Crochet Book Giveaway

To recognize National Crochet Month, I’m giving away two copies of my best-selling crochet border book, Every Which Way Crochet Borders! It’s filled with step-by-step written instructions and crochet charts, and features 139 borders. Plus, just like my previous border book Around the Corner Crochet Borders, all of the borders in this book turn a 90-degree angle, so there’s no fussing when you’re trying to complete an edging.

This post contains affiliate links.

Every Which Way Crochet Borders

How to Enter

To enter for a chance to win, just comment on any March 2020 blog post! More details:

  • Comment on any March 2020 blog post
  • One comment per blog post, but you can comment on every post throughout the month
  • Each new on-topic comment counts as one entry
  • Only US residents eligible
  • Comments accepted as entries from now through March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern
  • Two winners will be chosen at random on April 1, 2020
  • Winners will be contacted via the email they used to leave a comment
  • If winner does not respond within seven (7) days of being contacted, a new winner will be chosen
  • Books will be sent via US Media Mail

Good luck!

My First Scarf: A Story and Free Knitting Pattern

The beginning of the first scarf I knit

This is the story of my first knitting project. It’s a story that spans 50 years. It’s about yarn and memories and connections that come full circle. And it includes a free beginner pattern.
This striped garter-stitch scarf is a good beginner project for novices who have the patience to knit a whole scarf. Don’t want to knit so much? Make it a coaster or cowl instead.

This post contains affiliate links.

In the Beginning

When I was about six, one of my favorite books was A Gift from the Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. In the story, The Lonely Doll —whose name is Edith—knits a scarf for her dad, Mr. Bear.  She knits diligently at every possible opportunity and (spoiler alert) the scarf ends up too long. It’s worth reading the book for all the adorable details.

A Gift from the Lonely Doll cover image

Like my doll heroine, I wanted to knit a striped scarf for my father’s Christmas present. The scarf must be red and black, the team colors of his beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs.

My First Knitting Project

My maternal grandmother lived with us and was happy to teach me to knit. We started with a skein of black Germantown worsted wool, some leftover bits of red Germantown, and a pair of straight needles. She showed me how to cast on—the German twisted cast on, no less!—and how to do the knit stitch.

I knit and knit. The stitch count changed from row to row, but that didn’t matter to me.

The subtle shaping was due to inadvertently added stitches. Surely a design element, right?

I knit and knit and knit. I learned to change colors, although not always on the correct side.

I clearly didn’t have an idea of “right side” and “wrong side”.

I knit and knit and knit. The scarf grew slowly. Yarnover holes and incomplete stitches magically disappeared overnight. It’s the only time in my life that the Knitting Fairy has corrected my knitting.

 I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit. Now it was starting to look like a scarf. I tried it on frequently to see if it was long enough.

Is it long enough yet?

I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit . Nana kept urging me to knit a few more rows, but I was on deadline and anxious to finish on time. (Sound familiar?)

Just in time for Christmas, the scarf was long enough. Because the edges were so wobbly, Nana single crocheted around the whole thing to tidy it up. We wrapped it up in anticipation of the big reveal the next day.

On Christmas morning, Daddy opened the package. He made all the appropriate noises about how beautiful the scarf was, and how hard I must have worked to make such a special gift. Apparently it was the best gift ever!

I never saw him wear it, and I eventually forgot about it.

About 25 Years Later

Visiting my parents’ house, I caught a glance of red and black rolled up in the back of a drawer. It was my first scarf! Daddy had saved it all those years!

But that photo doesn’t really do it justice. Let me help you understand the scale of this scarf.

It is 4″ wide x 22.5″ long. Despite all my efforts, and even trying it on my skinny six-year-old neck, it was way too small to be worn by an adult male! Furthermore, we lived in Georgia where scarves aren’t even needed. The scarf came home with me, to remind me how much my technique had improved.

About 25 Years Later

As I wandered the aisles of a trade show, my eye caught a familiar sight: Germantown yarn from Kelbourne Woolens.  I’m pretty sure I squeed out loud. I may have jumped up and down a little bit.

Germantown Yarn colorful skeins

About Germantown Yarn

For that first scarf, and for many projects after that, Brunswick Germantown Worsted was my go-to yarn. 

