The Gauge Circle with Suzann Thompson

July 06, 2012, 10:09 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Today Suzann shares her technique for checking stitch tension for crocheted flowers.plus its many other benefits!

Finally—A Gauge You Can Live With!

Knowing your stitch tension is important, but it seems silly to crochet a traditional 4 x 4-inch gauge swatch, to check stitch tension for a crocheted flower.  By the time you’re done with the swatch, you could have finished two or three flowers.

This thought nagged me as I began work on Crochet Garden.  The suggested tension for all the projects in the book is a “firm gauge,” no matter what yarn you use.  On the other hand, I realized that readers might appreciate knowing how their stitch tension compared with that of the sample flowers.

The flowers and motifs of Crochet Garden didn’t need to be an exact size, unlike a garment.  For a sweater or an afghan, one-half stitch per inch difference between your gauge and the published gauge can translate to several inches difference in the finished piece.

Continue reading...

We’re so, so (SO!) excited to announce the release of Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters! If you’ve been inspired by this amazing e-magazine (and we have!), you’ll love the book. And some of our favorite bloggers have agreed to help us celebrate with a blog tour! Follow along for reviews and interviews with the Fat Quarterly team, as well as book giveaways and free block patterns sprinkled in along the way – but you’ll have to tag along to find them!

5/18 Kickoff at FatQuarterly.com and LarkCrafts.com – you’ve arrived!!
5/21 Lily Quilts
5/24 Handmade by Alissa
5/29 In Color Order
5/31 Comfort Stitching
6/4 Generation Q
6/7 Sew Mama Sew
6/12 Pat Sloan
6/14 WhipUp
6/18 Sarah Fielke’s The Last Piece
6/22 Fat Quarter Shop
6/26 Diary of a Quilter
6/28 Amy’s Creative Side
7/3 A La Mode Fabric
7/6 It’s Sew Kiki!
7/10 Craft Buds!
7/12 Craft Foxes
7/16 {sew} Allegorical
7/18 Wrap-up Party at Fat Quarterly.com!

Have you had a chance to peruse the book yet? Take a sneak peek here: Shape Workshop for Quilters sneak peek!


We spoke with Dora Ohrenstein about her recently released Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit to learn more about her approach to the book and her design process. And do be sure to check out the upcoming podcasts (listed below) for even more Dora!

When I had the opportunity to do another book with Lark, I decided to do one that I knew crocheters really needed: a book about sweater construction and fit. There was nothing available specifically for crochet on this topic. Over the last several decades, crochet had been promoted primarily as a craft for home dec, and many aspects of garment-making had fallen out of use. Even people with top-notch stitching skills are often out of their element when it comes to necklines, armholes, and the like.

When I took up crochet a few years ago, I only made garments, as fashion is my passion. But I too had to rely on knitting books to get the information I needed about sweaters, and some of it had to be “reinterpreted” to work for crochet.  So this book reflects everything I’ve learned about how to make gorgeous-looking, well-fitting sweaters using your hook.

The book has ten sweater patterns, using a variety of constructions, including Dropped Shoulder, Raglan (in pieces), Top Down one piece, Circular, and Set-in Sleeves.  The sweaters are meant to be wearable in everyday life, and most go great either with jeans or a skirt.  I’ve been thrilled with the response to these sweaters: people are saying they are stylish and very “New York.” I have to say I love them all and have been wearing them myself!
To those who yearn to make sweaters but are fearful, I urge you to take the plunge. The information you need is in this book, though it may take a while to absorb all the lessons here. It’s definitely a one-step-at-a time endeavor. The book covers how to measure yourself, how to read schematics, breaking down patterns into manageable sections, blocking and finishing, choice of yarn and hook, gauge and math, and how to apply the latter to alterations. There are alteration lessons for each sweater and detailed explanations of each sweater construction.

I know many women face the issue of not being a “standard” size. For example, your bust size may fall into the large or 1X range of measurements, but the rest of you – shoulder width, arm length, etc. – is a small or medium. If you pick a sweater size based on your bust size, the likelihood of having it fit is slim. It will need alteration. The good news is, once you understand this alteration, it will be very similar from one sweater to the next.  You can become a master of fit for your body, and be assured that any garment you undertake will be made to your dimensions, not a mythical standard-sized person who doesn’t really exist.
For those who want to delve more deeply into the topic, I also offer classes via my website, Crochet Insider.  You can find more info about the classes here . Feel free to write to me at doraoh (at) earthlink (dot) net if you have further questions or thoughts to share!

Tune in for more Dora on these podcasts!

Planet Purl – Tuesday, March 20th at 8pm EST – Sign up early!

The Yarn Thing – Tuesday, March 27 at 12pm EST Click to listen!


Cathy Gaubert on Quilt Market 2011

October 27, 2011, 18:07 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio


Cathy and her little helpers!

Getting packed and ready for Quilt Market? Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts author Cathy Gaubert is, too! We caught up with her just before she hit the road for Houston… and if you’re headed to Market, you should too! And be sure to check out the details for the Doll Quilt Contest over on Sew, Mama, Sew!

What Festival is this for you?
This is only my second Festival (and my first time at Market!). The first one i went to was right at 20 years ago (in a big van, filled with ladies and piled high with projects and loot from Festival)!

Continue reading...

Martha Sielman on Quilt Festival 2011

October 25, 2011, 11:57 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Getting revved up for Quilt Market/Festival 2011? We are too! We took some time to chat with Martha Sielman about her upcoming travels to the show.

What Festival is this for you? I think that it’s my 6th Festival.

