Beautiful America

One of the most beautiful blankets I’ve ever made is a pattern called Little Boy Blue by Lion Brand.

This jewel-tone afghan was designed for Lion Brand’s Heartland, which happens to be Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s October Yarn of the Month. Heartland is 100% acrylic and weight 4 (medium). Heartland has a soft, silky feel and is comfortable for me to work with.

I enjoyed the variations in stitch patterns from row to row, which produced such a distinctive border. I counted stitches carefully at the end of each row, because mistakes would show and disrupt future rows. It is well worth the time and effort to ensure each section is correct before moving on. Continue reading

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Would You Take Love Advice from an Italian Woman?

“How do you actually measure a year in your life?” writes Costanza Miriano in the provocatively entitled Marry Him and Be Submissive: Radical Advice from a Real Woman About Marriage, Love, Kids, Work, Play & Everything Else. “By dawns and dusks?…A year should be measured by the number of times you’ve put aside your own preferences so as to give yourself to another person. It’s measured in the life that you have transmitted to another person–not necessarily a son or daughter, but someone smaller than you, weaker, poorer.”

Costanza Miriano is an Italian journalist with RAI (Italian public television). Her refreshing addition to the genre of relationship advice provides what too many American books are missing: la gioia della vita.

Miriano’s Marry Him and Be Submissive: Radical Advice from a Real Woman About Marriage, Love, Kids, Work, Play & Everything Else is my second book for Rose City Reader’s 2017 European Reading ChallengeHer thoughts on love, marriage, and family life take the form of letters to her single and married friends, as follow-ups to phone conversations at wits’ end over boyfriends, husbands, or incorrigible bambini. Continue reading

Of Course You Can

One of my earliest memories is my mother taking her friend upstairs to our hall bathroom to share the unique floral Marimekko shower curtain she had just designed and sewn. The fabric matched the wallpaper.

I must have been only three years old, but I remember being impressed with the idea that Mom could do anything. If she wanted something specific, with distinctive style, she could create it herself. This was a liberating concept with which to grow up, and that’s what a sewing machine says to me to this day.

Mom gave me my first full-size sewing machine for my birthday two years ago–Singer’s 9960 Quantum Stylist. Feeling like a teenager driving a new car, I made a lightweight shower curtain for the second full bathroom/guest bathroom in the home of a close friend. Continue reading

Crochet for Charity: Mother and Child Education Center

It’s easy to make quick, simple newborn caps and booties when I don’t have the energy to follow complicated patterns or try new stitch combinations. Sometimes a one-hour (-ish) baby cap is just the thing with which to unwind (pun intended) or watch a movie. I also believe making a sweet baby cap is the perfect way to make the most of time spent with the evening news!

If you enjoy making caps and booties and find yourself with more rainbow-colored inventory than you have friends with baby showers, the Mother and Child Education Center may be the place for your baby-soft items to find the perfect homes. Continue reading

Bavarian for My Family

Having a great-grandfather with Bavarian heritage, I was delighted to discover there is such a thing as “Bavarian crochet.” Of course, I wanted to learn it; and I’ve been working with the book, Learn to Do Bavarian Crochet, by Jenny King (Annie’s Crochet).

It helps that I previously learned both front post and back post trebles while making a small baby blanket. They are the secret to creating the raised pattern characteristic of Bavarian and take some getting used to. It’s easier to become comfortable with front and back post trebles–and gauge consistency with trebles in general–before putting it all together. Continue reading

French Women Live the Seasons

“In the twenty-first century, we can no longer expect to receive lifestyle as an inheritance; it has become a matter of active choice,” writes Mireille Guiliano.

Guiliano’s French Women for All Seasons. is my first book for Rose City Reader’s 2017 European Reading Challenge.

This book is the sequel to French Women Don’t Get Fat, Guiliano’s guide to the secrets French women know, and many in the West have forgotten, about enjoying life without overdoing things. Continue reading

Ice Cream for Valentine’s Day

I’ve been flipping through issues of Crochet World for a couple years, and admired many patterns, but I never went right out to begin one until the February 2017 issue.

I just started the “Bubbles Blanket & Pillow” by Joyce Bragg. Of course, since she uses Lion Brand’s Ice Cream Yarn in Tutti Frutti, her pattern caught my eye.

There is an error in the printed pattern regarding materials. It says you need one ball, but this is impossible for a baby blanket and pillow set. Ice Cream Yarn is sold in 3 1/2 oz. balls and “Big Scoop” 10 oz. balls. I suspect you need one Big Scoop, at least, to complete this project. One small ball won’t do. Continue reading