Knitters who have been around for a long while will remember this ubiquitous yarn. There weren’t nearly as many yarns available as there are now, but Germantown was a classic worsted weight standby that came in many colors.

Germantown Yarn in black and red

Read Germantown: Redesigning a History for the story of how Kelbourne Woolens revived the brand, then read A Brief History of Germantown Yarns for a fascinating look at this American yarn. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you do that.

When Kelbourne Woolens owner Courtney Kelly heard the story of my first scarf and what Germantown meant to me, she immediately suggested that I make another scarf, and provided the yarn for me to knit it.

My First Scarf Knitting Pattern

So here, fifty years after the original scarf, is the pattern for My First Scarf. This version is meant to be easy enough for new knitters to knit, and long enough and warm enough to actually be worn by an adult.  

Presented in Georgia Bulldog red and black, of course. Note that black is not the best choice for beginners; feel free to use different, lighter colors for easier visibility.

My First Scarf

The free pattern is below; you also can purchase a printer-friendly pdf.

Buy the Printed Pattern Button

Want to knit it in Germantown yarn? You’ll get 10% off the price if you use code EDIEECKMAN at checkout here.

Materials

Craft Yarn Council Icon for 4 Medium Weight Yarn

Kelbourne Woolens Germantown (100% North American wool, 220 yds/201 m, 100 g), 1 skein each #005 Black (A) and #625 Scarlet (B), or colors of your choice.

US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles or size to obtain correct gauge

Stitch marker or safety pin

Finished Dimensions

3.75″ (9.5 cm) wide x 61″ (155 cm) long

Gauge

20 sts and 39 rows = 4” (10 cm) in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this pattern, but for best results match the gauge of the pattern. Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch.

Pattern Note

Leave a 4-5″ [10-13 cm] tail of yarn each time you change yarns so that you’ll have enough yarn to securely weave in the tails. Each time you change yarn colors, the yarn tails should be on the rightmost edge of the scarf.

Instructions

With A, long tail cast on 19 sts.

Row 1 (Wrong Side): Knit.

Turn the work and place a marker on the right side to help you keep track of the right and wrong sides.

Rows 2-15: Knit.

At this point you have a total of 8 garter ridges and you have ended by knitting a wrong side row.

Cut A.

Rows 16-27: With B, knit. End by knitting a wrong side row. You have 6 garter ridges of B.

Continue working alternate stripes of 8 garter ridges (16 rows) in A and 6 garter ridges (12 rows) in B, until you have 20 stripes in color B. End by knitting a wrong side row.

Last stripe: With A, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows). End by knitting a wrong side row. Bind off on a right side row.

Weave in all ends. Block.

WeCrochet: A Brand Just for Crocheters

We Crochet Featured Image with Girl in Hat

Recently a new player has arrived in the crochet world. WeCrochet is a new multi-faceted brand that focuses entirely on crochet. I interviewed Heather Mann, Marketing Coordinator of WeCrochet, about what crocheters can expect to see.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Tell us a little about WeCrochet, and why you felt there was a need for a crochet-specific brand.

WeCrochet is the new brand dedicated to all things crochet. We have an online store, WeCrochet Magazine, WeCrochet Podcast, a blog, and a learning center with crochet how-tos and videos.

WeCrochet magazine

There are many websites, publications, and brands devoted to knitting, but almost none that focus exclusively on crochet, yet crochet is increasing in popularity according to Google search trends. We wanted to create a place for Crocheters, by Crocheters, with patterns and content that is tailored to what Crocheters want.

What does WeCrochet offer than is different from other sites that offer yarn and crochet patterns?

We carry our own yarn (co-branded with our sister site, Knit Picks), our own crochet hooks, and develop our own patterns, but that’s just the beginning.

The most important component of WeCrochet is the community we are building within the already vibrant online crochet community. We feature Crocheters on our blog and in our magazine, feature community crocheters’ photos on Instagram and Facebook, interact with people via our Ravelry and Facebook groups as well as all our social media channels. I think the passion our staff has for crochet (we are all Crocheters too) spills out into everything that we do, and you can feel the love we have for crochet and our crochet community.

The WeCrochet Team
Heather Mann (left) and the WeCrochet team

How did you become involved with WeCrochet?

