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

Crochet Pattern: Crimson Cowl

Crimson Cowl Universal Yarn designed by Edie Eckman

Get ready for the cooler days of fall with my newest design for Universal Yarn: the Crimson Cowl. The cowl is shaped to drape gently around the neck and to sit lovingly over the shoulders.

The Yarn

Fine Weight Yarn-2 Craft Yarn Council

Fibra Natura’s Cashmere Lusso from Universal Yarn is a luxurious blend of virgin cashmere and recycled cashmere. You can feel good about using yarn with recycled fiber, and the yarn feels great against the skin.

Cashmere yarn is lightweight but warm, and is lovely to crochet with.

 

You’ll need just a single skein in either this beautiful Anthurium color or one of the other on-trend colors available.

 

The Pattern

Crimson Cowl  designed by Edie Eckman for Universal Yarn

There are no tricky stitches here. Just chains, single and double crochets worked in the round and fanning out to create a lovely drape from the neck down. Use a size H-8 (5 mm) hook or whatever size you need to get gauge.

The pattern for the Crimson Cowl is free at Universal Yarn’s website. The pattern is both written and charted.

 

Get the Pattern

Other Projects

For other small crochet projects to keep your neck and shoulders warm, check out these patterns. Hint: They all have text AND charted instructions.

Bobble Fringe Scarf

Cascade of Color Scarf

Easy-to-Wear Cowl

 

 

Free Knitting Pattern: Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern by Edie Eckman
Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Brighten up your summer with these quick and easy summer placemats. They are a perfect first project for beginning knitters, and they make a great house-warming gift for new neighbors.

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra.

The Yarn

Craft Yarn Council Size 5 yarn icon

Bulky-weight yarn makes the knitting go fast! Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn is fun to work with. Because of its construction, it’s less bulky than you would think, and it imparts a great texture to the fabric.

 

Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn

I love the exuberant colors that I used, but you can also choose from more muted shades to suit your taste. The instructions below are for two placemats in different main colors. If you want to make four placemats, two of each color shown, with a yellow stripe on each, you’ll need two balls each of the blue and pink, and one ball of the yellow.

 

The Pattern

Garter stitch is about as basic as a knitting stitch can be, and that’s all you need to know to knit these placemats! Minimal pattern-reading is required, and gauge doesn’t even matter all that much.

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

One size: 16″ x 13″/40.6 x 33 cm

Materials
Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn (70% polyester/30% viscose, 3.5 oz / 100 g, 242 yd / 221 m), 1 ball each color 148 Fish Bowl (A), color 195 Think Pink (B), and color 157 Make Lemonade (C) [See note above about yarn amounts for multiple placemats.]

US Size 10.5 / 6.5 mm knitting needles

Stitch marker or piece of waste yarn

Gauge
13 sts and 22 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this project.
Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch for more information.

Pattern Notes
Leave a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in each time you begin and end a yarn.

Beginning knitters will want to knit the pattern exactly as written. More experienced knitters may create a slip-stitch selvedge by slipping the last stitch of each row knitwise with yarn in front.

Abbreviations
k: knit
RS: right side
st(s): stitch(es)
WS: wrong side

Instructions
With A, long-tail cast-on 42 sts. Knit 1 WS row. Turn work, and place a marker or piece of waste yarn on this side to indicate that the side is the right side.

Knit every row until piece measures 13″ / 33 cm from cast-on edge, ending with a WS row. Cut A, leaving a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in.

With C, knit 10 rows (5 garter stitch ridges). Cut C.

With B, knit 2 rows (1 garter stitch ridge). Cut B.

With A, knit 6 rows (3 garter stitch ridges). Bind off.

Weave in ends.

Make a second placemat, substituting B for A and A for B in the instructions above.

Other Projects

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

Blue Springs Double Cowl

Easy Quick-Knit One-Skein Tea Cozy

Molly Hat

Stoneybrook Shawlette

Zig Zag Eyelet Scarf

 

Linked Treble Crochet Stitch Pattern

Linked treble crochet swatch

Crocheters, expand your stitch pattern knowledge with linked treble crochet! While regular treble crochet stitches are quite tall, with space between the posts, linked treble stitches are connected post-to-post, creating a solid fabric.

Linked stitches are sort of a cross between regular treble crochet and Tunisian crochet, worked with a regular crochet hook. Note that I’m using American crochet terminology here. UK crocheters will know this as linked double treble crochet.

This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me but don’t cost you anything extra.

Grab some yarn and an appropriately-sized hook, and practice along with me. I’m using Marly Bird’s Chic Sheep yarn from Red Heart, with a Clover Amour crochet hook, size 5.5 mm.

