Monday, April 7, 2014

Lily Chin video review

I recently purchased Lily Chin's new video Join as you Go Crochet at Interweave. Short story: Excellent and recommended!

I decided to get the download version so I could watch it right away and also because it was less expensive. It appeared in my account immediately as two videos, parts 1 and 2, each just over an hour long.
In my account I clicked on the links to watch them before downloading to my computer.

Watching them this way gave me no menu option. The video just plays in recorded order. (It was the same after I downloaded them to my computer.) This was in QuickTime which is the recommended program on the web site. I don't know if this is how it works for everyone, but no elapsed time was shown so if I decided to quit and start again later I would have no idea how far into it I had gone. That was disappointing. 

After I finished watching both videos, I downloaded it to my computer for convenience. I then started the videos to make sure they worked before I got off the web page. My computer started the videos using Windows Media Player and now I could see the elapsed time. Still no menu but at least that was an improvement. Since I don't have the DVDs I don't know for sure if there is a menu option there but I would think there would be.

There is a FAQ for video downloads which can be found here. Although the FAQ says their downloads are mp4 this video saved as a .mov . As noted above, it came in two parts which I downloaded separately to my computer. It took just minutes to download. You can download your purchases as often as you like. They are copyrighted, however, so no sharing.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that you can purchase only Part 1 which is about an hour long for $16.99 here. There is also a brief sample that you can watch if you would like to see before you buy. Part 1 concentrates on using single crochet in the join process.

About the first seventeen minutes of the video demonstrated how to make the swatches. I think I could have made the swatches without this instruction if one had said made 2 identical swatches in sc, hdc, and dc using stripes or whatever. If I'd had a menu I would have skipped that part. However, if you think you would have trouble doing that, Lily Chin gave an excellent demonstration. Although she crochets quickly, she took the time to review the steps and explained what she was doing. I thought the entire video was done that way, very thorough and well explained. 

There was a lot of repetition (which I think is good in a teaching video). For example, she often showed the front and back of the pieces and reiterated that there is a definite front side and back side as the back side shows the join. Here are two pics from the video showing the front and back side of a section joining a piece in the center of two previously made pieces. Now wouldn't you want to know how to do that?


She showed how to tell the right from the wrong side as well, something with which a lot of new crocheters have trouble.

After the swatches, we got to the matter at hand which was "Joining on Every Side" - how to join new pieces in a join as you go manner. She did right side, left side, and top and/or bottom for each stitch (some on part 1, some on part 2). 

She demonstrated joins where both pieces were identical and also those where you were joining pieces that varied in thickness of yarn.

Part 2 begins with how to join a new piece in the middle of two previously made pieces. While it does use techniques previously learned, this was definitely well worth the watch. I can see how this would be quite confusing without the video explanation. I was not working alongside her but just watching the video. I think I would have to refer to this again should I desire to use this method in the future.

Also demonstrated is joining on every side with the hdc and the dc. There are small differences in these methods. I am not patient but I watched each one and there were some small differences in procedure for the different stitches so it is worth a look. The basics remain the same but the details vary.

She also showed how this method could aid in making other things besides joining swatches. Then at the end, she showed how to join as you go using patterns rather than straight lines of stitches. That was very interesting and quite useful, especially if you've finished a piece and found it is not the size you wanted it to be.

The final section considered Tunisian crochet. To me, if you know Tunisian crochet this was the simplest one because the ends of your rows are very evident. There is really no guesswork involved if you're a newbie and cannot find the top of your stitches.

There is a brief section where Lily draws out the stitches as done in symbol crochet. Nicely done!

There were several brief sections with tips and ideas on how to use this method of joining which were interesting.

I thought Lily Chin did an excellent job on this video tutorial. The video showed clear closeups as she worked. She was thorough in her explanations and repeated things to make sure the student got it.

I have to say her nails were lovely too! I wish mine would look so nice. I know, that has nothing to do with crochet. LOL

If I had anything negative to say about it, I just can't get on board with the idea of those tiny strands when making a slip knot. I know this is how Lily does it. I've seen it before and read it in her books. It is not mentioned here specifically, nor are you shown how to finish off the pieces, sewing in the few tails that would remain. I am sure that is because the entire point of this exercise is that you will have minimal sewing to do. I just can't make myself leave short strands. It obviously works for her so kudos. 

I will stick with my 4-6" strands. However, this join method will leave minimal strands to sew in. If you use a variegated yarn rather than changing colors, even fewer! BUT, as she says several times throughout the video, there is a definite front and back of your piece so if you don't like a join that is visible, this video is not for you. If you don't mind that, I recommend it.

Excellent video. Well worth the money if you're interested in this method of joining. I cannot see myself using it for afghans or things where both sides will be visible, but for pillows and garments where the back or inside would not be seen, what a time saver.

If you feel the need for a menu, I would query them as to if the actual dvd has one and then choose accordingly.

Happy crocheting!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sadie Sunshine

The Internet can be a wonderful place. In posting the link to the heart and cross popcorn stitch prayer cloths I received a comment from the designer and from there I have had the pleasure of conducting the following interview with the coordinator of Sadie Sunshine. Sadie Sunshine is the Kentucky branch of a larger organization called Crochet for Cancer.

I am not personally familiar with this organization as I was with the other coordinators that I have interviewed, but Carolyn is doing a wonderful job ministering to those in need in memory of her sweet granddaughter.

Crochet for Cancer, the web site for the headquarters so to speak, has much valuable information. It specifies that they will "accept any type of crochet/knit/sewn items that will benefit and uplift the spirits of people taking treatments for cancer. For example, sewn cloth turbans, crochet teddy bears, scarves, prayer shawls, lap blankets, gloves, socks, etc. If you have a specific item that you would like to donate and are unsure, please contact the chapter leader where you plan to send your items."

Here is the interview.

The name of this organization is ... 
Sadie Sunshine Chapter of Crochet for Cancer 

You can find the web site at ...

Please introduce yourself and let us know your position or connection with the organization.
My name is Carolyn Dorsey and I started this chapter in memory of my grandaughter, Sadie Caroline Davis, who we lost to cancer in December 2012 at the age of 17 months. [Crochet Cabana: Sadie had acute myeloma leukemia]

How and when did the organization begin? What is the purpose of this organization?
I started the chapter in April 2013 after finding information about Crochet for Cancer in my internet research. I thought it would be a perfect thing to give chemo hats to those receiving cancer treatment to spread some sunshine into their lives.

Do you personally deliver the collected items to the intended recipients? If you do not, who does and how do you ensure that the items get where they need to be?
I mail hats etc to specific people when requested, and mail or deliver to hospitals and treatment centers - Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital in Nashville, TN; Kosair's Children's Hospital in Louisville, KY; locally to our infusion center at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, KY; and to Chemo Buddies who serve all the treatment facilities in the Evansville/Newburgh, IN area.

Scripture sent with each donation
How can fiber crafters help? What types of items do you accept?
Are there any special tips or requirements for the items needed? Yarn colors, finished size of items, yarn used (wool, acrylic, sport, worsted, bulky...)
Details on the hats, suggested patterns, and tips on donating items suitable may be found on the main web page at

A few tips from the Crochet for Cancer site:
They accept items for children or adults; knitted, crocheted or sewn; clean, never worn, free of perfume, detergent, pet hair and smoke. Solid patterns without gaps or holes for chemo caps. No wool. See the web site for other helpful information.

It is understandable that you need to have a person's contact information in case there is a problem and for recordkeeping. Do you allow participants to remain anonymous to those who receive the items?
I use only first names and the state they are from on the facebook page - no personal information is given. I do get the information for my records but just so I can write thank you notes.

hats, prayer cloths, ribbon scarves

Is there a particular item that you yourself enjoy making more than any other?
I make crocheted prayer shawls mostly and these are given locally and also, upon special request, I will mail one to a specific person.

prayer shawl

Does your family participate in your charity effort? If so, how? If not, are they supportive of your work?
My family and everyone is supportive of my work - I have several friends locally who come and help me tag and package the hats to deliver. I receive donations from all over the country, Puerto Rico, and Germany

What would you say to convince volunteers that your effort is legitimate and they can be assured the pieces they send will be used as they intend?
As far as convincing volunteers that I am doing what I say with their donated items, all they need to do is follow our facebook page and they can see everything there that is done. It has never been an issue.

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about your charity effort or you personally?
The main thing I would like people to know is that anyone who is told they have cancer, and especially if their child or grandchild has cancer, it is a very frightening and helpless experience. It threatens their life and their security. We were at the hospital for only six weeks - many are in and out for years in treatment. The experience was heart wrenching to see our precious child suffer, and all the while she never stopped smiling. I learned so much from her during that time about what really matters in life. While she was sick we had so many people supporting us and praying for her and bringing gifts, meals, and anything they could think of to comfort. This is why I wanted to start this chapter, first in her memory so that I could talk about her and share her story and her little life, and second to comfort those who are going through the same battle. We believe in paying it forward for all the love that was showered on her and on us. My heart was broken to lose her, but I find a certain amount of peace in doing for others who are going through the same time in their lives. It is healing for me and is also so rewarding for those who are involved in the making of the hats, prayer cloths, etc. I thank them - and they thank me for allowing them to help. I could go on for hours - but that is basically it. 

I want to thank Carolyn for sharing with us about her branch of this wonderful organization.

As noted above, Carolyn has shared free patterns that you can use for your own charity purposes and also for donating to Sadie Sunshine. I made one of her heart prayer cloths using puff stitches instead of popcorn stitches (just personal preference). I used a G hook and I think it is sport peach yarn. It took me about 45 minutes to make one. I think I got a bit faster after making a few of them.

heart prayer cloth
Crochet for Cancer also has patterns you can use for this purpose though you are not required to use those specific patterns. For chemo caps, patients request closed patterns with no holes.

If you would like to donate an item to Sadie Sunshine you can send it to Carolyn at:
Sadie Sunshine Chapter
c/o Memories Past and Present

324 N. Elm Street
Henderson, KY  42420

Thanks again to Carolyn for sharing her work with Sadie Sunshine.

Happy crocheting!