Where will you be and when?
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 8:00 AM:
I am giving a lecture on “40 Masters of Art Quilting.”  NOTE: This is class #551. It will be held in one of the lecture rooms upstairs and it has an $8 fee. You can pay at the door or sign-up ahead of time through Quilts, Inc.
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 10:30 AM: I am giving a FREE gallery walk through “Masters 2″ – several of the artists will be there to talk about their work.  I am expecting: Alice Beasley, Carolyn Crump, Jane Dunnewold, Mi Sik Kim, Linda MacDonald, Paula Nadelstern, Reiko Naganuma, Nelda Warkentin, and Laura Wasilowski.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 10:30 AM: I am giving another FREE gallery walk through “Masters 2″ – again several of the artists will be there to talk about their work.
And you can usually find me at the SAQA booth in the Special Exhibits area, in front of the “Masters 2″ exhibit.  I’d be happy to autograph books and answer questions about the book and the artwork.

Continue reading...

Inspired by the work featured in Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2? We are too! We asked juror Martha Sielman a few questions about her approach to and vision for this stunning collection.


On Holiday, Leslie Gabrielse

Urubamba, Jan Meyers-Newbury

Was your approach to Volume 2 different than that for Volume 1? How so?
The approach was similar for both volumes.  I searched for artists whose work was visually compelling, work that had something new to say each time I looked at it.  I tried to balance where the artists were from, so while half live all across the United States, the other half are from countries around the
world: Australia, Korea, Japan, U.K., France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Italy, Israel, Canada, and South Africa.  I also wanted to have a mix of styles and palettes, so that there would be work that would appeal to every taste.  Finally, I tried to have a mix between artists who have been producing fiber art for more than 30 years with artists who have recently found this wonderful art quilt medium.  While many of the artists show their work frequently in art quilt circles, others may not be as familiar to readers.  If every reader discovers at least one artist in the book with whose work they were previously unfamiliar, then I’m satisfied that I’ve found a good mix of artists.

Continue reading...

Sewn by Hand blog tour & giveaway!

April 04, 2011, 13:30 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Enjoy the simple pleasures of making something by hand? Love the sound of a needle and thread passing through fabric? Want to try sewing unplugged? If you answered yes, yes, and yes, then you’ll love Sewn by Hand, the newest book from Susan Wasinger (author of The Feisty Stitcher, Eco-Craft, and Fabricate).

Susan’s collection of hand sewing techniques and two dozen projects – like everything she does – are clever, beautifully presented, and supremely inspirational. In her book, Susan delves into the soulful side of stitching unplugged… and then, of course, there’s the sheer portability factor (just in time for summer vacation!). To celebrate the release of this book, we’re holding a little blog tour during the month of April with these fabulous stops (and hosts!). You’ll have plenty of chances to win prizes along the tour.

Blog Tour Schedule
4/4 Blog tour kickoff at LarkCrafts.com: you’ve arrived!

4/6 Sew Daily blog
4/8 Click here for a free travel thread caddy project from the book!
4/11 Pink of Perfection
4/13 Artsy-Crafty Babe
4/15 MayaMade
4/19 WhipUp
4/20 CRESCENDOh Blog
4/22 MummySam
4/25 Feeling Stitchy
4/27 Zakka Life
4/29 BurdaStyle blog

Continue reading...

Connect with… Vickie Howell

September 15, 2010, 17:38 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Next up in our creative connect-a-thon is knitter and crafty lady extraordinaire Vickie Howell. Look for Vickie at Creative Connection… read below to find out some of the stops she’ll be making. Or just look for the highly fashionable gal in platforms and pjs!

Name: Vickie Howell
Blog/site: www.vickiehowell.com
Book: Craft Corps: Celebrating the Creative Community, One Story at a Time
Traveling from: Austin, TX

What are you most excited about the event?
I think I’m most looking forward to just being surrounded by the creative spirit. I know that sounds cheesy, but few things are as inspiring as time spent with a group of crafty people!

What is the best part of being able to connect with other entrepreneurial women?
Being an entrepreneur in any business requires at least a little bit of creativity, but when the business itself is creative, the possibilities are endless. I’ve found that being around other women on similar paths–brain-storming, sharing stories and swapping tips–is an invaluable tool for drawing out those possibilities and turning them into something exciting.

What classes and panels are you attending or giving?
The first event I’m attending is the Welcome Dinner where Amy Butler will be speaking. I interviewed her for my book Craft Corps and found her absolutely delightful, so I can’t wait to meet her in person! I’ll also be signing copies of the aforementioned book at the pre-dinner party. Oh but wait, there’s more! I’m honored to be speaking on the panel (alongside my buds, Cathie Filian &  Kathy Cano-Murillo) at the Women Entrepreneur lunch. Later that evening, I’m swinging by the Where Women Create event; then topping off the evening at Tiffany Windsor’s Pajama Party.  Somewhere in there I think I have another Craft Corps signing, then the rest of the time I plan to save for shopping at the Handmade Market!

What color are your pajamas (for the pajama party)?
White with retro-inspired owls. Oh man, as I type this I realize I should have bought slippers, too. Oh well, guess I’ll be sporting pjs with platforms!


Q&A: Imagine Hope with Hollis Chatelain

August 18, 2010, 17:48 pm  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Speaking of hope (as we have been all month), this week we chatted with Hollis Chatelain, internationally-renowned art quilter and co-founder of Imagine Hope, a dynamic nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering awareness through art.

Tell us a little about the Imagine Hope exhibition and organization.
The foundation Imagine Hope Worldwide was created in January—and it is a 501(c)3 as of last week!—but the idea of the Imagine Hope exhibition came about back in 2003. For years Reynald (my husband and business partner) and I had wanted to donate a percentage of the sales of my artwork to projects in Africa, but when I started having the monochromatic dreams that ended up being statement pieces, I started thinking about creating an exhibition to promote social awareness.

Continue reading...