Be sure to watch the video, where I demonstrate two different ways to work into the chain on the first stitch of the row. Choose your favorite.

Linked Treble Crochet

Beginning Linked Treble in progress
Beginning Linked Treble

Special Stitches
Beginning Linked Treble (Beg Ltr):
Ch 4 (does not count as a st), insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into next ch, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into st at base of ch-4, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops are on hook) [(yarn over, pull through 2 loops] 3 times.

Arrows showing path of hook
Arrows show the three places to put your hook in linked treble crochet

Linked Treble: Insert hook into upper horizontal bar of previous st, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into lower horizontal bar of previous st, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into next st, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops are on hook) [(yarn over, pull through 2 loops] 3 times.

Instructions

Chain any multiple.

Set-Up Row: Ch 1, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn.

Row 1: Beginning Ltr, Ltr in each st across, turn.

Rep Row 1 for pattern.

Linked Trebles Stitch Chart

Abbreviations
Beg Ltr:
beginning linked treble crochet (see Special Stitches)
ch: chain
Ltr: linked treble crochet (see Special Stitches)
sc: single crochet

Crafting A New Family Holiday Tradition

crochet lesson on the sofa

This year the Eckman family started a new family holiday tradition: crafting together. Over Christmas week, both my 20-something children were home for a visit at the same time.

This post contains affiliate links.

Daughter Meg had brought a variety of left-over yarns to crochet flowers for a Spring Wreath.  Charles, visiting from far-away California, had in mind that he wanted to crochet a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) dice bag. He asked if I’d teach him to crochet.  How could I possibly refuse?

A Crochet Lesson

Crochet hook in jeans pocket

I grabbed a ball of Meg’s green yarn (conveniently sitting on the coffee table in front of us), a 5 mm crochet hook (conveniently within reach on my rolling cart), and demonstrated holding the hook and yarn.

A bag is a great first project. We covered the skills of slip knot, chain, slip stitch, chain-1 build-up chains, working into a ring, and single crochet in the first five minutes. Charles was a quick study, understanding the concepts right away. It was just a matter of his becoming comfortable manipulating the yarn and hook.

Wreath with crocheted flowers
Meg’s wreath with crocheted flowers

With the basic skills in place, we went back to our respective projects. I worked on my Crochet Skill-Builder Afghan (Crochet Along coming very soon!), Meg grew an entire garden of blooming flowers, and Charles worked out his own way of holding yarn and hook. And husband Bill? He joined in by helping untangle and re-wind a mess of yarn. It really was a family affair!

After a while, I demonstrated double crochet, so the bag-in-progress got a round of taller stitches here and there. When the bag was the right size, he added a drawstring chain in a contrasting color. By the end of the day, the bag was complete, and it was a rousing success!

Outfitting the Newbie

Crocheted Drawstring Bag with Teal accent

Of course, our next step was to go shopping in the Yarn Room (AKA “the attic”) for yarn for the next bag. Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool Quarters in color Glacier Teal was the winner, with a bit of odd-ball teal of unknown origin for accent. This bag is a bit larger. It’s designated as a project bag, to hold not only a WIP (Work in Progress), but also the small collection of stitch markers, scissors, and other necessities that every crocheter needs.

Over several days, we worked on various projects. Instead of staring at our individual device screens, we worked with nice yarn, created beautiful things and (gasp!) talked to one another.

He’s Hooked

Charles crocheting

We now have a Crochet Convert. Between stitching sessions, Charles polled members of his D&D campaign to ask what two colors would best represent their characters. He headed back to California with enough yarn to make custom dice bags for all the players in the campaign, along with hooks in varying sizes, and a copy of The Crochet Answer Book. (I’m assuming that none of them read this blog, so a spoiler alert wasn’t necessary there.)

Planning for Next Year

Crocheting together was a lovely way to spend time together as a family. I think we’ve crafted a new holiday tradition! This year it was crochet. I wonder what we’ll do next year?

Next week, I’ll share the pattern for the Crochet Bag for Beginners (AKA D&D Dice Bag).

For a bit of perspective, check out Teach a Young Child to Knit. These same two “children” appear with yarn there, too.


Knit Socks For Those You Love - 11 Original Designs By Edie Eckman

Review: Brightech LightView Magnifying Lamp

Brightech Lightview Rolling Base lamp

My mother, the needlepointer, taught me the value of a good lamp for crafters. Recently I was contacted by Brightech, who asked me if I would like to receive one of their lamps in exchange for a review.

This post contains affiliate links. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Brightech has a number of lamps to choose from, from decorative floor lamps to weatherproof solar string lights. Since the winter days are getting shorter, and my eyes aren’t getting any younger, I was especially interested in their magnifying lamps. I chose the Lightview Rolling Base LED Magnifier Lamp to try for myself.

