vashti Braha/DesigningVashti, Dora Ohrenstein/Crochet Insider, Ellen Gormley/GoCrochet, Stacey Trock/Fresh Stitches, Loop/Loop Scoop, Linda Skuja/ElevenHandmade, Leisure Arts, Martingale, Tamara Kelly/moogly, Mikey/The Crochet Crowd, Lianka Azulay/BonitaPatterns, Nancy Queen/Noble Knits, Brenda Lavell/Phydeaux): http://mailchimp.com
  6. Mailermailer (Cathe Ray/Needlestack): http://www.mailermailer.com/index.rwp
  7. PHPList (June Gilbank/PlanetJune, Josi Madera/Art of Crochet): http://www.phplist.com

 

VI. More Crochet-Relevant Newsletters:

  1. Tamara Kelly, Moogly: Weekly via MailChimp; takes advertising (Craftsy, Zulily, Annie’s), and the rest of newsletter is blog post snippets. Includes polls. Archive: http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/home/?u=9929d1e9575d4f0e2936a8743&id=0b2d00989e
  2. Tanis Galik/Interlocking Crochet: http://www.interlockingcrochet.com/index.php?option=com_users&view=registration
  3. Amie Hirtes/NexStitch: http://www.nexstitch.com/newsletter.html
  4. Dora Ohrenstein, Crochet Insider archives: http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/home/?u=c96b913e7af278f634924518a&id=f4d2cd72ee
  5. Lisa van Klaveren, Holland Designshttp://etsy.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=9dd325c3d57ba71c22622eece&id=8c9695b735
  6. Annie Modesitt, Modeknithttp://app.expressemailmarketing.com/Survey.aspx?SFID=161138 Previous newsletters since 2006: http://anniemodesitt.com/news/
  7. New Stitch a Day: http://newstitchaday.com/blog/
  8. Linda Cortright’s Wild Fibers: http://visitor.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=001nFupVrVrNd7iTi7p6_MGYQ==
  9. My favorite example of a blog-to-newsletter email: Martingale’s crochet & knit Fridays, 3 or 4 staff writers: http://blog.shopmartingale.com/crochet-knitting/crochet-and-knitting-museum-becoming-a-reality/ Some interesting topics. I actually prefer the look & feel of the emailed version. It inspires me to use the blog-to-newsletter features of MailChimp!
  10. Red Heart Yarns, blog (scroll to very bottom for newsletter subscribe box): http://www.redheart.com/blog
  11. Some newsletters produced by local yarn shops:
  12. A Good Yarn Sarasota (rapidly growing readership): http://www.agoodyarnsarasota.com
  13. Loops Scoop archives: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=f97d5ff1f8ea5c331757403a9&id=50768198b4
  14. String: http://www.stringyarns.com/subscribe.php
  15. Natural Stitches Newsletter: Archives: http://www.naturalstitches.com/Newsletter.html
  16. Jimmy Beans Wool: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/newslettersHome.asp

VII. Email Newsletter or…Sales Flyer?

“Newsletter” implies enough usable content to avoid the “sales promotion” category. A bulk email is often a mix of the two. Even if an email has a newsletter-like format, at least 60% of it needs to be real non-sales usable content for an email to count as a “newsletter.” 

If you can imagine the information in a bulk email as a magazine article, column, or part of a book chapter, it counts as real content!

  1. An example of a sales flyer (rather than a “newsletter”): Knitpicks http://www.knitpicks.com/images/promo/email/bem/BE130722.html?media=BE130722&elink=0–HTM
  2. Jen Hansen, Stitch Diva Studios: http://www.stitchdiva.com/newsletters/
  3. Lianka Azulay, Bonita Patternshttp://etsy.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=eda7d3f5fe05c649e086e1f0c&id=973aaa93b7
  4. Kristin Omdahl, StyledbyKristin archivehttp://us2.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=dc23e5addd7fc32bc5e710d55&id=d93c5b50da
  5. A sales flyer I enjoy. Why? The design photos inspire me in ten seconds before I delete the email — even though none of them are crochet!: Nancy Queen’s NobleKnits sample issue: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=74c9a5fe681619d5a82b98f3c&id=fb504eff2b&e=7507824e09