Colorful crocheted throw from WeCrochet

I was a professional craft blogger (at DollarStoreCrafts.com) for 10 years, as well as running my own influencer marketing company, but I was ready for a change. I’m a super crafty person (I call myself an “omnicrafter”), and I’ve been crocheting for 15 years. When I found out Knit Picks was starting a crochet site AND that their headquarters are in my town, I couldn’t apply for the job fast enough.

I was the first person hired for the new crochet site and I participated in all aspects of defining the brand. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last year.

Your site is bright and appealing, and has resources for beginning crocheters. What do you offer more advanced crocheters in the way of content?

Crocheted Sweater from WeCrochet

We are dedicated to serving Crocheters of all levels. Right now what we are doing to serve more advanced Crocheters is providing intermediate and advanced crochet patterns. We have focused on developing beautiful sweater and garment patterns, as well as resources and patterns designed to help beginning Crocheters level up into more advanced Crocheters. We also talk about intermediate and advanced techniques in our magazine, podcast, and blog.

It’s National Crochet Month. What is WeCrochet doing to celebrate?

We’ll be celebrating with a segment on the WeCrochet podcast, donating staff projects to Warm Up America, and doing some fun giveaways on our social media accounts. We’re also starting a new Crochet Along for the Bobble Diamond Blanket, that will go from March-April.

What else do you want us to know?

If you are a crochet designer, keep your eye on our Ravelry group for our submission calls so you can submit patterns to our upcoming publications. And all Crocheters, please feel free to reach out to us anytime via social media.

Yay Crochet Kits from WeCrochet are deeply discounts kits that contain the WeCrochet magazine plus tools and yarns you can use to make some of the projects in the magazine.

The $15 Yay Crochet Kit is a $39 value
The $25 Yay Crochet Kit is a $100 value.

Here are some of the beautiful yarns available from WeCrochet’s website:

10 Ways to Celebrate National Crochet Month

March is National Crochet Month

It’s March, and that means it’s National Crochet Month. Of course, you can celebrate crochet all year, but here are some ideas for things you can do to recognize #NatCroMo.

This post contains affiliate links.

#1 Crochet in Public

Don’t hide! Let others see what you are doing!

Hands crocheting
Image by Lola Reyes from Pixabay

Crochet while you are waiting for appointments, waiting in line, waiting for your kids, or simply spending time outside. Why fiddle with your phone when you could be crocheting?

#2 Teach Someone to Crochet

Teach someone to crochet. Share your passion. If you can crochet, you can teach someone else.

Nervous about teaching? Don’t be! Check out the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program, a program that gives you the tools and knowledge you need to be an effective teacher.

Onsite Certified Instructors Program Craft Yarn Council

Note for 2020: In July I’ll be teaching the on-site Craft Yarn Council Certification Program in Crochet. It’s 2.5 days of intensive instruction, and you’ll get certified in both Levels 1 and 2. Look for more details on the blog later this week.

#3 Learn a New Technique

Learn a new technique. Stretch your wings!

Do you know foundation single crochet? Join-as-you-go? How to avoid gaps at the beginning of rows? How to block your projects?

You can never know everything there is to know about crochet, but take this month to learn more. The more you know, the better (and happier) crocheter you will be.

#4 Learn a New Stitch Pattern

Don’t get stuck in a rut. Let this be the month you try a new stitch pattern. There are thousands of ways you can combine basic crochet stitches to make fabulous fabrics.

Check out online sources for individual stitch patterns, or look at some of the following stitch dictionaries, which offer many stitch patterns in one place.

#5 Get Comfortable with Symbol Charts

Get comfortable with symbol charts. If you’ve shied away from crochet symbol diagrams, take some time now to understand them. Symbol diagrams are a visual representation of crochet stitches. They can be a huge help in understanding the sometimes confusing language in crochet patterns.

See It Crochet It Reading Diagrams with Charles Voth

To learn about creating crochet charts, read In Search of Crochet Charting Software and watch How to Read a Crochet Pattern, which includes reading a crochet diagram. My colleague Charles Voth has a Bluprint class called See It, Crochet It, which covers reading crochet charts in some detail. The very best way to learn about charts is to use them! All of my books, and most of my self-published patterns, include charts as well as text.

#6 Splurge on a New Tool

Splurge on a new tool. Whether it’s that special crochet hook you’ve been wondering about or a special ball of yarn you’ve been coveting, treat yourself to something special.

