Almost a year ago, I was asked to contribute two patterns to a new book that would combine therapeutic exercises with complementary crochet projects. The idea was literally crochet as therapy. I thought this was a wonderful idea and I couldn’t be more happier with the end result. This beautiful book arrived a few weeks ago and was released in the US, a few days ago.
Behold, Crochet Therapy by Betsan Corkhill. First off all, let me brag a little: the mandalas on the cover are my project. I actually crocheted each of those! The photography and styling in this book is phenomenal. Every scene is light, calming, and downright gorgeous. All of the projects compliment each other so well.
This photo is opposite the introduction page.
Let’s get down to the book itself. Betsan Corkhill is a well-being expert with a background in physiotherapy. She combines her medical knowledge with her craftiness and is a champion of the use of fiber arts as a therapeutic tool. The book is comprised of ten exercises, each accompanied by two crochet projects to enhance the benefits for your well-being. The exercises incorporate mindfulness, visualization, relaxation, daydreaming, and motivation. You can start from the beginning, or choose which you need specific help with. Why does crochet (and knitting!) work so well at creating a healthier, calmer, more creative mind?
It’s known that two-handed, coordinated patterns of movement that cross the midline of the body take up a lot of brain capacity. The brain can’t fully focus on two things at a time, so the more absorbing the task, the less capacity it has to pay attention to issues that are detrimental to your well-being.
Crafing will help take your mind off things that are making you anxious, or stressed out in general. I think we can all use a little bit less stress and anxiety, don’t you think?
My two projects, the mandalas (seen best on the cover) and a round pillow, are part of the “Calm” chapter. The mandalas are a simple 9-round pattern that is easily memorized. You can take your hook and a bit of your yarn in your bag to crochet one whenever you find yourself in need of a calm few minutes. The pillow emulates rippling water. It’s a simple round construction with a few three-dimensional rounds (like ripples!). It’s crocheted in bulky yarn (I used Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick) and works up very fast. It would make a fantastic calming housewarming gift.
Some of my other favorite projects in the book:
I’m swooning over that puff flower quilt!
Overall, I really love Crochet Therapy. It’s a book for every level of crochet, beginner to expert. Even the most seasoned crocheter will get something out of it. I always knew crochet was something to do when I needed to destress and focus, but now I have something I can utilize to help me gain even more benefits from the craft. I highly recommend the book to anyone who would like to learn about how crafting in general can help you be more mindful in your everyday life.
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I have an extra copy from the publisher and would LOVE to give it away! Enter with the widget below and a winner will be chosen late Friday night.
Hey, friends! I hope everyone is well. I have a cough that just won’t go away. It’s just a little scratch at the back of my throat that makes me sound like I’m trying to get people’s attention every 5 minutes. Ahhheeemmmm.
Anyway! Today, I have something really lovely to talk about. I have been following Meredith Crawford’s blog, One Sheepish Girl, for a little while, so when I was asked if I wanted to review her new book AND have a giveaway on the blog, I immediately responded with a “heck yes!” Not my exact words, but you get the idea.
First of all, this book is a thing of beauty. The photos are gorgeous and the projects are all bright and pretty. My FAVORITE aspect of the book, though? The table of contents! Recently, my son has asked to read the table of contents for any book we are starting. It was kind of weird at first, but now it’s part of our routine. It’s nice to know what’s coming up and in this book, you can SEE everything. I loved that.
The first part of the book includes a sweet introduction and then some very detailed instructions for crocheting. There are directions for the basic stitches you’ll need to know, changing colors, finishing, embroidering, surface crochet, blocking, and even sewing in a zipper or liner! All have step by step photos and instructions. That alone makes it a great gift for new crocheters. I would have loved to have this when I first started. I’ll definitely be referencing these when I get around to working with zippers (I’ve been crocheting for 8-ish years and they STILL scare me).
The rest of the book is the patterns, divided into three categories: WEARING, LIVING, and, GIVING. It’s pretty easy to find something to crochet for any occasion.
I went through the book several times to figure out what I wanted to make for this post. I chose to crochet the Scallop Stripe Cowl. The pattern calls for super bulky yarn, of which I didn’t have in colors I loved, so I used two strands of worsted weight yarn. I used the same hook size (N) and it worked out nicely!
The instructions were very easy to follow, though I would have liked to have a stitch count at the end of rows. That’s just a personal preference, though! I think this pattern would be very easy to adjust to work with different weights of yarn. The stitch pattern is simple enough to memorize and work while you’re watching a favorite TV show or listening to music/books.
Pattern: Scallop Stripe Cowl by Meredith Crawford from Crochet With One Sheepish Girl
Yarn: one skein each of Red Heart Soft in deep sea and Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in light peach, held double
Hook: 10mm (US N/15)
Now, if the weather here in Houston would cooperate with my yarny desires, it’d be cold enough to wear this regularly. Just wearing it to take the photos had me super cozy, on the verge of a sweat.
If you are interested in the book, you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! Perhaps you can buy one for yourself, then try and win one for a friend? Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below! No purchase necessary. Open to residents of the US and Canada only. Giveaway ends October 30, 12am.
