Local product love: Just Soap in Ashfield, MA

There are a lot of local soap-makers in the Pioneer Valley, and most have their own unique take on this basic staple of our daily lives. Despite there being many proverbial fish to choose from in this sudsy sea, my heart belongs to the makers of Just Soap, a savonnier (hey, it sounds better than … Continue reading Local product love: Just Soap in Ashfield, MA

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Cedar Top Crochet Pattern

Sometimes, the simplest things end up being so satisfying. I've crocheted complicated garments before and felt pleased with the results. It's always been simple, classic designs, however, that make me happiest and produce clothes that I wear over and over again. The added bonus? They are easy to make, easy to modify, and even beginners … Continue reading Cedar Top Crochet Pattern

A different kind of materialism

I'll admit it: I like stuff. I love pouring through sweaters on the rack at local thrift stores, trying to guess what they're made of. I love richly-colored natural fibers, old wood, and handmade pottery. I love a $1 basket from a yard sale that I can give new life toting vegetables. Every time I … Continue reading A different kind of materialism

What can knitters and crocheters do about synthetic fiber pollution?

This year I am phasing out my stash of acrylic yarn, and here's why: our oceans are becoming polluted with tiny synthetic microfibers, and it's bad news for marine life. I don't enjoy being a Debbie Downer, so I promise you that I will end this on a positive note. Here's the gist of the problem, … Continue reading What can knitters and crocheters do about synthetic fiber pollution?

7 eco-friendly crochet patterns

Making your own home goods, clothing, and accessories can be even more satisfying when you know it's reducing your footprint on the Earth. What makes a something "eco-friendly"? It's a rather broad term, and is probably applied in places where it shouldn't be. There's no universal definition. I tend to think of eco-friendly crochet patterns as ones that … Continue reading 7 eco-friendly crochet patterns

Nocturnal Creatures Tote Bag Pattern

I've been on a Fair Isle crochet kick lately, and I decided to try something more muted and a little bit....spooky. A friend of mine is a lover of bats, creepy things, magical things, and creatures of the night. She also prefers neutrals and darker colors. So, the Nocturnal Creatures Bag was born! It's the … Continue reading Nocturnal Creatures Tote Bag Pattern

Cheery Fair Isle Pillow Pattern

Fair Isle patterns aren't just for cold weather anymore. As the tiniest hints of spring were showing this month, I was scurrying like a chipmunk to finish this cozy, bright, and colorful pillow pattern. It's created with one of my favorite knit-look crochet techniques: waistcoat stitch and tapestry-style colorwork. And it's easier than you probably think it is! You … Continue reading Cheery Fair Isle Pillow Pattern

A Quick Guide to Knit-Look Crochet Stitches

We're not always vocal about it, but some crocheters and knitters believe that their yarn craft is superior to the other. It's usually a good-natured feud, resulting in the concession that we've just grown accustomed to doing one or the other and we're probably not going to change. Although I'm firmly in the camp of crochet, I admire the … Continue reading A Quick Guide to Knit-Look Crochet Stitches

Happy Spring Pouch Pattern

A collage of three images of the same crocheted pouch in pastel colors with hearts, flowers, cupcakes, and a rainbow on it. Left photo is of pouch with a pencil box and yellow envelope in it. Top right photo is a close-up that shows the front of the pouch. Bottom right is a close-up of the metal filigree heart button.

Maybe I've been inspired by the freakishly warm weather we've had off and on for the past week, or maybe I'm disturbed by the way it reminds me of impending climate disaster and I need something cheery to distract me. Whatever it is, I am deep into happy, bubble-gum-and-candy colors and adorable spring motifs for … Continue reading Happy Spring Pouch Pattern

Be a careless artist and a ruthless editor

This week I started watching Abstract: The Art of Design. I'm not the most talented TV review writer, so I'm not going to bother describing to you how good it is. It's really good. The first episode features illustrator and New Yorker cover-designer Christopher Niemann working in his minimalist studio, with a bucket of primary-colored … Continue reading Be a careless artist and a ruthless editor