The Assembly

Brightech Lamp in boxThe lamp arrived via UPS in a box inside a box inside another box. And inside the boxed box was a nice amount of custom-fit Styrofoam. It would be hard to imagine this lamp getting damaged in shipment!

There really wasn’t a lot of assembly required. Just stick the upright pole in the heavy rolling base, and screw it in with the hex wrench provided. Insert the top portion of the lamp assembly in the vertical pole, and in less than 10 minutes —including unpacking the box— it’s ready to use.

The Features

Brightech Lightview Rolling Base lampThe Lightview Rolling Base LED Magnifier Lamp is a magnifying floor lamp with a very heavy weighted base and six small casters. It stands about 47″ [114 cm] high when it’s collapsed down. You can adjust the lamp for both intensity and color.

The magnifying glass has a 15″ [38 cm] focal length and 1.75X magnification. There’s a flip-down cover to keep dust out when not in use and to prevent accidental fire. (Ask me sometime to tell you about that time when my mother’s magnifying lamp almost set the house on fire.)

Brightech Lightview LED Roller Base Magnifier LampThe arm extends a long way and it has a 53″ cord so it allows you some flexibility when placing the lamp near your seat. There’s an adjustable knob right next to the lamp which allows you to adjust the angle of the magnifier.

This is a nice, classic-looking magnifying lamp. I chose black, but it also comes in white. It retails for $94.99 with free shipping on the Brightech website. I’ve used the lamp for a couple of weeks now, so here’s my report.

Pros

The Base: The lamp feels really stable, unlike some extending-arm lamps I’ve had in the past. The base is heavy enough to handle a full extension without feeling like it will tip over. It rolls easily on bare floors.

Comparison of different light settings

The Light: What really appealed to me about this particular  lamp was the variable lighting options for both intensity and color. There are three settings for each, which makes it much easier to see those dark purple stitches in the evening! I tried to get good photos to show you just how different the lighting color and intensities look. The photos shown here have not been color adjusted, and you can see the differences somewhat. Take my word for it that they are much more distinct in real life!

The Magnification: Although I sometimes wear reading glasses to work on fine yarn at night, I don’t usually think of using any special magnification. However, when I started testing this lamp, I was amazed at how wonderful it was to be able to see the stitches so clearly. I’ve been crocheting with a fine-weight dark purple yarn, and I’ve had no problem at all. The ergonomic benefit of having magnification was a surprise to me!

The Portability: I have two main places where I sit to craft. I like that I can move the lamp from one spot to the other without a lot of trouble. I have more floor space than I do tabletop space, so the floor model is what works for me. The long cord means that I don’t have to use an extension cord to reach the wall outlet no matter where I situate the lamp.

The Stays-Puttedness: OK, I made that term up. Once I have the lamp set up at my optimal angle, it stays there. I’ve had extended arm lamps in the past that kind of dropped after a while. With this lamp, I’ve done a couple of marathon crochet sessions, and it stays right where I want it. And because it’s an LED, it stays cool during those long hours of crafting.

The Cons

The Base: I know, it was a “pro” also. Because the base is heavy, and the casters fairly small, it doesn’t roll well over carpets. I end up lifting it to move it over several area rugs. This might be a deal-killer if you have deep carpets and plan to move it a lot.

The Limited Swivel: Although the connection at the lamp is quite adjustable, the swivel action of the upright is limited. Sometimes I have to rotate the entire base to get the lamp head in the right spot when I first set it up in a new location.

The Styling: Since the lamp is spending a good portion of its life in my open-plan living area, I wish it were a bit more stylish. It’s not unattractive, and it’s certainly functional, but I’d like to challenge all the industrial designers out there to create a great magnifying lamp with a bit more pizazz!

A Final Word

Brightech Lightview Rolling Base LEDFor the price, the Brightech LightView Rolling Base LED Magnifier Lamp seems to be a great option, combining a reasonable price point with some good features. I’m making it a permanent part of my evening fiber sessions. If you aren’t sure you want or need a magnifying lamp, you might just be surprised at what it can do for you!

Lightview Flex 2-in-1 lampYou may prefer a non-magnifying lamp, a lamp that clamps onto your sewing table or desk, or a tabletop lamp. Brightech has a number of magnifying and non-magnifying lamps to choose from.

Good lighting is an important ergonomic consideration for all crafters. You want to be able to position your body and hands in the ideal way, and to have adequate light and magnification to avoid strain. Do yourself a favor and look into finding the perfect lamp for your needs.

For more on ergonomics, read Knitting Comfortably with Carson Demmers.