Clover Amour Crochet Hook Set
#7 Make a Quick Crocheted Gift

Make a quick crocheted gift. Everyone loves to get a handmade gift. Celebrate the month by crocheting a quick gift and give it to someone you love—or to a complete stranger!

Quick Crochet Home Decor Book coer
Quick Crochet Home Decor

For bonus points, wrap your gift in “crocheted” gift wrap paper.

#8 Put Crochet in an Unexpected Place

Put crochet in an unexpected place. Crochet a border on a picture frame or basket. Or go big and yarn bomb something! It’s always fun to see crochet in a surprising place.

Building covered with granny squares
Image by M W from Pixabay
#9 Join a Crochet Along

Join a Crochet Along (CAL). Crochet Alongs happen all the time, so you should be able to find one at any time you happen to read this post. This month, I’m finishing up a 5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along with Plymouth Yarn, but you can still join in and catch up in your own time.

5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along

Previously I did a Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket CAL, but it’s still available for you to join at any time. Check Ravelry for other CALs.

#10 Find Other Crocheters

It’s fun to crochet with others. If you’ve crocheted in public, you’ve probably run into like-minded souls there. Collect their contact information and meet up at a local coffee shop.  

Young hands crocheting
Image by Lola Reyes from Pixabay

Find a local crochet guild, form a lunchtime crochet group at work or school, or see if your local yarn shop has a “open table” for yarn crafts.

Consider going to a crochet conference, where you’ll find oh-so-many passionate crocheters. The Crochet Guild of America hosts the annual Chain Link conference. It includes a market and crochet classes for all skill levels. There’s plenty of opportunity for sharing laughter and knowledge with other crocheters.

What you are going to do to celebrate National Crochet Month?

St. Distaff’s Day

Pietro_Antonio_Rotari, Young Girl with Distaff

Distaff Day, or St. Distaff’s Day, occurs on January 7. The twelve days of Christmas are over, and it’s time to get back to work, for real.

Distaff Day is a way to recognize and celebrate women’s work in the home. Spinning was hugely important throughout history, and in European traditions it became synonymous with women’s work.

Pietro Antonio Rotari-Young Girl with Distaff

Today, some spinners celebrate January 7 as a kind of event, getting together for spin-ins and other fun.

Even if you’re not a spinner, I think it’s good to stop and think about all that unrecognized work that women have done to keep generations of people clothed. If you work with any kind of fiber to create fabric, you are doing the same thing. And we don’t need to be gender-specific here. Let’s recognize and celebrate all fiber crafts done by everyone!

What is a Distaff?

A distaff is a tool used to hold unspun fibers. The fiber is loosely wrapped around the distaff. The distaff can be held under the arm when drop spinning, or attached to a spinning wheel.

Man and Woman with Distaff
From 1941. Notice the woman and walking and spinning. [FOTO:FORTEPAN / Schwertner Ágnes, Woman, man, double portrait, street view, moustache, distaff, weaving, hat, village Fortepan 73437, CC BY-SA 3.0]
Woman spinning from distaff
1907 German postcard, spinning flax

There are different styles, but a basic distaff is simply a smooth stick with a finial of some sort. Russian-style distaffs look more like boards, and can be highly decorative.

collection of Russian distaffs
Russian Distaffs [shakko, Russian distaffs 01 (Ferapontov), CC BY-SA 3.0]

Who was St. Distaff?

Nobody. There wasn’t an saint, or even a person. (My opionion? The name probably came about because it is the “13th day of Christmas” and somebody back in history was trying to be clever.)

The 17th Century poet Robert Herrick wrote about shenanigans that happened on “S. Distaff Day”.

Saint Distaff’s Day, or The Morrow After Twelfth Day

Partly work and partly play
Ye must on S. Distaff’s day:
From the plough soon free your team,
Then come home and fodder them.
If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow;
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maidenhair.
Bring in pails of water, then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give S. Distaff all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night;
And next morrow everyone
To his own vocation.

If you’d like to read a bit more about the history of St. Distaff’s Day, and spinning in general, check out these links:

Saint Distaff’s Day
Chambers Book of Days

Back to Work

To celebrate St. Distaff’s Day, I suggest you pick up your favorite fiber tools, gather some fiber (already spun yarn counts!) and get back to work.