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Crochet Jewelry Class Resources

Most recently taught by Vashti Braha on September 13, 2012 at CGOA’s Chain Link Conference in Reno, Nevada

This clickable list of crochet jewelry resources is mainly to aid students of my classes in exploring more about jewelry crocheting at their leisure. (If you have not yet taken any of my crochet jewelry classes, I hope someday I’ll meet you in one of them!) You’re welcome to enjoy the links below whether you’ve taken the classes or not. They represent the extra information that doesn’t fit into a standard three-hour class. Some are the names of designers, books, jewelery styles, etc., that I may have mentioned in a class.

— Vashti Braha

  1. Page of my published Jewelry Crochet downloadable patterns
  2. Some of my not-yet published Jewelry Crochet projects

Crochet Inspirations Newsletter Topics:

Blogged:

Books, Four Recent Observations About:

  1. Here’s something I’ve noticed: Jewelry crocheters tend to have very strong opinions about which threads and other types of filaments are best. Some jewelry authors’ recommendations contradict others; some conflict with my actual experience of crocheting or wearing these materials. I also came to realize that I had my own fierce preferences (based upon what I know so far about how cotton crochet thread is made)! Crocheters know that we can crochet with just about anything. This is especially true for jewelry! Bead shops and craft stores offer beading threads, “memory wires,” leather lacing, braided waxed linen, etc., which offer us completely new crochet experiences. I haven’t tested every material favored by every author, and it’s looking like each crocheter needs to do her/his own open-minded experimenting and testing.
  2. How I make sense of Observation #1: When an author (and/or publisher) seems to come from the world of non-crochet beading and jewelry making, s/he tends to have a comfort zone and preference for synthetic beading threads for crochet. I also see an easy familiarity with traditional metal jewelry findings and related tools, and with using large amounts of tiny seed beads, or bead mixes, to the point of covering up the crochet stitches completely. If a natural fiber thread is recommended, I more often see a preference for perle cotton. On the other hand, authors who come to jewelry design from the world of crochet tend to: be conversant with the virtues of high-twist mercerized cotton threads; explore yarns of various fiber mixes; may use only a few beads as accents or no beads at all; feature crochet stitch textures and contrasting colors of thread work (which may stand in for beaded looks); and to crochet jewelry fastenings in place of traditional metal findings.
  3. Due to #1, I’m finding that having a library full of crochet jewelry books is paying off in a powerful way when I treat them as one individual jeweler’s “workbench notes.” Here’s an example of how I use them for reference: if I wish to try a new fine silk sewing thread, I look through the books to see if someone already has. If so, I look to see what crochet hook size the designer used as a starting point, and I go up or down hook sizes from there, depending on what I think about the stitch texture pictured. If it’s beaded, I check what size beads fit onto the thread. In this way, those jewelry books which are eclectic compilations of several designer’s patterns are goldmines of pointers toward how an unfamiliar (to me) material worked out for someone else.
  4. Observation #3 is why I now keep a better “jewelry workbench journal” as I travel this jewelry crochet journey, and I hope that you will, too. Each of us needs to discover what kind of hook size we prefer with a new unusual material, what beading needle made the stringing easiest with which bead & thread combo, etc. — and then record it so that future designs come together faster and easier. 🙂

See my crochet jewelry book list at the original DesigningVashti crochet blog for clickable titles and descriptions.

Crochet Jewelry Design Styles:

I’ve noticed that of the fullest range of crochet jewelry designs imaginable, some styles are far more explored than others. For example, bead crochet ropes (sometimes called “tubular crochet”), are so popular and recognizable that this style sometimes seems to represent the whole field of crochet jewelry. Several good books are available on this one type. I’ve discussed most of the crochet jewelry books in print in another blog post (see Books, above).

In the interest of promoting the broadest, most inclusive definition of what crochet jewelry is and can be, I’ve begun curating online images in galleries in Pinterest and in Flickr.

———————-

You might also be interested in the resource pages I’m creating for my other class topics: