January was a glorious month of storms, fog, and frost. These days we still cozy up in socks and sweaters at night, but by mid-afternoon the windows are open for gentle breezes and warm sunshine. Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted another six weeks of winter, but here in Southern California we’re well into spring and halfway through autumn. (Half the trees in town are still dropping bright orange and yellow leaves, while the other half are covered in poofy white blossoms. No one knows what’s going on, and that’s totally normal.)
Into the New Year we’ve been busy with deadlines, designing, sketching, stitching, planning – all the things that go into new patterns. And we’ve even had a blissful spell of introversion – few social obligations, lots of quiet time to work, read, stitch, crochet, tinker, potter, and just regenerate our creative energies. After the bustle and madness of the Holidays, it’s a blessing to be able to sort one’s self out this way. (A quiet January with a cup of tea is the true holiday…)
I’ve been stitching one of our latest designs, Somebunny Loves You, and having a really lovely time. This happy bunny always brings a smile to my face. I’ve got plans to stitch up his cheery Happy-Go-Duckie friend, as well.
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On the crochet front, I’ve been having a wonderful time hooking hexagons. I’ve always been enamored of crochet hexagons, and this sweet granny hex pattern is my favorite. It’s quick and simple and fun. It’s delightful in multi-color, but I’m really loving solids right now, and wondering about pretty ways to bring them together.
I fiddled about with joining techniques; Whipstitch has been a favorite of mine in the past, but I wanted to give the single crochet join a go. Turns out, I’m not fond of it. It’s pretty, and the ridge creates a lovely texture to the fabric, but sadly, the process just wasn’t fun for me. It’s a bit tedious, actually. (And not in that fun challenge sort of way.)
Enter, join-as-you-go. (Why had I not tried JAYG yet?!) It took a few tries before my fingers got the hang of it (because it’s always about establishing muscle memory, isn’t it?) Once things got going, it was love. JAYG is fast, fun, utterly darling, and efficient. After hooking up 200 squares/hexies/whatever, you’re not suddenly left with the monumental task of piecing them all together, (although some of you may actually enjoy that – you lucky ducks!) Bringing everything together as you go is just my thing. A quick internet search of ‘join as you go crochet’ will open up a world of tips and techniques, if you’re so inclined.
Below is one of my latest projects: An afghan inspired by and named for Coney Island. I wanted all the bright and vivid colors of a seaside carnival, mingling with pale and salty sea air. It’s growing rather quickly, though my crochet time is split between it and another afghan project. (More on both later.)
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We’re delighted our first set of designs for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine came out recently. The designer’s life is rather funny – working on seasonal projects six months in advance is a curiosity at first, but thoroughly enjoyable once you embrace it. You’re always so far ahead of the season, you never feel rushed or hurried. And best of all, you’re always early.
It’s back to work for me. (Or maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee and some stitchery first. Yes, I think so.) We hope the days are treating you kindly. Otherwise, do remember to treat yourself kindly. Do a bit of what you love, whenever you can. It works wonders.