Announcing the Premiere of Stitch Makers Live Virtual Crochet Conference!

It’s been hard to keep quiet about this one, but now I can tell you about it!

What is Stitch Makers Live?

This post contains affiliate links, which is how I make money from teaching. Please buy your tickets from this site.

Stitch Makers Live is a 3-day virtual event for crocheters. It’s all the fun of a crochet conference from the comfort of your home!

Join 11 crochet bloggers and teachers LIVE on Facebook throughout the event. We’ll be hanging out with you, teaching and answering questions.

The LIVE portion runs Thursday, September 19 through Saturday September 21, 2019.

What Do I Get?

  • 15+ LIVE virtual classes with industry experts
  • Exclusive bonus crochet pattern with each class (15+ patterns)
  • Discussion and socializing with other attendees and teachers
  • A virtual party at the end of the event
  • Full access to the recordings for one full year

And you’re invited!

Early Bird Tickets are only $55 now through Monday, September 2.

After Labor Day ticket prices will increase to $80, so buy now to lock in the lower price.

Tell Me More

Our experts are passionate about sharing their love of crochet with others. Whether your goal is to improve your skills in hat making, gather the bravery to begin your first sweater, or dive into short rows, our goal is to help you. We have handpicked these teachers and designers to bring you the best instructors on a variety of crochet topics.

Getting to an in-person conference can be a barrier for some crocheters. You want to improve your skills and meet new people, but work, family life and budget constraints can make that impossible. Stitch Makers Live is the affordable alternative, because you’re only paying for the classes, not for flights, hotel rooms, restaurant food, and so on.

Stitch Makers Live is the only crochet-only online conference, and we’d love you to be part of the excitement.

How Does Stitch Makers Live Work?

When you buy a ticket to Stitch Makers Live you’ll get access to a private Facebook group that is only open to Stitch Makers Live participants and teachers.

The event runs September 19-21. The live video classes and interaction with the teachers will take place on the private Facebook group. Instructors will be teaching and interacting with you from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern each of those days.

And we’ll be having a virtual party from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm Eastern on Saturday night, September 21!

Edie, What Will You Be Doing?

I’ll be teaching techniques from The Village Hat pattern. You’ll learn my tips for great-looking crocheted motifs and join-as-you-go techniques. The Village Hat pattern includes both charted and text instructions, and it’s free with your Stitch Makers Live attendance.


Want to buy a yarn pack so you can make the hat using the same yarn I did? You can! It’s available now from Wonderland Yarns.

Buy the Yarn Button

Other teachers and topics include:

Teacher collage
Logo collage
  • Tamara Kelly of Moogly: Plan Your Projects Perfectly with Weight and Gauge Basics and Fabulous Crochet Sweaters are Simple with Finishing Techniques
  • Mary Beth Temple of Hooked for Life Publishing: Hop on the Tunisian Trend with Basics from a Professional Teacher and Level Up Your Projects with Surface Crochet Techniques
  • Alexis Middleton of Persia Lou: Build Better Crochet Baskets with Rope or Cord and this Crafty Star
  • Marie Segares of Underground Crafter: Conquer Amigurumi with Tips and Tricks for All Those Bits and Get Slouch Hat Savvy with Crochet Tips from an Urban Designer
  • Andee Graves of Mamas 2 Hands: Master the Tricks to Create Easy Perfect Crochet Spirals
  • Jessie Rayot of Jessie at Home: Produce Perfect Granny Squares Every Time with these Clever Tips
  • Pia Thadani of Stitches n Scraps: Stretch Your Crochet Skills with Elastic Waistbands for Wearables
  • Linda Dean of Linda Dean Crochet: Fall in Love with Crochet Short Rows for Wonderful Shaping
  • Julie Desjardins of Accrochet: Success with Crochet Socks Can Be Yours – Start with the Basics
  • Courtney Whitehead of Creations by Courtney: Handy Help for Hat Makers – Both Top Down and Bottom Up

Join Stitch Makers Live

Have I convinced you about how excited I am to be a part of this brand-new venture? After all, I get to share my love of crochet from the comfort of my home, too!

Won’t you please join us? I can’t wait to see you there!

Buy Tickets Now button