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Scents available: grapefruit, eucalyptus, natural, lavender.
When I bring out my wool hats and cowls for the fall and winter seasons, I usually just shake off any dust (and, God forbid, any bugs) and move along. When asked if I wanted to review Eucalan, a no rinse wash perfect for delicate items, I got pretty excited. Read my thoughts below and find out how to win some Eucalan for yourself!
I understand woollies don’t need to be washed after every wear, or even every season for that matter. I usually store my pieces in a plastic box in the closet, but sometimes one gets lost behind the couch or stuck under a bed for a few months. I was fairly intrigued by this product because my normal method of washing includes a wash AND rinse cycle. Agitating the fibers too much can lead to felting and that’s a big no no!
Washing with Eucalan was a total breeze! You put some water in a basin or large bowl, squeeze in the Eucalan, mix it up a bit with your hand, then soak the item. I put a few hats in this bowl, making sure they were all of the same color family, since it was the first time some got washed and I wasn’t sure of their colorfastness. Once the item is in the water, you squeeze it a bit to make sure the Eucalan soap gets into the fibers.
According to Eucalan, the best scents for our wool are eucalyptus and lavender. They are natural moth and flea inhibitors, so washing after the cold season is over, before you put the garments away, is probably a better idea. I decided to do it before because, like I said, hats end up under beds and in the couch more often than not around this house. I’m thinking I will purchase a bottle to re-wash everything at the end of winter.
After the items have soaked for at least 15 minutes, you simply pull them out, squeezing out excess water, and set them on a towel. I like to lay them flat, roll ’em up, and squeeze even more water out. Then, I lay them all on a fresh towel to completely dry under a ceiling fan.
I must say, the scents are wonderful! They aren’t overpowering like a perfume, but are more…crisp and clean! I was so, so happy. I am not a fan of cleaning products scented with lavender, so I didn’t have high hopes, but it definitely smells more herb-y (I love lavender flowers!) and like an essential oil rather than a fragrance.
Eucalan also features lanolin in its formula, so the wool fibers soften and plump up oh so gloriously. I anticipate no itchy necks or ears this fall! You can also use Eucalan on other delicates like lingerie. Read more about their products on Eucalan.com.
Visit Eucalan on Facebook and read the Eucalan Blog for tips on washing your most treasured items!
Enter the Eucalan Giveaway
Eucalan is graciously providing a Gift Pack to one lucky reader! Leave a comment below telling me how (if) you wash your woollies or just say hello. Submit your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. You have 5 chances to win! You may need to view the giveaway in a browser. Winner will be displayed next Friday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry to my other international readers!
Disclosure: I was sent a sample pack of Eucalan’s products to review on the blog. All opinions and photos are my own.
Giveaway closed! Winner has been notified. Thank you for participating!
The sweet Tessa pattern is in the current issue of Apronology Magazine. You can pick it up on newsstands or from their website. I sent in this apron and they photographed it beautifully (with mason jars! I die.)! I wrote up a little bit about the design and supplied the pattern. It is so lovely to hold the work in print!
The little apron is perfect for crafting, cleaning, or just to wear when you’re feeling blue. If you would like to win the apron featured in the magazine, leave a comment! It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway, so this feels like a good time. Just comment with a hello or whatever is on your mind. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Friday (2/14/14). If you share the post on social media, come back and leave another comment letting me know for an extra entry.
Have a great week!
CLOSED! Winner announced at end of post.
For some reason, the lovely folks of Tumbleweeds Handcraft thought I was interesting enough to interview and ask me what my ideal features in a pair of sunglasses would be. What resulted were these absolute beauties you see right up there and down below.
I seriously swooned for several minutes when they arrived. Like stared at them sweetly and sighed. Ahhh. They’re simple and classy, but still so intriguing! They’re the clubmaster style with cherry veneer and mother of pearl inlay. I couldn’t capture the mother of pearl iridescence, but it’s there and it’s beeeauutiful.
Do you like them as much as I do? Well, the glasses are available in the Tumbleweeds Handcraft Etsy shop, but there is a very limited quantity!! Get them while they’re still available.
If you’re more of the gambling type, they have generously offered a pair to one lucky winner! To enter, just leave a comment below.
For extra entries (leave a comment for each):
-Visit the Tumbleweeds Handcraft shop and let me know which glasses are your favorite!
-Follow Beca’s blog, Tales of a Tumbleweed (GFC or Bloglovin).
-Tweet about the giveaway & leave me a link to your tweet. Example: I want to win a pair @tumbleweedsshop sunglasses via the @goodknits blog! http://goodknits.com/blog/?p=4801
-Pin this post (you can use the button below or pin any of the images in this post). Leave me the link to your pin.
Make sure you provide a valid email in the email field when you’re leaving your comment(s), so I can contact ya if you win! Giveaway ends at noon (CST), next Monday, October 8.
The winner will also received a crocheted carrying case for their glasses! My case is this lovely coral cotton with rust leather and pearl snap! I may or may not have cuddled it earlier. OK, I DID.
The winner of the giveaway is comment #39–Berta’s!